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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dark Floors

Well, now that we've all survived Thanksgiving(barely...I feel like I might burst at any second!), let's finish the week with some leftover turkey. But which one? If you recall, Netflix sent me 2 scary movies, one about a group of people in a haunted hospital(Dark Floors), and the other about some partying kids being killed by a pinata(Pinata: Survival Island).

Well, after flipping a coin and getting my meenie's eenied, I went with Dark Floors. I figured I needed some distance between Doll Graveyard and my next "inanimate object kills people" movie(heh, next week...), so that left a clear winner in the battle for my attention. So, put down your utensils, skip the last piece of pumpkin pie, and let's get this turkey SPOILED!

Okay, opening credits: somebody's drawing all over my screen, with a red crayon. Apparently, some kind of hard-rockin' band named Lordi made this film. And I think they're Swedish or something, because the names of the film's crew all look like they're hard to pronounce.

Anyway, the first scene is of a young girl in an MRI machine. She looks scared, and she's mumbling "not again" over and over. From an observation room, we see the girl's father, a nurse and a doctor watching her brain activity on some monitors. Her father asks if the test is hurting her, but the doctor assures him that the machine doesn't inflict pain.

The girl seems to fall asleep, then she regains consciousness with a sudden jolt. As she starts to scream and demand a red crayon, the MRI has a power surge. The lights flicker, then the machine starts to smoke. Boy, this would be fun to watch if you had surgery the next day, huh?

So now we finally learn a few names. The young girl is Sarah, and her father is Ben. The nurse is Emily, and the doctor doesn't get a name. That either means he's the first to die, or he gets to live. Eh.

Ben rescues Sarah from the equipment before she gets burned, then plops her into a wheelchair. He gives her the red crayon, then threatens to take his daughter to a different hospital. Maybe one where crap doesn't explode at random intervals? Doctor Anonymous and Emily try to calm him down, and we find out that Sarah is autistic. They've been studying her case for quite some time, but have never come to any definitive conclusions.

As Ben tucks Sarah back into her hospital bed, a storm rages outside. Sarah still seems agitated, and ske keeps saying, "not again", even after her father backs away. At some point during the night, Ben wakes her up, after deciding to take his daughter to a different hospital.

They get as far as the elevator, then Sarah starts to ramble about her crayons again. The noise gets the attention of the staff, and Nurse Emily asks Ben to reconsider moving his daughter. As Ben backs the wheelchair into the elevator, Sarah grabs the wall.

Emily gets on the elevator with them, as well as a businessman on a phone, a security guard, and an elderly man who looks homeless. The elevator descends toward the lobby, then grinds to a halt after the seventh floor. As the lights go out again, one of the characters mutters, "Not 6, not 7. Not Hell, and not Heaven." Oooh, symbolism!

The homeless man, Tobias, looks like he passed out, so the security guy tries to revive him. When that doesn't work, Emily steps in to assess his condition. She advises them to call for further assistance, but no one has a working phone anymore.

The security guy, Rick, tries the emergency call button in the elevator. No response from that, either. Eventually it works, but all he hears is his own voice. While that's going on, Emily tries to save Tobias with CPR. When he finally starts to breath again, the power also seems to come back on. Tobias stands up, then demands to know why they didn't let him die.

The elevator doors finally open up, but the corridor is empty. No nurses, no janitorial staff, the place is like a museum. Even the patients have deserted the area. Rick suggests that there might have been a fire drill or something, so they wander off to find the nearest stairwell. As the walk away, Sarah eyes a suspicious shadow lurking behind an office door. Hmmm...

At an intersection in the hallway, Ben stops the group to listen to something. It's a machine, and it's in a room right next to them. Rick opens the door, and they discover that a copy machine was left on. Emily examines a few of the images that came through, revealing a screaming mouth.

Emily tells Ben that it's almost time to give his daughter a dose of some new medication they've been testing. It helps control seizures, but is still very experimental. Then they all hear another mysterious sound.

It's a woman in a wheelchair, and she's stuck in a corner. The sound was caused by her repeatedly whacking the chair into the wall. Rick offers to help her, but a closer inspection reveals that she's dead. Oh, and it looks like her eyes were torn out of their sockets.

Tobias starts to flip out, so they cover the corpse's face. Then Rick tries a nearby intercom, but hears only his own message coming back to him. Technology and this hospital don't seem to get along...Oh, and as they continue the search for a way out, we see that Sarah was drawing the face of the eyeless woman. Nice touch.

They manage to find the emergency stairs, but that whole area seems to be covered in mold and fungus. They begin their descent to the ground floor, with Ben carrying his daughter, and Rick lugging around the wheelchair. Great, I guess I have time to grow a beard...

A noise from one of the levels beneath them brings the procession, and the movie to a grinding halt. As they glance over the railing, a gun goes off. No one is killed, but Rick gets nicked around his jawline. It's just my luck to pick a movie with no body count.

They all scurry out of the stairwell at the fifth floor, and hide in the nearest open room. After making sure that the door can't be opened by their attacker, Rick has his small wound examined by Emily. As they all make an effort to calm down, heavy thudding sounds are heard moving toward their location. Everybody stares at the blocked door, with the exception of Sarah. She's glancing nervously at a pair of double-doors at the far end of the room.

As they all debate whether or not they should try the stairs again, Tobias watches Sarah wheel herself quietly over to the other exit. They all decide to follow her. Sure, why not?

They come to a security station, where Rick turns on a series of monitors. They realize, as each monitor powers up, that the entire hospital is empty, as if the building has been abandoned. The phones are still dead, yet the lights and intercom system work just fine.

Speaking of the intercom, Jon(the irritable businessman) decides to use it. He call for help from anyone who can hear the message, then gives out their location. Yeah, someone just tried to shoot you, so you should tell them exactly where you are. Jon's a brilliant strategist.

The other pretty much tell him the same thing, and Sarah looks over at another set of doors. Then the nurse sees something on one of the screens: a couple walking around on the third floor. When they walk offscreen, the monitor fritzes out. Actually, they all do.

Sarah wheels herself to a point directly in front of the doorway she was watching, and the doors seem to open under the power of her gaze. The others discuss their next move, and seem to disagree about just what that should be. Emily thinks that the priority should be to figure out where everyone else went, while Rick just wants to keep heading to the exit. Uh, why can't y'all do both?

They notice that Sarah's gone again, and conduct a search. C'mon, she's an autistic child confined to a wheelchair....tie a freakin' bell to her, if you have this much trouble! Before they leave the security station, Ben grabs a pair of walkie-talkies to bring along. Tobias wordlessly points him to the door she passed through.

Sarah's chair is in the middle of the hallway, and she looks like she might be sleeping. As Ben moves closer, he sees a ghastly female phantom reflected in the window of another door, but she swiftly vanishes again. He rescues Sarah, then rejoins the group.

Emily knows that Ben was spooked by something, but he won't talk about the apparition. Then a television and a portable radio both turn on at the same time, and 2 messages are heard: "There's no time like the present" and "...and it's gonna get colder and colder". As they ponder what it all means, Jon's phone rings.

He answers it, but it's just a recorded "out of service" message. The same thing happens to Emily and Ben when their phones go off. Sarah stops drawing to cover her ears, and Tobias decides to follow suit. As nutty as he is, he seems to be the smartest adult in the film.

There's a high-pitched whistle, and the glass in the television begins to crack, as do some of the windows. That female ghost appears again, and she's got the forehead of a Klingon. Rick fires a gun at her, shattering the glass, but leaving the spirit unaffected.

She grins, then emits a sonic shriek, which breaks even more glass around them. They flee down the hall, seeking refuge in the stairwell again. As they relax, the spirit finds them again, leading to a silly, slo-mo chase back into the hall. How is it possible that so many of these things devolve into ridiculous Scooby-Doo episodes?

The banshee swoops closer, raising her hands like talons, and someone accidentally backs into a control panel. An X-ray turns on, and the radiation it emits causes the spirit to disappear. See? Something in that hospital DID work!

Tobias is confronted by Ben, who wants to know how he predicted that the sound would happen before it did. Tobias turns the accusation back on him, wondering if stuff like this has happened in their family before that day. Jon, always the helpful one, thinks that it's just kind of hallucination, possibly brought on by a gas leak.

As the others scoff at him, Jon decides that he's better off on his own. He leaves the group to find his own escape route, and Emily says that they should do the same. The Amazing Race: Hallway Edition begins!

Jon tries to find a signal on his phone, then strolls down a corridor. He comes to an elevator and finds, to his amazement, that it sounds like it might be operational. He senses a presence behind him, but no one seems to be there.

The elevator arrives, and he steps inside. At the very last second, he sees that his watch has stopped, and senses that he's walked into a trap. He manages to stop the doors a second before they shut, and he screams for help.

The rest of the group hear him, and rush over to see what they can do. As they all work together to try and force the doors to slide apart, something appears to be lunging at Jon from underneath the elevator. Jon gets knocked off of his feet, then a pair of large claws tear through the elevator floor.

Rick grabs a fire extinguisher, intending to batter the doors until they open wider, but he manages to knock out Jon instead. Awesome. A demon clad in armor starts to climb up into the elevator, and Rick bashes it in the head until it lowers itself back into the shaft.

Tobias, who has remained back in the previous area with Emily and Sarah, somehow stole Rick's gun when he wasn't looking. He plans to kill himself with it, and Emily can't seem to talk him down. Suddenly Sarah speaks, promising Tobias that he will get to sleep when the ordeal ends, and he allows Emily to take the weapon from him. He rambles about how cold he's getting, and Emily just stands between the both of them,looking perplexed. Join the club, babe!

Rick and Ben pull Jon's slumped-over body out of the elevator, but then the scaly monster comes back. It clenches Jon's ankle in its enormous mouth, and the struggle to free him causes some of the elevator cables to snap. They pull Jon to safety as the creature plummets down the elevator shaft.

Emily bandages the wound when they all reunite, then Ben notices that Sarah's latest drawing looks like the monster they just encountered. He attempt to ask her about it, but she gets fixated on wanting the red crayon again.

Jon antagonizes Ben, and they nearly have a brawl right there. Noise from the intercom interrupts the altercation, and everybody gets excited. Help might be on the way! They go out to the corridor to hear it better, then Emily attempts to make contact with the intercom.

A woman replies, and they hear her say that she's on the third floor. Then the voice warns them that "it" is coming, and the transmission cuts off. They figure that they had better make their way down to that person's location.

They get to the next floor, but find a wall where the door should be. They bash the wall until a large hole is made, but it's been bricked over on the other side. Well, so much for the third floor rescue attempt!

They arrive at the third floor, where Emily finds the body of a doctor named Walter. He's clutching a tape recorder in one hand, and they play a message that advises them to surrender Sarah to the creatures. Ben refuses, so the journey continues.

They find a corridor filled with corpses, and the armored beast comes lunging at them through a doorway. They try to escape, but it chases them. Rick fires his gun at the monster, telling the others to escape. He runs out of bullets, and the others hear him getting killed. Then, everything goes eerily calm again.

Jon pisses off Ben when he asks him to sacrifice Sarah to save the rest of them, and another near-fight begins. Then they see the world outside of the closest window. everything appears to be frozen in time, as is evidenced by a flash of lightning that is just hanging out of the sky. Even the rain is stuck in mid-air. That seems...odd...

The intercom distracts them yet again, so Emily answers it. A voice asks her what floor she's on, and they all realize that it's the very same conversation they had earlier, only from the other end. Emily was answering herself, and never realized it.

As a group, they try to come up with a reasonable explanation for everything that has happened so far. The top ideas are either that timed has stopped, or they've somehow slipped into another dimension. Neither of those concepts explain anything, however. Good job!

Emily and Ben return to the brick wall with a sledgehammer, to see if they can make an exit. Oh, and they find a gun on a body covered in sand. They leave Sarah with Jon, and warn him not to harm Sarah. Yeah, he's really good at following orders. Anyone remember how well he did when he took orders in the movie Aliens? (I checked...he was in that one, and he was pretty inept.)

Ben gets to work on that wall, and Emily reveals that she's also a single parent. Then they have a trippy moment, when they nearly come face-to-face with themselves at the stairwell. It turns out that Ben was the one who shot at Jon earlier. Weird, man.

Jon breaks his promise, of course, and prepares to surrender the autistic girl to the demons. Then Ben breaks through that brick wall, and he and Emily explore the new corridor. A noise leads to the discovery of some more corpses.

Jon loudly announces that he's brought Sarah to be sacrificed, and tries to draw them out into the open. Someone plunges a knife through his back, and we see that it's Tobias, attempting to rescue Sarah. Ben and Emily hear some of it on their end of the transmission, then we see Jon giving Tobias the thrashing of his life.

Sarah draws another image, one that predicts Jon's death. The lights flicker, then Jon is bombarded by a hurricane-like wind, and a large mass of sand and dirt. When it stops, a mummy-like skeleton grabs Jon under his chin with one hand, using the other to rip out his still-beating heart.

Ben thrusts a stretcher at the monster, and it crashes into a wall. He checks to see that Sarah's okay, then he and Emily examine Tobias. Not only has he died, but he's well into a state of decay, appearing to have been dead for a few weeks. Not only that, but they find another mound of bodies on their way down to the second floor.

Ben asks Sarah to draw the exit for him, but she doesn't seem able to do that. As they stop to look for Sarah's medication, Emily remembers that there's a shortcut to the exit in the morgue. They celebrate, but then realize that Sarah is missing for the umpteenth time.

They split up to look for her, and Emily is forced to hide when one of the creatures arrives at her location. Unfortunately, Ben tries to make contact with Emily via the walkie, and the monster hears it. When the creature seems distracted by something else, Emily risks standing up, and attempts to escape.

No, wait a sec, she has another idea first...picking up a pair of defibrillator paddles, Emily sneaks up behind the monster. When it(he?) turns around, Emily places the paddles on each side of the creature's head, electrocuting it. Not wanting to stick around to see if she killed it, Emily runs out of the room.

Ben comes looking for her, and rushes through another pair of swinging doors. There's a flash of white light, and he discovers himself back in a very normal-looking area of the hospital again. It's filled with people and light, but no one seems to be able to see or hear him as he asks for help.

When he tries to tap a woman in a lab coat on the shoulder, his hand passes right through her. Is he a ghost, or is she? He leaves to look through a different corridor, and Emily contacts him. Neither none of them has found Sarah yet.

Ben stops outside of door 235, and Emily claims to be standing in front of the very same door. But where his location is brightly illuminated, hers is dark and abandoned. Emily references a poster of a teddy bear to clarify that it's the same door, and Ben sees it too...but it's very ragged and faded in her reality, while Ben sees it while it's clean and new.

Ben walks through another set of doors, and finds himself back in the decrepit hallway again. A fluorescent light flickers, and Ben sees his daughter at the opposite end of the hall. Then the very meager light goes completely out, and a tall demon shows up, something that resembles a typical zombie.

The monster growls like a tiger, and decides to beat the living crap out of Ben. While he's being tossed like a salad, Tobias suddenly pops up again. He sneaks up behind the zombie for a quick attack, but it anticipates his move, spinning around to gut him. As Ben turns to get his daughter, Tobias whispers that he's going the wrong way.

Sarah's trying to get away again, and she tells her father that she's trying to stop what's happening. Before he can clarify what she means, Emily returns. Oh, and the biggest demon so far also shows up, looming over all of them. Emily and Ben carefully back  Sarah's chair away from this new monster, and they enter the elevator. The demon strides toward them, soon breaking into a full run. Just as he reaches the elevator, the door slam shut.

They watch the various floors light up, and the light on "1" flickers as they reach the first floor. When the doors refuse to open, Ben tries to jam his finger several times on the button. The elevator starts to move yet again, stopping at a floor designated as "-1". It appears to be the hospital basement.

Sarah covers her ears again, and the ghostly woman pops up again. She screams at Emily, who now also has her ears covered. Then she and Sarah look at each other, and the ghost dissolves.

They proceed down the dark and shadowy hallway, and dead bodies chase them into another area, where the parking garage is located. As they look for a better escape route, Emily is cut off from Ben and Sarah by a door that slams shut between them. They try to get the door open, but then something on Emily's side grabs her.

Sarah warns her father that something is coming, so he gets her into an ambulance. They drive away, but there appears to be no exit. Ben crashes the ambulance into a row of cars, and has trouble getting it re-started. Then the largest demon shows up, complete with big, leathery wings and a bushy beard. They get away, but just barely in the nick of time.

Sarah starts to mutter "what happens will happen", while Ben drives around looking for any kind of exit. Ben decides to pull over, and he gently puts Sarah on the ground with a blanket. He promises that somebody will co,me along to rescue her, then he drives off to face the winged demon.

They see each other, and Ben slams his foot down on the gas pedal. Seconds before he strikes the demon, a white light flashes in front of him. He shields his eyes, then stops the ambulance.

It's Sarah. He walks over to her, and then realizes that he was being lured out of the safety of the vehicle. A black, writhing ooze crawls up his body, and he disintegrates. Then Sarah faces down the winged demon, and demands to go home. He snarls at her, and they seem to engage in a weird sort of debate. Sarah tells him that light can't live in darkness, then she closes her eyes.

We see the lobby of the hospital, as well as the elevator shaft, and several corridors. All are still empty. Then, after another flash of brilliant white light, Sarah finds herself back in the MRI machine. She screams and struggles, and Ben carries her out of the room.

Back in her chair, she lets her father hand her a blue crayon. Then they make their way to the lobby, where Sarah sees Tobias again. He leans over, smiles, then tells Sarah that he's not cold anymore. She drops the blue crayon, and it breaks, so Ben and Emily lean over to help her. THE END...?

Man, I  don't know WHAT I just watched. It ultimately wasn't a slasher, even though there were many, many dead bodies. But I'm still not even sure what happened. Were they all dead? Was the hospital even real? Who were the piles of corpses, and why did the demons get overpowered by Sarah? Weird. 3.5 out of 5, because it was pretty great as a visual experience, if nothing else.

And what did I learn after seeing Dark Floors?

-MRI machines are deadly.

-Ghosts are powerless against X-rays.

-Hospitals leaves their dead patients in piles, for anybody to just come across.

Next up: the less grim-sounding Pinata: Survival Island. Happy late Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Doll Graveyard

Back in the late 80's/early 90's, there was this production studio called Full Moon. Their movies were almost always cheesy, often terrible, but also quite fun. The vast majority of the movies tended to feature dolls and toys that were evil, such as the Puppet Master films, or Demonic Toys. Today's entry, Doll Graveyard is one of the newer efforts, having been released in 2005. Is it any good? Let's prepare to be SPOILED, and find out...

The opening scene takes place in 1911 in Los Angeles, where we see a young, lonely child named Sophia. She playing with a group of dolls that represent various ethnic stereotypes, including a savage named Ooga Booga, and an Asian warrior named Samurai. Nice. Piss off most of the audience with offensive crap right at the top of your movie.

So, cute little white supremacist Sophia is so preoccupied with pretending to commit genocide, that she fails to realize how close she is to other objects in the room. She bumps into an end table, sending a vase crashing to the floor. That gets Sophia pretty worked up.'s not like your dad's going to see the mess, force you to bury your dolls in a mass grave, then add you to the pile, because you have an accident that snaps your neck! What's the worst thing that could possibly happen?

Oh. Um...oops?

Yup, Daddy comes downstairs, and starts out by calling his daughter names, then threatening to whip her. As Sophia tearfully apologizes, he forces her to gather up the dolls, then follow him into the yard. They dig a deep grave, then Sophia says a special farewell to each doll.  All while her father chews the scenery and berates her for having feelings.

As she starts to climb out of the ditch, her feet slip, and she falls into the hole, dying on impact. Dear ol' Dad quickly decides to cover up the  grave, then go find someone else's life to ruin. Best part of this whole scene, is how he doesn't hesitate for even a second to bury her like that. I hope the screenwriter never had kids.

Ah well...after that nonsense and the opening credits that look like something you'd see on a silly late-night horror show, the main story kicks in. Now it's 2005, and the place is being occupied by a single dad and his two teens. The father's Lester, the older sibling is DeeDee, and our protagonist is Guy. After Guy irritates DeeDee, she asks for permission to go out with some friends. Lester(who looks an awful lot like Sophia's father...) needs her to babysit Guy, because Lester's got a date. Yay.

Aha! Lester IS a direct descendant, because he also has the pocket watch that Sophia's father carried. See? Me AM has brains! And gud speler, tu! The scene ends with Lester staring off into space, possibly trying to figure out a way to get both of his kids to dig a pair of ditches in the yard, then throw themselves in.

The next scene has this distracting song that sounds like the intro to Sympathy For The Devil...but it isn't. Mick Jagger should sue. Guy leaves the house, walks about 40 miles, then finds a pile of tree branches blocking his path. We get to have the honor of watching him move the branches and do yard work.

While raking, he stumbles upon a bunch of items that once belonged to Cyril, Sophie's father. He puts aside a liquor bottle and a letter opener, then he uncovers the DOLL GRAVEYARD!!!!!!!! Which really should have been named Doll Hole, seeing as there's only a single grave, but whatever. Maybe there was already a porno with that title.

Using a paintbrush with fine bristles, Guy meticulously cleans up the various dolls when he gets them to his room. DeeDee bursts through the door, nearly having a bird when she spots the grotesque dolls. She tries to terrorize her brother with blackmail to get him to do all of the chores in the house, but he calmly blackmails her as well. Isn't it great when families show how much they love one another?

Lester seems mesmerized by his antique watch, until his daughter snaps him out of it. As soon as he leaves to go on his date, DeeDee whips out her phone, and gleefully tells her best friend to gather up some guys and head over to her house for an impromptu party. She figures that Guy will most likely just stay in his room, giving her and her friends a wide berth.

Guy finishes cleaning up Samurai, then puts the doll on a special shelf in his room. When Guy turns his back, we see Samurai blink, and his doll eyes become human eyes. Guy's not very observant, is he?

DeeDee answers the front door, and greets 2 friends, Terri and Olivia. They have food and drinks with them, but no guys. This could get kinky! *leans forward*

Guy walks into the kitchen, reminding DeeDee that their father never gave her permission to have friends over. When Olivia insults him, Guy asks her if she know what the difference is between her and the Eiffel Tower. The answer? Guy doesn't know any guys who've been on top of the Eiffel Tower. Heh, score one for the geek!

As they exit the kitchen, Terri lingers behind to speak to Guy for a moment. It turns out that she's a bit of a geek too, and she flirts with him, before giving him a quick peck on the cheek. He promises her that he'll keep their visit a secret from Lester.

Back in DeeDee's room, the girls light candles and get drunk.  Guy just sits on his bed, pawing through an old porn mag. Then he picks up Samurai again, telling the doll that he thinks Terri is hot. He hears a voice whispering out in the hallway, and decides to see who it might be.

It's Rich and Tom, a pair of jocks that DeeDee invited over for her little shindig. They assault Guy, carrying him into his room, where they threaten him with bodily harm, break some of his action figures, then tie him up. After they leave, Guy hears another voice whispering something, and he can see that the dolls are no longer on their shelf.

As a typical thunderstorm kicks in, Ooga Booga, a Nazi-looking soldier, and a deformed Baby Doll are all summoned forth by Samurai. Inside, the partying teens get drunk and stoned, although Terri abstains. She also doesn't feel very comfortable once the jocks enter the room. Olivia tries to hook up with Tom after Terri rejects him, but he makes a joke similar to Guy's earlier remark, so I guess she's going home alone tonight. Unless Rich wants her, but he's busy grabbing beer in the kitchen at the moment.

Guy hears the voice a little clearer, and it is Sophie. She promises that the dolls are there to "help" him, and he sees that they are now lined up and ready to begin their attack on the party. Anyone else think that this one is moving a bit fast? I mean, we barely know all of their names, so now they're going to die?

The party itself is in full swing, which means that it's boring as Hell. Olivia gets jealous after seeing DeeDee and Tom going at it, and she suggests a possible 3-way with Rich and Terri. Terri wants no part of that action! Then DeeDee and Tom get up, prepared to get more intimate in a private setting.

Rich scares Terri in the kitchen, and quickly apologizes. He offers to help her clean up the kitchen. Hey, maybe he's actually a nicer guy than his buddy. But I doubt it...

Olivia changes the music that's on, then light a joint. Meanwhile, DeeDee and Tom are getting ready to screw like bunnies, but not before DeeDee cuffs his hands behind his back. She steps over to her closet, then orders him to close his eyes.

True to his word, Rich helps Terri to clean up the kitchen. Then he ruins the image by moving in for a kiss. She pushes him away, then exits the kitchen.

DeeDee promises Tom a surprise, then the kaiser doll pops up on the bed. It engages Tom in a staring contest for a few seconds, then uses the sharp point on its helmet to destroy his crotch. DeeDee knocks the doll off of the bed, then sees that Tom is drenched in blood.

Then we head back to Olivia. Um, okay. We were right in the MIDDLE of a scene, but let's jump around at random. That makes sense. So, screw DeeDee...what's up, Olivia?

Turns out that the answer is "not much". She's dancing to the music by herself. Oh, and one of the dolls sneaks in to have a peek. But we don't even get to see which one it is. Lame...

DeeDee watches Tom die from blood loss, then backs away from the bed. Still not content to let a scene finish at a logical place, the movie shows us Rich getting drunk by himself. Olivia struts into the room, sitting on his lap. Gee, I wonder what message she's trying to convey with her subtle signals?

Removing her shirt, Olivia asks Rich why he's not with Terri. When he reveals that she rejected him, Olivia rejects him as well, then leaves him drunk and confused. I get the impression that many, many things leave this guy in a constant state of confusion.

Olivia puts her shirt back on, then shuts off the music. Shouting for her friends, she gets worried when no one responds. Then she just meanders back to the hallway. This movie has all the energy of a coma victim.

DeeDee sees the kaiser doll watching her, so she screams for assistance. Olivia rushes in, sees Tom's body, then spots the killer doll. The tiny Nazi raises a teeny-weeny gun and tries to shoot at the girls, who flee out of the room.

They hurry downstairs, where Olivia grabs her purse. While she looks through it for her phone, DeeDee discovers Rich passed out on the kitchen table. She manages to revive him, then she goes off in search of Guy and Terri.

Terri finds Guy, who has been in and out of consciousness, and she gets him untied in a jiffy.Guy finds out that she wasn't enjoying her time with the others, but she seems kind of interested in him. Like, "To Catch A Predator"-level of interest. Weird, man.

When Terri sees what Rich did to the collectible action figure, Guy suddenly notices that Samurai is missing. He tells her how he found it in the yard, then he blacks out again as Sophia whispers in his head. Terri eventually snaps him out of it, but they're both frightened by the incident.

DeeDee and Olivia tear apart the living room looking for the cell phone, then it starts to ring. They locate it across the room in a chair...being held by the Baby doll. Baby turns to stare at them, then bites Olivia on the hand as she reaches over to take her phone back.

DeeDee screams at the caller to come rescue them, and Terri hears all of the commotion from Guy's room. When she suggests that they go see what happened, she finds Guy in a trance again, speaking as Sophia. Terri shakes him out of it again, then she nearly gets ambushed by Samurai. Guy picks him up to  examine the doll closer, and he and Terri both conclude that the dolls must be alive, possessed by some kind of evil entity that can speak to Guy as well. The doll keeps his opinion to himself.

Rich, determined to be useless, is still drinking. He briefly considers screwing a melon with a hole in it, but changes his mind. Thank God. He bends down to pick of some litter, then comes face-to-face with Ooga Booga when he sits up again. When he leans closer to talk to the native doll and offer it a beer and some snacks, Ooga Booga plucks out one of his eyes with the tiny spear it wields. then it slashes his throat and watches him die.

Olivia and DeeDee are afraid to leave the room, fearing that it will open them up to another doll attack. DeeDee then finds Rich, and Olivia gets injured in another quick skirmish. Believe it or not, but the running time for this one is less than 90 minutes. How did they manage to make it feel endless?

As Guy and Terri try to leave his room, Guy falls down against the stairs. As Sophia, he tells Terri that the dolls are seeking vengeance for her demise. Then Samurai slashes at Terri's ankle, until Guy snaps out of his possession and orders the doll to stop.

As DeeDee and Olivia decide to call 911, Nazi doll reappears. He fires his gun at them, and they duck behind a sofa, screaming like ninnies. DeeDee waits for him to pause between shots, then knocks him over with a pillow. As they try to back away, Terri and Guy run into the room. They briefly discuss what's happened so far, and start to make a run for the door.

Olivia insists that she needs her purse, and runs back to retrieve it. She reaches for her phone on the floor, and the Baby removes another chunk out of her face with those crazy teeth. Luckily, DeeDee comes to the rescue, but now they're trapped by Baby.

DeeDee prepares herself to attack the doll, but Guy, possessed again by Sophia, stops her. After a brief struggle, they realize that Ooga Booga has entered the room as well. Terri asks Guy to call off the dolls, but Sophia's in control of him now, and she sees the teens as a threat to her precious toys.

After Guy stomps away, the Nazi doll also suddenly pops up. Surrounded by all of the killer dolls, the girls realize that they might never leave. Terri gets away to check on Guy, who collapses again. Then Lester returns from his date.

Except that he's no longer Lester. He's now also possessed by Cyril, and they have a bitter reunion right then and there. As Lester/Cyril threatens to whip Guy/Sophia to death, Samurai stabs Dad in the ankle. A second hit makes him fall to the floor, and the killer dolls all move in to kill Lester/Cyril.

Terri tries to appeal to Guy for mercy, but Sophia won't let him go yet. When Lester manages to fight his own possession though, it causes Sophia to momentarily lose her focus. Guy orders the dolls to cease their attack, and he and the others re-bury them in the yard. As Guy backs away from the grave, a flash of lightning reveals that he has now become Sophia entirely. THE END...?

Ugh. I can remember back when these Full Moon movies were fun and creative, but this was horrible. I swear, this guy just recycles the same concepts and designs over and over again, and honestly thinks that the audience won't notice. And 80 minutes? Really? I sit through this crappy movie, and it's barely even a movie at all! 1 out of 5 killer trees. And here comes the hard part...

And what did I learn from Doll Graveyard?

-Possession can run in the family.

-Kids love racist toys!

-Nice girls like to rob the cradle.

My next SAW entry should be either Dark Floors or Pinata: Survival Island. We'll see what comes in first. As long as neither one features killer dolls, I think we're good. Yeesh.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jack the Reaper

Man, I must have the world's worst karma....I had a billing issue with Netflix, almost ended up canceling the account, couldn't find a good(bad?) slasher on ComCast, tried YouTube for a few hours...and I'm back at Netflix. Crazy, right?

Anyway, I was hoping to watch a free movie on cable, but the one I wanted cost 4 bucks. On a channel I already subscribe to! Luckily, after I re-jiggered Netflix a bit, the very same film turned out to be available as a streaming movie, so I win either way. Which is my circuitous way of saying that today's SAW is Jack the Reaper. Yup, it's "Reaper", as opposed to "Ripper". I can already tell it's going to suck like a's taken me more effort to set it up than it probably took to MAKE the damned film. Fun, not-exasperated-at-all SPOILERS up ahead!

Yeesh, the opening credits for the production logo are already making me regret this choice. It's "A MAD CRAPPER PRODUCTION", complete with a crudely drawn jogger taking, yes, a crap. Seriously, why do I torture myself like this? Why couldn't I have been a raving fan of 4-star period dramas, or intricate political thrillers? Mad Crapper. They're gonna put that on my tombstone.

Anyway, 3 paragraphs in, and I haven't made it past the first production credit. A woman begins a speech, explaining that she and others like her are "harvesters", and that they control time and fate over humanity. Then she tells us that her name is Violet, and that the  other harvesters call her "the great mother". Sure, whatever, just do something interesting!

Now we see a car accident. A guy climbs out of the car(which is tipped sideways), crawls away, and starts to shout over to his passenger, named Emma. A man steps into view, and the sailor asks him to see if his wife is okay. The anonymous stranger flips the wife's body over with a large pickaxe, pulls her upright by her hair, then drags the corpse away. The sailor, dumbfounded, screams at him. Then the stranger returns, flips the sailor over onto his back, and stabs him with the weapon.

Then we see a title card, and a caption telling us that we're in the "present day" of the film. We're probably seeing a world in which a Mad Crapper makes logical sense. A bus for Charon High School nearly hits the camera. Ooooh, Charon...that movie is so deep and meaningful with the symbolism.

A guy with a clipboard approaches The Bus of The Living Damned, then we meet our pile of future dead bodies. There's Sommer, a ditzy, boy-crazy girl who's hung up on a jock named Steven; Maya, her hearing-impaired cousin; Steven, the aforementioned jock with the usual smug attitude; Harold, a chubby outsider with a domineering grandmother; an albino slacker named Brian; Andre, Steven's best friend; Jesse, a sullen girl with a creepy father; Trudy, an Asian girl who'd rather lounge in bed all day; Tyler, a scruffy-looking punk with a sense of humor; and Shawn, Steven's supposed-to-be-a-twin brother(who just found out that his girlfriend's pregnant...). That's quite a hefty cast, and there's still the bus driver and Mr. Smith, the teacher.

The journey finally begins! Mr. Smith begins by telling us that the reason they're all together is due to a class assignment that none of them turned in, something about the industrial revolution. As punishment, they have to waste a Saturday morning by visiting a railway museum, then writing a report about the experience.

Steven starts out on the wrong foot almost immediately, by coming on strong to Maya. Maya clearly insults his, um, "size", but Sommer leaves that part out when doing the translation. Still, Steven seems pretty thick, to not get that by watching what she was doing with her hands. I don't speak sign language, but it was incredibly obvious to me!

Shawn pulls a guitar out, and starts to just strum it at random. Then he spots a crudely made sign by the road that says DEATH'S DOOR. Wow, more symbolism. Groovy. And way subtle. Steven tries to ask his brother what's wrong, but he doesn't get much of a response.

At a railroad crossing(ooooooh!!!!), Jesse spots the guy with the pickaxe. Further up the road, she sees him again. Tyler also peers out the window, but he sees nothing out of the ordinary. Jesse takes another look, but the killer has vanished.

The bus arrives at the museum, then Violet the Harvester decides to start yammering again. She confesses that she and her kind crave human souls, and what's a better place to eat someone's soul than a railway museum? Violet the Harvester explains that she is able to find the right souls with the help of an Ambassador, a human host who can identify the victims for her. Then I assume she kills her victims with deadly boring narration...

...and that's when Candyman shows up. Yeah, Tony Todd arrives on the scene, playing a museum curator named Mr. Steele. He grabs Harold by the head, then begins by telling the kids as many death-related railroad facts as he can recall. So really, he's just Bludworth from the Final Destination films, except in a train museum. Heck, why didn't they just call this Final Destination: The Little Engine That Killed? (Okay, seriously, somebody write that one down.)

Steele makes a threat that the class might not get home in one piece, then Tony Todd leaves the movie to go class up another movie with his presence. It's as if you can hear the film deflating as he exits. Then we see Shawn staring at a creepy guy in an old photograph portraying various railroad workers. A little girl points at the man, telling Shawn that she saw him standing by the road, just like Jesse reported earlier.

Steele spooks Shawn, then informs him that the guy in the picture is named Railroad Jack. Wait, didn't he leave? Seeing Railroad Jack is a bad omen, and Jack has somehow appeared to various people over the decades. Before Shawn gets away, Steele tries to warn him that there are some places where Jack can't go, but he doesn't elaborate in any sort of, you know, USEFUL way.

The students return to the bus(Oh, come ON! There's a guy who haunts railroads, you're at a railroad museum, but no one is getting killed there??? WTF?), and get ready to head back to the school, I guess. Steele, talking to himself, says that Jack will see them very soon.

As the sun sets, everyone on the bus looks like they're falling asleep. When are they supposed to write this mythical essay? And how are a gazillion kids going to write different essays, based on a scene that took less than 5 minutes to play out? How much weed was the writer smoking when he threw this together? And the most important question of all: Why, oh WHY are they all still alive at this point?

Jesse glances outside, and sees Railroad Jack yet again, still in the same pose. Maybe someone is just putting Railroad Jack statues out by the highway to mess with her head. Actually, that would be pretty hilarious. As Jesse tells Mr. Smith about the spooky figure, the killer shows up in the middle of the road. The bus swerves, crashes, then the screen turns red.

Some time later, Violet can be heard, asking the teens to come out and play. The kids all gradually wake up, and the bus is a mess, with seat cushions and various debris everywhere. No adults, but lost and lots of wrecked stuff. While the others start to fight amongst themselves and recover, Andre makes it a point to take a head-count and make sure that no one has been seriously hurt. That's also when they realize that the adults are missing.

Harold makes matters worse, by suggesting that the bus could explode. Andre orders him to calm down, so Harold starts to cry like a baby. I was going to say "blubber like a baby", but that's like shooting fish in a barrel. Great, now Harold's comparing their situation to The Hills Have Eyes. Ha, he wishes!

Then we see the bus from outside, as Railroad Jack surveys the situation. When they see him, do you think they'll say "Hi, Jack"? I hope so. Friendliness makes all the difference.

There seems to be some disagreement over whether or not they should exit the bus. Andre spots a brightly-lit carnival in the distance, and most of the others agree that it sounds like a good place to ask for assistance. Jesse begs them to stay, but only Shawn and Brian remain with her. Railroad Jack watches the larger group jump off the bus, and move in his general direction.

Shawn tells Jesse and Brian that they should join the others. Why? Because he intends to leave as well, but head down the road to watch for any other motorists. Where the heck is the killer,  and why is he waiting so long? Hell, I'll kill some of these folks right now! Just ask me.

Everyone in the larger group is excited about the carnival, except for Trudy. She's whining because she wore flimsy sandals, and now she can't keep up. Making it even worse, she can sense Railroad Jack somewhere in the dark, and now she's scared that the others will abandon her.

The presence isn't the killer, it's Shawn. Wait, so he ditched the others to go have fun? What a douchebag. Hey, remember when Tony Todd was in the movie? Man, that was really terrific. I miss him.

Anyway, Trudy gets Andre to carry her the rest of the way. Then Harold gets winded, but no one offers to carry him to the carnival. Which looks deserted, by the way, as none of the rides are actually running. Gosh, it's almost like a....carnival of....SOULS! Symbol-freaking-ism!!!

The ticket window is being manned by a mannequin, so the teens just figure they get in for free. The carnival itself is also deserted. While the lights are all on, the rides themselves are as still as statues. No customers, no carnies, no one at all.

Trudy, Sommer and Maya approach a fancy carousel. While Trudy and Sommer sit down on the ride, Maya looks at the control panel, then turns the thing on. They all seem to be having a blast, even Maya, who's just watching.

The guys are trying out one of the carnival games, the strength-tester. You know, where you hit a platform with a hammer, and try to ring the bell at the top of the scale? Shawn reminds them that they need to find help, so they all move further into the carnival to resume the search. Well, minus Harold, who lingers behind to stare at the scale.

Back at the bus, both Jesse and Brian are wavering between bored and worried. The others have been gone for about an hour, though it's hard to say for sure, because Brian's watch has stopped. Sym. Bo. Lism. Jesse still thinks that the creepy guy in the road is lurking outside, so Brian suggests a search for weapons or supplies.

The quick search around the bus turns up an extra flashlight, and a road flare. Brian takes the flare, tells Jesse to honk the horn if she has any trouble, then he also heads to the carnival. Jesse watches him walk away, then she closes the bus door for protection. Oh, and we're now roughly at the mid-point of the movie, and STILL, nothing has happened. I've had more excitement during my last colonoscopy. Jack the Reaper might be the cure for severe cases of insomnia.

Maya, while watching the carousel, suddenly realizes that Trudy has disappeared, leaving only her coat behind. Maya turns the ride off, and explains to her cousin that Trudy is now gone. As they discuss whether or not to look for her, the guys arrive on the scene. My money's on "Trudy left the movie to be in a better movie", but I'm probably wrong.

Maya and Sommer argue about what to do next, and Sommer eventually convinces her cousin to go with her to rejoin the group. Then Harold gets the Tilt-A-Whirl ride up and running, momentarily becoming one of the popular kids. Good for him, NOW can we kill someone?

Shawn suddenly begs Harold to stop the ride, because he senses that something just ain't right. Then Brian wanders closer to the carnival, and the killer keeps tabs on the various characters, regardless of their various locations. As he watches the group standing in front of the ride, we see Brian arrive safely at the entrance to the carnival, where he extinguishes the flare. Yes, it's always a terrific idea to waste something that could save your life in an emergency.

The larger group run to a Whack-A-Mole game next, then one of those games where you throw a basketball up a ramp, and there's a net under the inclined section. Yeah, that game. Then some sort of racing game. Steven grabs a toy prize from the game, then gives it to Sommer.

Sommer, Steven, Andre and Harold go to the bumper cars next, and Sommer asks Steven if they can share a car. ^wink wink^ Steven calls her a bitch, then informs her that he only gave her the stuffed animal to be nice, but that he doesn't want to take it any further than that. Sommer stomps away in a huff, and Harold follows her.

In an attempt to woo Sommer, Harold offers to start up another ride, just for her to use, one of those monster-themed tunnel rides. Brian arrives just in time to see them ride into the tunnel together. There's a brief shot of Jesse staring sullenly at the carnival from a window on the bus, then we see Brian decide that he wants to ride the tunnel amusement as well.

He changes his mind, choosing to wait for the couple at the door. Unfortunately, the ride stops on the tracks, stranding them. Sommer suggests walking out, but Harold advises against it, worried that they might get electrocuted if it suddenly came back on while they were standing on the tracks.

Then Harold gets bold, putting his arm around Sommer. As he attempts to move in for a kiss, Sommer says "Ew,", and firmly rejects him. When he tries again, she tells him point-blank that she has no attraction to him whatsoever. Harold accuses her of being a slut, then he leaves her sitting there to find the exit himself.

Maya wanders around aimlessly, then returns to the carousel, getting a little disoriented in the process. Nothing cures dizziness better than more dizziness, so she tries to turn the carousel back on, then hops aboard. Something spooks her, and she stares up in awe at the massive ferris wheel. Yikes!

Oh okay, now I know why Maya was getting freaked out by the height of the structure: Tyler's up at the very tip-top of either the funhouse or the ferris wheel, and he's standing up to take a piss over the side of some kind of balcony. These characters are all incredibly smart aren't they? And yet, we're nearly at the one-hour mark, and they're all still alive and well. I guess maybe it's the killer who's the dumbass.

Harold is still waddling through the tunnel, cursing out the other teens, and carefully watching where he puts his feet. A bunch of fake cobwebs(What exactly is a cob, by the way? And why is it always covered in webs?) make him jumpy, and he gets somewhat confused about where he was heading. He nervously turns in various directions, then chooses one, and resumes walking. When he stops to brush at more webs in his face and hair, Jack the Reaper plants his weapon into Harold's back, and lifts him up toward the ceiling. FINALLY!

Then the ferris wheel begins to spin, even though none of the teens turned it on. While they're shouting and waving at Tyler from the ground, he's stumbling around, just trying not to plummet to his death. As the teens try frantically to turn the ride off, we get some really crappy film editing: Tyler can be seen falling toward some sharp-looking branches, yet he lands on a bare piece of pavement, with nary a tree or bush in sight. Man, it's like this movie was thrown together by some sort of a...a... mad crapper! Just imagine.

Anyway, they surround poor Tyler, and turn him over onto his back. Steven angrily decides that what happened was Brian's fault, even though Shawn points out that he wasn't near the control panel when the ride turned itself back on. Then Andre says that he saw Brian when they were all at the bumper cars. Yeah, that's really helpful.

Tyler suddenly has a spasm, coughing up a small amount of blood. They tell him to try to hang on while they get help, then Shawn and Steven argue over who will stay with him, and who will run for help. Andre gets fed up with the sibling rivalry, telling them both to go, while he watches over Tyler.

There's a brief segue back to the funhouse, where Brian wanders randomly into the chamber where Sommer has been waiting. A weapon is raised, then one of them is killed. But which one?

As Andre tries to keep Tyler alive, a blurry figure sprints  past them. Andre sees the figure and decides to see who it was, but he promises to return to Tyler as soon as he can. As soon as he leaves, Jack approaches Tyler, finishing him off in seconds.

Back in the bus, Jesse jumps when she hears a sudden banging noise, coming from someplace just outside the vehicle. She sees someone moving around, and backs away from the windows. Then we see Brian bursting out of the tunnel ride at high speed. He tries to figure out what to do next, then sees Sommer's new stuffed animal ride by in the cart, covered in blood.

Before he can react, Steven jumps him. Shawn pulls his brother off of Brian, and it devolves into a shouting match, with everybody accusing everybody else of committing murder. Brian denies doing anything to Tyler, then relates to the twins the story about how Sommer was killed.

As the trio move to find the rest of the teens, Maya collides with poor Andre, who is now upset because he managed to lose track of Tyler. Maya tries to convey a message to him, but he has no idea what she's trying to say. Then Brian and the twins discover them, and we get more shouting and frantic explanations.

Brian shares his idea that the killer is somehow controlling the rides. Maya stares at him and backs away, then the others follow suit. Railroad Jack, looming directly behind the albino, lunges at him. Thrown to the ground by the impact, Brian loses his tinted sunglasses. He looks up at the killer, seeing that Railroad Jack has dark, empty eye sockets. As the others run away, Railroad Jack viciously stabs the teen several times.

Taking out the emergency flashlight, Jesse ventures out of the bus. Yeah, not too smart. She calls out to the darkness a few times, telling whoever is there to stop scaring her. After a few more nervous glances at the terrain, she wisely chooses to head back into the bus, slamming the emergency door shut again. So far, I'm rooting for her and Maya to live through this. They're the only really likable characters. (Well, yeah, Brian was a cool guy as well, but he's deader than disco at this point...)

Shawn grabs Maya's hand, and they retreat into a snack shack to hide from the killer. They hide, then watch as Steven and Andre scoot by to find refuge in a building covered in windows. Uhhh, something tells me that a WINDOW might not be the most effective hiding place when eluding a murdering psycho.

Anyway, Railroad Jack stops by, and quickly spots the pair of lunkheads. To their credit, both Andre and Steven do at least attempt to get through the glass maze, and Andre succeeds., not so much. He more or less just stands there, and it's not too surprising when the others seem him get a blade through his head moments later.

Jesse, still crouched on the floor of the bus, has been crying. She jumps when she hears a thumping sound, followed by heavy breathing. Railroad Jack is literally over her head, walking along the roof. Then he leaps to the ground, hissing at her through the window. As he circles the vehicle and terrorizes her, Jesse tries to convince herself that it's all just a dream. Just as suddenly as the attack began, it stops.

Wait, how is Railroad Jack able to be at the bus AND the carnival at the same time?

Speaking of the carnival...Andre, Shawn and Maya are once again running away from the eyeless killer. They should try walking on their tiptoes. I mean, how hard can it be to hide from a guy with no eyes? Somehow, not only do they all manage to run around in a circle, but Andre also gets separated from the others.

Andre gets inside the snack stand, where he crouches down and tries to unlock the power of prayer. Maya lets Shawn drag her to a shooting gallery game, where they conceal themselves and grab one of the guns for protection. Jesse then has another run-in with Railroad Jack, and he leers at her through the window.

While hiding, Shawn confesses to Maya that he got his girlfriend pregnant. Being hunted has given him some perspective, and he makes a vow to be a good husband and father. If he lives, that is. He then admits that it's easier to say that sort of stuff to her, because she can't understand him. Maya lets him know, through pantomime, that she can, indeed, read lips. D'oh!

Andre then realizes that the killer knows where he is. They make eye(well, sort of...) contact, and Railroad Jack quickly corners the teen. Andre promises to hurt him, then promptly gets himself killed.

While huddled together in the shooting gallery, Shawn and Maya catch a glimpse of Railroad Jack wandering nearby. They swiftly duck back down, ans he seems to disappear when they dare to take another look. Shawn gets himself and Maya out of the booth, then turns back for the rifle. In that short amount of time, Railroad Jack teleports himself directly behind Maya.

He tries to get her, but Shawn intervenes, smacking him with the gun. As the maniac tries to turn his attention back to Maya, Shawn continues to bash him from behind. Then Railroad Jack tosses the boy aside, turns to Maya, and, grinning, says something to her in sign language.

Shawn tries to tell Maya to run toward something, but she doesn't get it. The momentary distraction allows the killer to surprise the deaf teen, and he drives his weapon through the side of her head, into her ear. Death by irony. And this movie's on my hit list, for killing the hottest girl in the story. Dagnabbit.

Shawn escapes, and comes to a halt in front of the carousel. He finds a very grim spectacle on display: The bodies of his friends, including the just-slaughtered Maya, have been propped up on the various carousel animals. He takes it all in, then realizes that the entrance is a few feet away. Finding a sudden rush of energy, he races to the ticket booth to escape.

He runs toward the bus, screaming for help. The killer is also running, and he appears to be catching up. Jesse sees them, and tells Shawn to run. She's very helpful. Shawn glances over his shoulder, then stops.

He sees a team of paramedics and rescue workers between him and the bus. Then there's a montage, replaying some of the death scenes, as well as Steele's cryptic hints about Railroad Jack. At the end of the flashback, Steele can be seen reading the obituaries of the various teens.

Okay, so I hate to keep harping on this one bit, but...WHY isn't this a movie in the Final Destination franchise? I mean, you have the large group dynamic, the car crash as the opening disaster, Tony Todd, the elaborately staged carnival-related deaths...Hell, just make the characters more interesting, tie in their deaths to the carnival itself, and you've got a ready-made sequel. Heck, they can even keep in the silly symbolic death hints to tease the audience a bit. It just seems like a wasted opportunity.

Anyway, let's see how it ends. There can't be much more to it, right? Okay, so Railroad Jack catches up to Shawn. He grabs him by the hair, then drags him, kicking and screaming, back toward the carnival.

Jesse gets upset, then slowly backs away from the rear window again. She hears a horse whinnying, and sees Railroad Jack ride up on a horse. Or maybe this is Horseback Jack, his brother, because his outfit is now a striped suit. Violet the Narrator starts talking again, and Jesse now realizes that there are several Jacks out there, probably waiting for her to give up.

Then we see a paramedic giving Shawn CPR. His partner advises him to stop, and they pronounce Shawn dead. Mr. Smith, the teacher, is being interviewed by an investigator, and he's busy blaming himself for the tragedy. As he wonders how he can possibly tell their loved ones what happened, another person announces that there was a survivor found in the bus: Jesse.

They extract her on a stretcher, assuring her that she's going to be fine. Violet disagrees, and the paramedics load the stretcher onto an ambulance. Jesse sits straight up, then screams. THE END

Well. That was fairly uneven. A good idea, some decent actors, but a horrible pace and a painfully obvious conclusion. And many obvious problems with the script, such as: Who the hell was Violet, and what was she doing as the narrator? Why did the actual mayhem have to take so long to be seen? And why was it so similar to Final Destination? 2.5 mad crapper killer trees out of 5.

And what did I learn from Jack the Reaper?

-Deaf girls are kinda hot.

-Carnivals are merely an excuse to lose your soul.

-Glass mazes are the worst hiding places ever.

Next up, one of those killer-toy movies from Charles Band. It's Doll Graveyard, which I'm not familiar with. Eh, maybe it'll surprise me by actually being decent. See you soon!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I think my brain is getting fried from watching so many slasher flicks. See, I vividly recall watching Pumpkinhead for this blog, yet I can't find an entry for it. Weird, huh? Anyway, that's what we're watching for Halloween week(Yeah, I know it's mid-November, I'll explain what happened at the end of this one, okay?). Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me SPOILERS I can eat!

The movie begins with a young boy named Ed Harley, living on a farm with his parents, in 1957. As Mama is putting Ed to bed, Papa is busy making sure that the barn is shut, and that the house is secure. When Papa Harley returns, Ed watches as his folks have a strange conversation, with the mother asking if she should be afraid. As they get settled in front of a cozy fireplace, a man outside by the name of Clay Heller is running around in the dark, apparently because something is chasing him.

His screams of fear can be heard from inside the Harley home, and all 3 members of the family get tensed up. Then Clay arrives at the front door, and begs them to let him inside. Mama Harley asks her husband to reconsider helping Clay, but Papa insists that they have no right to intervene in whatever's about to happen. Ed gets himself worked up, so his mother tries to console him.

Harley picks up a shotgun, and demands that Clay get away from their property. Clay then reveals that he was accused of murdering a girl, but he says that he's innocent. Then Clay's pursuer arrives, and kills him as he tries to escape again. Ed sneaks a quick glimpse out of a window, where he sees a large, deformed creature moving back through the woods.

Then it's the present day, and Ed is now much, much older. He's burning away some brush near his home, while his kid, Billy,  plays on the front porch with Gypsy, the family dog. Ed gives his son a hug, then they wash their hands and head inside.

Ed promises to tell his son a story, but Billy makes him wait. He gives his father a necklace that he made, and Ed promises to always wear it. Then Ed launches into a story, making his son laugh with his antics. This is very sweet and wholesome. Something awful is going to happen to these people...and it better happen soon!

Then we meet another group, made up of "teens", who all look to be in their twenties. There's Tracy, Joel, Steve, Chris, Maggie, and Kim. They're out in the country, because one of them supposedly has a cabin in the woods. No, that wasn't me making that same dumb joke, it's actually a trip to the cabin...which happens to be in the woods. Serendipity, huh?

Anyway, Ed takes Billy to work with him, which turns out to be the local gas station and convenience store. Then we get a folksy little montage of them setting up shop together, while the young tourists horse around on the open road, even going so far as to tease one of the grungy locals. They decide to get some gas and snacks at Ed's store.

Gypsy runs out of the store, and barks at the strangers. The leader of the group, Joel, makes fun of Billy's thick glasses, but none of his friends join in, finding his joke to be in poor taste. Ed hears the comment as well, but just heads back into the store.

Not content with being ignored, Joel decides to unchain a pair of motorbikes that were hitched to his vehicle. He loudly revs one up, then scoots away into the countryside. Almost instantly after he rides off, a battered truck pulls into the store, driven by an old coot by the name of Wallace. 5 dirty and wild-looking children jump off the truck to follow him.

While Mr. Wallace is in the store, his kids are busy playing with Billy, his dog, and the teens. One of the younger kids, Jimmy Joe, takes a ball that Gypsy was playing with, so an older Wallace sibling warns him that Pumpkinhead will punish him if he misbehaves. Then the other Wallace kids begin to chant Pumpkinhead's name over and over again.

Ed can hear the teasing, and he gets a nasty flashback to the creature he saw when he was a kid. The teasing finally stops, but Ed realizes that he forgot to bring in a bag of feed that Mr. Wallace was going to purchase. He promises to deliver it personally, and Wallace agrees.

Joel begins showing off on his bike, and his brother Steve grabs a second bike to join him. Ed tells his son that he needs to make a quick trip back to the house for the bag of feed. He makes Billy promise to stay inside until he returns. Yeah, I'm sure that everything will be just hunky-dory.

After Ed drives away, Gypsy starts to get agitated by the sound of the motorbikes. The dog rushes outside, so Billy chases him to try to calm him down. Maggie sees both of them take off in the direction on the noise, and she and Tracy both realize what's about to happen. Sadly, neither of them is quick enough to keep up.

Sure enough, Billy and Gypsy are standing at the foot of a hill that the bikes are about to fly over. Steve misses them by a mile, but Joel slams into the young boy, which sends him flying away like a rag doll. Everybody crowds around poor Billy to try to help him, except for Joel. He's too busy attempting to get the bike back to the truck and make a getaway. It seems that he was drinking earlier, and that he's worried that the local law enforcement will severely punish him. Gee, ya think so?

Several of his friends try to force Joel to stay, but he drives away with his girlfriend. Steve insists that the rest of them should get to the cabin and call for help, while he remains behind with Billy. They take their truck and go roaring away in a cloud of dust.

Ed returns a short time later, and grows concerned when he fails to find Billy or Gypsy inside the store. Steve gets his attention, and Ed is heartbroken when he sees his son's lifeless body on the ground. Steve tries to explain what happened, but Ed just stares at him with a crazed look in his eyes. Then Ed puts Billy in his truck and leaves the scene.

At the remote cabin, Tracy gets inside, where she finds Joel and his girlfriend just standing around, She starts to dial up the local emergency number, but Joel rips the phone jack out of the wall. See kids, back in the day, the only phone you had was the one in your house. Waaaay back in a glorious era called "before the 1990s". It was truly magical.

Anyway, Joel's girlfriend reveals that he was already in another vehicle-related mishap, and that this one would definitely lead to a jail sentence. Then the rest of the car group walk in, and Joel attacks Chris when he tries to subdue the killer. He attacks Chris with a thick log, so we may actually have 2 deaths to blame him for by now. Sheesh!

Ed takes Billy home, and tries to get him cleaned up a little. Billy calls out to him, but then stays silent. Even the family dog seems to be having an "Oh shit!" reaction to the proceedings. Y'know, replace "Billy" with "Gage", and this seems an awful lot like Pet Sematary.

Steve is the last to arrive at the cabin in the woods, and he discovers that his brother has got Chris and Tracy trapped in one of the bedrooms. Steve tells Joel that Ed took his son and left, and that he was told that what happened was just an accident. Well, that's settled then. What could possibly go wrong after that?

Ed takes his son's body even deeper into the country, and he finds Mr. Wallace at home. While Ed shows Mr. Wallace what happened to his son, Wallace's son Bunt takes the bag of feed out of the truck. Ed asks for help in locating a local woman rumored to be a witch, but Mr. Wallace refuses. He says that the witch will send them straight to Hell, and he advises Ed to return home and bury his son's body.

Bunt overhears the conversation, and manages to catch up as Ed drives away, by using a shortcut. He tells Ed that the witch is named Haggis, and that she lives in a remote area called Black Ridge. Ed pays him for the information, then demands that Bunt show him where she lives. Bunt takes Ed most of the way, then tells him how to find her when the road ends.

Ed walks to a haunted-looking shack, where he finally meets Haggis. She greets him as if she was expecting his visit, then bluntly tells him that she can't raise Billy from the dead. He tells her about the creature he saw when he was a child, and she tells Ed that it's something that gets summoned to commit acts of vengeance.

Ed REALLY likes the sound of that, so he gives her all the money he could scrounge up, and asks her to summon the creature. Haggis tells him that it's buried in a secret graveyard at a place called Razorback Hollow, and that he must dig up the body and bring it to her. Ed agrees, and is also told to leave Billy's corpse with her when he goes on his search.

Ed finds the correct grave underneath a foggy pumpkin patch, and soon reveals the body of Pumpkinhead. Then there's a short scene with the teens, showing that Joel still refuses to take any blame for what happened earlier in the day. Oh, and Maggie has been in a state of shock ever since the accident, and her friends are starting to wonder if she'll ever snap out of it.

Ed returns to Haggis, and brings the corpse of Pumpkinhead over to a table that she points out. She explains that each body in that special graveyard is a demon representing a specific sin. Pumpkinhead is the spirit-demon of vengeance. Haggis then cuts Ed's hand, and has his blood drip into a bowl. While Ed bandages his wounded hand, Haggis makes similar cuts into Billy's corpse. Then she pours the blood on Pumpkinhead's shrouded face, where it sizzles.

As Pumpkinhead comes back to life, Ed gets weaker and weaker. He eventually passes out, and Haggis revives him some time later. She tells him to return home, and that the vengeance has begun. Ed drives back to his farm, but the loss of blood nearly causes him to have a collision. He pulls the truck over, then jumps in fright as the bloody body of his son sits up, demanding to know what he did. Don't fret, it was only a hallucination.

Another brief moment at the cabin leads nowhere, then we see Ed telling his wife what happened at her tombstone. He digs a hole next to her grave, so that she and Billy can have adjoining rooms. Hell, I was half-expecting him to dig her up as well!

Steve and Maggie decide that they need some air, so they leave the crowded cabin. They walk out to a dark spot near a tree, have a heart-to-heart chat, then share a hug. Oh, and then Pumpkinhead pulls Steve up into the tree by his neck, presumably to die.

As Ed finishes burying his son, he suddenly has a vision of the murder. He sees Pumpkinhead tear into Steve's body with long claws, throw him to the ground, then drag him by his feet deeper into the woods. Maggie helps Steve by standing still and crying.

Joel finally discovers his balls, so he pledges to do the right thing. He starts out on his road to redemption by letting Chris and Tracy out of the bedroom. Then Maggie rushes in, while we see Pumpkinhead mauling Steve. Chris and Joel grab weapons, then go looking for Steve.

While the girls huddle together behind locked doors and the guys hunt for a monster, Ed is back home, still recovering from the weird vision he experienced. He decides to get drunk, and the dog just watches him. Then Kim is told by Maggie that God is the only force strong enough to intervene in whatever's happening to them. Right on cue, Pumpkinhead slides right by the kitchen window, somehow managing to remain undetected.

Joel and Chris find what's left of Steve, and quickly realize that they should have stayed with the girls. As they rush back to the cabin, Kim nearly kills them at the door with a meat cleaver. Everyone goes into panic mode, then it's Maggie's turn to run outside like a raving nitwit.

Pumpkinhead drops Steve at the front door, then snatches Maggie up by her hair. Tracy and Chris chase after the monster, while the others drag Steve's body inside. Anyone else finding these shenanigans to be a bit repetitive?

Ed has another fit, and sees Maggie getting her face scratched up by Pumpkinhead. Despite not being entirely in control of his faculties, Ed somehow gets to his truck, and begins to try to track the monster down. Yeah, I'm sure he'll be a big help in his current condition.

Steve's face is examined by his friends, and it looks like chunks of it were bitten off. Ed, in the meantime, has stumbled into the cabin where he encountered Haggis earlier. She calmly informs him that the seizures will pass as soon as Pumpkinhead is finished, and he replies that he'll find a way to stop the creature himself. Either way, Haggis tells him that his soul is now damned.

Pumpkinhead lifts up Maggie's body, using it to taunt the frightened teens at the kitchen window. He breaks the window to leave the corpse on the counter, then leaves again. Joel picks up a knife and runs outside, telling the creature that he's the one it wants to kill.

When it grabs Kim instead, Joel attacks it. Chris and Tracy go along with him to find her, and he's pretty much just a rambling lunatic at this point. They discover Kim up in a tree, where Pumpkinhead is swinging her by the neck. The monster hurls her to the ground, the impact kills her, and the chase resumes.

Ed arrives, but now the cabin is empty. He surveys the damage, even stopping to examine Steve's mangled face, while he ponders his next move. That Ed Harley, he's a real deep thinker!

Tracy, Chris and Joel find another house, but the woman inside refuses to help them. Her husband shoots at them, ordering the trio to get away from his house. He tells them that he can't help them in any way, because they've been "marked". Before they can get him to explain what that means, Pumpkinhead arrives.

A bullet hits the creature in the shoulder, but it wasn't from the homeowner. Nope, this blast was delivered by Ed Harley, who arrived just in the nick of time. Joel kicks the monster and fires another bullet into it, only to have it grab him by the ankle. Pumpkinhead then stands over Joel, impales him on his own shotgun, then tears at the body with his huge claws.

Chris and Tracy run away yet again, and then we see Bunt looking out the window of his family's tiny shack. Mr. Wallace orders Bunt to get away from the window, then sends him off to bed. When Chris and Tracy begin to pound at the front door, the adults pretend that they don't hear a thing.

Bunt trudges to bed, but decides to take it upon himself to help the teens. His sister, Hessie, tries to talk him out of it, but Bunt has his mind set. He swears her to secrecy, then climbs out the bedroom window.

Chris and Tracy freak out when they see him, but he offers to get them to a safe place. They decide to trust Bunt, and follow him. At about the same time, Ed finds Joel with the gun protruding from his torso, and decides to grab the weapon. First smart idea he's had all day.

Bunt leads the couple to a wrecked house, and he tells them that it was supposed to be a church, but that it was abandoned before the construction was finished. Then he suggests that, because it's a holy place, Pumpkinhead might not be able to enter into the structure.

Bunt explains what Pumpkinhead is, and tells them about Ed's visit to Haggis. Then Pumpkinhead shows up as the wind turns into a near-hurricane, and he seems to have no trouble at all terrorizing them. I guess Bunt was dumber than he looked. How is that humanly possible?

They run away for the zillionth time, and Pumpkinhead stops in front of a large cross. He picks it up, then demolishes it. Yeah, holy ground has no effect on this guy, Bunt. It was a nice idea, though.

Ed shows up at the Wallace home, where he's told that no one will help him. Then Chris is attacked when Pumpkinhead ambushes the trio. Tracy helplessly runs away with Bunt, leaving Chris behind. Ed finds them, and they escape in his truck.

Ed gets them into his home, where Tracy thanks Bunt for being so heroic. Then she goes outside to speak to Ed. She tells him what happened to Billy, then begs him to call off Pumpkinhead. He tells her that he can't, but he has a plan: he shows Tracy his souped-up blowtorch, and tells her that he intends to send the demon back into Hell.

Bunt, surrounded by spooky candles and photographs of Billy, gets the wits scared out of him by the damned dog. Yeesh. Then Ed has another spasm, and Pumpkinhead arrives at his house with a barely-alive Chris. Chris crawls weakly across the floor, while Pumpkinhead looks for a new victim.

Tracy tries to help Ed, then sees that his eyes have become opaque. He leers at her like Pumpkinhead, just as the monster itself discovers where Bunt is hiding. Heck, even the family dog had a hiding spot picked out!

As Tracy helps Chris, Pumpkinhead grabs Bunt. Ed tries to intercede with the weapon, but catches his arm on a pitchfork, injuring him. He then sees that Pumpkinhead seems to feel the pain from the injury as well, which slows it down. While Ed pulls his arm away from the pitchfork, the monster growls in pain.

Tracy picks up the flamethrower, while Ed staggers over to his truck. While she distracts the  monster, Ed pulls a pistol out of the glove compartment, and lifts it so that the barrel is up against his temple. He fires it, and Pumpkinhead falls down. Ed is still alive, so Pumpkinhead makes another attempt to kill Bunt and the couple.

Tracy gets the gun from Ed, and then hesitates as both he and Pumpkinhead watch her. She decides to shoot Ed, firing several shots into him, and both he and Pumpkinhead finally die. She, Bunt and Chris see Pumpkinhead burst into flames, and the necklace that Billy made for his father gets destroyed by the fire. THE END

Wow. Downer ending, man. Sorry this one took so long, but my internet vanished for about a month. I'll try to watch another one in a few days, see if I can catch up on my lost weeks. Also, I'm still not 100% certain that I didn't do this one in the past(for the blog), so my deja vu sense is going haywire.

Good special effects, sucktastic script. They really should have put some thought into the kills, maybe had a larger area for them to run around. I don't really remember much about the sequels, save fort the fact that Bill Clinton's brother was in one of them, and that's not exactly a good sign. Still, I'd give Pumpkinhead a 3.5 killer trees out of 5, fror at least having a good creature.

And what did I learn from Pumpkinhead?

-Never trust a witch named after a Scottish food.

-Half-built churches won't protect you.

-Demons have a private graveyard, but hillbillies have to dig their own graves for loved ones.

No idea what's up next. Maybe I'll browse the On Demand menu to see if something grabs my interest. We'll see. See you in a few days...I hope! I'll catch back up to the once-a-week format, hopefully before I get worn down by all of the stress of the holidays!