Mini-Review: Hell Asylum (2002)

AKA Prison of the Dead 2

Starring Debra Mayer, Tanya Dempsey, Sunny Lombardo, Stacey Scowley, Olimpia Fernandez, Timothy Muskatell, Joe Estevez, Brinke Stevens, Matt Moffett, Trent Haaga

Directed by Danny Draven

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


My first exposure to director Danny Draven was with his most recent directorial work for Full Moon: Reel Evil. That movie stands firm as one of the worst Full Moon movies in my eyes, so to start up Hell Asylum and almost immediately feel similar vibes, I knew I was in trouble. While the plots aren’t exactly the same, from what I remember of Reel Evil you could almost call it a remake of Hell Asylum. Both films feature a group of people trapped in a “real” haunted asylum to film a show/movie, expecting scares/FX but getting killed by real ghosts. Reel Evil goes into a more direct, found-footage direction to capture the proceedings, but the seeds of that are in Hell Asylum as well, with headset cams that annoyingly cut in and out to static every few seconds.

My predisposition to dislike a movie like this is not the only concern with Hell Asylum, either. It’s barely over an hour long, but something like 20 minutes of that is just unnecessary setup and filler. First we see an overlong pitch meeting — scored with ominous music — where an executive (Joe Estevez, the film’s bright spot) is sold on the idea of five hot chicks in an old mansion/asylum getting scared for the chance to win a million dollars. Then we see the girls’ audition tapes, where they explain themselves and their darkest fears. Using their fears against them was the most intriguing part of the pitch, reminding me of the Stephen King novel It, but there’s nothing engaging that actually comes of it. Next is a lengthy explanation of the rules of the game. It all adds up to extreme boredom and disinterest. Lot of repetitive, meaningless talking heads do not make for a good horror film.

Other than the presence of Joe Estevez, the only redeeming quality of Hell Asylum is its approach to gore. Full Moon’s films are generally light in this department, and Hell Asylum looks like it wants to make up for lost time. There is a distinct choice in favor of ridiculously over-the-top gore, particularly featuring lots of ripped-out intestines. I appreciated this desire to spice things up where other Full Moon films have failed, but the thing I found most enjoyable was the very small diameter of the intestines they used. We all have a basic idea of what human intestines look like, but whatever is in Hell Asylum is much smaller and stringier. Whatever they were or were supposed to be, I don’t honestly know, but wondering about this was the closest thing to engagement that Hell Asylum provided.

I put a lot of time into my writing hobby, but I don’t consider amateur writing to be hard work. Sitting through Hell Asylum, though, was a tough day at the office.

Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie I’ll be checking in with Ted Nicolaou’s Moonbeam film Dragonworld! See ya then!

Bleed (2002)

bleed_1Starring Debbie Rochon, Danny Wolske, Allen Nabors, Orly Tepper, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Laura Nativo, Julie Strain, Brinke Stevens, Lloyd Kaufman

Directed by Devin Hamilton & Dennis Petersen

Expectations: Hopefully it doesn’t make my eyes bleed.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
onehalfstar


I’m racking my brain for a way to best describe Bleed, but all I’m getting back is the EBS test tone, and that sure isn’t helping me think. Bleed is a poor excuse for a movie, but at the same time it’s an easy movie to get through. Not in a “so bad it’s good” way, it’s just paced well and it shows enough promise to assume it will get interesting. I didn’t like Bleed, but I definitely didn’t hate it either. I wouldn’t call it boring because I was genuinely engaged, but it’s ultimately vapid and not worth watching because it takes all that potential and blows it to oblivion in the final minutes. I’d almost rather be bored than disrespected like that!

Bleed opens with a couple of bros leaving a house party. One is dressed as a cheap streetwalker, the other a maid. They part ways, and soon after someone in all black wearing an expressionless white mask slices the hooker upwards from his balls to his collarbone. It’s surprisingly gory for a Full Moon film, with entrails spilling out of the wound, but don’t get too excited gorehounds. Besides this moment there isn’t much more, but it’s worth noting that what gore there is looks relatively good given the film’s probable very low budget.

Continue reading Bleed (2002) →

Delta Delta Die! (2003)

Deltadeltadie_1Starring Julie Strain, Brinke Stevens, Joe Dain, Steve Malis, Karen A. Smith, Tiffany Shepis, Rachel Myers, Lizzy Strain, Jennifer L. Johnson, Kathryn Adams, Julia Marchese, Jordan White, Nic Oram

Directed by Devin Hamilton

Expectations: I liked the last movie I saw by this guy, Birth Rite, so I’m hopeful.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
twostar


Delta Delta Die! is a B-Movie for those that love ’em bad and trashy. Gratuitous nudity and horrid acting abound, and while it’s fairly tame when it comes to gore (like most Full Moon films), a good measure of sadism keeps the film at a level far, far below anything ready for mainstream consumption. Hahahaha, as if “normal” people are even considering watching a movie called Delta Delta Die.

The movie begins in hilarious fashion as we watch a fornicating couple dirty talk to one another, and it’s a shame the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to this promise. A part of me wonders whether it was supposed to be funny or not, but it has to be intentional when the guy says things like, “All you can eat buffet! Dig in!” as his lover is about to take his pants off. Anyway, it’s hilarious, but at the end of the scene the girl reveals her real motive for taking off his pants: to eat his penis! Oh, lawd almighty, say it ain’t so!

Continue reading Delta Delta Die! (2003) →

Sideshow (2000)

sideshow_8Starring Phil Fondacaro, Jamie Martz, Michael Amos, Scott Clark, Jessica Keenan, Jeana Blackman, Peter Spellos, Luigi Francis Shorty Rossi, Curran Sympson, Fred Pierce, Shyra Deland, Ross Hagen, Brinke Stevens

Directed by Fred Olen Ray

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Let’s just get this out of the way: Sideshow is in many ways Full Moon’s homage to the 1932 classic Freaks, but don’t take that to mean that it’s a rip-off. Sideshow is its own movie completely, but in this rather small sub-genre of carnival horror it’s probably pretty hard to make a movie without at least in some way recalling Freaks. It’s clear, though, that Full Moon and director Fred Olen Ray purposefully inserted a few nods of the cap to the classic film, and instead of inducing groans they actually work well to pay their respects to what came before (and no doubt influenced their respective artistic pursuits).

But we’re not hear to talk about Freaks, we’re here to talk about freaks! Sideshow opens with a man desperately crawling away from a sideshow tent. The employees of the traveling establishment don’t seem to be in a helpful mood either, as they ominously approach him as if he were their prey. The smallest of the group, Dr. Graves (Phil Fondacaro), then makes it clear to the audience that this frightened fan isn’t going anywhere. Are these freaks cannibals? Are they sadists? Are they just looking for a friend to chat with? Sideshow will have you asking the big questions… and more!

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Trophy Heads (2014)

trophyheads_1Starring Adam Noble Roberts, Maria Olsen, Linnea Quigley, Jacqueline Lovell, Denice Duff, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer, Darcy DeMoss, Irena Murphy, Jessica Morris, Jean Louise O’Sullivan, Amy Paffrath, Robin Sydney, Carel Struycken, Kristine DeBell, Gregory Niebel, Stuart Gordon, David DeCoteau, J. Scott

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: As long as it’s fun I’ll be satisfied, and with this many classic scream queens I don’t see how it won’t be fun.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


For many years now, Full Moon has made movies that a mainstream viewer, or even an old fan from the glory days who missed Full Moon’s last 15 years of questionable movies, wouldn’t hesitate to call “strange” or “out there” or “shit.” For those that stumble upon the movies unaware of what they’re getting themselves into (like the Redbox patrons), I’m sure the general reaction is something close to, “Who would watch this?” Hardcore Full Moon fans, that’s who! Throughout changing video landscapes and formats, Full Moon continues to pump out films for their fans (and pretty much no one else). So it makes perfect sense that their latest venture, Trophy Heads (which debuted in June as a five-part web series exclusively on Full Moon Streaming), is not just a film for their fans, but a film about those very fans.

Well… perhaps that’s a little too broad, as I doubt most Full Moon aficionados would kidnap our favorite stars, murder them, and mount their heads on the wall, but you get the idea. Anyway, yes, Trophy Heads is about a fan who rounds up six of his favorite ’80s scream queens, keeps them in his home-built basement dungeon, and then murders them while making them recreate situations from one of the Full Moon movies they were in way back when. There’s not really any depth beyond that, but as this is something directly for Full Moon fans, I don’t think anyone really cares. I certainly didn’t.

Continue reading Trophy Heads (2014) →

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)

sororitybabes_4Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)
AKA The Imp, Beast You!

Starring Andras Jones, Linnea Quigley, Robin Stille, Hal Havins, John Stuart Wildman, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer, Kathi O’Brecht, Carla Baron, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Michael Sonye

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Pretty high.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Hmm… I thought there’d be more bowling. But despite a lack of bowling in a film boasting a “Bowl-O-Rama” in its title, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama is an absolute B-Movie gold mine. If you enjoy watching thin ’80s characters run away from demons more hilarious than scary, then this one fits the bill rather nicely. Everyone else will probably not make it past the first few minutes, but I’d say that anyone willfully sitting down to a movie titled Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama probably knows what they’re getting themselves into.

Instead of opening with sorority babes or bowling, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama opens in the dorm room of three dudes that don’t have a whole heck of a lot going on. The ultra nerd, Calvin, is watching Dreamaniac on TV, the fat guy, Jimmie, is laying back with a six-pack of brewskies, and the horny guy, Keith, is deep in an issue of Penthouse. But Keith’s got a secret up his sleeve: the location of the Delta Delta Delta (AKA Felta Delta) sorority initiation and the perfect vantage point to sneak a peek.

Continue reading Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988) →

Horrorvision (2001)

horrorvision_5Starring Len Cordova, Maggie Rose Fleck, Josh Covitt, James Black, Brinke Stevens, Ariauna Albright, Chuck Williams, David Bartholomew Greathouse

Directed by Danny Draven

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


When I say “2001” and “movie about a website killing people,” I doubt your first instinct is to get excited. It’s probably something closer to apathy, but schlock movie fans should definitely take notice of Horrorvision. It’s much more ambitious than I expected it to be, which is to say, “it’s more than a few drawn-out conversations and some people dying while surfing the web.” Horrorvision definitely has those elements, but it also has some pretty wild fantasy roots, and fans of meaningless driving montages will definitely want to add this to their queue.

Horrorvision opens with a webcam chat between Toni, a photographer, and Dez, an aspiring screenwriter who wastes his time setting up porn websites for quick cash. After they end their overlong conversation about providing content for Dez’s websites, Toni goes about her business creating the CD for Dez. She gets sidetracked when she sees a banner ad for Horrorvision.com with the slogan, “It will blow your fucking mind!” She clicks it and before she knows it the tubes of the Internet are blasting out of her wall outlets and strangling her. I’ll think twice about clicking any banner ads from now on (although don’t let this discourage you, dear readers from clicking those lovely banner ads featured around this content :))

Continue reading Horrorvision (2001) →

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