The Brotherhood (2001)

thebrotherhood_1AKA I’ve Been Watching You

Starring Sam Page, Josh Hammond, Bradley Stryker, Elizabeth Bruderman, Forrest Cochran, Michael Lutz, Donnie Eichar

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


The Brotherhood is a perfect example of a B-Movie that I would have never fully appreciated a few years ago. As a David DeCoteau film, it’s one of his most accomplished, and when seen right alongside the work he did for Full Moon around this time, The Brotherhood stands out as something unique. The films for Charles Band were work for hire, crafting movies for Full Moon as it tried to stay afloat in the changing video market. The Brotherhood was the film that launched DeCoteau’s own Rapid Heart Pictures, and its differing style and focus feels as if DeCoteau was finally making a film for himself (as a producer). This is a subtlety that would’ve remained obscured for me a few years ago, so I’m glad to have come to this pivotal DeCoteau film at just the right time.

In terms of general story, The Brotherhood is a standard tale about an innocent being drawn into the darkness. He is courted and converted as expected, but here it’s more about the specifics than the overall. This is a vampire story, but it replaces almost all the traditional vampire tropes with a brand new, enchanting mythology. Ritual elements figure prominently, and all the afflicted wear a medallion called a taltra (which means Eternal Hunter). It serves as symbol and identifier, as well as a functional purpose in their feeding rituals. Vampire films are fairly stuffy and stale at this point, but The Brotherhood is a wonderfully imaginative take on the classic monster. It’s also constructed in such a way that a great moral lays beneath the vampire angle, telling a tale of finding yourself in college and how falling in with a charismatic leader can define your identity (for good or bad).

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Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy (1999)

Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy (1999)
AKA Bram Stoker’s Legend of the Mummy 2

Starring Jeff Peterson, Trent Latta, Ariauna Albright, Russell Richardson, Michele Nordin, Brenda Blondell, Michael Lutz, Christopher Cullen, Anton Falk

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low, but hopeful it’s at least better than Bram Stoker’s Legend of the Mummy. Seeing how that was the worst movie ever, I think that’s a fair expectation.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


When a movie is so infuriatingly bad like Bram Stoker’s Legend of the Mummy was, a normal person wouldn’t seek out the film that in some territories is billed as a sequel. This type of marketing bait and switch is an odd one in this case, because it implies that somewhere out there in the UK (where this film is known as a sequel), Bram Stoker’s Legend of the Mummy did enough business that billing a completely unrelated — and much better — movie as a sequel was seen as a good thing! It boggles the mind, but thankfully that’s where the bogglin’ ends as Ancient Evil: Scream of the Mummy is a whole hell of a lot better than Bram Stoker’s Legend of the Mummy. It also has nothing to do with Bram Stoker’s Jewel of Seven Stars, so the naming is even more misleading for those few actually hoping for a sequel.

This mummy is of Aztec origin, and it’s the subject of a college class dig or something during the summer break. As you’d expect in a horror movie about college kids all living together in a house for the summer, a total horn dog dooms the entire group by stealing the mummy’s jeweled bracelet to impress a girl he’s been lusting for all season long. At least that’s what appears to be going on, until the scorned nerd reveals himself as the last in a long line of Aztec high priests! He resurrects the mummy for some purpose I don’t remember and the killing begins!

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Final Stab (2001)

Final Stab (2001)
AKA Final Scream, Du bist tot!, Scream 4 (Bootleg Title), Scream 4: Final Chapter (Bootleg Title)

Starring Jamie Gannon, Melissa Reneé Martin, Erinn Hayes, Laila Reece Landon, Bradley Stryker, Chris Boyd, Forrest Cochran, Michael Lutz, Brannon Gould, Donnie Eichar, Scott Hudson, Britt Soderberg

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low. Scream clone? No thanks.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


Along the path to reviewing all of Full Moon’s films, I’ll also be reviewing some related stuff that’s not exactly a Full Moon film. This is one of those, but it was supposedly executively produced by Charles Band (uncredited) and it’s directed by David DeCoteau, one of Full Moon’s most prolific directors back in the ’80s and ’90s. He has continued to work with Charles Band off and on after that period, but mostly he’s off on his own making low-budget horror flicks starring as many hot young people as he can find. This is one of those movies, and from the poster and alternate titles you might gather that it’s a Scream clone. It does share some of the self-aware character types of the Scream series, as well as the simple idea of a knife-wielding killer (who’s definitely one of these teens) running around in a Halloween mask, but actually its plot is more like a self-aware April Fool’s Day. Oh, and technically these people aren’t teens, they’re college students, but y’know… same difference in a horror movie.

Final Stab is about a murder mystery weekend in which people are actually getting killed. The thing is, unlike April Fool’s Day, we’re in on the joke almost immediately. This awareness on the part of the characters and the audience allows for some interesting situations, but ultimately it does take a lot of the tension out of the film. This knowledge subverts the general horror trope of running from the killer though, as each character knows the killer to be fake, they all greet him with a “Hey, man, how’s it going in that suit?” or some approximation of this kind of small talk.

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