Witchouse: Blood Coven (2000)

Witchouse: Blood Coven (2000)
AKA Witchouse 2

Starring Ariauna Albright, Elizabeth Hobgood, Nicholas Lanier, Kaycee Shank, Alexandru Dragoi, Adriana Butoi, Andrew Prine, Serban Celea, Claudiu Trandafir, Jeff Burr, Dave Parker

Directed by J.R. Bookwalter

Expectations: Not much, but hopefully fun like the first one.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

There’s a general assumption that sequels go down in quality from the original, and that is probably especially true in low-budget horror films. Witchouse: Blood Coven actually steps it up from the first film, with a much more fleshed-out script that delivers an actual story along with its low-budget thrills. The characters aren’t as unique and memorable as the first film, but they feel more realistic. Witchouse: Blood Coven has more in common with a traditional film that its cheapo predecessor, and so your enjoyment of it will depend on your particular leanings. For me, I appreciated the effort made, and I think it’s a better film than Witchouse, but I still think the first film wins in terms of overall entertainment.

The story of Witchouse: Blood Coven is not directly related to the first Witchouse, and that’s as it should be. I like the idea of similarly themed films grouped by an overarching title, and with the thin story running through Witchouse, it seems like a natural fit here. Anyway, Witchouse: Blood Coven takes place in Covington, Massachusetts, and it follows a university professor (Ariauna Albright) and her team of students as they investigate four unmarked graves unearthed during construction of a shopping mall. Something tells me this town has a few secrets…

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The Excalibur Kid (1999)

excaliburkid_1Starring Jason McSkimming, François Klanfer, Mac Fyfe, Francesca Scorsone, Natalie Ester, Serban Celea

Directed by James Head

Expectations: Not much.


Many Moonbeam films transport their heroes to a distant point in time with lords and castles and knights on horses, but The Excalibur Kid goes right for the most famous story in all the land: the story of Excalibur, the sword in the stone, and the young King-to-be Arthur who is destined to wield it. But before you get to thinking that this is going to be some wild, inappropriate, Full Moon version of the classic tale, I’d like to nip those expectations in the bud. Against the odds, The Excalibur Kid is actually really tame and straightforward.

The Excalibur Kid begins in the modern day where we meet our hero, Zack (Jason McSkimming). He’s an angsty teenager with a passion for fencing. His family is going to move, forcing him to switch schools, and Zack is simply not having it. After calling his parents “Total fascists,” Zack grabs his rapier and heads into the nearby woods wishing for the good ol’ days of chivalry. Unbeknownst to him, he is being watched by a sorceress, Morgause (Francesca Scorsone), who is about to make his dream come true.

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Shapeshifter (1999)

shapeshifter_2Shapeshifter (1999)
AKA Shifter

Starring Paul Nolan, Bill MacDonald, Catherine Blythe, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Theodor Danetti, Serban Celea, George Ilie, Andrei Finti, Marioara Sterian

Directed by Philippe Browning

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

What do spies, gypsies, asteroids and shapeshifting have in common? Before watching Shapeshifter I would have said, “Nothing,” but now I know the truth. These disparate elements are actually all tied together in the grand scheme of life. While you go about your business brushing your teeth or walking your dog, there are people out there doing the big work, playing hypnotic new age music on glass bowls. And if that made no sense to you, don’t worry. It is not our place as common mortals to understand the work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure our lives are safe.

Shapeshifter starts out much more reserved, though, leaving the fantasy elements on the back burner and out of sight for the first 30 minutes. The story opens with a seemingly unrelated scene involving a gypsy kid picking up a fallen asteroid, but our tale truly begins when we meet Alex. His parents have recently quit the spy business and are moving back to the United States to enjoy the rest of their lives — or so they thought! The night they arrive, evildoers come by way of van and kidnap Alex’s parents! Good thing Alex was in the attic playing with his parents’ spy gear.

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Teenage Space Vampires (1999)

Starring Robin Dunne, Mac Fyfe, James Kee, Lindy Booth, Jesse Nilsson, Richard Clarkin, Bianca Brad, Serban Celea, Tatiana Constantin, Dan Badarau

Directed by Martin Wood

Expectations: Moderate. Hopefully this is up to par with Mysterious Museum.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:

With a name like Teenage Space Vampires, one would expect imaginations to run wild with all kinds of fucked up alien hybrids and intergalactic mayhem. Sadly, this isn’t the case. There’s very little to get behind in this one, so little in fact that by the end of the eighty minute runtime, I was thoroughly exhausted. The film literally bit me on the neck and sucked all of my lifeblood out, and it takes a pretty bad flick to do that to a hard-boiled critic like myself.

Teenage newspaper delivery kid Bill Swenson sees a strange UFO one night. It’s more strange due to the FX used than anything else, causing the viewer to have major WTF issues and ask what they’re looking at instead of marveling at the wondrous occurrence happening before their eyes. Anyway, the next day on his paper route he sees a crazy spaceship-looking monument in the backyard of a neighbor. The crazy old lady there tells him to move along, but he knows something’s up.

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