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Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Wraith

Well, here we go again! This week, we have a pre-"Winning!" Charlie Sheen as a mysterious drag racer with a score to settle. Buckle up, adjust your seats, and let's get revved up for The Wraith! SPOILERS around the curve....

Okay, so the movie opens up with a bunch of lights streaking across the desert horizon at night. They're moving at such a high speed that we see them slice through cacti and melt street signs as they pass through them. As the strange beams collide at one central point in the desert, a bright light flashes, and a black sports car appears out of thin air. A driver, clad in black leather and wearing a helmet to cover his face, manifests next to the car.

Then we get a cheesy 1980s rock song, along with the credits. Wow, this thing has a pretty decent cast! Besides Sheen, there's Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, and my favorite target of mockery, Clint "How the Hell did I wind up being the uglier brother?" Howard. This could actually be a moderately fun movie to watch!

Now we switch perspectives, as we meet a young couple driving down the dark road. A handful of other cars pull in behind them, and the boyfriend, George, seems pretty rattled by their sudden appearance. His girlfriend screams when he hits a bump, and they skid to a halt in front of a barrier in the road.

The "barrier" was more vehicles. Yikes! A thug with long hair slowly approaches George, and one of his cronies identifies him only as "Packard". Nice name. Packard and his gang intimidate the couple, insisting that George must race his vehicle against Packard's before he can leave. Oh, and if he loses the race, Packard's gang will take the car. If George attempts to drive away before the race is complete, Packard promises to assault the girlfriend.

Clint Howard's character, Rughead(swear to God, look it up at the IMDB....), explains the rules to the racers, and off they go. This time, the song in the background is sung by Ozzy! The cars swerve around each other on the road, and Packard forces George's car into a guardrail. As George tries to catch his breath, Packard indicates that he better finish the race...or else!

At the end of the race, George angrily tells Packard that if he had raced fairly, then George would have won. Packard just responds that he and the girlfriend are lucky not to be hurt, then orders them to walk back to town. He pulls out a switchblade to put an end to the argument.

The next day, a stranger named Jake roars into town on a motorcycle. He quickly meets local hottie Keri, who offers to show him to the local dam, which is apparently a good thing. Unfortunately for them, Packard pulls up. Jake rides away, while Keri answers Packard's's questions about the stranger. Packard seems to think that he somehow knows the guy, but he isn't sure.

Packard drives Keri to the damned dam, where the local teens apparently like to sit around and get tans, and warns Keri that she "belongs" to him. Jake is already there, and another kid sees a series of long scars on his back. The kid introduces himself as Billy, and he notices that Jake seems quite interested in Keri.

Billy admits that he also finds Keri to be quite beautiful, then mentions that she used to date Jamie, Billy's brother. But then Jamie was murdered, and Packard put the moves on Keri. Both Keri and Packard notice that Jake is watching her, and Packard seems to recognize him again.

Then we get a flashback: Keri and Jamie are being intimate, when Packard's gang breaks in on the couple. They murder Jamie, while making Keri watch. The scars on Jake/Jamie are from the weapon that Packard used. Okay, sure, but why did he come back looking like Charlie Sheen???

Anyway, end of flashback. Now we meet a tougher-looking punk by the name of Skank. Packard gets up to have a chat with Skank and his sidekick Gutterboy, and Skank laughingly says that the hangout is a prime location for "duckbutter". Charming. Something tells me that I wouldn't want to smear that on a bagel...

Packard(or "Pack", as Skank refers to him) asks the punks to do a little bit of surveillance on Jake. If he tries to approach Keri, Pack wants to be informed. When Skank hesitates, Pack threatens him with the knife.

Keri and Jake find a pair of inflatable rafts, and decide to float together in the cold water. Keri apologizes for the way Pack drove him off, but Jake doesn't seem to mind. Pack does though, and he yells at her to get back on dry land. Before she drifts back to the sand, she suggests that Jake could meet up with her at the burger joint where she works.

At "Big Kay's Burgers", they're actually playing a good song: Addicted to Love, by Robert Palmer. See? A movie with that song on the soundtrack can't be all bad. The waitresses are all on rollerskates, and they seem to like the song as much as I do. They're all also wearing outfits that would make a Hooter's girl blush, which is not so bad either.

Billy is busy grilling up burgers and hot dogs, and he seems to be getting swamped with orders. At some point, he and Keri slip out the back, but Pack's gang of hot rodders block their exit. While Pack orders Keri to get into his car, Rughead is seen getting jittery in the background. His hair is a mile high, it's like he's channeling Eraserhead or something. Just think: this movie is old enough to exist in a time when Clint Howard(and Ron, too) had lots and lots of hair. Amazing.

Skank's buddy Oggie threatens Billy, but Pack puts an end to it. When he asks Billy where he and Keri were going, and Billy insists that he was just driving her home. When Pack threatens to take Billy's car in a drag race, Jake shows up in his supernatural vehicle.

They all decide to forget about Billy's car, and take Jake's instead. Good idea, but he races away in a cloud of dust. They all chase after him, even Billy, and find the car a short distance down the road.

As usual, Rughead is the official referee. He explains the rules once again, and Jake revs his engine in agreement with the terms of the competition. Pack decides to take part in the race as well, and it begins.

They travel at excessive speeds, threatening more than once to collide into each other. The curves in the road make driving that much more challenging, and both drivers seem to struggle to keep on the road. Then Jake's car pulls waaaay ahead, drawing the attention of a couple of cops.

With the cops now on his tail, Oggie increases his speed. Too late to stop, he sees the black car blocking the road ahead of him, and he swerves to avoid it. Oggie crashes into the other car, seems to pass right through it, then his own car rockets down an embankment and explodes.

The burning wreckage is so fierce, it can probably be seen from space. As the smoke from the car wreck gets thicker, Jake's car reappears on the road again, then drives away. Then the cops arrive on the scene and call for paramedics. When one cop asks if the victim is a local kid, another one replies, "Used to be..." Heh.

A homicide detective named Loomis is called to investigate the accident. I wonder if he had an older brother who lived in Haddonfield? Anyway, he confronts Packard and his group with angry accusations, while Jake watches from a cliff high above the scene.

Loomis tries to get the group to tell him who the other driver was, but no one will admit to anything. A paramedic finds an interesting sight though...Oggie's eyes look they were burned out of their sockets, but his corpse has no other damage from the explosion.

Loomis promises the teens that he'll be issuing arrest warrants to question them further, and leaves the scene as swiftly as he arrived. Jake remains at his vantage point, but a metal brace on his right arm suddenly glows, then vanishes. Packard asks Rughead to make some alterations to the engine of his car, then he finds Keri crying.

He brings out the switchblade yet again, and asks Keri why she was in Billy's car. When she tells him that Billy was just taking her home early, he squeezes his hand around the blade until he bleeds, then licks some of the blood off of his other hand. It'll make a cute story to tell their grandkids someday.

Pack and his, uh, pack head back to their garage to work on those engine mods. As they work on various parts, Jake arrives with a funky-looking shotgun. Rughead sees part of his face behind the visor and freaks out, then Jake starts shooting at the various cars.

He makes his way through the room, firing rounds at each vehicle he passes, and generally causing a lot of chaos. When he reaches Pack, he aims the barrel right at the gang leader's forehead, then decides to shoot past him instead. A series of small fires start, but the assailant vanishes before their eyes.

Loomis drives out to an airplane graveyard, to see a guy named Redd. He asks to speak to Skank and Gutterboy, and Redd happily obliges. When Skank sees the cop, he asks to see a warrant.

While Loomis interviews the thugs, we discover that Skank's real name is Maurice. I'll bet some people call him the space cowboy, while some call him the gangster of love. When Loomis leaves, Skank takes a swig from a bottle labelled as "Hydraulic Fluid". That explains a lot about his character.

Loomis grabs lunch at the burger joint, where he sees Pack pull into the parking lot. He calls in for back-up, then we see Pack and his group discuss the mystery driver. Despite a day of searching, none of them know where he keeps his car. After shouting over to Keri that he'll return to pick her up, Pack finds a note on his steering wheel. Jake wants to have a meeting.

The hot rodders all follow their leader, and Loomis does likewise. They all get to the rendezvous point, as do a few police vehicles, and Jake arrives right on their heels. Skank wants to challenge Jake in a race this time, and Jughead...uh, I mean "Rughead"...insists on looking under Jake's hood before the race. The engine glows with little bolts of electricity surging throughout, and Rughead looks perplexed.

As the race begins, 2 squad cars arrive. A chase ensues, and we discover that Skank wears fuzzy pink socks. I shit you not. The 80s was a very strange decade, it would seem, a time of muscle cars and pink socks.

Jake pulls ahead, and blocks the road again. This guy only knows one move. Skank's car flips over, and we get a second fireball. Also, another metal piece aqppears at the crash site, glows, then goes away just as quickly as it appeared.

The cop cars are still in hot pursuit, and they're chasing the black car right into a roadblock. When Jake stops, the officers behind the barricade lift up their guns. Loomis tells everyone to wait until Jake makes a move.

The car barrels through the police cars like they're made of tissue paper. Loomis and the remaining vehicles resume the chase, but he has a good head start. There's a boom of thunder, a bright light, and the car vanishes from sight. The cops pull over and just gape at the scene, and the light eventually fades away.

After work that night, Keri sees a streak of light move across the sky, which she assumes to be a falling star. She decides to walk home, and Jake pulls up on his motorcycle. Skank's pal Gutterboy spots them, and another chase begins. Rinse, lather, repeat. I never thought I'd miss a good ol' fashioned foot chase, but there you have it. On the other hand, they could do a decent remake of this, if they added some gore and made the car sequences like the ones in the Fast and Furious franchise. Say that last part 10 times fast!

Skank and Gutterboy swerve into several bins of trash, and Gutterboy turns into a crybaby. Skank orders him to load a shotgun, and they head through a tunnel. On the other side, Gutterboy accidentally shoots out Skank's steering column, and the car veers out of control. It flips over, but doesn't blow up. Wow, some variety. Skank and Gutterboy agree not to tell Packard that they let Jake get away with Keri.

Jake gets Keri to her house in one piece, and they share a kiss. Pack is watching from down the street, and he looks pretty pissed off. Then Jake tells Keri that guys like Packard prey on weakness, and that you have to stand up to them. They make a date for the following night, then Keri goes into her house.

As Jake rides down the street, Pack follows from a distance. He sees the bike turns into a spark of red light and fly away, and watches in stunned silence. Then he tracks down Skank and Gutterboy, and asks why they weren't following Keri. Before they can respond, Jake shows up in the black car, and rams into Pack's rear bumper. The impact is hard enough  to send him sailing through several yards, before he crashes at a graveyard.

Jake looms in front of his car, and he and Pack stare each other down. Then the 2 punks show up, and Packard orders them to shoot Jake until he's dead. The gun's barrel explodes, sending them sailing to the ground a few feet away. Jake is unharmed.

Jake is also gone, and Packard approaches the spot where he was standing. He sees that the headstone has his own name on it, and he freaks out. He and the punks beat a hasty retreat.

Back at the garage, Pack is busy screwing some blond girl. Loomis bursts in with a warrant, and Packard is placed under arrest. Before he leaves, Loomis throws some clothes at the naked girl.

Jake picks up Keri for their date, and they go to a secluded body of water. Keri tells him that she had a dream about Jamie last night evening, and that Jake reminds her of her dead lover. Then he has a memory of their last night together before he died, and they end up having cold dam sex. Or is that "dam cold sex"? Either way, they're at the dam, it's cold, and they're screwing. If you ever wanted to see Sherilyn Fenn do a nude scene in her prime, this is pretty much it.

At the Sheriff's office, Loomis has Pack and his buddies hanging out. Loomis cuts out a bunch of paper dolls and decapitates them with his scissors, while he tells Pack and his gang that they're going to die either at the hands of the vigilante biker, or in prison. The others start to cry and moan, but Pack just stares at the cop. Then we see Jake bring Keri home, where they kiss and plan to go out again.

When Packard and his crew are finally allowed to leave the sheriff's office, they return to the garage. Pack leaves to find Keri, and they guys grumble about her when Pack isn't around to hear it. Oh, and Rughead tells the other guys that he's leaving town, before the mysterious driver kills him too. They care about as much as I do. But before he leaves, he explains what a wraith is.

Rughead sees the black car almost as soon as he leaves the garage in his pickup. Jake hurtles into the garage at breakneck speed, ramming into the 2 punks so hard that the building blows to smithereens. Well, at least that murder was slightly different!

Rughead watches as the explosion forms a mushroom cloud, and a lone tire rolls out. The killer car drives out of the smoke, but passes him. Damn, I was kind of hoping his death was a sure thing.

The cops arrive, and Rughead tells Loomis that he saw the whole thing. Then he also relates the story about the night that Jamie was murdered, and his belief that Jamie is back as a wraith, a sort of vengeance demon, in Buffyspeak. Rughead starts to cry, and Loomis takes pity on the kid, telling him to go home and hide until the killer is caught. Another weird piece of metal glows and vanishes at the garage.

Back in the restaurant, Loomis decides to ask Billy some more questions about his deceased brother. During the scene, watch Randy Quaid fix himself a cup of's a damned riot. He pours about half a container of sugar into the cup. He also learns that the night Jamie was murdered, Keri was found in a different location, wrapped in a blanket and suffering from memory loss.

Keri goes to work with Jake, and tells him that she's not sure that she can confront Pack on her own. Then Jake tells her that Pack knows who he is, and that his time to confront the killer and set things right is nearly over. She STILL doesn't get all the hints and foreshadowing!

Packard sees them together, and waits for Jake to leave before he makes his presence known. Then he tries to literally carry Keri(heh) away over his shoulder, in spite of a crowd of witnesses being there. Billy hears the commotion and tries to stop Pack, but gets himself beaten up for his troubles.

Pack tells Keri that he's taking her to California, and she finally tells him off. He gets sick of her insults, so he pulls the car over to the side of the road, then threatens to kill her. She calls his bluff, and he realizes that he's no longer as intimidating as he once was. Then the black car shows up.

Packard vows to finish what he started with Keri, then he's off to engage in his final race. Pack starts out strong, but Jake's supernatural vehicle is too much for him. They both keep passing each other, until Jake's car suddenly lurches forward with surprising speed.

The local cops soon get involved, and Loomis wants in on the action. A truck hauling cars appears up ahead, and the racers cause a crash that slows down the police officers. Well, all but 2 of them, at least.

With their speed soon becoming dangerous on a ludicrously insane level, Pack spots the leather-clad biker on the road in his path. He hits the figure, and his car, as you probably already guessed, explodes. Keri hears the blast from wherever the hell she is, but sees nothing.

One final metal brace appears, then the cops get to the scene. Packard's body is hanging half out of the frame of his car, but he appears unscorched, like the others. Another cop points out that there's no second body, and wants to set up another roadblock. Loomis refuses, telling him that the vendetta is over now that Packard is dead, and there won't be any other weird vehicle deaths.

Jake meets Keri in front of her home, and she watches as he transforms from the leather driver back into Jake. She finally knows his true name, and they embrace. Then he promises to come back to be with her, and drives away.

He meets up with Billy one last time, and gives him the magic car. As Jake rides into the night on his motorcycle, Billy suddenly knows the truth and begins to cry and call out to his brother. Then Loomis sees Keri hop onto Jake's motorcycle, and does nothing to stop them. THE END

This was an odd choice. It was cheesy, yet somehow very easy to sit through. And Sherilyn Fenn. And Clint Howard in all of his Clint Hardling glory. I think this might be THE most 80s movie I've ever seen. It's some kind of genius-level cheese at work here. My brain could actually explode after this. This may just be the drugs and porn talking, but I'm giving this one a rare SIX out of 5.

And what did The Wraith teach me?

-Well, on the day I decide to stop doing this, I'll need some serious counseling.

-Angels and devils drive cars and bikes from the future. That glow and sparkle.

-Kids in the desert have no parents, and just raise themselves.

Next up is Miner's Massacre. Sounds a little more traditional than this one was. See you next week!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hey all...

So, I was browsing the 'net today, just sort of feeling lazy, when I saw something interesting on the io9 website...Apparently, there's a young teen named Emily Deprimio, and she's a horror movie buff. The interesting part? Well, she and her father are attempting to crowdfund their own feature-length, 80's-style slasher movie! Anyway, you can look at the details over on KickStarter, but I just thought I'd pass it along. Let's hope it gets made!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan

If I had ten bucks for every time my Netflix movies were delayed, I'd be a bilionaire by now. Luckily, there are so many ridiculously obscure horror flicks on the internet, I always have a back-up plan. This week's "back-up plan" is also a nod to the folks who've asked me to do one of these for a SyFy(I feel dumber just typin g it that way....) "original". So, get ready to sit there in stunned silence as we watch Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan. If a SPOILER falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

Anyway, the story starts out with a small group of hunters returning to a farm. A helpful subtitle lets us know that we're seeing Minnesota, circa 1894. Oh, these guys aren't hunters, they're lumberjacks. Well yeah, Paul Bunyan, makes sense. I guess the axes they've got hoisted over their shoulders was a big hint as well. Hey, cut me a break! Been a long week.

Where were we? Oh yeah, lumberjacks returning home. One of the younger ones suggests that it might be wise to slow down, to give the trees time to replenish. His boss, played by Dan Haggerty himself(Grizzly!!), tells him that the house-building industry is booming, and that they need to cut down 20 acres the next day, just to meet the demand.

Grizzly asks the cook when dinner will be ready, and he proudly displays a huge animal that he's been roasting for them. The boss tastes it, seems pleased, then runs off to take a dump in the woods. The cook has the young guy gather the other lumberjacks for dinner.

The boss returns, and finds all of his people slaughtered. Heads removed, limbs torn off, bodies of the men and their wives strewn about...Needless to say, he's shocked by the sight. Then a mutated guy dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt steps into view, and he looks pretty mad.

The boss runs away from the massacre, and manages to get to the saw mill. Sadly, so does the killer. Despite the lumberjack holding up his arms to surrender, the mutant pushes him into the gigantic buzzsaw, first destroying his arm, then splitting him right down the middle. Then the big, red, cartoony titles come up.

Grizzly Adams and a member of the Estevez family are the only recognizable names in this one, and one of them is already out of the film.. Beyond them, I have no idea who any of the other actors are. Yeah, THIS won't be torture to watch! They couldn't even get anyone from Stargate or Eureka for this one. Not a good sign...

Beyond those names, we just see trees. Lots and lots of trees. Man, I can never seem to escape the curse of the "tree movie", can I? Got a hanker for a hunk o' trees? Well, get your fill while it lasts, movie viewers. Wow, it took 3 guys to write the screenplay. Is that sad, or is it REALLY REALLY sad?

Phew, the credits are finally over. We see a man named Hoke tearing a bulletin about a redneck militia group off of the sign where he works. It's some kind of forest camp for troubled teens, like an Outward Bound-type of scenario. Great, bring on the stereotypes! Hey, didn't the Sleepaway Camp franchise cover this idea? It took 3 dudes to rip off another franchise?

Anyways, Hoke meets a shrink named Sammi, and they get along about as well as the Tea Party and Reality do. Then they both meet the small group of teens they'll be taking out to the woods. There are only 4 seen so far, so this might be mercifully short.

There's Marty, a black kid with an arrest for robbery; a brunette female named Trish, who assaulted a cop; a drug trafficker named Zach, who is a tall, lean white kid; and an Hispanic girl, Rosa, who was charged with contempt of court, and sentenced to the program as punishment. A car pulls up, and a man named Ray drops off his daughter Claire as well. She was found guilty of drunk driving.

Ray notices that Hoke is wearing a firearm, and questions the necessity of it, but "Sarge" Hoke brushes his concerns aside. While Ray and Sammi look on, Hoke makes the teens stand at formation, yells at them, then marches them onto a small bus. Ray looks pretty troubled, but Sammi assures him that she'll make sure that Claire is safe.

During the drive into the mountains, Hoke calls Sammi a "cube rat", then interrogates her about her experience outdoors. Despite her relaxed demeanor and smile, Hoke refuses to be polite, and he talks like a robot, clipping every word as if the conversation pains him. What a douche. If Paul Bunyan kills him early on, I'm awarding an automatic point this week.

The kids are also getting to know each other. They asks Marty what he stole, considering that he looks like Steve Urkel when he wears his glasses. They were right to peg him as a geek, because he hacked into a government computer system, then stole around 11 million dollars.

As they talk more, Hoke calls them "stumps", and robotically orders them to face forward. When Sammi asks him what a "stump" is, he replies that it stands for "Stupid Teenagers Under My Protection". Then he further pisses everyone off, when he presents and lights up a cigar. Please, movie, kill him soon.

They cross a bridge, then come to a stop at a gate. While Hoke unlatches the gate, a strange old man watches from a hiding place in the trees. He looks like the MadTV version of Kenny Rogers. If you've never seen that character, look it up on Youtube, it's hilarious. I'll wait.

*tune for Jeopardy plays*

Ready? It was funny, right? Good, then let's continue.

They finally get to a sprawling, one level house, and Hoke uses a stick to draw a line on the ground. He makes them stand at the line again, then tells them that his camp is their last option before going to jail. He promises to transform them from STUMPS into trees, then Sammi encourages them to enjoy camping out.

After ordering the kids to pitch tents in the designated area, Hoke pulls the doctor off to the side. She tells him that she won't be sharing a tent with him, and he responds that he'll be sleeping in his cabin, while she sleeps outside with the teenagers. You know, I'll bet that they keep this guy alive out of sheer spite.

A deer is seen grazing, and a brown bear wants it for dinner. As the bear prepares to make a move, Paul Bunyan sneaks in, then yanks the bear up by the neck. He snaps the creature's collar bone, then finishes it off with a large hunting knife. Bambi watches the encounter, then scampers away to play with Thumper.

Back outside the cabin(in the woods...Ha! The joke lives on!), the campers get a small fire going. Sitting around the fire, they discuss the various incidents that brought them together. Rosa gets the ball rolling, sharing that she was a witness to a shooting, but defied the court by refusing to testify in court. She has a young daughter, and was worried about retaliation.

Zack goes next, after insulting Rosa with lame pick-up lines. He admits that he was very skilled at acquiring and selling drugs, and seems more disturbed by his current loss of profits than anything else. Trish then tells the group that she was in a bar fight, and lashed out at a police officer afterwards, because she felt sexually harassed.

Claire goes next, with some encouragement from Sammi. She was arrested because she was in a collision with another drunk driver. It was the other driver's third offense, but her lawyer had advised her to plead guilty. The other teens express outrage over what happened to Claire, though Sammi reminds them that she still drove while drunk.

The crazy coot who witnessed the bear attack then pops up, ranting about trees. Sarge Hoke comes outside to investigate the ruckus, and identifies the old man as "Meeks", the local kooky hermit. Meeks rambles on some more, makes the kids jump, then runs back into the woods. Hoke announces that he's getting them up at 5, then orders them to bed.

True to his word, Hokes wake up the group early the next morning.  Before he does though, Trish wakes up Zack for some topless socializing. Sammi finds them, and lets them know that if it happens again, they'll both be forced to head back to court for a stiffer sentence. Heh, "stiffer".

Hoke shows up soon after, shouting everyone out of their slumber. He promises them a grueling off-road hike, then heads back into his home. Sammi follows him in, admires the furnishings, and requests that he leave the gun behind. Somebody might want to remind her what movie she's in, because Paul Bunyan doesn't look like a prime candidate for a counseling session.

The Sarge lines everyone up, then gets them to march in place. He berates everyone except for Rosa, and tells her that her attitude might be a benefit. Then he starts them up with a drill song, and off they go!

The march soon turns into a run, and it's mostly uphill. They navigate over rocks and around tree trunks, with Hoke yelling most of the way. He even threatens to abandon any stragglers. Hey, wasn't there a killer Paul Bunyan monster somewhere in this movie? Did he go home?

Meeks did. He's seen hiking around the rough terrain, giggling and gibbering all the way to his house. Yup, gibbering. The closed captions even agreed with me, so nyah nyah nyah! Oh, and apparently Meeks plays with himself, as we see him hovering over aq chessboard on his front porch. Wait, what did you think I meant?

After crossing a "river"(really just a stream, by the look of it), Hoke finally lets them all take a break for lunch. While he eats his sandwich with Sammi, the teens moan and gripe about the exercise. Zack decides that he's going to attempt to walk back to civilization, and urges the others to go along. After he leaves, Marty follows to try to coax him back.

Zack gets to a clearing, then quickly realizes how big the mountain is, when he sees the hillside covered in trees. Marty catches up, and they both discover a pile of large bones. It's the site where those loggers cooked and ate Babe, Paul Bunyan's big blue ox. Zack finds the skull of the beast, and he impulsively decides to remove and take one of the horns as a souvenir.

Zack hoists the horn over his shoulders and they return to the group, unaware that Paul Bunyan had put a cross at the site, in tribute to his pet's death. Gee, I sure hope he doesn't mind a little grave desecration...I'm sure it'll be fine. Gigantic mutant lumberjacks with a taste for blood don't tend to hold grudges.

Zack shows off his find, and the girls all suggest that he leave it behind. Then Hoke sees it, and tells him that he can't keep it. As Hoke leaves them to clean up their lunch mess, Zack hides the horn in his backpack, and it doesn't fit, but he takes it anyway. Yes, because no one could possibly notice a large, sharp horn poking out of the top of your backpack.

At a place called Mel's Lumberjack Saloon, Ray stops in to visit the bartender, an old man named Budd. Budd tries to sell him a drink, but Budd's daughter shuts him up. Ray asks her about Hoke, because her daughter went through his program, and Budd tells them that Hoke killed a teen the previous year. Say WHAAAAT?

Not intentionally, of course: a teen had an unreported heart condition, and died because Hoke pushed him too hard. The waitress sends her father to wait on some customers, then clarifies that the teen only got heatstroke, and also survived. She flirts with Ray as he leaves, but he's clueless. Her reaction to his putdown is cringeworthy. Oscar-caliber acting? Nowhere in sight.

Back to the hapless hikers. Sammi runs past Hoke, mockingly suggesting that she might abandon him if he can't keep up. Ha! Hoke waits for the entire group to pass him, and brings up the rear.

Uh-oh. Paul Bunyan is at the site where he buried his pet ox, Babe. He stomps around the bones for a bit, then comes to the spot where the skull was dropped. When he sees that one of the horns was torn off, he bellows out several angry roars.

Our intrepid hikers hear the roar and guess that it's a mountain lion, but Hoke doesn't care one way or the other. Meeks hears the sound too, and hurries out of his shack with his trusty shotgun. He looks around his property, but Paul Bunyan's not around.

During the hike, Marty grabs the massive horn out of Zack's bag, then runs ahead of him. Zack chases him, but none of the others even seem to notice. Hell, they don't even bother showing Hoke getting pissed off that someone defied him.

While Paul Bunyan scans the forest for his prey, the hikers stop for another quick rest. Trish whips out a cell phone, and sees that her friends have left her several messages. The electronic noises draw the attention of Paul Bunyan, and they hear the sound of him stomping in their direction.

All of the hikers turn to stare at Trish, who's unaware that Paul Bunyan is now standing directly behind her. He raises his mighty weapon, cleaving Trish in half, right down the middle. The others spread out into the forest, while he examines the amount of blood on his axe.

The campers split up into 2 main groups, and Paul Bunyan goes after Rosa first, knocking her to the ground with a flying tree branch that he hit with his axe. She's still alive though, so don't worry. Paul Bunyan would rather chase the others through the forest, than go after easy prey.

Zack and Marty circle back around, then lift the heavy branch off of Rosa. She's slightly injured, so they each grab an arm, and resume running away. The rest have been making their way back to Hoke's cabin, with him yelling at them the whole way. Paul Bunyan blocks the path, and separates Hoke's top and bottom halves in front of the others. Yippee!

Paul Bunyan gets his blade jammed into a tree, and that buys the group some time. Hoke is somehow still alive, and he urges Sammi to get the kids to his cabin. As they rush off, he distracts the monster by yelling insults at him, and Paul Bunyan proceeds to flatten him with a massive foot-stomping.

Both groups of escapees meet up, and they finally arrive at the cabin and tents. Hoke had locked the door, but they manage to break in. Rosa has a large gash on one side, so they set her down on a couch as gently as possible, then scurry through the house, trying to come up with a plan of some sort.

Sammi tries to take charge, but it's actually Claire that has an idea first: she spots the van that they all arrived in, and realizes that they could drive to the nearest town, or at least a main road, to get assistance. There's only a slight glitch...Hoke has the keys.

Marty claims that he can hotwire the vehicle, so the plan suddenly seems viable again. Sammi has Claire look for weapons, then remembers where she saw Hoke put his gun. She grabs it, then leads Marty outside, taking care to be as quiet as possible. Oh, and Marty's weapon is a rake. Great choice.

Marty gets in the van, but has trouble distinguishing one wire from another underneath the steering column. They hear twigs and branches snapping nearby, so they probably don't have much time before Paul Bunyan reappears.

Marty finally gets his act together, and the engine almost roars to life. Sadly, so does Paul Bunyan. He steps out of the woods, and Sammi urges Marty to move faster. She finally drags him back out of the vehicle, and they rush back to the house.

Once everyone is safely together again, they watch Paul Bunyan lift the van and drag it away. So much for a quick escape. Paul Bunyan heads back to his cave, and examines the amount of blood on his axe again. He wipes some off with a finger, then gives it a taste. Mmmm mmmm, good, that sure is some tasty blood! Then he finds a rag to clean off the blade.

Claire sees Zack closing a fist around the blade of a knife, and looks at the self-inflicted wound. She wraps a piece of cloth around it, and they share a nice moment together. Awwww...

Paul Bunyan apparently forgot what he was doing, because now he's after Meeks. He knocks at the door where the other survivors decide to allow him in. He accuses them of riling up Paul Bunyan in some way, and they show him the horn that they took.

As night falls, Sammi asks Meeks to explain the real story of Paul Bunyan. He dismisses the popular folktales as nonsense, then tells them the truth: a man named Larch Bunyan was a local land baron in the late 1800's. Larch met and married a woman named Helga, and she gave birth to Paul. A doctor told the couple that Paul had a rare hormonal disease, one that made him grow 2-3 times as large as a normal man, and he would age slower, living 3 times longer than a normal person.

There was a drawback, though: Paul was developmentally disabled. He was big enough to hold an axe by the age of 5, so he worked with the loggers in the area. It motivated them to increase their output, and soon both the trees and the forest animals grew scarce.

That brings us to events in the opening scene. Bill, the lumberjack foreman gathered a group of his employees to hunt down a wounded animal that had left tracks in the snow. The animal had been Babe, Paul Bunyan's pet, and it had injured itself stepping into a bear trap.

Bill decided that they should kill the ox and eat it, then try to conceal the truth from Paul Bunyan. He shot Babe right between the eyes, and they all dragged the carcass back to their camp. Paul Bunyan goes in search of his pet, and you know the rest of the story.

After he killed the lumberjacks, Paul Bunyan tried to hide in the forest, but an angry mob found him. They chained him up, then dragged him back to town, where even more people were waiting to heckle him. His breaking point came when a local women he had a crush on, Maybelle, turned her back on him. The townsfolk eventually decided to drag him into an abandoned mineshaft, where they used dynamite to seal him in.

Of course, since he was a mutant with incredible physical strength, Paul Bunyan was able to get himself. He took what was left of his  pet, then lived by himself high up in the mountains, content to avoid anyone else until our teens came along and desecrated Babe and the gravesite.

Meeks urges them to bring the horn back to where they found it. Zack picks it up, then runs outside. He begs Paul Bunyan to take back the horn, then flings it into the trees. For a second or two, nothing happens.

Then as Zack turns to head back inside, the horn flies through the air, impaling him. Then the monster shows up, grabs the dying teen by the leg, and drags him into the woods. Sammi shoots at Paul Bunyan, but the bullets seem to have little or no effect.

They all rush back inside, where Meeks is raiding the fridge and cooking himself a meal. He advises Sammi to wait until morning, then attempt another escape. Their hope is that, since he has the horn again, maybe Paul Bunyan will leave them alone again.

They spend most of the night panicking, and Rosa asks the others to make sure that her daughter is okay if she doesn't survive. Then Claire gives gun safety tips, and tells Sammi that she regrets not treating her father better. At his cave, Paul Bunyan's been polishing his axe(not a metaphor), and making it razor-sharp. Guess he hasn't calmed down.

Morning comes, and Ray decides to drive up to the camp. At Hoke's cabin, Meeks and Claire are the first ones to wake up. Meeks tells her that she's identical to Maybelle, the woman who broke Paul Bunyan's heart. Oh, and Maybelle just happens to be Meeks' great-aunt....So, wait, would that mean that he and Claire are somehow related? He also seems to think that Claire might be a reincarnated version of Maybelle, but who knows? Seriously now, what...the...fuck???

Meeks leaves to find the truck, and he urges the others to remain at the house. He claims that being alone will actually make him safer. Before he leaves, he gives Claire a photo of Maybelle, and she marvels at their similarities.

We're checking back in with Ray, for some reason. Armed with a high-powered rifle, he finds the big red splotch that used to be Hoke, along with a comically oversized footprint. He attempts to use his radio to calll for reinforcements, but all he gets is static.

Ray arrives at a fire tower and climbs it, and the radio signal improves somewhat. His message is received at the saloon, but Budd doesn't hear it. The people in this movie are having a whopping streak of bad luck!

Back at the cabin, things get quiet. Too quiet.(Heh, I always wanted to say something dramatic like that. My bucket list is shrinking!) Then Paul Bunyan's axe crashes through the ceiling. Is it just me, or does his size seem to change in every scene?

Everyone gets knocked to the floor, so he raises the axe to try and finish them off. But this time he avoids the roof, opting to smash the windows instead. Followed by more roof damage, and the same footage, over and over again, of Paul Bunyan growling and raising his weapon. This is so Stucking Fupid!

Paul Bunyan reaches into the house to snatch up Claire, but Marty stabs at his hand with the rake. Paul Bunyan howls in pain, knocks Marty over, then picks up Rosa and holds her by one leg to get a good look. Her screams make him decide that she's not worth the trouble, so he kills her by hurling her at a tree.

Sammi then fires a bullet into his eye, which sends him reeling. While he's distracted by the pain, Sammi and Claire run outside. Marty grabs a large tree branch and goes after Paul Bunyan, out of his mind with grief over Rosa's death. He flings the large stick at the monster, attracting his attention.

Sammi puts herself between Paul Bunyan and the teens, prepared to die in order to protect them. Luckily, Ray shows up at that point, and shoots the giant 3 more times. Paul Bunyan stumbles backwards, then lands on top of what's left of the house.

Oh, those weren't actual bullets, they were tranquilizer darts. Ray tells the others that fun fact, then urges everyone to keep moving before he wakes up again. As they head back to a m,ore populated area, Meeks blocks their way with his shotgun.

He starts to ramble on about how Paul Bunyan is just an innocent boy, and that he can't let them leave. Marty tries to grab his weapon, so Meeks shoots him in the gut. Marty dies in less than a minute, and Meeks tries to force the last few survivors to go with him at gunpoint.

That's when Paul Bunyan wakes up. He sees that "Maybelle" is in danger, and tosses his axe in a bid to save her. He's got good aim...his axe decapitates Meeks. The final 3 survivors run away, and the chase resumes.

They arrive at Roy's truck, and he grabs more ammunition. Then he hands the keys to his daughter, and asks her to drive, while he climbs into the truckbed to get a better aim at Paul Bunyan. The truck races down the road as Roy loads his gun, then Paul Bunyan is seen racing after them. Roys fires several shots at the giant, but he never goes down. Claire swerves to avoid Paul Bunyan's axe, and Roy loses the gun.

As Roy struggles not to fall out of the truck, Paul seems to vanish. Nope, he inexplicably managed to get in front of the truck, without them ever noticing what he was doing. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. He nearly decapitates Roy, but only manages to remove the police lights on the roof.

The impact causes the truck to go careening into a tree, and Roy flies out of the back, where he rolls several feet. Sammi and Claire run over to help him, and he seems just fine. They decide to continue on foot.

The trio get to the bridge, and no one else is in sight. Then Paul Bunyan finds them, and corners the group on the bridge. There's a door at the other end, but it's locked, and the giant is still approaching. Roy fires several shots at the door, but it won't give.

Several vehicles drive up to the bridge, and an armada of rednecks spill out of them. Paul Bunyan finally notices them, and gnashes his teeth as they all take aim at him. After being hit by numerous rounds, Paul Bunyan drops his axe.

The rednecks stop firing, and Paul Bunyan turns to look at Claire/Maybelle one last time. He says the name "Maybelle", begins to cry, then falls off of the bridge. The crowd watch him as he sinks into the water below, then the rednecks begin to cheer and holler. When Ray asks how they knew what was happening, it's revealed that Budd did hear the police scanner,and called his daughter to round up an angry mob. Yee-haw!

The rednecks argue over what they just killed, and Budd convinces the group to carry the massive axe back to the bar. Our 3 heroes stare into the water, then join the others. THE END

Well, there you go. A SyFy movie and a slasher flick, all in one. At least there was plenty of the red stuff. On the other hand, the movie. But it was slightly better than 2-Headed Shark Attack or Mansquito, so....yeah. Hooray? 3 out of 5, with that full point included for making sure that Hoke died.

And what did I learn from Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan?

-Lumberjacks are dangerous psychopaths, and much more so when you eat their pets.

-Some guys can't even generate sympathy when you see them cut in half.

-Giants just want to get laid, like we all do.

Next week, I'll do either The Wraith or Miner's Massacre, depending on which one arrives first. Have a fun week!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Evil Dead (remake)

I really don't "get" the concept of remaking a movie, whether it's horror, comedy, or whatever. I mean, the story's been done, the script is usually a recycled compilation of great bits from the original version, the cast almost always looks bored...why bother? For every decent one(Friday the 13th, Black Christmas), we get dozens that seem pointless(Nightmare On Elm Street, Prom Night, The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Stepfather, One Missed Call, Halloween, Night of The Demons, House of Wax, Toolbox Murders, Sorority Row, My Bloody Valentine 3D, I could do this for weeks and weeks...). Why not use that time and effort to write something else that we HAVEN'T seen yet?

Anyway, I found myself wondering this the other day at the movies, while watching a trailer for a remake of Robocop. Maybe not the best mood for watching a remake of Evil Dead. We'll see...SPOILERS from this point on...and apologies to Bruce Campbell for not doing the original trilogy first.

Okay, opening scene: A young woman is scurrying behind some trees in a forest, breathing heavy and looking very rattled. Some redneck-farmer type gets the jump on her, and forces a burlap sack over her head. Wait, were we just invited to a hillbilly wedding ceremony?

She sees shadowy figures in front of her and begs them not to hurt her. An older woman tells her not to be afraid, but there's a table next to her covered with bloody tools. The elderly woman opens an ancient-looking book, and begins to recite strange verses.

At this point, a man approaches the prisoner, then whips the burlap sack off of her head. They stare at each other, and he turns out to be her father. The girl asks him what's happening, and who these strange folks are, and he informs her that her mother has died, and at her hands no less.

Then he procures a bottle of water and dumps the contents on his daughter's head. Acid? Holy water? Dr. Pepper?'s gasoline. And apparently he's being too slow, because the old woman orders him to hurry up.

Realizing that she's about to become a crispy critter, the girl once again begs her father to take her back home. Then her face changes, and she goes full-on demonic. Even after being set ablaze, she grins and continues to deliver her threats. Dad steps back, then raises his trusty shotgun. He shoots her to death, then the title slams onto the screen. Heh, reminds me of the way they did the title for Cabin In the Woods. Funny.

Now there's a long road, closed in by trees. Maybe this is Wrong Turn 12: Three Finger Makes a Treehouse. Nope, a jeep has pulled off the road, and now we're outside a cabin. In the woods. Like in that movie, Atonement.

As everyone stretches their legs, we meet our victims: Olivia is a cute brunette, and a registered nurse to boot; Eric is the token hippy, a young teacher with an attitude; Mia, a druggie-artist in need of an intervention; And David is Mia's estranged brother. There may be 1 or 2 others, but they don't have names yet.

David gets the front door open, and the interior looks like a bomb recently went off in there. Mia finds herself in a bedroom filled with old family pictures, and David wanders in behind her. They reminisce about their childhood memories, blah blah blah.

Later, Olivia tells David that this is Mia's second intervention. She left the first one after only 8 hours. Oh, and she OD'ed later, and nearly died. They decide that, in order for the intervention to succeed, they must resolve to force Mia to stay if she attempts to leave again.

That first night doesn't go well. Mia's screaming her head off about a bad smell, and she's being held, as if she could suddenly go crazy on them. Even after Mia's calm again, she still insists that there's something rotting in the cabin (in the woods), The dog one of the guys brought along seems to smell it as well. When he tries to dig through the floor, they all take a closer look.

The dog found a trapdoor, probably leading into a basement. They explore, but not before grabbing their trusty flashlights. Smarter than the usual fodder! That's refreshing.

Anyway, the cellar isn't exactly out of Better Homes and Gardens. Dust? Check. Cobwebs? Yup. Multitudes of little kitty-cat corpses? You betcha! Book of the Dead, bound up in barbed wire? Well, that's a little bit specific, but, yes.

They quickly vacate the creepy basement, and they bring the book with them. After a brief debate over all of the satanic-ritual paraphernalia that was down there, they decide not to decide anything just yet. The bad weather kicks in outside, and Mia paces around the muddy yard while the other girls prepare a meal that looks like something that Leatherface would drool over.

Hey, let's see what Eric is doing! He's actually off by himself, staring at the mysterious book. Using a pair of pliers, he begins the process of snapping the wires from around the book. It's wrapped in plastic, so he rips that apart, as well. Then he opens the book up, and begins to read the Latin inscribed within. If the original version and Cabin In the Woods have taught me anything, it's this: Never Read The Frickin' Latin Out Loud! Dolt.

He finds a page with a warning scrawled across the top: DON'T SAY IT, DON'T WRITE IT, DON'T HEAR IT. Beneath that ominous phrase there is a block of text that has been scribbled over. Using a pencil and a thin sheet of paper, Eric makes an etching of the message that was blacked out: Kunda Astrata Montossa Kanda". Yeah, Hakuna Matata you too pal.

Dumbass reads the words out loud, and a malevolent entity flies into Mia's body, possessing her. She drops to the ground, pukes, then sees Samara from The Ring standing in the forest. Okay, maybe not, but the demon sure does resemble Samara.

Mia rushes into the cabin(in the woods...), and starts to pack her stuff. She tells her friends that she needs to leave immediately, and they assume that it's a drug withdrawal thing. Eric informs Mia that they decided that they couldn't let her leave until she was better, so she turns to David for help. When he refuses as well, she tears off the protective amulet he gave her, then stomps outside to steal the car.

No one's smart enough to stop her, so she takes off. Ghost Girl appears again, so Mia swerves to avoid her, landing the car in a small body of water. Awesome. She gets out, nearly drowning in the process. Then Samara-Lite calls her name again, and bursts out of the water. Mia screams and runs.

As the demon-ghost thingy chases her around the forest, Mia gets tripped out by some twisty vines and branches. Her leg gets caught, then a tendril wraps itself around her throat. The entity appears to her again, then Mia gets tree-raped. Yeah, you read that right. A tree fucks her. Worst case of morning wood EVER. (My heartfelt apologies to any readers who've ever been sexually assaulted by trees. They can be vicious. Take back the splinters, am I right?)

Her friends find her, and manage to bring her back to the cabin(in the woods. By the lake. Yeah, I could do this all day...) Olivia examines her wounds, but disregards her rantings about demon-girls and tree-rape as nothing more than delusional mumbo-jumbo brought on by withdrawal. When the suggestion is made that she might be better off in a hospital, Olivia gets pissed off and tells them that Mia's getting the same care that a hospital would provide for her.

Olivia also theorizes that the assault on her body could have been self-inflicted. She claims that they can't trust Mia not to harm herself, as she'll likely do anything to get a fix. David then leaves the room to see Mia, who begs him to take her away from the woods. She tells him about the demonic presence, claiming that it's in the room with them. He leaves the room after being convinced that Olivia was right, and Mia actually sees the demon girl glaring at her from a dark corner of the bedroom.

Eric's still poring over the book, even finding a picture depicting the tree-rape that Mia described. Olivia suggests that he should put the book away, so that he can help David clean up the aftermath of Mia's incident, but he selfishly declares that David should do it by himself, because he's been out of their lives for so long. Wow, this is a tight-knit group here!

David heads outside with some trash, only to find his dog, named Grandpa, dead. It's covered in blood, so naturally he assumes that Mia must have killed it with a hammer. While he tries to confront her, she's locked in the bathroom, being boiled in the shower by hot water. The demon inside her then sets the room on fire.

He finally breaks the door down, and finds the bathroom filled with steam and smoke. The water was so hot that he nearly burns his hand trying to turn the faucet off. David picks Mia up off of the ground, then attempts to drive her away in the other car.

Eric finds a picture in the book that depicts a figure pouring boiling water on themselves, and he suddenly realizes that life is somehow imitating art. Mia begins to cough up some nasty spew in the car, then David is forced to pull over when he sees that the road is now underwater. Man,  this is turning out to be a pretty fucking horrible weekend for these guys, huh?

Everyone heads back to the cabin(in the woods), and Olivia discovers that Mia now has second- and third-degree burns all over her body, from her hot shower. A heated argument then develops, everyone blames each other for not leaving sooner, and none of them notice that Mia has snuck into the room.

When they do finally see her, they realize that she now has a rifle. David begs her not to use it, and she just barely misses shooting him, hitting the window next to him instead. In the demon's voice, Mia announces that they will all die that night, then she faints.

Olivia makes a grab for the gun, but the demon stops her. Mia leaps on top of the other girl, pins her to the floor, then vomits about 20 gallons of bloody puke into her face. Best vomit scene since Meaning of Life, I swear. Fun for the whole family.

They manage to trap Mia in the basement, and talk about the physical changes she's undergone; most noticeably, her demonic black eyes. Gee, think maybe she's possessed?

Eric checks in on Olivia after things have calmed down, and the light in the bathroom goes out. He creeps over to the shower, only to find that her eyes have gone monstrous as well, and that she's used a knife give herself a wider smile, Sardonicus-style.

Horrified, Eric tries to leave, but trips and falls. The bathroom door slams shut, and Olivia stabs Eric in the shoulder before he can get up again. She then stabs him several more times with a hypodermic needle, until he manages to knock her out with a large chunk of porcelain.

He crawls over to the furthest corner away from her body, then sloooowly pulls the broken needle out of his eyelid. Ouch. Then he sees Olivia crawling toward him, ready for another round. He picks up the chunk of porcelain, repeatedly bashing it into the back of her skull.

David bursts into the room, and Eric tries to explain what happened. David tries to patch up his wounds, and Eric tells him about the contents of the book. Natalie leaves the room and considers making a run for it, but a voice stops her at the front door...It's Mia, trapped in the basement.

Mia tells Natalie that she doesn't have any memory of what transpired, and that she's suffering from some severe injuries, so Natalie offers to come down to have a look. Not the smartest banana in the bunch, is she? Y'know, something just know occurred to me: The people in horror movies have NEVER WATCHED a horror movie! That must be it. How else can you explain the rampant stupidity in their actions?

To no one's surprise, Mia is not herself. By the time that Natalie figures that out, she's almost at the bottom of the stairs, and tries to scurry back up to the ground floor. The demon collapses the steps, but Natalie manages to hoist herself up through the trapdoor anyway. The demon grabs her by the ankle and pulls her back down into the cellar. Bye, sorry we barely got to know you...

Oh look, Nat lives! She finds herself flat on her back, unable to move much. Mia is by her feet, sniffing and apparently "tasting" her. When she gets closer to Natalie's upper body, she growls that she can smell her soul, then she bites Natalie's hand like a rabid dog. After cutting into her own tongue, Mia then kisses Natalie, making her ingest blood. Anyone hungry?

David opens the basement door, and yanks Nat to safety. Before he traps Mia again, she tells him that his sister's soul is "being raped in Hell". He slams the trapdoor shut, then nails the door down for good measure.

As the storm outside picks up, Eric gets the bright idea to burn the evil book. Nice try, but the tome remains intact, showing no visible signs of damage in the least. Then Eric tells David everything he's read in the book so far.

Okay, so apparently a demon wants to be restored to his full power, so that he can come to Earth to conquer humanity. The ritual to make that possible requires 5 human sacrifices. Gee, I wonder who the victims might be?

Natalie examines her wounded hand in the kitchen, and now realizes that it's possessed. She does the easiest thing possible, by preparing to sever her arm off to save herself. Meanwhile, Eric and David have to figure out whether or not killing Mia will put an end to the ritual.

Natalie runs water over the hand, trying to disinfect it. It twitches uncontrollably, and now she knows that the demon infection is spreading. She picks up an electric knife, sawing through the monster arm. When Eric and David find her in the kitchen, Natalie announces that she feels much better, then stands up...while her arms plops to the floor.

Dave and Eric continue to brainstorm a plan, when the trapdoor flies open once more, unhindered by the nails. Our favorite demon-girl shows up, armed with a nail gun. She attacks the men, shooting Eric a handful of times in the arm. Then she corners him against a wall, damaging his face, legs, arms, torso, etc. with a bunch of nails. No, wait, the attacker is Natalie, because Mia is still down below.

After another bloody battle, the guys defeat Natalie. Eric needs assistance to escape, so they limp away together. Then David returns to the house to destroy it with fire. As he prepares to drop the match into the gas-soaked house, he gets another idea.

He readies a syringe, then heads back down to the basement, where there is now extensive flooding. Mia leaps out of the water to take David down, but Eric shows up and shoots her.

Eric injects himself, and he seems to be himself again. David digs a grave for the demon-Mia, and she tries to get into his head with her words. David apologizes for never being supportive enough, then finishes with the burial. After the demon supposedly leaves her body, David makes several attempts to resuscitate her. They all seem to fail.

As David finally surrenders and steps away, he hears Mia calling his name. They hug, and he apologizes for never being there for her. As they pack up to leave, David gets mauled by Eric, who damages his neck and throat. David urges Mia to escape, but she refuses.

David forces Mia out of the room, then faces Eric for their final brawl. David sets off a spark that ignites a gas leak, and the entire cabin(in the woods) goes up.

Mia wanders around outside for awhile, and demons attempt to grab her. She gets to the car, but they pursue her. She gets back to what's left of the house, crawling through some tunnels, as demons try to grab her the entire way.

They walk on ceilings, crawl beneath the floors, it's like a bug infestation. Finally she gets a chainsaw out, and then hides under one of the vehicles. She uses the chainsaw to remove the stalker's legs, but the demon is strong enough to lift the car off the ground. Mia nearly escapes, but the car lands on top of her hand. As the demon crawls closer, Mia manages to completely tear her hand off, grab the chainsaw with her good hand, then split her friend in half, right down the middle.

Mia walks back toward the ruins of the cabin,picks up her amulet, then staggers away into the woods. The book can be seen on the ground, and, as the movie ends, the pages rapidly start to flip. THE END, with the exception of an incredibly brief scene of Bruce Campbell, looking into the camera and saying "Groovy!"

Eh. Was expecting much, much worse from this one, but it was average. The gore was good, but it felt like the pace was off. They should have just funded Evil Dead 4 instead. Still, it wasn't the worst remake ever, so...let's say 3 killer trees out of 5 for this one. An average movie.

Oh, and what did Evil Dead teach me?

-Originals rock.

-"Possession by puke" is a bad way to go.


Okay, that is all. Next up is either Miner's Massacre or The Wraith. Don't know much about either one, so it could be a mixed bag. See ya!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Don't Let Him In

Well, this movie IS better than, so at least there's that! Faint praise, but at least the bar was set fairly low...Anyway, settle in, crank up your DVD's and let's start watching Don't Let Him In! SPOILERS dead ahead...

Wow, a cast of nobodies. Awesome. There's a red hand(Quick, everybody sing "Red Right Hand"!) holding a syringe, in a room where surgical tools are literally dangling from the ceiling. A woman appears to be just waking up in this chamber of horrors, and she immediately pukes. Fun gal.

She watches as our mystery nutcase saws a hand off of a corpse at the wrist, and the woman tries to stand up. The killer speaks to her, but the words are verrrrrry distorted, probably because whatever he sedated her with is still in effect. She crawls away, and the killer begins a 10-second countdown. She gets outside, where she's surrounded by trees(Tree Movie!!!), and tries to stagger to a safe place before he follows her. He arrives outside, and he's clutching a cleaver in one hand. Then the titles comes up: DON'T LET HIM IN. Ooh, scary!

The next scene begins with a generic-sounding pop ballad, and we meet a young British couple, Paige and Calvin. He's some sort of accountant or banker, based on their quick chat. They're preparing for a little weekend getaway, and just waiting for Cal's sister to call to say that she's ready to go. Small group for a slasher flick: Let's hope they meet some folks along the way!

Anyway, Calvin calls his sister, Mandy, who looks hung over. He tells her to get her ass in gear, and she lies, telling him that she's ready to go. Next to her, a guy with a bad squint also wakes up. Yay, 2 more potential victims! Calvin hangs up the phone and cuts his finger at the kitchen sink, revealing that Paige is a nurse. Both of them seem to think that Mandy is a major flake.

Mandy gets off the phone, then prepares her latest boyfriend a fresh cup of coffee. She fumbles her way through an invitation to bring him along for the retreat in the countryside, but he seems reluctant. A quick text message telling him to make himself scarce, however, changes his mind in an instant, much to Mandy's delight.

When Calvin and Paige pull up to the curb, Mandy gives them the "good news". It turns out that the "boyfriend" is actually just some dude she met the previous night named Tristan. Calvin hesitantly allows her to drag him along, and they both pile into the car. As Calvin and Paige try to introduce themselves to Tristan, he rudely keeps checking his text messages. Sheesh, they're going to have a loooong weekend.

The trip to the country is to a secluded village, where Calvin and Mandy were raised. Along the way, they spot a bearded hitchhiker, but Tristan abruptly announces that he won't travel in the same vehicle as the stranger, so they keep driving. He's an ass; I hope he dies early on.

Mandy complains that she needs to pee, so they pull over. While she darts into the woods, Calvin asks Tristan what he does for a living. Tristan says that he's in the stock market, then he gets interrupted by a phone call. While he barks orders at the person on the other end, Paige and Calvin agree that he lacks people skills, and that Mandy will soon grow tired of his attitude.

Speaking of Mandy, she hears something approaching her spot while she's urinating. A cute brunette appears suddenly, then Tristan also pops up from out of nowhere. So much for privacy. The new girl is a wanderer with the unlikely name of Emer. She goes back with them to their car, and they all learn that  she's been living in the forest for a year. Emer, the woodland nymph. Sure.

They ask her how the locals are, and Emer admits that she doesn't  see the townsfolk very often. She also claims that there's been a negative presence in the forest, which makes the cynical Tristan laugh. She offers to read his palm, then has a bad reaction to what she sees. She abruptly advises them all to return to the city, and she marches back into the woods without another word.

At the cottage, The women realize that they forgot to pack some things, and Tristan offers to hike up the road to a store they passed on the way. Mandy offers to accompany him, but he asks her not to "crowd" him. Wow, this romantic getaway sure has cooled off in a hurry, huh?

While they unpack the kitchen, Paige and Calvin insult Mandy's taste in men and refer to her as a slut. She's standing in the doorway, listening to the whole thing. As Calvin lamely tries to explain that he was just kidding, Mandy runs out of the room. Right on cue, a police officer arrives on a bicycle. A bicycle.

He introduces himself as Sergeant Utley, the local law enforcement. Who rides a Huffy 10-Speed. Hell, I'm surprised by the lack of a pink basket, or training wheels! He's obviously a bad-ass.

After the lighthearted introductions and banter about fishing prowess, Utley turns serious. It seems that there have been a string of killings in the area lately, and the press has dubbed the murderer The Tree Surgeon. Why? Well, he apparently likes to dissect his victims, then hang the remains in the trees. Nice.

Then Utley describes the most recent crime scene: A teacher was having her art students drawing nature scenery in the woods, and one lonely girl was illustrating a gory crime scene, complete with a severed torso and entrails. The teacher was about to reprimand the girl, but then realized that she had stumbled right into The Tree Surgeon's latest display.

Mandy gets back as Utley finishes the tale, and he leaves the trio to argue over whether or not they should head home. Against Mandy's wishes, they decide to stay for the weekend. Good thing, otherwise there wouldn't be a movie to watch.

Night falls, and we see Emer humming as she lazily strolls past the trees. A log rolls toward her, and she stops to look around, clearly hearing the sound of heavy breathing. Emer continues on her way, hears a loud growl, and removes a knife from her pants. As she makes a hasty retreat she trips, and the growling seems to be coming from every direction. A hand raises a blade in the air, and it's bye-bye, Emer.

Calvin's now chopping up some firewood. He hears Emer's scream, then nervously returns to the small house, where Mandy begs him to go out and search for Tristan. He kids her that Tristan's probably already dead, and she forces him to go searching with her, leaving Paige alone in the secluded cabin.

While they walk, Mandy yells out Tristan's name, and Calvin jokes that The Tree Surgeon will hear her. That Cal, he's quite the kidder! (He sort of has a good point, though I hate to admit it.) As if to prove his point, they both see a bloody hand print on a nearby tree. Mandy urges Cal to keep moving.

A fog bank rolls in, and they creep ahead. Tristan then jumps out from behind a tree, and calls them "pussies" when they get scared. He holds up the grocery bag, then just grins like an idiot. Calvin moves toward the tree for a closer look at the hand print, and confirms that it is actually blood on the tree.

Back at the house, Paige builds up the fire, completely unaware of a presence lurking just outside the nearest window. A series of low thumps cause her to go have a look. I'm going to just assume that this is the last we see of Paige.

Mandy whines that the men are moving too fast, and insists that they wait for her to catch up with them. Then Paige calls, and begs them to hurry back, because someone is trying to break into the house. They pick up the pace.

Paige hears more frantic noises at the front door, and finds an ax to wield. Lucky for her, this time it's her friends. She lets them in, and shows them another bloody hand print on the front window of the house. Then the owner of the bloody hand stumbles into the house, where he collapses onto the living room floor.

He's the guy they drove by earlier. He has a nasty open wound on his left abdomen, and Paige lets her instincts as a nurse kick in. His wallet informs them that his name is Sean, and Paige has Mandy fetch her some boiling water, a first aid kit, some sewing needles, and a reel of fishing line to use as thread.

The only person who refuses to help Sean is Tristan, who simply eases back on some furniture to watch the scene play out. Sean indicates that he wants a nearby bottle of liquor, and takes a good, long swig from it. Then Calvin offers his belt to bite down on, and the procedure begins.

Sean struggles and moans, but they hold him still long enough for Paige to sew the gaping hole shut. Pretty painful, if his scream is any indication. Eventually, they all find a way to fall asleep.

Paige and Calvin discuss the possibility of getting him to a hospital, but Paige isn't convinced that his condition is stable enough to make such a journey yet. Then we see Esme trapped in the killer's weird cave, and she appears to be dead. Then she loudly gasps for air.

The next morning looks downcast, and Mandy is in a mood to bitch and moan about how rotten the weekend has become. Tristan agrees, but attempts to make her calm again. He then ruins the moment by answering another mysterious business call. While they're having so much fun, let go see how Sean is doing.

Well, he's awake. Paige is sitting with him, and they have a talk about his injuries. She tells him to move slowly at first, and come downstairs for breakfast when he feels up to it. Then Tristan rudely tells her that she should be charging Sean some type of rent.

At the breakfast table, Sean enters wearing Tristan's bathrobe. They make general introductions, with both Mandy and Tristan grumbling about Sean living in THEIR bedroom. Oh, just grow up, you two.

Calvin gets  right to the point, asking Sean how he received his injuries. He tells them that, while he was hiking, a mysterious attacker stabbed him, leading into a scuffle. Sean got away, but the altercation made his pain worse, so he found the house  as a last resort for assistance. Heck, maybe he survived a meeting with The Tree Surgeon!

He doesn't want to report the incident to the police, because he avoids the locals. Tristan interrogates him about his personal background, and Sean admits that he quit a lucrative insurance job. While mocking him, Tristan confesses that his recently-deceased parents left him a large fortune.

Calvin invites Sean to fish with him while he rests up, but Paige manages to rope him into taking Tristan instead. Neither of them seem pleased with that prospect. Isn't this a fun weekend trip?

The guys end up at a body of water that looks like someone had a fit of diarrhea. They should name this scene "2 guys, 1 pole", if you know what I mean. If they catch anything, they better not eat it.

Mandy sits next to Sean on the couch, boring her with pics from her camera. Paige finally rescues the poor guy, asking him if he'd like to take a leisurely stroll outside. He happily agrees, leaving behind a very angry Mandy. Oh well.

Sean asks Paige how she met Calvin, and it's not a fun tale. He had been choking in a restaurant, and she leaped forward to perform an emergency tracheotomy. Love at first stab.

Sean removes a photo of his wife from his wallet, and shows it to Paige. He tells her that his wife's name is Cathy, and that she and their kids are waiting for him to return home. Awwww, how sweet! why would he be wandering around in the woods, if he was supposed to be heading home? Strange...

Calvin gives Tristan pointers on how to fish, and Tristan looks like he'd rather be having a root canal. As they fish, Tristan tells Calvin that his parents recently died in a house fire. Then his stupid phone rings again. He hands his fishing pole to Calvin, then just starts wandering away to take his call.

The caller needs a password from Tristan, something about covering up his tracks. The fire was no accident, and the voice on the phone is someone trying to help Tristan stay out of prison for committing arson. Sadly, the phone goes dead before he can give the needed password.

He goes back to Calvin, and requests the use of his phone to send the text. Before he can complete the message, the phone rings. It's Paige, telling them that Sean has offered to make them dinner that night.

Calvin finishes the call, then sees the unsent text message. He asks Tristan about it, then Tristan moves away to go find a place to pee. When Calvin tries to call Paige with a warning, Tristan strangles him with some fishing line. Then he bashes Calvin over the head and shoves a pile of rice down his throat. Before he dies, Calvin coughs up a wad of rice onto Tristan's face, so he bashes poor Calvin's head with a rock.

Night falls, and still no sign of Calvin and Tristan. As Paige makes up her mind to go find them, Tristan stomps into the house. He lies to her, saying that Calvin stayed behind to continue fishing, and that he caught several large fish already. Paige secretly confides to Sean that she's worried that Tristan is lying. To set her mind at ease, Sean agrees to go do a quick search for Calvin. "Hey, Calvin! Here, boy!" *whistles*

Anyhoo...Armed with only a flashlight, Sean calls out Calvin's name while he wanders around in the dark. He hears Calvin's phone ringing, finds it, and answers it. It's Paige. As he explains that he found the phone but no sign of Calvin, he runs into quite a sight: Calvin's body, with his mouth crammed full of maggots. Sean rushes back to the house.

While Paige and Mandy fret over what Sean might have discovered, Tristan tries to sow seeds of doubt in their minds, implying that perhaps Sean might have harmed Calvin while he was outside. However, when he states that they don't even know who Sean is, Paige points out that the same could be said of him. Ha! Take THAT, killer!

Sean bursts in, and just tells them that he found Calvin dead. As Tristan tries to sound defensive, Sean suggests that Paige should call the cops. She gets through, but then the call gets disconnected. She tries to call them back, but the call won't go through.

Mandy goes into a sort of rambling shock, and Tristan attacks Sean. As Tristan starts to rant and rave about dead bodies and maggots crawling out of Calvin's eyes, Sean quietly responds that the maggots were actually in Calvin's mouth. Then Tristan starts to sway and moan, and the others watch as a maggot crawls out of his eyelid, then drops into his drink. Whoops.

Paige instinctively snatches up the ax, and strikes the wall, because Tristan manages to dodge out of her way. He knocks her to the ground and gets the ax, but Mandy stabs him in the leg with her trusty knife. On his way to the floor, he lands on Sean, who gets the ax right in his back. This movie suddenly took a left turn into Apeshitville!

Paige maces Tristan in the eyes as he attempts to stand up, and she pushes him out the door. She swiftly locks the door behind her, and then checks to see if Sean is still alive. Then Paige gets a kitchen knife, gives it to a sobbing Mandy, and tells her not to let Tristan in.

She pauses for a minute to mourn her boyfriend, then goes upstairs. While she's gone, Tristan urges Mandy to open the door. He tells her that Sean is the real threat, and then he swears not to harm her. Being a complete dumbass, Mandy believes him and opens the front door.

Shock of all shocks, Tristan murders Mandy, stabbing her sloooooowly after a big hug. He then drops her body onto the couch, and goes after Paige. She ambushes him, then stabs him in the shoulder. After a brief fight, she thinks that she knocked him out, but he gets up again. He raises the ax to kill her, but then Sean jumps on his back, and manages to slit his throat.

With Tristan now dead, Sean crumples to the floor again. Paige offers to call his wife, and finds his wallet. A closer look at his wife, "Cathy", reveals that the pictures were folded in half. The husband in them isn't Sean at all...

Oh crap. Paige drops the pictures, as well as the driver's license of the man that "Sean" murdered, and he rises up behind her. As they stare at each other, The Tree Surgeon begins to laugh...

He knocks her out, and she comes to her senses in that cave we saw in the first scene. He drugs her, she eventually gets free, blah blah blah we saw this part already. He tells her that lives beneath a hollowed-out tree that he worships, and kills his victims as a sacrifice to the tree. Killer tree!

Then he cuts her loose, gives her that ten-count again, and she tries to stagger away to safety. He drugged her with something called ketamine, and she's pretty groggy. He emerges from his lair as she limps away, and she starts to get her energy back.

He casually strolls after her, and Paige soons emerges from the woods, into what looks like a lumber mill. It's deserted, though, and her cries for assistance go unanswered. She finds a pitchfork to use as a weapon, then hides behind some bales of hay. Paige hears someone moving in her direction and thrusts her weapon at them--only to realize that she just murdered Utley, the bike cop.

She sees The Tree Surgeon coming, and yanks the pitchfork out of the sarge, and he keels over. As the killer corners her, Paige knocks him down, then tries to finish him off with a quick stab. Nope, he still lives.

The Tree Surgeon lifts her off of her feet, then impales Paige on a large spike. She drags him with her, and they both get to be spiked to death. But before they both die, Paige laughs in his face. THE END

Yeah, low budget and a little slow, but still miles better as a movie than last week's entry. The gore was also surprisingly decent, and that weird thing with the maggot was effective. And we got 2 killers, for the price of 1! A decent effort, at the very least....And an actual killer tree subplot! 3 killer trees out of 5 for Don't Let Him In.

And what did this one teach me?

-New lovers should never be trusted.

-The English countryside is a deathtrap, filled with women named Emer.

-If your local lawman rides a bicycle, you need to live in a bigger town!

Next up on my list: the recent remake of Evil Dead!!! Sweet!