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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Silent Scream

Hey hey! Nope, I'm not dead, just been bombarded with appointments, Thanksgiving, and day-to-day hassles. It's probably just as well that The Silent Scream got pushed until after turkey per week is plenty! Anyway, on with the show, my fellow masochists! Oh, yeah, I almost forgot...blah blah blah, SPOILERS!, blah blah blah.

The credits begin by informing us that Rebecca's Balding. Now, either that's the name of the lead actress, or these are the bitchiest credits in movie history. Somebody send Becky some Rogaine, on the double!

Anyway, after the cast credits wrap up, the title splatters itself in our faces, complete with some comical, over-sized drips of blood. In the background, a police car is seen, along with another car driving close behind. In dramatic slo-mo. Yeesh!

Everybody from both cars arrive at a house that looks like it would be occupied by Holly Hobby, if she were a cannibal. They knock, then bust in and discover bodies and blood upstairs. And then they go bye-bye, with no further explanation of what we just saw. Genius.

The next scene opens on some of the butt-ugliest women of the 1970's interrogating students during a college admission/orientation day. Seriously, there was an outbreak of the fuglies when this sequence was shot! It's not all bad, though: this scene also introduces us to our lead character, a cute coed with the improbable name of Scotty Parker. Hey, even with the weird first name, I'll take her!

Scotty is told that there is no on-campus housing available, so she goes around the city to see if she can afford an apartment. After a montage of dead-ends and rejections, Scotty drives out to the beach, to look for a room at the house we saw in the opening scene. Run away, Scotty, run away!!

As she drives toward the house, Scotty nearly runs over a young man who has the same hairdo as her. Gotta love that decade! Scotty keeps taking her eyes off of the road to gawk at the house, and thankfully, no one dies. Yet...When she parks her convertible, she climbs the porch to the front door in massive, exaggerated steps, like an astronaut hopping around on the moon. Is ANYTHING in this movie normal?

No one answers the door, so she starts to leave. Someone coming up from the beach calls out to her, and we're introduced to Doris, who already has a room at the house. She looks kind of like the "Pat" character from SNL, but she seems nice enough. Oh, and Scotty also discovers that the kid on the bike that she nearly ran over is Mason, the teen son of the homeowner, Mrs. Engels.

After learning all of this, Scotty sees another car pull into the driveway. It's driven by a male student by the name of Peter, also looking for a room. They prepare to fight over it, until Mason reveals that there are enough rooms for everyone. Oh, and there's also a tenant named Jack, but we haven't met him yet.

Oh, and as Scotty looks at her new room, someone is seen peering in at her through a small vent above the bed. Jack? An intruder? Leatherface? Oh, I hope it's Leatherface! And, before I forget, Mason tells Scotty that the room used to belong to his sister. Maybe her ghost is still there...

Mason goes to his room, and removes his shoes before sitting up on his bed. He turns his television on and finds a violent crime drama to watch, then looks like he's ready to have an orgasm. HBO would give this guy a fatal heart attack.

Scotty finishes unpacking her stuff, then knocks on Mason's door to ask if there's somewhere she can put her empty suitcases. He suggests the basement, but Scotty complains that her luggage might get damp. Boo-friggin'-hoo! Mason tells her that she can put them in the attic, as long as she doesn't disturb his mother. Geez, maybe his name should be Norman...

Scotty enters the attic, which is like Ground Zero for creepy shit, and admires the view of the beach from one of the windows. She puts her luggage away on top of some boxes, and then meets Mrs. Engels, a stern-faced woman who just stares her down until she goes back downstairs. Creepy, but at least she's real!

Peter and Doris make small talk outside while waiting for Scotty to get ready for dinner, and a long-haired blond dude pulls up on a motorcycle. This is the elusive Jack, and he introduces himself to Peter. Mason watches them from the shadows, and he looks pretty angry. Then, when all 4 of the tenants leave for dinner, we get an unguided tour of the house, revealing secret tunnels behind the walls. At the end of the passageway, a hand is seen frantically trying to make an opening in the wall...and it finally succeeds. Uhhh, I'm going to predict that this is probably a bad development for our main characters.

At a local hangout, the foursome get drunk and goofy. Doris tells a funny story about how several of the girls at her high school got nosejobs from the same surgeon, who gave them identical noses. That stinks, huh? (Oh, stop rolling your eyes...I know some of you at least giggled a little, right?)

Back home, Doris and Peter have a drunken squabble on the beach, over whether or not they're going to have sex. Jack escorts Scotty to her door, and they share a kiss while Mason watches them. In a moment that has to be seen to be believed, Mason's not just peering at them through a crack in the door; no, his ENTIRE HEAD is visible when the camera reveals him. And the best part? He's making a face like the "sneaky snake" office character from MadTV. This movie is cinematic gold, my friends.

Doris and Peter realize that the tide has come in fairly quickly, meaning that they'll have to get their feet wet to get home. Doris swiftly removes her shoes and starts walking, only to realize that he's not following. She returns to the spot where he sat down to take off his shoes, but only his jacket remains.

Scared, Doris decides to make a run for the house, only to have Peter pop up and frighten her. He laughs at her, so Doris slaps him and continues to the house. Peter just laughs some more, then falls onto his back in the sand. He wakes up when the water reaches him and backs away to a dry spot, only to be stabbed in the chest several times by an unseen maniac holding a biiiig kitchen knife. The killer then hides the body beneath a large sand castle sculpture, leaving one blood-drenched arm visible.

An autopsy is performed on the body, and the 2 detectives who escorted the uniformed officers in the first scene are there to watch. The larger of the pair, Manny, looks like a portly Groucho Marx. His partner, Sandy, looks like any generic television cop from the era. They talk about the case, then Manny leaves to question the houseguests. Wait, is an announcer going to pop up and announce that this is a "Quinn Martin Production" soon?

Nope. Okay, so we return to the house. The interviews go nowhere, until Detective Sandy talks to Mason. They discuss the tenants, his mother...and his mysterious sister. Despite his creepiness, the cops leave. Then he and his mother have a very brief, tense chat. Upset, Mason opens up a chest filled with his late father's belongings, and paws through all of it.

On the college campus, Scotty bumps into Jack. They start out flirting, until Jack suggests that they go for a swim later, on the beach where Peter was slaughtered. Scotty is understandably upset by his nonchalant attitude regarding the murder, but ends up going with him. In what universe does this seem like a good idea?

On the bright side, she looks great in a bikini. Too bad Peter towels her off like he's punching a side of beef. Meanwhile, the detectives are pressured to solve the murder quickly, by the victim's father. Then Scotty and Peter make out on the beach.

Mason finds the rapiest movie on the Rape Channel to get off on, while Scotty reads before bed. After another brief cop chat about a rape, Scotty finds Doris doing some laundry. After Peter sneaks up and scares her, Marty and he decide to snuggle.

While sitting with her laundry, Doris hears a noise. She explores the rest of the basement, and hears her friends having sex via one of the air vents. Their sounds of passion cover up her murder, which makes zero sense to me. But at least we know that Jack isn't the killer!

He returns to his own bedroom after the lovemaking, and puts on some headphones bigger than his own head, to listen to music(or signals from a distant planet, if the size of them is a factor in their signal strength...) Then the crazy, not-dead daughter is shown watching her mother sleep, posing in front of a mirror, and interacting with a corpse that I think is supposed to be Doris.

Scotty goes looking for Doris, but ends up wandering throughout the creepy house in the dark. She finds the secret passage, and is assaulted by the crazy sister, which wakes up the rest of the household. Mama and Mason hold down Scotty to silence her, as Peter goes in search of the source of the earlier noise.

Peter leaves the attic to look elsewhere for Doris and Scotty, and the Engels' panic over what to do. Oh, and the sister's name is Victoria. We find out in a flashback that Victoria tried to hang herself. Oh, and that Mason is her son. Ummmm.....okay.....?

Mason freaks out, leaves the attic, and knocks out Jack. Then he grabs his grandfather's military pistol. At about the same time, our lunkheaded detectives discover the truth, and race off to rescue Scotty and Jack. This is turning into a soap opera now!

Wait. It gets better. Mason returns to the attic, but now he thinks that he's his own father/grandfather, and is dressed in the military uniform. He decides to shoot Scotty, but he and his mother struggle over possession of the pistol. Several shots are fired harmlessly around the room, but the last one hits Mason's mother.

Mason approaches the body, then his real mother stares at poor, innocent, tied-up Scotty. Crazy Mama II picks up the butcher knife she used on her other victims, and creeps toward Scotty. Then, in maybe one of the few grimly funny bits in this monstrosity, she sets her sights on Mason instead, and makes a beeline for his back.

Scotty tries to shout a warning to him through her gag("Mmmmmphnnn!"), and he turns around, but his gun is now empty. He backs away to reload it, shoots Victoria, then kills himself with a bullet to the brain.

Jack comes to, just as Scotty frees herself. Then Victoria pops up again, and tries to finish off Scotty, who just barely bars her striking knife by slamming a door between them. Victoria bursts in at the exact moment that Jack breaks into the attic, and the 3 just stare at each other for a second or two.

Then Scotty pushes her into a wall, and the knife goes into Victoria's abdomen. The cops "rescue" Scotty and Jack, and the end credits roll over an image of dead Victoria. THE END

Well. That was...a movie. Yup. Let's just give The Silent Scream a nice, average, plain 3. It was the slasher version of vanilla ice cream. I did like Scotty, though. Cute actress.

So, did The Silent Scream leave me with ANY wisdom?

-Sand castles don't cover up corpses very well.

-Horny guys will swim anywhere, even in the middle of a crime scene.

-If you want to commit a murder, wait for someone to start having sex first.

My next movie is a cheeseball movie from 1986, called Chopping Mall. Or sometimes Killbots. Whatever. It's goofy by any name. Later!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stag Night

This week's SAW is one I've never heard of, which could be either a good or a bad sign. Of course, given how my luck's been running, let's assume the worst. On that note, let's watch Stag Night! Yay...?

It all starts with a theme song that sounds like the Halloween theme interpreted by a disco band. No joke. All while the credits are displayed over some type of grid or map. Then we get the following fun fact:

"Over 100,000 people are reported missing in New York City every year. The adults are never looked for..."

Bull. Crap. If they had listed a percentage or something, I might be willing to play along, but  don't just say "never", because it immediately sounds like you made it up, okay? Anyway, we then see a blond woman wearing a blue dress, running along some subway tracks. She's drenched in blood, and afraid of someone or something in hot pursuit.

She finds an exit, but it's barred by a locked gate. She darts in the opposite direction to use an escalator, and starts running up the moving steps. Then the power goes out, and there's something growling behind her in the darkness. She continues to limp upwards, then the escalator reverses direction. No big shock, she eventually gets pulled into the darkness, and a caption tells us that it's 3:29 in the morning.

Now we get to meet our lead characters, a group of drunken buddies having a bachelor party before one of 'em gets married in a few hours. Nice. They better move quick. Anyway, first  we meet our nervous groom, Mike, and his bride-to-be Claire. She calls to check up on him, and he assures her that everything is going just fine.

Wouldn't you know it, just as the words leave his mouth, the rest of his group emerges from a strip joint, in the middle of a brawl. There's Tony, Mike's brother, who has a bad reputation; Joe, a kind of whiny guy; and Carl, a bit of a player, who instigates the others into following him to another strip joint that they'll get to via the subway. There were supposed to be 2 strippers joining them, but Mike noticed them slipping away while he was chatting with Claire.

They jump over the subway stiles, and still barely make it into the subway train before the doors shut. Then they spot the 2 women who ditched them earlier, Michele and Brita. Carl boldly approaches Michele, so Tony tries to flirt with Brita. How does it go? Well, Carl charms Michele, while Brita quickly tires of being called "bitch" every time that Tony opens his yap. Yeesh.

Mike and Joe watch the antics, then Mike asks him to hold onto the wedding ring. He admits sheepishly that he still hasn't found a way to let his brother know that he chose someone else to be his best man. Wow, what an idiot. And, to make him look even worse, he's wondering if he even chose the right girl to marry. Can we vote to somehow kill him first?

As they continue to second-guess their future lives, neither one notices that Brita and Tony have escalated the tension to the point that she finally maces him. At the same time, the guy steering the subway train stops briefly at an intersection. They pry the nearest door open, and Tony steps off to see if some "fresh" air will help with his blurred vision. The others exit as well, which seems pretty stupid, considering that some of them should have remained on to let the operator of the train know what was happening. He just assumes that it was a glitch that made the door light come on, and shuts it before the group can react.

The train takes off again, stranding the group in the tunnel. They find exits blocked off by locked gates, similar to the situation the blond was in during the opening scene. They wonder if they should wait for help, but a newspaper informing them about the Watergate scandal convinces them to choose a better plan. None of their phones work, and they also discover that the floor tiles underneath them are pretty flimsy, revealing a nasty fall to another chamber even deeper under the ground.

Everyone decides to risk walking through the tunnel to the next stop, except for Michele and Carl. Michele is afraid to enter the tunnel because there might be rats, and Carl has opted to keep her company. He shares a joint with her, as soon as the rest start to leave.

The tunnel group, on the other hand, remind us that stepping on the third rail on the track will lead to a painful electrocution. Foreshadowing much, movie? As expected, most of the initial dialogue is more bickering between Brita and Tony. Exciting stuff.

The group then compares college and employment history(and, in Joe's case, baby pictures on his phone), and, no surprise, Tony has very little of either to brag about. Not that that stops him from mocking Brita when she says that she was a history major. They exchange a few more retorts, then a sudden cry in the distance stops them all in their tracks. They don't see anyone, but a decision is made to pick up the pace.

Carl and Michele, on the other hand, are sucking face like horny teenagers after the prom. An unseen stalker closes in on them, with cat-like reflexes and stealth. Whoever they are, they get close enough to steal Michele's money and identification before they even get noticed. Carl chases the perp, who darts through a small opening in a wall. Great, so it's probably a kid. Am I supposed to be feel bad that a homeless child is being threatened, or am I rooting against the kid, in case he's some kind of feral monster? Tell me how to react, movie!

Carl lets out a yelp, then goes silent. When Michele calls to him, then decides to investigate, Carl leaps back into view, revealing that the child bit him deep enough on the hand to require stitches. Michele treats the wound, while he just gets mad and complains. Okay, so it's fine to root against the kid. Die, Junior!

Then it's suddenly 4:15 in the morning. The group in the tunnel are beginning to get weary, so Brita shows off her history degree by telling how the term "stag night" originated.  Apparently, warriors, on the eve before their marriage ceremony, were sent off into the wild to hunt. Those who killed and brought back a stag for a feast were worthy of marriage. The one who weren't were presumably killed by their prey(...or just said "Screw this!", and left to enjoy being a bachelor a bit longer...).

Right on cue, they see a couple of guys either trashing some vending machines, or possibly assaulting somebody unseen in between the machines. A cop arrives to arrest the vandals, and he immediately gets attacked and killed.They all watch the savage killing in silence, until Tony drops something and draws the attention of the killers. The group tries to stand still and let the shadows camouflage them, but a bright spotlight comes on, and reveals them. And thus, the chase begins.

Only one of the killers decides to pursue them...the other remains behind to continue stabbing the cop with a spear. At an intersection, the frightened runners take the right-hand tunnel, which looks like it might be better lit, and hopefully lead to more people. 3 of the homeless predators show up soon after, but hesitate at the intersection as well. They eventually travel to the left.

 Back to our couple. Carl tries to force a locked gate open by kicking it, but that doesn't work. A blurry shape runs in front of them, and Carl runs after it, convinced that it's the kid that bit him. Just as he starts to relax, one of the crazy hunters leaps at him, driving 2 blades into him, and pulling them across his chest in a "V" pattern.

Michele screams and runs away, and tries to get her phone to work near some type of grating. She dials 911, but is grabbed and pulled away before she can send the call. She drops the phone right under the grate. Great.(heh, pun not intended...) Kill the 2 least annoying members of the group, and torture the audience with the remaining pathetic group.

Those other folks take a break to catch their breath, and discuss whether or not to try to go back for Michele and Carl. Excuse me, that plopping sound was my ass falling off from laughter. Then, just like Hansel, Gretel, and Goldilocks, they discover a dwelling in the middle of nowhere. Gollum probably lives there. Or Man-Thing.

Inside, numerous dogs scare them shitless, then they uncover an array of rusty weapons. The dogs alert them that someone else has arrived, and they hurry to find places to quickly conceal them. The owner of the shack looks like a mutated Charles Manson, so we'll call him MCM.

MCM looks for the frightened intruders, and even passes by Brita close enough to touch her. Right before he finds them, the other murderers return with the bodies of Michele and Carl, so MCM leaves the house to greet his kinfolk. While the guys stay hidden, Brita decides that it's the perfect time to come out of hiding, and take a stroll through the shack.

They all watch the killers play around with the bodies, then they see Carl slowly open his eyes, seconds before MCM decapitates him in gory fashion. Then they have to watch the bodies get dismembered and mutilated, and one of the crazies manages to attack Brita while she's distracted. Their struggle is heard by the other murderers, and Mikes manages to block the door before they can enter.

Tony finds a switchblade, and stabs one of the creatures in the face with it. They use the distraction to escape, although not before Joe is attacked by both dogs and human killers. But hey, he still gets away! I'm sure he's fine...

They get back to a subway tunnel, but are blocked as a subway train speeds past them. They try to scream and wave, but it's zooming by too fast for any passengers to see them. They duck through a door behind them, moments before the killers catch up to the group and try to cut through it.

The subway train passes, and everything goes eerily quiet. Then the killers stab at the door a few more times. Faced with either facing the crazy homeless hunters, or taking a creepy set of steps further down into the dark, they opt for the spooky steps. "Spooky Steps" was also my nickname at all of the school dances.

They find a sewer tunnel, and resume their hike. Then Brita sees that Joe has a  lot of blood flowing down his arm, but he tells her that he's fine. A helpful caption tells us that it's now 5:20. Wow, this is a long damn movie!

Joe whines that he should have gone straight home, like he wanted to, and Tony tells him to stop whining. During the shouting match that follows, Joe nearly blurts out that Tony is no longer the best man, but Brita shouts them all down, and the voyage resumes. If the killers wait long enough, maybe these guys will all just kill each other.

They arrive at a chain link fence and see bright lights in the distance, so Tony steps through a broken section of it. A figure shows up, so they attack the new guy, who turns out to be an elderly man clinging to a bag of old cans. After apologizing for the assault, they ask the old man how to escape back to the surface, and he replies that there is no escape. Heh, guess they should've been a little bit friendlier!

The old man then spots a small figure darting around the tracks, and Brita catches a glimpse of the figure as well. Mike figures that it's "the kid" again, but wasn't it Carl and Michele who saw the kid, after the group left them?You know what? I'm not watching this a third time to find out. Let it be.

Anyway..."the kid" and the elderly man begin to strike the tracks with blunt objects. Too late, our quartet of lunkheads realize that it's a signal to MCM and his brood to come and take away the intruders. They start at a leisurely stroll, then finally break into a run.

They try to keep their attackers confused to leaving a fake trail down a different tunnel than the one they go into, but Joe screws it all up, by leaving a nice, big bloody clue right at the entrance to their tunnel. What a dumbass.

As the tunnel reveals 2 more possible directions to take, Mike wonders how the killers keep finding them. Joe removes his coat, and shows that he is now covered in his own blood, and too weak to keep up with Brita, Tony and Mike. He tells them to run in one direction, while he leads the hunters the other way.

Joe takes off, and Brita pulls Mike into the shadows to hide while the killers go by. I assume Tony does too, but he seems to have turned invisible in this sequence. Joe actually finds enough energy to run, even though he's a bit delirious, and he barely manages to dodge one of the killers ahead of him. He somehow manages to get ahead of the one who tried to ambush him, then the screen fades to black, and the time jumps to 5:49.

Our last 3 scrappy survivors are still running, although Mike seems to be slowing down. Joe is still going too, but falls onto the tracks. He crawls until he's directly beneath a sewer grating, but his phone still refuses to work. Even when he shouts, the pedestrians right above him never hear a peep. And then our resident psychopaths show up...

As the dog starts to tear into Joe, it appears that Mike can hear him crying out.  Joe sees his child on his phone's screen, then grabs that legendary 3rd rail, frying both himself and the dog  until they're finger lickin' good! Brita, Mike and Tony see the tunnel lights flicker, and figure out what happened. To add insult to (fatal) injury, MCM finds the wedding ring, and decides to take it.

Our last 3 "heroes" finally see what looks like a an exit up ahead. They run toward it, only to realize that it's where they started. When they see the blood on the ground and finally understand that Carl and Michele are dead too, their hearts grow so heavy, that Brita and Mike crash through the floor into the area they spotted earlier through the floor. Oh, and MCM finds and chases Tony.

Tony dodges around a square column, then spots a window. Meanwhile, the homeless hunters try to find Mike and Brita, who are attempting to remain hidden by sitting still. Wait, didn't that concept already fail once? Tony makes too much noise trying to pry the hinges away from the window slats, and the killers come after him. Then Brita freaks out over a huge insect crawling around on her, and that draws the killers back to the holes in the floor. Working as a team, the killers decide that the leader will jump through the floor, while the others will corner Tony.

Tony hides in a bathroom stall as the hunters batter at the door, then they mysteriously stop. He gets unnerved, to the point that he even yells at them, but there's still nothing. Meanwhile, Brita lures MCM out into the open, where Mikes jumps onto him from the ceiling.

Tony batters his attacker(s?) with the the lid from the back of a toilet, but gets slashed from behind. Mike and Brita fare better in their brawl, especially when Brita sees their attacker drop his knife. I'm sure you won't be shocked when I tell you that she doesn't immediately grab the weapon, but instead stares at it while Mike gets his ass kicked for a few minutes.

Oh, and Tony gets slammed into a mirror, and crumples to the ground like a boneless chicken. He weakly grabs a shard on the floor, then stabs his attacker in the leg, right before he gets impaled into the wall, like a bug in a collector's display case. I don't think he's going to make it to his brother's wedding.

While that's been going on, MCM has been holding Mike in a tight bear hug, and is now lifting his head up to a hole in the ceiling to give him a deadly view of an oncoming subway car. When he drops Mike to go after Brita for some variety, Mike sees by a flashing panel on the wall that the track is about to change direction. He somehow lifts the burly killer up to the hole in the ceilingt, and MCM'S skull is crushed as the rail slices through it like an Easter ham.

As it turns out, Tony still isn't dead. He's trying to hold the blade with both hands, and his killer seems to enjoy watching him moan and squirm around. Tony shouts a warning to Mike, then is put out of his misery as his killer gives the blade a final shove that's hard enough to crack the wall tiles around Tony. Then he just leaves Tony up there.

Mike and Brita crawl back up through the ceiling, and Mike immediately thinks it's a brilliant plan to find Tony by shouting his name. Brita warns him about it, then they see a pair of figures up ahead, going somewhere and trying to be stealthy. Uh, and this new duo didn't hear the yelling a few seconds ago? Maybe they should leave the deaf homeless people alone...

Nope, they follow them. After crawling around in more dark tunnels, our not-too-smart couple are nearly frightened into an early grave by some chickens. Chickens? Yes. Mother-plucking chickens. The Dork-namic Duo emerge into the homeless version of a town square.

The homeless community finally take notice of them, and Mike asks one of them if he has a phone. Of course he doesn't but he offers to take Mike back out to the surface. That's awesome, until Mike mentions his murdered friends, and contacting the police. The stranger knocks Mike put, then everyone starts to clang their various pots, pans and other random items together, to send the signal out to the killers. Brita begs them to reconsider, then she's also knocked out cold. The clock returns, telling us that it's 6:20 in the morning.

A brief montage shows one of the killers preparing weapons, cutting at Brita's clothing, and just generally being a dangerous kook. Then Mike wakes up, and finds himself suspended upside-down from a ceiling. Brita also comes to her senses, and finds herself tied to a chair, given a haircut, and wearing the same dress that the first victim had on.

As Mike looks around, he sees the dogs in their pen, and Tony's severed head nearby. He removes his shirt, swings it over his bound legs, then swings himself up to free his legs. After removing the bindings on his legs, he stands up and grabs an ax from off the ground.

As 2 of the goons are slobbering over Brita, Mike throws a canister of fuel into a flaming barrel, and the explosion distracts the killers. The second they leave, Mike enters their dwelling, and unties Brita. Then he lingers at a window, and is somehow surprised when one of the loonies lunges through the glass to grab him. They have a duel outside, Mike kills him, and another one immediately grabs him.

As the second assailant tries to cut off Mike's head, Brita finds a pick ax. She plants it in the killer's skull, then she's stabbed from behind with a machete, and run through. The killer leaves her to die at the window, and then he and Mike have a showdown.

It doesn't start out well. Mike receives several cuts, and then the killer shoves the blade into his side. Mike almost gives up, until he sees the killer wearing the ring he had made for Claire. That motivates him to fight back, and he forces the blade out again, before head-butting his foe. With a final slash, Mikes detaches the killer's head, and leaves it attached to a wall, even as the rest of his body sits in a heap on the ground.

Mike rushes back to Brita, and tries to pick her up. She's dying, but she still asks him about Tony's welfare, and asks about his bride-to-be. Then she actually dies. The final scene shows Mike walking back to (hopefully) civilization, as "the kid" finds the head of  MCM. He picks up a spear and decides to get revenge.

Mike finally gets to an exit to the surface, and calls Claire. She answers the phone, and Mike just listens to her voice with no response. Then that homeless kid kills him. THE END

Nice, huh?

In spite of that lazy ending, the similarities between many of the killers and killing off the two nicest characters together early on, I sort of enjoyed this one. The effects were gory, the cast was decent, the setting was ominous...not too shabby. 3.5 killer trees out of 5, a dumb, but entertaining, slasher flick.

And what did I learn after Stag Night?

-Homeless murderers all look like Mick Foley.

-Some filmmakers reallllly like decapitations.

-When police officers are murdered there's probably no investigation forthcoming, so you and your group of friends should run away from any kind of escape route.

-If movie-time is reliable, then this was the quickest 3-hour movie I've ever seen!

Next up is one from the early '80's, The Silent Scream. Sounds fun!

Friday, November 2, 2012


If time travel ever becomes a possibility in my lifetime, I'm going to return to the late '80's/early '90's, to rescue several slasher franchises from doom and obscurity. So that means, if any of you have any knowledge of physics and the work of Einstein, welcome aboard! See, that would give us a shot at seeing franchises involving Dr. Giggles, Cropsey, the Cupid-masked killer, Horny the Clown, romance-despising miners, and teens brainwashed by today's baddie, Trickster. That would be like dying and going straight to Slasher Heaven!

Anyway, yes, today's movie features a villain who only ever got to scare us in 1 story, Brainscan. It's also a film that probably looked date during the theatrical run, due to the reliance on dated computers and video game gimmicks. But it might still be fun! Get ready for SPOILERS to follow....

The opening sequence cuts between a car wreck and a teenager having a nightmare. His mother was behind the wheel, and she kicked the bucket. He lived, but his leg was mangled, giving him a limp. He's getting restless as he sleeps, remembering how terrible his injury looked, then calling out to his mother.

He wakes up to the sound of the phone ringing, It's Kyle, his best bud, and he's reading about an interactive horror game called Brainscan. Oh, and our protagonist is named Michael. As Kyle reads the game description to Michael, Mikey wanders over to his bedroom window to check on the girl next door. She's putting on some makeup, then she stands up and begins to undress. Kyle yells at Michael, and it ruins the moment. Oh, and her name is Kimberly.

Michael ends the chat with Kyle, and has his PC dial up Kimberly. As she picks up the phone, he disconnects the call. Chicken! Michael cheers up by calling Brainscan, to order the game. The rep on the line is very vague about the plot, and says that the game uses your subconscious brainwaves to tailor the game just for you. Michael scoffs, and receives an electric pulse through the PC that gives him a seizure.

After that passes, the customer rep promises that the first disc will arrive very soon. Michael tries to call them again, but can't reach their office a second time. Oh well...he can wait like the rest of us.

At school the next day, Mike and Kyle are introducing an Italian horror flick to the other members of their "Horror Club", which seems to be a somewhat popular after school activity.  As their selection starts to get gory, the school principal storms into the room, and turns the video off. Oops...

In his office, the principal lectures Michael about how depraved he and his horror films are, and bans the Horror Club from school grounds. The only way he'll allow the club to reconvene, is if Michael gives him the next movie or game to preview first. Michael skulks away to go home.

Along the way, he sees a crime scene in a neighborhood somewhat close to his own. A puddle of blood makes him recall his own life-shattering car accident, until the lead detective at the scene snaps him out of it. After a few questions, the detective tells him to scram.

In the mailbox, Michael finds that Brainscan has arrived. That was fast! He boots up the game, after listening to a phone message from his dad. After putting the CD in, he tells Igor to intercept any and all phone calls. As luck would have it, Kimberly chooses that night to call him. Poor guy can't catch a break!

The game's startup screen appears, featuring an image of the game's mascot, Trickster. Trickster has bright red hair coiffed up and teased like a member of Duran Duran, fangs, and glowing neon eyes. He tells Michael to stare at the eyes while the game is calibrating, and gets angry when he cracks a joke.

As Michael settles down, Trickster tells him that the disc in his computer is the first in a series, and that each one must be completed before he gets the next one. The time limit on the first disc is 2 hours, and Trickster informs him that he needs to think like a killer to win. Sheesh, this sounds more like work than a game! And for only 2 hours of gameplay?

After all of that, Michael is prompted to click on the word "PLAY" to begin Brainscan. Duh. The monitor flickers, a countdown clock begins ticking the seconds away, then Michael's world goes spinning, like Lindsay Lohan walking a straight line. When it stops, Michael is outside, in a different neighborhood.

As Michael gets his bearings, Trickster instructs him to open the front gate of a nearby house, and then walk into the house. He has the teen grab a butcher knife from the kitchen and go to the second floor, where he finds the homeowner asleep in bed. Under the curious gaze of the man's cat, Michael waits until the guy rolls over onto his stomach, then proceeds to plunge the knife into his back several times.

With the weapon stuck between his shoulders, the man tries to crawl away, but winds up trashing his own bedroom instead. Michael is told to make sure that's he's dead, then encouraged to saw off one of the feet as a "trophy" of his first kill. The game's timer reveals that he had less than 10 minutes of game-time left to complete the task. Phew!

The next day, Michael lets Kyle in on how intense his first session was with Brainscan. Kyle asks to borrow the game, but Michael tells him that he wants to play it a few more times first. Before the conversation can turn into a disagreement, they get distracted by a squad car hurtling down the road past them.

That evening, Michael tries to boot up the disc again, but it doesn't seem to work anymore. The girl next door arrives home at that point, so Michael decides to put his libido ahead of his gamer status. Gathering up his courage, Michael  walks next door to talk to an actual, living, breathing girl. He's like the Braveheart of geek society.

Kimberly's parents act like Michael is carrying a plague or something, but let him wait for her in their living room. Her mother turns on the local news, and all 3 hear a story about a man who was murdered in a nearby house, and Michael recognizes the house from his game. Whoops! Michael panics, and quickly returns home, asking Kimberly's parents to tell her that he stopped by.

When Michael gets back home, he hears the part about the severed foot on the news. Double whoops!! Michael limps his way to the scene of the crime, where a huge crowd of gawkers has arrived. Michael sees his bike leaning in front of the garage door, but is stopped by the same detective from the other crime scene, before he can get to it.

Michael goes home again, and finds the severed foot in his fridge. He tries to call the company behind Brainscan, only to be told by an operator that the company doesn't seem to exist. They call him as soon as he hangs up. As the teen demands answers, Trickster explains that Michael did all of it himself. Then the game icon teleports himself into Michael's bedroom, building himself a body several pixels at a time.

With a flourish, Trickster formally introduces himself to Michael. He claims that Michael invited him in, perhaps hinting at a vampiric nature, or maybe that he can possess the teen, like a demon. Then he trashes Michael's collection of game and music CD's, before producing one of his own out of thin air.

After the initial nonsense, Trickster tells Michael that the murder was real, and that he did stab and dismember the victim, as Trickster watched from the sidelines. Then Trickster gives Michael his next goal in the game: to get rid of 2 witnesses. Trickster admits that he counts as a third witness, but that he could be tortured and disfigured, and would never tattle. He demonstrates his loyalty by slitting his own throat, then snapping off his fingers one by one, without batting an eyelash. Speaking of eyes, Trickster removes his own.

Michael tries to get details about the witnesses from Trickster, but is only told that the second disc has all of the information that he'll need to complete his second task. Trickster also says that only playing the entire game will provide all of the answers. Then the creature vanishes, presumably back into the game.

Michael grabs a shovel and buries the foot in the forest...or tries to, at least. A dog snaps it up and runs away, with Michael close behind. The dog gets away, but returns when Michael doesn't chase it. The teen pleads with the dog over the foot, claiming that he'll never ask for a favor ever again, in exchange for the return of the foot. This being a movie, that actually works.

As Michael prepares to bury the foot, the dog's owner shows up. Luckily, they both go away, and Michael runs in the opposite direction, Amazing how this guy can barely walk in some scenes, but manages to be a track athlete in others.

Back in his house, Michael decides to burn evidence in the fireplace. There's a knock on the front door, but it's just Kyle. Michael apparently skipped school for his little adventure, and the murder is huge news in the community. Kyle wants to come in and give Michael all of the details, but gets brushed off several times before taking the hint to go away.

Michael cranks up some heavy metal and gets into bed, but someone else rings his doorbell later that evening. It's Kim, the girl of his wet dreams! He lets HER into the house, and she reveals that she went to his teachers to get the assignments he missed that day. When Kimberly brings up his impromptu visit the other day, he claims that he was looking for some info from a class. He's then reminded that they don't have any classes together...

They both get all shy and stupid around each other, and Kim gives Michael his mail. Wait, who's stalking who in this scenario? Michael then repays her kindness by kicking her to the curb. Proving that women love a bad boy, Kim tells Michael to call her. Nice guys really do finish last. Frustrated by the way the visit ended, Michael trashes his textbooks. See that, kids? When your class doesn't have enough books, and you're forced to share with that kid with the headgear and the funky hair, now you know who to blame!

In the middle of the night, Trickster pays Michael another visit.  He admonishes the kid for not playing the second disc, until Michael confesses that he destroyed it. Giving Michael a fangy grin, Trickster conjures up an unmarked disc for him to play the game on. When Michael threatens to take the game to the police, Trickster calls his bluff. Michael gives in, and takes the disc.

Before he inserts the second disc of the game, Michael sets up a camera to record what happens during the second session. The game starts with the same tunnel thingy, then Michael finds himself still in front of his computer. The game's timer implies that he's squandered away all but the last 7 and a half minutes of gameplay.

He checks the video, and watches himself get up, mesmerized by the game, and leave the bedroom. In the freezer, Michael finds this large pendant that Kyle was always wearing, suddenly covered in blood. He calls his best friend, and his favorite cop answers the phone instead of Kyle. Michael hangs up, and has a minor hissy fit.

Kimberly drops by his house again, and looks like she was on the losing end of a brawl with her hairbrush. Michael invites her inside, and she shows him a petition Kyle had put together to save their horror club. Kimberly gives Michael a hug, and they get sad together.

On the latest news report, the detective finally gets a last name: Hayden. Then Trickster pops up behind Michael, and they argue over the definition of the word "witness", with Trickster claiming that Kyle would have gone to the authorities to report on Michael's recent bouts of erratic behavior. The doorbell rings and Michael goes off to answer it, leaving Trickster behind to channel-surf. The demonic entity settles on The 3 Stooges, and gets himself comfy.

It's Detective Hayden at the door, along with his anonymous sidekick. They tell Michael that the other kids at school thought that he was disturbed, and the detective implies that he recognized Michael's voice over the phone the night before. When they leave, both men agree that Michael's their best suspect for the killings. They also note that he was probably burning evidence in the fireplace, given that it's summer. D'oh!

In his bedroom, Michael discovers that Trickster has been busy, trashing his stuff and eating his food. They have another spat, and Trickster inexplicably conjures up the latest issue of the school newspaper, which features a front page story that Kimberly wrote, based on their visit. Trickster gives Michael the next game disc, and implies that he has 2 choices: Either play the game, or kill himself.

Trickster even starts Michael on his way by providing him with a clue: " the mud..." Michael then decides to go have a necking session with Kimberly, but she turns into the guy whose foot Michael removed. Nice.

In a funny twist, Kimberly decides to come by his house again, but it looks like he might be out. Detective Hayden's staking out the property from a distance, using a pair of binoculars. It turns out that he is home, because he hurls the school paper at her through his upstairs window. Then he cranks his music up to drown out her voice.

After Kimberly leaves, Detective Hayden quietly enters the house to investigate. He bags up some of the fireplace ashes as evidence, then he also exits, to round up a posse to hunt for the foot, and maybe more bodies. At about the same time, Michael plays the latest chapter of the game.

He finds himself outside Kyle's house, and discovers his own footprints in the garden. Michael brushes the dirt around to destroy the evidence, then realizes that a CSI guy is inside, dusting for prints. Trickster somehow calls Kyle's number(???), and tells the investigator that there's an intruder outside the house.

Michael runs away, but is spotted. A brief chase ensues, and Michael unwittingly gets himself trapped between the evidence collector and the posse of townsfolk. He dodges into some bushes, and narrowly avoids being caught by a cop with a flashlight. A sound in the bushes brings the guy back, but it's only a raccoon.

Michael tries to be more stealthy, but is ambushed by his principal. He escapes by getting a pile of bricks to topple over onto his assailant, and just manages to evade the posse by hiding in a house under construction. The nosy dog finds him again, so Michael makes a second bargain with the animal. A shootout between 2 of the posse members provides a nice distraction, and he gets to the forest.

A cop stops him, but sends him home, not realizing that he's the person they're searching for. Detective Hayden examines the victim of the shooting, and demands to know how it happened, since he strictly forbade them to carry guns. He looks around, but fails to see his prey's getaway.

Kimberly notices though, and she gets Michael's attention. He stares at her, then enters his home without a word. Trickster congratulates him for all of the mayhem that occurred, but Michael tries to ignore him. After Trickster has a somewhat amusing tantrum, he tells Michael to kill the final witness to complete the game: Kimberly.

In the morning, Michael decides to confess to Hayden, but Trickster stops him. He's given a final choice: Either he kills Kimberly, or he kills himself. Michael has Igor connect to Brainscan for the last time, and Igor bids him a sad farewell.

Michael sneaks into Kimberly's bedroom, and watches her as she sleeps. As Trickster orders him to kill her, Michael stabs the demon instead, but gets his hand wrapped up in the demonic entrails. They struggle, and begin to melt into each other, and the ruckus causes Kimberly to wake up. She sees Trickster eat Michael, then Michael reappears, but with Trickster's eyes.

Kimberly begs Michael to fight for his soul, then she drops a bombshell on him....she watches him, just as much as he watches her. She even reveals that she watches his bedroom window, and shows him dozens of pictures that she took of him. Boy, these kooks are made for each other, huh?

As they confess that they love each other, Trickster comes back. He opens the bedroom door, and Hayden marches in and shoots our would-be hero in the chest. Michael falls to the ground and dies, only to find himself back in his favorite chair, safe at home. A voice from his computer congratulates Michael for completing Brainscan, and advises him to sit and relax as he gets used to reality once more.

Michael ignores the advice, instead throwing open his window like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning. He sees a huge pool party going on at Kimberly's house, and trashes his computer and all of his games in retaliation for everything he just experienced.

Outside, Kyle can be heard banging on the door. Michael rushes outside and hugs his buddy, much to Kyle's alarm. Then he tells Michael that a story on the news claimed that some kid died playing Brainscan, and that he should avoid ordering it. Wow, talk about too little, too late!

Michael decides to ask Kimberly out in the real world, but her friend Stacie tells Michael that she's inside with her boyfriend. As Michael heads inside, Kyle flirts with Stacie. Awww, everyone gets a happy ending!

Michael finds his crush-next-door, and asks her on a date. Kimberly starts to say no, but it turns into a definite maybe, which makes Michael go all soft. Then she further messes with his head by kissing him. Before he leaves her room, Michael sees that she really was photographing him from her bedroom window! Okay, why is the movie messing with our heads right before the ending?

At school, Michael gives the principal his copy of Brainscan. As the teen leaves the office, he glances back, only to see Trickster appear behind the principal's desk. They grin at each other, then Trickster glares at his next "victim" as the door shuts. THE END?

Nope, not quite. Trickster interrupts the credits to show one last scene...That pesky dog shows up at Michael's house again, and he's holding the severed foot in his mouth. The foot that only existed in the game. He drops it in front of the house, and the movie ends for real. Yeah.

Well, the ending kind of ruins it, but the premise was a fun one. I could have definitely seen this as a franchise, with Trickster's appearance and the game's story changing from player to player. Maybe they can do a remake, and change the dumb ending as well. 3.5 out of 5, with points lost for the ending and the outdated technology in the film.

And what did I learn from Brainscan?

-Life-altering injuries can be switched on and off like a light bulb.

-Voyeurism is innocent and cute.

-Dogs are dirty, rotten snitches!

Barring any further hurricanes or computer glitches, my next movie is either Stag Night or The Silent Scream. I really need to catch up!