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36 reviews in total 
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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
2nd helping of Film Crew goofiness, 29 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Three of the crack minds from Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy) return for a second round with their new project 'The Film Crew' and continue their proud tradition of mocking the weak.

For people who missed the first release 'Hollywood After Dark' the film crew are three men who have been hired to create commentary tracks for DVDs that don't have any. Each week (or month depending on how frequently they plan to release these discs) they are sent a new awful film to which they provide the full attention it so richly deserves.

This time out they are sent the B-movie classic Killers from Space starring a young and wooden Peter Graves. MST3K fans are sure to remember another Graves outing 'Beginning of the End' being one of the high points of the last series and this one does a great job living up to it. The plot involves a scientist who disappears during a bomb test and shows up later with a large scar on his chest and no memory of what happened. After his bosses find him leaving some secret information in the desert they are forced to drug him so he can reveal all that he knows. If you have seen the title you may have guessed that his disappearance may be linked to some killers who are perhaps from space. The aliens plans are quite simple. Release giant bugs and animals to destroy the world and then take over but the good Doctor will have none of that and comes up with a plan to save the human race. The only problem is getting anyone to believe him.

Okay the story sounds pretty stupid (which it is) but that script is just one of the films many flaws. Thanks to Peter's stiff performance (just try to ignore that), the directors decision to have seemingly random close ups, repetitive action and the terrible alien make up and flying effects the guys have no shortage of targets to aim at and they don't let anything slide.

A big step up this time is the quality of the host segments. Things seemed a little off in the first one but everything is definitely clicking now and they manage to deliver some laughs while giving everyone a break from the film. Hopefully this improvement is going continue with any future releases.

Anyone who either enjoys MST3K or just likes listening to Smart Asses tee off on something will get a big kick out of 'The Film Crew'. I can not wait for the next one.

18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
No bots, no problem, 8 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Three of the minds responsible for one of the funniest shows ever created (Mystery science theatre 3000) return to riffing with this effort that clearly shows they have lost none of their edge.

Bill Crobett, Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy play the challenging roles of three guys named Bill, Mike and Kevin who are 'The film crew'. Their job is to provide DVD commentaries to older films that have none. Unfortunately since the best films already have those tracks they are forced to watch lessor films. Of course that is really irrelevant. The premise just provides an excuse for these really funny men to watch a crappy film and make a lot of hilarious comments.

Their first assignment is 'hollywood after dark' which is a rather dour cautionary tale about how everyone who wants to be a star is doomed. Future Golden Girl Rue McClanahan (yikes!) stars as a dancer/actress who works as a stripper (double yikes!) while waiting for her big break. She meets up with a rather depressing man who runs a junk yard and they fall in love. Of course their happiness is short lived as Rue gets drugged (possibly, its not shown very clearly) and raped while at an audition and the junkman decides to get involved in a crime to raise the necessary money to get them both out of town. There is no shortage of absurdities in this film and the 'crew' never lets any opportunity to mock pass by.

The quality of the jokes seem to be on par with the Mike Nelson years on MST3K. The gags fly fast and furious and although the host segment isn't great, the actual main program is strong enough to justify checking this out. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a long running series of DVDs.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Flesh a-ah saviour of the universe, 9 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At a time when porn movies were inching closer to the mainstream this film was made to capitalize on that trend. Unfortunately the films cost over-runs and a subsequent police raid necessitated the removal of almost all of the hardcore material (although you can still spot a bit of X activity if you watch the revelers in Wang's throne room during the orgy sequence). Perhaps the biggest surprise of this film is that the deleted scenes have allowed this film to reach a much broader audience and has led directly to its status as a cult classic.

Jason Williams plays Flesh Gordon who along with Dale Ardor (played by adorable porn star Suzanne Fields) get kidnapped by Flexi Jerkoff and together they zoom across the galaxy to stop the evil emperor Wang's sex ray from bombarding the earth.

The goofy names and the sex ray subplot make in pretty clear where the humour is directed. Sure it aims pretty low but it actually works very well. It is next to impossible to be offended by any movie that is this goofy. Everything from the design of Flexi's ship to the look of the aliens puts a sexual spin on the sci-fi genre. Special credit must be given to the amazing monster (voiced by Poltergeist & The Incredibles Craig T. Nelson) that Flesh faces at the movies climax. It is a glowing tribute to Ray Harryhousen although it is given dialogue that none of his creatures would ever think to say.

Sure this film is not for the timid but it can present a fun evenings viewing for any open minded adult but you may want to ignore the long after the fact sequel Flesh Gordon meets the cosmic cheerleaders. The special effects are good but the dialogue is simply too lame and it falls far short of the quality of its predecessor.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
collapsing church crushes cutie, 9 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A family moves in to a lovely country home owned by Bette Davis and immediately the older daughter (cult favorite Lynn Holly Johnson) begins to sense something evil waiting out in the woods.

This classic Disney effort came at a time when the company first began courting older audiences and their nervousness about this film was evident in the original trailer that featured a warning to parents to check out the film themselves before bringing the young ones. Although a bit of an over statement this film is quite suspenseful in parts and may be a bit much for the more timid children.

The story itself involves a kids game that leads to a disappearance. It has been thirty years since Bette Davis' daughter has vanished but she has begun to appear to the girl who has moved into her home. The new girl must cope with haunting visions of a blindfolded blond girl which keep showing up in different reflective surfaces (mirrors, pools of water) as well as reoccurring symbols of overlapping circles. The mystery angle makes it quite involving for children as they can try to figure out the story before the protagonist does although how the story actually works out depends entirely on which version of the film you watch. Disney continued to tinker with the film after its release and several endings are available. If you watch the excellent recent DVD you can decide which one you like for yourself as they are on it.

Thanks to some strong acting, a terrific score and solid direction by the reliable John Hough you have a effective little thriller that is suitable for family viewing but you may want to watch it first for yourself, just in case.

The Car (1977)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Vroom?, 9 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this 70's drive in classic a small, isolated desert community is visited by a sinister presence who sets out to mow down anyone who ventures in the streets. As such is the case in films like this, the problem is not just your garden variety hit and run driver. That would be too simple. The Sheriff (James Brolin) is forced to admit that the problem is that Satan has shown up in the form of a possessed car.

Although this film was dismissed on first release as a Jaws rip-off it has slowly found its audience thanks to very positive word of mouth. This fast paced, dumb as dirt, thriller has become a cult favorite thanks to its absurd premise (and its willingness to run with it) and some surprising drama. Ronny Cox delivers a strong performance as a alcoholic cop who has trouble dealing with the stress of the killings, especially when one strikes close to home.

The sequence involving the school teacher standing on hallowed ground with her students taunting the evil car as it revs and roars on the edge of the property has to stand as some bizarro masterpiece and the way she meets her ultimate end is a true horror classic. Any movie where a wife beater gets to stand up and join the good guys for some last reel heroics deserves a special place of honour on anyones DVD shelf and Anchor Bay has created a great one (thats sadly out of print) that allowed viewers to spot the long rumoured demon in explosion which was much harder to see on the murkier fullscreen VHS transfer from the eighties.

All in all, a good time for anyone who appreciates either car crashes or just weird cinema in general.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
she comes in the night, 9 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Astonishing Bava ghost story concerning a series of unsolved murders in a quiet town. A coroner and a police officer are each brought in to get to the bottom of the case but are faced with superstitious villagers who are convinced the problem traces back to the death of a little girl years earlier.

Despite the audience indifference that occurs in North America, director Mario Bava has long been considered one of the masters of the genre. This highly prolific talent along with his compatriots Fulchi and Argento helped establish Italy as the world leader in horror films.

This creepy, stylish film has clearly influenced countless offerings that followed such as the specter in the otherwise dismal Fear dot com and the genre classic The Changeling. The image of the little girl with her faced pressed to the window or her ball bouncing down the stairs and through the hallway continue to give off an eerie vibe that makes this film far more effect than many other horror movies. Add in a solid dubbing job (I have yet to find a subtitled copy) and you have a remarkable flick.

This incredible movie (often available in multi packs for next to nothing) is terrific for when you don't want to be grossed out, you just want a great story, told to perfection.

Delta Delta Die! (2003) (V)
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
So much fun, 12 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Memories, the curse of aging. It is so hard to enjoy anything when your mind can recall times where similar things where available. I couldn't watch 'The Jacket' without thinking of 'Jacob's Ladder', I couldn't watch 'The last horror movie' without thinking of 'Man bites dog' and yet I could enjoy watching this film without thinking about all the earlier cannibal sorority babes films that came before it. Perhaps this film was so brilliant that it was above comparison? No, I'm sure that wasn't it. Has my memory started to fade from age? Perhaps but I can still recall the great Karen Black film 'Auntie Lee's Meat Pies' so that can't be it. Could my mind has been fogged by the strip tease performed by Troma favorite Tiffany Shepis? Actually that one makes a lot of sense but I think there may be more to it than that. Like the basic fact that this film is a lot of fun.

The delta's are the most popular sorority on campus. Thanks to house mother Julie Strain their charity bake sales are always big hits. But what is in the meat pies that make them so darn delicious? Oh crap, since I already referred to them as cannibal sorority babes I guess that really isn't much of question. They kill people and feed them to the other students (although they are not allowed to feed on the flesh themselves which leads to friction within the house).

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. Yes there is a lot of nudity. Films like this thrive on it. Julie Strain seems to be trying to make up for her sister Lizzie's refusal to disrobe by removing her cloths with alarming frequency. Perhaps the budget was too low for fabric softener and she found them scratchy and uncomfortable? Aside from the already mentioned (and very much appreciated) Tiffany Shepis dance the film features enough flashes of nudity to keep the most bored of viewers tuned in. This may seem like enough to recommend the film but the movie actually offers more. There is a surprising amount of humour that actually works, the cast all offer either half decent performances (Brinke Stevens and Tiffany Shepis are especially strong with Julie Strain obviously having a ball) or they are likable enough to overcome their shortcomings and the film moves at a brisk enough pace to make the whole experience quite pleasant.

This is simply a highly entertaining B movie that sits along side Cheerleader Ninjas as reminders of how much fun these films can be.

Slaughter Party (2006) (V)
8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Troma stumbles, 11 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a hardcore troma fan. From Toxie to Terror firmer there is no companies whose films I look forward to more than these guys. Hell, I even enjoyed the chaotic Tales from the Crapper but this one I'm afraid just does not work.

After three men head out to the desert to look for a local legend (and realize that there is more to it than myth) one of them gets transformed mentally and becomes a woman killer. The fact that the slasher is also a midget becomes the one novelty that this film provides. Although the sight of the little guy snarling and swinging a knife is good for a few laughs it is not enough to sustain the film. To provide slasher fodder the film-makers give us a group of women who are taking a vacation in that same place. Through a remarkable coincidence not only is the sister of one of the victims among the party goers but the killer dwarf who has been slaughtering people in a nearby city hitches a ride with one of his potential prey and ends up at the same spot.

This film features some sophomoric sex sequences including the rape of the midget and some necrophilia thrown in but if anyone has seen a troma film before they expect that sort of silliness and are not offended but that seems to be the films major problem. They simply did not go far enough. The elements were there for a fun, insane, terror firmer-like romp but sadly the finished product just kind of sits there lifeless.

As a zero budget film the acting is very hit and miss. Felissa Rose (sleepaway camp) was better at the low key moments but seemed to crank up the histrionics just a bit too much. Adam Glasser (Anal Surprise Party) seems as natural in this film as he is on the terrific series Family business and of course its always nice to see the great Brinke Stevens get another role even if it is nothing more than a cameo. Like many troma offerings the cameos lift the film over some dull stretches with Brinke's work being matched by Ron Jeremy and the brilliant acting skills of the remarkable Lloyd Kaufman.

This is one of those films that seem to fall in the middle. The killer midget idea is cool but the killings are so poorly done that the novelty does not hold. The vacationing girls are cute but the directer can't seem to work up the enthusiasm to make a half-decent exploitation film. The cameos are fun but they can't justify some weak performances. In the end I recommend passing on this one unless of course you are a Troma completest but if you stumble across it on a friends shelf and you can borrow it than go ahead. At least it is short.

By the way, avoid the commentary track on the DVD. It is a dull, one joke offering recorded by the killer. If you can make it through more than ten minutes than you are a far more patient person than I am.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Odd but not always funny., 11 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In a weird future where tubes provide all of lives necessities (and also seem to provide the basis for almost all of the slang that the Hollowhead children use) Meet the Hollowheads creates one of the most unique worlds ever captured on film. Unfortunately that creativity does not carry over to the plot. The films basic story is one of those classic old chestnuts that has been used on virtually every family sitcom. Dad brings the boss home for dinner and wants everything to go right to secure the big promotion. Of course the boss turns out to be a jerk (and eventually much worse) but the family tries to keep the strained smiles on their faces despite his behaviour. Although this film has amazing production design too often is comes across as odd and simply not funny. From the crushing of live creatures to make children's snacks to a tentacled monster who is kept in a fridge so its limbs can be hacked off for dinner there is no shortage of bizarre sights (I won't even get into the family dog or the bizarre means of feeding Grandpa) but only some of it is amusing. Most is just weird. The whole film comes across like David Lynch directing an episode of 'The Jetsons'.

Obviously a lot of care went into this film and the acting is first rate.A very young Juliet Lewis may rate the box cover but special mention must be made of both the criminally under-rated John Glover and the remarkably sleazy Richard Portnow. Although they were great there really was no weak link in the film. I just wish that after the writers had created this amazing world they would have spent just a little longer figuring out what they wanted everyone to do in it.

Style is important but it is not enough on its own to carry the film. This movie is worth watching for anyone who likes new worlds but do not expect a masterpiece, its more of a interesting misfire. The potential was there but they were never able to bring it to the next level.

Hell Night (1981)
Linda Blair, mutants and a Van Patten. What else do you want?, 18 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A gorgeous Linda Blair stars as a sweet young thing who, during pledge week, is forced to spend the night in Garth Manor. Years ago this was the setting of a massacre as Daddy Garth snapped and took out his wife and kids before killing himself. By the time the police arrived two of the bodies were gone and thus began a local legend.

This film, aside from being beautiful to look at, features something that was in short order in the eighties - restraint. Instead of focusing on special effects, the movies concentrates on building suspense and as a result is often criticized for being slow paced and having a low body count but this film, despite the modern setting is really a fun throwback to the fifties old dark house movies. The big plus is that unlike most of the films of the classic genre there is no man behind the mask. There is actually a creature (well, two to be specific) that is after them.

Linda Blair does a terrific job of anchoring the cast of this low budget effort. As her career has faded over the years it is easy to forget how good she could be. This film along with Born Innocent and the original Exorcist stand as the best examples of her abilities. Vince Van Patten (Rock and Roll High School), Peter Barton (Powers of Matthew Starr) and one hit wonder Suki Goodwin are all well cast and the writer wisely lets the audience spend some time with the characters before the horror begins which is very rare in this genre.

As good as the cast is, the best in show is truly cinematographer Mac Ahlberg who gives this movie a beautiful rich look. Few low budget horror movies get this level of care as every frame is perfectly shot with many scenes lit entirely by candlelight (a process developed for Barry Lyndon).

Linda Blair fans, in fact more mature horror movie lovers in general should enjoy this fun thriller whose climax still stands as a high water mark for villain dispatching. Although people with short attention span will find it rough going patient viewers will find it well worth tracking down a copy.

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