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Thursday, January 30, 2014

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

This week's SAW was kind of a legend for a few years, having been made, then unreleased until about a year or so ago. About the only way to see it was to attend a screening at a convention, or try to acquire a bootleg version. Luckily, it did finally get a wide release, and we can finally discover why All The Boys Love Mandy Lane! SPOILERS, obviously...

After we hear a school bell, we see Mandy Lane(played by the gorgeous Amber Heard) walking down a school corridor, as several students stare at her. She stops to talk to a boy sitting in front of a row of lockers, and they exit the school together. A prep-looking type pulls his pickup truck in front of the school to tell Mandy how hot she became over the summer, then he invites her to a pool party. Mandy accepts the invitation, but only if her male friend can go as well.

At the pool party, the douchebag jock tries to convince Mandy to strip down to her underwear, and she rebuffs his advances. When that fails to deter him, her scrawny male friend sprays him from across the pool with a squirt gun. The jock, now named Dylan, angrily pushes the nerdy guy into the pool, and dunks his head into the water, until Mandy asks him to stop.

Later, Dylan finds the nerd sitting alone on the roof overlooking the pool, and the 2 boys talk. They get drunk together, then Emmet(the nerdy teen) tells Dylan that Mandy would never fall for a guy who just tried to drown her best friend. As Emmet gets up to leave, he impulsively dares Dylan to jump off the roof into the pool with him, to impress Mandy.

Dylan hesitates, but now, the entire group is watching the roof. He agrees to the dare, but Emmet doesn't join him in the jump. Dylan lands with a sickening thud, and the pool fills with blood. Dylan dies, and Emmet is accused of killing him by some of the witnesses.

The story then jumps ahead to 9 months later. A stoner named Red brags to his buddies that he's invited Mandy Lane to party with him at the family ranch, but she still hasn't given him an answer yet. Currently, Mandy's trying to beat Emmet in a race, and she's easily outpacing him and the other runners behind them.

After the race, Emmet tries to give Mandy something that he wrote, but she's ushered away by another girl. Mandy eventually agrees to attend the party, then tells her Aunt Jo about the party when she and her cousin go home. Aunt Jo is raising Mandy, but there's no mention of what might have happened to her parents. While Mandy's looking at pictures of her parents and changing her shirt, a voyeur seems to be looking through her bedroom window.

The teens head out to a water tower to get high together, then steal a keg of beer for the party from a delivery guy. Then there's a random bit of nonsense about a teen getting a handjob. As they get closer to the ranch, the bitchy girl stops her vehicle, insisting that the main group in the pickup truck need to let her ride with them. Apparently, she feels that the dirt road might damage her car.

To remedy the situation, Mandy decides to walk the rest of the way to the ranch. A kid named Bird also decides to walk, and the others promise to send someone back for them if they take too long. Bird tells Mandy that he's not like the other boys, then proceeds to act EXACTLY like the other boys. Lucky for Mandy, another truck pulls up, driven by a guy named Garth. He was sent to pick them up, and Mandy is pretty happy to be rescued at that point...

They find the rest of the teens skeet-shooting, and Mandy stares at the ranch with some unease. After unpacking her bag, she goes for a quick run. Some blood on the trail catches her eye, and Mandy fails to find a source for the puddle. She examines it, then decides to join the others, who are swimming nearby.

She strips down to her undies again, and you can almost hear the BOOOOOING! sound of the boners in the water. Then, while the group is swimming and being silly, a massive snake shows up, and swims toward Mandy. A shot rings out, and it turns out that Garth has arrived to protect them. The teens quickly emerge from the water, thanking Garth as they go.

Back at the house, they get drunk and play Truth or Dare. Mandy gets distracted by a figure standing outside, and it's widely assumed by the others that it must be Garth. Mandy is dared to invite him to play the game, and she agrees. She goes looking for him at his guesthouse, and they chat, but he ultimately turns her down. Garth is worried about what Red's father would do if he knew that Garth was partying with teenagers.

Mandy returns just in time to hear that a guy named Jake is the least-endowed guy at the party. Ouch. Jake stomps off after they make fun of him, and a girl named Marlin chases after him. They talk while alone, and she offers to go down on him.

Jake's girlfriend, Chloe, decides to remove her shirt, then show off her goods  at the nearest window. She finds Garth staring up at her, but makes no move to conceal her nudity. Then Marlin is seen asking Jake to "return the favor", and he refuses. He not only leaves, but he takes the flashlight with him, abandoning Marlin in the dark barn.

Marlin hears somebody moving around in the dark, and assumes that it must be Jake. Whoever it is attacks her, knocking Marlin out cold. When she wakes up, she finds the barrel of a rifle in her mouth. The killer doesn't shoot her, but instead repeatedly jams it down her throat, until her injuries cause bleeding.

Jake returns to the party, telling the others  that Marlin left him to seduce Garth. Chloe locks herself in the nearest bathroom, where she decides to "trim the hedges", right then and there. While she's bushwhacking, Red is busy trying to get one of his buddies to fetch a beer for him, but they're all wasted and high. Oh, and they're all in the dark, because someone needs to go refuel the generator, but no one has yet.

Bird gets up to see if he can fix the generator and restore the power. Red decides to get himself a beer, since no one else will. And Mandy decides to go looking for candles, in case the generator can't be fixed. Oh, and Chloe screamed at one point, so they might need to check on her as well.

Bird arrives at the generator, and Garth interrupts him while he's trying to restart the generator. Garth informs him that the ranch just runs off of normal electricity, and that Bird was duped to get him away from Mandy. Sure enough, we see that Jake has a fuse in his shirt pocket, which he proudly shows Mandy.

Mandy tells him to put it back, and  he does, but only after he and Mandy have a brief fight. Then Bird returns to the ranch, and Jake decides to drive around and look for Marlin. He eventually ends up at a remote clearing near the water, where he sees Marlin crouching on the ground. Excited, he gets out of the truck to reach her.

He sees that her face is badly damaged, then an assailant in a hooded sweatshirt tries to shoot him. He misses, and Jake dives into the water to escape. The killer simply waits for him to come back  up for air, then shoots again. The rest of the teens hear the gun,but assume that Jake is just trying to scare them. A brief scene shows that the killer is Emmet.

Chloe asks Red and Bird to go find Jake, but they refuse. She decides to fetch him herself, but Garth meets her at the front door, armed with a gun of his own. He orders the drunk teens to stay inside, warning them that, if he hears another gunshot, he's going to call Red's father.

Then we see Emmet again. He's reading the pages of a private journal, and remembering how badly the other teens, including Mandy, have treated him in the past. He then grabs a large hunting knife, and prepares to resume his attack on the party.

As the remaining teens sit around and get bored, Chloe decides to ask Red if Garth is single. Red says that Garth used to have a family, but they died under mysterious circumstances. He also claims that Garth is a mentally unstable war veteran, but Chloe still seems interested.

Chloe gets high, then sees someone outside, covered in blood. None of her friends believe her, but Red goes to the front door to have a look. When he convinces her that no one is there, she has Mandy help her get to the nearest bathroom. Mandy watches her take a pill, and they nearly kiss, but the boys interrupt the encounter.

A vehicle is heard approaching the ranch, and they all assume that it must be Marlin and Jake, back from their adventures. It's Emmet, and he starts to launch fireworks at  them, as they all gather on the front porch of the ranch. Garth hears the commotion, and decides to call Red's parents. Mandy convinces him not to do that, but he still insists on keeping a closer eye on the remaining teens.

Oh, and speaking of remaining...Bird chose to chase the vehicle, and grabbed one of the rifles before he left. When the truck finally stops, he sees that the driver is Emmet, and the teens have a short scuffle. Emmet tells Bird that everyone, Emmet included, is going to be dead by the next morning, then he pulls out his knife, scraping it across Bird's face and eyes.

Bird tries to crawl away, but Emmet follows him. He taunts the blinded teen, then stabs him several times, until he dies. He tells Bird that he's sorry that he killed him, but then he changes his mind. That Emmet is one kooky nut!

Garth tells the teens a story about how he recently had to slaughter a herd of sick cattle, then most of them fall asleep. Yeah. Nice bedtime story. Garth and Mandy stay awake all night, then Garth asks her why she's not like the other teens.

Mandy tells Garth that her parents died, but we still don't know the story. He asks if she has an older sister, and she laughs, admitting that he probably wouldn't like her cousin as much. I have to admit, I'm getting pretty curious about the mysterious deaths of Mom and Dad Lane.

Emmet finds an empty house, and washes his face. He tries to call his own house, but no one there picks up the phone. Discouraged, he trudges back outside.

Garth hears noises in another part of the house, and decides to investigate. While he's upstairs, Emmet enters the ranch, and finds Mandy asleep in the kitchen. He reaches toward her with one bloody hand, and strokes her hair. At roughly the same time, Garth realizes that Emmet used an upstairs radio to distract him, and he rushes back to the kitchen.

Mandy is fine, but there's blood in her hair from where Emmet touched her. Also, he left her a message in the magnet-letters on the fridge, "WAKE UP", merely to scare her. She and Garth wake up Chloe and Red, then they all head to the front door.

Garth leads the way, and Emmet shoots him in the shoulder. As they slam the front door again, Garth urges the 3 teens to escape through the back door, but Mandy refuses. Red and Chloe pair up and leave, and manage to sneak around the side of the house without being seen. As they run down the dirt road, they find the bodies of their friends left out on display.

Then they find the vehicle that Emmet stole, and make their way toward it. They're so happy that they almost kiss, and the action is eerily paralleled with Mandy and Garth, who also look like they might share a kiss. Then Emmet pops up, and shoots Red, who keels over.

While Chloe tries to outrun Emmet, the intimate moment between Garth and Mandy passes. Chloe tries to hide from Emmet behind piles of hay, only to discover Bird's corpse in the process. Then Emmet nearly runs her over, while screaming obscenities at her. What a kidder! I can't wait to see him at the 10-year reunion!

Mandy leaves the ranch, and wanders into Garth's little shack. She finds a bloody knife, as well as a first aid kit, and a pile of bloody rags. She takes the knife, then sees Chloe heading her way. Mandy urges Chloe to head in her direction, then stabs her in the gut.

As Chloe falls to the ground, we find out that Emmet and Mandy planned the entire massacre together. They even planned out a suicide pact, with Mandy overdosing on pills, and Emmet being shot in the chest. He gives Mandy the pills, and asks her to take them now, then shoot him, so they can die together.

She leans in to kiss Emmet, then the freakin; DVD glitched up! Garth somehow showed up to stop them, and he and Emmet had some kind of altercation. I have no idea how much of the movie the DVD skipped over, but I have a feeling that I may have missed some major developments in there!

Anyway...Mandy is now running away from them, and Emmet is chasing her down.Mandy falls into the muddy pit where Garth slaughtered those cows, and she uses some cow bones to bludgeon Emmet to death. Then she returns to Garth's body, and helps him into a jeep. She has Garth convinced that she saved the day, then we see all of the teens alive again in a flashback, happy as clams. THE END

Wow, sucky timing for a DVD glitch! I wonder if that missing segment explained anything about why she did it? Weird. Still, the kills and the suspense were pretty decent. I'll give it 3.5 killer trees out of 5, as it was slightly above average.

And what did I learn after spending time with All The Boys Love Mandy Lane?

-If someone you know gets hot over the summer, they probably want to kill you.

-Most guys are walking, talking gonads, once we hit our teens.

-Cows make good murder weapons. Moo-rder?

Next week, up next, next on my queue, is You're Next. Wait, why am I next? What did I do???

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Deepstar Six

So, I was in a discussion not long ago, about how, in the late '80s/early '90s, there were a crapload of Alien knockoffs...and most of them took place underwater. Deepstar Six was one of 2 of these things that I paid to see in a theatre(the other was nLeviathan), and it's today's SAW. Big, drippy, slippery SPOILERS follow...

According to the opening credits, this movie involved the producers of Total Recall, and the guy who created the Friday the 13th franchise. Weird. Oh, and the cast is mostly made up of actors from television and bad movies, like Nia Peeples, Greg "My Two Dads" Evigan and Matt "That Guy Who WASN'T Steve Guttenberg in later Police Academy Sequels" McCoy. Neat-o.

After the saddest credits ever, we follow a shark to Deepstar Six, which is a military project located on the ocean floor. There, we meet McBride and Laidlaw, a happy couple who are just waking up to begin their work shift. McBride is commitment-shy, and he artfully evades Laidlaw when she starts to ask him why he's never settled down. Trouble in Paradise?

They join the rest of their team for the change in shift, and we find out that their "shift" is in the last week of a 6-month stint on the ocean floor. The team consists of McBride(a submarine pilot) and Joyce Collins; a marine biologist named Dr. Scarpelli; a physician named Diane Norris; 2 hotshot submarine pilots, named Osborne and Hodges; a Russian-sounding scientist named Burciaga; Dr. Van Gelder, who is the man in charge of the scientific experiments being conducted underwater; and Captain Laidlaw, the commander of the underwater station.

Burciaga and Collins are studying an area where the military is trying to place a missile site, and they discover that the cavern underneath that spot is pretty deep. They contact Van Gelder to report that they should probably look for another place to build the missile site, but he orders them to use whatever tools are necessary to blow up the cavern, then put the missiles on top of the wreckage. Collins and Burciaga want to explore the area first, but Van Gelder overrides the decision.

Snyder tells the rest of the group about the cave discovery, and Scarpelli seeks out Van Gelder to try to talk him into letting her explore the cavern first. Despite citing several important scientific discoveries made in similar caverns, he refuses to delay the demolition of the cave. She stomps away, then we get a brief scene of Snyder begging Norris to give him a medical reason to return to land.

After that random bit goes nowhere, Scarpelli talks to the captain about the preservation of the cavern. He points out that the military project is on a tight schedule, but she counter-argues that the study of the cavern would be a valuable tool in her research. The captain chooses to side with Van Gelder, and Scarpelli takes out her frustration on some exercise equipment.

After her workout, Scarpelli jumps into the shower, but abruptly loses water pressure. Richardson pops in to ogle her, and she pulls him into the shower to join her...fully clothed. Heh, bet they both die of exposure before the credits roll.

Osborne and Hodges use a robot to place the explosives, and the resulting charge causes the sea floor around the site to begin to collapse. They activate a remote camera to explore the newly-created fissure, while they watch from their module at a safe distance. What follows is a friggin' enchanted wonderland, filled with glowing seaweed and underwater lava-rocks. Tra-la-la!

They decide to record the experience, as well as taking some photographs(the nudity will be artful, I'm sure), and that's when the probe suddenly loses the transmission. Osborne and Hodges decide to pilot their vehicle into the fissure to retrieve the probe. While waiting for the camera to work again, Burciaga tells Collins that the images from the cavern could be ocean life that has existed for millions of years, undetected by humans until now.

More Disney underwater fantasy stuff, accompanied by even more wondrous music. Man, it's like Seaquest and The Little Mermaid had a love-child! They spot the probe, then something spots THEM. The object chases their vehicle, and the other sub that Burciaga and Collins are observing them from abruptly loses all contact with Osborne and Hodges. Even their mini-sub vanishes from the radar screen.

Burciaga and Collins decide to call Deepstar Six to report the incident to the captain, and Snyder leaves his post to find him. While they wait, the sub is attacked by the large creature that destroyed the first sub. As the small vehicle begins to flood, Burciaga is flung under a pile of flying equipment, and Collins is temporarily knocked out.

Snyder and the captain try to contact them, but get only silence. They ready another vehicle to go after them, then we see hat Collins has finally regained her senses. She soon discovers that the creature that attacked the tiny ship pushed it close to the edge of a ravine, where it's extremely unstable. She manages to revive Burciaga, but he's pinned under a ton of stuff, and his leg is in rough shape. He's toast.

McBride and Laidlaw move in closer to where Burciaga and Collins were transmitting, and the creature nearly collides with them as well. They avoid it, then dock with the other mini-sub. After getting the hatch between the vehicles to open up, Burciaga dies from the trauma of his injuries. Collins crawls through the hatch, as does McBride, but then the portal slams down on Captain Laidlaw's midsection, nearly cutting him in half.

Pinned in place, the captain orders the pair to save themselves, then he floods the chamber to drown himself. They try to pry him loose first, fail, then swim back into the other sub. After a short ride back to the research station, they get escorted to sick bay.

While changing into a dry outfit, McBride and Richardson talk about losing the captain. Richardson gives McBride an old photo of him and Laidlaw during a happy occasion, and McBride is thankful for the good memory. He hugs Richardson, then finishes getting dressed.

During her time with the doctor, Collins reports on the creature that seems to be attacking all of the research vessels. Scarpelli shares the theory that perhaps the creature was disturbed by a combination of both the detonation of the cavern, and the sudden influx of light provided by all of the subs and probes. Also, during the medical examination, Dr. Norris discovers that Collins is pregnant. McBride just happens to walk in as the announcement is made. As George Takei might say, "Oh myyyyy..."

Anyway, while Collins and McBride hash out their relationship issues, Dr. Norris prepares to evacuate the station early. She leaves Snyder in charge of shutting down the computers, while the others all leave to pack up equipment. When the computer asks Snyder to input the reason for the shutdown, he tries to narrow down the attacks as an aggressive threat to the base by a natural force. That starts a missile detonation sequence. Gosh, what could possibly go wrong?

While the others talk about what they plan to do back on land, Snyder fires the missiles. The impact sends a shockwave through the base, and that shockwave also pisses off the creature outside. As the structure of the base starts to buckle, everyone scurries around to make repairs to the many, many leaks that are now happening.

They've fixed things on a short-term basis, but now they're boned on several other levels...For starters, the decompression chamber is being flooded, which is dangerous for them at such a low depth in the ocean. Also, the supplies are flooded, greatly reducing their chances of survival even if they do make it back to the surface; oh, and the reactor that they're running everything off of has become unstable, so they'll die in a matter of hours in a nuclear explosion long before the air runs out.

Snyder suggests trying to get into an escape pod without going through decompression, but he's told that anyone attempting to do that would explode from pressure. They examine the layout of the base, and find a possible route to a place where they might be able to repair the decompression chamber, so they work as a team to set up a new plan of action.

Richardson gets into a diving suit, grabs a welding tool, then heads outside to begin the repairs, while they try to guide him along from a computer screen. The welding tool is bright enough to attract the monster, and we see something slowly advance upon Richardson's position. A moment later, the others hear him screaming over the microphone.

They try to pull Richardson back into the base, but the creature follows him through the airlock. Only Richardson's top half makes it, followed quickly by a wormlike behemoth. The worm-monster ducks back down into the hatch with Richardson's yummy legs to chew on, as the crew work to both shut the airlock, and escape the room.

As the room gets flooded, the worm decides to swim back in. It snatches Scarpelli, and the rest barely manage to get away and seal the hatch. While Snyder and McBride argue over whose fault this is, the others realize that the creature has suddenly gone quiet. Snyder once again proposes using an escape pod without decompressing, and is told that it would be lethal.

The doctor and Van Gelder talk about the nature of the creature, and she tries to pick his brain about ways to kill it. He doesn't know enough about it to offer anything useful, but Snyder, McBride and Collins find harpoon-like guns that fire projectiles that can cause the target to inflate like a balloon, then explode. That sounds like a fun way to die. Snyder doubts the effectiveness of the weapon, until Collins demonstrates on the cushion that Snyder is sitting on.

Armed with their kooky new weapons, they decide to sneak back through the flooded part of the base to get to the decompression chamber. While wading through chest-high water, McBride dives under to see if he can clear enough debris away to finish repairing the decompression chamber, and clear an exit for them. After a couple of dives, he reports that he believes that he achieved his goal.

Then the giant worm pops up, and everyone goes  crazy. During the frenzy, Snyder accidentally shoots Van Gelder with one of the Air-rows(heh, couldn't resist that one...), and we see his heart explode out of his chest. After the creature leaves again, Snyder has a mental breakdown, so Norris injects him with a sedative.

Snyder starts to cry and act like a wounded puppy, so McBride and Collins leave him with the physician, so that they can begin the task of readying the decompression chamber, and setting up an escape pod. Snyder is left alone for a minute, while the doctor tries to gather some medical supplies. While alone, he has a vision of the recently-exploded Van Gelder, and the ghost "attacks" him with another explosive harpoon.

Norris hears his screams, and discovers Snyder climbing up into an escape pod. She tries to drag him away from the ladder, but he gets away from her, then slams the pod door shut and initiates the launch sequence. Snyder's pod launches, sending a rush of water into the room through the now-open hatch, and McBride and Collins barely manages to rescue the doctor in time from a watery demise. When McBride declares that he's going to kill Snyder for what he did, the doctor says that Snyder has already killed himself.

Then we get to watch Snyder die. It's slow, it's painful, it's bloody, and it's explosive. Fun times. It's also the best special effect in the entire danged movie. Sadly, it doesn't last very long. When I first saw it in my teens, I thought it felt like forever, heh. Things seemed much gorier in my younger days...

Back in the base, our last three survivors are waiting for the decompression chamber to finish cycling up, so that they can make their escape. McBride decides that he's going to make his way over to another computer, hijack one of the mini-subs, then pilot it remotely over to the decompression chamber so that they can use it for their escape. Oh, and he asks Collins to marry him. Awwwww!!!! I hope they don't go on a cruise for their honeymoon...

McBride swims through several flooded compartments, while Collins tries to use the power of prayer to bribe God to let her beloved live. McBride gets inside one of the mini-subs, and begins to pilot it back to the other survivors. Then, the monster knocks at the hatch, so the doctor lets it in. Seriously, that actually happens. I really wish I were joking, but we get a scene where the monster politely knocks.

The creature eats the physician while Collins works on getting herself inside the decompression chamber. As it attempts to finish the doctor off though, she grabs up a pair of defbrillator paddles, and electrocutes the beast. It eats her anyway, while Collins gets rescued by McBride. The decompression finally finishes, and they get into their escape sub.

The mini-sub surfaces, but so does the stupid worm. As our couple tries to get onto a life raft, the worm attacks, so McBride causes a fire and  an explosion, using leaking fuel. The creature gets blown up, then McBride reveals that he swam a safe distance away, and Collins pulls him into the raft. THE END

Well, we had a giant sea worm, a couple of exploding victims, a sexy girl in a shower, and a relatively high body count: so why do I feel so bored by this one? It just felt slow to me, and the kills early on were incredibly dull. Plus, we didn't really get to see much of the creature design, so even those few glimpses felt like they botched it. Still, Nia Peeples had a good shower scene, and the female lead  reached Sandra Bullock-levels of cuteness,  so it sort of evened out. 3 out of 5 killer trees, for some good 'splosions.

And what did I learn after watching Deepstar Six?
-It wasn't very deep, and there were no stars. Discuss.

-Giant worms hate light.

-Humans make messy balloons.

Next up, a real treat. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, starring Amber Heard. Can't wait! See you then...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Asylum of the Damned

Here we go again...This week's slasher(which may not actually BE a slasher...I won't know until we watch it!) is something called Asylum of the Damned. That title pretty much sums up my entire existence. But enough about me...let's get ready for SPOILERS!

The movie begins in what I assume is the asylum, during s violent storm. A guy in a white coat is running down a corridor, as something appears to be chasing him. When he stops at a secure door to fumble with a keycard, whatever was looking for him catches up. He screams at a security camera that he's not crazy, but the office where the monitor is located looks empty.

The lab coat guy is then somehow subdued, and brought into what looks like a lab. He's been strapped onto a table, and his mouth has been taped shut by his attacker. Oh, and his tongue was removed, which seems like overkill if you're going to just gag the guy. A large winged demon with red eyes looms over the poor guy, and little bolts of energy pass through its claws as it waves the claw over the victim's face. Then the title screen pops up.

The movie then whisks us away to a tiny house, where we see a young couple talking before heading off to work. The wife gives her husband, a medical student, a medal of St. Christopher, to encourage him on his first day at work in a certain ASYLUM OF THE DAMNED!!!! The clasp on the medallion breaks, but he puts it in his pocket, promising her that he'll fix it later.

When he gets into his car, he finds a book that his wife left on the seat for him, by some doctor named McCort. He drives down a deserted highway, and a wolf howls at one point. I don't want to criticize the guy, but shouldn't his commute to work take less than a day? Not only does he need to stop for gas at one point, but night has fallen.

The gas station seems abandoned, so our young doctor tries to yell for attention. A stranger leaps at the young doctor, then a  creepy-looking old man looms up behind him, demanding to know why he didn't  just ring the bell for service, as opposed to shouting. While pumping the gas, the old man explains that the other man who ran off was a guy who sometimes wanders out of the mental hospital. He's supposedly harmless, but we'll see...After paying for the gas, the doctor resumes his journey.

When he finally gets to the mental hospital, we finally discover that our protagonist is named Dr. Bishop. He meets a security guard outside, and the guard offers to escort him to his boss, Dr. Francis, who is currently in the Isolation Ward. Along the way, Bishop is told a little bit about the history of the facility. The place is massive, but only holds about 600 patients. At the end of the tour, the guard introduces himself as Frank, then instructs Dr. Bishop on how to get to the Isolation Ward.

Dr. Bishop heads down a shadowy hallway, and finds a number of patients staring out at him from their rooms. Then he hears the sound of a muffled cry behind one door, and a greasy-looking doctor named Peter Francis advises him to step away. Dr. Francis shows Bishop where his new office will be.

In the cramped office, things start to get a little bit bizarre. Doctor Francis pushes Dr. Bishop onto an office chair, then asks him if he believes that Satan is real. As he rants and raves that the patients in the facility are all evil, someone can be heard attempting to enter the office. After Francis shares the idea that all of the patients are damned souls, another doctor steps in, calmly injecting him with a hypodermic.

The new man is Dr. McCort, the person that Bishop was supposed to meet. It's soon revealed that Dr. Francis was actually tied up and gagged by a delusional serial killer by the name of Harry Smith. Dr. Bishop could have very likely become his next victim, if Dr. McCort hadn't have shown up just then.

The 2 men have a casual interview, and get to know one another over some coffee. McCort sees the medallion around Bishop's neck(Uh, did he fix that broken clasp when I was blinking?), then shows off his own holy item, a ring with a strange symbol engraved on it. He doesn't explain what it means, so I'm willing to bet that it'll be important later.

After a more thorough tour of some of the patient wards, Bishop is introduced to Helen, and Wells, 2 of the main nurses in charge of the dangerous patients in "A" ward. While Dr. McCort gets a report from the nurses, Bishop decides to talk to one of the patients, an elderly black man who is tied to the bed that he's in. He begs Dr. Bishop to loosen the straps on his arms, claiming  that he and the other patients are being tortured and used as human sacrifices in some kind of dark ritual.

After they head back toward the administration area, Dr. Bishop requests that he be assigned to the patients in A ward. Dr. McCort agrees, but only if he agrees to live at the asylum full-time, at least to start. Bishop agrees, then rushes home to tell his wife that he'd literally rather live in a mental hospital, than be with her.

Dr. Bishop helps the now-unemployed Dr. Francis pack up his office, then he gets some instructions on dispensing medications from the head nurse, Helen. She makes him a promise that all of the pertinent files on his new patients will be delivered to his room, and he soon finds himself overwhelmed by paperwork.

After a restless night, Bishop organizes the patient files, and kills several dozens of cockroaches in his office. Then he meets Smithy, a hulking brute of an orderly, who also happens to be blind. A blind orderly, in a ward for the criminally insane. That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is absolute genius.

Smithy escorts Bishop to the shower area, where he has his first official session as a doctor, with a patient by the name of Jackson. Sadly, Jackson is dead, an apparent murder victim. Bishop discovers him in aa therapy tub, with massive wounds all over his chest.

Bishop tries to call the cops to report the murder, but Dr. McCort stops him before he can complete the call. He tells the younger man that the best thing that they can do for the patients is to just keep them heavily sedated. He also sees the facility as a personal crusade, calling it his "destiny".

Bishop talks to his wife from his office(Yup, back in the day, we had to go where phones were in order to call folks!), and he promises her that they can someday have a more stable life at a regular hospital. Then he sees a death threat written in blood above his desk.

At breakfast, Bishop asks Smithy where he could locate a custodian to clean up his ceiling. The blind orderly tells him that there's an older patient by the name of Que, and that he does most of the janitorial duties. Also, according to Smithy, the only people that have keys to that office are Bishop and McCort. Hmmmm....

Que swings by the office, verifies that the message was written in actual blood, then he tells Bishop that he reminds him of a previous doctor by the name of Kloves. Kloves died under mysterious circumstances, leading Bishop to ask Que if there were any similarities between him and the manner in which Jackson died. Que doesn't know,but he says that Jackson was into some weird cult activity.

Bishop talks to one of the patients in "A" ward, and discovers that the man was awake the night that Jackson died. He says that a couple of employees took Jackson to the basement, and that people who go to the basement always wind up dead. Before Bishop can get any further details, the nurse tells him that Dr. McCort needs to see him about an urgent matter.

Dr. McCort pretty much just wanted to bitch and moan about all of the trouble Bishop is causing with his investigations. He orders Bishop to simply do the bare minimum to help the patients, and nothing more. If not, then he threatens to destroy Bishop's future as a doctor.

Later, Que shows Bishop that he was able to clean most of the blood away from the ceiling. They talk, and Que tells the doctor that he was committed after he stabbed a little girl to death. Que is troubled by the memory, and he admits that he thinks that he has something evil inside himself that made him kill her. After Que leaves, Bishop finds a note on his desk, asking him for a meeting later, in the boiler room.

The sender of the note is Mark, the patient who saw Jackson the night he was killed. He convinced one of the nurses to undo his straps for a short break, so he arranged for the meeting in the boiler room. He warns Bishop that someone at the hospital is killing patients, but he doesn't know who it is, nor does he know their motive. He warns Bishop to be careful about who he trusts.

After seeing and hearing Smithy being verbally abused by evil Nurse Helen, Bishop finds a patient invading his office. It's Hadley, the man who frightened him at the gas station, and he reveals that he has a skeleton key for the entire hospital. Hadley tells Bishop that he works on bodies in the morgue, cleaning them up. When asked if he knows about the condition of Jackson's corpse, he says that he doesn't know how the bodies get so badly damaged.

Bishop then visits the kindly Nurse Wells. She was the one left the bloody message in his office, in an attempt to scare him into quitting. She can't tell him anything else, out of fear that someone might hear her and then try to kill her, but she suggests that Bishop might find some answers in the file room. Intrigued, Bishop decides to have a look, and he forces Hadley to tag along.

Bishop locates the files of the deceased staff members and patients, and realizes that all of them supposedly died from heart attacks. The evil nurse Helen then comes into the room, so Bishop hides under a table. For some reason, this actually works.

He waits until the coast is clear, leaves the file room, then has Hadley take him to the morgue. They travel through a maze of tunnels, stopping once so that Hadley can show Bishop the secret passage he uses when he escapes. Then they arrive at the morgue, where there are about 3 or 4 bodies, all with the strange chest wounds and markings on the bodies,  and a drug that causes heart attacks laying around nearby.

Bishop recognizes one of the corpses as Mark, who actually wakes up. He begs the men to rescue him, but they hide, mere moments before a couple of men in hooded white robes enter the morgue. Hadley whispers to Bishop that the bodies are being delivered to an area used for human sacrifices.

The opening scene plays again, only this time the demon is just a guy in a robe wearing a cheesy-looking white mask. Wait, no, the demon's there as well, standing with the Fake Jason Voorhees. Fake Jason sees a glint of metal on the ground while the demon is electrocuting one of the victims, and recognizes the medal that Bishop was wearing earlier. A chase begins!

Hadley and Bishop get away, but Hadley refuses to go any further. He lets Bishop keep the skeleton key, and the doctor rushes to gather up some incriminating files and escape the premises. Before that can happen, Bishop is interrupted by Smithy, who tells him that he has a female visitor waiting in the cafeteria.

It's the wife/girlfriend/whatever. She's being questioned by Dr. McCort when Bishop walks into the room. McCort manages to manipulate her into spending the night, then he sees the files that Bishop took. As Bishop hurries to escort his beloved away from the evil doctor, McCort taunts him by revealing that he found the medallion. D'oh!

Bishop drags his wife to the nearest exit, but his security card suddenly won't work. Then McCort pops up, He makes up a story about the electricity in the building not working properly, and Bishop warns him not to try to hurt them. McCort tells the confused love interest that Bishop has started to exhibit signs of madness himself, brought on by the stress of dealing with so many new patients and challenges, in such a short time.

They escort their new prisoners to an isolation ward, where Smithy has been told to expect them. As McCourt reveals that Nurse Wells has also been captured, Smithy suddenly attacks the security guard, then pushes McCourt into the nearest cell. He helps our young heroes escape, leading them down another endless maze of corridors.

They end up in a badly lit room, and Smithy wanders away to find a light switch. When the lights come on, they realize that they've wandered back into the morgue, and the girlfriend screams when she sees the mutilated bodies around her. An alarm light begins flashing, and Bishop realizes that they need to hurry to the escape tunnel if they don't want to die.

McCort and evil nurse Helen are busy scouring the halls for the escapees, who have reached a dead end instead of the tunnel. Luckily Hadley shows up, and he offers to show them the right path. Just as they arrive, Bishop realizes that he somehow managed to leave behind all of the evidence. What na freakin' putz this guy is! He actually decides to go back for the files, but tells his wife to escape with Hadley and Smithy. Dumbass.

Bishop runs back down the hallways, and Dr. McCort ambushes him. When Bishop regains his senses, McCort is preparing him for the arrival of the demon, which will harvest his soul and bring it back to Satan. The demon is summoned, then McCort turns to grab the syringe needed to make it look like Bishop died from a heart attack.

Somebody knocks the evil doctor out cold! Oh, Bishop's wife returned to help him. She unties Bishop, and they leave McCort there for the demon to feed on. The evil doctor tries to crawl away, but the creature kills him.

After they escape, Bishop gets the cops and an ambulance to meet them in the parking lot. The cops ask Bishop to answer some more questions, while the love interest waits in the ambulance. Too late, Bishop sees the evil  Nurse Helen driving the ambulance, and the pair of cops also appear to be part of the cult.

The film ends in a hospital room, where Bishop is screaming for help from a bed. A young nurse tries to calm him down, and an elderly doctor arrives to meet Bishop. He dismisses the pretty nurse, then reveals that he's part of the cult as well, as growling noises are heard from a nearby demon somewhere offscreen. THE END

Well...eh. It did have an interesting concept, granted, but there were holes in the plot big enough for that demon to stomp through. I mean, what happened to Hadley and Smithy, for example? What would be the point of the cult existing if their leader was dead, since he was the only one who could summon the demon? Wouldn't it have been easier to simply fire Bishop early on, destroy the evidence, THEN discredit him in the medical community? I mean, that HAS to be easier than trying to hide an ever-growing list of dead bodies! 2 killer trees out of 5, for at least not making me fall asleep.

And what did I learn from Asylum of the Damned?

-Some guys are willing to go a loooooong way to commute to work!

-Blind guys are commonly trusted to handle mental patients.

-When summoning a demon, try to make your sacrifices look like they died of heart attacks, even if you don't ever plan to let anyone see the bodies of your victims. Yeah, and amke the explanation really elaborate and dumb.

Next up on my queue: the delightfully kooky alien-in-an-underwater-lab movie Deepstar Six. It was one of several movies that all came out within a year or 2 of each other, about people being killed by water-monsters. Weird trend. Also, sometime soon, I have the cult classic All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, which is also now on Netflix Instant. Cool! See you soon!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Grizzly Park

Today's movie, Grizzly Park, s like a hybrid love-child mix of Final Destination-style death scenes with one of those "animal attack" movies that pop up on SyFy every so often. It features a serial killer, a rogue grizzly bear, and a group of inner-city teens trapped in a national park. It'll either be brilliantly insane, or just the usual stupid insane. SPOILERS ahead, campers...

Okay, so we start out with a credit sequence that references a Bible story about a bear that was summoned to eat a large group of children. Um, sure. The little pseudo-animated storyboard is pretty funny, at least. That's followed by a scene depicting an elderly park ranger watching the morning news in his office. There's a story about a blazing forest fire, followed by a report about Butch Latham, a convicted murderer who managed to escape from prison. Foreshadowing?

A-yup. In the very next scene, we see Butch murder a county officer who had to change a flat tire. Before he meets his demise, the poor guy tells Butch that he's on his way to pick up some troubled teens for a camping trip to the park. They don't show his face, but I have a feeling that Butch will be the hulking dude with blood all over his clothes. Yeah, I'm psychic that way.

Then we see the old man again. His name is Howard(which is probably an in-joke, as he's an older actor by the name of Rance Howard), and he greets a younger employee named Michael. After they have a quick chat, we see the killer try to remove the massive amount of blood from the uniform he stole off of his victim. Then he finds a knife in the van, along with the list of teens he's going to pick up, and a detailed map.

Then we see the various teens arriving for their big adventure, and the film gives us this awesomely goofy song about an encounter with a bear. The song alone earns this movie a tree. As the song winds down, we see Howard and Michael going over some paperwork, while the overhead television replays the report about the manhunt.

The song resumes, and the teens are loaded into the van. Their mugshots are shown onscreen, but not their names. Gee, thanks. Why are these movies always designed to be this obtuse? Would it kill the writers to let us get to know the characters in one of these movies?

Anyway, they arrive at the spot where they'll begin the hike, and meet up with a couple of late arrivals, as well as the leader of their expedition, Ranger Bob. A serious-looking preppie named Ryan tries to shake hands with a teen Neo-Nazi type, and they end up awkwardly holding hands instead. Pretty funny.

Ranger Michael takes a role-call, and we finally meet the rest of the characters. We've already met uptight Ryan; then there's Ty, the lonely black guy; Lola, the token Latina female; Candy, a spoiled rich girl; Kiki, the token Asian girl; Bebe, a cute willowy girl who seems like a complete ditz; Scab, the aforementioned racist; and Trickster, a hacker with a major attitude.

After the initial introductions, Ranger Bob comes out to address the troops, and explain the rules of camping. First rule of camping, don't talk about fight cl--uhhhh, I mean, no swearing. Second rule: Pack appropriate clothing and gear.

During his lecture, Ranger Bob suddenly notices that the driver has a shirt covered in a mysterious red stain. He explains that his shirt got dirty while he was changing a tire, and no one thinks to mention that tires don't usually bleed out. Ranger Bob just frowns and suggests that he should change his shirt. Oh, and the killer changes his name to Jerry, which is a foolproof way to fool everyone.

While Ranger Michael is helping crazy Jerry change his shirt, Ranger Bob starts to give a lesson on the various animals they could encounter during the trip. Bears, wolves, coyotes, skunks, and moose are just some of the wild animals waiting to eat them alive. Ranger Bob promises them that, in the event that a person is left behind by the group, he will not search for them.

Finally, the hike begins! Ranger Bob confuses Bebe right off the bat, because Bob is his last name, and his explanation is pretty complex for her to follow. During the name thing, she forgets what her original question was. Oh well.

Howard leaves the park early, and that gives Jerry an opportunity to be alone with Michael. He gets some information about the park from the young man, then stabs him in the gut. As blood starts to trickle out of Michael's mouth, Jerry kicks him onto the ground.

The hikers come to a narrow bridge, and stop to admire the view. Then we see the killer hide Michael's body in a shed, stopping only to wipe the blood from his knife on the already-messy shirt. Why is he so attached to that one shirt? Just change it!

Ranger Bob has the group take another break in a picnic area. This gives our killer some time to catch up, and we see him in a vehicle, rushing to meet up with his next targets. Oh, and the teen boys in the camping group make a bet over whether or not Bebe's ample bosoms are real or fake. Real or fake, I'd say tit's up for debate...*rim shot*

Bebe needs to go off to do some "female business", so Ranger Bob advises her on how to dispose of a tampon in the woods, without attracting animals to the scent of blood. Trickster starts to follow her, but the park ranger stops him. Then we get a cute scene with Ty and Kiki. They're both listening to music on different devices, and they exchange ear buds with each other. Like I said, it's cute.

After doing her thing, Bebe sees a little woodland creature, and decides to feed and pet it. Despite my begging and pleading, the unseen creature doesn't gnaw her hand off at the wrist. Dammit! When are they going to design a movie that lets the audience decide how to torment the cast?

Candy is admonished when Ranger Bob sees that she brought a phone with her, then Ty shows him, via a GPS device, a route to the camping area that would take less time to travel. Ranger Bob disagrees, citing the shortcut as a place where wolves tend to migrate. Then, as we see the killer's vehicle racing through the woods, the campers encounter a skunk. It turns out that the skunk was the creature that Bebe met, mistaking it for some kind of "forest cat", in spite of the big, skunky white stripe.

Kiki screams, the skunk panics, and the entire group is sprayed by the skunk. Then Ranger Bob calls Jerry, who has just arrived at the eventual campsite. He assures the ranger that the camping gear has been dropped off, then he starts to drive away.

And now, at long last, we have The Most Important Scene in the entire movie, the scene where all of the teens strip down to their underwear, then stand around in some water, splashing and frolicking. While Ranger Bob prepares a warm fire in a nearby cabin, Bebe steps inside to see if he needs any assistance.

Meanwhile, our serial killer has been driving around the park. He also stops at a cabin, where he hides out to plan his next move. By the time he's ready again, it's nightfall, and we see that a presence is watching him from the forest.

Jerry senses the stalker watching him, and decides to ignore him/it. He unloads the jeep, then hurries inside. I don't know why, but I love it in horror movies when the main threat is also threatened. It's fun to watch villains squirm.

The teens all warm up around the fire and enjoy themselves, until Ranger Bob announces that they'll have to wear their stinky clothes again when they're dry. Scab, uncomfortable about having to sit between a Latino and a black guy, announces that he needs to "drain the dragon", leading Bebe to exclaim that she can't believe that he has a dragon.

A fake spider is used to try to scare Ranger Bob, but he just calmly observes that it's about the same size as the ones that lurk up in the trees outside. Then he sends the campers off to the tents, which are divided by gender. Ranger Bob tries to radio Jerry again, but Jerry's getting pretty loopy now. He smashes the radio into pieces, then stomps around in a tirade.

The killer gets back out of the cabin, and decides that it would be best to just leave. A bear stops him, though, so Jerry decides to whip out his trusty knife, and take the beast out. The bear, completely unfazed by the weapon, retaliates by chomping Jerry's face right off of his skull. Sweet!

Early the next morning, Ranger Bob has the campers collecting bags of litter. Candy spies Ty talking on his own phone, and manipulates it out of his hands. Ty, ever the resourceful dude, plans to show off by using his GPS route to beat the others to their destination. He shows the path to Kiki, and they head in that direction together.

No one even seems to notice that they're gone. Ty and Kiki use the time to get to know one another, and we learn what they did that landed them in trouble with the law. Kiki poisoned her mother, while Ty stole anything he could get his hands on, while working with the elderly. They both brag about how stupid other people are compared to them, and agree that they should scam old folks together. Oh, and Ty's GPS sucks ass, because they don't end up beating the group to the campsite.

When Ranger Bob steps into the cabin where he was supposed to meet Jerry, he finds the wrecked radio equipment. That's when he also finally realizes that he's misplaced a pair of teenagers. Maybe Ranger Bob should start looking for another job...

When they realize that the GPS was wrong, Ty and Kiki start to get nervous. Things go from bad to worse, when Ty steps into a snare, which pulls him up off the ground and injures both of his ankles. Kiki rushes over to the spot where he dropped his stuff, and searches the ground for the phone. She picks up the GPS device instead(Remember, Candy stole his phone earlier, by never returning it...), and it screams at her to GO BACK...GO BACK...GO BACK...

They yell and scream for help, then we return to the main group again. Candy is talking to Ryan, and the conversation mostly consists of them mocking others in the group. They both share a good laugh, until they hear Lola doing the same thing to them. Chagrined, they move off in different directions.

Ranger Bob heads into the boys' cabin, where he hands them a sheet of paper. It contains a list of items that he needs to confiscate, under the pretense that they would attract bears. The items on the list include things like deodorant and cologne, and none of the teens will admit to having any of the items on the list. Ranger Bob gets annoyed with them, and warns them that if a bear attacks, it will be their own fault.

Kiki sees blood, and realizes that Ty may be very badly injured by the snare. She and Ty spot a wolf nearby, and Kiki worries that the scent of the blood might put them in danger. She decides to run away, and an animal attacks her off-screen, as Ty swings around helplessly, wondering what finally got her.

Ranger Bob makes a campfire that night, and suggests that it might be a good idea to discuss their court cases as a group. Candy goes first, revealing that she was making money as a high-priced prostitute. Then Ryan steps up to the plate, revealing that he was caught having sex with a minor, and that they were both involved in an asphyxiation act. That act directly caused the girl to lapse into a coma, and Ryan's family paid her family off to keep quiet about the crime.

Disgusted, Ranger Bob calls the powwow session to an abrupt end. Then we see a hungry wolf as it discovers Ty hanging in the air. He tries to scare it away by being loud, but it doesn't seem scared by him. Then, when the wolf does run off, Ty realizes it was due to the sudden presence of the massive grizzly bear. Buh-bye, Ty!

The girls talk about the boys as they prepare to go to bed, and the boys do pretty much the same. Then, Trickster reveals that he brought a bear costume along on the hike, which he's going to use to scare the girls and/or Ranger Bob. Oh, and I think we might have broken Scab, as he's been developing confused feelings for Lola. The guy's so inept, he can't even do racism right!

Ranger Bob works all night on fixing the radio, but can't get anyone to reply to him on it. Then he wakes up the campers at sunrise, except for Scab and Bebe, who sleep despite the annoying sound of his whistle. After breakfast, he announces that he wants the group to remain together, while he hikes around in an attempt to locate Ty and Kiki.

While the park ranger is finding a sort-of trail of human remains to follow, Scab is busy huffing gasoline fumes to get high. Lola finds him, and they end up kissing. After a second kiss, Lola leaves him alone again. Is this movie allergic to sex?

Ranger Bob finds the trail that the missing teens explored, and begins to retrace their steps. When he doesn't return that night, the rest of the group make another fire, and go through Ranger Bob's cabin for food, alcohol and supplies.

Another encounter session around the fire reveals that Scab has a very bad addiction to inhalants, and that one of his closest friends died from inhaling cooking spray. Bebe also reveals that she was falsely accused of shoplifting, although she claims that it was a friend who had secretly shoved something intro her purse, and that she was framed.

Trickster tries to lighten the mood by making another reference to draining his dragon, but Bebe proudly declares that she knows that there is no actual dragon. You go, girl! As Trickster heads into the cabin, he hears something moving around in the woods near him, but can't tell what it might be.

Ranger Bob finds part of Kiki's face on the ground, and knows that he's on the right trail. As he picks up the pace, Trickster emerges from the cabin in his bear costume. Then Ranger Bob finds what's left of Ty, and spots the wolf sitting nearby, snacking on another piece of Ty. That's the thing...Eating Ty food always makes you crave MORE Ty food! *rim shot*

Scab has found a place where he can huff gas fumes alone. He remains blissfully unaware of another presence until it's right in front of him, and the fumes have made him incredibly loopy. He mistakenly believes that the killer grizzly bear is just Trickster in a costume, and tries to pet him. Too late, he realizes his mistake.

Speaking of Trickster, he's heading toward the campers in his costume, and he tries to scare them with a roar. They all laugh, which just makes Trickster angry. He roars again, and sees them express actual fear. Too late to react, he realizes that the real bear is right behind him. With one massive paw, the grizzly decapitates Trickster.

The others scream, then take off and hide in one of the storage cabins. Bebe, Candy and Ryan get away, but Lola is dragged to her doom by the angry bear. We briefly see her trying to crawl to safety after that, but the lower half of her body is now obliterated.

Bebe starts to cry, and the bear starts to sniff at the walls of the structure. When the noises stop, Ryan grabs a heavy shovel, and opens a board in the wall to have a look. He announces that the bear is gone, turns back for a second look, and the grizzly then drags Ryan through the gap in the wood to devour him.

Ryan, badly mangled and with part of his scalp falling off, drags himself back through the opening for one last attempt at survival. He manages to give one of Bebe's boobs a squeeze, a bell dings, then he gets dragged away to get mauled again, with such force that his arms are severed from the rest of him. He'll take the secret of the breasts to his grave.

While they huddle together in the dark, Bebe and Candy begin to wonder how much time has passed. Candy picks up Ryan's arm, then steals his gold watch. The bear then smashes more wood out of the opening that Ryan had made, and attempts to snatch up both females at once. Bebe opens the door of the shack to escape, then locks Candy inside for the bear to have. As Candy screams, the scene fades to black...

The next morning, Ranger Bob returns to the campsite. He finds Bebe hiding under a table and gives her a hug. After she calms down and packs her bag, she asks the ranger if she can use his bathroom one more time before they leave. He agrees, then waits for her on the porch.

As soon as Ranger Bob leaves, Bebe drops the whole "nice girl" act. She goes through Candy's bag, stealing most of her stuff, then grabs the cell phone. Calling a friend, Bebe brags about being the only survivor, and even manipulating the ranger. When she talks about killing Ranger Bob with the gun she found, he overhears her. She walks outside, where the bear greets her with a swipe of the paw, and we see a bloody lump of silicone come flying out of her chest, and smack into a tree. The debate is over!

A news story tells us that the killings were blamed on the escaped convict, because Ranger Bob placed the bear costume in a place where it would look like he had worn it. In the final scene, Ranger Bob and the bear appear, promising to return in a year. THE END...?

Yeah, probably, since this was made back in 2007. Still, I have to give this movie credit where credit's due...the effects were impressive, there were 3 killers(4, if you include the wolf!), and the script kept me laughing. On purpose, even! I actually wouldn't mind seeing another movie with Ranger Bob as the antagonist. Including the extra point for the song, I'm giving Grizzly Park 4 killer trees outta 5! Ha!

And what did I learn after watching the movie?

-Love conquers all, even racism...but not huffing.

-National Parks are deadly places.

-Bears and wolves work well together!

Next up is either Asylum of the Damned, or Deepstar Six. And I promise to post it this week...I would have posted this yesterday, but I fell asleep during the Pats game(I've been getting up at around 4 in the morning the last several weeks...it caught up to me!). Sorry!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dead Above Ground

Happy New Year! My New Year's Resolution is to watch a shit-ton of lousy slasher flicks, mixed in with a small sampling of somewhat entertaining slasher flicks. I'm willing to bet that I can keep that resolution...

First up for 2014: a movie co-starring and created by TV prodcucer Stephen J. Cannell, starring a group of actors mostly known for being on television. Wow, what a shocking development. Oh, and I'll be watching it on my new Playstation 4! SPOILERS and fun times ahead!

Right, so the movie starts out with some frickin' funny credits. We get some dude in a hood, and he's brandishing a large scythe. Whenever he gets tired of seeing credits, he comes back out to slash them off the screen. In between these strange moments, we also see a crowd gathered at the Academy Awards. Ironic, eh?

After about the 100th or so appearance of The Credits Killer, the movie finally begins. A couple are celebrating, because they are now the proud owners of an Oscar. They drunkenly manage to get themselves home in one piece, only to discover that someone has painted some satanic-looking imagery on the front door of their modest mansion, along with the phrase DEAD ABOVE GROUND. Hey, that should be a movie title!

Anyway, the husband, Mark, still gripping his award, urges his wife to run back to the car, in case the intruder is still inside. Apparently, there's also a handgun in the car. Then he enters his home. Oh, and he turns the award over, to use it like a club.

After searching the main hallway, Mark enters some kind of gameroom. He picks up a sword, gives it a few swings, then decides to continue exploring the house. The killer, in an undisclosed location, prepares to meet him, by picking up a massive bear trap.

Mark sneaks about halfway down the hall, then finds himself under attack by ravens. After flailing around, he discovers that they've flown away again. Feeling sort of stupid, Mark enters the kitchen, yelling that he has a weapon. Wow. I'm guessing that "feeling stupid" is probably something that he's grown accustomed to.

He sees someone at the other end of the kitchen sitting in a rockingchair, and asks them who they are. The figure says nothing, just continues to rock back and forth. Overcome with anger, Mark swings the sword, and decapitates the stranger. It turns out to be a stunt dummy from a movie, and Mark feels even dumber than he already did.

Suddenly realizing that the dummy was used as a diversionary tactic, Mark runs back to the front door, only to find it locked. A hooded figure appears, and Mark runs to another door, which is also locked tight. Mark quickly heads into the nearest room, locks the door, then leans against it.

The killer starts to break down the door. Mark begs him to stop, then tries to offer him money, a part in his next movie, or even his car, if the killer just stops his attack. The killer stops trying to smash the door open, instead setting up the big trap we saw him  pick up earlier.

After hearing some thumping sounds on the door, Mark places the blade of his sword up against one of the cracks in the wood, then attempts to stab his attacker. He hears a grunt and a gasp, and assumes that he wounded the intruder. Drawing back the blade shows that there is, indeed, some blood on it.

Mark opens the door, only to find that he actually killed his  wife by accident, as she was left there by the killer with duct tape over her mouth. Marks runs down the hall, sees the killer standing at the top of a staircase, then walks right onto the bear trap. As he howls with pain, the killer uses his scythe to hack Mark to pieces.

Then we get a scene on a beach, nearly 6 months later. Before we get used to having any fun, the scene transitions to a California high school, where we meet our main cast. There's Jason, a football player; Monster, some kind of a combination of a computer geek and a white rapper; Kari, a cute blonde cheerleader; Jeff, an outcast Goth, who also happens to be into demonology; Zara, Jeff's girlfriend, who doesn't even know how to pronounce Samhain correctly; Carl Hadden, a principal who also who teaches a class for budding film directors; Dillon, another football player; and many others that I'll identify as we go along.

Anyway, Hadden realizes that he left his lecture notes in his office, and he sends Dillon to fetch his stuff. After he jokes that he'd forget his head if it wasn't attached, they all clearly hear a voice threatening to do harm to the instructor, but no one seems to know who said it. In an attempt to regain his composure, Hadden announces that they're all going to start screening some student films that they worked on, a project that involved making documentaries.

Reaching into the pile at random, Hadden pulls out Jeff's movie first. It doesn't have a title, and Jeff defiantly announces that, instead of doing the assignment, he just did what he wanted to do. They watch his video, which is a short slasher piece that stars Kari as the girl being stalked. Jeff is the killer, and his character in the piece transforms into a killer clown, then decapitates Kari's character. When that happens, the entire class erupts into cheers, jeers, and raucous laughter.

Angry that his work isn't being taken seriously, Jeff threatens to kill the entire class. He even uses that phrase again, "dead above ground", just to remind us what movie we're watching. Hadden tries to calm Jeff down, but that just pisses him off even more. Jason is ordered to fetch the football coach, in case Jeff needs to be subdued.

Oh, he does! Monster starts to mock him again, so Jeff shouts his rants even louder. Then Jason returns with the coach, and Jeff is dragged out of class to face disciplinary action. The only person who seems to care is Zara.

At the end of the school day, Hadden describes how scary Jeff was to Brenda, the school counselor that Hadden secretly admires from afar. They encounter Tom, the coach that took Jeff out of class, and he flirts with Brenda. This has gone from Prom Night to Melrose Place in one scene!

Brenda heads in to try to counsel Jeff, despite Hadden's misgivings about leaving her alone with such a troubled teen. She finds Jeff waving a trophy around like a club, yelling and shouting magical spells and incantations. Brenda gets the trophy away from him, but he barely seems to comprehend that she's even there.

Outside, Hadden is trying to ignore Coach Bradley, who is telling him that a kid like Jeff should just be thrown into a psych ward. Hadden's response is that he's the one who ultimately decides what to do with unruly students. Then their talk turns to an end-of-the-year pool party that Hadden throws for the students in his communication class, and Coach Bradley brags that he's going as Brenda's date. He teases Hadden, then strolls away.

Brenda asks Jeff about his home life. She's concerned, because the phone number appears to be out of service, but Jeff just sputters some nonsense about how Celtics have no families. Yeah, I think that we can assume  that Jeffy-boy killed his folks.

The day of the pool party arrives. Jeff and Zara are there, and they somehow spawned a third Goth kid to follow them around. Dillon is there with his girlfriend Darcy, but he's whining that he thinks her parents don't approve of him. Hadden's busy at the grill, and Brenda's telling him that she thinks that Jeff is schizophrenic. Then the coach starts to taunt Hadden about his taste in music.

Something happens between Dillon and Jeff, and Jeff ends up punching Darcy right into the pool. Coach Bradley breaks up the altercation, but then Jeff makes things worse, by hitting Dillon's car as  he drives away. Dillon grabs his keys, and a chase begins.

The cars end up on a winding cliffside road, and Jeff has totally gone off the deep end. Dillon swerves into the other lane, and the cars engage in a game of chicken. As Jeff accelerates, he turns away from the road to laugh at Dillon. Then he plunges right over the cliff, and his car explodes in a ridiculously massive fireball.

And now it's a year later. No aftermath, no reactions, no investigation scenes. One minute, a car explodes. The next, a year passes. Great.

Principal Hadden pulls into the faculty parking lot, where he finds Coach Bradley sitting in a van and getting drunk. Apparently, the coach was fired because the football team had their worst season ever. Oh, and his firing lead the coach to begin threatening Hadden, often enough that Hadden now owns a small handgun.

Hadden gets his gun, tucks it into his shirt, then approaches the drunk ex-teacher. After ordering Bradley off of school property, Hadden shows him the gun. Bradley punches him out, then crawls back into his van to resume getting drunk.

Then we see Dillon arrive, soon followed by Darcy and her best friend Latrisha, who discuss the fact that Darcy is no longer allowed to see Dillon, because many people still believe that he forced Jeff off the road. And last, but not least, we meet Chip Palmer, a new student. The girls find him dreamy.

Chip has a chat with Zara about Jeff, and she learns that Chip has seen him. In his dreams, several times. He has Zara point out Dillon to him, then walks over to introduce himself. Dillon tries to ignore him, but Chip's demeanor unsettles him.

That night, Coach Bradley is attacked in his van. A knock at the door of the van is followed by a growling voice saying, "Welcome wagon...", followed by more ravens. Then Bradley is assaulted by the hooded figure, who drives his scythe into the drunk man's chest.

In school the following day, Brenda is questioned by Sarge Dan DeSousa, the detective sent to investigate the murder. His main suspect is Carl Hadden, because the killer left a picture of him at the crime scene. With no other leads, and with Brenda helpfully telling him about the trouble between Hadden and Bradley, DeSousa decides to arrest Hadden.

DeSousa, accompanied by a cute partner named Burrows, interrogates Hadden. The detectives mention the history of problems that Hadden and Bradley shared, but Hadden tries to claim that he never let it get in the way of his job or his relationships. When they bring up the gun, he tells them about the threats he was getting at home, phone calls where the caller was whispering "Dead above ground" to him. Hmmm, now why does that sound so familiar?

Back  at the school, Zara is trying to put together a group for a seance. She wants to contact Jeff. Surprisingly, people are actually planning to go to this thing. Why? Except for Zara, they all despised Jeff. Then Hadden arrives back at the school, where Dillon makes the observation that it's no fun when people falsely accuse you of murder.

That evening, Zara has everyone sit on the floor in a circle, except for Chip, who is placed in the center of the circle. After a few false starts, Jeff arrives, and promptly possesses poor Chip. Chip's eyes glow, some ravens fly into the room, then Chip seems to foretell that the principal will be the next to die.

They all hurry over to Hadden's house, to try and warn him about his impending doom. They find a red symbol on his door, then Darcy trips over Hadden's dead body. Hey, as flawed as this movie is, you can't argue that the body count is too low!

DeSousa questions Dillon first, and bluntly tells him that he thinks that Dillon murdered Jeff. Then he also tells him that he looked into his family history. It turns out that Dillon's dad was a convicted murderer. Hey, an actual plot twist!

Also, according to the detective, each victim had a picture of the next victim left on them by the killer. Hadden was found with a photo of Kelly, the cheerleader who played Jeff's victim in his student film. Dillon is allowed to return to school, but even his closest friends aren't quite convinced of his innocence.

Zara believes him. She tells the group of friends that Jeff's spirit is restless, and that he's the person doing all of these killings. In spite of what they all witnessed at the seance, they still don't buy it. Zara concludes that Jeff won't stop until they're all dead, unless they can find a way to banish his spirit forever.

Then Zara hatches a plan that brings the movie down to a new low: She wants to perform another seance, but not just any seance. No, she thinks that it would be worthwhile to try to strike a bargain with dead Jeffster. Go ahead, ask me what kind of deal....Zara wants to find a way to get Jeff's horror film script made into a big-budget horror flick. See? Told you it was dumb!

Kelly goes home and changes into a skimpy bathing suit, then calls Brenda. She tells the counselor about Zara's  screwball plan, and Brenda is concerned, probably because she can't fathom how gullible and stupid movie teens are. Before hanging up, Brenda orders Kelly not to attend the next seance.

As night falls, Brenda meets up with DeSousa, and they discuss the case while taking a long walk on the beach. Brenda tells the detective about the weird stuff Jeff did in her office, and they both realize that Jeff probably left his fingerprints on her bowling trophy. Intrigued, they decide to head down to her office. Outside, a violent thunderstorm erupts.

The second seance is performed. No Jeff this time, possibly because he knows that they have an ulterior motive, but more likely because Kelly stayed at home. Chip offers to go get her, and promises to be back within the hour.

Kelly is getting freaked out by the storm's intensity, unaware that the hooded killer has come straight to her house. She gets grabbed as she tries to drive away, because he was waiting in the back seat. Kelly puts up a struggle, but the killer's strength outmatches her own.

Tired of waiting for Chip and Kelly, the other teens head over to Kelly's house. There they find Chip, bound and gagged, and suspended upside down. They untie him, and then go searching for Kelly.

It doesn't take long to discover her body in her car. They call the cops, and DeSousa asks Dillon more questions. Then Zara offers to tell the detectives what she knows. She explains that ravens and crows are harbingers of death and doom, then DeSousa has her take a polygraph test.

DeSousa takes Brenda out on a date. They have one of those generic "tell me about your job" conversations, then end up kissing. After moving the date into the bedroom, they have the giggliest sex scene in cinematic history. Seriously, they keep grinning and laughing during the entire montage, it's probably the least-sexy scene ever filmed.

After the autopsy on Kelly, DeSousa is told that a photo of Darcy was found in her stomach. Darcy and her family are told about the threat, and they decide to hire some private security guards. After DeSousa drives away, we see that Dillon has been hiding and waiting for the killer to show up, so he can stop the attack personally.

Dillon changes into a swimsuit, then swims around the beach to approach Darcy's home from the rocks. They meet in private, and Dillon swears that he will protect Darcy from the killer, or die trying. Then Darcy's dad shows up, and threatens to call the cops. Dillon and Darcy have a fast kiss, then Dillon escapes again.

Zara heads to the library, where Dillon confronts her. He wants to know more about what Jeff believed, and if any of that knowledge might save their lives. Zara starts to have an emotional meltdown, and Dillon offers his friendship to her. Then they both head to the police station.

DeSousa agrees to speak to them, and Zara asks  Dillon if he can speak to the detectives alone first. While Dillon waits in the hallway, Zara confesses to murder. She says that she was an accomplice in all of the killings, and that the seances and rituals were faked to make the victims trust her. When asked who the killer is, Zara says that it was Dillon.

After Dillon is formally charged, Chip calls Darcy. He has a different theory, that Zara arranged to frame Dillon with Jeff, because Jeff had always been afraid of his tormentor. With him tucked away in jail, Jeff's vengeful spirit is now able to finish up his killing spree.

But hey, guess what? Chip has a plan! A stupid plan, yes, but it's still a plan. He believes that they should do what Zara proposed earlier, and make Jeff's horror movie! Uh, but wasn't Zara also admitting a couple of scenes ago that the seances were all faked? Why would some ghost want to make a movie?

Anyway, before we get a chance to think too much, we see Brenda at the grocery store. As she passes through the aisle with the milk, we can see that the killer is hiding in the freezer case, watching her every move. Heh, I wonder how long he had to stand there before she showed up? Would've been funnier to see him in there first, then have a scene where she decides to go shopping tomorrow, followed by Jeff freezing his undead ass off.

Anyway, Jeff cuts the power, kills the store clerk, then attacks Brenda. The detectives tell Dillon that Brenda's gone missing. Then DeSousa reveals yet another kooky twist: "Jeff" was actually a mental patient named Ricky. He had escaped from a hospital, then assumed the Jeff persona instead.

Suddenly very afraid for Darcy's safety, Dillon begs the detectives to release him from jail. Because it's already evening, no judge will sign the release papers until morning, so Dillon wastes his one phone call to contact Monster, he  who hacks computers and raps like Ice Cube, yo. Monster agrees to hack into the police network, and fake the orders to get Dillon released from jail.

Chip gets Darcy to go with him back to where they had the seances. She sees that Brenda has been tied to a chair, and realizes that it was a trap. Then DeSousa also finds the house, and spots several ravens nesting outside. Yup, it's the right house!

Chip starts to ramble on about death just like Jeff used to, and the women both beg him to stop. Yeah Jeff, please stop. Then he pulls off his face, revealing that it was just a mask. You ready for this explanation? Get ready to make yourself dizzy as your eyes roll...

Rick is the son of the couple who were murdered at the start of this thing. Yeah, the award winners. And the ashes found at the car crash were his mother's, to make his fake death look even more convincing. This is even dumber than the idea of making a horror movie to appease a restless spirit...Can we do that plot instead, please?

*sigh*

Jeff/Rick/Chip picks up his weapon to slaughter them, but DeSousa stops him. As they engage in a pretty boring duel to the death, Dillon arrives to save the day. He ambushes the killer from behind, then gets thrown around like a doll. DeSousa uses the momentary distraction to get up off the floor.

DeSousa gets the blade away from the killer, then rips off one of his squishy-looking ears. The maniac retrieves his weapon yet again, and the men duke it out on the roof. A lucky punch sends DeSousa sailing into an antenna, and he quickly picks up a piece of it as Jeff/Rick prepares to finish him off.

Jeff/Rick/Chip is impaled, then falls off of the roof, where he gets even MORE impaled by the spikes on the fence that surrounds the property. DeSousa then releases all of the hostages.

Dillon and Darcy kiss, and Dillon reminds her that he promised to always protect her. Then Zara is brought to the crime scene, where she insists on seeing the body of the killer. She stares down at his body on the rocks, and vows to be around when he comes back. Both DeSousa and Brenda tell her that the only place he's going is the morgue, but then they see that his body has vanished. THE END...? I hope so.

Bad, bad, bad. I take back what I said earlier about the amount of kills being impressive, because I don't want this movie getting even faint praise. A pox on you, movie! A pox on you and any sequels you spawn! 1 out of 5 killer trees, just for being at least mildly coherent...but even that feels generous. Man, 2014's gonna blow.

And what *shuddering* did I learn after watching Dead Above Ground?

-When TV Producer/Director Stephen J. Cannell is the best actor in a movie, that movie's in serious trouble.

-Burn victims can wear multiple fake faces, get body parts ripped off, get impaled, and still survive.

-Sex can make you giggly.

My next DVD should be either Asylum of the Damned or Grizzly Park. Both sound like real classics. See ya on the flipside!