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Case 39 (2009)
Makes 'Troll 2' Look Like 'Citizen Kane'
There's no mystery why this movie was shelved for four years. It's horrible!
So imagine the production quality of Chester Novell Turner with an actress best known as the bimbo from 'Love & A .45.'
The plot: Since the trailer can't seem to get anything right, this is actually a 2006 I mean 2010 version of 'The Bad Seed' with needless jump scares thrown in and laughable "action" sequences.
Renee Zellweger stars as the only attractive single English speaking social worker in America/Canada investigating a little girl Lilith (get it?) who's.... get read for the shocker.... falling asleep in class and getting bad grades! Oh the horror of her abusive home!
Officer Ian McShane is also along for the ride to put another nail in his career as a respected actor, once again doing a bad American accent. Why would they hire the most Irish actor in history to do an American accent? It's like casting James Earl Jones as a mime!
Anyway, Zelweger and McShane arrive just in time to save Lilith from being cooked alive by her parents.
After the parents are sent to prison Zellweger predictably becomes Lilith's foster mother.
Now enter Bradley Cooper who's... some shmuck Zelweger meets at a bar and exists only for Litlith to reveal her dark side and kill him via bad CGI hornets in his mouth. Officer McShane is predictably her second victim followed by Lilith's parents.
So based on Lilith being creepy and bratty Zelweger concludes she must be a demon and decides to kill her. Yup, despite the fact that all four of her victims have died via super natural means which Lilith wouldn't have been able to do Zelweger just decides to kill her with sleeping pills and then burns down her own house.
What a shock... it didn't work and Lilith is still alive to continue her horrible reign of... demanding ice cream.
So Lilith is some kind of demon? It's never explained! But Zellweger is finally able to kill her via driving her car into the water. So fire doesn't kill her but water does?
And Zellweger lives happily ever after without her job, house, or car. Since she destroyed these things all on her own her insurance won't pay. Oh, and she'll have to answer to the police for why she drowned her foster daughter after failing to burn her to death! The movie ends as if none of these things are going to be a problem for her.
So in conclusion, if you find bratty kids demanding ice cream scary and foster parents that simply presume kids are demons whom need to be killed noble then this is your movie.
Apply Razor To Wrists and Repeat
Well what can be said about the conclusion to a trilogy of horribly made dark comedies? It does stay true to the first two films as being completely devoid of any entertainment value.
This time the production quality far worse! Worse than the first two films? How bad could it really be? I'll sum up the production quality this way, it's the worst I've ever seen for a Bree Olsen film! Yeah, that's bad!
I've actually heard some defense of Tom Six's film making as being "realistic" and "gritty." NO! It's just lazy. If the director doesn't care about the camera being in focus, the set being lit, off set noises remaining on the soundtrack, or actors missing their lines and not doing a second take it's just lazy. It shows the director doesn't care and the audience will respond in kind.
Dieter Laser returns in the lead as a Southern prison warden. A German actor doing a bad Southern accent fails for laughs on every level. NONE OF THE ATTEMPTED HUMOR works on any level!!! And this is 75% of the movie, Dieter Laser acting like Boss Hogg.
The other 25% are attempted gross out scenes of prisoners being raped in their kidney's and the cannibalization of human testicles. True to the first two films this gore is just plain silly rather than disgusting or morbidly humorous.
So what does any of this have to do with the human centipede? As the poster reveals, the warden concludes that the best way to maintain order in the prison is to create one giant human centipede. He gets his inspiration from watching.... 'The Human Centipede.' Because a movie within a movie worked so well in the second film.
Hence the few brief moments of the human centipede are only seen in the climax, which you could have gotten by just looking at the poster.
So if you're having any morbid curiosity of seeing this film. Don't!
Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings (1993)
Not Direct To Video
I just wanted to clarify that this film WAS IN THEATERS!!! It was not direct to video!!! IMDb IS WRONG!!! (as usual I have VHS of the TV ads for this film!
It received a large amount of free media attention due to the current president's brother Roger Clinton appearing in the film.
Once again, this was in theaters, it was NOT direct to video.
As proof I can break out my complete VHS of 'All My Children' for 1993 and show you the ads for this film! It was in theaters!
This film is in fact a very poor follow up to Stan Winston's cult classic.
It does not contain any of the characters from the first film. The story is merely a rehash of the original. A woman in run over by city slicker teens and a witch conjures the demonic monster Pumpkinhead to kill them.
So it's just like the first film sans the good FX and photography.
Jaws of Satan (1981)
Whacking Day In Springfield
Right of the bat I'd like to AGAIN question IMDb's rating for this film! They list it as "R." Based on what? No sex violence or profanity! Also my VHS copy clearly states "PG."
As far as B movies go the production quality isn't that bad.
This is one of those films with a decent set up and NO PAY OFF!
I've seen several killer snake movies that turn out that way like Oliver Reed's 'Venom.' The creepy set up consists of a priest (Fritz Weaver of 'Scanners') being told by a fortune teller that his ancestors in England persecuted the pagan Druids whom put a curse on his family.
Wait! I just checked his flexography and remember he wasn't in 'Scanners!' So what else do we know Fritz Weaver from? A few episodes of 'L&O.'
Fortunately the priest knows exactly how to deal with fortune tellers. "A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortune-teller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death." Leviticus 20:27
But no, Father Weaver doesn't kill her a few minutes later, she's killed by the curse.
Anyway snakes on a train kill the conductor and the train car comes into town. Pretty soon there are dozens of fatal snake bites.
Just like every killer animalxploitation film the smart lady reporter wants to call in the feds for help, but greedy businessmen want to stop her as a public scare could hurt the business at the town's center of commerce, a dog racing track. Yup that's the key plot point of this movie a dog racing track.
Here the businessmen are so evil they even hire someone to kill the reporter. WTF? Isn't this going a little too far.
The head businessman's daughter really stands out as being cuter than Shirley Temple. When predictably she too is bitten I realized whom she was, Christina Applegate! Yup, and the businessman's wife is Christina's real life mother Nancy Priddy.
Unlike most killer animal movies there are no epic scenes of swarms of animals. Even 'Dogs' had that. Almost all the snake attack scenes simply consist of an actor screaming in pain and then collapsing to the ground.
There are a few boring scenes of snakes cornering people. Now I'm no zoologist but all the snakes appear to be cobras (probably only one cobra was actually used for filming). Since cobras aren't American I kept waiting for the reporter and the scientist to uncover some kind of dark secret that a cobra from Asia was on the train and began breeding with local snakes thus creating a heard of killer snakes? No, this is never explained.
The climax is also a major let down. The reporter and scientist track the snakes' headquarters to a cave. So can't they just seal off the cave? How are these snakes traveling tens of miles all over town to bite people?
Father Weaver accepts his fate and has a final confrontation with a cobra leading it into a fire. But what about the hundreds of other snakes all over town? Even presuming this cobra is their leader, killing it isn't going to simply make all the other snakes go away.
The movie's good for a few laughs or if you want to see Christina Applegate's debut, and isn't horrible. It just suffers from the most back movie problem, boredom!
The question still remains, was this part of a bigger conspiracy? Just an excuse to beat up the Irish?
There's a lot to love about 'Siblings' great cast, great production quality, and great premise. Just like 'Flowers In The Attic' the forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. But somehow the whole thing just never comes together. It we're teased with a recipe for a great story but never get to taste a satisfying dish.
The plot: I've read many different synopsizes online and most of them are only half right. First off, I wouldn't describe this as a "dark comedy" at all. The movie never attempts to be comically. Also I wouldn't describe the parents' deaths as "murder."
What is accurate about the plot is that this revolves around four children in a Jerry Springer style family with so many marriages, stepparents, and half blood relatives that even the kids can't figure it out. This dysfunctional family just happens to be rich living in upper class Canada.
The film opens with the with their grandfather's funeral whom had been the head of the household and the only thing keeping their drunk, snobby, and nasty stepparents in check. The kids even say, "Things are going to suck from now on."
It's obvious that this draws heavily from 'Flowers In The Attic.' Four kids trapped in a big house by their abusive family, who end up forming their own family unit with the two teens as husband and wife playing parents to the two younger kids.
The stepparents end up accidentally driving off a cliff while taking the family dog to be abandoned because they're too cheap to actually put it down.
The kids obviously attempt to cover up their deaths so they can continue living together as a family.
The setting is very interesting. It all takes place around Christmas time, smart, since Christmas and snow go so well together. The lesson here is if you are going to make a movie in Canada in July have it take place on Christmas so the snow will seem more fitting. And take down all French language product placement. (hint hint 'Dawn of the Dead' 2004.)
The musical score is a real mixed bag. 50% of the score are rock or Danny Elfman style renditions of public domain Christmas songs which add a lot the to atmosphere. However the other 50% sounds like the annoying rock scores played during Lifetime movies. As I said, a mix bag.
So there's a lot to like about this movie, such as the growing sexual tension between teens Joe and Margaret. FACE IT that's the only reason anyone even saw this movie, the false promise of forbidden romance in the trailer. Unfortunately as I said before, much of this film is just as tease. Their relationship doesn't even evolve romantically.
We're also teased about Margaret being abused by her stepfather Nicholas Campbell ('DiVinci's Inquest.') She's afraid of being molested as only her grandfather could protect her. However, DiVinci doesn't actually do anything. Hence, there's no drama and no real hatred of DiVinci. All we needed was just one scene of him coming on to her.
The plot could be interesting in dealing with the practicalities of the kids continuing their lives without anyone in the community knowing about their parents' deaths. However... most of the time is wasted on boring movie tropes about how they must go back to the crash scene and do the typical stupid things characters in movies do.
The children are all straight out of a modeling agency but that doesn't make them likable characters. The two youngest kids seem like robots. When the little girl asks Joe to take her to her Christmas pageant he responds, "What? Forget it, we're not fxxxing going!" and she doesn't even act upset.
Likewise Joe and Margaret bicker more than they have any kind of sexual tension.
So this begs the question, why are the kids doing this? If they don't get along what's the point of fighting to stay together? There's no crime to be covered up and it's already established they're going to receive their grandfather's inheritance. So just tell the police their parents are missing. The police will eventually find the accident scene and the kids can go live with other relatives, or foster homes and still cash in on their grandfather's money.
This is the type of film which had so much promise but ends up falling into all the classic movie tropes of dumb characters.
Still, it's worth a watch. There are positive elements of good film making.
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Chloroform In Print = Chloroform In Celluloid
The emperor has no clothes. Or rather he does, they're just really really dull.
Behold the sexploitation film. The bottom of the barrel in exploitation sub genres. And it's a deep barrel! Sexploitation is just one step short of outright porn. Except sexploitation doesn't rate as high a porn. At least pornography gratifies its audience. But 'Fifty Shades' doesn't even rate as high sexploitation.
Behold the great American novel, the bottom of the barrel in print. Based on the recent successes of 'Twilight' and 'The DiVinci Code' and 'The Hunger Games' (the first novel to ever advertise itself as being plagiarized) the American reader is dumb as rocks. Raised on 'Sweet Valley High' and 'The Babysitters' Club' the American reader cannot be expected to comprehend any type plot, character development, or writing prose. It has to be dumbed down, mashed up, and spoon fed to them.
When I first heard about the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' novels I was just as much up for (no puns intended) some good erotic fiction as any other reader. I read the first twenty pages of a bootleg version before I fell asleep. To sum it up in a single word it was "juvenile." It read like stereo instructions, as if the words had merely been randomly assembled by a computer program rather than a typing monkey.
The mere names of the characters are laughable. Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele? Seriously? Were the names Hester Prynne and Seymour Butts already taken? How can any reader take this seriously after reading those names?
The setting is equally as cardboard. An office. Move over 'Claiming of Sleeping Beauty' this erotic novel takes place in an office.
So no matter what your personal tastes the last thing you want anything to be is boring. That's what 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is, boring and juvenile.
Then came the media sensation! The novels were plugged left and right as being "erotic" and "controversial." As I already stated they're as "erotic" as stereo instructions and the claim of controversy would be more convincing if these novels weren't SOLD AT THE CHECKOUT LINE IN GROCERY STORES!!! Come on! How "controversial" can it be?
Finally last night I chose to embrace the horror and get it over with and finally watch a bootleg version of this movie. How bad could it possibly be? I figured, if I could endure 'Cannibal Holocaust' 'Cannibal Ferox' 'Riki Oh' 'Salo' and ALL THREE 'ILSA' movies I could certainly survive this.
I braced myself (no puns intended) for this "controversial" "shocking" "erotic thriller" which barely got an R rating to see..... bare breasts. That's right! The most shocking scenes in the movie feature bare breasts. That's it!!! That's the big "shocker!" Bare breasts! Dakota Johnson's flat as a board bare breasts. I can name PG movies that feature bare breasts!
Staying true to the novel it was boring as sin. Well I guess I should have expected as much.
This only reinforces what I've said all along. Who is the target audience here? There's no shortage of actual porn. And porn fans will be bored to tears. The only way they'd enjoy this is if the role of Anastasia Steele was played by Tanner Mayes and the role of Christian Grey was played by ten black men.
At the same time other people won't be interested in seeing this trash. So who was the target audience to begin with?
'Fifty Shades' is pure hype built on nothing. The emperor has no clothes. Or rather he does, they're just really really dull.
I was very saddened to learn that this film was produced by Michael De Luca. The Michael De Luca? The same screen writer of one of the greatest films ever made 'In The Mouth of Madness'? Now I hate 'Fifty Shades of Grey' even more!
Viol, la grande peur (1978)
Exploitation That's Below Rape Revenge Genre
So this is a drama claiming to be "based on actual events" (yeah right) where reporters document rape cases from all around the world to expose the judicial system's mistreatment of rape victims but is really just a rape revenge exploitation film? Wrong, it doesn't rate that high. It's really just a soft core porn exploitation film.
The numerous graphic scenes of rape are in fact just soft core porn with all parties not only consenting but really getting into it. The jazz music sets the tone. They can't seriously be trying to convince anyone that these girls are being raped.
The version I saw was dubbed to English and the voice actors weren't even trying to take this seriously either. For example the prison guards in Chile all have fake Brooklyn accents.
The film is best known for the scenes of hard core porn legend Brigitte Lahaie getting "raped" and then enacting her own revenge. This segment certainly lived up to its reputation and makes the whole movie worth watching.
Lahaie is known for doing legitimate acting at the same time she was also starring in hard core porn films. This movie does not qualify for legitimate anything.
There are several other scenes which are laugh out loud riots. For example, when a reporter travels from France to Chile it goes totally Indiana Jones and actually shows us a map of France and Chile, only it's just a simple map book, no moving line. Why? What was the purpose of showing us this?
I suspect I saw the edited version of this film as some of the rape scenes have poor editing cuts. Perhaps the original version was hard core porn?
I really enjoyed this movie for several laugh out loud moments that someone would make a movie this truly sleazy. It's titled 'Rape' after all. As I said, none of the "rape" scenes even approach "rape."
Rushed Cash In Sequel Isn't So Bad
I saw this film when it first came out. I was in college in 1999 only 20 miles away from Burkesville MD and so I understand as well as anyone the huge sensation 'The Blair Witch Project' caused. Every weekend about 25% of my college would roam around the Burkesville woods getting drunk and high.
Hence, this film really hits home for me. Just as the viewer is forced to be around hung over kids whom spent the night drinking and smoking in the woods, so was a whole year of my college life!
This is the classic example of a rushed sequel punched out to cash in the original's popularity before the fad wears off ('Sister Act 2' 'Sherk 2' 'Shanghai Knights') without any regard for quality. The studio never cares about quality because the sequel factor alone will guarantee box office success.
The major factor here is that ALL FIVE of the characters are just named after the actors playing them! That's how fast this script was punched out! It was literally written ON THE SET!
I'll never forget the trailer for this. Usually trailers highlight the major action and money shots of the film. This trailer actually showed a girl dancing on bed. Yup, that's the best shot they could show us to drag us into the theaters! A girl dancing on a bed! This is supposed to be a scary movie right?
Anyway, five stoners camp out in the Burkesville woods just like 'The Blair Witch Project.' Scary? I'm always amused at how even respected film critics like Roger Ebert religiously recited 'The Blair Witch Project's promo, "the Black Hills of Maryland" as if somehow it's scary. Burkesville is the suburbs. The suburbs! No one can get lost in someone's backyard! And any "campers" would be arrested for trespassing. It's the suburbs!
After a hard night of drinking and drugs the five kids awaken to find their book in progress destroyed by an industrial shredder. They all act surprised at having blacked out as if something scary has happened. Nothing scary has happened! They just passed out drunk!
Next, the pregnant girl has a miscarriage. Drinking and drugging will cause that as well. The nurse at the hospital says, "Your body is telling you something's not right." as if it is scary. No, it's just the drinking and drugs!
So the five kids go to what's described as an abandoned Civil War factory. WOW! Plumbing, electricity, paint and glass that's held up for 150 years! No wonder the North won the war, they were really advanced. WWII factor we might buy. But Civil War factory?
Anyway, the kids watch the tapes of themselves from the night before but find nothing until they're played backwards. OF course you can't really do that because video doesn't work the same as film but whatever. The backwards footage reveals an orgy of drinking and drugs. We already knew about this!!! The kids then go into a trance and wander off to murder an neighboring group of campers. They're so out of their minds that they remember to bring a camcorder with them to capture it for posterity.
Next the kids are interrogated by the police in scenes which fail to work as either drama or comedy as ALL the cops are overly acting redneck stereotypes. Again, Burkesville isn't the Deep South. It's the suburbs! Why are ALL the cops inbred rednecks? If the movie isn't going to take these scenes seriously neither is the audience.
All in all it is fun for some laughs and not horribly made. It does go down as a classic example of a punched out and rushed cash in sequel.
Only one mystery remains. What's the "Book of Shadows?" There are no books or shadows in this film or even mention of them! Again, this leads me to conclude there were multiple studio scripts and rewrites and the film was just slapped together without regard.
Apply Razor To Wrists and Repeat
So the walking dead Cher ('Laugh In') and Christina Aguilera want to make a movie? Here comes the pain baby here comes the pain! What's next? Pauly Shore teams up with Jerry Lewis?
The plot: imagine every movie clichés in history. Small town girl wants to make it as star in the big city. An older mentor shows her the way. In Cher's case she's a really older mentor. The nightclub is about to be foreclosed on by evil greedy slime balls. Yup, that's the plot. There's nothing else to say.
Now get ready for the celebrity cameos. I have no idea why they think they can save this movie. Have celebrity cameos ever saved any movie? Celebrity cameos have only ever worked in goofy comedies like 'Back To the Beach.' See what I mean? The best example of celebrity cameos in film history is 'Back To the Beach!' They don't work!
So Christina Aguilera goes to work at a burlesque club in LA. And it's not a gay bar! WTF? Do burlesque shows even exist outside the gay night life? Even burlesque shows in Nazixploitation films are gay bars! Whatever.
Cher has obviously had way to much plastic surgery and should accept her age gracefully.... Is what I said in 1985! In 2010 this is just ridiculous! Even the most die hard Cher fan is ashamed of the way she looks. Lucio Fulci had zombies that weren't as scary as her.
So their nightclub is threatened by evil condo developers. How can they solve this problem? Put on a show of course! No! They don't do anything! Cher just talks the developer out of buying their nightclub. Yup, that's the climax.
In summary, I've had root canals better than this film. I'd rather endure Chester Novell Turner and Godfrey Ho's entire filmographies than see one minute of this! This isn't even worth seeing to laugh at. It's just bad. Really really bad on every level.
Cheap Nunxploitation Part 2
Groan, this is the second Bruno Matti nunxploitation film I've seen this week. I could simply copy and paste my review of Matti's 'The Other Hell' and it would still be an accurate review.
It only reinforces how nunxploitation is by far the laziest of the exploitation sub genres. And that's saying something! Rent some nun costumes, use a church as your set, use classical public domain music, have some orgies of both blood and sex, cut print done in one take.
At least 'The Other Hell' had a coherent plot. Silly and boring but there was a beginning, middle and end. 'The True Story of the Nun of Monza' is impossible to follow! And I really did try. It's just one nun orgy after another and another. While this is typical of a nunxploitation film, this time Matti seems to be going for the record. There's a nun orgy every 30 seconds! The only reasons for the breaks in between is for them to find another decomposing dead body. Who are these dead characters? How did they die? Are they being murdered? If the film doesn't know or care why should the audience? Back to the nun orgies! Seriously! There's no explanation for these dead body scenes!
I honestly cannot describe the plot because there is NONE!
Note how all the positive reviews praise this as a dark comedy. If nun orgies are your thing there are far more entertaining nunxploitation films to choose from.
The positive reviews also praise this a not being one of Bruno Matti's worse films. That's like saying a root canal is more fun than castration.
This is one to skip even if you're going through Bruno Matti's entire filmography. Let's not and say we did.