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Sunday, May 27, 2012


This week's entry is rare, in that I have no prior experience with it at all. Don't know anyone who's seen it, have never seen a trailer or scene from it, nada. I'm still on the fence if that's a good or a bad sign. Ayway, it's called Wishcraft, so put on your SPOILER-glasses, and let's wish for a good slasher flick this week!

The opening scene shows somebody typing a letter. While he's typing, the credits reveal that the cast includes the late Zelda Rubinstein(the medium from the Poltergeist movies), Meatloaf(using his real name...usually a bad sign), and Charlie Talbert(ANGUS!...neat!). After our secretary is done with her letter, the movie settles into an average high school in Averageville.

There, we meet our 2 main characters, Brett Bumpers and Samantha Warren. Brett is trying to tutor Samantha in World History, but it's her oral performance on a pen that has him pretty flustered. She sees his reaction, and further distracts him by asking Brett what his interests are. He mumbles that he like reading and food and movies and girls and, golly, all sortsa neat stuff! She laughs and tells him that she just won a bet--her boyfriend, Cody, thought Brett was gay. Thern she skips merrily away, tra la la la la...

On his way home from school, Brett stops to watch Sam and the other cheerleaders practice. One of the other girls even teases her, saying that Brett has a crush on her. As Brett leaves, the squad does a cheer devoted to Cody. Ow, dude.

At the dinner table, Brett's father tells him that he wants them to work at the office together over the summer. Yeah, that sounds like a fun summer! Then his mother humiliates him by asking if he has a date to the Spring Formal. Wait, wasn't one of my early blogs also about a movie where they kept calling the prom a "Spring Formal"? Weird, it's like a sub-genre, or something.

So, the next day, we get to sit in on Brett and Sam's history class. The teacher, Mr. Turner, is talking about Hitler and WWII, when an attractive student named Desiree arrives late. Mr. Turner puts her on the spot with some impromptu questions about Hitler, then gets pissed off when he sees Cody and Sam flirting. He decides to make an example of Cody, who tries to get his buddy Jimbo(Angus!!!) to answer the question for him.

When that fails, Mr. Turner makes Sam his next target. Brett turns and tries to whisper the answer to her, but Mr. Turner hears him. He lets Brett answer the question, which effectively enlarges the target that the jocks already have on him and his kind.

After school, Brett goes online to chat with a friend about his feelings for Sam. The friend reminds him that Cody would kick his ass if he ever made a move on Samantha. Then he just cracks wise until Brett is cheered up again.

Later, while sitting under a tree, Brett and his stoner friend Howie(maybe the same guy from the previous scene, maybe far, I'm lapsing into a boredom-coma) watch the jocks have a near-fight with some lether jacket-types. Nothing happens. That should be the title of this thing.

When Brett gets home, he finds a mysterious package has arrived for him. He opens it in his room, revealing a letter and an ornately decorated box. The letter claims that the box contains a "totem", capable of granting him 3 wishes. Inside the box is something that looks like a body part, and Brett quickly shuts the lid in disgust.

At lunch the next day, he tells Howie about the package. Howie scolds him about throwing it away, then steals the key to Brett's moped. They find the totem still in the trash, and Howie encourages Brett to make a wish...a practice wish, if you will.

Brett wishes for Samantha to go to the dance with him. DUH. Throw in a pointless cameo by Vincent Price, and this is an episode of The Brady Bunch. Gosh, I really can't imagine what'll happen next! I hope he finds a tiki mask and masks 17 more wishes!

The very next day, Sam asks Brett to the dance. Wow. After he agrees, Sam leaves to tell Cody that she plans to go to the dance with Brett instead of him. Meanwhile, Brett brings the "totem" to an animal expert, who tells him that it's a bull penis. Oh, and it's very, very old. And the bull is probably pretty upset.

When Brett arrives to bring Sam to the dance, her parents give him the cold shoulder. She apologizes on the way to the car, prompting Brett to ask her why she asked him to be her date. Sam gets flustered, and admits that she doesn't really know.

At the dance, Cody and Angus(JIMBO!!!!...Shit, I did it backwards!) watch while Sam dances with an uncomfortable-looking Brett. Then Cody is left behind as even his friend gets to dance. Ha! Take that, popular guy!

Brett does much better on a slow dance, but the night ends as awkwardly as it began. When they get to her house, Samantha tells Brett that she thinks that they should just go back to the way things were, when they return to school. Brett looks like a kitten shot by a cannonball, but he agrees.

Jimbo goes out with a girl after the dance, and both are smashed. They nearly hit another vehicle, then safely drive to an open field, where they both relax on the grass. Some automated sprinklers ruin it for them, though, and they trudge back to the car. Jimbo can't find his keys, so he leaves his date by the car, while he goes back under the sprinklers.

They turn off when he arrives, and he starts to think a prank is being played on him. Jimbo then encounters a stranger wearing a hooded outfit, and proceeds to get thrown around like a rag doll(down to see her cutie), then hacked up. His date, who exits the car to look for him, discovers his severed head on a pole.

After the field is closed off as a crime scene, they call in Meatloaf to solve the murder. (this is the point where I whip off a pair of sunglasses, declare it a "ham-icide", and The Who kick in with a scream...) Instead, he defers to the medical examiner(Poltergeist chick), and she says that the cuts were done with surgical precision, except the decapitation, which was rougher. She suggests that multiple weapons were used, and that the killer possessed immense strength. Oh, and Jimbo was still alive by the time he was decapitated.

At a school assembly, I learn that the "field" was a golf course. Okey doke. The principal introduces Meatloaf as "Detective Sparky"(Iwish I were kidding), and he gets up to speak to the kids about the case. He announces that he and his team are going to begin by interviewing the students that very day.

Ater school, Brett and Sam talk about Jimbo's murder. That somehow leads into a discussion about their plans after high school, and they discover that they both want to travel a little before going right into college. Gosh, it's like they're destined to be together!

During one of the student interviews, Sparky questions Eddie, who looks like what you'd get if you combined Kurt Russell with Silly Putty. Eddie is asked about the brief incident he had with the jocks several scenes ago, but he plays it cool. Even when he's asked if he owns a knife, it doesn't get much of a reaction. They eventually let him leave.

Howie goes to the principal's office, mostly because he wants to speak to the attractive female grief counselor. The principal sees right through his act, and offers to hug his grief out right there. Then he sends Howie away with a huge eye-roll.

That night, Brett makes his second wish. He wants Sam to love and be with him forever, but not in a way that seems forced. Geez, why not just ask for the ability to fly and have heat vision, while you're at it? Any way she ends up with you, Brett, is going to be forced and unnatural. Truth hurts.

By the way, have I mentioned that the cleft in Brett's chin is so deep, it looks like he has a pair of butt cheeks under his face? No? Well, I have now. Now, just try watching the rest of Wishcraft without being distracted by his ass-chin....Ha!

Anyway, now that I've tormented y'all...So, Brett makes his second wish, which seems as silly and frivolous as the first one. I mean, he could literally wish for ANYTHING, and his first 2 wishes are for things he could maybe do for himself. Ask for great wealth. Immortality. Heck do what Jonathan did on Buffy, and ask to be the most important person in the world. Think big!

During school, Sam drops by Brett's home. She gets all googly-eyed when talking to him, and he invites her inside. She tells Brett that she woke up thinking about him, and she can't think about anyone else. Even though he's the one who wished for this, Brett looks creeped-out by all the attention.

Her new feelings don't sit well with Cody. As soon as she dumps him, she calls Brett to ask him for a date. Sam invites him to come over that weekend, on a night when her parents will be out. Brett looks like he might faint, but agrees to the date.

At Sam's house, she gives Brett a lap dance. It ends with a kiss, as well as some heavy petting. Boy, this guy's wishes move fast! It's like a fanfic written by a 14-year-old at this point.

In the school cafeteria, Brett refuses to give Howie any details about his "date" with Sam. He does, however, flirt with her from across the room, which drives Howie crazy. So Brett is okay with forcing someone to have feelings for him, but too much of a gentleman to brag about his conquests? Yeah, this is definitely some kid's fan-fiction made into a movie, for sure.

In Mr. Turner's empty class, Brett asks the teacher about the significance of magic in different cultures. Turner presses him for info about this sudden interest, and Brett makes up some bull about his younger sibling getting a magic wand. The teacher just sort of smiles at him. Foreshadowing?

Brett and Howie then debate over the power of the totem, and Howie asks Brett to hook him up with Sam instead. Man, he really is stoned, if he thinks that Brett would go along with such a stupid plan. Of course, given how stupid the first 2 wishes were, Howie might be wise beyond his years. Oh, then Sam calls Brett, so Howie leaves.

While Brett parties with the popular kids, Howie gains access to the totem. He takes it to the party, then sits in his car and tries to figure out what to do with the thing. While getting high, of course. Howie wishes that he could be an action hero, then gets his ass kicked when he goes to a biker bar.

Later that night, Howie is in bed and hurting from the beating that he took. He staggers to the bathroom, then heads back to his room, where he sees that one of his windows is now open. As Howie starts to close it, a figure attacks him with a knife, and throws him to the floor. Lucky for him, it's just Brett, and the knife is a fake...

Brett demands the totem, and asks him if he wasted the last wish. Boy, talk about irony! Howie tells him that the wishes don't work for anyone else, and the 2 friends call a truce. Wow, that was resolved fast! It's like what a slasher movie would look like if made by Nickelodeon.

There's a fight between Eddie and Cody the next day, until the school staff pull them off of each other. After the incident, Cody decides to shower off, and the killer shows up to turn out the lights in the locker room. Cody looks for the culprit, and gets slammed in the head by a locker door, which knocks him out cold.

He wakes up on the golf course, and discovers that he has been placed in a hole feet-first, with only his head exposed. As Cody screams for help, the hooded killer approaches him with a bowling bag. The killer backs away in the fog, then Cody sees a red bowling ball rolling swiftly in his direction.

Cody manages to turn his head enough to miss making contact with the ball. He seems pretty happy, until he notices a second ball aimed straight at his face. We don't see the hit, but the crime scene team shows up the next morning to collect evidence from the aftermath. Sparky gets a good look at the damage, but we don't. Lame.

Sparky pays another visit to the M.E., and she tells him that she thinks that all of the victims were done in by the same person. Sparky reminds her that the first victim was killed with a sword, while Cody was bashed with a bowling ball, but she sticks to her guns. Hey, she is a medium, after all...Who better to ask?

Eddie is arrested as the prime suspect. At a press conference, Sparky reveals that Eddie had recent trouble with both victims, and that's their best idea regarding the motive. Oh Sparky, Sparky, Sparky...Eddie would do anything for love, but he wouldn't do that! You should sleep on it, baby, baby.

While on a dinner date, Brett asks Samantha what made her really break up with Cody. She tells him that Cody always mistreated her, and she finally grew tired of his attitude. When she gets up to use the restroom, Desiree(the girl from the dance many, many scenes ago) tells Brett that she alwaqys thought he was a cool person, until he started dating Sam.

Feeling guilty, Brett nearly tells Sam what he did to her with his wishes, but she convinces him that her feelings for him are genuine. She even goes so far as to suggest that she's actually the one taking advantage of him. Man, every guy should lead just a ridiculously charmed life!

After the restaurant closes for the night, Desiree walks home on the most deserted street ever. Some noises lead her to believe that someone is following her, and it rattles her confidence. She grabs some mace from her purse, and decides to start running home. She then hears another sound behind her. Desiree whips around to spray her stalker, but she's alone.

Just as she relaxes, a noose drops down and wraps around her throat, and Desiree is hoisted into the air on a traffic light pole. The killer wraps the end of the rope/wire to a heavy post, and then he watches Desiree until she stops struggling.

As he walks away, we see that Desiree was playing dead. She quickly grabs the cord, and pulls herself up toward the top of the traffic light, to get enough slack to remove the noose. Sadly, the killer hears her. He walks back to the light, grabs her foot, and yanks her down hard enough to snap her neck. Awww, why'd you have to kill her???

The mayor calls Sparky into his office the following day, and officially removes him from the investigation. He tells the detective that the case will now be handed over to the FBI, and that Eddie is no longer being held as a suspect. The mayor relents, though, and gives Sparky 1 week to solve the case. If he doesn't catch the killer in 7 days, he'll be fired. He sure is wishy-washy.

Sparky's partner then gets a message, that someone has actually confessed to all of the murders. Sparky questions the new suspect, a stringy-haired loon named Eugene. Eugene describes each crime scene in somewhat vague terms, and Sparky clearly has doubts about him. When asked if he's strong enough to do many of the things the killer did, Eugene responds by throwing one of the cops across the room.

At school, Brett is distracted by the feeling that other students are staring at him and Samantha. He tells Howie that he's decided to confess to her about the wishes he made. Howie suggests that he take her to a romantic location, then break the news to her. He mentions that his folks have a summer house, and Brett thanks Howie for letting him use the location. Unfortunately, a jock in the bathroom hears the plan, and he and his buddies decide to ambush the couple at the summer home.

The cops drag a local lake to search for evidence, and find the red bowling ball. They then make the new suspect match his fingers to the ball, but the holes are too small. Sparky gets so mad about being lied to, that he bonks the guy in the forehead with ball. The investigation continues.

At Howie's summer house, Brett remains true to his word. He tells Sam about the package, the totem inside, and the wishes. As she begins to realize that Brett may have been forcing himself into her life, she gets pretty upset and heads upstairs.

She locks herself into a bedroom, and ignores Brett when he begs her to talk to him. Outside, the 3 jocks arrive, and immediatly split up to check door and windows around the house. The third guy is left by himself, so he just sort of wanders around in the trees.

Howie calls Brett to see how the talk went, but the answering machine gets the message before Brett can, and Howie hangs up before they can talk. Then we see the killer cut the power to the house, and everything goes dark. Jinkies, Scoob!

The fat kid who was abandoned by his buddies gets nervous. He bends down to get something that he dropped, and the killer looms up behind him. Before the kid can stand up, he gets an axe in his back. I hate when that happens. That's why, when I drop something, it stays dropped.

Another jock finds his body, and the killer chases the second kid around. The teen gets into a car, but the killer smashes the windows to get to him. and kills him while he's trapped. Then Sam's ex finds Brett, and kicks his ass. Brett gets away, and tries to find Sam, to keep her safe, but she seems to have vanished. Wait, he can't be Sam's ex, because we saw Cody get bowled to death! Who the heck is this guy, then?

Then the killer breaks in, and stalks not-Cody, while Brett finds Sam hiding in the attic. They hear not-Cody let out a blood-curdling shout from the kitchen, and both sneak up to the attic to hide. The killer heads right to their location, where he takes some random stabs at them from the ceiling below.

When that has zero effect, the killer talks directly to Brett. Oh, and his voice is distorted to hide his identity. He tells the teen to come down and face him, or the killer will murder them both. Not wanting Sam to get hurt, Brett emerges from the attic.

The hallway looks empty, so Brett goes to the first floor. He finds the hooded figure standing in front of the fireplace, and they finally face each other. The killer removes his hood and scary mask, revealing himself to be...Mr. Turner?

Yup. He bought the totem for 10 bucks during a vacation, and used his first wish to kill his wife. His second wish was for money, and he now has a Swiss bank account with $10 million waiting for him. His final wish, for superhuman strength, was used to kill the students who slacked off in his classes.

Turner reveals that Sam is the last name on his list, and Brett tries to stop him. Since Turner has that strength, it proves impossible to hurt him, and Turner deflects the attack easily before going back up the stairs. Sam has no idea what's coming, so Turner has the upper hand.

When Turner pops his head through the opening, Sam knocks him back to the second floor by bashing him in the face. He passes out, but wakes up as she tries to escape. He abducts Sam, and ties her to a wall, where he throws knives, hatchets, and other implements all around her.

Brett snatches one of the flying weapons before it reaches Sam, and he reveals that his third wish was to be faster and stronger than Mr. Turner. As he explains it to Sam, the teacher escapes unseen. Not too observant, dumbasses.

Brett goes outside to find the killer, and his teacher tries to run him over. Then Turner disappears yet again, and pops up behind Brett to try and strangle him. Sam makes him release Brett by jumping on Turner's back and pummeling him with her amazing girl-hands that have no supernatural power whatsoever.. He merely pushes her away.

Then the 2 magically-strong men have a battle. Mr. Turner has his samurai sword, while Brett is holding a bulky statue, a stupid garden gnome. He deflects the blade several times, then slams the teacher in the face with the gnome, hard enough to knock Turner down.

Brett picks up the samurai sword, and tells Turner that shouldn't have murdered all those people. But before he can finish the teacher off, Turner springs at him yet again. While Turner has him pinned on the grass, Brett brings the sword down on the back of the killer's neck, sort of half-beheading him.

During the aftermath of the police investigation, Brett again tries to make amends to Sam for using and manipulating her. As they try to figure out how to fix everything between them, Sam suggests that Brett could give her the totem next, and let her decide how to make things right again. Oh, and the town holds a ceremony declaring that Brett is a hero. Hip hip, who cares?

As Sam and Brett talk about how good it feels for Sam to be making her own choices again, Brett asks her if she has made any wishes yet. She reveals that she has, indeed, used her first wish. As they discuss their plans for the summer, Sam also lets Brett know that she's taking his advice, and traveling around Europe. Her first destination is Greece.

As they walk back to their parents, Brett gets a graduation gift that shocks him: a tour of Europe, starting with Greece. As Brett realizes that it was Sam's wish, they grin at each other, then embrace. THE END

Well, despite the lack of gore, and the surplus of goofy humor, this one was fairly watchable. At least the body count was high.  If the effects budget had been bigger(or indeed, had there been ANY effects budget), this would have kicked some ass with all of the zany murder methods. Oh well, maybe a sequel or remake the meantime, I give Wishcraft 3.5 killer trees out of 5.

And what did I get from watching Wishcraft?

-Well, wishes can get pretty bland.

Butt-chins turn girls on?

-ANGUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!(sorry, but that was a good movie...)

Next on my list is something called Chain Letter. Pass it on....and have a good week!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Maniac Cop

This week, we have another classic from the 1980's, Maniac Cop. It co-stars the man of a thousand chins, Bruce Campbell. So you have the right to remain entertained, as we enter yet another SPOILER zone...

The movie starts out showing a cop getting into his uniform. You don't see his face, but every time he zips, buttons or snaps something into place, the movie does a freeze-frame. Hey, just for kicks, restart the movie and take a drink every time it does a freeze-frame!

After Officer Doe is finished getting dressed, we see a deserted city strret late at night. A young woman is walking to her car, when a mugger shows up. He and a buddy attack the woman, but after the briefest of struggles, she slips away.

She starts running, and hides in a dark subway station. When she crouches in the shadows, the pair of thugs show up too. She escapes to the street level again, and the muggers follow from a distance. Wow, cautious muggers...weird.

The frightened woman spots a cop, and runs in his direction after shouting "Officer!" about 17 times in a row. As the would-be muggers watch, the cop snaps her neck and throws her to the ground. Ouch!

There's an investigation, followed by a pair of detectives taking a stroll down to the morgue. The medical examiner tells the 2 detectives that the woman was shaken so hard that her head was damaged by the motion, and that the killer's grip was strong enough to crush her larynx. Oh, and the medical examiner has a rockin' mullet that needs to be seen to be believed.

After the medical examiner gives them some space,the detectives begin to argue over how she died. The older one, Frank, is skeptical about 2 teens having the strength necessary to kill the woman. He's also the first person to propose that her killer was a cop, given that several were on a "friendly" basis with her.

Next up: more footage of New York(I guess) at night. A young couple are grinning, laughing, and possibly driving toward their doom. Oh, and they're also drunk, which nearly causes them to speed through a red light. Whoops!

While sitting at the light they kiss, and a certain cop of the maniacal variety knocks on the driver's window. The driver gets out, and Maniac Cop uses a dagger to cut both sides of the guy's face. Then MC picks him up, and tosses him through the windshield of the car, while the poor girlfriend screams.

She manages to get the windshield wipers going, which is always the best way to remove dead boyfriends from the windshield, and she speeds away. Does she escape? I guess so, because the scene just ends right there...

The next scene is in the Cmmisioner's office. Frank pays him a visit to share his theory about the killer being a cop. When he finishes, The Commish doesn't agree. They argue over it, and that's about it.

Another scene at night means another attack. This time it's a man walking to his car. He pops the trunk to put his briefcase in it, and Maniac Cop magically appears. MC handcuffs his arms behind him, then roughly shoves the man against his own car, He once again draws a bladed weapon, and the frightened businessman decides to try to make a run for freedom.

He finds an apartment building with an open dooway, and makes a beeline for the intercom. Because of the handcuffs, the guy uses his nose to push a random buzzer, and begins to shout for help. Rather than wait for a response, the guy decides to lean his head out to see if any sharp blades are coming at him. Smart fella!

He resumes running and shouting, all to no avail. The chase ends when he trips, right in front of some freshly-cemented part of the sidewalk. MC catches up, and holds the man's face down into the wet cement until he dies. When the police arrive the next morning, they have a couple of construction workers drill out the entire square of sidewalk, to preserve the evidence.

Frank calls an old flme, a TV reporter named Tina, and has her meet him at an intimate restaurant. Tina assumes that Frank wants to re-kindle their old spark, but he honestly just wants to warn the public about the killer dressed as a cop. Also, given that Tina has a large audience, due to her talent and beauty, he figures her reporting of the story would do the most good. He then hands her a folder with all of the information she needs, and lets her get started.

Tina's story airs that night, and has the whole city talking about the killer by the next morning. She cites Frank as an anonymous source, but also implies that people should be much less trustful of police officers until the killer is caught. Nice.

That segues into a sequence where a woman is having trouble starting her car. She sees a cop pull up behind her, and immediately assumes the worst. When he puts his face next to her window to offer assistance, the woman removes a gun from her purse, and puts a bullet in his forehead.

The Commish hears about the incident and goes through the roof. Plus, the emergency switchboards are being bombarded by "tips" regarding dangerous police officers, many of which turn out to be grudges by people who've been arrested, as a way to get even. This is almost as bad as the Rodney King riots!

The next scene opens with an anymous cop getting into his uniform. A worried-looking woman in the kitchen is busy clipping out an article about the Maniac Cop. When her husband enters the kitchen, they argue over going to a marriage counselor, and it's pretty obvious that she thinks that he might be the killer on the news.

But he isn't, and do you know why? Because he's Bruce "The Baddest of the Bad-asses" Campbell!!!! Yup. the Chin that defeated more Deadites than you can shake a boomstick at is on the scene. That instantly makes this movie more watchable.

Anyway, the wife starts to ask him why he always has to be on patrol at night, and he tries to make her feel better. Even though it's obvious that he can't be the killer, the writers sure want us to fall for it. After he leaves for work, the wife even gets a call from an anonymous woman, cackling about how he's going to kill again.

The wife decides to do a little snooping, and she follows her husband from a safe distance.... After taking a small gun from her nightstand, of course. She sees him go into a motel room, and manages to get a key from the person in the front office without having a panic attack. When she gets to the motel room and unlocks it, she finds her husband in bed with another woman. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! (...or "Maury! Maury! Maury!", if you prefer.)

When he tries to talk his way out of being caught, she pulls out her gun. He gets out of the bed and talks her down, and she ends up running away. Well, at least she didn't damage the chin....

Back outside the redundantly named Motel Budget Inn, the kooky wife is naabed by someone in a dark van. Gee, I wonder who it was? The next day, a maid knocks on the door of the motel room, and finds the "other woman" dead, with a deep wound across her throat.

A cop arrives at morning roll call to speak to Bruce, whose character turns out to be named Jack. Jack assumes that his superior, named Ripley, is there on a social call, or is there to discuss Jack's marital issues(because Sarge mentions his wife), but he is quickly informed that she was found murdered. And by the other man's tone, it looks like Jack is their main suspect.

Ripley and Frank question Jack together, in what would best be called a game of "Angry Cop, Bored Cop". They bring out the scrapbook the wife made of the articles about Maniac Cop, and mention that several witnesses saw him at the motel and/or heard the fight that they had. When Jack tries to explain the part about her drawing a gun, they obviously don't buy his version of events.

Luckily, that's about the time when his lawyer shows up. The lawyer shoos them out, then sits down to discuss the case with bJack. Too bad that he thinks that Jack killed her as well. In fact, as soon as he sits down, he tries to get Jack to agree that he killed her while in a state of mental fatigue and under delusions. Nice.

Frank and Ripley go to a bar, and watch a reporter on TV interview random people about how little they trust the police since the killings were made public. Frank expresses the opinion that he believes that Jack is innocent in all of this, and Ripley actually laughs at him. Undeterred, Frank shares another theory: that perhaps Jack is taking the fall for the murders to protect someone else. Ripley scoffs at that one as well.

Frank pays another visit to Jack in his cell, and asks him if he's been protecting his mistress, or maybe some other cop they haven't turned up. Jack firmly tells him that she has nothing to do with the killings either. Then he drops a bombshell on Frank: the girlfriend is also on the police force. He reveals that her name is Theresa, and that she's currently on duty. Instead of doing any kind of follow-up on this information, we get whisked away from Jack's cell, and plopped down on a street corner. Great segue.

In the grand tradition of cop movies, Theresa is going undercover as a hooker. A creepy doofus pulls up to the curb and asks her for a fun time, and she plays dumb, When he grins and asks her if she's a cop, she is honest about it, even encouraging him to go home to his family. He keeps grinning like a fool, and drives away.

Theresa steps into a nearby alley to have a cigarette, and Maniac Cop shows up, While she nervously tries to figure out if he's someone she knows, Frank pulls up to the street corner where's she's supposed to be standing. While he scans the faces of the hooker to try and identify her, Theresa pulls her gun, and shoots at Maniac Cop, hitting him in a few places. He continues walking toward her, his dagger drawn.

Frank hears the commotion and drives right into the alley. By the time that Theresa runs out of ammunition, Frank is out of the car with his gun, and fires several rounds into MC. After he and Theresa escape, MC has been shot in the chest, arms, legs, and even took a shot to the face, yet still walked away from the battle.

They talk about the incident over drinks, and Theresa admits to Frank that she revealed her affair to Sally, a desk cop who works in the filing department. After making sure that Theresa gets settled in at his place for safe-keeping, Frank decides to meet Sally, and heads back to the station.

Sally turns out to be a hardass. Frank drops some details about what happened earlier, to see if she is helping the killer. Sure enough, she leaves the station, and Frank follows her. The drive takes him to the harbor, where he sees Sally speaking to MC.

She tells MC that he should only go after the specific targets that he has a vendetta with, and stop killing innocent people. Frank finds a place to hide, but he bumps into something, and the noise startles Sally and the killer. She calls MC "Matt", and he vanishes from the rendezvous site.

Sally fires a gun, but misses Frank. Then she begs Matt to come back, to no avail. Frank leaves as well, and gets scared out of his wits by some random guy who just happens to be wandering around.

Back behind his desk, Frank reads a file about a former cop named Matt Cordell, AKA Maniac Cop. He was supposedly a crooked cop, and was sent to Sing-Sing, where he was savagely attacked by several other prisoners. They mutilated both his body and face, and it's implied that he was killed.

While talking to another cop, Frank discovers that Sally was Matt's girlfriend. And now that he's seen them together, he also realizes that the full story isn't yet known. With that in mind, Frank chooses to pay a visit to the prison.

Matt has flashbacks, and they reveal that his time in prison was terrible. The other inmates obviously resented him because of his status as a former cop, and made life difficult, even before the attack. Then came the day that made him Maniac Cop....

Matt is taking a shower, and som of the inmates begin to go after him with knives and homemade weapons. He tosses the first few around like rag dolls, but they second wave of attackers overpower him. They hold Matt down and stab him everywhere, including slashes to his face, and leave him on the floor to bleed out.

After that cheerful encounter, there's a reunion between Jack and Theresa, with Frank along to make it awkward. He excuses himself so that they can get all snugglebunnies together, and decides to pay another visit to Sally. The office is empty, so Frank decides to go through her purse, but it only contains a single glove.

Before Frank can do anything else, Sally attacks him from behind with her cane. He manages to get it out of her hands, and Sally tries to get away by holding onto walls and furniture to prevent a fall. She almost does escape, until she finds herself trapped by Matt's latest victim.. Sally screams, and both Theresa and Jack hear her.

Frank comes to the rescue, but MC ambushes him, and proceeds to kick his ass. Jack and Theresa manage to escape the cell during the chaos, and they get another cop killed in the process. MC finishes off Frank, then throws his body through a window.

Theresa and Jack decide to return to Sing Sing, to see if there's anything else they can learn about the attack. They meet the prison doctor, and he confesses that he faked a death certificate for Matt Cordell. He did it because he knew that MC's brain was barely functioning, and another attack by the other inmates would really kill him the next time.

When Theresa and Jack tell him that Matt's been the killer the media's been talking about, he refuses to believe them. But he also has the decency not to call the cops, when he recognizes Jack. He gets them out of his office, just as his nurse mentions that he needs to wear something green, because it's St. Patrick's Day.

As you might expect, the parade for the holiday is swarming with police officers. Jack has an incredibly stupid plan: he wants Theresa to convince the Commish to speak with him, so that he can tell him the entire story about Maniac Cop. While she's doing that, Jack's going to wait out on the street, where anyone can see him, and just hang out.

Theresa finds the Commish and Ripley getting ready to be in the parade, and tells them everything about Cordell, but the Commish spins a version where Jack is doing the killings. Then he calls in a cop to arrest her, while he and Ripley head out. While Theresa is trying not to get raped by the sleazy cop, the 2 other men are ambushed by Maniac Cop.

After finishing them off, Matt goes after Theresa and Lt. Grungy. He stabs the sleazeball in the gut, leaving Theresa with the task of dragging his heavy body to each possible exit, as they are handcuffed to each other. It's as silly as it sounds, trust me. Meanwhile, Jack gets restless, and decides to join her inside.

After locking herself in a small kitchen area, Theresa goes through the dead cop's pockets to find the key for the handcuffs. As she finally accomplishes that single task, Maniac Cop starts to destroy the door to get to her. At the same time, Jack is spotted by several officers, who run into the same building that he just entered.

Theresa escapes onto a building ledge, just as Jack is getting roughed up by the cops. They then force him into the back of a police van. Then Maniac Cop throws the driver out of the vehicle, and speeds off, with Jack as his hostage. Theresa's close behind, after convincing a rookie to follow the van. Both vehicles head for the pier.

Somehow a third car gets in the way, allowing MC to shake the police car's pursuit. Then he injures a guy at a security post, before finally crashing and stopping at a warehouse on Pier 14. Theresa arrives seconds later.

She runs into the building, and Matt finally shows his face, which is scarred and discolored. He prepares to shoot Theresa and Jack, but the dumb rookie wanders in, and dies for being a distraction. Matt then throws Jack across the room, gives Theresa a long look, and drives away in the van again.

Jack chases the vehicle, and manages to hang on to a handle while whipping around like a doll. He distracts Matt enough to send the van sailing into the harbor. Jack jumps away to safety, and he and Theresa watch with a crowd of bystanders when the vehicle is pulled out of the water, empty. Underneath the pier, you see a white glove emerge from the water, to get a firm grip on the pier. THE END

Boy, what a kooky movie! Crazy action scenes, Bruce Campbell mostly playing it straight, and women who were glammed up and frizzed out, in pure '80's style. I have to admit, despite the weirdness, I enjoyed it. 4 out of 5 killer trees for this one.

And what did I learn after seeing Maniac Cop?

-Well, if I ever get stabbed and beaten within an inch of life, I'll become superhuman!

-All cops act like characters in a Mickeyb Spillane novel.

-Going to a seedy bar solves any problem in the world.

Next up, I'll be watching Wishcraft, starring some guy who co-stars on House, and a blond who I've seen in a few other horror films, but damn I can never remember her name. Fun times. See you sometime in the next week!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tourist Trap

According to BallBuster, even though I sent the last 2 movies I rented from them went back over the previous weekend, my next 2 won't arrive until the middle of this week. So....I found a watchable version of Tourist Trap, a slasher from the late '70's starring old cowboy actor Chuck Connors. Hey, it's better than nothing....prepare for SPOILERS...

The theme song is our first clue that this is going to be's like something you'd expect to hear in a Saturday morning cartoon show. Very strange song choice for an opening theme, it's just an assortment of sound effects and some off-key notes.. Thankfully, the opening credits are brief...uh oh, did I just see Charles Band's name in the credits? Crap, please don't let this be a cheesy stop-motion killer puppet film!

The first scene shows an unlucky guy wearing a pink shirt and a Gilligan-style hat, while rolling a tire down a dusty, empty road. He stops rolling the tire long enough to open a canteen, but it's empty. He apparently can't figure that one out, so he tips the empty canteen above his head to look up into it. Yup, still empty Einstein.

Lunkhead's name is Woody. Funny, my bet was on Moose. Anyway, after he fully explores the intricacies of the canteen, he swears, then resumes his journey. As luck would have it, Woody passes a sign that promises "GAS EATS-AHEAD". Okay, so either someone ahead is serving food that tastes like gasoline, or the movie features a gas creature that will devour a head while we watch...either way, it sounds better than watching Nimrod here rolling a tire. Bring it on!

Back at Woody's car, a woman is sitting under some shade and listening to the weather report on the nearest radio station. A jeep pulls up, and all three of the occupants know the girl. The girl sitting next to Woody's car is Woody's girlfriend, Eileen. The others are Jerry, Becky and Molly. The others seem kind of generic, but Becky is played by Tanya Roberts, a former "Bond girl"(and also Midge from That '70's Show.). Hubba.

As they all fret over poor Woody, he finally finds the gas station. Right on cue, ominous music starts playing. He ditches the tire, and struts into the gas station like he owns the place. When he calls out for service and no one answers, he decides to explore.

He finds what might be a simple bedroom/office, and hears a weird moaning sound coming from a figure on a nearby cot. They're mostly covered up by a blanket, so Woody moves in for a closer look. When he nudges the blanket, the figure pops up, revealing itself to be a mannequin with a hinged mouth that appears to be laughing at him.

As Woody backs off, the door he entered through slams shut, locking him in. Then a window opens up on its own, but shuts before he gets near it. As Woody examines a second window, another dummy flies through the glass toward him. Then a third one falls out of a closet, laughing like the first one did.

That's bizarre enough for Woody, but it gets even weirder when a mannequin head on the floor turns around to look at him, followed by more giggling. Deciding that he's had enough, Woody makes a hole in the door, and tries to disengage the lock with one hand. He then feels something grab him from the other side of the door, and freaks out. As he screams, objects throughout the room start flying at him, culminating in a metal bar spearing Woody in his spine and sticking him to the door. Then everything goes still again.

His friends, now all in the jeep, find a sign advertising "Slausen's Lost Oasis", which is some kind of "western" museum. They decide to pay it a visit, perhaps hoping that Woody also saw it. They continue down the road, failing to see a sign proclaiming the museum to be closed. Or maybe it's the road that was closed. I dunno, somebody nudge me if I nod off before the next kill.

So, the Cheap Jeep dies just as they arrive at a nice clearing. As Jerry sets up to try and fix his vehicle, the girls abandon him to explore the area. They find a refreshing-looking body of water, and decide to go skinny-dipping. Somebody better go tell Jerry, before he misses all the fun!

Molly tries to persuade Becky and Eileen not to do it, but they pretty much ignore her reluctance. She eventually joins them, so I guess peer pressure wins in the end! We get a few brief glimpses of Jerry fiddling with doodads under the hood of the jeep, in between scenes of the girls frolicking in the water. Oh, and someone hiding in the woods is watching them...

That "someone" is Mr. Slausen himself, proprietor of the legendary western museum. He's holding a shotgun, so either he's hunting wascally wabbits, or our group is trespassing on his property. He surprises them when he appears, then they get even more nervous when he decides to sit at the water's edge and have a chat. And a good look.

He tells them that the body of water is, indeed, on his land. Then Slausen advises the 3 girls not to stay too long in the water, because water moccasins tend to swim there and like to bite unsuspecting swimmers. Then he cackles and disappears back into the woods.

Jerry finds the girls all laughing, and they tell him about meeting Mr. Slausen. As they make their way back to the jeep, they find the redneck waiting for them. He hears about the engine trouble, and offers to drive the group to his house, where they can call a tow truck. After a brief moment of hesitation, Molly decides to accept his invitation, and the rest follow like sheep.

Slausen brings them to the museum, and encourages them to explore. One of them says that most of the stuff on display is junk, and Mr. Slausen mentions that many of the items belonged to his late wife. D'oh!

When he's complimented over how life-like his mannequins seem, Slausen reveals that they were created by his brother, who was a gifted artist. Oh, and he's bitter because a new highway that was built rerouted most drivers away from his business. Um, did my film get switched with the House of Wax remake when I wasn't looking?

Anyway, Slausen freaks them out by showing them that his figures are animatronic. At the push of a button, a figure springs up, aims a rifle at the visitors, and fires a blank at them. Slausen laughs when they get scared, and tells them that he used to love to freak out children with the robotic figures. Okaaaay......

One of the girls notices a house nearby, and asks if Slausen lives there. He mentions that someone named Davey used to live in the house, but Slausen actually lives in the museum itself. And none of his guests find that odd? Yeah, right.

Slausen tells the girls that he and Jerry will fix the jeep, and asks them to "guard" the museum until they return. Before they go, Slausen also tells the girls that the phone doesn't work. Heh, can you imagine what would happen to a group of teens today if their 90 gazillion Iphones and wireless tablets didn't work in the same scenario? You'd have about a 20-minute slasher flick, because they wouldn't be able to cope!

The second that the 2 guys exit the museum, Eileen announces that she plans to head to the isolated, spooky house in the distance, to see if they have a working phone. The other girls try to talk her out of it, but she's determined to find a phone. She tells her friends to form a posse if she doesn't return in 10 minutes.

It's incredibly dark outside, but Eileen makes her way to the house in one piece. She hears a voice inside, and calls out. When no one responds, Eileen finds the front door unlocked, and boldly walks right in.

She sees an elderly man with his back to her, and an elderly woman in a rocking chair. She steps into the room to speak to them, before realizing that they're both mannequins. She calls out to Woody, and tries the next room. More mannequins. Eileen spots a mirror and adjusts a red scarfl that she's wearing, then sees someone come into the room behind her. The mirror breaks, and she screams.

The masked figure seems to have telekinesis, and makes all of the windows slam shut just by looking at them. Then he does the same thing to the doors, and slides a chair at Eileen's legs without touching it. The masked killer makes Eileen's own scarf strangle her, and she preumably dies.

Becky and Molly get worried when Eileen doesn't return, and then they hear something moving around outside. It's only Mr. Slausen, who apologizes for scaring them. He pops open a can of soda, then begins to tell the girls about his late wife. The story comes to a screeching halt though, when Slausen realizes that Eileen is no longer in the room. He gets upset, and stomps away to find her.

Slausen heads directly to the nearby house. He calls out to "Davey", but no one responds, so Slausen decides to have a look around, He finds Eileen almost immediately, turned into a mannequin, but wearing the same clothes as before.

Back at the wax museum, Molly and Becky are starting to get restless. Molly finds a photo album, and sees some pictures of Slausen and another person(probably his brother). Then Molly finds a photo of Slausen's wife, and she bears a striking resemblance to one of the nearby mannequins. Uh oh....

Slausen interrupts them, and tells the pair that he made the figure to keep the memory of his wife alive. Then he announces that he's going to where they left the jeep, to see if maybe Eileen decided to head there for whatever reason.

Once again, as soon as Slausen exits the museum, the 2 girls also decide to leave. Instead of following Slausen, they head directly for the mysterious house. An upstairs window is lit up, and they guess that Eileen and Woody are probably fooling around in the house. Becky decides to go in, but Molly gets cold feet and declines the offer to go with her friend.

Becky climbs up to a second floor window, leaving the other girl shivering outside by herself. Becky can't see her own hand in front of her face in the dark house, so she turns on a flashlight. She tries to get Eileen to give away her location by speaking to her directly, but no one replies. The white-masked killer shows up in the background though, ready to claim another victim.

As Becky creeps down the hallway, the killer follows from a short distance behind her. Becky opens a bedroom door, and sees another mannequin, wearing Eileen's clothing. She comes up behind the figure, and sees that it's a wax figure, but then it lunges at her.

Frightened by the sudden movement, Becky btries to escape back to the hallway, but the killer then attacks her. Just as it happened earlier, all of the doors and windows slam shut, and the killer pushes Becky to the floor. She knocks him out with a mannequin body part, and crawls away, only to be buried as an avalanche of mannequins topple on top of her.

When she wakes up, Becky finds herself tied up along with Jerry. Also, there's a girl named Tina strapped down on a table. It looks like the basement of the house, so that must be where the killer "creates" the mannequins. Now, who the heck is Tina, and why is she tied to a table???

The killer tells Tina that he brought the others down to visit her, and she begs for her life. What follows is almost directly ripped-off in the movie House of Wax. Seriously, the makers of that film obviously saw this one.

Jerry tells the girls that the killer behind the mask is Slausen's psychotic brother, Davey. Then Tina chimes in, and informs them that he abducted her when she drove into his station to get some gas. She also tells them that they can't escape, and that they'll all end up dead soon. Well, Tina sure seems like a ray of sunshine, huh?

Anyway, that wasn't the part House of Wax cribbed from(well, kind of, but something else happens that...oh, you'll see!)....I guess it comes up later. Anyway, we go back to the museum, where Molly is getting restless. Nothing happens to her, andf we see the killer changing his costume. Then he returns to the captives in the basement, and tries to force them all to drink something he poured into a cup.

Okay, here's the scene I thought happened earlier. The killer immobilizes Ttina's head with a strap, Then, while Tina begins to sob, he applies plaster to her face. He describes the process to Tina as he covers up various parts of her face, saving her nose for last. As her air is cut off, he tells her that her heart will burst before she suffocates. Then she has a few body spasms, and dies. (more or less the same thing that happened to Jared Padalecki in House of Wax....except that his death was a more prolonged one)

As the killer admires his handiwork, Jerry breaks free and jumps at him. They wrestle briefly, but the killer throws Jerry off of him with superhuman strength. Jerry hits a wall, and is dazed long enough for the killer to strangle him to death.

Back in the museum, the supposedly-broken phone rings. Molly answers it, but no one responds. She grabs yet another flashlight, and leaves the museum. After she exits the building, the display holding the figure of Slausen's wife suddenly turns on.

In the basement of the house, the masked killer keeps droning on and on about his motives and his brother. Someone should tell Hollywood that the killers are 100% scarier when they shut up...While the killer drones on and on and on, the captives spot a key on the floor and try to grab it. The killer is just toying with them though, and he uses his telekinetic ability to slide it around the floor while taunting them.

Out in the fog, Molly gets scared when she hears someone near her whispering. The killer leaps up from behind a nearby bush, and shoves a mannequin head near Molly. The head has a hinged mouth and screams, which sends the poor girl off and running. The killer follows, but at almost a leisurely pace.

Molly is stopped by a tall metal fence, so she quickly scrambles over it. The killer throws the mannequin head over the fence in her direction. Where it lands, it turns toward her and starts to move again on its own. Molly travels down a stream and then through some more forest.

Eventually, she finds a road, and sees a truck coming around a bend. She flags it down, and finds Slausen behind the wheel. As she freaks out, he starts to drive. She tells him that the killer needs to be stopped, but Slausen reveals that he wants to capture his brother himself, because he thinks that he can reason with him. Molly sure is dumb.

At the house, Slausen gives Molly a shotgun. He shows her how to use it, then goes inside. When she calls his name and he fails to respond, Molly has a panic attack. She continues to shout his name, unaware that the masked killer has emerged from behind the truck. Molly hears him at the last second, and turns, pointing the rifle right at the killer.

Molly fires the gun, and finds that it's filled with blanks. As the killer teases her, she swings the gun like a club, smacking him in the face. The plaster crumbles, revealing that the killer is....Mr. Slausen! Rut roh! Molly drops the rifle, and escapes into the woods. She decides to hide someplace that is completely exposed, which is about as stupid as a stupid plan can be. Why am I not surprised?

She thinks that she sees him coming at her from the woods, so she does something else stupid: she wades into the lake/pond/whatever, and just stands there like Queen Doofus of the Doofus Brigade. Slausen somehow manages to pop up from the water behind Molly without her hearing him, and by the time she sees him, he manages to shove her under the water with a minimum of effort.

Jerry and Becky try to break free While Slausen has a "meal" with one of the wax figures. He puts another mask on, and the figure across the table sits up. Using a combination of telekinesis and ventriloquism, Slausen and his "date" have tea and crackers...until the mannequin's head rolls off.

In the upstairs bedroom, Molly wakes up in bed. Wait, so Slausen didn't drown her? Why??? She tries to sit up, but is strapped down like Tina was in the basement. Slausen enters the room, and tells Molly that if she behaves, he'll reward her. When she begs him to let her go, he tells her that he can't.

In the basement, Jerry finally gets free. He sets Becky loose also, then they sneak back upstairs. They emerge into a mannequin storeroom, and Slausen is seen nearby playing with his dolls, while dressed as a woman. Can this movie possibly get any weirder?

Slausen hears them moving around, and leaves his "dolls" to investigate. Jerry backs up and tries to act like a dummy, which comes to him naturally. Slausen looks in both directions of the hall, then leaves. Jerry relaxes and continues on his way, followed by Becky.

Jerry tries a few doors, then Slausen emerges from a room nearby, and scares the willies out of the guy. Taking no chances, Jerry simply leaps out of the nearest window. Slausen finds him brushing off broken glass and splintered wood, and they end up having a chase sequence anyway.

Then we see Becky running around in the woods, being chased by nobody. Makes sense. Instead of hiding in the trees(or behind one, at least), she finds a path lit by lamps and stops there. Wait, is the plot twist maybe that they want to get killed? It sure does seem that way...

Anyway, she's found by Slausen, who puts on the whole "nice guy" act again. He picks her up off of the ground, and carries her back to the museum, like a monster from a movie in the 1930's. He puts her on his bed, then tells Becky that he needs his "doctoring kit".

She does what they all have done so far...she waits a few seconds, gets all worked up, then starts to call out his name. Using his ventriloquism, Slausen starts with his usual errie whispering from different areas of the room. Been there, done that. Got any new tricks?

Well, it turns out that he does have a new trick! He waits for Becky to reach a certain spot, then he makes one of the wax figures pop up in front of her. When she screams he laughs, and Becky sees him aqcross the room, sitting comfortably and watching her.

Before she can react, more mannequins pop up, and begin firing real bullets at the poor girl. Becky ducks and covers, and manages to avoid the gunfire. Not to be defeated, Slausen makes a figure of a stereotypical American Indian throw a hatchet at her. The first one misses, but the second one plants itself squarely in the back of her skull, killing Becky. It takes her a week to die, though, as she "emotes" and reaches for the weapon's handle, then slides to the floor. Bravo, Shatner. One by one, Slausen uses his "powers" to turn off all of the wax figure display lights.

Molly wakes up again, and a kind-looking woman next to the bed gives her something to drink and dabs her forehead. Then the woman backs away, and Slausen enters the bedroom. Molly feigns being asleep, and Slausen lifts her out of the bed and carries her down the hall. So I guess the woman was either part of a dream sequence, or maybe another wax figure?

Slausen brings her to his play area, where they are surrounded by mannequins. Then Slausen pretends to be napping, to see what Molly will do. As you probably expected, Molly drops the act, looks around cautiously, then tries to crawl away from the loon as slowly as she can. That's when the various figures in the room have their hinged jaws go slack, and they "sing". This movie is like a one-trick pony, minus a trick.

When Molly screams and covers her head with both arms, Slausen decides to stop goofing around. He drags her to his brother's room, and tells her that she's "special" to him. He asks her to tell him that she loves him, and Molly complies. then Slausen backs away from her, and admits that he murdered his family members too. DUH. He found his wife in bed with his brother, and decided that a divorce was too messy, I guess.

Supposedly, he decided to make a wax figure of her AFTER he committed the murders, but I'm not convinced that he didn't just do to her what he did to Tina and the others. Some sappy music plays, as if we're supposed to feel sorry for the nut. Yeah, that'll happen.

After telling his tale, Slausen tells Molly that she'll have to join the others. Right on cue, Jerry comes to the rescue. Molly calls his name, and Jerry finally gets the door open. He tells Molly to come with him, and Slausen seems to hang back, to see what she does next. Molly creeps toward Jerry, then gets behind him, and hugs him around the waist.

Jerry demands to know what Slausen did with the rest of their friends, and Slausen plays dumb. I guess Jerry has a major gap in his short-term memory. Slausen laughs while Molly urges him to shoot the maniac. Remember when I said earlier that the movie had become as bizarre as it could? Well, prepare to watch me eat my words....

Slausen laughs at the idea of Jerry harming him, then tears the dumbfounded guy's arm off. Then he rips off Jerry's head, and knocks the mannequin over, to the horror of a shocked Molly. Slausen tells her to look around, and she discovers that her friends are all mannequins, yet alive too.

Slausen then dances with one of them, and she seems to be alive as well. Then a bunch of "scary" mannequins come forward, laughing, so Molly grabs an axe. As all of the mannequins to a hinge-jaw scream, she buries the weapon in Slausen's shoulder, near his neck.

He staggers around, trying to pull the blade out. Then he keels over, and Molly lets out an ear-piercing wail of anguish. A final scene shows Molly speeding away in the jeep, with the mannequins of her friends in the vehicle with her. Oh, and she's grinning like this was the best summer vacation EVER. THE END

Wow, what a seriously nutty movie. And there were absolutely no answers to anything that we saw happen--or, indeed, if it even did happen! All I can say for sure is, I'm fairly certain that the folks who made the House of Wax remake were influenced by at least some parts of this movie.

And what did I learn after watching Tourist Trap?

-Well, if you run away from a deranged killer, don't stop to admire the wide open scenery. Dumbasses.

-When choosing your friends, try not to pick ones that are anything other than flesh and blood...

-Blank rounds and bullets can transform into each other like magic, and no explanation is ever needed.

Okay, so if last week's movie finally arrives, I'll be watching Maniac Cop by mid-week. If not, I'm not really sure what I'll watch next. We'll just have to see...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings

So...I realized the other day that I'm getting pretty close to having watched 100 slasher flicks for this blog. Weird, huh? Should I celebrate, or just check myself into Arkham Asylum right now? Anyway, I thought that the movie this week would be another milestone(the 4th Wrong Turn film, and, I assumed, the last), but then I read that the 5th one is on the way! Yikes...what's next, Cannibals In the Hood? In-Bred In Space? While you ponder the possibilities, I'll just post my usual blah blah blah about SPOILERS...

Ready? Okay, so Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings starts out in the 1970's. Groovy. Our mutants are all patients at a mental health facility called Glenville, living in a ward reserved for only the most extreme nut jobs.

A doctor by the name of Brendan Ryan is giving a tour of the hospital to a new employee, Dr. McQuaid. After a patient nearly tears her hair out, the new doc is shown the cell in which Three Finger, One Eye and Saw-Tooth all reside. Dr. Ryan reveals that both Three Finger and One Eye eat their own missing body parts, while Saw-Tooth acquired his name by sharpening his teeth on the walls of the cell.

When Dr. Ryan and the new nurse leave, one of the patients reveals that he has a key, made from the hair clip that he ripped off of Dr. McQuaid's head. He uses it on his cell door, but tosses it to the 3 mutants, after they nearly blow his escape plan with their outraged grunts and shrieks. I guess no one ever asked them to use their "indoor voices", huh?

So, the goony trio get out, and more or less ignore all of the other patients who beg them for the key. Bastards! The noise of all of the patients carrying on brings a staff member in, and the inbreds jump him. They eat part of his face, pluck out one of his eyes for a snack, then continue on with their big escape. Before they leave though, one of them hits a large button that opens the other cells. I take back my earlier comment.

The hospital is quickly thrown into complete chaos by the loose patients, and all of them(not just the cannibal trio) delight in terrorizing and torturing their former captors. They strap them into wheelchairs and gurneys, they drown them in hydrotherapy tubs, they shock them to name it, these guys do it. Doctor McQuaid is given electroshock until her scalp smokes.

Doctor Ryan has all 4 of his limbs wrapped in wires, which are attached to chains. At the flip of a switch, the chains pull the wires, until they slice through his limbs. He screams as his arms and legs are severed, then dies.

And then we get the opening credits.

Wow. I can almost guarantee that nothing else we see in this film will top that whole...whoa, what do we have here? The movie went from "torture porn" to just "porn". I did not see that twist coming! 2 different couples are screwing: the first pair are a white heterosexual couple, and the other pair are interracial lesbians. Go take a break, I need to study this scene for symbolism. Come back in, oh, about 10 minutes.

Anyway, all kidding aside, another girl walks into the middle of this Roman orgy, and demands that they get dressed. At this point, there are a lot of names to remember....Daniel and Lauren are the first couple we saw; the lesbians are Sara(black chick) and Bridget(Asian chick); and the rest are Kenia, Claire, Kyle, Jenna, Vincent and Porter, Bashful, Sneezy and Grumpy. I guess the slasher movie gods heard me ask for a larger cast of victims when I criticized Husk.

As they horse around in a brief snowmobile sequence(MONTAGE!), bad weather moves in. They find the old building that used to be a mental hospital, and quickly approach it to seek shelter. Geez, that was fast! We don't even really know most of these schmucks, and they're almost volunteering to be human sacrifices.

And on a quasi-related note...what was the aftermath of the asylum escape? Didn't the authorities notice that the staff of the place never left the place, or concerned family members? What about the other escaped patients? This thing has set some kind of record for number of plot-holes in direct proportion to running time...I swear, to watch these slasher movies every week, a lobotomy should be required.

Well, since no one thought of that little detail, these numbskulls decide to explore their surroundings. As a group, they quickly locate the furnace, then decide to call their buddy Porter, to let him know why they still haven't arrived at his place. No cell reception in the asylum, though, so they decide to try to contact him later.

After the furnace is lit, Kyle apologizes to the group for stranding them for the night. They seem pretty forgiving, especially after a proposal is made to explore the building. Ay-yi-yi. The guys all decide to search the place, as do a couple of the girls. The rest of the girls stay near the furnace.

The explorers find Dr. Ryan's office, and find some Scotch. They find a file about our 3 mutants, and then we get a lesson in linguistics. Apparently, the building is a sanitorium, not a sanitarium. The difference is that the sanitorium specializes in the most dangerous kooks, not just kooks in general. "The More You Know..." *cue sappy music and an NBC logo*

After that fun fact, they all return to the boiler room. There's a brief sequence, in which we see the hillbillies returning to their "home" with a body that I'm assuming is Parker. No sooner have they all reunited, when Jenna, Vincent and Kenia decide to look for beds or mattresses to sleep on for the night.

At the first room that they find, Vincent tells the 2 women to wait in the hall, while he goes in for a look. After a few seconds, they hear what sounds like a scuffle, followed by dead silence. When Vincent doesn't answer their calls into the room, Kenia and Jenna go in after him. To no one's surprise(except for the pair of girls), he leaps out of the shadows to frighten them. They head back to the group, unaware that one of the cannibals is now following them.

After some more mindless banter, they figure out how to turn on the electricity, and throw an impromptu party in celebration. An inbred is watching from a distance. In what I guess passes for irony in these films, much of their party resembles the chaos when the patients ran loose in the halls in the past, including wheelchair races and some general havoc.

They find a film, and Kyle gets a projector running. The movie shows what happens in a typical electroshock session, and that gives Lauren a flashback, of sorts. She tells her friends that her older brother used to terrify her with stories about the deranged patients in the building. She also mentions the 3 killers and their escape, so I guess the movie heard me complaining about that.

Everyone splits to find beds for the night. More softcore lesbian sex. Then Vincent wanders the corridors by himself and discovers Porter's body. Before he can run off to tell the others, a mutant stabs him. Not sure if Vincent is dead or not, because the screen fades out in a blur.

The next morning, the remaining group split up to find Vincent. They find blood and signs of a struggle, but not much else. Jenna somehow wanders away, and sees 2 of the cannibals mutilating what used to be Porter. When the other search parties gather to compare notes, Jenna rushes in and informs them that Porter is dead.

The cannibals then toss Porter's head into the room, wrapped up in his shirt. As the teens all scream and panic, Claire gets caught in a noose made out of wire, and is pulled toward the ceiling. When her well-meaning but incredibly stupid friends try to drag her back down, they end up beheading her instead. Not too bright...

The group, now down to 6, find that the snowmobiles have been sabotaged. Lauren straps on some skis, and announces that she'll race down the mountain and get help. Yeah, sure she will. Lauren's going to save her own ass!

They all hide in Dr. McQuaid's office, where Kyle finds a file that pretty much informs us about the cannibals, but it's all stuff we know. Kyle, Dan and Sara make a run back into the basement to look for weapons, leaving Kenia, Bridget and I-Don't-Know locked in the office. One-Eye tries to get at the girls by drilling through the door, but they stab him in the hand.

Kyle and Sara come back, and tell the others that Dan was left behind. While they try to come up with a plan, Dan is slowly being tortured by the cannibals, who are preparing to turn him into a stew. The others reason that his torture might distract the cannibals long enough for them to either kill the trio or escape.

Dan's death takes longer than both World Wars combined. Kyle watches from a hiding place and does nothing to save Dan, because then he might actually become a decent human being. Instead, he sneaks back to the others, and they devise a plan to try to trap the cannibals and burn them alive. That would have been a good plan about 10 minutes ago, dumbasses. I'll bet Dan thinks so as well....Oh, and there's a gag involving one of the cannibals eating a piece of Dan, and almost choking to death.

The teens carry out their plan, and herd the killers into a cell. Everyone wants to kill them except Kenia, who convinces the others to be merciful. The girls leave Kyle to guard the cell, while they search for new spark plugs to repair the snowmobiles. Predictably, the cannibals use the makeshift key from the opening sequence to pick the lock, as soon as Kyle falls asleep...wait, FALLS ASLEEP?? While guarding 3 lunatics who slaughtered and ate your friends?

The girls finally get what they need, then see a cannibal wandering around out of the cell, with a pillowcase over his head. It's Kyle of course, and after they kill him and remove his "mask", they discover that his tongue was removed, which was why he sounded like the killers.

The girls find an escape tunnel, but Jenna gets disemboweled by the drill that was used earlier on McQuaid's door. The last 3 girls(Kenia, Bridget and Sara are chased through the snow by a mutant on one of the snowmobiles, and Bridget is pinned underneath the vehicle, which shreds her to death.

Lauren freezes to death after an injury forces her to rest against a tree. Then Kenia and Sara manage to steal back a snowmobile and ride away. As they laugh and cheer("Yay! Our friends are all dead, but we got away!"), both are beheaded by a thin strip of barbwire. Apparently the cannibals are big fans of 2001 Maniacs...Three-Finger tosses the heads into the tow truck he drove in the first film, and the 3 cannibals drive off into the proverbial sunset. THE END

Boy howdy, this one was a mixed bag. The kills were better than most of the ones in the preceding sequels(this was a prequel), but the acting was borderline unwatchable. And the plot was paper-thin. I'll give this one 3.5 killer trees out of 5, for at least not being too dull in the action department.

And what did I discover while watching Wrong Turn 4?

-Electricity is not a toy!

-People who have their skin ripped open and their limbs torn off live for a long time.

-Cannibals watch other cannibals in movies to get ideas from them.

No clue when my next movie will arrive, as Ballbuster seems to take their sweet time getting them mailed out. If it does arrive during the week, I'll be watching Maniac Cop. If not, I'll have to see what I can scrounge up. Until then....