Evil Bong 777 (2018)

Starring Sonny Carl Davis, Robin Sydney, Jessica Morris, Michelle Mais, Brooks Davis, Mindy Robinson, Peter Donald Badalamenti II (as The Don), Caleb Hurst, Adam Noble Roberts, Elina Madison, Tonya Kay, Jillian Janson, Tanya Tate, Circus-Szalewski, K. Harrison Sweeney, Noelle Ann Mabry, Leya Falcon

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: High times.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Another 4/20, another Evil Bong movie! Somehow the last entry, Evil Bong 666, was one of the series’ high points, but I’d be lying if I said this gave me too much hope for the next film; it’s always better to have low expectations and be surprised, than to expect everything and be disappointed. In any case, my fears were mostly for naught, as Evil Bong 777 is nearly as fun and inventive as the film before it. My main complaint is that it’s more of a tease than a movie; the villains don’t do much of merit, and it ends on a fairly unsatisfying cliffhanger. That being said, the Evil Bong films were never about delivering a complete and balanced experience to the audience. Instead, they offer a range of oddball characters in oddball situations, and on these terms Evil Bong 777 does quite well.

Evil Bong 777 begins with a short recap of the events of Evil Bong 666 for those who forgot what happened, which is likely a large portion of the “medicated” audience. I definitely didn’t remember the specifics, and if there’s one thing I know about Evil Bong, it’s that intricate knowledge of the plot is essential to the series. 😀 Anyway, upon seeing the colorful images from a 4/20 gone by, I recalled all the weird fun that made up Evil Bong 666. To my surprise, this helps the Evil Bong 777 experience considerably, allowing you a minute to readjust your mind to the whacked-out world of Eebee and friends before diving back in. The recap also gave me the idea of a DVD extra where fans of the series try to explain the movies to people who have never heard of them; I’m positive the reactions would be hilarious. For my purposes here, though, I’ll just say that Rabbit, Faux Batty Boop, and Misty (along with the Gingerweed Man and Eebee) are behind the Venice Beach Magical Weed Dispensary where many of the films have taken place, but before you can say “Puff, Puff, Pass” they’re taking the weed circus on the road to Vegas thanks to a convenient Splyft limo ride.

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Evil Bong 666 (2017)

Starring Mindy Robinson, Sonny Carl Davis, Michelle Mais, Robin Sydney, Jessica Morris, The Don, Bobby Ramos, Caleb Hurst, Orson Chaplin, Tonya Kay, Megan Sage, Samantha McGee, Brooks Davis

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Despite the numbering, Evil Bong 666 is technically the series’ 7th entry, and for my money it’s one of the best Full Moon films in years. I know that isn’t saying a lot because Full Moon’s output has been pretty lackluster for a while, but just in terms of simple entertainment it’s probably the best Bong since Evil Bong 2: King Bong. Of course, your enjoyment will depend on your tolerance for the usual stoner logic and antics that fills these films, but I imagine anyone interested enough to read a review of a movie like Evil Bong 666 is on-board, strapped-in and ready to roll.

Evil Bong 666 follows the basic storefront formula of the last few Evil Bong films, but it changes up the energy by replacing the series’ star character, Larnell (John Patrick Jordan), with a new store owner, Lucy Furr (Mindy Robinson). This might seem like a small detail, but it changes the film’s course considerably. Instead of seeing Larnell and/or Rabbit (Sonny Carl Davis) handling a steady stream of customers — something we’ve seen way more than anyone ever needs to — now we have the devious, Satan-loving Lucy Furr taking care of business. It’s a whole new ballgame. It not only breathes life into the store scenes, it packs the bowl for another round. And thankfully, there’s actually not that many store scenes! I’d have preferred another David DeCoteau cameo instead of one of the lamer scenes, but you can’t win them all.

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Decadent Evil II (2007)

decadentevil2_2Decadent Evil II (2007)
AKA Decadent Evil Dead II

Starring Jill Michelle, Daniel Lennox, Jessica Morris, Ricardo Gil, Jon-Paul Gates, James C. Burns, Mike Muscat, Rory Williamson

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
twostar


Decadent Evil II has a bigger budget, more FX, and more decadence than the original film. I guess in that way it’s everything you could want a sequel to be. Somewhere in the writing process, though, they forgot to add in enough of the comedic elements that helped the original film be the dumb fun it was. Decadent Evil II isn’t anywhere close to straight horror, but it’s much too straight for a story as inherently dumb and recycled as this one is.

Our story picks up shortly after the events of Decadent Evil, with the vampire Sugar (Jill Michelle) and her human boyfriend Dex (Daniel Lennox) on the run with the caged homunculus Marvin in tow. Also along for the ride is the corpse of Phil Fondacaro’s character Ivan (played here by Ricardo Gil), stuffed into a suitcase. I guess being the corpse of a three-foot-tall vampire hunter has its benefits. Sugar and Dex are tracking down the elder vampire that will take the place of Morella (see DE1) as leader of the vampire bloodline, and their search has brought them to good ol’ Littlerock, AR. And where might this bloodthirsty fiend of the night be hiding his dusty bones? In a strip club, naturally.

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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.

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Dangerous Worry Dolls (2008)

dw1Dangerous Worry Dolls (2008)
AKA Dangerous Chucky Dolls, Deadly Chucky Dolls – Puppen des Todes (Germany)

Starring Jessica Morris, Meredith McClain, Cheri Themer, Deb Snyder, Anthony Dilio, Susan Ortiz, Ker’in Hayden, Paul Boukadakis, Renata Green-Gaber, Rebekah Crane

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Very low.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Full Moon regularly trades in all kinds of depraved genre cinema, but for some reason I never expected a “women in prison” film from them, let alone one in 2008! And it’s a well-made film that doesn’t lean too hard into exploitative nudity? I’m shocked! Dangerous Worry Dolls is that and more, as I found it to be an effective and adequate horror movie as well. All I knew going into this one was the skull-headed doll coming out of a box on the cover of the DVD, so I had no reason to expect anything other than yet another variation on Puppet Master. But it’s surprisingly not like Puppet Master at all, instead pulling something of a bait and switch and delivering a possession horror flick rather than the 1,983,348th Full Moon film about killer dolls (although, it is kind of about killer dolls).

As the film opens, a group of inmates led by Kim (Meredith McClain) torture our lead, Eva (Jessica Morris). They want her to run drugs for them, but Eva is resisting. Kim always gets her way, though, and Eva’s life in the slammer is anything but rehabilitative. This all changes one day when her daughter comes to visit and gives her a small box containing Guatemalan Worry Dolls. You’re supposed to tell the dolls your worries and place them under your pillow before bed, and then the dolls take your worries away. In the film, Charles Band takes this idea and runs with it, creating one of his most cohesive and fun films of the 2000s.

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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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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!

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