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Boring Alien Rip-off
A space crew lands on Saturn's moon and picks up an unwanted straggler. The plot of this movie may seem familiar to you because it rips-off not only Ridley Scott's ALIEN, but also every other ALIEN rip-off that had come out since. There's even a butch female character that I think was there to remind us of Sigourney Weaver. She even strips down to her undies like Weaver did at the climax of ALIEN.
Unfortunately, this movie is a snooze fest. There are a few creepy scenes with the dead crewmen coming back as zombies, but too much time is spent with actors wandering around doing nothing. At the 60-minute mark I found myself fast forwarding to the final battle with the slimy, big-toothed alien...but even THAT was a letdown.
The movie perks up for 10 minutes when Klaus Kinski pops in for his cameo. He is so fun to watch that he's actually able to pull this movie from the doldrums while he is on-screen. Unfortunately his cameo is short.
With all the ALIEN clones out there, there's no reason to waste your time with this one.
I really wanted to like this one...
I'm a huge fan of the first two Phantasms and was looking forward to the third installment. But there was something missing here. A plot!! The movie just kinda meanders from one scene to the next as our reluctant hero, Reggie, goes from ghost town to ghost town to clean up the Tall Man's minions while searching for Mike who was kidnapped in the beginning. The tall man makes a mere cameo this time around, while a lot of padding is given to a precocious, gun-slinging kid and a trio of ghost town robbers who come back from the grave as wise-cracking demons. The Evil Dead series went down the crapper when they threw too much comedy into the mix, and the same can be said for this sequel. And Reggie is really set up to be the next Ash here, what with his 4-barrelled shotgun, penchant for sweet-talking the ladies, and a habit of having disembodies hands running up his pantlegs.
But again, these are all just scenes strung together with no real storyline. It leaves itself set up for yet another sequel and I only hope it improves on this one.
Not bad, not good...
As far as direct-to-video movies go, this one looks pretty decent. The acting is above par, the locations are nice, the premise is nifty. Unfortunately, the movie is devoid of any suspense because the actor playing Tyranus (or Demonicus, whatever) is not very scary. It's just some college kid running around dressed in gladiator garb. And unfortunately, without that much needed suspense, the film just kind of plods along.
The movie plays out as such: characters get lost in the mountains, Tyranus appears running toward them from the distance, characters get slain. Had Tyranus looked like a demon or a zombie, the suspense would have been higher. And had Tyranus leaped out from behind bushes or something instead of running down brightly lit paths, the suspense would have been higher.
But it still looks good and all of the actors are pretty decent, so I can't write it off as a total waste of time. But it could have and should have been a whole lot better.
The Majorettes (1987)
An unexpected twist...
The Majorettes starts out as a below average, badly acted, boring slasher film. A killer in camouflage is murdering the majorettes at a local high school. Big deal. But suddenly at the half way mark, the narrative shifts and it becomes a vigilante flick as one of the slain girl's boyfriends runs around shirtless, dishing out vigilante justice against a group of dope dealers with an M-16. You've gotta see it to believe it.
Needless to say, this bizarre twist boosts the entertainment value slightly and saves this movie from the doldrums of crummyville. No talent in front of or behind the camera, but worth a look for bad movie fanatics.
Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)
Much better than expected...
Wow, with all the negative reviews blasting this film, I was expecting a real stinker. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe people were ticked off by the fact that the filmmakers had the audacity to call itself a sequel to Romero's movie. But if you allow yourself to forgive them for that, you'll actually find a lot to like here. Gore o'plenty, above average acting, a decent storyline. Only a few things were subpar. First was the lackluster direction. Second was the lackluster music score. And third was the fact that the guns didn't emit a muzzle flash when fired. But other than that, all fans of zombie movies should check this gem out. I just wish the filmmakers had named it something original.
Too ambitious for its own good
I like an apocalyptic zombie movie as much as the next guy. And this one had me hooked from the first frame. It was sort of an homage to all the great zombie flicks that had come before it: NOTLD, Evil Dead, Dead Alive, etc. I was digging it, big time.
Then the weird, gun-toting farmer guy leaped into the air, dug his spurs into the wall, and took out a horde of zombies whilst suspended upside down. And from there, it lost me.
Suddenly, it went from a scary zombie-fest to a John Woo-inspired action film with a goofy sci-fi slant. There was just too much going on, and yet I found my mind wandering quite a bit.
But I give the filmmakers credit, the movie looks really good. And some of the effects are top notch. But as a whole, the film tried to be too many things at once and fell just short of being successful.
The Minion (1998)
Could have been good.....
This movie had the potential to be really good, considering some of the plot elements are borrowed from the sci-fi actioner THE HIDDEN. And Dolph always lends some cheesy appeal to his roles. But someone somewhere really dropped the ball on this one.
Dolph plays a butt-kicking monk (!) who travels to New York to retrieve a key that unlocks a door beneath his monastery that has imprisoned the antichrist for 2000 years. He must battle the minion, who is a spirit that jumps from body to body much like THE HIDDEN and JASON GOES TO HELL. The minion, naturally, wants the key so it can let the antichrist out. Along for the ride is an annoying female archaeologist and together she and Dolph are chased by the minion-possessed bodies.
If I'm making this sound entertaining, forget it. The pacing is very awkward and sluggish, the acting subpar at best, and the fight scenes staged poorly. Dolph sleepwalks through his role and spouts some of the worst dialogue of his career.
The cheese factor really picks up at the end when the minion battles an army of machine-gun wielding monks at the monastery, but the rest of this flick is a snoozefest.
Too bad, I really wanted to like this.
I Drink Your Blood (1970)
A new twist on the old zombie epidemic
After his grandfather is assaulted by a group of Satan-worshipping hippies, a young boy laces their meat pies with rabid dog's blood and inadvertently turns them into crazed, ax-wielding zombies.
A nice addition to the zombie genre, this early 70's trash pic plays the whole thing (thankfully) straight despite its somewhat campy premise and has a few surprising death scenes. I Drink Your Blood is one of those movies that has you on the edge of your seat because no one is safe. Even the so-called hero could be killed at any given moment.
Slapped with an X rating upon its initial release, most of the gore is rather tame compared to today's hack and slash horror, though a severed head is most effective. Acting, as to be expected from a film called I Drink Your Blood, is rather subpar though not as howlingly bad as it could be.
Well done for what it is and highly recommended to fans of 70's horror and fans of the zombie genre. Originally on a double bill with a 60's black and white voodoo flick called I eat your skin.
"Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid head." "Death by hydrophobia is agony." Check it out.
Def-Con 4 (1985)
Starts out promising...
The first half hour of this flick is so intense and well-done that you can't help but feel letdown when it quickly degenerates into Z-grade, Mad Max post apocalyptic nonsense. And it just continues to get worse and worse until the rather abrupt ending.
Three astronauts orbiting Earth watch helplessly as World War III erupts. After making an emergency crash landing, one of the astronauts in rendered unconscious while another is dragged from the ship and eaten by savages. Howe, our hero, escapes and finds that Earth has become a wasteland inhabited by post apocalyptic cretins ruled over by a snot nosed rich kid named Gideon.
If the film had maintained the tension and drama of the first half hour, this movie would have been a classic. But as it stands, it's just another Mad Max wannabe. Skip it.
Star Crystal (1986)
Boring ALIEN clone with a ridiculous twist
A slimy, tentacled creature boards a spacecraft and quickly dispatches half of the crew before discovering religion and realizing that killing is wrong. You heard correctly. The creature gets on-line and reads up on some bible quotes and, in the bizarre twist ending, befriends the two survivors and plays Chinese checkers.
Subpar sci-fi entry on every level, from the poor acting, directing, set design. And the endlessly long scenes of characters crawling through tunnels. Not to mention the creature that looks like a giant sock that someone sneezed on.
The biggest problem is that it kills off the crew too quickly. So for the last 45 minutes we're stuck with the two survivors watching the stars, eating soup, crawling through tunnels, etc. Skip this one.