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Creep (I) (2004)
5/10
Jared Won't Be Going into This Subway
16 October 2005
A rather odd little British film about terror in the London underground, "Creep" manages to deliver a few chills despite the obligatory horror-movie plot holes and character idiocy.

In the film's favor: an appropriately sinister setting in a subway tunnel at night; a gruesome monster; and good performances from the actors, especially lead Franka Potente of "Run Lola Run" fame.

Working against classic status: the aforementioned plot holes and character idiocy. In fairness, these things are no worse than they generally are in other horror movies, and I give the film points for not pulling the stupid "monster resurrection" at the end for a lame attempt at an extra cheap scare.

Perhaps its biggest fault is the movie's uneven atmosphere, which abruptly changes from mysterious suspense to a sort of all-is-revealed disclosure of the monster about halfway through. Well, not all is revealed. Another problem I had was that the movie never more than hints at the history, nature, and motives of the monster. Normally, I like things being left to the imagination. It often lends an extra bit of fear to a story. But I'm not sure it works too well here. (An earlier comment had a good theory about the origin of the creature that seemed to fit, though.)

Bottom line: not great, but not total crap either. The Good Doctor recommends watching this with all the lights off to get the best results. Boo!
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3/10
Hippies + Satan + Rabies = Crap
15 October 2005
"Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acidhead. Drink from his cup, pledge yourselves, and together we'll all freak out!" You would think any movie beginning with that kind of great dialogue -- spoken with an Indian accent, no less -- would be a magically awesome experience.

But "I Drink Your Blood," a ridiculous film about Satan-worshipping hippies who get infected with rabies, pretty much just goes downhill from there. What a shame.

I can recommend this movie only if you want to see lots of inane chatter, punctuated by machete-wielding flower children foaming at the mouth and attacking people. Also, you should enjoy bad acting and be able to endure quite possibly the crappiest, most annoying film score in the history of movies.

Otherwise, you could probably find something better to do with 83 minutes of your life.
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5/10
Blimey! Did You Say Zombies, Love?
3 October 2005
A Spanish director, working with an Italian crew, filmed this movie in the English countryside. It's about a cop-hating hippie, a hippie-hating cop, a couple hysterical women, and -- of course -- some flesh-eating zombies. It's "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie," AKA one thousand other titles, a halfway decent Euro effort to cash in on the success of "Night of the Living Dead." Unfortunately, it's probably this latter fact that prevents it from being a better movie.

The plot has been recounted here numerous times: an experimental agricultural machine designed to kill insects somehow manages to turn babies into little psychos and raise the recent dead from their repose. All well and good. After the zombies arise, however, things get a bit muddled. It seems they need the blood of the living to raise other zombies. Why zombies -- unthinking, re-animated corpses -- would care about making more of themselves, never mind knowing how to do it, isn't explained. They also rip apart and eat people, in the classic Romero fashion, even though this seems somewhat at odds with the first explanation for why they molest the living.

The zombies are pretty ferocious. For some reason, they are fairly smart and have superhuman strength, and the only apparent way to kill them is to burn them. There is, however, no zombie plague -- a grand total of perhaps six or seven of them make an appearance throughout the movie.

This isn't as disappointing as it sounds. Part of what the movie does right is set an ominous mood of growing suspense. Another nice touch is that the authorities never actually learn that there are zombies: All the murders in the film are attributed by the police to the main characters, and more-or-less plausibly so.

All in all, the Good Doctor would classify "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" as an above-average foray into the zombie subgenre. Plotwise, it doesn't make perfect sense -- and I attribute at least some of this to the desire of the producer or whoever to make it more like Romero's movie -- but it has a much more cohesive storyline than the slew of mostly crappy Italian zombie flicks that followed. The splatter effects, while rather infrequent, are quite good. Plus, the subtext of environmental doom lends the movie a bit of depth not possessed by most films of this type, while the two lead characters are fairly believable and likable. The police detective, played by Arthur Kennedy, is, however, rather ridiculously over the top, and the pacing could be quicker. Also, the stupid "twist" ending forces the Good Doctor to deduct serious points, especially since the ending would have been really cool if only the movie stopped about five minutes earlier.

Anyway, it's not a masterpiece, but it's not too bad either.
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Blood Feast (1963)
7/10
Masterpiece from the Ed Wood of Gore
13 March 2005
As the first-ever splatter epic, "Blood Feast" is assured of its place in history. This low-budget shlockfest is single-handedly responsible for launching an entire genre of films, including slasher fare like the Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street movies. For that reason, its place in hell is probably assured, too. Though to be fair, of course, we can thank it for so many other blood-soaked cinematic excursions that are actually entertaining.

And fortunately for cheese heads, director Herschell Gordon Lewis, the "Godfather of Gore," is also the Ed Wood of gore. The two great auteurs share many important trademarks in their roster of masterpieces, including wooden acting, absurdly bad dialogue, cheeseball effects, and lousy continuity. "Blood Feast" sports all of these endearing qualities and more, even going so far as to include some Woodian abrupt day-to-night-to-day transitions.

The dopey plot involves one Fuad Ramses, author of the New York Times bestseller "Ancient Weird Religious Practices," and his attempt to re-create, through his ridiculous "exotic catering" service, an authentic Egyptian blood feast, whatever that is. But really, all we need to know is that it involves the gruesome murders of pretty young women. (Surprise, surprise, surprise!) Beyond that, all that's left to say is that the Good Doctor gives this landmark bit of trash cinema two wheels of gorgonzola up.

Followed, insanely, by a sequel in 2002.
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6/10
How Can You Not Love This Crap?
15 February 2005
"Burial Ground" AKA "The Nights of Terror" AKA "Le notti del terrore" is magnificent crap by any name. Consider this: In addition to the standard horrible dubbing, ridiculous score, and awful editing, you get exceptionally stupid characters, MENSA-level zombies, and a 25-year-old guy who plays a 10-year-old boy with a severe case of the Oedipal blues. It all adds up to 90 minutes of prime entertainment (assuming you're a warped bastard like the Good Doctor).

The semi-coherent plot involves a professor who somehow manages to resurrect some corpses(who promptly tear his face off) and a group of idiotic people who come to hang out at his castle for some reason. The idiotic people include three nice looking women, two of whom bare their breasts within the first 10 minutes of the film, and the aforementioned superannuated "boy."

Goofy dialogue and absurd situations ensue. As mentioned, the zombies, who look decent for a movie of this type, are smarter than the humans. They use tools -- axes, picks, scythes, battering rams, even power saws -- while our hapless heroes pretty much just scream a lot and get killed. Well, before they get killed, two of them -- a pretty hot blonde who is apparently a model and her photographer boyfriend -- have this great exchange:

He: You're turning into a great little model.

She: Then I deserve a raise in pay.

He: You're getting a raise from me all right but it has nothing to do with money!

Uh, yeah. Anyway, of course this movie sucks, but it's pretty funny the way the characters don't really help each other as they get ripped apart by maggot-infested zombies. It's also curious that the zombies, who mostly appear to be rotted down to their skeletons, are still way stronger than the living losers they attack.

If the Good Doctor has one complaint, it's that extreme close-ups ruin the cheesy gore effects too often. But other than that, why not grab some popcorn, ring up your mom, and put this on the DVD player? She'll love it.
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Zombie Beach Party (2003 Video)
1/10
Enter... Crap
31 January 2005
What do you get when you cross a low-budget zombie movie with a story about a team of masked wrestlers? The answer is apparently something called "Enter... Zombie King."

Actually, "low-budget" is an inappropriate description, since that might imply there WAS a budget for this crap. I think instead what happened is the would-be director found some change when he was vacuuming under his couch cushions and thought, "What the hell, I'm calling my pals and we're gonna make a movie."

Then, after getting together and drinking six cases of beer, they came up with the idea to combine zombies with wrestlers. The result: A bunch of Canadians pretending to be Mexican wrestlers from the United States (I didn't get it either) must fight a former wrestler who's become the Zombie King and is trying to take over the world with an army of the living dead. Or something.

Yeah, it's dumb.
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2/10
Crappier Than the Bathroom at Taco Bell
15 October 2004
Grab a dozen or so of your friends. Make sure one of them has a camcorder. Have another put on a (cheap) rented gorilla suit from a Halloween store. Finally, go traipsing around somewhere outside where there's vegetation. (Your backyard will do.) And if your little brother has a plastic toy dinosaur you can bring along, so much the better.

I guarantee that whatever you end up recording will turn out as good as or better than "The Mighty Gorga." It really is that bad. Which is often a good thing, except in this case there's too much boredom in between the bouts of jaw-droppingly horrendous "special effects." Yeah, they're special, all right. Some of the specialest ever seen.

Therefore, since laughter is the best medicine, the Good Doctor can recommend watching only about 15 minutes of this atrocity. But figuring out which 15 minutes is the trick.
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5/10
"Move the table over to the cage... and prepare the gorilla!"
12 October 2004
This movie has EVERYTHING. Female wrestling. Gorillas. Open-heart surgery. A crappy-looking monster. Gratuitous nudity. Ridiculously fake gore. Bad dubbing. Retarded dialogue. Atrocious editing. In other words, all the makings of a masterpiece.

When a surgeon transplants the heart of an ape into his deathly ill son, the result is, of course, a guy in a stupid-looking gorilla mask running amok and attacking hot Mexican broads. I mean, duh, what else would you expect to happen when you mess with the laws of nature, or whatever.

Meanwhile, some chick in a red catsuit wrestles other women while her boyfriend watches. No, it's not what you're thinking. She wrestles in the ring and he sits in the audience. Why does this happen? I don't really know. But her boyfriend turns out to be the detective who tries to track the Bloody Ape Man of Death, so I guess it's all right.

After the requisite number of murders, the surgeon recaptures his homicidal son and transplants a human heart back into him, taken from the body of a woman he steals from the hospital he works at. But it's all for naught: Gorilla Boy just gets back up and rips more people's heads off. More chaos ensues until the chilling denouement.

Bottom line: this movie is apparent proof that Ed Wood had Mexican relatives. Which means it's safe for you to watch this crap.

Waiter, I'll take a grilled apeburger... with extra cheese. To go!
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4/10
Ah, those crazy Italian zombies
13 September 2004
You like to think you're in for a treat when a movie starts out with a guy being horribly beaten with a chain, graphically crucified, and then melted in acid. Just a little Cajun justice what was meted out on them there warlocks in Louisiana circa 1927.

Fast forward to bayou country, 1981. Some hot blonde girl from New York has inherited an abandoned hotel in Mandeville, apparent scene of the aforementioned grotesquerie. Unbeknownst to our heroine is that the hotel also was built on top of one of the seven doorways to hell. Who knew the devil would choose Mandeville for such an honor?

What follows is your traditional Italian blend of incomprehensible plot, dorky score, bad dubbing, and over-the-top splatter sequences. All of the classic Lucio Fulci trademarks are here -- the weird obsession with people's eyes (including the patented eyeball gouge and eyeball impalement), characters' bizarrely implausible reactions to the supernatural and the disgusting, and, of course, buckets o' (fake) blood.

As Fulci movies go, this is supposedly one of his best. However, the Good Doctor must say that, despite a high CF (Cheese Factor), he found himself bored for the most part. The pace is somewhere between molasses in winter and molasses in winter on Pluto, punctuated with only occasional violence (including one ridiculous scene where a brood of pipe-cleaner tarantulas eats a guy's latex face piece by piece.)

Maybe the best thing about the movie is that it was filmed in New Orleans, and you get to see a little of that great city, including the famous Cornstalk House. Oh well, at any rate, there's worse crap out there, but I would take Fulci's "Zombi 2" over "The Beyond." The former at least ended with an all-out zombie fest that made sitting through the boring parts worth it, whereas the grand "hospital full of walking dead" finale in this movie is pretty tame.

I mean, it's not like anyone is watching these lousy films for their great and suspenseful story lines -- so why not let more zombie guts fly?
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3/10
Human Flesh Isn't All This Movie Eats
24 April 2004
I have to confess this is my first and so far only venture into the no-doubt-wonderful world of the Italian cannibal flick. I understand that this particular film is a relatively tame entry in the genre, and also that the version I bought for a couple bucks has several minutes of sleaze edited out of it. Pity.

Still, "Slave of the Cannibal God" manages to deliver a few entertaining bits of cheese for the schlock lover. There's plenty here for everyone, especially anyone who likes to see monkeys getting eaten by snakes, lizards barfing up their dinner, guts being pulled out of a guy, midgets in loincloths, and, uh, oh yeah, Ursula Andress's naked body. The violence involving animals is real, as are Ursula's breasts, but the comparatively small amounts of gore involving humans are about what you would expect from a 1970s Italian exploitation flick.

Overall, this surprisingly plays like a real movie with real actors for the most part. And although the sound, dubbing, and score are all fairly awful, they're not as awful as I've seen in other masterpieces of Italian horror cheese.

Bottom line: "Slave of the Cannibal God" filled 90 minutes of my life with crap -- 90 minutes that otherwise might have been productive. And what sense would there have been in that?

Also stars Stacy Keach, who must have needed to make a few quick bucks to support his cocaine habit, and a bunch of Italians.
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7/10
Above-Average Entry in a Crap-Ridden Horror Subgenre
22 March 2004
The first thing that needs to be said about this movie is that it is a completely different animal from the 1978 horror masterpiece by zombie auteur George A. Romero. The two films share a title and a few superficial details of plot and setting, but other than that, they have little in common. This movie is not as philosophically deep, intelligent, witty, or suspenseful as Romero's. It's a strictly modern horror flick, and by `modern' I mean that it has typically shallow, flat characters; frequently stupid and vulgar dialogue; and that annoying, MTV-style, this-might-be-scary-if-you-could-tell-what-the-****-was-happening kind of editing. If you go into it with this in mind, you will enjoy it more.

And so the next thing that needs to be said is that, despite its self-imposed limitations as an ADD-generation movie, the new `Dawn' still manages to be above-average zombie flesh-eating entertainment -- easily the best entry in this horror subgenre in years (though, considering all the crap out there, that isn't saying a whole lot). So before I get to my list of cons/pet peeves, I'll mention some of the positive aspects of this movie.

First, the changes to the story go beyond the standard, gratuitous, change-for-the-sake-of-change sort. There are some truly inventive elements here, such as the impressive scenes of devastation at the beginning of the film, the lone survivor on the rooftop across from our heroes and their relationship with him, and the well done `Blair Witch' style coda during the end credits. Overall, the whole `zombie epidemic' is handled pretty slickly and without any of that snarky, postmodern self-consciousness that sinks so many remakes of well-known classics.

Next, although the zombie splatter action is not as over-the-top graphic as it is in Romero's classics, director Zack Snyder avoids the cop-out cutaway shot often enough to satisfy at least the casual gorehound. (Actually, some scenes serve to remind just how wimpy your average splatter horror movie has become these days.)

And while it's true that the powerful subtext of Romero's work and his sardonic wit are absent in the new `Dawn,' there are still some moments of black comedy that really are pretty funny. (Watch for the `celebrity' shoot-'em-up sequence for a prime example.)

Finally, the music selections are inspired, from Johnny Cash in the opening credits to Richard Cheese during the midpoint comic relief to `People Who Died' by the Jim Carroll Band during the closing credits (I didn't think more than a handful of people even knew that song existed). Throw in some well placed muzak selections, and it becomes clear that someone with a brain deliberately worked on the soundtrack. Awesome!

Now for the bad things. Perhaps most prominently, the movie suffers from the `modern' attributes mentioned above. The characters are not given a chance to truly develop; you never really know any of them and, hence, don't particularly care about them. To be fair, I think screenwriter James Gunn did make an effort to infuse some life into our intrepid heroes, but there are just too many characters (read: zombie fodder) for even the most skilled writer to develop. As a result, what characterization there is almost seems like an afterthought, and some of the actions of the characters are just inexplicable. (I suspect the DVD, when it comes out, may offer a number of deleted scenes that help, ahem, flesh things out more.)

Nobody watches zombie movies for the dialogue, but I wish Hollywood screenwriters didn't feel the need to gratuitously throw the `f-word' and other assorted obscenities into every other sentence. I'm not prudishly averse to cussing, but a forced excess of expletives just detracts from the import of what's actually said and reminds viewers of the inherently juvenile nature of Hollywood moviemaking these days.

As for the MTV-video style editing, do I really need to explain how much better it would be if the director let your eye focus on the action for more than a tenth of a second?

Overall, the new `Dawn' owes more to `28 Days Later' than its namesake, at least as far as the zombie mythology goes. Like Romero's films, the cause of the zombie plague is unknown, and also like in Romero's films, it doesn't matter. Unlike Romero's films, however, the clues point more to a virus, as in Danny Boyle's pseudo-zombie epic. Here the zombies are definitely dead, but they also movie rapidly, again as in `28 Days Later.' And although I prefer the creeping sense of dread of Romero's slow-moving animated corpses, I found the fast zombies didn't bother me as much as I thought they would. What really bothered me was the stupid wildcat noises they made when they attacked. Why would walking (ok, running) corpses make noises like that? Dumb.

However, in the movie's favor, the zombies here sometimes make more sense than Romero's. In particular, there's one scene where a zombie is chasing down someone to eat, but then abruptly breaks off pursuit as soon as he spots an easier mark. Romero's zombies like to kill people, begin eating them, then stop as soon as they see someone else to kill, leaving you to wonder why they would bother chasing someone else when they already have something to eat.

Oh well. In the end, as Chief McLellan from `Night of the Living Dead' puts it, `They're dead. They're all messed up.'

Not a masterpiece, but still recommended for fans of the living dead.
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Zombie Lake (1981)
2/10
AKA, "My Father Was a Zombie"
1 March 2004
The pace of "Zombie Lake" lumbers along more slowly than do the movie's titular walking corpses, who occasionally at least demonstrate bursts of speed. And just as this vapid mess of a movie can't decide if it wants to be a horror film or a touching drama, the zombies can't seem to decide if they want to be zombies or vampires, as they unfailingly bite the necks of everyone they attack. Of course, in the end, they're neither -- just guys with unevenly applied green makeup on their faces. Kind of like how the movie fails to be either horrifying or touching.

In fact, between the ludicrous love story and the cheesy neck-biting, there is not a lot going on here, except for your typically awful dubbing job and mandatory skinny dipping chicks. Now, normally, these elements might be enough to sustain a movie of this sort. But here it just falls flat.

However, I have to disagree with reviewers who say "Zombie Lake" features the worst zombie makeup ever. That title easily goes to "City of the Walking Dead." I also don't think you can say this movie didn't have any budget. There were, after all, some explosions and stuff.

But you can definitely miss this one and not miss much.
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3/10
I Watch the Crap So You Don't Have To
29 February 2004
Obviously edited, dubbed, and scored by a gorilla violently drunk on Thunderbird, "Horrors of Spider Island" represents a long-overdue return to the good old days when one's bevy of half-naked go-go girls would shut up and do what they were told, without all the crap.

At least, that's how it is until these particular girls' Alpha Male (a dude named Gary) is bitten by a radioactive spider muppet thing and turned into the Wolfman with claws, or something. Then he does the only thing one can do in such a situation: start bumping the broads off one by one.

Fortunately, two dorky louts, er, "researchers," soon disembark on ol' Spider Island with big jugs of booze, only to be promptly distracted by big jugs of another sort. The movie is then saved from being a stupid if semi-entertaining monster flick by becoming what may well have been the inspiration for "Elimidate," as the girls hair-toss, bitch-slap, and cat-fight over these two dweebs for the next 30 or 40 minutes.

Despite the DVD box's assertion that this movie is only 75 minutes long, the Elimidate part of the film managed to open a rift in the space-time continuum that greatly increased its length without seeming to affect my clock.

The movie does have a few good moments, and, in particular, some precious dialogue, such as:

"Look, here's a hammer with a long handle. It must be for the purposes of excavating some kind of metal, most probably uranium." Well, DUH, everyone knows THAT!

"She's been strangled... by a spider!" Uhhh... what?

"The boys will be surprised when they see us dressed up in our island costumes!" So that's the new name for bikinis....

The movie's special effects are special in the same way as the Special Olympics, and there are a few nice Ed Woodian abrupt day-night transitions. But overall, "Horrors of Spider Island" is pretty dull, and even the bevy of chicks doesn't really help.

There's just no substitute for laughably fake-looking monster action. Too bad Gary had to go and kill the spider muppet right after it bit him.
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3/10
Crap? Yes. Bottom 100? No.
8 February 2004
Sure, this movie is crap, but I don't think it deserves a place in IMDB's "Bottom 100." For one thing, it does have an admirable amount of exploding heads and other cheesy splatter. True, you have to sit through over an hour of boredom and stupidity first. But there are many, many movies that make you sit through a lot of boredom and stupidity without ever delivering the goop. Of course, it's also true, as others have noted, that "House of the Dead" suffers from a ridiculous overuse of "Matrix"-style camera techniques and the pointless splicing of scenes from the video game of the same name. The dreadful script, barely-there plot, and amateurish acting don't really help, either. Okay, so this movie does suck. But you could probably find 100 movies that suck worse than this one.

Oh yeah, and didn't Jurgen Prochnow used to have a real career?
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The Order (2003)
1/10
The Bore-der
8 February 2004
I shouldn't even review this movie, since it's not actually a horror movie -- and thus not worthy of Dr. Cheese's attention. At least, it's not horror in the usual sense. It's certainly a horrifying proposition to waste your time watching this crap. That's why I turned it off after the first four hours. Imagine my surprise, then, when the clock showed that only 45 minutes had passed. Yep, that's right; in plain terms, this movie is b-o-r-i-n-g.

"The Order" had lots of flaws, not all of them unique. In particular, it seems to me the main problem with the "religious" subgenre of horror films is Hollywood's unwillingness to engage Christianity on its own terms. It is quite possible to make truly creepy films that are also orthodox. Just ask William Peter Blatty. In fact, without orthodoxy, films like this are just an anything-goes smorgasbord of the filmmakers' (usually dull and illogical) imaginations.

Think about it. If someone made a movie ostensibly about, say, physics, but not only got the basic laws of physics wrong, but based the entire plot on its wrong portrayals, you would soon get tired of the resulting pointless plot. The same goes for these sorts of movies.

In other words, "The Order"(and many similar movies before it) invent out of whole cloth stuff about the Catholic Church and about the Christian faith and attempt to build a plot out of these inventions. Unsurprisingly, the plot ends up being incoherent and stupid. This movie has the added charm of being as interesting to watch as your toenails growing.

Avoid this steaming pile.
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Cabin Fever (2002)
3/10
Pancakes? What the Hell?
8 February 2004
The best thing about "Cabin Fever" is the versatile and effectively creepy score, composed by none other than Angelo "Twin Peaks" Badalamenti. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie really isn't all that remarkable. Which is a shame, since it had potential.

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why this movie left me cold. It has a fair amount of cheesy splatter in it, and some disturbing scenery. And Cerina Vincent makes for some pretty nice eye candy.

But I guess what ruined it was that all the characters, when they aren't saying something really stupid, are busy doing something really stupid. (Although I do admire the one guy who, in the face of danger and death, bravely grabs some beers and stumbles off into the woods, not to be seen again until the very end of the film.)

Yeah, there's some black humor and the movie is "paying homage" to horror films of the 1970s and 80s and whatever. But really, the humor isn't all that humorous, and as for homage, why can't someone just make an original and interesting horror movie instead of using the "homage" excuse to rehash stupid crap that's already been done?

Maybe the problem is my expectations were somewhat elevated owing to the critical buzz this movie received. And also because I think the deadly contagious disease concept hasn't yet been as fully exploited on the screen as it could be.

My advice? See "28 Days Later" instead. That's not the greatest movie either, but it's more interesting and you don't feel the urge to slap the characters every 30 seconds or so.
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6/10
Zombie Nutritionists Recommend All-Brain Diet
29 October 2003
One zombie movie, served with a side order of cheese. Not a bad flick; something of a spoof of the Romero "Dead" trilogy, with the zombies being much more fearsome owing to the fact that they are virtually unkillable and move just as quickly as regular folks. Oh yeah, and they aren't just interested in any bit of flesh, they specifically want to chow on human "brrrrraaaaiiiinnnnns," as they often remind the characters in the movie.

Above-average zombie entertainment, complete with gratuitous nude scene from B-movie queen Linnea Quigley, this tongue-in-cheek movie is good for a few laughs and even some decent gore effects. Recommended for zombie movie fans who want their walking dead to come without the added depth of social commentary inherent in Romero's films. But it doesn't touch Romero's work for sheer awesomeness. And it doesn't go nearly as far in spoofing the zombie genre as Peter Jackson's ultra-gross-out, "Dead Alive." Still, not crap, either.
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Zombie (1979)
5/10
Good zombie effects
29 October 2003
Yeah, I'm a zombie film fan. Lucio Fulci's "Zombie" or "Zombi 2" or whatever it's called is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the plot is nonexistent and the acting (complete with bad dubbing) is mediocre. Not a whole lot happens through most of the movie. However, once the zombies rise out of the ground, look out. This movie has some darn good effects, complete with writhing worms stuck in the empty eye sockets of some of the living dead, and the gore is of the sort that earned Fulci his reputation as one of the goriest directors around. Worth watching mainly for the last half hour, which is full of zombie flesh-eating action. However, owing to a lousy story, the movie is more gross than truly horrifying. Once again, Romero's movies stay head and shoulders above their imitators. But this is a decent foreign effort, and much better than a lot of the crap that's out there.
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Wrong Turn (I) (2003)
1/10
Predictable Dung
22 October 2003
As some have pointed out, this movie is something of a throwback to 1980s teen slasher flicks like Friday the 13th, blah blah blah. But while most of the people saying this seem to consider that a positive thing, I don't, since those movies totally sucked.

Every stupid cliche from every one of those retarded movies is also in this piece of crap, right down to the moronic "Boo! You thought I was the killer, but it's just me, one of the heroine's dumbass friends jumping out and trying to scare her!" gag.

I could go on and on raining my richly deserved contempt down upon this festering turd of a flick, but it's not even worth the effort. If you enjoy your movies so predictable you could write the entire rest of the script yourself after watching the first five minutes, by all means check this out. To everyone else I say: Do yourself a favor and spend the hour and a half you might waste watching this pile of excrement doing something more productive, like picking lint out of your belly button.
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3/10
Bloody Horrible
22 October 2003
Low-budget mess starring a young Gerald McRaney (boy, was he skinny) is mostly pointless and boring, but does have a few unintentionally funny moments.

My favorite part is when the cops haul Major Dad in as a suspect in the murders of two of his girlfriends and demand to know if he's a fag. Another good scene is the fistfight that takes place on the dance floor of a nightclub in the middle of the obligatory late-1960s psychedelic band's ultrahip set -- without anyone noticing.

The movie undoubtedly would have been better off going for more splatter instead of trying to build suspense in its obviously "Psycho"-inspired way, especially since what few gore scenes there are are amusingly fake. Remember pretending to be impaled as a kid by holding a fake sword under your armpit? That's the level of sophistication here.

Not the biggest piece of crap ever, but definitely not that good either. Oh well, at least it was filmed in "Violent Vision" (tm).
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1/10
Crap, Thy Name Is "Astro-Zombies"
9 October 2003
If you could somehow wave a magic wand over a steaming pile of crap and turn it into a shiny DVD, "The Astro Zombies" is what would be on that DVD.

It starts out promising, with a well-endowed 1960s go-go type chick getting mauled by some guy in an Imperial-Stormtrooper-on-Acid helmet. Cut to the authorities getting together and spouting some semi-amusing gibberish about a mad scientist creating "Astro-Men." So far, so good.

Unfortunately, what follows next is 80 minutes of excruciating boredom, including several interminable -- and I mean interminable -- scenes of the mad scientist (John Carradine) farting around in his lab with his Igor-like assistant Franchot (William Bagdad). All in all, the "zombies" have about two minutes of screen time. For the rest of the film, absolutely nothing happens.

Maybe if Russ Meyer chick Tura Satana, who plays a Mexican spy or something, flashed her enormous boobs, it would have helped this rancid waste of time. On second thought, even that wouldn't have made a difference. Avoid this excrement at all costs, and don't believe anyone who claims "It's so bad it's good." No, it's so bad it's criminal.

Co-written by Wayne Rogers (as in Trapper John from the M*A*S*H* TV series) and followed, unbelievably, by a sequel in 2002.
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6/10
Decent, Low-Budget Chiller
8 October 2003
Classic, low-budget horror flick from the 1960s does indeed feel like an extended episode of "The Twilight Zone." But that's not a bad thing, because TZ rocks. The plot may be considered unoriginal today (in the same way that time and numerous imitations have caused "Psycho" to completely lose its power to shock), but there is nevertheless a good deal to admire here. Interesting visuals and camera angles, at least one truly inventive transition (watch for our heroine getting directions from a gas station attendant), and creepy organ music score are some highlights. Possibly influenced by German Expressionism, although Laughton's "The Night of the Hunter" remains the definitive Expressionist film (and one I highly recommend). What I wonder is if "Carnival"'s director Herk Harvey hadn't read nearly forgotten weird fiction author Robert W. Chambers. It seems unlikely that he would (or even could) have, but I note some interesting parallels between this film and Chambers's story, "In the Court of the Dragon," e.g., "blasphemous" organ music in church, mysterious pursuit by an otherworldly man, etc. Check it out sometime -- the story is available in its entirety on the web. Oh yeah, and give "Carnival" a watch too. It's not crap.
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Dragon Attack (1983)
4/10
Oh. My. God.
7 October 2003
What the hell? This movie has everything! Hopping undead corpses. Crazed Amazons. Ghosts who cheat at cards. Japanese Nazis who attack riding atop 1970s clunker cars. Stupid musical numbers. Abraham Lincoln as a World War II general. Throw in loads of gratuitous violence, Chinese guys dressed in kilts and Elvis jumpsuits, and, er, Jacky Chan (and his chicken) and you have quite possibly the stupidest movie ever made. You won't know what to make of it either, but if you have the proper amount of beer on hand, and a few fellow appreciators of c**p, it won't matter in the slightest.
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Bats (1999)
3/10
Restored my faith in Hollywood's ability to make unintentionally funny crap
5 October 2003
I was one of the apparently few dopes to plunk down actual money and see this new in the theatre. After encountering it again recently on the Sci-Fi channel on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I'll stick with my original impression: it's bad, but in an entertaining way. It looks like a real movie, but it has all the best hallmarks of those endearing crappy B-films from the 1950s and 60s. These include: horribly fake-looking monsters, laughably bad dialogue, a ridiculous script, and one-dimensional cliches for characters. Funny mainly because it seems to take itself seriously (unlike, say, "Eight Legged Freaks), the movie's hilarity stops only when the black actor delivers yet another embarrassingly unfunny "Negro comic relief" line.

Not the best "good-bad" movie ever, but still recommended for folks who like crappy movies that are unintentionally amusing and thought (like I did) that Hollywood couldn't make them anymore.
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9/10
One of my favorite crappy movies of all time
5 October 2003
I have a whole new appreciation for Ed Wood's "achievement" after spending the better part of a lazy weekend watching some bargain basement movies purchased from Suncoast. I made the mistake of picking up a couple of those Brentwood DVD compilations of various crappy "horror" films, and let me just say that they make "Plan 9 from Outer Space" shine in comparison.

Ok, so Ed Wood didn't have the technical skills of a, say, Mario Bava, or even a Lucio Fulci, or whatever, but his incompetent nonsense has given me, and countless others, so many hours of entertainment and that counts for something. No, he had no talent whatsoever for filmmaking, but after watching some truly unwatchably bad movies, I can say that at least Plan 9 keeps your interest.

How can you not love the silly dialogue? ("Because all you of earth are idiots!") The amazing acting? (Casting an overweight Swedish wrestler who can barely speak English = genius!) The horrible props? (Look out for the pie plates on string!) And so much more!

This is one of my favorite crappy movies of all time, and seeing true crap has only served to confirm Plan 9's inept greatness to my mind.
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