Evil Bong: High-5! (2016)

evilbong5Starring John Patrick Jordan, Sonny Carl Davis, Robin Sydney, Amy Paffrath, Mindy Robinson, Jacob Witkin, Chance A. Rearden, Rorie Moon, Circus-Szalewski, K. Harrison Sweeney, Noelle Ann Mabry, David DeCoteau, David Del Valle, Luke Hutchie, Skin Diamond, Adriana Sephora

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Zero. I hope to enjoy myself, though.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


Reviewing the Evil Bong films seems kind of pointless; if you don’t know on your own whether you want to watch the sixth movie in this franchise, you’re probably too high to operate any kind of machinery, heavy or otherwise. Yes, this latest Charles Band joint is another one that will only appeal to their most ardent fans, although I’m sure more than a few bros and doods will stumble upon it on Hulu (where it is available for free!), while looking for a movie to go with their 420 festivities.

Starting my review with, “Hey, this review is pointless!” probably isn’t one of my better decisions, but in the case of Evil Bong: High 5, it’s kind of representative of the experience. I’ll assume you’ve seen all the previous incarnations of this franchise, and therefore will be aware that multiple films in the series have used the “We’re selling stuff in a shop” script formula. Even if you haven’t seen the films, you’ve been to a store and you know the drill. Customer comes in, converses with the clerk and leaves. Repeat. I didn’t like it in Evil Bong 3: The Wrath of Bong, I put up with it in Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong, I grinned and bore it in Evil Bong 420, but with Evil Bong: High 5 I’m drawing the line. What’s even more annoying is that many of the same customers from the other movies come in and have slight variations on their previous encounters. Sigh. I just hope Band doesn’t make the “Evil Bong Retail Quartet” into a quintet, but honestly, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Evil Bong: 666 is going to be. I gotta be honest, these movies are so similar to one another that they all kinda run together for me. If not for my reviews to refer back to, this review would seem a lot less informed! Thanks, former self!

Continue reading Evil Bong: High-5! (2016) →

Evil Bong 420 (2015)

evilbong420_1Starring Sonny Carl Davis, John Patrick Jordan, Robin Sydney, Amy Paffrath, Mindy Robinson, Sam Aotaki, Rorie Moon, Chance A. Rearden, Michelle Mais, Bobby Ramos, John Karyus

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Evil Bong 420 is the latest entry in the stoner comedy series from Full Moon, and despite the title’s suggestion it’s actually the 5th film in the series. If that angers you or in any way matters to you, I’d say you’re not the right kind of person to check this one out. But if you like your films trashy and stupid, you’ll find a lot to laugh at and enjoy here. In fact, Full Moon has done us all a favor and distilled this one down to a potent 53 minutes of trash (including the credits). Without any of the bullshit that usually clutters up and slows down B-Movies, Evil Bong 420 is nothing but the sweet sticky bud you’ve been jonesin’ for.

Evil Bong 420 focuses on Rabbit (Sonny Carl Davis) and the grand opening of his new bowling alley. It’s not just any bowling alley either, it’s a topless bowling alley! What that translates to in Full Moon speak is “lots of titties,” which usually also means a strip club movie (like Evil Bong) so the bowling alley was a welcome break. It also allowed for a hilarious David DeCoteau cameo, something I’m always happy to see. But don’t get too excited bowling fans, as the bowling alley doesn’t specifically matter to anything in the “plot.” Nope, Evil Bong 420 is yet another in the “some guy runs a shop and people come in” style of plot pioneered and honed over the course of the last couple of Evil Bong sequels. I gotta say, they did it pretty well this time. It feels more natural than it did in the last two films, and I think the shift to Rabbit as the main character helps a lot. The addition of a few beautiful topless women helps, too. This has long been a B-Movie tradition, and it continues to work its magic even in this technological madhouse we call 2015.

Continue reading Evil Bong 420 (2015) →

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) →

Skull Heads (2009)

skullheads_8Starring Robin Sydney, Samantha Light, Steve Kramer, Rane Jameson, Kim Argetsinger, Lucia Stara, Antonio Covatta, Giacomo Gonnella

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: I don’t know, honestly. Not good.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Modern Full Moon films are always a dicey proposition because the budgets are rarely high enough to pull off the FX work necessary to realize their relatively high-concept premises. Skull Heads is no different in the budget department, but it does enough right that this doesn’t matter much. At least for me it didn’t. One look at other reviews for this movie reveals that I may be alone in my love for Skull Heads, but when a film from a fading company is such a return to form I have a hard time believing that I’m its only fan.

Skull Heads begins in a castle dungeon where an angry father is punishing his unruly daughter, Naomi (Robin Sydney), on the rack. Just right there you have two huge pieces of evidence in the return-to-form case: the film is set in a real castle (a hallmark of tons of Full Moon films), and the creepy, unsettling family dynamics. Creepy families are arguably more of a horror movie thing than an actual Full Moon trademark, but with something as unique and defining in the “creepy family” horror sub-genre as Head of the Family (and that’s just one of many creepy families in their catalog), you know they’ve done some serious work in the genre. And the Arkhoff family in Skull Heads is one of Full Moon’s most fucked up and interesting to watch families.

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Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong (2013)

gingerdeadvsevilbong_3Starring John Patrick Jordan, Robin Sydney, Sonny Carl Davis, The Don, Michelle Mais, Bob Ramos, Victoria Levine, Ryan Curry, Amy Paffrath, Masuimi Max, Mindy Robinson, Chanell Heart, Tian Wang, Jinhee Joung, Chance A. Rearden,  Joss Glennie-Smith, Orson Chaplin

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: I don’t even know, honestly. On the low end, for sure.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Despite what that poster to the right might make you think, Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is not a movie for everyone. I’m inclined to go with the tired adage, “It’s for the fans,” but since I’m not the biggest fan of either series and I really enjoyed this one, I can’t say that it’s as exclusive as that. And liking this movie leaves me with a bit of a conundrum. I’ve lambasted some of Full Moon’s modern films for a few recurrent reasons: being excessively trashy, being questionably racist and for being shameless in their self-promotion of the company’s merch. The conundrum comes when Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is all three and yet I still liked it. I guess what it boils down to is that when it’s not being horrible, Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is a lot of stupid fun. I can’t fully explain it, but I definitely enjoyed Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong. Most of it, anyway.

As the fourth entry in both the Gingerdead Man and Evil Bong series, there’s definitely a bit of baggage going into this one. So thank God Full Moon decided to pair the heroes from the respective series with a new friend each, allowing them to regale their new acquaintances (and the audience) with stories of what happened in the previous films. But wait, this is a movie! Who wants to hear boring stories about what happened when you can just show a bunch of clips from said movies? Charles Band actually has the gumption to do this to summarize all three previous Evil Bong films, as well as the first Gingerdead Man movie. The other two Gingerdead films are apparently non-canon, which makes sense as they’re not about anything even remotely related to the tale of blood and dough told in the first film. Surprisingly though, I actually enjoyed the recaps as it had been a while since I’d seen the films so it got me back up to speed.

Continue reading Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong (2013) →

The Haunted Casino (2007)

The Haunted Casino (2007)
AKA Dead Man’s Hand, Dead Man’s Hand: Casino of the Damned, Ghost Poker

Starring Scott Whyte, Robin Sydney, Wes Armstrong, Michael Berryman, Kristyn Green, Sid Haig, Jack Maturin, Jessica Morris, Lily Rains, Kavan Reece, Bob Rumnock, Rico Simonini

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate. I have a feeling it won’t be pretty though.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


Modern day Full Moon movies can be lumped pretty easily into two categories. The first is the overtly exploitative: movies filled with nudity, inept writing and a general lack of horror. The second category is the overly talkative “Full Moon Soap Opera,” where a group of people find themselves stuck together and instead of anything meaningful happening, they just bicker and whittle away the film’s runtime. The Haunted Casino belongs to the second group, but unlike a lot of other films in the category, it actually delivers a lot of fun at its climax, and the talky parts are far more enjoyable than usual.

Matthew has inherited his uncle’s derelict casino, so he takes his girlfriend and four of their friends to check out the building. Unknown to them (but who wouldn’t see this coming), Matthew wants to stay the night in the casino and have all his friends help him clean it up. Matthew has dreams of renovation, but instead they all get a night they’ll never forget!

Continue reading The Haunted Casino (2007) →

Evil Bong 3: The Wrath of Bong (2011)

Starring Peter Stickles, John Patrick Jordan, Mitch Eakins, Brian Lloyd, Sonny Carl Davis, Michelle Mais, Circus-Szalewski, Irwin Keyes, Jacob Witkin, Robin Sydney

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: High. Part 2 was great.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-Movie scale:
twostar


After the wonderful follow-up to the surprisingly enjoyable Evil Bong, I eagerly awaited the third film in the series. Perhaps the fact that I was disappointed is directly connected to these unrealistic expectations, or maybe it’s because I was unable to see the movie in the theater in glorious 3D and scratch-n-sniff aided Sniff-O-Rama! In any case, I was expecting some quality comedy and instead I got what amounts to a couple of good jokes and a lot of filler.

In one of the most epic opening scenes Full Moon has ever done, an alien meteorite/spaceship hurtles through the infinite cosmos on a collision course for Earth. Don’t worry, it’s small. The world isn’t in danger… or is it? This scene evokes a feeling of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with its space-faring visuals and haunting choral music, but this is where the similarities end. Inside this ship is an alien bong, hell-bent on controlling the Earth! So far, so good, but as soon as the bong makes its way to Brett and Bachman’s head shop, the movie starts to take a downward turn.

Continue reading Evil Bong 3: The Wrath of Bong (2011) →

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