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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wrong Turn 3

The first 2 Wrong Turn movies were pretty fun, gory experiences(despite some bad CGI in the 2nd one...a corpse split down the middle doesn't leave a trail of blood'n'guts when both halves are dragged away?), so I decided to give the 3rd one a try. How well does it compare to the previous entries? Well, prepare to be completely SPOILED and read on to find out!

The story starts out where you'd normally expect to find the second act: a group of friends are having a campout in the woods, complete with whitewater rafting, hiking, and general outdoorsy fun. Whee. The focus seems to be on a girl named Alex, as she's the only one who has a name so far. As the 2 girls decide to sunbathe(one going topless, showing off the best breasts money can buy these days), one of the male campers, Trey comes back. Alex leaves so that they can share some "quality time", and almost immediately Boob-Girl is shot through the fake breast with an arrow, impaling Trey's cupped palm in the process.

Alex hears all of the commotion and returns to the campsite, just in time to see another arrow fly through her friend's eye socket. She hides as the cannibal who fired the arrow bursts onto the scene to pick up the eyeball and taste it. Yum!

Trey keeps running, and the cannibal, named Three Finger(according to the Netflix sleeve) manages to corner him when he stumbles. The cannibal grabs a pole-like branch and shoves it into and through the guy's mouth and throat. Then he tastes Trey's blood and starts howling and screaming. Geez,keepyour pants on, dude!

Alex and the last male run through the woods, and the guy stops to lean against a tree for a moment, probably to catch his breath or to re-read the script to see if he ever had a name. As he resumes his escape, he sets off a trap that splits him vertically into three pieces. There's a token amount of CGI blood, which automatically makes this film better than the second one, at least. Three Finger finds him and starts lapping up his blood as well.

Meanwhile, another movie starts up, this time set at a nearby prison called Grafton Penitentiary. An inmate named Chavez is talking to a skinhead about a planned escape. They don't trust each other, but both are willing to set aside their differences for the chance to escape. Awww, I bet they become BFF's by the end of the film!

Back inside, the guards are changing into their uniforms and discussing the fact that one guard is leaving after today to move on to bigger and better things. The guard, Nate, is taking college courses, with the eventual goal of getting his degree in law. Whatever. Just get to the part where you idiots piss off a bunch of inbred cannibals, will ya? Anyway, Nate is told that the warden wants to see him...something about a prisoner transfer.

In the warden's office, it gets a bit more complicated than that. Apparently the warden knows about the planned escape attempt, so he has a U.S. Marshal in the prison posing as a convict. His plan is to get some of the key guys planning the escape on a bus, in the hope that they start talking about the specific details of their big plan. The warden wants Nate to go along, because he trusts Nate to keep everyone safe, in case anything should go wrong. Also, another Marshal will be there, dressed like a prison guard. Nate hates the idea of going along for this on his last shift, but agrees to anyway.

Then the movie introduces us to 2 MORE characters, a West Virginia sheriff and his cute female deputy. The deputy, Ally, takes a missing persons report down about the campers from the opening sequence. She offers to start the search for them, but the sheriff decides that he should stretch his muscles a bit, and takes a search dog named Leon with him.

Nate and another guard inform Chavez that he's taking a ride on the transport bus. He hates the news, but has little choice in the matter. Also along for the ride is a scrawny guy named Crawford; a young guy, Brandon, who supposedly killed some people after returning from a stint in Iraq; a black guard named Walter who seems pretty chummy with Nate; and all of the aforementioned would-be escapees and Feds.

They pull up at that sheriff's station after night falls, and it turns out that the sheriff knows Nate. As they drink coffee and hang out, it's revealed that Nate lived in the area until the age of 12. He and the sheriff discuss the route the bus will take, as the inmates annoy the cute deputy and each other in equal measure.

We then meet another inbred cannibal, this one named Three Toes. She's the daughter(or son, it's hard to tell with all the weird makeup in these movies, so I'm just going to sticvk with "she) of Three Finger. Okay, I'm telling you right now: if there's a mutant named Three Balls in this thing, the movie ends right there. Three Toes tries to set one of Dad's booby traps, and nearly gets killed in the process. Lucky for her, he shows up, and gives her a hand. They limp away together, making the worst Bring Your Daughter to Work Day in the history of humankind.

Everyone at the sheriff's station shuffles back onto the bus, and Nate promises to call him when they get through the countryside safely. On a remote stretch of road, the bus encounters a pickup truck that seems determined to chase them down. As the truck turns off its headlights, Nate tells Walter to keep driving and call in that they have an emergency. Nate checks his cell phone, but there's no signal.

The truck starts ramming them, then gets in front of the prison bus. A lengthy rope of barbed wire gets dropped under the front wheels of the bus, and the vehicle goes off the road, plummeting down a steep hill. Three Finger pulls over to admire his handiwork, as the group in the upside-down bus try to get their bearings.

As the bus starts to catch fire Nate comes to the rescue, and moves everyone to the rear doors. Chavez takes the opportunity to get the gun from Nate's hand by having his skinhead partner create a distraction, then demands that Nate hand over the keys to their shackles. Nate sheepishly tells him that the keys were dropped in the bus.

At that point, one of the other guards(the one who was a Fed, maybe?) gets the drop on Chavez. Right after he tells the convict to drop the gun, he gets a hunting knife deep in the side of his neck, courtesy of Three Finger. The skinhead assumes it was the thugs who were going to break them out, but as arrows go whizzing by their heads, the group realizes that it's no rescue or prison break. In typical movie fashion, these guys who were all ready to kill each other 10 minutes ago decide to work together to survive.

Nate is forced at gunpoint to return to the burning bus for the keys. He not only brings back a set of keys, but also Walter, who was pinned down by debris. They limp away from the bus just seconds before it explodes about 37 times in a row. Chavez takes the keys, and the group starts off into the dark forest.

They stop in a clearing, and Chavez tries to use the keys to remove his leg irons. When they don't work, Nate reveals that there are 3 sets of keys--one for the cage door, one for the wrists, and one for the legs. Whoops. Instead of killing him, Chavez offers Nate a deal: if he can lead them safely through the area he supposedly grew up in, he gets to live. Nate agrees, and tells them that he can take them to an old ranger watchtower.

As the groups hikes through the woods, a figure leaps from the shadows and attacks Nate. It's not one of the cannibals, it's Alex, the chick who survived the rampage in the opening sequence. She tells them what happened to her friends, but none of them believe her at first. After she describes Three Finger and her ordeal though, Nate tries to keep Alex calm. When she mentions the rafts, Chavez revises the plan and decides to use her rafts as a way to escape.

With Alex now in the lead, they head through the forest once more. When they find an overturned armored car in the woods, the plan gets revised yet again. They get the vehicle open, and find it filled with cash. Oh, and Nate finds another gun, which he conceals in his clothes, then gives to Walter.

Chavez forces everyone to carry 2 bags each, even after they point out that Walter is too injured to do it. Walter fakes falling over, then yanks out the old pistol, only to discover that it's a dud. Chavez shoots him in the head, then forces the group to continue on their journey. As they barely get going again, Three Toes jumps up from beneath a pile of leaves and tries to attack the group. As she tries to hack the skinhead to death, Chavez shoots her. Then, to scare off Three Finger, they mutilate her with a knife.

They find the rafts, then realize that each one can only hold 2 people. Chavez shoots at the chain shackling the fake con's legs together, then gets them all marching again. Three Finger, meanwhile finds the head of his child on a spike and goes insane with grief and anger. Oh, and Nate destroys one of the rafts, to ensure that they have to remain on foot.

The sheriff gets a call from his deputy, and she tells him that she wants to go take a look in the woods for their campsite. He agrees, and informs her that he's going out as well, since Nate never called him. Well, I'm sure they'll both be fine by the time the credits roll...

The cons find another set of keys dangling from a branch, and Chavez goes to grab them, Nate realizes that it's a trap and yanks Chavez off of his feet, only for the undercover marshal to get his own face chopped off by a swinging blade when he makes a grab for the keys. Three Finger runs away cackling, while bullets are wasted trying to kill him. Chavez chops the dead man's legs off, and then adds them to the list of things that need to be carried as the group soldiers on. When Floyd, the redneck, tries to rebel against Chavez, Chavez wins him over with a bigger share of the money and a promise of safety.

Nate, Alex and Brandon(the "nice" convict) strike up a conversation, and agree that they need to take down Chavez and the others if they want to survive. Up the road a bit, they see Three Fingers' abandoned truck, and Chavez bullies Crawford into trying to steal it for their escape. Crawford approaches the vehicle, then gets snared in a barbed-wire net as Three Finger hoists the trap up and drives away with his screaming victim. As Crawford is dragged along behind the truck, the wires and the road basically both kill him and remove most of his face.

With only five people left, the money becomes too heavy to carry. Nate, Brandon and Alex all stop to rest, and both Chavez and Floyd threaten them. Chavez nearly wastes Floyd, and the group trudges on yet again. Nate tells Alex that he can ambush Chavez from inside the observation tower, which suddenly makes a bell go off in my that the tower from the first film? The one that was burnt down and destroyed by Eliza Dushku? Because if it's that very same tower, Nate is royally screwed. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have a feeling I'm not.

The cute deputy, Ally, stops her car and hears Three Finger cackling somewhere near her location. At the same time, Floyd tries to kill Alex, leading to a scuffle between him and Nate, then Floyd and Chavez. Nate and Alex run away in the confusion.

The sheriff finds the bus, and calls it in on his radio. He examines the vehicle, then reports that he hasn't found anyone on board. DUH. This movie seems to wallow in repetition. I'll bet you a dollar that the group stops again soon, argues, then gets moving once more.

Getting back to Alex and Nate, they hear gunshots and start running. Chavez beats the crap out of Floyd, then forces Brandon to gather up as many bags of money as he can carry, and they leave Floyd to be discovered by any roaming cannibals in the vicinity. Mmmmmm, lunch!

Alex stops to catch her breath, and Nate tries to get her going again. At the same time, Brandon cuts a deal with Floyd for more money and help escaping with the folks Chavez is meeting up with that night. Both men agree to the new deal.

Floyd wakes up. He finds himself covered in blood, and limps his way through the woods. We then get a look at the lair of Three Fingers, which looks like it should be owned and operated by "Sanford & Son". As the mutant gets back in his truck, we see the sheriff and his dog trudging around in the dark. The lawman uses a pair of night-vision binoculars, then complains that he's "getting too old for this shit." Wow, stealing a famous line from Lethal Weapon is a pretty ballsy move! I hope Danny Glover never sees this thing.

As Nate and Alex resume the hike, Brandon and Chavez hear them and plan an ambush. Wait, wasn't Brandon a decent guy a few scenes ago? What happened, man? When Chavez prepares to kill the girl, Nate blurts out that the watchtower is over the next hill. They all start walking AGAIN, only to confirm my earlier WAS the same tower from the first movie! Ha!

Chavez puts a gun to Nate's head, but Leon the wonder dog attacks him. The sheriff has Nate grab the weapons off of both Brandon and Chavez, then they all get going again. Alex tells the sheriff about their ordeal, just seconds before Three Finger drops a spear from a tree into the sheriff's gaping mouth, as he looks up into the tree's branches. They try shooting the cannibal, but miss.

Floyd finds the money that was stashed away by Chavez and makes off with it. While he dreams of being wealthy, a team of U.S. Marshals plan to invade the forest, to find all of the folks who were supposed to be on the bus. Oh, and Chavez finds the money gone and goes nutzoid.

Floyd is making his way through the water, by way of several boulders. when he slips, he breaks a leg, and the others hear him screaming. After Chavez leaves to finish off Floyd, Nate tries to appeal to Brandon's decency, but Brandon refuses to let them escape. He claims that it's because he fears what Chavez will do to him when he finds out, but I'm thinking maybe I was giving Brandon way too much credit for decency.

When Chavez finds Floyd, the men trade insults. Then Floyd starts flinging money into the water, and Three Finger sets him on fire before Chavez can reach him. Along with the burly redneck, most of the money burns too. Well, I guess that means they can all play nice now, right?

Emerging from the woods, the remaining quartet find Three Finger honking the horn in his truck, which is just sitting there, parked near them. Chavez turns into Jennifer Love Hewitt, screaming, "What do you want??? Huh?" at the truck a few times. Three Finger responds by leaping up and firing an arrow at the convict, which lands in a tree next to Chavez.

Chavez grabs Alex by the arm, and shoves her toward the truck. He tells Three Finger that if he wants to have revenge, he can kill her. Chavez threatens to shoot Alex, who takes off running, only to be met by Three Finger. The psycho grabs her, then flings a Molotov cocktail at the others, to keep them from following him. Nate argues with Chavez about rescuing Alex, then Chavez prepares to shoot Nate. Luckily, Brandon hits Chavez with the butt of his gun, knocking him out. He apologizes to Nate for joining Chavez, then gives him the other man's gun. They part ways, Brandon attempting to reach a town, and Nate trying to rescue Alex.

In the truck, Alex is screaming like a banshee. At his home, Three Finger drags her out of the truck by the hair, and she cuts his hand. As Alex crawls away, the cannibal tackles her to the ground, throws her knife away, then licks her face. As she continues to scream for Nate, Three Finger drags her into the house.

Nate hears something move in his direction in the woods, but it's only Leon the police dog. Nate gives the dog something with Alex' scent on it, and off they go to track her down! Wait, what's that Leon? Timmy's stuck in a well again? Well screw him, that's a different movie!

Alex finds herself on her stomach, caught up in barbed wire. She tries to look around, and sees the deputy stripped naked, also wrapped in razor-sharp wire. As Alex watches, the deputy dies from her wounds, then Three Finger comes in to examine them both.

Before he can do anything to Alex, a helicopter arrives, bringing in the Feds! Brandon sees the helicopter as well, and hides behind a tree as the searchlight sweeps the ground. Chavez attacks him from behind, knocks him out, then chastises him for not being a cold-hearted killer. Nate also sees the helicopter, and tries to get it to land, but it moves in another direction.

Chavez and Three Finger spot each other on opposite ends of a clearing and have a face-off. Chavez attacks first, shooting the mutant in the shoulder, but then running out of bullets. He throws the gun, and Three Finger starts his counter-attack. He alternates between a hatchet and a scythe, while Chavez dodges blows and uses his fists. When Chavez gets the cannibal on the ground, he tries to pummel him into submission, but Three Finger plants his hook into the other man's shoulder.

Chavez rips the hook out himself, and gets the hatchet. As he taunts the inbred cannibal, Chavez manages to strike him in the side of the head. Before he can finish Three Finger off, the cannibal snatches up the scythe again, and rakes it over the escaped con's wrist.

Meanwhile, Brandon slowly gets back on his feet and staggers off into the woods again. Chavez and Three Finger both sit up, grunting, moaning, and both badly hurt. Three Finger drives the hook into Chavez' gut, with enough force to make him fall down again. Then Chavez is stabbed in the back and dragged to a tree, where Three Finger uses the hook to suspend him in the air. As Chavez struggles to keep breathing, Three Finger uses the hatchet to remove his skull cap, Hannibal Lecter-style. Chavez dies as the cannibal removes a large chunk of his brain and eats it.

Nate follows Leon to the cabin in the woods, and finds the house decorated with most of the supporting casts' limbs, torsoes, and heads. He eventually discovers the room where Alex and the dead deputy were being held, and tries to untie Alex as fast as he can without hurting her more than she already is. When Alex is finally able to stand up, Nate helps her out of the room.

Three Finger waits for them in the next room, hiding behind the door and slamming it shut once they're inside. As the cannibal and Nate brawl, Alex picks up a nearby knife and plants it up to the handle in Three Fingers' right shoulder. Three Finger removes it, then flings the girl across the room like a discarded towel. He picks up an axe and decides to finish off Nate.

Before anything bad happens to Nate, Leon leaps at Three Finger, snarling and biting. The inbred mutant kills the dog, just as Alex wakes up. She grabs a large, thick club and impales him with it, which effectively pins him to the floor. Nate retrieves the shotgun, and they leave the house.

Outside, after Nate helps Alex into the killer's truck, they drive away. We get a brief glimpse of Brandon making his way through the forest, trying to avoid being captured by the search party. When we switch back to the truck again, Alex thanks Nate for coming back to rescue her, then Three Finger pops up in the back, and uses the towing chain to swing around, trying to break the windows and kill the survivors.

When that goes nowhere, the cannibal stands up against the rear window to brace himself, then hacks away at the roof to get to them. One strike hits Nate squarely in the shoulder, and Alex picks up the shotgun. She fires a round through the damaged roof, but misses by a mile. Three Finger climbs the roof of the truck, and tries to grab Nate through the window on his side, which causes Nate to go off the road and crash into a tree. Three Finger goes flying, and the couple hit the dashboard.

Nate recovers first. He realizes that his leg is pinned against the steering column, and a trail of fuel can be seen leaking onto the ground. As the truck catches on fire, a hand grabs Nate from outside, but it's only Brandon. Nate tells him to rescue Alex first, because she hasn't regained consciousness yet. While Brandon complies Nate continues to push at the steering wheel, but it still won't budge.

Brandon goes back to help Nate, then Three Finger pops up again. He raises his axe, which gets stuck in the hood. Nate finds the hook, and shoves it under the mutant's chin, then it emerges through his forehead. Nate throws him onto the truck's hood, then he and Brandon make sure that Alex is okay. As they make their way down the road, the truck explodes.

They stop a short distance away, and Nate gets Brandon to admit that he was innocent of the murder he supposedly had committed. Nate then does the young con a solid, and concocts a story about Brandon dying, so the authorities won't come looking for him. As Brandon resumes his escape, Nate and Alex sit in the middle of the road and wait for the rescue team to find them, which they do in the morning.

In the final scene, Nate goes back for what's left of the money, only to be shot with an arrow by Brandon, who has ditched his prison garb for J. Crew. Brandon reminds the dead Nate that he should never trust a convict, then starts grabbing money by the handful. Behind him, Three Finger watches, brandishing a blood-drenched spear. The screen fades to black, and Brandon screams. THE END.

Well, if the movie had ended with Nate and Alex being rescued, I would have been happier. I mean, come on...leave SOMEONE alive!!! This film made up for some of the bad effects of the previous entry, but it needed a LOT more cannibal mountain-folk, like the first film had. Still, I really felt that this one was a better sequel. I hear they're making a fourth one, but it sounds like an in-name-only entry, so we'll have to wait and see how that one turns out. I'll give Wrong Turn 3 a total of 3 and a half killer trees out of five.

And what have I learned from watching Wrong Turn 3?

-All convicts turn out to be dickheads if you treat them with respect and mercy.

-It takes more than bullets, knives AND fire to kill an adult cannibal, but a young one will die if you just look at it the wrong way. And decapitate it.

-If, on your last day of work, your boss asks you to take a bus trip, say NO!

Next week, I watch a slasher starring some young kid by the name of Brad Pitt, a movie called Cutting Class. Will it make the grade, or will I make it ride the short bus? Find out next week!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Late Fee

Sometimes I really do wonder why I chose the slasher genre to watch for this blog. I mean, I really do love most of the films, but there are a lot of duds to sift through as well. This one's most definitely a dud. It's called Late Fee, and I'd have to search pretty hard to find something cheesier. SPOILERS follow, but you're better off just never renting this dumb movie...

The movie begins with a couple, simply called "Boy" and "Girl" according to the end credits(and the IMDB), wanting to rent some scary movies for Halloween. The local video store is about to close, though, so they have to pick out their movies quick if they really want to rent scary ones. Oh, and the owner of the establishment is in a hurry to close for the night, because he's holding the world's lamest Halloween party after hours.

What follows is a commercial for the production company's videos. Seriously, if you bother to watch the trailers on the DVD, you'll see that most, if not all, of the movies mentioned by the costumed partygoers are videos by the same company. LAME. The script tries to redeem itself by name-dropping Fangoria, but by then it's too late to wipe off the cheapness of the whole thing.

Boy and Girl(who are both waaay past the point of being called a boy and a girl, given that they look like they're in their early 30's) get 2 movies, after being hassled by the proprietor over their choices. He makes them sign a contract(using blood-ink, no less...and did I mention that his Halloween costume is Satan?), promising that they'll get the movies back by midnight. Uh, at that point I'd be storming out of the weird shop and finding a Blockbuster or something. They apparently don't agree, because they sign the contract, and go home with their 2 dumb-sounding rentals in their dumb, grubby mitts.

When they get home, the couple find some kids at their front door, waiting for Halloween candy. Boy gets the front door unlocked, and is tripped by one of the brats when he tries to offer them a selection of treats. Boy grumbles with Girl about the kids, then they decide to watch one of their movies. The doorbell rings, and Boy gets up to answer it again. Exciting movie, huh?

When he returns, Boy is clutching his stomach. As Girl freaks out, Boy moves his hands, spilling candy all over the floor. Okay, why the heck did Netflix categorize this as a slasher film? So far, we've seen a guy hosting a party, 2 idiots renting movies, and kids trick-or-treating. Is this even a horror film???

Well, I'll give it until the 45-minute mark. If it isn't slasher-y by then, I may just give up and mail it back. Okay, so after spilling candy all over the floor, Boy and Girl start to watch the first movie, called Pick Up. It begins with a shot of a building, where a woman just sort of "fades in" in front of the place. She's somewhat attractive, in a Melanie Griffith-slightly-past-her-prime sort of way. We see her walking and walking, then more walking. When night falls, she lights a cigarette and waits by the side of the road. Oh, and bad porno music is playing the entire time.

She thumbs a ride from a guy who looks like Dagwood Bumstead, and gets into the car 3 times. No kidding, they show it 3 times. Padding the running time much? They then ride past the opening credits of "Chico and the Man", as several days pass. I'm not kidding about that, either: every time they show another shot of "the city", it's a different time of day. What, did the "director" get a camcorder for his birthday or something, and take it on a class field trip?

The driver and the blond have a tense conversation, and it's revealed that the guy "ordered" her as an escort, off of the Internet. The escort gives him directions to a seedy motel, and off they go! At the motel's entrance, a guy out of a David Lynch film directs them into a parking space in the most ridiculous way possible. After parking, the motel owner shows them to a room, with Shatnerian enthusiasm. Geez. The "client" grabs a briefcase from the trunk, then he and the hooker enter the motel room.

The room is Wasting no time, the hooker removes her jacket. The client sits on the edge of the bed, and the hooker steps into the bathroom to "freshen up", but not before throwing him her panties. The client gets comfy, putting his wallet in the nightstand, and removing his pants. Unknown to him(but not us....lucky us.), the motel proprietor puts a facade up around the motel, with a heavy chain on it to prevent the client from escaping.

The client then opens his briefcase, revealing numerous torture devices and sex toys. As he hides the case under the bed, the hooker emerges from the bathroom in a skimpy negligee. Then we see the motel clerk inform a caller that there are no more vacancies. Whatever. Just die already!

The hooker and her client sit on the bed together, then bicker like an old married couple. As the hooker tries to loosen the guy up a bit, the desk clerk watches them through a peephole. Then the hooker turns off the light, and still, nothing happens!

In the dark, they start screwing, and then the hooker reveals herself to be some kind of tentacled, clawed, she-demon. She pretty much tears apart and eats the guy during sex, opening up his chest, ripping his limbs apart--heck, she even tears off his penis. Ouch! The screen fades to black, as she laughs.

After the meal, there's the sound of someone singing, as the camera slowly pans over the client's bloody corpse, missing most of his bottom half. The clerk shows up at the door the next morning, and they both watch as a couple of guys drive up to ask for directions. They refuse the offer of a room, but the Hookie Monster offers the men directions, in return for a lift.

Now alone, the motel clerk hauls the body away to a field near the highway, where we see several other bodies falling out of trash bags. THE END...of that story, at least. Boy and Girl discuss the film's merits(HA!Good one, movie!), Then Boy orders a pizza, while Girl answers the door again. No one was there, so they start the next film. Oh, and someone's watching them from outside. Oh well, at least someone finally died. I guess that means I better keep watching...

The next video they watch, Damnation, is about a woman who looks like Liv Tyler, driving on a long stretch of road. She and her husband are having a birthday party for their kid, and she's on the way to pick up a cake.

A female cop has different ideas. She pulls the woman over, gets her license and registration, then walks back to the squad car, scratching her ass along the way. Nice. When the cop returns, she demands that the driver gets out of the car, then arrests her. As the worried mother watches the cop destroy the cake and presents she had in the backseat, a black van pulls up, and a guy emerges to drive her car away. The woman blacks out, and I secretly get jealous. Why can't I black out, too?

When she wakes up, the motorist is being hosed down by the crazy cop, who then drags her down a corridor for her "trial". The judge, named Brutowsky, makes some crazy comments about air conditioning, then demands that she enter a plea. When she starts demanding to know why she was taken, Brutowsky tells her that arguing implies her automatic guilt.

He then reconsiders, and tells her that he will allow her to defend herself by reading a "book of law" on a nearby table. The book is filled with satanic imagery and covered in blood, which horrifies the young woman. Brutowsky finds her guilty, then tells her that the specifics of her death sentence will be determined by the "Wheel of Fate". The cop forces her to the ground, and makes her to wear a prison shirt.

The woman wakes up in a cell, and meets another girl being held captive. We find out that the main character's name is Justine. Her cellmate shows her a tattoo on her shoulder, a symbol that somehow tells them what she's guilty of.

Before they explain any of this nonsense, the dykey cop returns to intimidate Justine. Before THIS dumb exchange develops into anything useful(or, you know, INTERESTING), someone else arrives to chew the scenery! I sincerely hope that whatever Drama class threw this pile of steaming crap together got an F for their efforts.

The new character is the "Warden", who has the lesbo cop string up both women and fondle them, to, uh, "look for contraband". Then the Warden watches as they shower together. Back in his "office", he lets the cop decide Justine's sentence. She spins the wheel, and they grin at each other when it stops.

The next day, Justine hears another woman screaming, and is told by her new friend that it's another prisoner who happens to be a cannibal. Sure, why not? The cop arrives to bring the cellmate to see a doctor, and she struggles the entire way. In the doctor's "lab", he straps the woman to a table, and tells her that he's going to experiment on her with a "new form of birth control". The doctor then goes into the next chamber, to watch from a safe distance, and turns some kind of pentagram dial. A secret door panel opens, and some kind of feral beast-woman crawls into the room. I'm guessing that she's the aforementioned cannibal.

The inmate was pregnant, and cannibal woman pulls the baby out of her by force. She crawls back into her hole to eat the dead baby, and the now-not-pregnant girl passes out. When she wakes up again, she's back in the cell with Justine, still bleeding from her injury. Another girl is set up for torture by the doctor, but we don't see what happens to her.

The cop arrives again, and straps some kind of explosive tracking device to Justine's ankle. She drags the woman to a man outside, waiting by his car. He looks like Leisure Suit Larry. In the car, Justine pleads for her life, but the man tells her to wait until they're a safe distance away before asking for his help. He promises her that he will rescue her. Yeah, sure he will. And I'm James Bond.

He drives her to a motel(Wait, are we watching the first story again???), then tells her to wait in the room and keep the lights off. 2 strange guys are watching them, but both Justine and her rescuer ignore them. One of the men even holds up a milk carton with what looks like Justine's face on it. Whatever. Then we see a scene back at the prison, where the cannibal woman crawls around a bit.

Justine sleeps in the bed, and wakes up to find the entire room wrapped in clear plastic. As Justine tries to figure out what's happening, the 2 guys who were staring at her earlier enter the room. They claim that they paid a lot of money for her, then the bracelet device starts beeping. It doesn't explode, though, it just shuts off after a few seconds...but not before sending a signal to the Warden and LezCop. Before they can decide what to do, the cannibal bursts in and kills them both.

Oh, and the word "LIBERTAS" flashes on the screen.

The 2 rapists tie Justine up and gag her. Her "hero" walks in, and it turns out that they're making a snuff film. As they start filming, a nut in a skull mask breaks down a door with a chainsaw. As he stands over Justine, the guy who drove her to the motel whips out a handgun and shoots the 2 rednecks. Then he and the guy in the mask start to fight, and the "director" snaps the killer's neck.

When Justine regains her senses, the driver is still filming, but she's in his car again. He tells her to smile, and she gets injected with something, then complies with his request. They ride away together, into a fake sunset. THE END

As Boy and Girl finish watching the video, the doorbell rings again. Boy gets up to answer it, while Girl chews on a fingernail. Exciting stuff. It's the pizza. Yay. As they sit down to eat, Girl realizes that it's just past midnight. Oops....

Girl starts to panic, and insists that they have to return the movies immediately. Boy scoffs at the suggestion, and then suddenly realizes that the pizza was delivered by the video store guy himself. They then discover that the pizza is topped with worms, nails, bugs, and other assorted junk. The doorbell rings again, and they both scream.

As they try to think of a way out of their predicament, there's something tapping the nearby window. Boy gets up to take a look, and sees nothing. A brick gets thrown through the window, and the attached note tells them that since Boy signed the contract, he will have to pay the penalty.

At that moment, the store owner walks into their living room, followed by all of the ridiculously unscary party members. As the Devil threatens Boy, Boy responds by swinging a baseball bat, and knocking him to the floor. The costumed intruders then start stealing the couple's DVD collection, grabbing movies by the armful. Uh, if these 2 idiots had five thousand movies to begin with, why didn't they just stay home?

The intruders remove the movies from their cases, and snap them in half. Then, as the Devil gets up again and laughs, they start stabbing Boy to death with the jagged shards they had just created. Both Boy and Girl are killed(I guess they lied about Boy paying the penalty himself, huh?), and the Devil takes photos of them dead on the couch. Oh, and the guy in the werewolf costume pees on everything. Very classy.

The last scene shows the crazy video store owner carrying a stack of movies into his store. As he places them on a shelf, the front of the DVD casing clearly shows Boy and Girl dead on the cover, and the film is called The Midnight DVD Massacre. A customer walks in, nearly rents something called Hollywood Crap, then picks up the snuff film instead.

The customer is revealed to be a little boy. He nervously tells the store owner that he's 18, and the guy warns him about the Late Fee policy. As the boy leaves the store, the owner stares into the camera and laughs. THE, wait, there's a brief scene after the credits. The video store guy is still laughing and laughing into the camera, then just abruptly stops and looks bored. I know how he feels...

Man, what a piece of crap this was. I don't know how Netflix thought this was a slasher flick, but it's barely even a movie! The acting was lousy, the quality of the production was z-grade, the plot was complete nonsense---Hell, our lead characters didn't even have NAMES! And don't get me started on the way the producers plugged their other films! This was horrible, and I vow to never watch another "Fever Dreams/Shriek Show" production as long as I still retain (most of) my marbles. 1/2 a killer tree for gratuitous nudity, and that's being pretty damn charitable.

And what did this steaming pile leave me with?

-Well, anyone can make a movie, so, "Yay, independent films," I guess.

-When Netflix tells you that you're watching a slasher flick, they're not always telling you the truth...

-Some Fever Dreams can be nightmares.

Which reminds me, my next film coming in is Wrong Turn 3. I can almost guarantee, it won't be nearly as awful as Late Fee was. If it is, I'll start watching and reviewing movies for kids. But it won't be.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Go to the theatre this weekend!

Saw Scream 4 this afternoon, and loved it! It brings back the satire of the first 2 films, as well as the gore, and does away with most of the melodramatic bullshit that was in the 3rd movie. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for both a Wes Craven cameo(at least, it sure LOOKED like him, in the background of an early scene)and a funny reference to the principal that Henry Winkler played in the first film. They both happen kind of quick, but the second one had me laughing like a loon at the facial expression.

So, forget all of the soap opera dialogue and dream sequence ghosts that were in the third film, and go have a good chuckle while watching the new one. It fits the tone of the first 2 films much better, and has a TON of kills! (and if the opening "celebrity kill" sequence in this one doesn't make you giggle, you have a heart of stone...) It's not perfect...the "love theme" of Gale and Dewey was altered in a bad way, and there's no sign of "Red Right Hand" or a Randy cameo anywhere in sight(when they first went into production, there were rumors of a "flashback scene" in a classroom, where Randy supposedly had some new "rules" dialogue)...but it's a pretty good critique of slasher remakes(and all pointless remakes in general, really) and modern technology popping up in today's horror films so often. If you liked the goofy tone of the 2nd movie, you'll enjoy this one, trust me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Maze

Since my Netflix queue is kind of bogged down these days, I've decided to try another one of their "Instant" movies to watch, since it doesn't look like I'll get another slasher in the mail in time. So, with a little trepidation, I'm delving into unknown waters with something called The Maze.

So the movie starts with a medical examiner doing an autopsy, as we see flashes of scenes where someone is being chased. As the guy covers the body he's working on and moving on, he gets weirded out by the feeling that he's not alone. He sees a curtain move, and when he decides to start looking around, a hand grabs him by the shoulder. It's only a co-worker, and as they prepare to leave the room together, he knocks a locket that one of the corpses wore off of a table.

In a semi-cool transition from this scene to a flashback, the locket goes from flying through the air, to being worn by a still-alive brunette girl. She's looking under the hood of her car, getting pretty exasperated, so she joins a group of her friends who are all just uselessly standing around telling stories to one another. One guy,Cole(I think), tells a story about a group of friends who travel to a cornfield maze. One of them brushes past a kid in a red-hooded sweatshirt(as I type that, I'm mentally hearing Kevin Nealon singing. "Ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong"...), and they exchange words. The kid whips out a switchblade, then proceeds to gut the poor guy. The storyteller claims the victim was stabbed in the face as well, but we never see that. He then goes on to claim that the dead guy's girlfriend had an hysterical breakdown, but the flashback shows her with the rest of the group, merely looking concerned. The storyteller also mentions a cop investigating, but we never see that, either.

The killer drags away the body into the corn, and disappears. As the story winds up, we learn some of our victims' names: there's Will, a dark-haired guy whose GPS got the group lost in the first place; a long-haired guy named Colin; Cole, a bearded, sarcastic guy with a lack of patience and tact; Jordan, a bitchy girl who seems really irked by Cole; and Alison, a cute chick with glasses.

At the maze(how they know it's the same maze from Colin's dumb story is beyond me...), they decide to play a game of hide and seek, whereby anyone holding the locket is "it", and must tag another person to pass the locket on. Cole ends up with it after a few quick-tags, and everyone takes off in different directions. Cole starts counting to give them all a head start, then he also starts moving. Behind him, the hooded killer watches the departure.

What follows are a few quick scenes of everyone picking a hiding spot. Cole sneaks up behind Will to scare him, then hands him the locket. Will fudges the counting a bit, then starts his search. Jordan hears a noise, and yells angrily at whoever it was who scared her.

It must not have been important to finish that scene, because we then switch randomly to Alison. She's wandering around in--what else?--corn, when she stumbles and loses her glasses. The killer stands in front of her, but she can't see him clearly. He walks right up to her and gives her the glasses, before vanishing into the corn. Creepy.

Will hears the killer near him, and starts to call out Colin's name. He gets startled when the killer appears, but still assumes it's one of his friends. When he tries to talk to the guy, Red Hood turns a corner and goes away. Will pursues the guy, but can't find him. Instead, Alison comes up from behind to give him a quick fright. Geez, doesn't anyone in slasher films ever have peripheral vision???

Well, unfortunately for Alison, she ends up being "it". Will and she compare notes about their encounters with the hooded stranger, and Will insists that they have to warn the others. Off they go!

Cole and Jordan meet up, and have a spat. They used to date, and now Jordan wants him to make like a tree and go the hell away. They go their separate ways, and we see Colin decide to stop hiding on the ground. He gets up, and WHY IS EVERYONE STILL ALIVE AT THIS POINT!!!???

Okay, I just needed to vent. I'm better now. Deep breaths...So Colin decides to just walk around. Nothing happens to him either. Will and Alison get to an open area of the maze. They find a ton of weird, random shit: giant playing cards, a pumpkin on a pedestal, a guillotine, and other strange objects. The hooded killer springs into action, and Will does his best to pin the guy against the giant playing card with one arm. The killer grabs his switchblade, and somehow manages to get the blade to the back of Will's head, to wound the back of his neck. Will falls, and Alison starts running. After examining his handiwork, the killer runs after her.

Cole and Jordan hear her screaming and running, and assume that she and Will are playing some type of sex game. When Alison gets to another "room" in the maze filled with scarecrows that are probably corpses, the killer grabs her from behind. As he strangles her to death, she can see that she was tantalizingly close to an occupied house. The killer finishes her off, puts the locket around his own neck, then drags her body away into the corn.

The next scene shows a woman named Sarah making a series of calls. Her friend Brian is missing. Who's Brian? Seriously, he's not one of the 5 folks we've already met, so why would we hear about him now? She calls the local police, and a guy who looks like a dumb jock answers the phone. Not only does he not help her, he tells her to wait until morning, then call back. Boy, these cops are super-efficient.

The farmer who owns the cornfield shows up now. He starts shouting for anyone who is trespassing to come out and leave, but there's no response. He sneers, and decides to head into the maze to handle the intruders himself.

Jordan apologizes to Cole for her bitchitude, and he starts getting sarcastic, so they split up again. As this is happening, Colin finds the creepy scarecrows sitting at a table. He sees blood on one of the plates in front of the dummies, and discovers that it's dripping from one one of them. A closer examination reveals that it's Alison, and the blood is dripping off of her chin, presumably from a neck or throat wound.

The farmer starts threatening the intruders, telling them that he has a gun, and Jordan and Cole hear him. Wait, didn't they go in different directions after their last fight? How'd they end up together again? Well, whatever. The farmer starts getting the same heebie-jeebies that everyone else has been getting, and starts to move around in a stealthier manner.

Colin's still running through the maze, sure that he's about to die. As he begins to get winded, he decides to duck into the corn and hide. Sure enough, the hooded killer walks by, and just keeps going. Wow, a character in this thing did something smart!

The farmer, still tiptoeing, finds a dropped flashlight. Before he can examine it too closely, he hears something, and raises his shotgun. He starts swinging it around wildly, and Red Hood sneaks up and attacks him. We don't get to see the attack, though, as the scene then shows Jordan and Cole hearing the gunshot. The next time we see the farmer, he's on the ground, dead. The killer stabs him several more times, then takes off into the corn again.

Colin gets up from his hiding place(make up your freaking MIND, dude!), then goes back to the tea party display. He's almost crying as he goes through Alison's pockets, and her corpse falls toward him. He finds what he was looking for, then takes off, nearly running headfirst into Red Hood. Colin starts sprinting away, and the killer follows, at an almost comical speed. If they played "Yakkety-Sax" in this scene, you'd swear it was from the ending of any "Benny Hill" episode.

Cole and Jordan pick up the pace, and find the farmer's body, along with a pocket watch. As Jordan goes bananas, Cole snaps her out of it, and convinces her that they need to find their way out of the maze to get the police. As they resume running, we see Colin, still running, and then tripping. He either twisted or sprained his ankle I guess, because he can't get up again. Both Jordan and Cole hear him struggling to get up, but keep moving. Nice friends.

As you might expect, Red Hood finds Colin on the ground, and decides to finish him off right there. He stabs Colin roughly, several times in the ribs, then turns his body over. As Cole and Jordan stop to see if they can figure out how far they might be from an exit to the maze, Red Hood pops up behind them, and off they go. Again.

Okay, so I need to pause here for just a sec. Does anyone else here see the HUGE plot hole that makes this all seem pretty stupid? It's a maze, sure...but it's CORN. CORN!!! Here's a thought: Just pick a direction, and WALK RIGHT THROUGH THE FREAKING CORN, SHITHEADS!!! I mean, seriously, is corn supposed to be like kryptonite or something? If they all just went in a direction and stayed on that path, they'd eventually emerge from the stupid maze. Right? It'd be a helluva lot better than letting some 90-pound weakling in a sweatshirt pick them off.

All right, end of rant, back to the movie. Red Hood chases our plucky, hate-filled couple, and Jordan nearly falls right onto the body of Colin. Cole gets her back on her feet again, and they try to hide in the corn as quietly as they can manage. Hey, you know what might actually redeem this film somewhat? If the killer and Cole were in cahoots, maybe in some weird plot to try to get Jordan to to date Cole again. What? It's not THAT impossible, plus it might even give us 2 killers in red hooded sweatshirts(dip dip dip!, sorry, I just love that SNL sketch...), like in the Scream films, where there are usually 2 killers. Well, we'll just have to keep watching, and see if I'm on the right track.

Cole leaves Jordan in the hiding place, to see if the coast is clear. He creeps around all of the props, then slowly makes his way down one of the paths in the maze. Red Hood springs up again, and Cole suddenly snatches up the farmer's shotgun and aims it at the killer. As the killer stands there, he opens his hand, revealing that he removed the shotgun shells earlier. D'oh!

Cole tries to use the shotgun as a club instead, and smacks the killer right in the face with it. The killer stands up again, and starts to walk away, but Cole won't let him. He tries to swing the gun around again, and Red Hood reveals his switchblade. He stabs Cole, and knocks him to the ground. Well, so much for MY idea!

Jordan hears nothing nearby, so she limps to her feet(foot?), and starts limp-hopping to safety. Trust me, it looks as silly as it sounds. Not quite dead, Cole starts to come to, as Red Hood drags him off. They end up at the guillotine, where Cole makes not a single move to try to save himself. His last act is to yell to Jordan to run, before his head is chopped off.

Jordan walk-limps to a giant display, where, of course, the killer is hiding. As she tries to look over it to hoist herself up on the flimsy wall, the killer emerges from behind it. He yanks her down from the wall and tries to pin her down, but Jordan fights back. Good thing, too: with about 40 minutes left in this thing, and 1 survivor left, she's going to have to be Rocky Balboa to get out of this.

She starts to whack Red Hood around with what looks like a pillow, and he crumples to the ground. Strong pillow! Then Jordan resumes limping her way to safety. She sees the beheaded body of Cole in the next area, and gets understandably upset. When she drops to the ground and vomits, she suddenly hears the killer approaching. Using her lighter, she decides to set the cornfield on fire as a distraction, then she runs away again.

It doesn't work. As Jordan emerges from the corn maze, Red Hood is riiiiiight behind her. He knocks her down, and she stabs him when he closes in for the kill. After seeing how much blood she got from him, Red Hood attacks her with a rock to the back of her head, then drags her back into the burning maze to see all of her friends' corpses. Jordan gets even more upset, then stabs him again, this time in the abdomen.

By this time, a pretty large crowd has gathered to watch the maze burn down. Jordan collapses in the arms of a cop, and he gets her into his car. Red Hood also escapes, but no one sees him. Damn!

At the station, the sheriff tells a young officer about the fire at the maze. Also, he tells him about Jordan escaping from the maze and saying, "I killed him." Boy, it doesn't look good for her, does it? The sheriff calls in a forensics team, and they try to reach the farmer by phone, not realizing yet that he's among the dead.

Red Hood gets to a gas station, and looks for a car to steal. Sure enough, a woman drives up, and he sees that she left the keys in the ignition. He pops the lighter, then waits for it to get hot. He proceeds to cauterize the most recent stab wound, or at least a small portion of it. Red Hood pops the lighter back into the car, then waits nervously for it to heat up again. As it does, the woman emerges from the gas station, yakking on her cell phone. Uh ohhhh...

The woman gets to the car, and sits in the driver's seat. She immediately sees that the lighter is missing, and her eyes dart up to her mirror. She sees someone in her backseat! Oh, it's just her kid. Nice fake out, movie! You got me good.

Red Hood is hiding outside again, and he pulls the car lighter out of his pocket. He continues to try to get the bleeding to stop, as he limps away down the road. At the police station, Jordan is letting the evidence collection guys dab at all of the blood on her with swabs, and she looks pissed again.

Red Hood tries hitching a ride into town, and a car stops for him. Some grinning doofus picks him up, and proceeds to be loud, obnoxious, and unfunny. To my surprise, Red Hood asks to be dropped off at the police station. After cracking another dumb joke, they start driving again.

These scenes then alternate: we get a scene of the sheriff and the young cop, going over Jordan's story and the evidence, then we get a scene of the 2 idiots driving. Back and forth, back and forth. It's basically a way for them to pad the film's running time a little, and it gets pretty annoying. There is a nice bit of suspense involving the talkative driver, though...he gets SO annoying, that I actually waited for Red Hood to just kill the guy before the journey ended. There's a funny bit where they see a cop behind them with his lights on, and Red Hood orders the guy to pull over. But somehow, in spite of everything, they make it there in one piece.

At the station, the sheriff shows Jordan some of the crime scene evidence, and asks her about several of the victims that were found. When Jordan confirms that she knew them, she breaks down crying. As this interrogation is happening, we get the biggest plot twist yet: Red Hood is a COP!

Yup. He works at the police station. As he puts on his uniform and discards his bloody clothes, the sheriff gets a call saying that 3 more bodies have been found. Red Hood turns out to be a guy named Eric, and he looks like the biggest nerd on the planet. He gets all of the info he needs from the sheriff and the young desk cop, then watches them leave to go examine the scene for themselves.

Jordan, unaware that she's now alone with a killer, begins havimng horrific flashbacks, seeing her friends being murdered and such. It's pretty amazing, especially when you realize that she only witnessed maybe 2 of these killings, or three. I guess they weren't thinking about that when they edited the footage together. Nice. Maybe she suddenly became psychic.

Anyway, as Jordan tries to figure out a way to slip out of the handcuffs, the footage starts running backwards, ending with shot of her locket. Eric then walks in, and asks her questions, trying to determine if she can identify him as the killer. He tries to butter her up, but she just scowls at him.

She finally lets down her guard, and Eric asks her who she thought she might have killed. She describes the red hood, but nothing else. Jordan then relates to Eric exactly how and why her friends were in the corn maze that night. When she tells him about the game of tag, his questions get weirder, to the point where he asks Jordan, "Who won?"

A phone rings, and Eric leaves to answer it. Jordan, now alone again, has time to mull over how strange his words and actions were, and it makes her very uneasy. She eyes a pen on the table, next to the notepad, which has blood on it. Eric gets off the phone with his boss, then looks at a blood swab he took. As he looks into the evidence cooler, Jordan tries to think of a way to use the objects in the room as weapons against him.

Eric returns, with a jug of bleach and a washcloth for her to clean herself off with. Eric starts talking to her again, and Jordan makes up a story about how much guilt she feels over what happened. She picks up the pen and pretends to be writing her confession, as Eric gets up and moves to stand beside her to read it. When Eric sees one of his earlier wounds begin to bleed past his sleeve, Jordan uses his distraction to seize the pen up and stab him in the arm with it.

He drops the nice act, and tells her that he planted her DNA in the evidence kit. Then he knocks her out. When Jordan wakes up, she finds a gun on the table and picks it up. Oh, and the lights are out, which is probably a bad sign. She's no longer cuffed to the table, either, so she creeps her way to the hall.

At one door, Jordan raises the gun and quietly enters the room. She finds the evidence area, and removes the swab she sees in there. Then she almost trips over Eric, who is flat on his back in the room. As Jordan tries to get closer, he sits up and scares her. Then he tells her that her gun has no bullets. He shoots himself in the leg, tells her that he's going to make it look like he shot her after she attacked him, then they fight again. After hitting him with a phone, Jordan gets his gun this time, and he tries to talk her out of killing him.

She demands an apology, and Eric complies, confessing at the same time. Eric then shoots Jordan, but she's still alive. In the nick of time, the sheriff and the other cop enter, weapons drawn. As they ask what happened, Jordan opens her hand, revealing the tape recorder, and she rewinds the tape, then plays Eric's confession. As the other 2 cops aim their guns at Eric, he drops his gun and raises his empty hands. THE END

Eh. As slashers go, it was just average. There were several victims, though, and the music was surprisingly suspenseful for a low-budget film. So, kind of sa mixed bag, I guess. What lessons did The Maze leave me with?

-Well, first of all, corn is IMPOSSIBLE to pass through, like concrete. dumbass victims.

-Your friends will never help you, even if they hear you being murdered.

-No one can see your face if you wear a hood, even if you get close to them...

-Oh, and no one can pay tribute to a sweatshirt like the guys from SNL.

Well, after that a-MAZE-ing(ha! I got one "maze" pun in!) film, I think my next film is either Late Fee or Wrong Turn 3. Oh, and tomorrow's my birthday. 40! Yay for getting old! (if I'm still doing this when I'm 80, someone PLEASE euthanize me.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Alone in the Dark

Now THIS is more like it! Remember last week, when I talked about how fun the slashers used to be, before the 1990's? Well, this week's movie, Alone in the Dark, is a pretty good example of that. SPOILERS, of course, beyond this point...

The movie begins in a diner, during a cold winter night. A man named Preacher asks for "the usual", which turns out to be a plate of fish that a huge frog leaps onto. Hoo boy, it's gonna be one of those weeks, I have a feeling. Preacher, played by Martin Landau, hardly has time to be bewildered, though: the cook, played by Donald Pleasance, appears out of the blue, wielding a weird cleaver and quoting Bible verses.

The diner goes dark, and it starts to rain indoors. A pile of chains loop around Preacher's stool, and he falls to the floor, his legs raised up in the air by the chains. The cook raises the meat cleaver over his head and brings it down on Preacher's crotch, and he wakes up from the nightmare as the opening credits start to roll.

As the story resumes, we see a doctor, played by Dwight Schultz(old fogeys like me will remember him as "Howling Mad" Murdock on "The A-Team", or as Ensign Barclay on "Star Trek: TNG" and many of the spinoffs that followed. He plays Dr. Dan Potter, a nervous psychiatrist late for a job interview. He tries to talk his way past the receptionist, but she insists that her boss, Dr. Bain, can't be seen. She then explains that he's invisible. Allllll righty, then!

Dr. Potter finds a REAL employee, and she's nice enough to escort him to Bain's office. Bain's played by Dr. Loomis himself, the classy Donald Pleasance. When they first meet, Bain locks Potter in a massive bear hug. They talk about the "secretary", then the movie shifts to Potter's family unpacking their stuff. Potter gets into a brief argument with his daughter Lila, breaks a vase and kisses his wife. Talk about a full day!

Late that night, a mental patient named Hawkes makes a window alarm go off. The next morning, Bain explains the 3rd floor's extra security to Potter, then gets a report on the night's excitement. After that, we get properly introduced to our dangerous nutcases: there's Preacher, the guy who walked us through a nightmare; Hawkes, played by Jack Palance, who is prone to explosive outbursts of emotion; Ronald, a portly child molester; and John Skank, a man who hides his face because of some kind of disfigurement and spontaneous bleeding. After the introductions are made, the 2 docs start to leave, but Hawkes shout at them. Turns out he just wanted to say "Happy...trails..." Uh huh, that was not weird at all.

That night, as the dangerous psychotics lie awake in their beds, they discuss their general mistrust of Dr. Potter. They even go so far as to imagine that he murdered the shrink he replaced. Hawkes proposes that Potter wants them dead as well, so they begin to formulate an escape plan, in order to kill him first.

At the Potter house the next morning, the spouses discuss a relative who will be a houseguest for awhile, a woman named Toni. She had some sort of nervous breakdown, and is still getting her life back together. While meeting with Bain, Dr. Potter discusses his boss' form of therapy. It boils down to he's a drugged-out wackjob who shouldn't be in charge of a goldfish. Ray, the orderly that we met a few scenes ago warns Potter that the patients are paranoid about his presence. Then the orderly confesses that he's scared shitless by the patients.

They're interrupted by Preacher who demands a match. When both men refuse to give him one, he screams Bible verses at them both, then stomps away to find Bain. Bain is busy trying to calm down a woman with OCD, and gives Preacher an entire book of matches without giving it much thought. See what I mean about him? Wacko....

As expected, Preacher removes his shirt, lights it on fire, then starts to swing it around like a wild man. Bain rushes forward, then either begins whispering something or licking his ear, beats the heck outta me. Either way, Preacher looks as confused and horror-stricken as I feel. Bain tells Potter that he made a gruesome threat toward the mentally ill man. Nice doctor. As all of this is happening, Ronald sneaks into Potter's office and discovers a picture of the doctor's family, as well as an envelope with their address on it.

Toni arrives at the Potter house, and Mrs. Potter hugs her. Apparently, she and Toni are sisters. Lila's still at school, so the 2 women decide to gossip and catch up on old times. Toni's into reggae, which seems kinda random-ish, and she invites the Potters to a club. Boy, this thing is REALLY exciting!

Dr. Potter walks with Hawkes, and asks him about his previous doctor. The questions make Hawkes nervous, and he tells the doc not to listen to Ray. He also briefly explains why some of them are patients at the asylum: Preacher is an arsonist-murderer; as I mentioned before, Ronald molests kids, specifically girls; and Hawkes describes himself only as a person who enjoys "the social life".

On the way to the club that night, Toni and the wife make fun of all of Potter's psycho patients. The club is some kind of metal-punk hangout, where the singer sounds like a cat being microwaved. Fortunately, the power goes out, all over the town. Gee, I wonder if the patients will escape tonight?


Driving home, Dan and his family hear that the outage is the result of a power plant accident. At the hospital, Ray hears the dangerous patients moving around in his office. They find his hiding place, and Ronald threatens him with a knife while Preacher screams at him. Then Ronald kills Ray by picking him up and snapping his back, after Preacher kicks him in the face.

Outside, a motorist sees many patients wandering around, and as he tries to drive away, Ronald smashes the driver-side window and hits the guy with his fist. Then he literally throws him out of the car, and the loonies escape in the stolen vehicle.

The Potters get home, and find the babysitter asleep. Downtown,the stores are being looted, and fires are set everywhere. A cop finds Dr. Potter standing by his car, and fills him in on the murder of Ray and the escape of the dangerous group of men.

As the crazies join the looters, Preacher grabs a knife the size of my last car. Pointy pointy!! Ronald grabs a bat, Skank(the bleeder) puts on a hockey mask, and Hawkes grabs a gun. Then Lila grabs the scariest thing of all from the kitchen: a SPOOOOOOOON!!! *screams like a girl*

Toni and Lila talk about being afraid of the dark. Skank, meanwhile gets a van, by stabbing the surprised owner with a gardening tool. Ewwwwwww! I guess Skank has a RED thumb, huh? The others notice Skank bleeding through his mask, then they all take off in the van.

The next morning, after Lila goes off to school, the escapees frighten a bike messenger. He insults them, so they hit him with the van, hard enough to send his body flying several feet away. As they examine the body, Preacher takes the dead guy's hat.

Toni and Mrs. Potter are preparing to go to a nuclear energy protest, when Preacher shows up, pretending to be a messenger. He tries to see Dr. Potter, but is refused access to the house, so he promises to return. Both women agree that he is reallllllly creepy.

At the hospital, a head count is made, and the dangerous patients from the 3rd floor are listed as missing. Again, DUH. When Potter criticizes Dr. Bain's methods, the men have a brief, pointless debate. Oh, and Lila meets Ronald the Molesting Giant. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!

At the local jail, the two women argue with a cop about making a phone call after being arrested at the protest. Doc Potter calls a woman named either "Lucky" or "Bunky", and asks if she can go by the house to check on Lila. She gets there, but no one appears to be home, so she enters the house anyway.

Upstairs, Lucky/Bunky finds Lila fast asleep. She calls the doc back, then decides to invite her boyfriend over. Heh, he's gonna get Lucky! When he arrives, he follows a trail of her clothes upstairs, where he finds her in one of the beds, in her underwear. Both of them are bony, so it's like watching 2 scarecrows do it. Geez, if they rub together too much, they'll start a fire!

Lucky/Bunky gets scared by a noise, so her anorexic boyfriend checks the closet. As he saunters back to the bed, a hand under the bed grabs him by the ankle, then drags him underneath to murder him. Lucky/Bunky makes a face that definitely makes her "Un-Lucky". As she calls his name("Billy? BILLY???"), the blade of a knife tears through the mattress. A second stab gets dangerously close, and a third one goes between 2 fingers. She scurries off of the bed, and Ronald meets her as she opens the bedroom door, lifting her off the floor by her throat and letting her suffocate.

Mrs. Potter gets home, and finds the place crawling with cops. Dan tells his wife that one of his patients killed the babysitter, but didn't harm their daughter. Then, inexplicably, they invite one of the investigators to stay for dinner. Dr. Bain calls their house, and worries when no one answers the phone.

At dinner, everyone mumbles. Yay. As they eat and talk by candlelight, they hear a noise. The noises continue, so the cop decides to check it out. After checking the windows, he urges them to stay inside, then he leaves to investigate the porch and yard. As he makes his way around a tree, everyone in the house watches him get shot by a crossbow.

Toni's boyfriend Tom, who she literally met about 5 minutes ago, tries to take charge. He and Doc Potter start locking up the house, and Toni is asked to go check the rooms upstairs by herself. Yeah, THAT sounds safe! She freaks, Tom goes upstairs instead, then the cop's corpse vanishes.

The patients start to smash the windows, and when the men put up heavy furniture to barricade them, another arrow damages one of the barricades. Dr. Bain tries to call them at home, but a nasty operator tells him that the line is out. He hangs up, and starts to worry even more.

In the house, Tom and Dr. Potter argue over who is manly enough to start DOING SOMETHING!!!!, then Bain arrives. As they all try to shout warnings to him from a window, Bain tries to reason with the lunatics. Preacher approaches the house, and Bain tries to be cheerful, but Preacher appears to either cut his ear or the side of the head. Then Preacher says, "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord," and cackles like a loon.

Dr. Potter checks a window, but he can't see anyone outside. He opens a window, then tells them that he didn't kill their previous doctor. He gives them the phone number where the guy works, but gets no response at all. In one of the funniest moments, Potter leans nearer to the window, and the rest of the group stand as far away as possible...then Lila waves bye-bye to Daddy. Classic!

The cop's body is flung through a window, and the household scurries to cover the window and/or hide. Toni, for no good reason, approaches a window, and Skank pops up, in all of his gory glory. Or maybe not, because Potter convinces her that she was hallucinating. Whatev.

A fire is set in the basement, and Lucky/Bunky and "BILLY!!!"'s corpses fall out of the closet where the fire extinguisher is kept. Preacher tries to stab Potter when he goes down to put out the fire, but the doc gets away.

Potter announces that he's going to try to get to the car, and then Ronald bursts in screaming like a banshee with diarrhea. Lila thrusts a knife out as he runs into the kitchen, stabbing him. Then Tom stabs him in the back when he falls. Ronald tries to get up, and Tom uses a bat to push the meat cleaver DEEPER into his back. Owwwww!!!!

Potter dashes to the car, but the damned heap won't start! He tries the car Bain came in, and it roars to life. As Toni is hugging Tom, he gets a nosebleed, which gushes all over her head. Oops, guess who Skank is!!!???? As they all scream like ninnies, Skank bites Toni in the face, and Potter rushes to the rescue. The family pries them apart, then Mrs. Potter stabs Skank in the stomach.

As they all take a moment to relax, Preacher comes crashing through the kitchen door, holding a knife over his head. Potter stabs him first, and they wrestle, before Preacher gets stabbed in the back. As the family breathes ANOTHER sigh of relief, Hawkes shows up! Sheesh. He aims the crossbow at them, delivering a speech about how even "sane" people are killers, then Potter begs for his family to be spared.

At that EXACT moment, the news comes on. They watch as a reporter interviews the very doctor that the inmates thought Potter had murdered, then Hawkes smashes the television. He walks away from the house as they all stand in the kitchen, blood-soaked and traumatized.

At the nightclub that Toni brought them to earlier, Hawkes beats up the doorman, then enters the dance floor. As Hawkes watches the dancers flail around, a bimbo tries to "flirt" with him. He pulls a gun on her, aims it under her chin, then just grins. THE END

Wow, this movie was crazy! It certainly wasn't the most gory or scary '80's horror film, but it sure was kooky! I'll give it 3-and-a-half killer trees out of five, just for not being entirely predictable, as well as having a pretty good group of actors. And for making me laugh and jump throughout.

Oh, and what did Alone in the Dark give me to contemplate this week?

-Well, apparently, shouting "HAPPY TRAILS!" isn’t always the best way to end a conversation...

-Chronic bleeding and disfigurement can apparently be turned on and off like a faucet.

-Mental hospitals are only effective during calm weather, and never have back-up generators. Good to know.

Next week, I’m watching something called Late Fee. Sounded like a slasher, so we’ll see how it goes. If not, then I get a week off! As Charlie Sheen would say, "WINNING!"

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Visiting Hours

Y'know, before slasher films became self-aware parodies, they actually tried to frighten their audiences...I know, those of you who have only seen the Scream films and stuff like Saw probably think that slashers are supposed to be either ironic comedies or torture porn, but before the '90's, some slasher flicks were actually pretty scary. This week's film, Visiting Hours, is a pretty good example of this. As always, SPOILERS will apply, so read at your own risk!

The story opens up with Deborah, a reporter, interviewing a criminal defense lawyer. He's defending a serial rapist, and she gives him the 5th degree. As the interview gets more tense, her boss Gary, played by William Shatner has the station cut the segment short. Oh, and the suspected rapist, played by a rather creepy Michael Ironside, is sitting at home, getting angrier at the feminist reporter by the second.

On the way out, he tells her that her interview style is bound to piss off a number of viewers, and that he probably won't allow the segment to get on the air. Being William Shatner, he delivers every line with wild arm gestures and weird emphasis on random words. Anyway, Deborah wishes him a good night, then heads home. Angry, she decides to walk home.

Well, apparently "walking home" meant something else back in 1982, because we see her parking a car in front of her house in the very next scene. Inside, she finds wineglasses and empty bottles in several rooms. Her housekeeper, Francine, is nowhere in sight. The movie then treats us to a good ol' fashioned scary movie cliches montage: doors open loudly for no reason, lights flicker, there's even a pet parrot that leaps at Deb from out of nowhere.

Deb finally decides that it's okay to relax. She prepares to take a shower, and hears something in her bedroom. It's Colt, wearing jewelry, brandishing a knife and half-naked. He cuts Deb, and a chase around her home begins. Deb sees that the wound is gushing blood, so she locks herelf in the bedroom and tries to dial 911. As she realizes that the phone is dead, Colt removes some of the jewelry and starts to vandalize Deb's bedroom.

She opens a window, but no one outside can hear her screams for help. Deb decides to escape via a dumbwaiter, just seconds before Colt enters the bathroom. He finds her almost immediately, and they play tug-of-war with the pulley's ropes. Frustrated, the killer decides to cut the rope, and let her fall to her death. She crashes, but lives. As Deb tries to crawl to safety, she comes face-to-face with an older man, who calls 911.

At the hospital, the doctors determine that Deb has a fracture, but that the knife wound just missed being a fatal cut by a few inches. She's unconscious, but very much alive. Colt returns to his apartment, where he is accosted by a nosy neighbor who has the hots for him. Colt ignores her flirting and heads straight for his apartment.

His apartment is filled with framed letters and pictures of women he's attacked. I guess he doesn't get his decorating tips from Martha Stewart. Colt washes up and gets ready to go back out, and we see a menacing silhouette move toward Deb's hospital curtain. It's not Colt, though---it's some goofy-looking nurse who offers her a sip of juice. She tells Deb that the police need to ask her some questions, and that she's recovering from the attack rather well.

The investigators enter the room, and the nurse quietly leaves the room. At the nurses' station, we meet another potential victim, Connie, who has a VERY active social life. It's a good thing the killers in these movies don't kill oversexed young women, huh? She gets killed a few scenes later, in the room of an elderly female patient. Nurse Forehead finds the bodies, then chases Colt, who escapes via the elevator. After the police question her, our large-skulled nurse turns down a police escort and drives herself home.

Colt starts to follow her, clenching and unclenching a rubber ball. As the nurse gets home, she picks up some of her children's toys in the front yard, one of which sounds like a baby hyena having an orgasm. As she gets into the house, checks on her kids, and strips, a half-nude woman joins her. ROWR!

At a nearby coffee shop, Colt stares intently at a young blond. She ditches her friends and follows him home. Wow, that's smart! Colt's nosy neighbor tries to spy on them, but he slams her door before she can even voice a single syllable.

Inside his apartment, Colt spills a drink on the girl, themn tells her to strip. When she refuses, Colt aggressively attacks her and rapes the poor girl. He forces her onto his bed, then threatens her with a knife, but lets her live.

Deb decides to give a press conference during all of this, but finds the questions about her attack rather unnerving. Colt watches the press conference with his elderly father, and it brings back repressed memories of his father abusing him sexually.

Back in the hospital, Deb decides to visit the female patient in her old room, unaware that she was murdered. A patient named Vinnie tells her about the murder, and Deb demands to be released. Nurse Forehead tries to calm her down, which only makes her more upset. Somehow this leads to an abrupt scene where Deb is seen on a stretcher, surrounded by medical staff. Yup, it's always wise to confuse your audience.

In the next scene, we see Colt stealing a hospital uniform. An actual doctor walks in, sees that he doesn't belong, then demands that Colt leaves. The next time we see Colt, he enters the O.R. and injects something into Deb's IV. She starts freaking out, then falls asleep.

The scene abruptly changes again, and we see our favorite nurse trying to get her children off to school. One of the kids, Bridget, is sick and decides to stay home. Colt starts to photograph the mother, then returns home to make a collage. Oh, and he has more flashbacks.

Deb, awake after her surgery, tries to tell Gary that she saw her attacker in the operating room, but he refuses to take her claims seriously. Heck, he even starts eating her dessert in front of her. Then Nurse Forehead meets a patient in a clinic, the same blond who Colt beat up and raped a few scenes earlier.

Colt listens to a radio show, then sneaks back into the hospital through some tunnels underground. While Deb and the nurse bond, Colt meets a chatty patient who gives him WAY too much info about Deb and the staff. Colt nearly gets spotted, but ducks into the patient's room to hide out.

Shatner and Deb argue about her release, and she decides to try to formulate a way to capture the deranged attacker. That night, Colt enters her wing dressed as a doctor. After making sure that no one saw him, he kills the talkative male patient by stuffing the rubber ball into his mouth, then stabbing him to death. The security guard rushes in, and Colt attacks him, too.

As Colt escapes, Deb has a breakdown, and thev nurse soaks up her tears with thsat ginormous monstrosity of a forehead. Colt goes back to the underground tunnels to ditch his disguise, gets to his van, and drives away.

At his apartment, though, Colt gets a nasty surprise: someone broke in! They spraypainted the walls, they wrecked the furniture--and they found his picture room. He sees that two photos of Deb have been taken, and he rushes back out.

The hospital is in chaos, filled with cops and staff. Shatner promises to stay with Deb all night, and calms her down. Again. Nurse Forehead discovers that the girl that Colt raped earlier was the one who vandalized his home. When she swees the pictujres of Deb and herself, she tells the girl to take them to Deb's room.

A phone call from Colt makes the nurse freak out. She tries to get one of the many cops to follow her home, but they all refuse, so she races off by herself. Upstairs at the hospital, the rape victim waits to be escorted into Deb's room.

Back at the House That Forehead Built, Colt watches her drive up. She stops nat the kitchen first to grab a weapon to stab him with, then finds her kid's dolls beheaded in the living room and screams. She checks on both children next, and they seem safe. Back in the hallway, she thinks she sees movement from another room, and tries to sneak up on the intruder, but that room tourns out to be empty.

Nurse Forehead goes back downstairs to call the police, and Colt attacks her while she's on the phone, stabbing her in the stomach and taking her picture. While she cries out and writhes in pain, the kids all wake up, and call the police. As more cops arrive at the hospital, the rape victim, Deb and the Shat all stand around staring at the crowd and confusion.

Colt heads home, drinks some beer, and takes several pills from two botles. Then he smashes the beer bottle with his arm, and grinds the glass into his arm before calling 911. As both ambulances arrive at the hospital, we see the injured nurse with a breathing tube in her mouth. One of the kids glimpses Colt on a stretcher, and hides her face from him.

The SWAT team gets to his apartment, with Shatner tagging along. They find the photo collage, which shows that, without the pictures the young woman removed, it looks just lik,e a human skull. Creepy!

Colt waits for the nurse who brings him to get x-rays to leave, then sets his plan in motion. He sneaks into a handful of private hospital rooms, and fiddles around with their life-saving monitors. Then he attacks one of the security guards. Finally, he assaults Deb in her own bathroom.

She tries to grab a weapon, but he makes her drop it, so she throws a cup of clear liquid at Colt's face. It must have been acid, because he howls in pain and starts clawing at his eyes. As he starts to wash his eyes out with water, Deb runs. She makes it to an elevator, but not before he manages to get his arm in the door. She manages to hurt him with her shoes, and presses a number of random buttons.

Deb gets off after a few floors, and starts running again, and Colt starts chasing when his elevator door opens and he hears her. His kooky neighbor is in the hall outside his apartment, and she tells Shat about his trip to the hospital not long ago. As Deb lures Colt into a secluded, underground wing of the hospital, we see Nurse Forehead being treated, and a dog who barks at Deb from behind a large window. There's also a figure driving one of the staff's undrground go-karts, but it's not Colt.

Deb, thinking it IS him, hides. After the driver leaves, Colt leaps at her, and the chase resumes. Deb hides in an X-ray room, and sees Nurse Forehead on the examination table. A technician finds her and promises to get help. After a moment, Deb decides to see if the coast is clear, and finds Cole staring at her. The stupid inane chase begins yet again.

Colt chases her around a corner, and finds himself facing a series of curtainsd. Ripping down all 3 reveals nothing, sop he starts to wander a little bit. He finds another closed curtain and hesitates, just before a hands comes out, holding a scalpel. Deb stabs Colt several times, then uses the blade to push the killer to the floor. As he lays there dying, Deb sloooowly starts to leave, and Colt jumps at her one last time, grabbing her ankle with one bloody hand. Then he dies again.

As Nurse Sheila is wheeled away to b e operated on, Shatner and Deb find each other and head for the exit. The credits roolover Colt's grinning face. THE END

Well, despite being a day late and having NONE of the editing tools work,ing, I think I did pretty good this week. The movie? Eh, not so much. Thesetting was generic, and the heroine was downright pathetic. As far as hospital horror goes, I'd give this 2 out of 5 killer trees.

And what did I learn from Visiting Hours?

-Foreheads are deadly.
-Old women and drugged-out teens find killers to be sexy.
-Hospitals are death traps!!

No idea what my next slasher is, so it'll be a surprise for all of us! Hopefully, by then the editing tools will be working again!