This week's slasher might be an endurance challenge for me...This is my third attempt to watch it. Why? Because I fell asleep the first 2 times! Yeah, I've become so desensitized to these things that nothing fazes me anymore. Either that, or the movie's just crap. Whatever the case, let's prepare to doze off together to Miner's Massacre. We're sitting on a SPOILER-mine, consarnit!
Okay, so the titles literally begin with a bang, and a cartoony pickaxe chips away at the title. Among the supporting cast, we have generic 80s villains Richard Lynch and Martin Kove, horror queen Karen Black and the late Jeff Conaway. Why do I keep falling asleep with this one?
Well, the credits finally end, and we see that we're in a town called Suttersville. A young guy is studying a scale, weighing pieces of gold, then writing down results in a notebook. Oh, and then feeling himself up in the chesticular region. Yeah. Guy's apparently even lonelier than I am!
The camera guy heads outside before we have to watch the dude pleasure his man-boobs any further, and we see some sort of underground lair, filled with satanic-looking objects. A row of candles light themselves, and then a swarm of fireflies bring a half-buried skeleton to life, cover it in blue flesh, and even furnish clothes. Who knew that fireflies were so productive?
This resurrected zombie prospector stands in front of the altar, picks up a hook, then wraps it onto his hand with a heavy chain. Awww, was anyone else hoping that his weapon of choice would be a pickaxe? I sure was. Maybe he'll pick one up later.
The younger man is still weighing fragments of gold. He takes a swig from a bottle, then staggers outside to stretch his legs. While he enjoys a few seconds of fresh air, the undead prospector approaches his home.
The guy heads back inside, and the zombie attacks him, knocking him to the floor. As he tries to crawl away, he gets the hook shoved into his back, and the prospector lifts him into the air. Then the prospector kicks a bucket until it is underneath him, and proceeds to fill it with the young man's blood while he howls in pain. What's with the bucket?
Then we see a young woman slicing up onions while talking on a phone. Her name is Claire, and her husband, Nick, enters the room as she wraps up her chat. She stares at a photo they took together, and next to it is a message that looks like it says "call Bizeeee", whatever the hell that means.
Nick leaves the room, then returns with a large envelope. The package consists of a gold nugget and what looks like a hand-drawn map. Ooh, I hope it leads them to Curly's gold, or the lost treasure of One-Eyed Willy! Ever get the feeling that I've seen too many movies?
Now we see a different couple driving down a dusty road. His name is Axel, I don't know hers yet. She apparently wanted to do something "spontaneous", so he took her on a trip, but she hates all the driving. She demands that he find a place where they can get some room service.
She accuses him of getting them lost, then demands that he find a bathroom for her. He offers to pull over, but that just makes her cranky, and she starts yelling at him. They find a large, unstable-looking house, and both of them get out of the car.
An old man sitting on the front porch informs them that they are trespassing. They beg him to let her use his bathroom, but the only one he has is an outhouse. Seems like I see a lot of movies where characters have outhouses, don't I? He offers her some toilet paper that he keeps next to him, but she scurries away without it.
Axel asks the old man where Suttersville is located, and he's told that he's in the town already. The old man then advises him to leave, lest he run afoul of the ghost of the Forty-Niner, Jeremiah Stone. He was a local figure who had a reputation for being the nastiest man in them thar parts.
The old man then shows Axel a scroll which, when unrolled, turns out to be a "Wanted" poster featuring Stone himself. He was accused of claimjumping, murder and rape. His portrait sort of looks like a pro wrestler, but damned if I can remember the name of the one I'm thinking of. Oh, and according to the old man, Jeremiah was also a cannibal, and he actually ate his own wife and child. Seriously, this movie's a riot...how the heck did I keep dozing off during this stuff?
Axel shows a bit of interest in the story, and offers 10 bucks for the wanted poster, but the old man claims that it's priceless. When the bid increases to 40, the old man reluctantly hands the poster over to him. After the couple leave, it's revealed that the house is filled with "priceless" posters, which is how he makes money.
He calls someone named Morty to brag about selling another one, then sits down inside the house to enjoy some moonshine. He makes a mock toast to one of the posters, unaware that the man himself has entered his house. He sees the killer's shadow on the wall, and is killed when he turns around to face him. Jeremiah then removes a ring from his victim's hand, grabs one of the posters, and walks out of the house with it balled up in his fist.
Axel and his girlfriend debate whether or not the poster is a fake, then we see Nick and Claire trying to reach another couple, who are busy screwing in the back seat of a car. Her name is Roxanne, his is Hayden. After their conversation with Claire and Nick, Hayden tells Roxanne that his expertise is in making money, while hers is having sex. When she angrily says "Screw you!", he smugly responds that she just did. It's revealed that he only went on this trip to find as much gold as possible.
Axel and his beloved rage-monster find the sign for Suttersville, and we find out that She-Hulk is a professional photographer. Axel suggests that she could put a positive spin on the trip by taking nature pictures, then the fight is ended prematurely by the arrival of the other couples. Frankly, I'm kind of surprised that she's still alive. I would have gladly paid to see her getting bumped off before the old man or the young guy.
Claire shows the others the gold nugget, and that provides adequate motivation to get them to explore the area. Upon arriving in the apparent ghost town, it appears that somebody is observing the group from one of the old buildings. Well, so much for my assumption that Suttersville is a ghost town...
Axel immediately loses his watch, and his girlfriend starts to bitch him out for it. The watch was a gift from her mother, who I can only assume must be a lovely, kindhearted saint...just like her daughter. Claire defuses the situation by proposing a quick search of the area. They all split up, so let the slaughter begin! Whee!
Roxy has somehow lost track of Hayden. She looks for him in a dark and musty barn, and he creeps up behind her and grabs her around the throat to scare her. She screams, and they both fall into a bale of hay. Roxy gets mad(this thing must hold the record for the number of times women get pissed off), then lightens up considerably when Hayden proposes a "roll in the hay". Heh. Puns.
Anyway, then we have to suffer through a scene involving Claire pretending to be trapped in a jail cell. She even asks Nick for a conjugal visit, and they kiss between the bars. Wow. Not only does this wreck leave no cliche unused, but the acting is AT LEAST one notch below the level of porn. This is making WatchUsDie seem almost bearable!
Out on the street(...that's where we meet...c'mon, sing it with me!!!), we have Axel and Evil Incarnate still searching for his friggin' cheap-ass watch. Well, he's looking; she's still taking inane pictures of the drab scenery. Or pretending to. More porn acting. I know I say this almost every week, but this one is physically painful to endure. I think several of my brain cells are attempting to kill themselves on principle.
Anyway, Bitch-Queen enters the saloon, leaving her boyfriend to continue his search alone. Then a hot brunette wearing Daisy Dukes approaches him, holding up his watch. She introduces herself as Eve, and damn if she didn't just melt my eyeballs right out of their sockets. The movie suddenly got a LOT better.
Inside the saloon, the ghoulfriend hears a noise. She screams, and everyone else comes running to see what all the fuss is about. Eve helpfully tells Axel that it sounds like the ruckus is coming from the saloon. Everyone rushes in at once, only to discover that she freaked out over a flock of birds nesting underneath the bar. Those flockin' birds!
After they all share a laugh, Axel introduces Eve to the group. Eve asks them where they're headed, and a local sheriff struts in to find out the same thing. His last name is Murphy, and he asks after Eve's Aunt Nellie, before wondering aloud if the group has gotten lost on the road somehow. They keep mum about the treasure. Eve vouches for them, even going so far as to suggest that she's going to guide them to a lake to freshen up. Sheriff Murphy approves, but warns them that they should get back on the road soon. Then he abruptly drives away.
Axel tries to charm Eve with a funny story about Hayden, and that royally pisses off his girlfriend. She drags him away to bitch him out, and they more or less break up on the spot. When she threatens to leave, Axel tosses her the car keys. Yay! If Jeremiah Stone kills her in the next 5 minutes, I'll do a happy dance 'til my feet bleed!
She body-checks Eve on the way out of the saloon, then stomps back to the car. When they wrote the Nic Cage movie Drive Angry, I'll bet they had her in mind. Anyway, Psychorella drives away and lights a cigarette, nearly crashing headlong into the undead prospector in the process.
She crashes the car into a tree, then face-plants into the steering wheel. As she comes to, Jeremiah yanks her out of the front seat by her hair, then drags her away. We hear her screams, followed by the sound of his weapon making impact, but nothing is shown. Dagnabbit! Movie, you had ONE job: to make her death satisfying. I feel personally betrayed, man.
Oh, wait a sec....we get a close view of her face, and her eyes are rolling up into her head. Then the camera pans back, and we see that the prospector cut her head off. Okay, we're cool. You don't have to sleep on the couch tonight, movie. *Pats an empty space on the bed*
Yes, I have waaay too much time on my hands. Why do you ask?
Anyway...Eve takes them to a campground, and there's a brief argument over who had the gold nugget last. Then Eve reveals that she's mostly a loner, and that the sheriff is kind enough to look in on her from time to time. She and Axel seem to share a mutual attraction. Well that's a relief, seeing as how his ex was just seen giving Jeremiah Stone some head. Um, her head, I meant to say.
They all stumble upon Jared's car, then head into a house. Okay, so now we know the name of the guy who was murdered in the first scene. That info might have been nice to have about 40 miniutes ago, but whatever.
Claire leads the others through the front door, and they take a quick look around. Claire finds a map, and it really upsets her that it was torn in half. Yeah, torn paper gives me Vietnam flashbacks too. Eve only makes things worse, saying that no one who goes to the mine in search of Jeremiah Stone's gold ever returns. This is getting more Scooby-Dooish by the minute. Rut roh!
Eve screams at them to leave, then she gets a head start. Roxy starts having second thoughts about looking for the mine, but Hayden urges the group not to abandon the adventure so early on. Then he mocks Axel for losing 2 girls one the same day, and Axel flips him off.
They stumble around the countryside, in a montage that demonstrates that none of them should even be allowed to cross the street without supervision. There's some brief "suspense" when Hayden gets lost, but he quickly locates the others and rejoins the search party. Yeesh, they can't even milk a cheap scare out of that scene.
The men stop to catch their breath, and they ask Axel what the map says about the distance they've traveled. They were under the impression that he had some sort of military training, but they couldn't be more wrong. Axel lied to sound cool, but he was actually nothing more than a mail clerk. So? Claire's the one leading them around, so who gives a flying flip about his background? I sure don't.
Claire finds the entrance into the mine, and they all crawl through the small opening. They have to crawl in on their hands and knees, and all I can think about is how similar this all looks to The Human Centipede. Someone even farts in someone else's face during this sequence. Please let there be a cave-in, please let there be a cave-in, please let there be--
Claire finds an actual room, and they can finally stand up. The room is mostly empty, but there's a table covered with gold and treasures. They celebrate their sudden run of fortune. Gosh, I'm sure that nothing bad will happen when they steal the gold.
Eve returns to her kooky Aunt Nelly, who reminds her that no one can touch Jeremiah Stone's gold without incurring his wrath. Eve insists that Axel and his friends don't deserve to die, then she scurries away to see if she can help them. Aunt Nelly orders her not to go, but she rushes outside.
Our intrepid thieves lug as much gold as they can carry out of the mineshaft. Hayden wants help going back for more, but the rest of the group vote him down. They figure that, if the gold has been untouched foir this long, what's one more night?
Aunt Nelly is still in the throes of her hissy fit. She seeks out another nearby hillbilly couple, Caleb and his wife Bertie. Yup, Bertie. Aunt Nelly explains that her daughter has left, and neither Bertie nor Caleb seem very sympathetic. That changes when she tells them that the young tourists took her daughter to the old mine. Caleb offers to let Aunt Nelly into her humble abode, while he calls Sheriff Murphy.
Eve is at Jared's front door now, and she nervously calls out to Axel. He's not there, of course, but she DOES find a pot of boiling water on the stove. Inside the pot is a certain beloved character's severed head. Eve starts to scream, but Jeremiah strangles her, slams Eve into a wall, then slams a pickaxe through her abdomen, collecting more blood in his bucket. Again, what's with the bucket?
Back at the main group's camp, Claire worries about the ones who left the group, but her boyfriend convinces her not to worry so much about them. They rejoin the others, who are discussing what they're going to do with their shares of the gold. Then everyone moves toward the tents except for Axel, who sits by himself eating beans out of a can.
The food upsets his stomach, and Axel needs a spot to poop--fast! He finds the roll of toilet paper that the old man gave him earlier, then looks around for a nice squatting spot. He drops his trousers just in the nick of time. And we get to hear it. Turd-riffic.
Hayden is happily sprawled beneath a tree, watching Roxy do a slow striptease. She then drops to her knees in front of him, and they make love. See? Not only is the acting on the level of porn, now it almost IS porn! ...not that there's anything wrong with that.
Claire and Nick are also getting intimate, and they declare their love for each other. Awww, ain't that sweet? I think they just gave me diabetes. And what's with her stupid hair? The budget was so low, they couldn't afford a comb? (On a side note, I think the idea of watching some of these SyFy movies might've been a terrible idea...they're pretty excruciating to sit through.)
Wait, is this thing still on? Damn, I better back up to see what I missed. Okay, so Axel is still taking a massive dump. Great, so glad I didn't miss it. You want to know the worst part? Some guy actually took the time to WRITE THIS SCENE into the movie. Can you imagine? "Okay, either you add in some scenes involving shit, or I'll invest my money elsewhere!"
Anyway, Axel hears a noise. It spooks him, so he starts running. Oh, and his pants are magical, because they somehow stayed up while he took his dump. Seriously, he never pulled them up, so...yeah. He shit himself. For a long, long time. And my eyes can never, ever, ever unsee this movie.
The others hear him screaming, and everybody runs out of their respective tents. They find Axel sitting by the fire, as the sheriff mocks him for getting all panicky. Uh, yeah, you were watching him go to the bathroom. He had every right to be scared, ya weirdo! Sheriff Murphy explains that he was just making sure they were all safe, but then he notices that some members of the group are missing. He advises them to move on soon, then he leaves.
Hayden finds his sudden appearance strange, and he theorizes that the lawman must want them out of the way so that he can keep the gold for himself. Hayden then whips out a gun, ranting that he doesn't trust anyone at this point, not even his friends. They try to reason with him, but he clearly has Gold Fever...not to be confused with Saturday Night Fever, which causes impromptu disco dancing.
Anyway, that's when Jeremiah Stone shows up. They mistake him for Sheriff Murphy at first, but quickly realize their mistake, once they remember that Murphy doesn't carry a pickaxe in each hand. Smart group, these folks.
Jeremiah roars at them, then throws one of his weapons. It lands in the ground in front of Axel, and they take off in different directions. Well, except for Hayden: He stands his ground and starts shooting at the zombie prospector. That goes about as well as you'd imagine.
Roxy gets to one of the cars, and they give her the keys. As she tries to get it started, Jeremiah sends a pickaxe sailing through the windshield, killing her in an instant. Well, one more down.
Jeremiah hunts down the remaining group, and now there's a mad dash to find a safe spot. Hayden gets into the sports car, then leaves his remaining friends literally in the dust, while he speeds away. Jeremiah leaps onto the hood of the car and gnashes his teeth at Hayden, while also trying to force the vehicle off the road.
Hayden manages to shake him loose, but crashes in the attempt, and his car goes up in flames. Oh, and he hit the pickup, which also ignites. Wow, these guys are seriously unlucky! Hayden exits the car just before both vehicles explode, but he's on fire. The Hayden, the Hayden, the Hayden's on FIRE! Man, I'm in a musical mood this week. Anyone wanna meet up later for some drunken karaoke? (call me!)
The prospector stops to admire his own handiwork, then suddenly remembers what he was there to do in the first place. He turns to snarl at our last 3 heroes, and the chase resumes. It's funny to say this, but he's actually kind of cool-looking in some of these scenes.
...And that's when Aunt Nellie comes to the rescue. Gee, I had totally forgotten about her. She takes them to her home, where she then reams them out for causing Jeremiah to rise from the dead. She explains that there's a curse on the gold, and that anyone who tries to take it winds up on Jeremiah's bad side.
Aunt Nellie goes into more detail about Jeremiah's crimes, which dated back to his taking part in the Donner Party cannibalization. In 1851, Jeremiah took a young woman from Suttersville hostage, and a posse eventually surrounded him. A kindly priest tried to reason with him, but he just laughed, then planted a pickaxe into his hostage's back.
The townsfolk shot at him several times, until Jeremiah fell to his knees. When he looked up, his eyes had become milky-white, and then he seemed to rejuvenate in an instant. He then bit off his own finger, before placing that curse upon anyone who ever attempted to take his gold. He laughed like a loon, vanished into the mine, and the rest is history.
The flashback ends with Aunt Nellie declaring that none of the witnesses could ever verify that Jeremiah had ever actually died. They all decide that the only way to end his wrath is to return every piece of gold they took back to the mine, then destroy it. By doing that, they reason, they can stop him forever.
That's when Jeremiah bursts into Aunt Nellie's house. He attacks them, lighting Aunt Nellie on fire with her own torch. The others fight back, and Jeremiah gets one hand chopped off in the scuffle.
They barely manage to escape the house intact, and they grab several sticks of dynamite on the way out. Then they debate whether or not to try to leave Suttersville, or actually follow through with the plan to return the gold to the mine, or destroy what they took. The destruction plan wins out.
The frightened trio return to their campfire, and Axel is pressured to be the one to come up with a way to set up a trap that both destroys the gold AND stops the forty-niner in his tracks. Yeah, because a military dropout is a real expert in that sort of stuff.
Axel decides that it's possible to rig a walkie-talkie to trigger an explosion, so they ultimately agree to haul the stolen gold back to the mine. While Axel is explaining his plan, Jeremiah is busy shoving a pickaxe into the stump where his hand used to be, making his arm into a weapon. That's kinda silly, but also pretty awesome. He shows his new weapon to the cameraman, and lets loose with another growl.
The sheriff drives around randomly, then we see our little group at the mine. Claire is keeping watch outside, while Axel and Nick get to the chamber where they found the stashed treasure. They find a crate full of more dynamite, and throw all of the gold together into a pile. Axel also reveals that he had some more stashed in his pockets, which he reluctantly puts back.
As Axel is putting the finishing touches on his remote detonator, Jeremiah Stone leaps into view. Claire can hear the assault, but is too afraid to use the walkie talkie to set off the explosion. Then Jeremiah gets his weapon-arm stuck, and that buys them some time. Unfortunately, the phone doesn't trigger the explosion as they thought it would.
Axel gets stabbed in the shoulder, and Claire arrives just as Jeremiah is about to finish him off. Claire uses a flare gun to set the miner on fire, then she and Nick crawl back through the exit tunnel. Axel, badly wounded, decides to remain behind to push Jeremiah Stone into the box of dynamite.
There's a massive cloud of dust, as well as several fires caused by the explosions. Claire and Nick survive, and Sheriff Murphy drives up to them. They tell him that the miner caused all of the chaos, and he quickly urges them into his vehicle, while he takes a look around. They watch as he finds a nugget of gold on the ground, takes it, then gets murdered by Jeremiah Stone, who explodes out of the ground. THE END
Wow, what a mixed bag. Some good kills, an interesting look for the killer, and no shortage of hot actresses. But then we get the crappy acting, the Scooby-Doo storyline, and a bad script. This one gets a plain ol', average 3 out of 5 killer trees.
And what did I learn this week?
-I'm not a good audience for SyFy movies.
-Camping is a drag.
-Fake Wanted posters are a lucrative business for old coots.
-I wanna rock!
My next waste of 90 minutes is something called Dying Breed. See you next week!