Saturday, January 26, 2013
Why do we live in a world where there are 2 slasher movies about the Tooth Fairy? Is there something scary about her that passed me by? Or are we just running out of scary horror villains to feature in movies? Ponder those questions as we watch The Tooth Fairy...and prepare for SPOILERS!
The story begins in a peaceful small town in California, all the way back in 1949. 2 boys, Donny and his anonymous friend....let's call him "Fifi Kittenscrotum", for now...find themselves standing in front of the home of "The Tooth Fairy", a reclusive woman who supposedly gives the local children toys in exchange for their last baby teeth. Kittyscrote is afraid of her, but little Donny really wants the new bike the Tooth Fairy promised him.
When he enters the house, Donny demands to see the bike first. He sees it, and agrees to let her pull his tooth out with a string. He ties the string to his tooth, she yanks it out, and the pain sends him rushing to the door. The Tooth Fairy runs after the boy, and stabs him several times, splashing the door and windows with blood. His friend just runs away.
Now we're in modern times, and we meet a little girl named Pam, and her mother Darcy. They stop for gas, and to ask for directions to the nearest bed-and-breakfast. Both requests somehow provoke the redneck gas jockeys into nearly raping Darcy, and she and her daughter barely escape intact. That makes perfect sense!
Next, a guy named Pete moves some furniture. He hears a car pull up and rushes outside, expecting to see Darcy and Pam. Instead, there's a cab, and a woman named Star Roberts. I wonder if she's any relation to Star Jones. She's supposedly studying to be a vet, but she looks like a hairstylist from Vegas.
Star spots some hummingbirds, and shows off her knowledge about animals. Then a shirtless werewolf named Jacob shows up, and...wait, no, it's a local kid who does odd jobs, and his name is Bobby. Then Darcy pulls up, and she tells Pete about her scary encounter at the gas station, while she, Pete and Pam unpack their stuff.
Pete tells Darcy that the guys who tried to attack her have a personal grudge against him, because he found them living as squatters on the property he brought, and he had them removed via court order. Oh, and now we know them as the Hammonds. Yay!
Out behind the house, Pam finds several dusty antiques, and a little girl named Emma. Emma's a ghost, which is immediately obvious to anyone who has ever seen The Boogeyman, Darkness Falls, or any film since 1931. Pam, of course, remains clueless. But hey, she and Emma bond over the antique bicycle, so it's all good.
In the closest thing this movie has to a plot twist, Bobby puts on a shirt and does some carpentry. The girls ride past him on the fixed bike, and he looks up...but only sees Pam. She and her new dead best friend ride through the woods, and Pam discovers that Emma has never heard of Harry Potter, when they stop the bike at a "haunted" river.
Emma then warns Pam about the legend of the Tooth Fairy. After giving her the bloody details about the killings and the Tooth Fairy's disfigurement, Emma tells Pam that she has to get home before dark. As soon as Pam leaves, Emma fades away. Almost immediately after that, Pam is ambushed by the Tooth Fairy, and falls off of the bike. The fall knocks her last baby tooth out.
She returns home, moments after her parents wonder where she vanished to, and she shows them her tooth. That night, Pam tells her mother about her new friend, and asks her if witches are real. Darcy promises that witches aren't real, but lets Pam sleep with a light on, to make her feel safer.
Star brings one of her textbooks out to the front porch, where she finds shirtless Bobby working out. Her version of flirting involves reading a passage about pigeons to the young man. Bobby reveals that he wants to study electrical engineering when he goes to college. Then they smile and make googly eyes at each other.
The Tooth Fairy sneaks into Pam's room, and the young girl wakes up and screams. Pam runs out of the room, looking for her mother, and goes out to the porch, where she is assaulted again! It's not the witch, it's a kooky neighbor named Mrs. MacDonald. She warns the family that they will all die if they don't leave the house immediately. Then she leaves.
Bobby finds a wood chipper and repairs it, then tests it out with a board. As soon as he finishes, the Tooth Fairy sends him through the shredder, in gory fashion. From the house, Pam hears his screams and wakes up her parents. Pete explores the barn, and finds what's left of Bobby in the wood chipper. He calls the sheriff, while Darcy tries to keep their daughter calm.
Pete admits to Darcy that the death has him re-thinking the plan to run a B'n'B. She gives him a pep talk, but the next morning they find that the car was stolen. They visit the sheriff to report the theft, while Pam wanders away and runs into a certain scary lady wearing a red hood. Does this family have a streak of bad luck, or what?
Anyway, Pam somehow slips past her, and has another encounter with Emma. Emma tells her that she can protect herself from the witch if she can scare her away with her own reflection. Yeah, I'm sure that it'll be that easy.
At the sheriff's office, Pete and Darcy don't get much help. They leave, and miraculously find their car attached to a tow truck owned by the Hammonds. The Hammonds claim that they took the car because Darcy never paid for the gas she pumped, and then mention that the sheriff is related to them.
After a short fight, Pete gets the car back. When he and Darcy arrive back at the house, there's a couple waiting to greet them: Pete's old buddy Cole(a shifty, conniving musician) , and a groupie he's screwing, named Cherise. They claim that they came to help Pete move in and fix up the place, but Cole later admits that he really just visited to ask for an $800 loan.
Later that same evening, the Hammonds sneak onto the property to steal Pete's car again. They also supposedly hired a female friend to help them by distracting the family during the intrusion. Gee, I wonder if she'll be dressed like a certain Tooth Fairy, and then folks will then die after a series of misunderstandings?
Cherise holds a seance, or a prayer ritual, or whatever the heck she's doing. Behind her, the bedroom door opens, and someone sneaks in. When Cherise finally sees her, she tries to escape through an open window, but the Tooth Fairy pulls her back into the room, then slams her back against a wall. Using a nail gun, TF pins the poor woman's hands to the wall, then nails her feet down as well. She finishes her off by leaving gaping holes where her stomach and face used to be located.
Cole and Pete hear her screams, and find the messy corpse pinned to the wall, At the same time, Pam has a close encounter with the corpse of the fake witch, then is nearly grabbed by the real one. Pam gets on her bike to escape, and screams for Emma to save her.
As she rides out to the woods, her parents try to find her in a truck. Emma appears, and tells Pam that they have to find TF'S tooth collection, to free the spirits of all of her victims. Meanwhile, Pete and Darcy visit the crazy lady next door, who tells them that they must burn the witch twice to permanently kill her.
Then we arrive at what is probably the funniest scene in the film. The Hammonds decide to set their plan in motion, unaware that the Tooth Fairy is lurking somewhere close to them. She castrates and slaughters one of the brothers, and the other one quickly finds him and demands, "What is your dick doing over there?" And then he gets killed as well. And the Oscar goes to...
Emma and Pam arrive at a graveyard, where the graves are filled with kids killed by the Tooth Fairy. She wanders out again, and her parents find her. She takes them to the graveyard, and asks Emma to show herself. The ghost makes a jar move, and tells Pam that adults can't see her. Emma can't move the jar again, but the other ghost-children use their collective power to make the jar move through the air, smashing it and releasing the candle inside. Pam's parents are convinced.
Cole and Star have a heart-to-heart chat, and remain the 2 most useless characters in the film. Cole then sinks lower, by screwing Star after recently discovering his last girlfriend's mangled body. Luckily, the Tooth Fairy decides to intervene. She kills Cole first, by slamming an ax into his neck/shoulder region several times, while pinning him face down on the bed.
Star then re-enters the bedroom, topless, and fails to realize that Cole is dead. She comes closer, lifts a large pillow off of his head, and finds that the pillow was covering just the neck-stump where Cole's head used to be. Then she faints, falling face-first into his bloody shoulders. Heh, that'll be fun to wake up on.
When they return to the house, Pete tells his wife and daughter to rescue the others, while he gets some fuel from the garage to burn the witch. Twice. Because that'll be a piece of cake, of course.
Cole's severed head comes rolling down the stairs, just as Pam and Darcy start to dry out from the heavy downpour of rain outside, Pete rushes in with the gasoline, and finds his friend's corpse, with Star still passed out on top of him. She wakes up and screams like a banshee. Pete tries to calm her down, then they rejoin the others.
The Tooth Fairy enters the house to grab Pam's tooth, and Pam leaps out of the bed holding a mirror in front of her like a shield. The witch runs away, but Pam chases after her, still trying to hurt her with different mirrors. Then the Tooth Fairy meets Darcy, also holding up a large mirror. They force the witch to chase Pam outside.
As soon as the Tooth Fairy gets onto the front porch, Pete drenches her in gasoline, and then sets her on fire. Pam grabs the tooth collection when she drops it, and the witch chases her, with the flames gradually disappearing. With her face exposed, the witch looks like a cross between one of the hillbillies in the Wrong Turn franchise, and some of the early faces of Jason in the Friday the 13th films. Not terrible, but not very real-looking, either.
Anyway, she corners Pam once again, and Pete pours more fuel on the killer from behind. Pam places the tooth-box on Emma's tombstone, and the witch is set ablaze a second time when she goes to grab her treasure. As the Tooth Fairy burns for a second time, the ghost-children rise up and surround her, beating her body with sticks, and clubs. Then, at Emma's command, each child takes back the tooth that belonged to them, and they ascend to Heaven.
As the family walks away together, Pam runs back to the body one last time, and gets her baby tooth back. After they leave, the monster rises into the air, screams, then flies away. The final scene shows them selling the house, and saying goodbye to Star. They all drive away, and a closeup shot of an upstairs window reveals that the Tooth Fairy still haunts the property. THE END
Well, the kills were entertainingly nasty, I guess. The big flaw in this movie was that they couldn't seem to decide if the Tooth Fairy was a living killer or a supernatural one. I mean, one minute,she's teleporting and floating from place to place...the next moment, she's using the front door and grabbing weapons from the garage to kill folks with. At least with Darkness Falls, the killer was most definitely a vengeful ghost, no matter where she was. Eh, I'd say it's not quite a 3...let's give The Tooth Fairy 2.5 out of 5.
And what did this Tooth Fairy teach me?
-That a monster called The Tooth Fairy prefers to kill most folks in ways that have nothing to do with their legend or name.
-Ghosts just want to socialize.
-Rednecks take forever to plot revenge, then die with incredible ease.
No idea what my next SAW will be. I'm kind of winging it here, so it gets pretty random. See you sometime in the next seven days!
Saturday, January 19, 2013
If at first you don't succeed, try 4 more times! That was apparently the philosophy behind Wrong Turn 5, yet another entry in a franchise that is in dire need of a mercy killing. The only audience for this stuff at this point must be some poor, unlucky doofus who blogs while watching awful slasher mov--uh, I mean, whoever has to watch these every week must be the luckiest bastard on the planet! SPOILERS ahead...
A helpful subtitle informs us that the town the mutant hillbillies live near is called Fairlake, and that it was established in 1814, only for the entire population of the town to suddenly vanish 3 years later. Wow, that was a quick movie! 5 killer trees out of 5!!!
Oh no, hold on, there's more. I'm automatically docking this film 1 point for dashing my hopes this early on. And for ripping off the legend of Roanoake for a stupid B-movie. Plus, it just bugs me that---whoa, hey now! Now it's a cheap porn flick! Perhaps I was too quick to remove that point...Aw-bow-chicka-bow-wowwww...
So, uh...hold on...having trouble concentrating on writing. Yeah, so this couple in a tent are making the beast with 2 backs, and someone is walking in the direction of the tent. 3 someones. And all are armed. They burst into the tent, these 3 disfigured stalkers, and Billy, the guy who was making love outta nothin' at all 3 seconds ago, punches the closest stalker in the jaw.
Turns out it was just Billy's friends, messing with the couple. Except for Billy, we don't learn any of their names yet, not even his girlfriend. We do learn that they are in the mountains of West Virginia to attend a music festival called Mountain Man. I guess Burning Man didn't want this movie's stank to spread. A female reporter provides exposition about the Mountain Man Festival, then wanders off as soon as she finishes her report.
Back at the camp, we hear Billy talk about breakfast, which is earth-shattering, then we see a female jogger racing through the woods. The reporter? Someone new? Do I care? Oh, and she's dressed like The Bride from Kill Bill. Mutant cannibals surround her, and she assumes that they're just festival attendees in costumes. She confronts 3 Finger(yup, once again, he's front and center...), and gives him the finger. He chops it off, and decides to keep it.
Screaming, The Un-Bride runs away, and now finds herself facing Pinhead from the Hellraiser films, Doug Bradley in the flesh! What, did he lose a bet? Anyway, he offers to help her when she tells him about her attackers. Yeah. Pull the other leg, Pinhead. Nevertheless, she chooses to believe that he just happened to be waiting for a damsel to rescue.
They scamper a few feet away, and hide behind a shallow incline of bushes, where they watch the mutant cannibals pass right in front of them. After they leave, the old man wraps her hand up, and climbs out of the shallow ditch to act as a lookout. He gets her to follow him, then swings an ax, exposing her intestines to good ol' fresh air. Then, in the best bit so far, he chops of her hand. It lands on the ground, and the fingers make up the "5" in the opening title sequence. This might not be as bad as I thought!
The old man's sons show up, and he orders them to give him "a hand". Heh. One of them even picks up her hand and offers it to him. The older man just walks away, letting the mutants take care of the corpse.
More campsite. We learn that the blond female of the group is named Cruz, and that's it so far for names. A stoner with a guitar regurgitates the nonsense about the mass disappearance of Fairlake's population, except that he claims that a band of cannibal hillbillies slaughtered and ate them all, because of some land dispute. Whatever...just start telling us your freakin' names!
The hillbillies are back at their shack, preparing the jogger for their next meal. Dad walks in, and angrily shows them her wallet and personal belongings, then lectures them about not leaving anything behind that could be traced by investigators. Uh, then they shouldn't have killed a local girl in the first place, right? Logic is this movie's Kryptonite.
Oh, and another thing: Dad refers to them escaping from the hospital in the previous film, and mentions being their father, but then says that he "found them" and took them in. Which is it? And how does Doug Bradley eventually become the old man from the original, who had hair and looked and sounded nothing like him? This is another movie that makes your brain hurt if you think about any of it.
Then we meet Deputy Biggs and his boss, a cute-ish sheriff by the name of Angela. Biggs is going on a trip soon with the sheriff's husband, who just so happens to call as they talk about him. He offers to bring her dinner, since she has to work late. Riveting stuff.
Our campers are now driving to Fairlake to explore, and we finally learn that Cruz is dating Billy. Yay, another character gets a name! As they all chatter about the usual movie nonsense, a figure appears in the middle of the road. They swerve to avoid the person, and slam the car into a tree, destroying the front end.
The 3 guys in the group leave to check on the person they nearly hit, who is now sprawled on the road. They didn't hit him, so why he's down is a mystery. One of them moves in for a closer look, and it's Cannibal Dad, who was playing possum until they got close enough to stab. After one of them is cut on the arm. they start kicking the old man. From the forest, the mutants prepare to kills the guys with arrows.
Fortunately, the sheriff arrives, so the execution is delayed. She gets all 3 of the young men in cuffs with the assistance of Biggs, then also arrests the old man. Then Biggs finds drugs in the crashed car, and Angela calls for another vehicle to assist with the arrest and gathering of evidence. Oh, and she leaves deputy Biggs alone with the vehicle, until they can send someone to tow it in. Well, he's a goner!
Almost immediately after he's left by himself, 3 Finger shoots 2 arrows into the deputy. Then the trio spring from their hiding place, slice off Biggs' ears, and one of them eats one of the ears in front of him. They finally silence his screams by plunging a knife through the top of his head. If their father had been around, he probably would have said something corny, like, "Ears to you!"
At the jail, a local doctor patches up the guy who was stabbed, and advises him to have the injury checked in about 3 weeks. He gets a name: Rick. Yup, the guy who does 1 scene gets a name faster than any other character thus far. Gimme a break!
Cruz panics over the arrest, worrying that it will affect her scholarship. Another female, wearing a sleeveless shirt is named Lita. Progress! Billy decides to be noble, and tells Angela that all of the drugs belonged solely to him. She appears skeptical, but agrees to release the other teens, so long as they don't try to leave the area. Papa hillbilly demands to be set free as well, and Angela reminds him that he cut Billy's arm with a weapon.
Billy watches his friends leave, then settles in for his new life as a drug kingpin. As his buddies all check in at the local motel, Angela runs a fingerprint check on Papa, and quickly discovers that he has a criminal history going back about 30 years. She makes a phone call, and arranges to have a U.S. Marshal pick him up in the morning. Oh, and now even HE has a name: Maynard Odets. At the same time, the teens call about their car, and discover that they'll have to wait until morning to see it.
In town, the dead reporter's film crew worry because she hasn't returned yet. The impatient cameraman tells the young female production assistant that she'll have to do the live festival report herself. He gives her a mike and starts filming before she can argue the matter any further. As the nervous young lady stammers through the intro, 3 Finger walks right past her, staring in awe at all of the random teens dressed like inbred hillbillies.
Maynard's boys use their truck to take down the town's phone lines. From his cell, Maynard just laughs at the sheriff's confusion. Meanwhile, the stoner guy is now named Julian. He arranges for Billy's father to come get them, because he's apparently some influential lawyer. Then, after getting off of the phone, Julian callously suggests that they all still go to the festival. What a giant douche.
The hillbillies then break into the local power plant, and start sabotaging the panels that keep the juice flowing. The night shift employee manning everything sees them on his monitors, and assumes that the trio are just kids in costumes. He goes after them, then tries to back-pedal when he sees their weapons. They swiftly capture him, then hoist him up on ropes to be fried by electrical cables.
As the town goes dark, Maynard laughs again and promises that they will all die by morning. A drunk who was unconscious when Maynard was brought in, requests another cell. Then there's a silly little scene where a girl asks a deputy to help her get into the festival, because she made a "wrong turn". Isn't that clever AND hilarious?
Angela tries to contact Biggs, which she'd need a Ouija board for by now. She tries to hail the other deputies at the festival, and we see that one is busy screwing the girl he met earlier. Cruz leaves the motel, to bring Billy some food. Once outside, she senses the cannibals lurking around her, and quickens her pace.
Julian then decides to leave the motel too, and also visit Billy. As he makes his exit, we see Cruz run into 3 Finger, who stabs her in the abdomen. In a scene lifted right out of a Freddy Krueger film, 3 Finger grabs up the poor girl's entrails, and starts feeding them to her. Nasty when Freddy first did it, nasty today.
Julian arrives safely at the jail, and wonders aloud how he got there ahead of Cruz. Angela wants him to leave, but she agrees that the disappearance of Cruz is troubling. She allows him to remain only until Cruz arrives, at which point both can go back to the motel together. Then Julian quickly fills Billy in on the call to his father.
At the motel, Lita and Gus(Seriously? Our last couple to get names are Lita and Gus???) try out a new sexual position, apparently called Nose-to-Chin. Weirdos. They have a boring chat over whether or not to live together, then Gus proposes to Lita. She rejects him, then heads to the bathroom to take a shower.
Gus stays in bed, then hears a knock at the door. It's one of the cannibals, whom Gus mistakes for someone in a festival costume. He shuts the door, but there's another knock. This time, the trio of killers attack in unison, cut his throat, and drag him outside. After a very brief confrontation between Maynard and Billy, we see Lita trying to hide from the mutants. They nab her anyway. Then Angela's husband, Jason, arrives with the dinner he promised her. There's another man with him, but I didn't catch his name. Big surprise, right?
Gus is still alive, but probably not for long. His feet are tied to a tree stump, and his arms are connected to the chain in the truck. Before he passes out, Gus watches as the killers mangle and smash his feet and legs with sledgehammers. Then they drive him to town, and dump him in front of the jail, where they run him over.
Angela deputizes everyone at the jail, except for Maynard. She then breaks into a nearby hardware store, and steals a gas-powered generator and some gasoline. Back at the jail, they hear a gunshot, and Mike wants to leave. Julian calms him down, and they agree to wait 10 more minutes for the sheriff to return.
Angela, meanwhile, gets a radio working, and contacts a doofus all the was up here, in New Hampshire. She convinces him to get a message to the authorities, until he realizes that her signal is located at the Mountain Man Festival. Assuming that she's pulling his leg, Teddy the stoner assumes that the call is fake. Then another gun goes off, and Teddy suddenly isn't sure. When Angela abandons the radio to see where the shot came from, the generator shuts off, and the radio goes dead.
Mose, the other nameless guy who seemed to be with her husband Jason, fired a shot at Lita, but no one was hurt. Maynard then offers safe passage to the rest if they kill the sheriff for him. No one takes him up on the offer. Billy and Julian then arm themselves, and decide to go looking for Cruz. They find her mangled body several blocks away, then hear 3 Finger cackling near their location. They get ambushed, then knocked out.
When they wake up, they find themselves up Shit Creek. Billy is buried in the ground up to his neck, and Julian is tethered to the ground by a chain around his ankle. 3 Finger then starts up a snow blower, and aims it at Billy's head. He misses the frirst time, but then grinds the head to mush on his second attempt. After that, he quickly shreds Julian apart, sending blood and flesh flying in every direction.
Angela and Mose leave the jail, so that Mose can safely reach the sheriff's truck, and ride to the next town to get help. As he drives away, Mose hits a trap laid out by the cannibals, and gets himself captured. He wakes up as the killers are stuffing him into a metal barrel. They seal it up, then plan to set the room on fire, roasting Mose alive.
Lita is approached by Maynard, who suggests that he'd let her escape if she opened his cell. Then they all hear Mose screaming as he burns, and Angela tries to rescue him. The building explodes, and Angela is knocked off her feet by the blast.
Lita lets Maynard out of his cell during the confusion, and he repays her by stabbing her eyes with a letter opener. Angela bandages her eyes up, and shoots Maynard to slow him down. She has a chance to finish him off, but backs down. She leaves the jail yet again.
This time out, she finds her husband bound and gagged in his car. She opens the door, which triggers a booby trap, and she sees her husband get dissected right before her eyes. She gets captured as Maynard horrifies Lita with stories of torture.
Angela is tied to one of the jail cell walls. Maynard attaches a shotgun to her feet, that will be triggered if she merely steps down. The barrel is duct-taped to her chin and mouth. Maynard and his boys set the jail on fire, and Maynard tells Angela that how she dies is up to her: She can burn to death, or get shot to death. As Maynard climbs into the truck with his brood, he hears a gunshot and he smiles.
Lita is left wandering down the road, staggering and blind, when a vehicle pulls up. She thinks that she's been rescued, but 3 Finger leads her to the truck. THE END
Man, that was bleak! The effects were better than they were in the last couple, so that was an improvement. But how about we stop with the prequels? And add more than just the same 2-3 cannibals into the mix. And give 3 Finger a rest for a movie or 2. I'll be generous here, and give this movie 4 killer trees out of 5...I just want something new next time, that's all.
And what did I learn from watching Wrong Turn 5?
-You can set a movie at a music festival, and never show even a nanosecond of the actual festival.
-You can make a 5-movie franchise with cheap rubber masks, and lots of plaid.
-Death by fire or shotgun isn't much of a choice at all. I choose death by snu-snu!!!!
No idea what my next movie will be, as Netflix is currently giving me a hard time over a billing issue. We'll see what happens. If worse comes to worse, the movie will have to wait an extra week. Hope to see you soon!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Once in a lifetime, you view a piece of art so magnificent, it changes you. It puts life in perspective, and you realize that maybe--just maybe--there is beauty in everything we experience, and wonders to behold around every new corner. It makes your entire existence better for the experience.
Dark House is not any of that. Get ready for SPOILERS...
The movie starts off with many, many images of baby dolls and stuffed animals, all piled up together. It's like an orgy scene out of Toy Story. Then blood begins to spray the dolls, followed by a scream. More blood. And some praying.
Then the story begins "14 years ago", before the Texas Doll Saw Massacre, I guess. a trio of little girls ride their bikes to a creepy old house. One girl mentions that it's a foster home, and all 3 suddenly hear a scary cry coming from inside. One girl spontaneously decides to show off, and enters the house, even as her friends beg her to turn back.
Almost immediately, the girl finds the bloody body of a battered boy. Boo-yah! She finds more corpses further in, and all look like recent kills. Moaning sounds lead her into the kitchen, where she finds another body, and a woman drenched in blood, mangling her hand in a garbage disposal. Sure am glad that I had a big dinner tonight!
The little girl hears something in a nearby pantry, and looks through the keyhole. Another eye stares back out at her, and the girl stumbles back, and hits her head on the kitchen floor. She blacks out.
Then we see a young woman, holding the same pose that the girl was in, but resting on a bed. She wakes up from a nightmare, and scurries to the bathroom, to look for some pills in her medicine cabinet. Later, at a meeting with her shrink, he accuses her of not taking her medications nearly enough for them to be effective. Oh, and her name is Claire.
Claire explains to her doctor that the pills dull her emotions, and that's an obstacle to her becoming an actress. When he suggests that her nightmares are tied into repressed memories of her being in the big, scary murder house, Claire reveals that she's tried to return to the property, but is too frightened to even open the front gate. Oh, and the house has a name as well: Chuck. Nah, just messin' wi'chya...it's known as the Darrode House.
At Claire's acting class, her instructor has 2 students, Bruce and Eldon, improvise a conversation, mostly where they just bust each others' balls. Then a guy named Rudy replaces Bruce, and makes a lot of jokes about how Eldon is whiter than he is. Then Eldon is replaced by a bitchy blond named Ariel, who reveals to the class that Rudy has a crush on Claire.
Claire then replaces Rudy, and she and Ariel nearly have a brawl onstage. Claire is replaced by her friend Lily, who quickly comes to Claire's defense, then announces that the entire exercise is useless bullshit. Amen to THAT! Can we get to something resembling a plot now?
Right on cue, an older gentleman enters the theater, and interrupts the class. Yay! He's played by Jeffrey Combs, the Re-Animator himself, in the flesh! I'm elated until he opens his mouth, and announces with a horrible theatrical voice that his name is "Walston Ray"...Really??? All you did was reverse late actor Ray Walston's name! If you're Walston Ray, then I'm Presley Elvis.
Anyway, back to a movie that lost all of my goodwill in the last 10 seconds. Wally reveals that he specializes in running profitable haunted house attractions, and that he plans to open a new on in the local community. Gosh, I wonder if the Darrode House is the place he's going to use? That's a real brain-stumper.
Of course it's the house he's talking about, and he offers each student $300 for 1 day of work, to "scare up" publicity with 2 reporters who are coming to the attraction for a preview performance. If it generates enough publicity, he'll even pay them to do the entire season. They all turn up their noses at the thought of doing a cheesy funhouse-type job, until Claire convinces them that the prospect of working in front of a live audience every night would be valuable acting experience. Because they're all mindless sheep, the suddenly agree to do it.
That evening, Claire does an internet search for the phrase "dark house", which Wally kept using. She gets varied results, and starts to read up on the tourist attractions. She also watches an old news clip about the massacre, and the on-air reporter claims that there were 7 children killed that day. Seemed like more, but whatever. She scrolls through a series of nasty crime-scene pictures, then is grabbed through the screen by the ghost of garbage-disposal lady. Wait, what was she grabbed with, did the mangled hands grow back?
The group of students all arrive at Darrode House, and just gawk at it at first. Then they go in, even poor Claire, who still hears ghostly children all around her. Inside the house, they encounter a strange Val Kilmer/Johnny Depp hybrid, named Moreton, but he quickly abandons them. This movie is constructed like a Mad Libs game.
Luckily(I guess), Wally shows up. He re-introduces them to Moreton, who is some sort of computer whiz; and they also meet Sam, a female assistant of some sort for Wally. As everyone's getting to know one another, Claire wanders off to look at some of the other rooms on the ground floor. Everywhere she turns, she literally sees ghosts of the past tormenting her poor memory.
When she gets to the kitchen, Wally stops her from doing any further snooping. He gets the group to follow him upstairs, and announces that they are about to enter something called a "Corridor of Blood". It's actually a pretty mundane-looking hallway. Seeing that they all remain unimpressed, Wally dares Rudy to start to walk down the hall.
Soon enough, a clowny mashup of The Joker and Harvey Dent is conjured up. And he has an ax. Rudy taunts him, until they're just about toe-to-toe. Then the clown swings the weapon and de-materializes.
It turns out that he and the other ghosts are state-of-the-art holograms. And they further claim that the holograms are triggered by stress and fear emanating from the patrons.
What a load of gibberish. Wally leads the students to a basement-level control room, where a techie named Harrison is monitoring the rooms of the house, as well as tweaking the scary holograms. He reveals that he openly dislikes his boss, and Wally quickly ushers everybody out of the room. Oh, and Claire is still hearing murder and mayhem in her head.
She stops in her bedroom to calm down once more, and has a vision of the crazy killer whipping a child on the bed. The ghost seems to be aware of her, so Claire grabs a sheet, and covers the mirror.
There's a goofy, melodramatic scene, in which Wally talks to the students about how their job of scaring folks is both noble and cathartic. Now, I usually love watching Combs chewing the scenery in any movie, but honestly...he makes me cringe in this one. I don't know why, but I just can't get into his character at all. Geoffrey Rush did it better in House on Haunted Hill.
Oops, now we're back in the control room with Harrison. The computer program controlling the holographic effects is bugging out, and the whole system is glitching up! Somehow, a virus has infected the program.
As Harrison stares at his monitors, one screen fills up with a pair of eyes staring out at poor Harry. A face forms, and it speaks his name. Dumbass leans closer, and the monitor explodes, sending shards into Harrison's face and throat, and killing him in an instant.
Wally meets with the pair of reporters(one male, one female) doing the article on the Darrode house, and he fixes them drinks while they all talk. The male reporter implies that Wally is in real financial trouble if the Darrode attraction is a flop. Then the female reporter questions the decision to exploit the massacre of several children as entertainment. Wally points out that she's doing the same thing to sell issues of her magazine.
Then the preview tour commences. Wally watches from his office with his assistant Sam, as the journalists meet their "tour guides" in the front hall. Claire and Moreton introduce them to "The Shroud", who looks like a magician at a birthday party. He promises to frighten them in extreme ways, then he becomes a swarm of bats.
Wally and Sam then witness all of their monitors go to static as the clock strikes midnight. At the same time, the reporters are brought to "The Corridor of Blood", which is the only way to get to "The 6 Rooms of Doom"...which means I don't know what.
A demonic woman appears at the opposite end of the hallway, with some elongated, funky fingernails. Moreton whips out a comically huge crucifix and approaches the she-demon, and she impales him with her fingernails. More than once, in fact. Thinking that it's just part of the act, Claire leads the journalists past his corpse. An unseen entity drags the body into a room, the door slams, and there's a brief, terrified scream.
In the next area, Eldon is playing a demented mortician named Thaddeus Payne. the "corpse" on his slab has its eyes and mouth sewn shut, apparently to keep the evil soul within from escaping. Eldon removes the stitches from the mouth of the body, and several entities comprised of smoke and light fly around the room. Claire and the reporters exit the room, while Eldon cackles like a loon.
As Wally continues to fret about not being able to watch how the tour is going, Claire leads the reporters into a literal slaughterhouse area. Various body parts are hanging from hooks, with the severed heads begging to be rescued. the butcher is in the room as well, but his back is turned. The killer finally decides to pursue them, and they beat a hasty retreat.
The next area has a prison cage and police tape. Claire warns the pair not to step over the tape, and a group of savage vampire women lunge at them when they do. Eh, kind of tame after everything else so far.
Next up is a torture chamber. A guy is strapped inside an iron maiden, several victims are tied to chairs, and a woman is stretched out on a rack. The torturer gives the reporters the ability to vote on the fate of the one in the iron maiden, by giving a simple "thumb's up" or "thumb's down" to closing the spikes on them. The female reporter votes to spare the guy, so naturally, the torturer goes with the other vote, and kills his victim.
In the following room, Lily plays the role of some kind of clairvoyant or witch, named Zimba. She instructs them to step onto a pentagram on the floor. When they do as she asked, she predicts that they will both die in terrible ways, and then she vanishes.
Female demons surround the pentagram, and begin to dance and shapeshift. At the same time, the computer security program crashes, and announces a system failure. No big deal.
I guess it really wasn't, because Claire leads the journalists into yet another room. This time, they watch as a mad doctor experiments on a patient using corrosive acid to open them up. After the acid tears open the man's stomach and kills him, Claire gives the male reporter a flashlight, so that he can examine the wound up close.
As soon as he does, the doctor splashes a beaker of the acid all over his face. Claire realizes that it isn't a trick, and screams at the female reporter to find some staff to help. The reporter runs out crying, while Claire just stares helplessly at the dead man next to her on the floor.
The female reporter encounters a horde of spirits at a staircase, and tumbles down the stairs, snapping her neck. Rudy sees it happen, and leaps off of the couch. At the same time, Claire's screams bring the other students to her location. Everyone helpfully points out that holograms can't harm people, so Claire provides a compelling counterpoint: "Look at his face!"
Back at the stairs, Wally fantasizes about how much publicity these new deaths will bring to his tourist trap. The other group is still upstairs, because the torturer hologram now has Bruce in the iron maiden. The torturer lets them vote for his fate, but then just slams the device closed, killing Bruce with no warning. Then the killer turns into Miss Darrode, right before disappearing again.
They run downstairs before anything else can appear, and accuse Wally of being the mastermind behind all of the murders. Then they discover than none of their phones work. Amazing how those things always malfunction in these movies...
Eldon rushes for the front door, but it won't budge. The next enemy shows up behind him, though...a scary-looking knight, ready to bash Eldon's head in with a mace. As Eldon continues to evade the crazed attacker, Claire and Rudy try to force a door to open, but it's sealed tight.
Unfortunately, Eldon mistakenly assumes that he can win in a fight with the knight, so he grabs a sword mounted on the wall. The knight obliterates Eldon's head with his mace, leaving just a neck-stump geysering blood. As cool as it sounds, the CGI is pretty bad.
Sam grabs Ariel's hand, and urges her to abandon the rest. She leads the girl to a bathroom, claiming that a window in there is always unlocked. Why would Sam just let her escape? These are literally the 2 most under-developed characters in the movie. Oh, it turns out that Sam wants to "do" Ariel. Classy.
Claire tells the rest that the deaths are being orchestrated by Miss Darrode's angry spirit, but none of them are listening. Wally, in the meantime, is angrily pounding on the locked bathroom door and cursing at Sam. Is there still a script at this point? Was there EVER one?
Ariel helps Sam to open the window, but it slams shut again. Then a shrieking succubus appears in the tub, and coughs a steady jet of green smoke at them. As the room begins to fill up with the smoke, both women begin to choke on it.
Wally then remembers some sort of back-up fusebox on the second floor. Claire, upset that she's not the center of attention for 10 seconds, tells the others that she was in the house the day that the massacre happened.
That unleashes The Wrath of Lily, who blames Claire directly for all of the killings. Wally disagrees, claiming that Harris is behind it all. Oh, and get a brief glimpse of Sam and Ariel gasping for breath on the bathroom floor.
On the next floor, Wally reveals that the second control panel is behind a painting at the end of a long hallway. Rudy volunteers to open and disable it, and is told to remain calm, so as not to incur the violent nature of the holograms. Right, because they can detect your fear. I forgot about that entirely logical revelation.
Anyway, Rudy begins his journey to the end of the hall. Of course, a holographic monster shows up behind him. It's that scary clown, missing one half of his face. And holding the same monstrously big axe. Not a bad make-up job, to be honest.
At first, Rudy has no idea that he's being stalked. Until, naturally, everyone at the other end of the hall begin to yell and scream at him. Nice way to keep him calm.
After Rudy unscrews the panel in the wall, he glances back and spots the clown. Just as he starts to loosen the red wires, the clown throws his weapon, planting it in Rudy's spine. Then the lights go out. Well, at least if the power's out, then the monsters are no longer a threat, right?
As they stand around in the dark, Wally remembers another open window in the attic. Lily decides that she's going up to the attic by herself, since she no longer trusts Claire. She leaves Claire and Wally, who wander back out to the first floor staircase, as she starts toward the attic.
As soon as they split up, the electricity comes back on. Lily has a brief fright provided by Moreton's body. Then, as she starts her ascent, a hulking soldier shows up in the room. Liliy has just enough time to realize that "war is Hell", before the soldier shoots her to death.
As he begins to unlock the door to the control room, Wally is dragged away, kicking and screaming, by 3 grotesque lunatics. Claire flees into the control room, and uses an axe that she finds to destroy all of the computers and other machinery. The attackers come after her, but vanish as she destroys the computers.
Claire wanders the house, and her memories seem to be returning. When she gets to the attic, Claire sees a ghostly re-enactment of a torture session between Miss Darrode and a group of young kids sitting in a circle. She forces them, one by one, to recite biblical passages, then strikes each reader with a whip.
Then, Miss Darrode gets behind Claire, and accuses her of being possessed by a demon, and then killing the children herself. Claire runs away, and hides in the kitchen pantry. Deja vu, anyone?
She has another flashback, this time recalling that she convinced the other children to rebel against the abuse by burning their bibles. They build a fire, then each child takes a turn throwing a bible into the blaze. They don't realize it yet, but Miss Darrode is right behind them, watching and waiting.
When the last book is flung into the fire, Darrode screams, making all of the children jump. They all run deeper into the house, with the exception of Claire, who hides in that often-seen pantry. From there, Claire hears all of the other children screaming as they are being hacked to death.
Then the noise abruptly comes to an end. Claire cautiously sneaks up to the door, and peers through the keyhole. The psychotic old woman tries to draw her out of hiding, telling Claire that a demon by the name of Juvaar has possessed her young body.
Then Darrode sees all of the blood on her, drops a butcher knife into the sink, and turns on the garbage disposal. Remember this scene at the start of the movie? Well, we get to watch Darrode grind her hands up a second time. Anyone hungry?
Back in the present, Claire pleads with Darrode's ghost, accusing her of being the only sinner all those years ago. She faces the angry spirit, and challenges her, causing the ghost to vanish after being stabbed with her own knife.
The cops find Claire later, sitting on the kitchen floor, and smacking the knife into the floor. The cops decide that the trauma of being back in the house, added to perhaps missing her meds, most likely caused her to kill her classmates and the other haunted house workers. Heck, they even found her fingerprints on every weapon!
So that's that, right? Welllllll...not exactly. Claire is tucked away at a funny farm, and we meet 2 new characters, a young couple, and they're about to enter the Darrode house. Remember how Claire was hiding in the pantry during the massacre? Yeah, well, this character was the little girl who entered the house after her friends goaded her into it.
Now she's a young woman, and she's facing her worst fears by entering the house. Sound familiar? As she describes finding the bodies, an ominous black cloud floats past the couple, and heads upstairs.
She starts to relax, and the happy couple kiss. Then all of the windows and doors slam shut, and they scream. The final scene shows Claire in her padded cell, saying, "I didn't do it, I didn't do it!" THE END
Apologies for how long this one took. I've been overwhelmed with medical stuff lately, and it's been time-consuming and stressful. Hopefully I can catch up at some point, but I may just have to put stuff like this on hold, until I can get my health issues in order.
Anyway, enough about me. Back to Dark House. Much more entertaining than it looked, I have to say. Sure, it's a ripoff of House On Haunted Hill and Thirteen Ghosts, but it was still goofy fun. I'll give it 3.5 killer trees out of 5. If they had renamed the Walston Ray character, the score would be higher.
And what did I get out of watching Dark House?
-Holograms are harmless creations of light. Except when they kill people. Which they can't do. Anyone else confused?
-Abandoning a college course to work on a haunted house attraction just seems like the smartest decision you'll ever make!
-Kitchen pantries are like panic rooms for poor people.
Next up:Wrong Turn 5...Wait, they had 5 of those things?