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!

Beach Babes from Beyond (1993)

BeachBabesfromBeyond_1Starring Sarah Bellomo, Tamara Landry, Nicole Posey, Michael Todd Davis, Ken Steadman, Joe Estevez, Joey Travolta, Linnea Quigley, Burt Ward, Don Swayze, Jackie Stallone

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: If I expect anything other than babes on a beach, I’m asking to be disappointed.


Estevez. Stallone. Swayze. Travolta. Names you know and love. Each one can carry a film on its own, but Beach Babes from Beyond contains them all… plus Burt Ward and Linnea Quigley! Beach Babes from Beyond was the first release from Full Moon’s off-shoot softcore comedy company Torchlight Entertainment, so they really brought out all the stops! The only catch is that the names belong to relatives of the stars you generally associate with them. So if you’ve ever wanted to see Patrick Swayze’s brother and Sylvester Stallone’s mom bickering in a spaceship cockpit, you’ve just found your movie!

Beach Babes from Beyond focuses on their daughter, Xena (Sarah Bellomo), and her friends Luna (Tamara Landry) and Sola (Nicole Posey). With Xena’s parents out of the house on holiday, the girls decide to take Xena’s dad’s prize “T-Bird ship” out for a joy ride, but wouldn’t ya know it, they crash land on Malibu beach! Meanwhile, Dave (Michael Todd Davis) and his friend Jerry (Ken Steadman) have come to the beach to visit Dave’s uncle Bud (Joe Estevez), in hopes of saving his beachfront home from redevelopment. The laws of film and nature demand that these male and female groups must come together for the greater good, and they do so with an insane amount of people wildly dancing on the beach and some sexy hilarity along the way!

Continue reading Beach Babes from Beyond (1993) →

Deathbed (2002)

DEBEDDVD_Deathbed

Starring Tanya Dempsey, Brave Matthews, Joe Estevez, Meagan Mangum, Michael Sonye, Lunden De’Leon, Constance Estevez

Directed by Danny Draven

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
twostar


Deathbed begins with horrid “jazz” and murderous S&M on an old iron bed, and it doesn’t really get any better from there. No, that’s not true, it gets a little better, but when the film is structured so that “What happened with the bed in the 1920s” is the central mystery and the film opens with a flashback exposing the entire thing to the audience, it also gets a little annoying as we watch the characters search around for what we already know. Trust the audience much? Nope, didn’t think so.

Karen and Jerry are looking for a new apartment, and they’re about to get a killer deal from Joe Estevez on an abode in a renovated warehouse. This is a horror movie, so they ignore all the little warning signs. Things like a locked room that no one knows anything about what’s inside, or a vision Karen has of a woman being handcuffed to a bed. You’d think someone attuned enough to the paranormal to receive visions would be sensitive to them, and that one of violence might scare you away, but as always, your logic is no good in horror movie land.

Continue reading Deathbed (2002) →




Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 71 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages