Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain (2004)

drmoreau_1Starring John Patrick Jordan, Jessica Lancaster, Jacob Witkin, Peter Donald Badalamenti II, Lorielle New, Ling Aum, B.J. Smith, Debra Mayer, Laura Petersen

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau is a classic of horror literature. It’s been adapted into many film versions, starting all the way back in 1913 with The Island of Terror. But for fans looking for stories that go beyond the scope of the original novel, your options are far more limited. Enter Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain, a sequel of sorts to the original novel, telling the story of how the good doctor set up shop in a Hollywood mansion in the 1940s after leaving his island behind. Oh, what’s that? Dr. Moreau died in the novel? Oh… well… uh… no he didn’t!

Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain opens with boxer Eric Carson (John Patrick Jordan), journalist Mary Anne (Debra Mayer), and their friend Judith (Jessica Lancaster) in a car talking about how Eric’s brother Roy has gone missing. He frequented the bar they’re parked in front of, so I guess the plan is to go in and gather information. I don’t know, I wasn’t paying attention. I know, I know, the movie just started and my attention shouldn’t be wavering, but hear me out. Eric is played by the same guy that plays the lead in the Evil Bong films, so all I could do was theorize about how this 1940s John Patrick Jordan was somehow the grandfather of Evil Bong‘s Larnell. Which then led me down the mental path of trying to connect the creepy kids show host Hambo, who is featured in most of Full Moon’s recent films, and surmising that he could actually be one of Moreau’s creations. Perhaps the next Evil Bong sequel will also be a sequel to this film!

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Petrified (2006)

petrified_1Starring Roark Critchlow, Jessica Lancaster, Osman Soykut, Kimberly Pfeffer, Tim Murphy, Kathryn Adams, Dana Lastrilla, Stephanie Gentry, Robert Buckley, Darrow Igus, Christopher Bergschneider

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
onehalfstar


With a runtime of only 70 minutes to tell its story — 59 if we take off the credit sequences — Petrified gets right down to business. The opening scene is a shady deal going down in what looks like a darkened corner of someone’s backyard. One party has a briefcase of cash, the other party has a MUMMY! Whoa! And I didn’t say shady for no reason, because as soon as the money has changed hands, guns come out and a man is down. He falls onto the mummy’s coffin, bleeding all over it. But unlike the deals for stolen mummies that I’ve brokered in my backyard, this one is in a movie so the blood brings the mummy to life… immediately! He bursts forth from his wooden box and stares deep into the eyes of those unfortunate to be near him. Like Medusa, the mummy’s gaze has a petrifying effect. With a high amount of hope and promise, the credits begin, but unfortunately that opening is easily the high point of the film.

The tagline for Petrified is “Hideous, Hungry, & On the Loose…” but I thought of some others that could fit just as well. “Petrified from Boredom!” is the low-hanging fruit, but I think “Petrified from Shock That There’s a Hospital for Nymphomaniacs Out in the Middle of the Woods” has more pizzazz. Maybe not front-of-the-DVD-box pizzazz, but pizzazz nonetheless. Anyway, Petrified‘s greatest flaw is that it’s just uninteresting as hell. I have to give them credit for throwing a lot of strange, disparate ideas together, but you’d think they’d amount to more than what we’re given. Which is a bunch of boring characters that have long, boring conversations and a few fun scenes where the mummy’s eyes glow red and he petrifies people. There are diminishing returns on that last one, though. It’s unfortunate because the FX for it look great!

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