Groom Lake (2002)

groomlake_2AKA The Visitor

Starring Dan Gauthier, Amy Acker, Tom Towles, William Shatner, Dick Van Patten, John Prosky, Dan Martin, Rickey Medlocke, Duane Whitaker, Brenda Bakke, J.T. Colosa, Debra Mayer, Chuck Williams

Directed by William Shatner

Expectations: I’m a big Star Trek fan, so I’m oddly and probably misguidedly excited for this one because of Shatner.

On the general scale:
halfstar

On the B-movie scale:
onehalfstar


There’s no way around it: Groom Lake is not a good movie. It fails at nearly every turn, in spite of having many intriguing elements with potential. Even if you do manage to care about the characters and what happens to them, nothing really comes together well enough to form a cohesive experience. I remember having similar feelings the last time I watched the Shatner-directed Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, so I suppose the two films together form some kind of evidence that if you’re not suited to the task of directing and telling stories visually, it doesn’t really matter how much money you have.

The film opens with a tow truck making its way over desert roads towards a butte. Mystical lights, similar to the Aurora Borealis, shimmer in the sky over his destination, and the driver, Dietz (Tom Towles), is intent on seeing just what the hell is up with all that. When he arrives, he jumps onto the back of his truck and approximates Arnold’s “I’m here! C’mon! Do it!” speech from Predator, telling the presumed alien ship, “I’m here, you son of a bitch!” The son-of-a-bitch alien does not respond; the lights merely dissipate and leave some sparkly residue on the man’s hands.

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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 :))

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