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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Death Factory: Bloodletting

Well, I know this will be a HUGE shock, but my latest movie from Blockbuster never came in the mail, so my back-up plan is to watch another free slasher flick on YouTube. Probably not as much silly fun as Hell Night, this one is called Death Factory: Bloodletting. Prepare for disappointme--uhhh, I mean, "SPOILERS"...

Opening scene. Yay, a red bicycle and pictures of a mother and daughter. A young woman(the mother, I presume...) is setting up a video camera. She tells the camera that her name is Anna, and that, if we are watching the tape, then she must be dead. Then the title of the movie slams into the screen. Good thing I wear a seatbelt when I view this crap.

Anyway, we leave Anna's rollicking comedy tape, and head to Phoenix, Arizona, 6 months into the past. Time travel makes me thirsty! Anyone have any iced tea? No? Well, fine. I'm now officially watching this under protest.

Anyway, a radio evangelist is raving as a motorist listens, and talks back to the radio. The driver, a long-haired goon-looking type, is heading to a place called the Carter Brick Factory. Another subtitle tells us that the factory was shut down in 2005...what, is this for a pop quiz later? Just get to the point!

Anyway, Freakazoid drives his van into the closed warehouse, and walks outside to another empty-looking building, where we hear a child wailing. Freaky's flashlight reveals what looks like a community of homeless people, using the empty building as shelter. When one person starts to flee, Freaky shows him and the others that he has food for them.

After passing around the sandwiches, Freaky finds out that there are only 4 people in the group, and he sees evidence of drug use. When he confronts the group about the drugs, he stands up and starts to blow them away, Dirty Harry-style. The only one he spares is the baby.

So, what does your average nutjob do after feeding homeless junkies, killing them, and then abducting a baby? Why, he brings it back to his van of course! Freaky opens up the back doors, gives the baby a bizarre pep-talk about how the adults deserved to be shot, then plops him down on the floor of the van and backs away. Okay, that seems kindaHOLYWTF?!?!?!?!  A demon-shark-woman just swooped up from the interior of the van, and ate the baby! Say WHAAAT?

More subtitles. She's Alexa, the "little sister". Freaky is Denny, the "big brother". And I'm Mark, the "constantly perplexed second cousin, once removed". Then more time travel. 6 months later, to be precise. Screw it, I'm taking notes. And I'm still calling him Freaky.

A woman wearing only black panties is chained to the floor. She's being watched by a person in a control booth,via a security camera. Freaky is there too. A loud, blaring siren goes off, and the woman wakes up. After looking around for a few seconds, her name is given as "Jane Doe: The Object". How nice.

Jane immediately tests the strength of the chain holding her, and it seems pretty strong. She stares down helplessly at her hands, and sees that someone has given her a label: when Jane puts her open hands side by side, the word "whore" is spelled out. Whoever made this film, he seems to have some major issues with women.

Then we see some kind of altar, and a television. A person on the tv is delivering a sermon about doling out justice, Hammurabi-style. He seems to be fixated on murder in that vein. As the girl cries, the crazy she-beast from the van wakes up and hears her. Uh oh...this could get bloody.

As Jane tries to tell her captor that she doesn't deserve to be treated like this, Freaky gets on an intercom, and tells her why he sees her as a whore. While Jane tries to undo the chain that confines her, the she-beast comes after her and gets a taste of her second course. Blood-spray goes everywhere, and Freak just smiles. Lather, rinse, repeat. Is the entire movie going to be like this?

Oops, now back to Anna(the woman recording her last thoughts...), who may or may not be dead as we watch her. See? I paid attention! She raids a medicene cabinet, and mixes up a concoction to get herself higher than Cheech and Chong on the moon. Then, after a shower, she decides to resume recording her message.

Apparently, she plans to attend a ritual sacrifice, called a bloodletting. She doesn't want to do this, but it's part of a secret plan that Anna has been putting together for a long time now. She apparently lost a loved one, and believes that the people attending the bloodletting may have taken part in the murder. By posing as an online fan of these rituals, she has slowly worked her way into their ranks, hoping to expose them.

She also has a name for one of these sickos, Rubber Love. Anna strongly believes that he was the one who murdered her daughter, and wants to kill him herself, should the opportunity present itself. Anna only has 1 fear...that this might be a trap. If it is, then I get to go to bed early tonight!

As Anna arrives at the meeting place, a masked man assaults her. He holds a gun on her, and asks for her name, a password, and a sub-password. Satisfied that Anna isn't a cop, he lets her up, but binds her hands and tapes her mouth shut. A pretty odd assortment of other captives stare back at her.

The guy in charge directs one of the captives to untie the others. One girl immediately looks for a spot on the floor to pee on, and the gunman threatens to kill her for not peeing before the journey. Then there's a pointless altercation between a redneck and a black guy. The gunman leaves the group, and lets them all get to know each other.

While they all just pretty much pace around and give each other dirty scowls, Freak watches from his remote location. A camera goes glitchy, and he yells at one of his workers to fix it. Booooooooooriiiiiiiiiiing.

As I nod off, the folks trapped in the warehouse decide to get acquainted , by at least revealing their internet names. The Nazi-racist guy introduces himself as White Manson, a collector of nazi items and snuff films. Next up is Black Johnson, a guy in the sex-slave trade. Who's next, Green Hornet? Blue Beetle?

Nope, now we get the best name in the movie thus far, the intellectually-stimulating Slutty Baby. She's more or less an online hooker...for a tidy sum, she lets men do whatever they want to do to her. This week, she's being paid to appear in a crap horror flick. Why didn't they just cast Paris Hilton in the part?

And now we get the movie's token shy, nerdy guy. He's The Cock Master, I shit you not. His thing is homemade bombs and killing sprees. His introduction segues into another introduction, of a dominatrix and her slave, named Gretel and Hansel. Yeesh.

Then we meet an obese guy with a chip on his shoulder, who calls himself Rubber Love. Ooooh, remember him? Anna sure does! Rubber Love openly admits that he has a fetish for abusing children. Anna shoots him a look that would kill a lesser mortal.

When it's Anna's turn, she introduces herself as Massive 9, and her online persona is known for being able to supply and distribute any materials(movies, magazines, etc.) that the others ask for. Pretty ballsy of her to create such a huge character. She better hope they believe her.

Then we see Freak in a red room, praying. He asks God to accept the people he brought to the warehouse as human sacrifices. After the prayer, Freak watches his sister chained up, and "wakes up" her inner demon-cannibal. Then he just sits back and grins. I'm glad someone's happy.

Black Johnson pours himself a drink, then whines about having to wait for the main event to happen. Rubber Love claims that one bloodletting lasted 13 hours. Then Gretel orders Hansel to ask Slutty Baby to speak with her. The 2 women chat, and it turns into a lesbian booty call. Probably as bored as I am, Anna wanders away from the group to look around the warehouse.

Anna eventually finds herself in an area that seems to be isolated from the rest of the building. She looks at her surroundings for a few more minutes, decides that she's really alone, and removes a handgun from down in her pants. Fun fact: your ass is designed to store guns in. After checking that it's loaded and that the safety us off, she conceals it again. When Anna rejoins the group, she finds Rubber Love staring at a centerfold like it's the cure for cancer.

In a bathroom that seems far too clean for an abandoned factory, Gretel and Slutty Baby get down to business while Hansel just stares up at them. I swear, he has the best role in the film, if only because he doesn't have any horrible dialogue to say. Lucky guy.

Anna decides to confront Rubber Love, albeit while still in character as Massive 9. She gets him to talk about her daughter's abduction and murder on film, and he reveals that there was another person involved. Well shoot, now she can't kill him until he reveals the identity of this mystery person. This is getting too complicated for a slasher flick. Somebody die, will ya?

Whoops, I should be careful what I wish for...Filled with rage, Anna decides to shoot Rubber Love several times. Freak, um, "freaks" and demands that his accomplice rig up some electric fence to keep everyone confined. At the same time, Gretel sends Hansel out to see what all the noise is about.

Hansel wanders down a deserted corridor, which pretty much seals his fate. Sure enough, the screen goes red, which means that the she-beast can't be far behind. She leaps out at Hansel, and chews his throat apart. Pretty ironic, considering how little he's spoken in the movie. It'd be like being in a boxing match with Helen Keller, and hearing your trainer say, "Go for the eyes! The eyes!"

Oh, and I forgot, but in all the excitement, Anna was knocked out. When she wakes up, the others have her gagged and tied to a chair. They demand to know why she killed the fat guy, which is going to be pretty hard to explain with her mouth covered. Oh, and Black Johnson panics, claiming that the guy in charge of the bloodletting will probably come in and kill the rest of them because they broke his rules. Ummmm, yeah....I don't think that's going to be a problem at this point.

Black Johnson(with that name, he really should consider going into the porn film biz) and Cock Master take it upon themselves to find a way to escape the warehouse, while White Manson hears Anna's real background story. He then reveals that he also had a tale of revenge, and that it screwed him up in major ways.

Then the she-beast kills Gretel and Slutty Baby after the world's shortest lesbian sex scene, with the world's swiftest double murder. Freak starts laughing like the loon that he is, and jibber-jabbers at the monitors. Was this script written by a sane person? I'm having serious doubts about that.

Anna tries to loosen her wrists, but the actress is so bad at conveying this, she just jiggles her torso in the chair, more or less. Or, Hell, maybe that was what the script told her to do. She finally grows a brain and gives up on that concept, because her next idea is actually not bad: Anna leans over, cranes her neck a bit, and chews through her bindings. If I thought it would do any good, I'd yell at her to stop chewing when she hits flesh.

Oh, and before she moves on, Anna stops to kick Rubber Love's corpse. As dumb as I find this movie, I'll admit that this made me laugh.

Freak and his assistant, Sid, discuss how things are going, and Freak channels his inner Bond villain. Seriously, he even rubs his hands together while they talk about their evil plans. Then Freak gives Sid a syringe, and tells him to inject She-Beast with it. Yeah, riiiight...If Sid had half a brain, he'd tell Freakazoid where to shove that needle.

Once Sid has left the room, Freak turns his attention back to the security monitors. He watches Black Johnson and Cock Master(I hate you, movie...I hate you so much. New rule: no movies unless they have characters that have actual names!) as they keep attempting to escape. Black Johnson gets frustrated and starts to throw furniture and props aroiund, causing Freak to shout at the monitor. Heh, we finally have something in common.

Cock Master spots an open door fram that only has a flimsy plastic curtain over it, so he decides to check it out. As soon as he sticks his head through the doorway, She-Beast spots him. She leaps at him, and yanks him through the doorway, giving "fast food" a brand new definition. For a skinny, demonic cannibal woman, she sure does seem to eat a lot. She-beasts must have high metabolisms.

Black Johnson turns around to discover that his companion has vanished. We see that Cock Master isn't quite dead, but is being rolled down a hallway on a bed with wheels. As the young man sees a television on that same weird evangeical show as earlier in the film, She-Beast wraps his limbs in chains. Then she crawls over him, grabs a hollow metal rod, and shoves it through his abdomen. When he dies, she uses the pole like a straw, and drinks his blood. Yum.

White Manson(wait....Charles Manson WAS white! His nickname doesn't even make any freaking SENSE!!!) steps into the restroom, where he finds the bodies of Slutty Baby and her slave. Slutty Baby appears to be (barely) alive, until White Manson snaps her neck. Then Black Johnson joins him, and accuses him of murdering the women. White Manson shows Black Johnson that his hands are blood-free, and they agree to get the Hell out of Dodge, proverbially speaking.

As She-Beast starts to eat Cock Master's face, Freak yells into the microphone that she needs to hurry up and kill the remaining survivors. He plays a sound through the intercom that immobilizes her, then orders her once more to attack and kill anyone who's left.

As White and Black work together(in perfect harmony?) to check out more possible escape routes, Freak decides to finally address them directly. He tells them that, when he was younger, he had a sister who had been mutated by an experimental drug. He chained her up, but then decided to use her as an "instrument of God", having her kill degenerates that he lured to the abandoned factory over the internet, with a particular focus on druggies.

While he's ranting and raving over his grand scheme, we see She-Beast injecting herself with a glowing substance in different parts of her body. As Black and White(an awesome computer least, the first one was...) agree to work together to escape, Anna is just wandering down one random corridor after another. She arms herself with a metal bar, then removes her shirt. Don't get too excited, fellas...she has a white t-shirt on underneath.

After a few more pointless shots of people wandering around and Freak shouting into his microphone at his sister(who I think might be named Alexa...I just noticed that the name is written on a piece of tape on the mike stand), Anna hears a noise and hides behind a wall for whatever's heading her way. Black and White attack her from behind, and accuse her of killing the others.

Anna tells them about Alexa, and they all head into the restroom together to plan their next move. Black and White argue over how to survive, and Black decides to head out alone. His plan is to use some propane he saw earlier to blow a hole out of one of the walls, and leave. Eh, it's better than no plan at all.

Oh, and Anna may or may not be psychic now. When she and the others were just in the bathroom together, she had "flashes" of the scenes earlier in the bathroom. She saw the lesbians get attacked, and also saw the neck-snapping occur. I guess. So now she's weirded out by White, even though he's been relatively "nice" to her.

Anyway, I explained all of that because now White wants to know where the ammunition for the gun is. See, Anna has the clip, but Black has the empty gun. So, even though she's acting frightened around White, she gives him the bullets(which were apparenty shoved into her vagina, in a sandwich baggy. Gotta love movie logic...). Wait until she tells Black where she kept the gun...

After he puts the ammunition back into the clip, White waits for Black to return, and gets the gun back. To the surprise of no one at all, White loads the clip into the gun, shoots Black to death, then threatens Anna. This movie is about as subtle as an ace bandage lined with broken glass shards.

Then we get a slight plot twist. White reveals that he was the person who killed Anna's daughter. After he gleefully studies her reaction, he shoots her in the gut and leaves her to die. Of course, he then encounters Alexa and shoots her as well. Where was this guy an hour ago?

He enters Freak's control room area, and aims the gun at the back of the mastermind's head. Then we get yet another twist: he, Sid and Freak(who I forgot is named "Denny", although I think "Freak" suits him better, so I'm sticking with it) were all in the plot to kill the group together. Although Sid  and White aren't into the religious aspect of it as much as Freak is, they're both still murder-loving nutjobs. Sheesh.

After White leaves the control room, Freak orders Sid to go give Alexa another injection. Sid wanders through the halls with the glowing syringe, but locates Anna instead of Alexa. He offers to save her life if she promises to punish White, Freak and "all bad men" for him. Yeah, sure he does. And I'm the Emperor of Ice Cream.

So he injects Anna--and by "Injects", I mean he squirts the green goop from the Re-Animator film series into a gaping hole in a fake prop stomach. Then we get a wide shot of Anna moaning and writhing around in pain as the chemical transforms her. She starts to cough up blood, and keels over. Wow. Great healing properties in that chemical.

Sid, while attempting to escape, runs into the not-quite-dead Alexa. She glares up at him from the floor, then cowers in pain as she hears that weird sound again. Sadly, Sid gets away before she recovers. On the plus side, she catches Anna's scent, and wanders away to find her. Instead of finishinbg her off, Alexa drags her away.

Back in the control room, it looks like our favorite maniacal douchebag is combing his beard. Yippee. Then we see Alexa rolling her bed down the hall, but with the still-unconscious Anna on the mattress. When Alexa stops wheeling it to sniff and nibble at some body parts on the ground, Anna opens her eyes. They now look white-grey like Alexa's eyes. Finally!

She calmly(?) feels her stomach, and discovers that the bullet wound has completely closed. Then she quietly grabs a sharp blade off of the floor and attacks Alexa with it. After a brief scuffle, Anna wins the fight and goes off in search of more victims.

She looks around, then remembers White. Anna decides to hunt him down next, unaware that Alexa is still alive. Anna goes past rows of stacked crates(isn't this building supposed to be abandoned and empty?), unaware that Alexa is now hot on her trail. Oh, and there's a brief glimpse of Sid wandering around too...why hasn't he left yet?

The 2 She-Beasts have another fight, and Anna stabs the other mutant several more times. she watches her foe have a few spasms, and only moves on after Alexa stops moving. Then, after Anna leaves, Alexa has a few more spasms. Uhhh, which part of "chemical healing properties" didn't Anna understand?

Anna climbs a ladder attached to what I'm guessing is a vat of the aforementioned methane, then she stops to watch Alexa tracking and following her. Instead of having another spat, Anna chooses to keep moving. Alexa climbs the ladder, then--Surprise!--Anna kicks her back down, where she gets impaled on a metal bar. Anna climbs down to admire her handiwork, then saws Alexa's head off to make sure she stays dead.

Driving home,White tells his wife that he'll be there soon. Oh wait, he's not driving....I guess the camera crew just can't manage to hold the equipment steadily, giving it the illusion that his van is moving. He's still parked at the factory/warehouse/whatever. As he wraps up the conversation, White hears movement on the roof of the van.

He hangs up, then decides to have a look. Anna leaps on him when he gets out and looks up. Then we see Freak trying to reach Sid on a walkie-talkie, to no avail. That's when Anna pops up behind him, and begins to squeeze the sides of his head together like a lemon. He attempts to cripple her with the sound frequency that drives his sister insane, but discovers that the device has been disabled. Whoops!

After Anna kills Freak, she chains White to the floor like Alexa was. He just laughs, and asks her why she hasn't killed him yet, and Anna replies that she plans to keep him around until she gets hungry. Then she pounces on him and begins biting chunks out of him until he either dies or passes out. My vote goes for "dies".

The movie ends with an assault on the building by a few guys that are the saddest-looking attack squad in the history of assault teams. They all fire on Anna, and we see one more shot of her videotaped confession, followed by a quick scene implying that the assault team botched her execution. THE END...?

Man, I hope so. This was just depressing to watch. Sure, on a technical level it was impressive...there was ample gore, many victims, a potentially interesting concept...but it had almost no plot, and incredibly shallow characters. And the worst part is, this is apparently a sequel! I'm almost tempted to rent the first one, just as an endurance test for my annoyance level. Almost. 1 out of 5 killer trees, with the single point awarded for the effects.

And what(ughhhh) did I learn from watching Death Factory: Bloodletting?

-Experimental drugs that glow in the dark are never good.

-Never trust a friendly Neo-Nazi.

-Being a mutant is great for your figure.

My next film will be Red Hook. It can't be as bad as this one, can it? Seriously...can it?




Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ghost In the Machine

This week's movie is reeeeeeeally cheesy, but also very silly's yet another one of those "Hollywood doesn't really 'get' technology, but they want to cash in on it", slashers, called Ghost In the Machine. Before I even post my usual SPOILER warning, I'll even suggest that you watch either The Horror Show or Shocker instead, as this one's pretty much just a knock-off of better slasher movies with similar plots....Still with me? Okay, but I warned you...Oh, and get ready for the SPOILERS!

The story begins with a typical, normal-looking house in Genericville, USA. Heck, there are even flamingo statues on the front lawn. A beat-up looking car pulls up to the house, and the person in the car verifies the address from an address book on the seat next to him, while gorging himself on pixy stix.

Apparently, that scene belongs in a different film, because we get whooshed away to a basketball game at a small gym. A bored-looking kid is watching the game, and one of the participants asks him for a towel. The kis just looks at him with a mopey stare, and then gives the guy some bull about not being able to cash in on a lottery ticket.

Honest to God, the guy buys his story. Another child sitting in front of a PC "verifies" that the ticket won $100, The adult almost gives him money for the ticket, until the boy's mother shows up. She lectures the kid during the ride home, and nearly gets them both killed by not spotting a stop sign up ahead.

Well, that was boring for the film crew, so they decided to return to the house from the first scene. All of this teleporting is making me queasy. Inside the house, everything looks like it fell out of a Norman Rockwell painting: a pie is on the counter, the dinner table is set with a scrumptious feast, and the family is seated in front of the television in the living room. Oh, and the 3 of them are dead, their bodies stabbed and mutilated. Let's see Norman Rockwell top THAT image!

The killer has a travelling pouch filled with weapons, and he selects a large knife. After his work is done, he crosses out the address in his book, then steals a family portrait to keep as a memento of his experience. Gotta enjoy the little things, I guess.

The next day, we see the mother and son browsing in a computer store. The mother is Terry Munroe, and the kid is Josh. Anyway, Terry is buying a gift for her boss, and a salesman talks her into a looking at a program that will scan her employer's entire address book into his computer. (Remember, this is from the early 1990's, where this stuff probably seemed amazing...)

While his mom is being sold something that will probably crash an hour after it's installed, Josh wanders over to another display counter, to watch an employee fixing up some doodad in front of him. The creepy worker freaks the boy out, so he decides to go watch the fascinating high-tech world of address book software being demonstrated. As Terry is purchasing the gift for her boss, the creepy guy stares her down from across the room.

Next up, we meet Bram Walker, the Indiana Jones of computer repairmen and hackers. He's been out in the rain, and now he's being dressed down by a pompous ass named Phil, who has him working as a sort of temp at his company. Phil briefly mentions something about a computer virus that Bram either discovered or eliminated or whatever, but he really seems to hate Bram for some reason.

Creepy Karl, the weirdo from the computer store, has stolen the address book that Terry brought to the store. As he looks it over(and sniffs it--our buddy Karl is a sniffer), his boss walks in on him and demands to know what he's doing. The boss doesn't just buy the flimsy story, he actually encourages the stalker to go to Terry's home and return the book. Karl's boss must have a blind spot for serial killers.

Meanwhile, Terry is back at home, entertaining her mother Elaine. While Elaine meddles around in Terry's kitchen, we see Karl on the highway, getting ready to claim his next victims. Oh, and before I forget, Terry is played by Mrs. Indiana Jones herself, Karen Allen; and her mother is played by Arrested Development's Jessica Walter. Neat.

We then meet Axel, the family dog, Hurray. He must not be integral to the plot, because the movies switches back over to Karl, who is now dodging his car around the other traffic like he's a Grand Prix driver. This leads to an accident(I know, amazing huh?), where Karl not only runs off the road, but also overturns his car. Oh, and he's giggling during the entire process. Dumbass. Maybe he'll die early, and we can go watch a better film...

No such luck. Rescue workers arrive, and Karl is rushed to the hospital. They do an MRI on Karl during the storm, and a power surge magically transfers his soul into the hospital's computers, in a cheesy sequence that looks like a cross between Lawnmower Man and Touched By An Angel. Except cheesier than both of those, by about a 100 times. There's a shower of sparks from the light fixtures, followed by a reboot of the computers, and Karl's MRI'ed face appearing briefly on a monitor.

The somehow segues into a close-up on a not-too-shabby female posterior. It's attached to Carol, who is going to be babysitting Josh and his best friend Frazer(the "lottery ticket" accomplice on the phone earlier), while Terry has to go to the office. This movie's pace is about as dynamic as a snail stuck in cement.

Josh sees Carol outside picking up trash, so he decides to put the moves on her. This entails pulling his underwear up, Marky Mark style, putting his baseball cap on backwards, and trying to develop a "cool swagger", this movie is so early-'90's, I'm surprised half the cast isn't wearing parachute pants! Gnarly, dude!

Back at Bram's crappy job, Phil is watching him fix a problem with some computer circuitry. Bram speaks some tech tech goobledy-gook at him, and it sends Phil into a tirade. Bram just watches him storm away, and calmly goes back to fiddling with wires. While that's going on, Karl 2.0 zaps himself back to the computer store, and absorbs the address book that was scanned into the demo computer earlier.

At her cubicle, Terry has to deal with some snafu involving a bunch of kinky underwear being ordered on her credit card. Her co-workers wander over to look at some of the sexy nightwear, and Terry walks away to blow off some steam. A small television in the office shows a news report about Karl's death, and identifies him as "The Address Book Killer", which seems like a mouthful.

Bram, while trying to figure out if Phil's office network has been hacked, finds a lot of searches in the records for information about Terry. After Bram and Phil say "Terry Munroe" about 17 times in under a minute, Bram admits that the hacker is searching faster than anyone he's ever seen before. He and Phil then watch, dumbfounded, as a ton of scanned paperwork flashes by, all of it pertaining to Terry Munroe, Terry Munroe, Ter--

Sorry, it was getting kind of catchy there for a sec.

At an ATM, Terry Munroe!(heh heh) tries to withdraw some cash, but Karl 2.0 empties her bank account. As the long, impatient line of customers whine and moan behind her, Terry catches a brief glimpse of Karl's face on the ATM screen, right before a metal "OUT OF ORDER" partition slams over the ATM, nearly chopping her fingers off. Yikes. Why is he so mad at her? It's not her fault that he can't drive in the rain...

Josh, in the meantime, is on his PC, playing what looks like the world's crappiest "adult" game, featuring wire-mesh females asking him if he wants to undress them. That's just sad. Luckily, before Josh can get any more pathetic in our eyes, he is interrupted by an instant message that calls itself an e-mail. I'd love to meet the person who researched this stuff, and find out how they managed to write the story from the early 19th century.

In any event, the "e-mail" is from Karl 2.0. He tries to get Josh to touch the screen, so he can electrocute him(why doesn't he just send a power surge through the mouse or keyboard, if he's so strong???), but Josh turns the computer off. Then his mother walks into his room, demanding to know if Josh made several hundred 900-number calls in the last day or so.

Josh points out that it would be almost impossible for a single person(much less a young teen) to make that many calls from a single location, and his mother decides that she doesn't much care for his tone. She unplugs the phone jack from the computer(boy, that sure gave me major flashbacks...), and tells her son to do something else besides playing on his computer all day. Perplexed, Josh turns back to the monitor, and finds the PC back on, with Karl 2.0 filling the screen with "ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG". Holy crap, the killer is Billy Joel!

Terry finally realizes that the address book that she brought with her to the computer store is missing, so she decides to see if anyone at the store might have found it. An employee brushes her off, but his potential customer tells her that The Legendary, Infamous Address Book Killer worked at the store. Naturally, this new piece of info gives Terry quite a start.

At home, Josh is working his way toward diabetes, but stuffing himself with about a metric ton of cookies dipped in milk. Terry sneaks in behind him(Hey, wasn't she just at the computer shop? What, did she borrow the same teleporter Jason Voorhees uses to get around???), and gives him a huge hug and a kiss. She apparently feels guilty over blaming him for the computer stuff, after deciding that The Legendary, Awe-Inspiring, Infamous Address Book Killer was the real culprit...While Josh looks like his skin is crawling, his mother stops pawing over him to go answer the front door.

It's Bram. the super technician. He introduces himself to her, then explains that her files have been coming up at the data company he's been with all day. She tries to tell him that she doesn't know anything about computers, but then he shows her the stack of her personal files that have been coming in. Despite his lame attempt to flirt with her, she lets him into her home.

Josh goes crazy when he meets Bram. Apparently, Bram's past notoriety as a hacker is quite extraordinary. After Josh calms down, Bram asks Terry if she might have pissed off any hackers in the past, enough for them to expose every single cyber-file with her name in it, but Josh distracts her before she can respond. Bram then decides to just get up and leave, which is exactly what you should do immediately after coming into a stranger's home and giving them a reason to panic. As he leaves, we see a page from Terry's address book, with the names "Frank" and "Elliott" on it.

One of the guys who was ogling the naughty nightwear at Terry's cubicle(Frank? Elliott? Let's just say he's Elliott, to save time), is home alone, getting ready to eat some frozen food. He puts it in the microwave, then we watch as Karl 2.0 zooms into Elliott's home computer. Karl 2.0 zips around the various electrical outlets, then gets inside the microwave, where he sets the frozen meal on fire.

Elliott goes into the kitchen to check on his food, and the microwave mini-explodes in his face. As he screams in agony, Elliott sees every food item on the countertop begin to spontaneously cook....eggs fry, popcorn pops, bananas burst. It's equal parts stupid and fun to behold. Then Elliott's face begins to blister from the radiation, and he soon falls to the floor and dies. This movie's grasp of how technology works is too amazing to put into words. Einstein is probably rolling in his grave as we watch this sequence.

Oh, and a brief flash of the scanned address book page reveals that the dead guy was actually Frank. Oh well, I had a 50-50 shot at getting it right. C'est la vie.

Terry gets the news about Frank's demise, and then his character actually gets his own funeral scene. At the service, Terry sees Bram a few pews behind her, then smells smoke. Frank's coffin comes flying out from a back room, set on fire by Karl 2.0, which makes absolutely no sense at all. As everyone start shrieking at trying to get away, it turns out to be a nightmare that Terry was having.

Terry, for some reason, decides to go to Karl's home, and check out the bedroom he lived in. She finds nothing and does nothing useful, so this scene is more or less useless. Heck, even Karl's landlord in this scene is given the shaft, listed in the credits only as "Karl's Landlord". Yeesh...although, on a side-note, the actress also played the nosy neighbor with the dog in Dr. Giggles. Cool.

After a long day of being bogged down by the supporting cast and peripheral characters, Terry needs a break. She decides to skip out on a date, until Josh walks into her bedroom. He tries to give her a pep-talk, in a blatant attempt to get Carol to babysit. What a horndog this kid is. I wish I had half of his energy! He keeps pushing her to go to the party, to the point of insulting her, even. That somehow convinces Terry that he's right.

Whoops, I was wrong....while his mom is on the date from Hell(with a guy who looks like a cross between Jim Carrey and Brad Garrett...and not in a good way...), Josh is at the local arcade. Oh goody, now we get to see what a Hollywood screenwriter thinks "Virtual Reality" and "Cyberspace" might look like. I'm sure it won't be dorky in the slightest.

But wait....first, we get a priceless scene at the now-empty house. Karl 2.0 goes zipping around in the various outlets and devices in the house, and turns on the television. Axel, the family dog, sees the television turn itself on, and a video showing what is apparently some kind of porn for housepets is playing. As the dog begins to watch the video and hump some furniture(I really wish that I was kidding, but this is actually in the movie), the video comes flying out of the VCR, aimed right at the dog. Axel responds by saying "Screw this!", and escapes through the doggy door. Yay, someone got smart enough to escape the movie!

After Josh signs a computer registry to play this "Virtual Reality" game, Karl 2.0 gets his non-corporeal mitts on the signature, and does an online search for anything related to the name "Josh Munroe"(which is now spelled "Monroe", for some reason....I'm sure that won't screw up his search results, though), and somehow gets a few results.

Then the killer goes into the game that Josh and Frazer are playing. I wonder if Frazer has a brother named Niles? Anyway, the graphics in this sequence suck worse than the most defective Hoover vacuum on the planet. Remember the animation in the Dire Straits video "Money For Nothing"? This is worse.

Josh and Frazer walk around in a low-res MC Escher environment, filled with flat-looking staircases, grey walls, and occasional "windows" and "doors" to give it some "variety", if you want to call it that. Imagine a game on the Atari 2600...then lower your expectations much, much further. Yeah. THAT bad.

Anyway, the 2 kids are "walking around" in this travesty of a game, trying to fire flat-looking guns at each other. Oh, and they're both in these dumb-looking armored suits that have their faces superimposed on them. As they try to shoot each other, Josh sees something lurking in the background. He goes off to investigate, and Karl 2.0 surprises him. After Karl 2.0 scares Josh with a face best described as "Looney Tunes"-ish, Josh and Frazer quit the game and head back home.

Upon arriving back at his house, Josh tries to find his dog. Yeah, good luck with that. Being a dumb kid, Josh decides to check around the exterior of the house, because it's always smart to wander around outside in the dark in horror films. And I think we all know how smart Josh is...

He decides that maybe his dog committed suicide in the family pool, and hits a button to sloooowly draw back the pool cover. It gets jammed at about the halfway point, so Josh dives in to see if he can loosen it up. This kid deserves the Lifetime Achievement recognition from The Darwin Awards! Seriously, does he want to die?

I doubt that it'll come as a shock when I tell you that Karl 2.0 gets into the mechanism that controls the pool cover. As Josh goes underwater to work it loose, the corpse of his pet floats by his face, giving him a shit-fit. He barely gets out of the pool before the cover closes him in, and leans over the side of the pool, gasping for air.

Terry tries to make Josh feel better(I'd like to see the Hallmark card for THIS scenario!), then decides to pay Bram a visit at his home. His home, by the way, is a motel. They must have run out of "house" sets to use in the film. Just when I think this movie couldn't get any dumber...

Anyway, Terry asks Bram if there's any way that a copycat killer might be following in the footsteps of The Amazing, Legendary, Infamous Address Book Killer, and using a computer to kill his victims. Bram stops just short of calling her an idiot, and says that there's no possible way that someone can be killed with a computer. Uh, I can think of several ways, but okay....

This somehow then takes us to a place where crash-test dummies are being used in prototype car frames. I'm not sure what this has to do with any....oh wait, the guy Terry went on that lame date with works there. Boy, this movie sure does like to kill off non-essential characters! Who's next, Bystander # 3? (I'm going to laugh my ass off for an hour if that's the next victim.)

Anyway, Date Guy is named Miller, and he calls Terry at work to try to get her to have dinner with him. One of her co-workers fakes an emergency to get him off the phone, and Miller is left high and dry. Guess it's not Miller Time.

Kurt 2.0 goes into his computer, and makes it look like the test vehicle has a problem with the brake. Miller gets under the car to have a look, but nothing happens. Then, when he's told a camera is malfunctioning, Miller steps right up to the wall that the car crashes into to get a closer look at the supposed malfunction.

Again, nothing happens. As Miller steps off of the track, an underling brings him a ladder. Miller yells that it's the wrong kind of ladder, then decides to get on the floor of the test car to look at the brake again. Kurt 2.0 finally decides to do something, and sends the car, with Miller half-inside, flying towards the concrete wall.

After the crash, all of the other workers come running to see what happened. They lean in to look, only to discover that Miller is rattled, but very much alive. He heads off to the restrrom, and gets set on fire by one of those hand-drying machines. Yeah, riiiiiiiiiight. Is it possible for a movie to jump the shark? Because this one just did.

Terry starts to get inundated with telemarketing calls, and it gets annoying pretty fast. When she answers the third one in a row, Kurt 2.0 threatens her. So now he can talk on the phone too? Does this movie's world have any rules at all? What will he do next, fly? Grant wishes? Fart maple syrup?

Whatever. I don't care anymore. Terry makes a date with Bram, leaving Josh and Frazer in the hands of Carol, the gal who puts the "babe" in "babysitter". Over drinks, Terry tells Bram about the phone call from the dead killer. He doesn't believe her, but she insists that it was definitely the voice of the killer, dead or not.

Okay, back to the orgy....uh, I mean babysitting job. While Carol is on the phone, the 2 boys are going from room to room, checking her out. Kurt 2.0 calls her home phone number for some inexplicable reason, and gets wind of her babysitting gig. Only in the movies, could information fall so easily into his lap right when he needs to know it.

Carol gets annoyed by the kids following her throughout the house, and tells them to leave her alone and watch some TV. Kurt 2.0 goes into the home security system, and fiddles around with it. Maybe he's as bored as I am.

Oh wait, Karl 2.0 was disrupting the phone. While Carol continues yammering, Frazer's baby sister crawls out to the kitchen, and eyes all of the dangerous items that he/she could play with. This movie seems to have a kitchen and a bedroom fetish. Seriously.

The baby heads right for the stove, and Karl 2.0 decides to turn it on. The baby screams, and Carol comes running. Relax, they didn't kill a baby...the kid is fine, playing on the floor. Carol sees that the stove is on, and lectures the boys about putting the baby in danger. She then makes them clean the kitchen, which leads into a fake-scare, in which Josh pretends that his hand is getting mangled in the garbage disposal. Let's make a new rule, right here and now: no more fake scares with garbage disposals. They're always lame. The last good one was in Halloween: H20, but the majority of the rest suck.

Carol seems to have a VERY short memory, because now Josh and Frazer are paying her to take her top off. Hey, I'll chip in! Anyone else want to make a contribution to a good cause? After what feels like 7 straight hours of pure malarkey, I think we deserve a reward!

Carol does a little dance, while slowly unbuttoning her shirt. The boys get more and more excited, then Carol shows them her bra. They nearly explode with excitement, then run back to the bedroom. Ah, to be young again.

While Bram and Terry keep going in circles about the killer, the kitchen back at the house begins to flood. Evidently, the washing machine overflowed. Carol is sitting at the computer when it happens, and the suds literally explode out of the machine, covering her. Carol is then killed by cartoon lightning bolts, and falls to the floor while convulsing. Awwwww....

Terry finally chooses to go to the police. She tries to tell them how the deaths are connected back to her, but the cop taking her statement doesn't really give a crap. While the disagreement continues to rage on, Josh looks over some of the papers that Bram brought from the office. He glances at the copy of the address book page, and concludes that all of the victims from that page were killed in the order in which they were listed.

That prompts Terry, Bram and Josh to rush home, and unplug every possible electric device in the house. Grandma is there to keep Josh company, while Terry and Bram try to lay a trap for the killer. Terry drives around, with a phone installed in her car. Sure enough, the killer calls, and Bram is tracing the call. The killer taunts him though, by making all of the phones in his office ring at the same time.

On the car radio, the killer's voice makes a request at a local station, and it's a threat to Bram. Terry dismantles the radio and the phone, and Karl 2.0 gets frantic looking for an access point. He finds a police band radio, and decides to have some fun...

He calls several units, and has them show up at Grammy's house. She gets shot in the confusion, and is rushed to the hospital. The incident pisses of Terry, and she wants to know how to destroy the killer in as permanent a way as is possible. Fridge magnets are mentioned.

Okay, well that's dumb, but the idea is sound. Bram brings Terry and Josh to a high tech lab, where they deal with gigantic magnets. Karl 2.0 shows up too, in full body. While chases Terry and Josh throughout the facility, Bram works at getting the computers booted up.

As Terry gets ambushed by the killer, Bram turns the device on. The killer dissipates, but then Bram has an accident and falls. The magnet, meanwhile, continues to increase in strength. pulling anything magnetic toward it. Josh tries to turn it down, and inadvertantly brings the killer back to life.

He begins to murder Josh by trying to absorb him, and Terry shows up with a gun. She shoots a few times at the killer, but the bullets just pass through him. She changes tactics, and aims her last shot at the room containing all of the magnetic superconductor-type machines. The killer then just tries to strangle them both.

Then Bram comes to his senses and turns the magnet back on. Karl gets torn apart, and drawn into the magetic device, where he seemingly is destroyed. There's a final scene at the hospital, where Terry and Josh watch over Bram. A lifesigns monitor annoys them, so they shut it off. THE END

Well, that was a slow experience. It had a good cast, but the script needed a few revisions. And the many generic victims didn't help matters any. Nor did the lousy effects. All in all, a wasted opportunity was experienced about every 2 minutes or so.Terrible. I'm giving this movie a 1.

And what did I learn from watching Ghost In the Machine?

-Computer monsters can kill you with ANY technology, computerized or not. VCR tapes, pool covers, hand warmers...and it never has to make sense.

-Microwaves are just nuclear bombs waiting to go off.

-Instant messages and E-mail are the exact same thing, there is no difference between them. Now excuse me, while I go watch a BluRay on a record player from 1977.

My next film looks just as bad, perhaps worse. It's called Red Hook. Let's hope that maybe it'll be a diamond in the rough...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dark Ride

Hey all, welcome to another SAW! This week(well, week and 1 day...), we have Dark Ride, an amusement-park slasher to watch. So strap in, keep your arms in the ride at all times, and get ready for SPOILERS.....

Wow, this DVD has about a month's worth of trailers and other ads. I hope there's a movie. Wait, did I have this long, stringy beard when we started? I did? Damn!

Okay, so the movie does actually have a starting point. There's a large, deserted-looking carnival, and 2 young girls are just sort of drifting around in the big empty area of the main fairground. A sign says that the place is in its final weeks, but it looks pretty damned dead even without a sign.

One girl, Colleen, lets some sound effects coming from the funhouse attraction intimidate her, and she starts to back away. Her sister mocks her, and Colleen quickly switches her tune. They each buy a ticket from a grizzled old barker, and he teases them a little to try to break the tension. I think I saw him on Dateline 2-3 times...

After getting belted into their cart, they get pulled into a dark, shadowy area, with various noises heard around them. The ride features what you'd probably expect: giant Devil heads bobbing at them, smog, lots of semi-scary mannequins in the background. As the ride goes deeper into the tunnel, things start to spring up and scare them a bit faster.

Colleen hates it. Even during the non-scary stuff, she keep averting her eyes from the entire experience. The other girl doubles her efforts to humiliate Colleen about her squeamishness. Oh, and neither one of the girls manages to notice a creepy figure who enters the tunnel right behind them. Golly gee, I can't possibly imagine where this is heading.

Following Colleen's latest round of being called names, her sister, Sam(I miss Pam Dawber....), appears to have been snatched out of her seat by someone. The dummies also now seem to be fixed up to look like murdered children. As her anxiety increases, Colleen realizes that her cart has now stopped again, in front of another chilling display.

This new one depicts a brutish hulk dressed in hospital scrubs. He's facing a "patient" on his table, as another figure looks on. Colleen gets a better view of the scene, and sees that Sam is the victim, with her innards exposed and pulled out in all of their glory. As Colleen screams, the title is displayed.

During the credits, we also get some backstory. Both girls were murdered, but the killer went on to have a pretty busy hobby. 14 more people were killed...hey, how 'bout showing us THAT movie? That would kick butt.

Anyway, as the film picks up in the present day, 5 friends are preparing for Spring Break festivities. The group consists of Bill, who seems to be the socially awkward "nerd" of the group; Cathy, an attractive brunette played by an actress who co-starred on The Sopranos(she played the daughter); Steve, who used to date Cathy, and is Bill's best friend and roommate; Liz, who is Cathy's bubbly blond best friend; and Jim, an obnoxious jock-type(who used to date Liz) whose van they're travelling in. Yay, the usual assembly-line of victims.

So, after everyone hugs Bill for some reason, they get the proverbial show on the cliche-riddled road. Before they even get into the friggin' van, Bill freaks out the others by re-enacting a scene from Midnight Cowboy, which seems pretty random. They start off on their journey, which consists of scenery from the Griswold family cross-country trip--set to a 70's-ish sounding tune that would make hippies long for heavy metal--and they all just mouth stuff at each other. Yeah yeah, I know it's a montage set to music, I'm just mocking them to stay awake. Hell, even the people who made this one seem bored, as the footage begins to run at super-speed.

They stop at a creepy gas station(yet another cliche....I'm betting Joss whedon was thinking of this movie when he wrote the awesome and under-appreciated Cabin In the Woods), which is open, yet seems deserted. Bill decides to go inside to have a look, and finds an old man who may or may not actually be dead. Bill acts out another movie scene to try to get a reaction from the geezer, but the guy doesn't even blink.

While Bill looks for a bathroom, Jim decides to see if the old guy really is dead by offering him a blowjob as a joke. He gets the shit scared out of him when the old man pops up and begins to talk at 500 words a minute. The old man gives them a coupon for a local eatery, then makes a wisecrack to Jim about getting oral sex from him. I have to admit, the old guy made me laugh.

When Bill returns to the van, he shows the others a brochure that he found, advertising an amusement park attraction at the Jersey Shore. The brochure refers to the attraction as a "dark ride", which prompts Liz to ask what it is. Bill apparently has an encyclopedic knowledge of dark rides, and he fills her in. It's pretty much just another way of saying "funhouse", but that movie title was already taken, so we get Dark Ride. Again, yay. And also....who the heck finds funhouse pamphlets in gas station restrooms??? You should wear a HazMat suit before picking it up.

Steve then adds that he's actually heard of this particular attraction, because of something that happened there 20 years earlier. I can't imagine what he's referring to. Was Snooki born there? Probably not, otherwise this would be even scarier.

Then we get a bit of time travel thrown into the mix, as the story grinds to a halt, and we see an event that took place 2 weeks earlier. Uh, and they couldn't just show this before introducing the college kids to us, and simply have their intro say "2 weeks later"....why exactly? Oh, and this distracting interlude takes place in a mental institution.

2 orderlies are making their nightly rounds, checking on patients in each padded cell. They come to a cell where a bald guy is sitting on the floor in front of a television showing static, and one orderly starts mocking him. When he gets pushy, the patient splits open his straitjacket, then grabs a flashlight from one of the orderlies and shoves it straight through the poor man's torso. Then he grabs the second orderly, shoves him up against the padded door, and tears him open. Afterwards, the lunatic simply leaves the asylum.

Meanwhile, back in the van, Bill has convinced the rest of the group to go visit the dark ride from the brochure, claiming it to be an adventure, or an act of rebellion, or some other load of bull. They probably agreed just to shut him up. Oh, and then they come upon a hitchhiker, and decide to let her come along with them.

The new girl is Jen, and she's kind of spacy at first. Then she tells the others that she once attended a Phish concert, where she met a guy who debated her knowledge of music before trying to rape her. She responded to him by punching him hard in the balls. The moral to her story? She believes that people are more or less decent, deep down. Uhhhh.......

Anyway, while Cathy and Liz text each other about the looney new passenger, Jen decides to take off her shirt. Then Jim offers her a joint, and all is good again. They tell her about the dark ride, and she gets all excited. As a way of thanking them for the ride, Jen offers up a baggy full of many, many hits of acid. Wish they had included one with this movie. I honestly can't remember the last time a horror film left me this bored.

They must have heard me, because they finally arrive at the dark ride. It's late at night, and they seem bamboozled by the fact that it looks like it's closed. They see a security guy, and decide that they can sneak in between his rounds. Well, everyone except Cathy....she's annoyed by Jen, and opts to remain in the van.

Jim breaks in first, gets frightened by a dummy making a face, then finds the fusebox to get the power turned on. With the lights on and the ride operational, he then lets the rest of the group into the building. Pretty smart thinking, having a loud, illuminated amusement park ride turned on in case another security guy or bystander happens to pay a visit.

Now that everyone is together again, the girls are skittish about exploring the interior of the ride. They are reminded that Cathy is outside, if anything goes wrong, but Jen still whines that she would have been safer accepting a ride from a creepy stalker. Geez, considering how long it took them to get to the place, you'd think they would have voiced these issues before their arrival!

They wander aimlessly from room to room, until Jim picks up a mannequin and begins dancing with it. A massive green monster-head pops out of a window behind Jim, and when he turns back to the mannequin, the face is suddenly mangled. He drops it and re-joins the rest of the group, as if nothing happened. Before leaving, Bill examines the broken face as well. From above the room, the escaped killer watches the incident, and he's now wearing a dollface mask, like the killer in The Hills Run Red.

Outside, the weather has turned rainy. Cathy notices the rain, then goes back to not having anything to do with the main plot. I wonder how much she was paid to more or less sit in a car for the majority of the film? I hope it was a ton of cash.

Jim, while smoking a joint, comments that Cathy doesn't know what she's missing. As they decide to sit in a circle and act out a scene from That '70's Show, Liz claims to see someone watching them. The rest just chalk it up to a reaction from the drugs. Yeah, I'm sure that's all it was.

Jim then begins to tell the story of exactly why the dark ride was closed, until he's interrupteed by Bill, who says that he grew up in the area, and knows the "real story". Hey Bill, how 'bout you chill out so Jim can tell the story, before you decide it's the wrong one? Geez, he's starting to get on my nerves.

Regardless of who tells the story(which Jim tells anyway), it's just the same events we saw in the opening sequence of the film. Jim says that the girls were twins, and that the killer had the mental capacity of a child. Oh, and he supposedly lived in the dark ride, due to his deformities.

And how could he have lived there without being discovered? Why, his dad operated the attraction, of course! Oh, and there was a brother who was younger, with no abnormalities, physical or mental. After the twins were murdered, the ride was shut down. When the girls ask Jim why he pretended not to have any knowledge of the place, he responds that they never would have agreed to go, had they known the history of the place.

Okay, Bill's turn to tell the same damned story! In his version, the killer was shot, but survived, and eventually spent the rest of his life in the booby hatch. And the big twist in his story is that the twins were also Bill's cousins. Oh, and the giant killer's name is Jonah. Supposedly, Jonah was discovered turning his victims into displays for the ride. After defusing the tension with a joke, they get up to explore some more.

Steve and Jen find a more private room to fool around in, but it's very dark. They grab a lamp from one of the displays, and use a mirror to try to bounce the light off and give more illumination. Doing this reveals Cathy, who appears to be dead, and used as a display to scare them. As they scream, Cathy leaps up, revealing that a prank was being pulled on Steve.

Steve gets bent out of shape over the joke, then gets angrier when he realizes that most of the others were in on it too. Heck, the whole visit to the attraction was the key component to the prank, and the brochure was one that belonged to Bill. He even talked Jen into helping to pull it off, which she was more than willing to do.

Cathy then makes a crack about paying back Steve for fooling around behind her back when they were dating, and that part really sets him off. He tells Bill that he just lost his only friend, and he leaves. While some of the others say the same to Bill, Jim actually seems to like him a lot more for pulling the stunt. Go figure.

As they arrive back at the entrance, they find that the door is locked from the outside. They all assume that Steve did it, but when they beg him to let them out, there's no response at all. Jim loses his patience, and decides to check the fuses and power source, to see if he can open anything from the control panel.

Within a minute of arriving, Jim is jumped by Jen. Faster than you can say, "Stupid idea!", they start to strip down and have sex. The rest of the remaining group all grab light sources, and walk in a line from room to room, to find any alternate exits. This seems like an okay plan, until Cathy sees a dummy on display that appears to be a very dead-looking Steve. She screams, and Jen and Jim stop screwing long enough to comment on it. Then Jen randomly blurts out, "I love this song,", and the sex resumes.

Cathy rushes to get the others, while Bill tries to warn Jim and Jen that something terrible has occurred. They ignore him, so that Jim can get a blowjob, and the killer sneaks into the room. He kills Jen without alerting Jim, and Jim winds up with her severed head in his hands.

Panicking, he tries to run away, and only succeeds in knocking himself out on an overheard pipe. Jim wakes up, and finds himself alone. Unfortunately, there are no unlocked exits in the room. Trapped, Jim is left crying and begging to be released.

Cathy and Liz are still trying to find an alternate escape door, but neither one of them is being very rational at this point. Cathy tries to inspire Liz to be calm and act strong, going into full-on Braveheart mode to get her friend going again. Cathy sees another corpse, and tells Liz that she feels completely responsible for what's happening to them. She runs back into the maze of rooms, and tells Liz to find the exit and get help.

Each room Liz finds is scarier than the last, until the killer finally nabs her. She barely gets away, but he keeps finding her. He finally gets the drop on her, and then drags her body along the floor to parts unknown. Along the way, Jim sees the body, and the killer decides to chase him down as well.

Meanwhile, the security guy outside has returned. He calls for backup, after describing the screams and other signs of activity coming from the dark ride. After a short debate, he's told that back-up is on the way to his location. Yay, more victims!

The security guard decides to enter the dark ride without waiting for back-up, because they always do in these movies. He finds Cathy almost immediately, which would be great, but the killer has somehow managed to get behind him. The killer splits the poor guard's head in half, right down the middle, and after he admires his handiwork, he resumes chasing Cathy.

Then we meet the "back-up". They receive the call to assist the security guard, and one says something along the lines of, "I hope we get there before he splits..." Hardy har har. The only reason for these 2 nimrods to even be in this movie, was for them to deliver that godawful pun.

Anyway, Cathy finds a window, and actually manages to escape from the building! She swiftly gets to the car, gets in, and drives away fast enough to make The Flash envious. Jim watches her leave, and begins to cry. What's with them finding exits all of a sudden? Were these windows somehow invisible until just now? Gotta love the logic on display in this movie.

Anyway, while Jim is running and blubbering(again, instead of going out a window????), the killer pops up next to him. I love how this gigantic hulk always manages to pop up from out of nowhere, like he's somehow hard to spot. Of course, it makes as much sense as anything else we've seen, so at least the writing is consistent. A giant ninja...genius.

Cathy, in the meantime, is trying to figure out how the "phone" part of her cellphone works. See? Actual evidence that texting makes you dumber. She gets a call from Jim's phone, and realizes that he's still alive. She decides that the smart thing to do is to go back into the dangerous building, and rescue the shit out of the lunkhead. Oh, and while we're talking about survivors, where the heck is Bill, our socially inept movie expert? He pretty much just vanished from the plot after they all went into the building...

Inside, things aren't looking too good for Jim. The masked maniac has caught up to him, and Jim has crawled his way into a dead end. The killer raises his weapon to finish Jim off, but Cathy saves the day by crashing the car through the wall. How she knew which wall to drive through, or even how she managed not to kill Jim in the process, is typical movie logic. Chalk it up to "magic", I guess.

The impact of the vehicle sends the killer flying into a wall of spikes or blades. Cathy passes out, and Jim tries to revive her. And that's when Bill reappears. Jim freaks out and gives Bill a semi-embrace, but Bill's only reaction is to ask if the killer is actually dead. Then he also asks if Cathy is still alive.

When Jim asks Bill how he managed to survive, he replies that he knows the building quite well....and then he stabs Jim. While he continues to stab Jim several more times, flashbacks reveal him planning the prank with Cathy, as well as killing and displaying Steve. It's revealed that the killer is Bill's older brother, and the twin girls were his sisters. Bill wanted to help his brother escape from his confinement, so that he could then kill his "friends", because they never really let him fit in with their group...

...and that's when Cathy finally wakes up. She watches Bill take his brother's mask, and he thanks her for helping with his revenge scheme. Cathy, still in shock, wanders back outside. A few emergency vehicles have arrived, and a resuer asks Cathy if she's hurt. Then there's a final close-up of the mask. THE END

Whoo-boy, this movie was all over the place. A good opening scene, followed by waaaay too much set-up, and numerous silly plot-holes and dumb elements to truly make this film scary. 2 killer trees out of 5....I would have given it 3, but these guys kept blowing every opportunity for something interesting to happen. At least the kills were somewhat good, though, so it's not a total waste. (oh, and check out the deleted scenes....some of them are actually decent, for a change...)

And what did I learn from watching Dark Ride?

-Well, if you want to enjoy a vacation with friends, you might want to do a background check on them first...

-Mental hospitals have no security measures at all, except for a pair of badly trained orderlies.

-Windows and doors are invisible until it's almost too late for them to be useful.

The next movie from Ballbuster is Ghost In the Machine, a cheese-tastic rip-off of Shocker and The Horror Show. See you then!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hell Night

Well, since my movies won't arrive in time for this week's entry, I've decided, once again, to see what YouTube has to offer. Luckily, a few of their slasher choices were new to's always fun to gamble on the unknown! So, prepare to be SPOILED, as I watch something from the early 1980's called Hell Night...

The movie starts smack dab in the middle of a rowdy, drunken bash. Linda Blair stars in this one, hopefully minus the head-spinning and pea soup vomit. There's also Vince Van Patten, so this definitely has the 80's vibe going for it. By the way, if you watch these movie while reading along, watch the volume. The opening rock song is pretty much just a wall of screeching noise.

The first character we meet is Peter, the studly president of the fraternity co-hosting the Halloween party. His costume is some kind of swordsman or something. He turns the charm up past 11, and attempts to woo a pretty girl serving drinks, when his frat brother, Scott--the most awkward-looking pirate ever-- interrupts the conversation.

When Peter looks away for a second, he spots Marti entering the room. She's a new sorority pledge, played by Linda Blair, and she's dressed as some kind of Victorian-era woman or royalty perhaps. She came to the party with a friend dressed in a some kind of leopard dress. Maybe she's supposed to be Wilma Flinstone. Is my complete apathy for this thing showing?

Anyway, according to Wilma, Peter looks forward to the Halloween bash all year. So, given that classes in the fall most likely begin in September, Pete's only excited for roughly 2 months. Unless they mean immediately after the shindig, in which case, he's excited until December 31st, because then he begins a new year. (yeah yeah, I know what she meant, I'm just mocking the movie out of boredom,  until something interesting happens.) I need a nap, so my cat, Tom will watch this until I'm up again. Everyone, meet Tom. Tom, everyone.

Meow meow loud music meow drowning out dialogue meow. Entire party drives through town in cars meow, until they reach big iron gate meow. Pete lets them into place called Garth Manor, meow, because new pledges always spend one night inside meow.

Garth Manor was occupied by various Garth family members meow, until the last Girths gave birth to a mutant girl, meow. Then they had another child, who was born blind deaf, and mute. Then a son, Mort, was born. He was a Mongoloid, meow. The father was so upset his deformed children, meow, that he decided to kill himself and his family. When police arrived to check out the place, young boy Mort's body was nowhere to be found....

Thanks, Tom, I'll resume watching. I'm feeling better meow...errrrr, I mean now. Anyway, inside the mansion Peter tells the 4 pledges that they can sleep anywhere they want, with whomever they want, until morning. The 4 pledges are Marti; an annoying British girl named Denise(her first big bit of dialogue, featuring her trying to act "drunk" is painful); Some guy dressed as Robin Hood who looks like Blake on Workaholics; and a guy dressed in a generic-looking 1800's suit suit, named Jeff. I guess the costume budget ran out.

Anyway, after they're locked in for the night, they're handed a gun through the iron gate, in case they run into trouble. Then everyone else races away into the night.

The four pledges head inside, where Denise reveals that she snuck in some alcohol and drugs. She and Robin Hood run upstairs to fool around, leaving the other 2 alone. Jeff and Marti together downstairs. Jeff gets the fireplace going, while Marti lights candles.

Then they decide to fight. Marti sees Jeff as nothing more than a spoiled rich kid, while he sees her as a tight-ass liberal. Wait, didn't Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan already play these 2 in a movie? I wonder if they'll keep debating each other as the killer strikes?

Upstairs, the action is even worse. While Diane crawls around on the big bed, Robin Hood is distracted by his desire to shoot arrows at different things around the room. This culminates in him shooting an arrow at her ass. Then when he jumps her bones, she'd rather talk about his love of surfing. Using her body as a surfboard, he demonstrates what hitting the waves is like for him.

Outside the house, Peter, Scott and Wilma show up. They've returned to scare the pledges, and try to make them escape before morning. Peter sends Scott and the cheetah to the other side of the house, while he sets up some stuff on his side.

Back in the study, Marti asks Jeff why he's friends with the jerky frat guys, and he tries to list their good qualities. Then he turns the tables, and asks her, if she hates the fraternity/sorority tradition so much, then why is she pledging? She explains that she did it to hopefully get a circle of friends going on campus. In fact, she's a shoo-in to join, because she struck a deal with the sorority:if she helps them on papers and tests, she's in as their sister.

Then someone screams for , like, a fortnight. We discover that Robin Hood is named Seth. Even his date didn't know that, as she'd been calling him Wes. Boy, it sure is nice to root for smart characters for a change...

Anyway, let's get back to the screaming. The pledges hear another one upstairs, so they head up, and find the wire connected to the speakers that the noise was coming from. Jeff fiddles around with it, and Peter(on the roof) realizes that his control box for the sound effects is no longer working.

Frustrated, Peter asks Wilma Flintstone to go around the mansion, to rig another prank. She starts whining about wanting to stay and watch the prank. When she leaves the guys make fun of her. Nice.

Wilma is sneaking around, when she hears a noise. It turned out to be a big, scary completely innocent owl. Hey, have you ever noticed that owls are in the majority of these outdoor scenes in horror movies, but you almost never see one in real life?

Oops, while I was distracted by that, Wilma was being dragged down into a hole that was covered by leaves. She sees her attacker and screams, and the killer then chops her head off. It goes by fast, so don't blink until you see Marti in the next scene.

Marti and Jeff finally seem to be getting along....and that's when the loud screaming resumes. Jeff tells Marti to stay by the fireplace until he returns. In the main hall, he sees Seth, wearing the goofiest pair of boxers that money can buy. After a quick chuckle, he asks Seth to help him find the pranksters.

While waiting for Jeff's return, Marti gets pretty spooked. She finds the door locked, then hears a noise behind's's a....g-g-g-g-g-GHOST!!! And it's limping very slowly in her direction! My god, I haven't been this scared since that one time my girlfriend bought a pregnancy test,, never mind.

Anyway, Velma found a ghost, but Scooby and Shaggy haven't come to the rescue yet. As the zombiesque spirit creeps ever closer, Marti finally forces the door open, and nearly knocks over Jeff and Seth. While Jeff plans to return to the bedroom for some hanky-panky. Peter goes back into the study with Marti, where he has her recreate what happened.

Outside again. Scott and Peter open a hidden passageway. They're getting ready to set the scene of another prank, involving a dummy head, wearing a rubber  mask...If this one ever gets a remake, let's hope that they get rid of most of the prank crap, add more pledges, and have a steadier pace with the kills. I'm practically asleep here.

Up next, Marti watches Jeff climb a tree. He finds the control that locks and unlocks the door, and disables it. Then he goes into Jennifer Love Hewitt mode, and shouts a warning to Peter and Scott, that he'll find them and kick their collective asses if the pranks don't stop soon.

Scott sets up the dummy, and hears a noise. Then the screen goes black, which is as helpful as it sounds. Luckily it doesn't last long, as we see that the killer has hidden in FRONT of Scott. It's as if even the killer knows how brain-dead these guys are, and is siding with the audience.

Anyway, Scott finally realizes that someone is hiding behind the structure in front of him. He stands up to take a closer look, and assumes that it's someone trying to trick him. When he turns back to setting up the prank, a hand grabs his face. The killer then uses his other hand, and Scott gets his neck broken, as well as his head getting some swivel action.

In another bedroom, Marti and Jeff look for more wires and pranks. Then they botch a jump-scare by allowing us to glimpse a fake skeleton through the ajar bathroom door, seconds before the door is opened by Jeff. D'oh! He jumps, then gets rejected by Marti when he tries to get into her bed. Ain't your night, Jeffster.

Back together in another bedroom, Seth and Diane are asleep, but she wakes up with a start. "Little ditty, 'bout Seth and Diane/2 American kids, doin'the best they caaaan/ Jeff's gonna be a surfboard star/Diane'll be an annoying drunk, in the backseat of Jeff's pot-smelling car!"

*takes a bow*

Anyway, so Diane's awake. She's out of alcohol, so she decides to explore the mansion in her sexy lingerie. She grabs a candle and heads for the hall verrrrrrry slooooooowly, and pauses to look around. Oops, she wasn't going out of the room, she's in a bathroom.

As she looks through the drawers and cabinets in the bathroom, someone is seen behind the mirror, watching her. It's Peter, using that secret passage. He goes back outside, When he calls out to his cohorts, there's no answer. He climbs to the roof to look for Scott, and flashes his light around. He then trips over Scott's body, thinking that it's the dummy.

The killer watches from the shadows, as Peter turns a crank attached to a booby trap or prank of some kind. Then he sees a body, and scrambles to get off of the roof. Back on the ground, he heads straight to the front gate. He fumbles with the key, then finally manages to get the gate open.

Unfortunately, his fumble with the keys cost precious time. The killer attacks, starting with another face-palm maneuver. Then he and Peter scuffle, until Peter manages to get away. He runs into the night, only to get lost in some kind of hedge maze. After going around a few corners, Peter sees someone lurking in the shadows, and runs the opposite way. Of course, he runs right into the killer, who uses a scythe to kill the young man.

Marti puts a light on, which wakes up Jeff. She admits that the ghost image really messed her up, which leads to a quick discussion about how he believes in elves, and she believes in ghosts. Then they decide to make out for a little bit.

Seth and Diane are much further along, even though she has to keep reminding Seth what her name is. The killer seems to be watching them, from a room where the door is ajar. As they start delving into cheap porn territory, the camera keeps showing us the half-open door.

After a minute or so of this, Seth gets up to go grab a beer, or pee, or whatever. The killer tiptoes to the bed, and there's an eerie shot of him standing right next to Diane, who has drifted to sleep. The killer fiddles around for a bit, then covers her mouth when she wakes up and sees him there.

In the bathroom, Seth admires his reflection, before heading back to Diane. He gets in bed, only to discover that her throat has been slashed, and her skin is ghostly-white. Seth is horrified, and his shouting gets the attention of Marti and Jeff. They ask him what happened, then run into the room to see for themselves.

Well, I was wrong. In a wider shot, it shows that Diane's head is in the bed, sans body. Seth runs out of the house, and the others follow him. He tries to shoot the padlock on the gate(wait...who locked it back up???), then decides to climb over it. The points on top of the gate are razor sharp, and Seth tries to slowly climb over them, to avoid being impaled.

Despite being jabbed a few times, Seth makes it. After he leaves, the remaining couple clutch each other, and try not to panic. They agree to head back inside, because they're both blithering idiots. Oh, and the background music as they walk back to the mansion is a gigantic ripoff of the Halloween theme, and it takes them a century to open the front door.

Finally back inside, they start to shout out names. Rather thoughtful of them, to give the killer time to hone in on their location. They do more of that slow creeping. Oh, and they find the body of one of the frat boys. Scott, maybe.

They both see something outside, and Jeff is determined to track the person down. Marti begs him not to leave her alone again, but he does anyway. Bastard! He finds Peter dead and runs away, never noticing the keys on the body. D'oh!

Seth gets to the police station, which is really impressive for a dork. He tries to tell the desk Sergeant what happened, but the cops have had their hands full all night, mostly handling pranksters. Seth insists that he's very serious, but the cops threaten to arrest him if be doesn't leave.

Seth prepares to stomp off, but sees a room that is fikked with guns, and is unlocked. He grabs an assault rifle, grabs some ammo, then climbs out of a window. Wow, it's like Superbad mixed with Rambo!

Still hiding in their bedroom, Marti and Jeff talk about whether or not they'll survive long enough for Seth to return. Then a figure arrives, wearing a black shroud. Marti screams, and Jeff uses a pitchfork to stab the gut, They slowly approach the body and lift the shroud, but there's no one there! There is, however, a trapdoor hanging open.

Taking very little time for discussion, the couple decide to follow the killer, even after Jeff tries to leave her behind again. I'm seriously starting to wonder if Jeff is actively trying to bait the killer, by using Marti as a sacrifice. He never seems to think about what might happen to her if she were alone with the killer. Or maybe it's all he thinks about...

Anyway, the underground tunnel is extremely narrow. They finally find a room, but it's darker than The Dark Knight, Darkness Falls, and The Darkest Hour, all rolled into one. They enter the room.  There's another section to explore, so on they go. Turning another corner, they discover all of the people the killer has dispatched, some who seem quite old and dusty. There are also framed pictures, possibly representing other victims.

Then they hear someone coming in behind them, so they go into panic mode. They run away quickly, but the killer can always be heard close behind. They finally get back to the secret door, and run outside, where they try to find something to bar the door lever with.

Then we see a liquor store. Huh? Shouldn't they finish the previous scene before they start a new one? Anyway, that's where Seth is. He carjacks a poor guy with the fake rifle, then tells the man the address to send the cops to, if they want to arrest him.

Seth stops at the gate, and worries over how quiet it suddenly seems. He squeezes through some bars, and heads in the direction of the mansion. Uhhhh, if he could squeeze through the bars, then what was the climbing scene about?

So, as he sneaks up to the mansion, the killer reveals that he was hiding above Seth. He tries to choke the young man, but Seth gets in one shot with his rifle. The wrestle for a minute, and twice Seth tries to grab the rifle, but is dragged away from it by our mysterious maniac.

Well, the 3rd time's the charm. Seth gets the rifle and shoots the killer in the chest, and the body gets blown back into a pool of water. As Seth wanders around the pool to look for the killer, the body rises back to the surface. but still appears to be dead.

Seth is so happy, that he limp-runs the entire way to the mansion. He screams "I did it! I did it!", and his friends come out of the bedroom to see him. As they watch him celebrate in the front hall,  they ask him about the encounter and a hand snatches Seth away, like something a villain might do in a film from the '30's, after some cackling and moustache-twirling.

Another shot is fired, then the gun is flung back into the front hall. When Seth fails to answer their calls, Marti announces that's going to grab the gun. It was just a lure, of course, because the killer was waiting to grab anyone who went for the weapon. He lunges at Marti, and she runs back to the 2nd floor.

Jeff and Marti race into the bedroom, then brace themselves against the door to keep the killer out. He punches his fist through the door, and grabs at Marti, but she and Jeff escape yet again. Oh, and this is where we finally get a real look at the killer. Imagine Peter Weller in Robocop, after the shooting, and he bought a dark business suit at Goodwill. Or maybe John Lithgow, wearing the Young Frankenstein costume.

Marti and Jeff exit through a window, where Marti is clinging to a weather vane. Jeff is dragged back inside by the weird killer, where he is lifted off the ground, and hurled out another window. Jeff's a-flyin' and a-dyin'!...well, it certainly looks like he died. We'll have to see if he pops up at the end...

Marti doesn't want to die on the roof, so she uses the rope ladder to get off of the house. About halfway down, Marti is attacked by the killer, whose hands burst through a window to strangle her. She leaps to the ground, and runs toward the gate. She then fills in the role of "Scared Girl Who Finds Her Friends Dead" (Yup, even I guess my idea for a twist was wrong.) As that part ends, she fixes one of the cars, and tries to bash the gate apart.

The killer has another plan. His ghostly face pops up in her windshield, and Marti tries swerving to loosen his position on the hood. Those kooky gate spikes fall, sticking the killer to the car like a butterfly in some science class display.

The next morning, Marti finds herself still among the living. She squeezes out of the car and starts to leave it behind, and that's about it. It seemed like they were setting up a final scare as the credits started, but nothing happened. THE END

Man, this one had many, many flaws. But it also had a lot of kills, and a good location I read tonight that there is a remake coming....let's hope they do what I suggested...especially the part about toning down, or eliminating, the pranks, in favor of more victims, and actual slasher scenes that involve practical effects.

Oh, and what I learn from Hell Night?

-In Hollywood,love is definitely blind.

-folks at keg pareties dress up in the cheapest costumes they can find.

-Rock music can kill.

Next week, is hopefully Dark Ride. If not, then another

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chain Letter

So it's nearly the weekend, which means my next slasher finally arrived. Luckily, I've found some rare ones to watch on YouTube, so if BallBuster keeps pulling this "waiting a week before the DVD arrives" crap, I have a couple of choices to fall back on. Anyway, this week', we're watching Chain Letter, which sounds like it falls into the "urban legend" genre somewhere. As usual, there will be SPOILERS...

Right off the bat, the movie throws a quote at us..."Life is a chain of dark events." That's strange, because I thought it was like a box of chocolate. Great, another message just popped up: WE ARE ALL CONNECTED...Terrific. Now stop yelling, and start the stupid movie...

Okay, so after several annoying and random-seeming establishing shots, there's a reporter on a TV discussing a killing spree involving several teen victims. A woman is watching the report, but then we go to some anonymous person holding a syringe and pulling on a group of suspended chains. The movie then continues to alternate between the two, , until we see the chain fetish person tying someone to the chains by their ankles and wrists.

The woman is joined by her husband, who has made her some coffee. As the husband gets distracted by the news, the wife asks him to switch it off. Then we return to the person who was chained up, just as they regain consciousness. They can't yell or scream, though...the killer has secured their face with duct tap, leaving only room to breath through their nose, and a rectangle to see through.

The victim begins to panic, and realizes that the chains are attached to 2 cars in the driveway. The cars begin to descend the driveway, and the victim is painfully dragged through the closed garage door. Then both stop for other traffic.

During the pause, the husband decides to turn on his radio and crank up the volume. The wife, from her vehicle, sees the person chained to the cars, and rolls her window down to warn her husband. He doesn't hear her, of course, and takes off...killing the poor victim in the driveway. Then the credits start up.

During the credits, there are several more news reports. The first few are about an anti-technology group trying to infect and disable as many computers as they can, through the usual e-mail viruses and hacking attempts. Then the stories become about a soldier in Iraq who was tracked, captured, then tortured, all because the terrorists who nabbed him were able to find him using his cell phone signal. The final image in the montage implies that the tortured soldier is involved with the anti-technology group.

Then the movie plunges into Saw territory, showing someone held captive in a green room.

Well, apparently that was a scene from the wrong movie, because it ends as abruptly as it began. The NEXT random scene begins with a phone call between 2 teen girls, Jessie and Rachel. Jessie likes a boy they've been friends with since childhood, and Rachel reluctantly agrees to help her try to catch his eye. Is this still Chain Letter, or did I somehow begin watching Sweet Valley High?

At school, we meet Johnny and Mikey. They talk about another friend, Kevin, who was accepted by a college in Nebraska. Then Rachel shows up, and tells them that Adam dumped OH MY GOD WILL YOU JUST START HAVING A PLOT, YOU STUPID MOVIE???? Seriously, this thing's taking years off of my life with all of this inane chatter.

Well, apparently this movie wants me dead, because now we have a guy named Neil, who is Rachel's brother I guess. He yells at her for telling their mother about his masturbation habits, and half the school hears him. Then, as the scene finally comes to an end, a guy named Dan shows up, and gives Rachel a rose. I just don't care anymore. I hope they all die in one big earthquake together. Or I do, before the closing credits roll.

And now we get a dose of greatness, as Brad Dourif shows up in the movie. He plays a quirky(duh) professor, and he's delivering a lecture to the cast about how intrusive technology is in our lives. To prove his point, he taps a small device that emits an EMP, rendering the class textless. Good for him! I wish I had one of those every time I went out to the multiplex. Or, hell, anywhere.

He continues to insist that people are far too willing to give up their privacy to stay connected to each other 24/7, so Jessie raises the point that it makes the world safer to have so much open communication between devices. The teacher argues back that it also makes it easier for people to intrude on our lives, if we share too much of ourselves. Hmmm.....

Neil, our chronic masturbator, is seen playing an MMO by himself. Good to know that he can use more than 1 kind of joystick, I guess. Anyway, he's busy killing someone's online avatar, when a text message blocks his view of the game.

It turns out to be a message from our chain-loving killer, although Neil doesn't know that yet. The message says that he is "the first link in the chain", and then you get the usual nonsense about sending the mail forward to whatever arbitrary number the sender makes up, or else blah blah blah.

Before Neil can even finish reading the message, Rachel enters his bedroom. She insists that she needs access to his computer for a minute, because her phone went screwy or something. When she sees the chain letter, she quickly sends it to her friends, and then Neil adds her name to the list when she exits. So I guess the number was "5", in this case.

Oh, and there was something else that was dumb that I neglected to mention: Neil's computer has this magic ability to tell him if he has "mail" or "chain mail". I think I would keel over in shocked disbelief if I ever came across a Hollywood movie that understood how thing like computers and the Internet actually work.

When she meets up with her friends, Rachel discovers that some have received the chain letter already, and at least one was deleted. She leaves to use the restroom, but ends up out in an alley Quick, escape to a better film while you still can!.

Johnny, the guy who deleted his chain mail, meets up with Kevin at the gym. They discuss their plans for college(kind of "eh"), then Kevin decides to head back home. After Johnny runs on a treadmill, the killer knocks him out from behind.

Johnny wakes up as the killer is piercing his limbs with hooks, then attaching the hooks to chains. While Johnny cries and screams, the killer raises him off the grounds, then drops him again. Then the killer wraps numerous chains around his face, until he gets several disfiguring injuries. After several quick flashes of the killer torturing him, Johnny dies.

The detectives on the case(one of whom is scream queen Betsy Palmer) theorize that the killer must have drugged him when he got up from excercising to grab some water. The killer left no prints, so the cops look through the victim's locker for clues. They don't find anything relevant to the murder, but they discover that our dead jock might have been using steroids.

The funeral takes place in the rain, as movie funerals almost always do. Detective Crenshaw(the one NOT played by Betsy Palmer) shows up after the service to ask some questions. Despite his urgent tone, none of them can think of anyone who wanted Johnny dead.

More rain, and more generic rock music. Dan and a buddy are admiring the progress he's making on a car restoration project. The friend goes to the back to grab somer drinks, and Dan hears a noise from that general location.

When Dan investigates, he can't find his pal, so he returns to his pet project. Sitting behind the wheel, he fantasizes about how much fun the car will be, then he decides to look under the hood.

The engine block is hanging over the car on a chain(!), so Dan begins to fiddle with some bits and pieces. Unexpectedly, the chain loosens, and the engine decapitates Dan. The chain killer strikes again! Boy, that sure was an unexpected development!

More rain, more detective work. The investigators finally figured out that all of the victims were taking the same class, and were friends. If they had a Genius Trophy for sleuthing, this pair would be a shoo-in to get the thing.

Back in class, the teacher gives his students about 10 seconds to mourn. With all that bothersome human emotion out of the way, he then reminds the students that their midterm papers are due Monday. Wow, what a nice guy.

When he dismisses the class, the teacher asks Jessie to stay behind. He probably wants to dock her a letter grade for blinking or breathing too often, but it turns out that he wants her to have as much time as she needs on her paper. Douche. He even rubs her arm in a creepy manner when talking to Jessie.

Jessie does some research into the anti-tech wackos, and eventually falls asleep. In the meantime, Detective Crenshaw finds what looks like the killer's lair. He gets scared by a crusty old farmer instead, who recognizes a piece of evidence shown to him, a chain link. He's not sure where he saw it, though.

Jessie gets comfy, then does more online research. She eventually gets to a website showing gory chain-related crime scenes. She gets nervous and calls Rachel, but her friend is taking a biubble bath, and wearing ear buds for music. Jessie leaves a message, then calls Neil. He's at some internet cafe or bar, but leaves to check on Rachel when Jessie asks him to.

Rachel's power goes out, so she gets out of the tub to see what's going on. After she assumes that Neil caused it, the killer leaps at her, swinging his chain like a club. She dodges and tries to hide in the dark, but the killer slams her against a mirror, then plants the chain in her forehead.

Crenshaw gets a call while investigating Neil's death...there's a profiler named Wiggins who wants to tag along with him. When he asks the remaining kids if Rachel had any enemies, they remember that an older guy had been stalking her online.

Back at his office, Crenshaw meets Wiggins the profiler, who seems like a squirmy bundle of nerves. As they discuss the cult and its leader, Wiggins yells "THEY DON'T LIKE TECHNOLOGY! THEY DON'T LIKE TECHNOLOGY!" Well, saying it twice totally solved the case for me.

Jessie sees something weird on her computer. She walks over to it, and looks closer, only to find that someone appears to have put a tiny camera on it to watch her. You'd think she would have seen that sooner.

Out in a crowd, Jessie gets an email on her phone from the killer. It's just more nonsense about forwarding the chain mail, and how every recipient is another link in the chain. Blah blah blah. In one hilarious sequence, though, she decides that the killer is in the crowd waqtching her. That prompts every weird-looking sleazebag in a 5-mile radius to begin staring at her.

At the end of the day, Neil, Jessie and Michael have a meeting in the park. They discuss how the killer apparently tracked each victim through a virus that was imbedded in the original chain mail. Neil goes crazy with grief, and decides to send the mail directly to both of their phones, which sends Michael into a voilent rage. They have a brief scuffle, until Neil pulls a gun. Tense and angry, the 3 head to their homes.

The killer then sends Neil a new chain letter. And another. And several more. Neil starts hyperventilating, and mutters that the killer should just come get him. A chain then crashes through his bedroom window, and does exactly that.

As Jessie and Michael freak out, Detective Crenshaw gets a call from that creepy farmer, Bradford. He remembered where he saw that style of chain before, on a neighbor's property. It's revealed that the neighbor's son was the tortured soldier mentioned waaaaaay back in the opening credits of the movie, the one whose phone signal got him captured.

Anyway, the chains were sold to a particular meat-packing plant, so Crenshaw decides to go check the place out. His partner tries to call him with a lead, but his phone is turned off. He arrives at the deserted plant, gun drawn, and begins to check it out. He hears yelling, and finds a young man named Kevin wrapped like a mummy in chains. Crenshaw promises to free him, and begins to look for anything nearby that might be useful.

Sadly, the killer arrives, and sets poor Kevin on fire. Crenshaw swiftly finds a place to hide, and calls HQ. He tells the cop on duty to send backup to his location, and patch Wiggins through on the line. The other cop informs him that Wiggins was murdered, and that the man who came to meet Crenshaw was an impostor, likely a member of the anti-technology cult.

After an annoying flashback montage repeating everything from the above paragraph about a dozen times, Crenshaw is captured and knocked out. Jessie is then seen destroying her own phone, after recalling sending the letter to Crenshaw. She then washes up and goes to bed.

During the night, Jessie hears a phone ringing. As she gets up to answer it,another chain flies through another window. Oops, it was a dream sequence. Jessie goes back to sleep. Then you get to more or less watch the opening sequence again, only this time showing Jessie getting captured and chained to both cars first. As her mother watches her get torn apart, the movie winds itself up. THE END.

What an odd movies this one was...a few good genre actors, some pretty memorable kills--but a pretty stupid story, and the dialogue was excruciating. Still, I've seen worse. 6 killer trees out of 10, for being above average yet dumb.

And What did I learn from Chain Letter?

-Well, apparently a select few people own computers that can tell you what kind of email you get, but can't detect a virus in that very same message.

-Facts don't sink in, unless you shout them. Twice.

-Couples who drive to work in different cars are lethal to their children.

Next up on my list is an amusement park slasher, called Dark Ride. Have a great week!