Decadent Evil (2005)

decadentevil_7Decadent Evil (2005)
AKA Decadent Evil Dead

Starring Debra Mayer, Jill Michelle, Raelyn Hennessee, Phil Fondacaro, Daniel Lennox, John F. Schaffer, Hazel Dean, Roger Toussaint

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


The experienced B-movie viewer is well aware of the “no bad movie can be short enough” principle, so any movie artificially trying to extend its runtime is immediately suspect. I’d guess that even Charles Band wouldn’t hold it against you if you judged Decadent Evil harshly in the first 15 minutes — which consist of 10 minutes from Vampire Journals, three minutes of opening credits, and two minutes of actual movie. And that’s the real shame about Decadent Evil: it’s actually pretty damn entertaining underneath all the low-budget shenanigans. It’s a film that reminds me how some stories just aren’t meant to be feature length; once you get past the padding, Decadent Evil is about as long as it needs to be. Part of that is that it’s built upon a foundation of vampire movie cliches and the characters are all fairly one-note, but nearly every element of the film is fun, which makes up for a lot of the so-called shortcomings.

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Sideshow (2000)

sideshow_8Starring Phil Fondacaro, Jamie Martz, Michael Amos, Scott Clark, Jessica Keenan, Jeana Blackman, Peter Spellos, Luigi Francis Shorty Rossi, Curran Sympson, Fred Pierce, Shyra Deland, Ross Hagen, Brinke Stevens

Directed by Fred Olen Ray

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Let’s just get this out of the way: Sideshow is in many ways Full Moon’s homage to the 1932 classic Freaks, but don’t take that to mean that it’s a rip-off. Sideshow is its own movie completely, but in this rather small sub-genre of carnival horror it’s probably pretty hard to make a movie without at least in some way recalling Freaks. It’s clear, though, that Full Moon and director Fred Olen Ray purposefully inserted a few nods of the cap to the classic film, and instead of inducing groans they actually work well to pay their respects to what came before (and no doubt influenced their respective artistic pursuits).

But we’re not hear to talk about Freaks, we’re here to talk about freaks! Sideshow opens with a man desperately crawling away from a sideshow tent. The employees of the traveling establishment don’t seem to be in a helpful mood either, as they ominously approach him as if he were their prey. The smallest of the group, Dr. Graves (Phil Fondacaro), then makes it clear to the audience that this frightened fan isn’t going anywhere. Are these freaks cannibals? Are they sadists? Are they just looking for a friend to chat with? Sideshow will have you asking the big questions… and more!

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Meridian (1990)

Meridian (1990)
AKA Meridian: Kiss of the Beast, Phantoms

Starring Sherilyn Fenn, Malcolm Jamieson, Charlie Spradling, Hilary Mason, Phil Fondacaro, Vernon Dobtcheff, Alex Daniels, Vito Passeri, Angelo de Bianchi, Salem Badr

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low. This one looks kinda cheesy.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


I rarely know much about these films before watching them, in an effort to remain open-minded and free from pesky expectations. In the case of Meridian, I had only seen the poster. It gives off something of an erotic, Gothic vibe and surprisingly, that’s exactly what Meridian is. And it’s good! Imagine that. Meridian is something completely different for Charles Band and I for one welcomed the change readily. Too many times I’ve sat down to a Full Moon film devoid of plot, FX and entertainment for the sake of reviewing all of their films, but Meridian was actually quite enjoyable to watch.

Without giving too much away, Meridian is about a girl, a castle and a centuries-old mystery that surrounds them both. It’s more of a Gothic romance than a real horror film, but I think horror fans looking to branch out from the everyday slasher film might still enjoy it… I did. The story plays with conventions and expectations just enough to keep you guessing (to a degree), and it continued to surprise me up until the end. It definitely has its missteps and some of the characters/plot points are underused/unfulfilled, but for what it is Meridian was quite impressive. It’s an interesting Full Moon film that stands alone in terms of story and focus, and for that, it’s worth checking out.

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Blood Dolls (1999)

Starring Jack Maturin, Debra Mayer, William Paul Burns, Warren Draper, Nicholas Worth, Jodie Fisher, Phil Fondacaro, Naomi McClure

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate, it sounds fun and it has Phil Fondacaro.


Where do I start with this fucking movie? Blood Dolls goes the trashy route and does its best to shock and awe the viewer into liking it. It’s truly a movie that will only appeal to the most demented group of people in the audience, which realistically is probably a large subset of the people who even give a shit about Full Moon movies. I unfortunately am not so keen on this particular brand of demented film, the “demented for the sake of being demented” variety. So far I’ve seen four Full Moon films from 1999, and with the exception of Mysterious Museum, they’ve all been of a similar poor quality which makes me wonder if this was the turning point year for their quality films. I do have to give Blood Dolls a lot of credit for trying, as the story is a bit more thought out than your general Charles Band affair, it has nice widescreen cinematography and it does feature actors you may know, such as Phil Fondacaro or that bald guy from Darkman (Nicholas Worth).

The story is fairly simple but a synopsis won’t do justice to the absurd nature of the goings-on. Basically there’s an eccentric millionaire Travis that has lost his fortune to a trio of conniving bastards who banded together and fucked him over. Being the eccentric, evil genius type though, he refuses to lie down and take it, instead creating a machine to transform people into subservient killer dolls. Why? Because this is a Charles Band movie and Band really has a hard-on for small things killing people. Also at his command is a butler/henchman dude that perpetually wears clown makeup (played by William Paul Burns, genuinely the best actor in the film), an eyepatch-sportin’ midget played by Phil Fondacaro and a girl rock band in a cage in the back of his office.

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Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (1993)

Starring Tim Thomerson, Tracy Scoggins, Melissa Behr, Phillip Brock, Phil Fondacaro, R.C. Bates, Willie C. Carpenter, Peter Chen

Directed by Charles Band

Featured Toys: Baby Oopsy Daisy, Jack Attack, Mr. Static, Zombietoid, Grizzly Teddy (flashback)

Expectations: Moderate. I liked Dollman. I liked Demonic Toys.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


Dollman vs. Demonic Toys serves as a sequel to three Full Moon films, the two in the title and Bad Channels. Following the events of Bad Channels, where an alien took over a radio station and shrunk beautiful women down to Dollman size, Dollman finds himself heading down the road to see if he can meet up with the girl who didn’t get restored to full-size. The scene that opens the film is the same as the one that follows the credits of Bad Channels. Meanwhile, Tracy Scoggins from Demonic Toys is staking out the toy warehouse where all the demonic shit went down. A bum dies and his blood gives life anew to the toys, who flee into an air duct before Scoggins can blast them like she did towards the end of Demonic Toys. Got all that?

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Evil Bong (2006)

Starring David Weidoff, John Patrick Jordan, Mitch Eakins, Brian Lloyd, Robin Sydney, Kristyn Green, Tommy Chong, Michelle Mais, Jacob Witkin, Kristen Caldwell, Phil Fondacaro, Tim Thomerson, Bill Moseley, Brandi Cunningham, Dana Danes, Gina-Raye Carter, Sonny Carl Davis

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low, subterranean even. I expect nothing.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


Bro, just the fact that I can write anything positive about a movie called Evil Bong is something of a miracle. As much as I love Full Moon movies, what I’ve seen of their recent output hasn’t been their best by any means, so I went into Evil Bong with a distinct trepidation. I’m sure the lowered expectations helped me in the long run, but after watching Evil Bong, it seems like all the pile-of-shit movie dread wasn’t warranted. Against the odds, Evil Bong is actually pretty enjoyable.

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The Creeps (1997)

Starring Rhonda Griffin, Justin Lauer, Phil Fondacaro, Bill Moynihan, Kristin Norton, Jon Simanton, Joe Smith, Thomas Wellington, Michael Citriniti, Andrea Squibb

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


What better to close out our month-long horror extravaganza than The Creeps, a film boasting not one, not two, but four classic monsters! Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy and The Wolfman are back to raise hell, but this time there’s a catch. This being a Charles Band film, the man known for his obsession with little monsters, they’re all played by little people! And in true Full Moon style, The Creeps is also filled to the brim with other assorted weird shit that wouldn’t make it past the brainstorming phase at another studio. The Creeps succeeds in another, more surprisingly way as well. The film pulls directly at my heartstrings, not with its gripping story or its tortured characters, but with its depiction of a video store circa 1997.

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