Sunday, December 30, 2012
So, Christmas Eve I was floored by the flu, and was pretty much laid out until Friday. With that in mind, pretend that this is Christmas Day, and this movie still works just fine. Now, let's all go meet beneath the mistletoe, and exchange SPOILERS...
Okay, so Christmas Evil begins with a Troma logo(!), then tells us that it's Christmas Eve, circa 1947. Santa drops down into the chimney of a house, then washes his hands in a bowl of water as 2 children spy on him. He then makes himself a snack and a drink, as Mom joins her kids. So Santa sightings were pretty common after WWII, I guess?
He puts presents under the tree, and starts filling up the stockings. One of the boys begins giggling, so Santa finishes his work, then disappears. And so does the family, literally speaking. POOF! Crazy, huh?
The 2 boys, Billy and Harry, then argue over whether it was actually Santa, or just their father. Well, let's look at the evidence: Does Daddy slide down chimneys? Does he have warlock powers that allow him to teleport himself and others from room to room? Wait, he DOES??? Oh crap kids, your dad's Satan!!!
Anyway, still convinced that Santa's real, Harry hears a noise and sneaks back downstairs to check it out. He finds Mommy being touched and kissed in the fa-la-la's, then he rushes upstairs to calm himself down. Instead, he smashes a snow globe, the picks up a jagged shard of glass from the mess. He cuts his hand, and the credits begin.
As the movie resumes, Harry is seen as a middle-aged man with a serious Santa fetish. His pajamas are a Santa suit, his bedroom is decorated for the holiday 10 times over, and he even pauses before his morning shave to admire his shaving-cream beard. Imagine the creepiest pedophile-guy you can imagine, then multiply the creepy level by infinite, and you've got Harry.
No wait, our pal Harry just got creepier. He went up to his roof with a pair of binoculars, and watched children through their apartment windows, to determine which ones were naughty or nice. Yeah, nothing abnormal there...Aw geez, then he writes it all down in a journal. He doesn't have a human head collection somewhere, does he?
As it turns out, creepy Harry spends his days working at the Jolly Dreams toy factory, building toys on an assembly line. And not even fun toys, but piles of plastic with no movable parts. I'd go crazy too, if I were in his place.
Harry starts to get tense and frustrated, and cuts his hand with a toy's sharp edge. At the end of the day, he decides to go to a bar called The Odd Couple Lounge, and throw back a few with Felix and Oscar.(See, kids, there was this comedy called The Odd Couple, and--oh, just go look it up!) I guess the cut wasn't serious enough to get it checked out... Before he even gets in the front door, he hears a co-worker bragging about how he duped Harry into working late. Harry rushes home to have a tantrum, then has flashbacks to his childhood, while being a peeping Tom at someone's house.
The next morning, Harry gets lazy, and watches the Thanksgiving Day parade while having breakfast on the couch. He calls his brother, and tells him that he has plans for Christmas. Then Harry hangs up on Billy to watch Santa appear at the end of the parade.
He steps into the bathroom to start putting on the Santa outfit, as city worlers are shown cleaning up in the aftermath of the parade. As night falls, he even re-paints his vehicle to look "festive", and makes an ominous-sounding "naughty" list of potential victims. Let's hope he never reads my blog!
Harry stops at one boy's home, then rubs his hands and face in either motor oil or mud, and "marks" the house by leaving an imprint of his hands and face on the wall. As the boy and his mother rush out for Mass, Harry swiftly dives into the bushes. The boy, Mark, sees Harry, and decides to get a closer look. As he nearly gets nabbed and runs back to his mother, she slaps the boy for lying. Then they leave.
Harry returns home, revealing his own "workshop", where he makes weird toys. Then he goes to the annual office Christmas party. There, he discovers that the factory is donating their cheap-ass toys to hospitals. Harry storms out, then steals toys off of the assembly line, and fills a sack with them for his role as Santa.
He fills 2 other sacks with dirt. Oh, and he Super-glues his Santa beard to his face. Watch that for his super freak-out in the mirror.
Now totally crazy, Harry goes to young Mark's house, and leaves him a sack of dirt and a silly picture. Wow, that'll show him! Oh, and he vandalizes most of the gifts beneath the tree. Party animal.
Next up, Harry visits a hospital with Mark's gifts, A doubtful night watchman won't let him in, but several staff members buy into his Santa Schtick, and he leaves them smiling.
He sees several well-to-do people leaving a midnight mass, and a few closest to him mock his appearance. Harry retaliates by killing one with a long pick to the eye, and using an ax on the other 3. Then he drives away again as the rest of the crowd screams.
Harry eventually pulls his van over to calm himself down, and decides to walk for a while to clear his head. He finds a dance going full swing, and is ushered inside by some of those in attendance. So much for a clear head.
Several children surround him, so Harry gives them gifts. Then he dances for the group. Before he leaves, he tells everyone to be good, and they'll get good presents. But, if they get naughty, he promises to bring them something "horrible", which brings a tense silence to the room. He ends with a laugh, though, so it's all good.
Harry finds a ladder, and climbs up to someone's roof. He gets stuck in their chimney, but finally manages to squeeze his way back out again. He breaks in through the basement instead, and moves through the place until he arrives in the living room.
It turns out to be the home of the co-worker who made him work late, so he suffocates the guy with his bag of toys/dirt/whatever, then stabs the wife in the chest. Loud screams send him running away.
On Christmas Day, Bill and his wife hear about the killing spree the previous night, and assume it was Harry. After yelling about how best to deal with the situation, they still have no ideas. That whole scene was useless filler.
Harry goes back to the toy factory. Why? Because he wants to run all the conveyor belts at the same time. Why??? Well, because then Harry can watch as all of the crappy toys hit the floor and break. Perfectly logical!
The police arrange a line-up of killer Santa suspects. Totally not joking, I swear. Funniest scene in the damned movie. I wish this one scene could be a movie. "Number 3, step forward. Now chuckle like your tummy is a bowl full of jelly!" "Number 5, yell out 'Merry Christmas!"
Harry calls his brother, and rants and raves. Then he sees himself in a mirror. After a statement about dying, Harry heads out again. He finds a house surrounded by flourescent snowmen and reindeer, then begins to walk around among them.
A group of children see him, and their parents realize who he is. One angry father pulls out a switchblade, but Harry gets the weapon from him and escapes as the angry adults chase him. One old biddy even pokes him in the face with a brooch.
Somehow, the group end up with torches, and it becomes a Frankenstein-style pursuit. Harry barely escapes in his van, and goes to Bill for help. Angry at Harry for the trouble he caused, Bill strangles him until he passes out.
Bill panics, the stuffs Harry's body into the front seat of his van. Thing is, Harry wakes up and gets away yet again. With everyone chasing Harry again, he drives the van off of a bridge....where it flies away toward the moon. Literally. THE END
Well, that was....different. Not really a slasher, but not sure what genre it really fits. Odd. 2 killer trees out of 5, and one of those points goes entirely to the police line-up bit. Comic gold.
And what did I learn from Christmas Evil?
-Cars can fly.
-Santa prefers basements over rooftops.
-Toys made here are cheap plastic crap. Like most supermodels!
Next on my list is something called Dark House. Oooooh, scaaaary!
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Today's SAW, Chopping Mall, is also known by the title Killbots, in some regions. THE END...Wait, what? I still have to watch it? Fine. But you guys are paying at least part of my therapy bills. Oh...and "SPOILERS"!
The first scene shows a thief preparing to steal all of the treasures that Link fetched for Zelda over the past few decades. He smashes the display case to smithereens(Yay! I got to use "smithereens" in a sentence!), then grabs handfuls of jewels, and stuffs them away. He boldly walks away with a huge shit-eating grin plastered on his face, until a voice orders him to stop.
The voice belongs to a security robot, which I while now attempt to describe: Imagine Stewie Griffin's head encased in metal, KITT the talking car's red front panel as the "eyes" of the robot, and Johnny 5's body from those Short Circuit movies. That monstrosity is a Killbot, ladies and gentleman, in all of its' 1986 glory. Forget it, yer payin' for ALL of my therapy bills!
The dumbass thief shoots at the robot, but aims at the place where it would have feet. Yeah, because you wouldn't want to shoot out it's electronic eye, or its' claw-like hands. Hell, just hopping on top of it and bashing it with the butt of the gun would cause more damage than what this guy did.
The guy runs around a corner, passing a McDonald's and a nondescript "Vitamins" store. Irony, or coincidence? The robot shoots a taser into the back of the fleeing criminal, and we discover that the whole thing was a demo reel, in an attempt to try to sell the security guard robots to investors and mall owners.
An attractive blond steps up to a podium, and introduces the audience to the president of the corporation that developed the technology, and he in turn unveils 3 prototypes that will soon be "guarding" the local mall they happen to be using for the demonstration. A skeptical couple in the audience refer to the robots as Moe, Larry and Curly.
Then there are concerns among the crowd over how the security 'bots would know the difference between, say, a thief and an average schmoe who just happens to be working late. One of the robots is activated, and the corporate guy uses an ID tag to identify himself to the robot. He then assures the crowd that "absolutely nothing" would cause the robots to go against their programming. Gosh, is that a note of ironic foreshadowing in the script?
Then the title and theme music start up. The scenes in the credits montage show how "wacky" malls can get: the film being sped up, meals getting spilled, a guy tripping on an escalator when several beauties in bikinis travel in the opposite direction. Yup, those malls sure can be zany locations, huh?
Anyway, the story resumes at the imaginatively-named "Restaurant". There, we meet Alison and Suzie, 2 blond waitresses. Suzie is trying to convince Alison to go on a double-date with her that evening, but Alison isn't too sure about going.
We leave them for a short bit of nonsense involving the technician who switched on the security robot earlier. After several lightning strikes, he tries to concentrate on a newspaper crossword puzzle, and is oblivious over the number of times the lightning hits near the mall and the mall's power lines. Nice job, man...you're going to live a long, full life.
His control panel begins to smoke. He freaks out and turns around, only to realize that one of the robots "woke up", and is ready to attack. It plunges a prod through him, and he exits the movie. Farewell, generic technician guy, your work here is done...
*moment of silence*
Okay enough of that nonsense, we need to return to the movie's nonsense. As more lightning strikes try to destroy the mall and the city it was constructed within, 3 more characters are introduced: Ferdy, Greg and Mike, a trio of young fellers who work in a clothing store. They also discuss a newlywed couple who are meeting up with them and their dates for an after hours party in the mall, Rick and Linda.
Speaking of Rick and Linda, they're stranded by the side of the road, because something's wrong under the hood of their pickup truck(According to the side of the vehicle, they operate an auto repair business together...). Rick tries to fix the engine, until Linda pushes him aside, then repairs it in seconds. They kid each other about who has the best skills to do the job right, then hurry off again to meet up Suzie and the rest of the late-night revelers.
As the mall prepares to close for the night, Mike sneaks up on his girlfriend Leslie, and gives her an embrace and a kiss. She seems to like it, but her father is less than thrilled to see them together like that. Leslie lies to Dad, claiming that Mike was going to gallantly escort her to a birthday party for Suzie, but the old man still acts like a crab towards both of them. Dagnabbit! Consarnit! Flibberty-gibberty! Get off my lawn, you kids!
After a brief, unsatisfying scene in a womens' locker room, we see a guy in a lab coat walk into the security room, looking for Marty, the guy who was impaled. This is technician Nessler, and he's played by the grossly underrated Gerrit Graham(Seriously: check him out in CHUD II or the defunct television series Now and Again. He's a very gifted comedian.), who doesn't even look up as he enters the dark chamber. After eating the remnants of a doughnut that Marty had started on, Nessler sits down at the control panel to read and hang out.
That's followed by a long bit where Nessler gets paranoid, and looks around the room. This happens about 100 times in a row. Finally, Nessler is killed by one the robots, when a taser gets him in the back of the neck, and yanks his head backwards. Ouch.
The mall party goes into full swing, and Alison and Ferdy are introduced to each other. They get all gushy around each other, and find a nice, dark spot in which to....make small talk. At one point, they almost get drowned out by their friends having sex. Ferdy offers to take Alison home, and she responds by removing his glasses, and cuddling up instead.
One of the janitors, Walter, is then seen mopping up the floor before leaving for the night. A pair of his co-workers walk by, and tease him as they head for the exit. Apparently, past a certain time, the mall doors are sealed automatically, and anyone left inside would have to wait until the next morning to get out again. Gee, that seems like a crappy design, at least for anyone working late.
Walter continues his mopping, unaware of a security robot approaching him from behind. The machine spills his bucket of water, then demands to see Walt's employee badge. Walt shows it, then gets electrocuted while standing in the filthy water puddle. For a brief moment, you can even see a cartoony, silly image of Walt's skeleton as he gets zapped. After he falls down as a smoking heap, Mike and Leslie debate over smoking after sex. Heh.
They get somewhat dressed, and Mike goes looking for a pack of cigarettes. At a cigarette vending machine, he is confronted by a robot, and quickly shows it his ID. He gets tasered, then the robot approaches his body. Leslie shows up soon after to look for her boyfriend, and finds him on the floor with his throat cut.
A security 'bot chases her down the corridor, and her friends hear her frantic screams. Just as Leslie gets back to the store, the psychotic machine blows her head up with a laser beam. Yeah. A laser beam. Then BOOM. Only then do her friends realize that something might be wrong. The surviving group run away, and the robots shoot out the glass storefront to pursue them.
The robots use their lasers to blow up everything in sight: furniture, counters, lamps, televisions...it's like a Seagal film, but the robots are better actors. The teens run into the warehouse area, and then hear the security doors at the entrances slam shut for the evening. They pile as much heavy furniture as they can find in front of the door, then look for another exit.
They find an air duct, and the guys help their dates to climb up into them. Suzie gets claustrophobic, and the other girls try to encourage her to keep moving, lest the robots decide to roast them alive in the narrow space. That doesn't sound like much fun!
The guys, in the meantime, decide to get some makeshift weapons from a nearby sporting goods store. they break in, and go directly over to the handguns and rifles. We get a gun montage(MONTAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), plus they also grab a propane tank. One of them fires a couple of shoots into the air, then they wait for the attack to commence.
One measly robot shows up, but between the 3 of them, they can't seem to make even a dent in it. Ferdy rolls the fuel tank into the path of their opponent, and they aim for that instead. BOOM! goes the robot!
The women hear the ruckus, and Suzie loses her cool yet again. Didn't see THAT coming, huh? She decides to turn back, and rejoin the guys. Tired of listening to her, they all go back. One of the bots hides in a dark corner of the mall to wait everyone out, while the guys load up an elevator with gasoline and weapons.
The security bot that fell onto its' side, manages to get upright again, using its' extenders and gears to push off of the floor. As the 3 men try to rig up a trap in the elevator, the hiding sentry reveals itself to terrorize the women. Suzie continues to be loud and useless, tripping and spilling fuel all over herself. The robot sets her on fire, and they all run away again.
Alison shoots at the elevator, setting off a chain reaction where a tiny explosion occurs, the elevator plummets to the ground, and a much bigger explosion rocks them around. They find a resting spot, yell at one another, then decide to go back out and start the process over again. One of the guys is launched over a ledge, but the rest escape into a large department store. The robots try to trap them by choosing several access points.
While waiting to die, Alison proposes a new plan: Gather several mannequins together, and use them as a blockade to temporarily confuse the machines. The survivors then fire at the kill-bots from behind the mannequins, before running for the zillionth time. The main robots gets fried and blows up, but not before electrocuting both Mike and Leslie(I think). Awwwwwwww!
In the dark corridors behind the main mall, Alison and Ferdy sneak around in different areas, apparently looking for trouble. A robot advances on Alison, and she screams. The sound helps Ferdy to pinpoint her location. Grady shatters the thing's eye plate, and it tries to track him by sound. Alison watches Ferdy get cornered, and he is swiftly dispatched.
Alison hides beneath a display counter, and the killer bot goes away. She makes a noise, and tries to confuse the bot by hiding in a pet store, hoping that the animal noises will mask her own. Then she changes her mind, and decides to dangle on a railing instead. Her hand slips, and Alison crashes into a display beneath the railing.
She must have been injured, because she now limps her way into a paint store. She open many buckets of paint, creating quite a mess on the floor. She waits for the bot to follow her into the mess, then she escapes and lights a flare. After flinging it, the paint shop erupts into an inferno.
Alison stumbles her way to the exit, only to see Ferdy pop up again, very much alive. They exit together. THE END.
A mediocre horror-comedy, saved by a terrific, out-of-nowhere headsplosion. And, hey, it did have an impressive number of victims. Still pretty awful as a movie, though, so I'm giving it 2.75 killer trees out of 5. Bah humbug!
And what did I learn from Chopping Mall?
-Lightning is magic.
-Mannequins are easily mistakable for human beings, what with the similar body heat, range of movement, and all.
-When going to the Mall, remember to stop at the Vitamins Store, get a nice outfit from from the Clothes Store, then finish the day enjoying your meal at Restaurant. Low-budget is fun!
No clue what my next movie will be. Hopefully, it'll be somewhat more coherent than this one was.