Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice (1988)

curse4_2Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice (1988/1993)
AKA Catacombs

Starring Timothy Van Patten, Ian Abercrombie, Jeremy West, Laura Schaefer, Vernon Dobtcheff, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Brett Porter, Michael Pasby, Mapi Galán, Nicola Morelli

Directed by David Schmoeller

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
halfstar

On the B-movie scale:
onestar


At long last I have arrived at the end of my cursed journey through the unrelated Curse films, and unfortunately for me Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice is the worst of the bunch. The film began life as Catacombs, a 1988 Empire International film that got shelved when the company went under. For reasons I’m not privy to, Catacombs was shelved for five years after it was completed, even though Empire head Charles Band had created Full Moon and become well-established in the meantime. And when it was eventually released it came out as Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice. I suppose that any connection, even one as tenuous as this, to an ’80s horror film that some people like must have made it more “rentable” back in the day.
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The Cape Town Affair (1967)

The_Cape_Town_Affair-256914667-largeStarring James Brolin, Jacqueline Bisset, Claire Trevor, Bob Courtney, John Whiteley, Gordon Mulholland

Directed by Robert D. Webb

Expectations: None.

halfstar


The Cape Town Affair is a beat-by-beat remake of Sam Fuller’s wonderful noir thriller Pickup on South Street, and it’s just painful as all hell to get through. But this is a bad movie unlike any bad movie I’ve ever seen. Remakes are always tricky business when the original is a well-loved film, but the choices here are truly strange. Based on the film’s opening credits, you might be persuaded into thinking that Sam Fuller had actually been involved with this remake, but that was not the case. No, Fuller’s screenwriting credit comes by way of his original script, which was used here almost word for word.

Pickup on South Street is a late-period noir film, and it carries with it a style of hard-edged dialogue that usually typifies the genre. Within the confines of the original film it works; the actors inhabit their characters fully and deliver the lines with conviction and passion. Not so much with The Cape Town Affair. The actors in the remake feel like they’re just passing the time until the catering truck arrives with only mildly interesting food. The once-edgy dialogue now seems out of place in 1960s Cape Town; it’s as if all the film’s characters were scooped up from 1950s New York and dropped into 1960s Cape Town without any knowledge or self-awareness. It’s such a strange thing to watch and try to make sense of. I can understand why you’d want to use Fuller’s original dialogue because it’s often bristlin’ with great wit, but to ignore the passage of time and place is a glaring oversight.

Continue reading The Cape Town Affair (1967) →

Planet Patrol (1999)

planetpatrol_1Starring R.L. McMurry, Teal Marchande, Robert Garcia, Robert J. Ferrelli, Jeff Rector, Anthony Furlong, Alison Lohman, Candida Tolentino, J.W. Perra, Jon Simanton, Michael David, John Paul Fedele, Colin Campbell, Matt Corboy, John Williams

Directed by Russ Mazzolla

Expectations: I’m just hoping it’s at least better than Kraa! was.

On the general scale:
halfstar

On the B-movie scale:
onestar


Are you the kind of person whose attention span just can’t hang onto plot points for more than 20 minutes? Then Planet Patrol is the Full Moon movie for you! Edited from a few previous Full Moon films (Kraa! the Sea Monster, Doctor Mordrid, Subspecies & Robot Wars if you’re interested), Planet Patrol plays out like a weird pseudo-anthology film that attempts to tell one overarching story, but instead just feels like they spliced a bunch of shit from other movies together with a few mildly effective connecting scenes interspersed. Wonder why?

Planet Patrol begins in the same way that Kraa! the Sea Monster does — like exactly the same way — but the scene has been edited so that the evil plot hatched by the villains could literally be anything! So instead of leading into the events of Kraa!, we’re introduced to the Museum Planet AKA the museum from Doctor Mordrid. There the Planet Patrol get mixed up in a murder investigation involving a canister of dark goo, the Subspecies stealing the Bloodstone Pickory Stone, and the villain using said stone to conjure footage from Doctor Mordrid of the stop-motion dinosaur eating the guards. What’s a psychic Planet Patrol member to do in the face of such egregious crimes? Use her mind to bring the rest of the Doctor Mordrid footage to the screen, allowing the other dinosaur skeleton to come to life and battle the first, of course!

Continue reading Planet Patrol (1999) →

Reel Evil (2012)

reelevilartfinalStarring Jessica Morris, Kaiwi Lyman, Jeff Adler, Jamie Bernadette, Michael Cline, Christian Edsall, Sandra Hinojosa, Galen Howard

Directed by Danny Draven

Expectations: Moderate. It’s found footage, so odds are I’ll hate it.

halfstar


This might be a very short review because there isn’t much to talk about here. Reel Evil is a found footage film, a sub-genre of horror known for being horrible, and it’s a bad found footage film. The film does inspire some true moments of horror, though, most notably when I dozed off, paused the film to walk around a bit and realized that it had only been 30 minutes. True horror. I’m shuddering just trying to relive that moment.

For those that care about the story here (and why would you?), you should just watch Full Moon’s earlier film The Dead Hate the Living!, an incredibly fun and well-made movie that features a very similar plot. But if you must know, Reel Evil follows a trio of documentary filmmakers looking for their big break. They go into a producer’s office to pitch their big idea, and walk out with a job filming some bullshit behind-the-scenes featurette for a low-budget horror movie’s DVD. Gotta start somewhere. The movie is shooting at an abandoned insane asylum, and because this is a found footage film, there’s ghosts! Zoinks!

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Mini-Review: AVPR: Alien vs. Predator – Requiem (2007)

AVPR: Alien vs. Predator – Requiem (2007)
AKA Aliens vs. Predator 2, AVP2: Requiem

Starring Steven Pasquale, Reiko Aylesworth, John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Ariel Gade, Kristen Hager, Sam Trammell, Robert Joy, David Paetkau, Tom Woodruff Jr., Ian Whyte, Chelah Horsdal

Directed by Colin & Greg Strause (AKA The Brothers Strause)

Expectations: Moderate. I should know better, but that first one was fun.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


So y’know those ancient ruins and hieroglyphs and Predator mythology that made AVP so highly entertaining to me? Imagine a movie where they took all that stuff out, and replaced it with a bunch of small-town, human drama. Shit like “the pizza guy that’s too shy to ask the pretty girl out,” or “the distraught mother looking for her lost son and husband.” Oh, and imagine all of those sub-plots not really mattering to anything. And how about if we have the Predator play CSI by lurking around the forest for most of the movie, pouring blue goo on things to destroy evidence of the Alien (and Predalien) presence on Earth? This, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

No bullshit, this is an actual screenshot from a scene in the film.

While I found it interesting to have the Predator play the role of the cleaner (and I got some amusement out of imagining Pulp Fiction‘s Harvey Keitel character, The Wolf, inside the suit), if he’s really trying to cover his tracks then why does he indiscriminately kill any human that comes upon him, stringing them up without their skin for other humans to find. He’s not on a hunt; he’s a cleaner, so why is he leaving messes? The logical side of my brain was blaring alarms constantly throughout AVPR, and while I know that this isn’t the type of movie to stand up to logical criticism, they should at least have the decency to make the stupid shit fun. But not a single moment of AVPR gave me any fun. And I say that without hyperbole — not a single moment.

There were definitely opportunities for fun, but every one of these was swallowed into the belly of the whale known as “Horrible Editing and Abysmal Lighting.” I expect a mainstream trash movie like this to be edited to hell, but AVPR is beyond awful. Coupled with what is probably the darkest and most indecipherable cinematography I’ve ever seen, we’ve got a real “winner” on our hands. If I was able to make out what was going on around the editing, the lighting — or really, the lack of lighting — made it so that I was literally unable to see anything on-screen during large sections of the film.

And honestly, I don’t even know what else to say about this piece of shit. It’s a horrible movie, with literally no redeeming qualities. The setup of the Predalien hybrid at the end of AVP was a super fun tease, but the direction this film took it in was absolutely the worst option. Watch the first one over again and spare yourself the pain of AVPR.

The Return of Shanghai Joe (1975)

The Return of Shanghai Joe [Il ritorno di Shanghai Joe] (1975)
AKA Che botte, ragazzi! & Zwei durch dick und dünn

Starring Klaus Kinski, Cheen Lie, Tommy Polgár, Karin Field, Claudio Giorgi, Tom Felleghy, Paolo Casella, Fortunato Arena

Directed by Bitto Albertini

Expectations: Low. It can’t live up to the first one.

On the general scale:
(NO STARS)

On the B-Movie scale:


For those expecting a film on the level of My Name is Shanghai Joe, you should look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you’re in the mood for a total and utter piece of shit, then The Return of Shanghai Joe is the movie for you! It’s offensive in its sheer audacity to take boredom to new heights. And to think I had some expectations that this would only be half as good a movie as the original. It’s not even fit to be in the same state as that film; it’s literally so boring and pointless that I’m having a hard time staying focused enough to get my thoughts down.

The plot, if you could call it that, involves a tonic salesman who falls into a bad crowd when a dying bandit hides out in his wagon. I honestly can’t remember what happened next, because there’s literally no reason to. The plot moves from point to point alright, but without any sense of what a story is or should be, so it’s incredibly hard to re-tell. I forget exactly how, but at some point the salesman gets duped out into the wilderness where some evil fuckers are planning to rob and hang him. Shanghai Joe happens to be taking a nap behind a tree and saves the salesman’s life, so now they’re pretty much buddies for the rest of the film. That might sound like it has potential or is perhaps vaguely intriguing. It’s not, and lest you be fooled by the title, Shanghai Joe is barely in the film.

Continue reading The Return of Shanghai Joe (1975) →

Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt (2011)

Starring Erica Rhodes, Olivia Alexander, Chelsea Edmundson, Ariana Madix, Lauren Furs

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Next to nothing. Hopefully it’s at least fun.


Holy shit, this could be the most shameless Full Moon movie yet. They weren’t even trying on this one! I can only hope that whatever money went into producing this is quickly made back ten-fold so that better quality Full Moon films can be made from the proceeds, but with a film this devoid of quality, I’m sure this is unlikely to happen. When I started out on this journey to review every single Full Moon film, I knew the more recent offerings wouldn’t be on par with the 80s/90s stuff, but Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt is perhaps a new low.

Here’s the story: a girl invites three other girls over to get drunk and decorate her house for Halloween. For some reason, she wants to decorate her house with a bunch of Full Moon’s Halloween masks, so Killjoy and Baby Oopsy Daisy heads lay all over the place and figure prominently in a number of shots. Instead of doing any actual decorating, they just get drunk and decide to watch Full Moon’s The Killer Eye, with the pint-sized replica by their sides. Not only is this one shameless in its lack of quality, it is so blatant in its peddling of Full Moon merch that even a hardcore fan such as myself has to shake his head and be embarrassed for the company. I know you gotta pay the electric bill Charlie, but c’mon!

Continue reading Killer Eye: Halloween Haunt (2011) →

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