"I'll just get my gear."

One Shot

ONE SHOT is the new Scott Adkins joint, and the most heavily hyped and anticipated movie of the moment for those who stay plugged in to “Action Twitter.” I’m sure Adkins would prefer to work in a little higher budget range, but I think having a dedicated and growing following as he continues to make movies like this is a much better outcome than if he had been cast as Iron Fist or some big movie character like we all used to say he should. Instead of a super hero he’s an institution.

This one is not from Jesse V. Johnson or Isaac Florentine, but rising #3 most prolific Adkins director James Nunn (GREEN STREET 3, ELIMINATORS). And as you might guess from the title, yes, it is a movie like ROPE or RUNNING TIME designed to look like it was filmed in one continuous shot. I know there are some who don’t like that approach, so I will say in its defense that it doesn’t come across as flashy or show-offy at all (not that I would see that as a bad thing, personally) and the real time feeling serves to heighten the tension of its siege scenario. And in case you were wondering there is an organic explanation of the title (the protagonists believe they are defending their “one shot” to stop a terrorist attack). (read the rest of this shit…)

The Sleeping Car

THE SLEEPING CAR (1990) is not exactly a slasher movie, but because it says “Forget Freddy. Forget Jason. Here Comes The Mister!” on the cover it officially qualifies for Slasher Search. Congratulations, THE SLEEPING CAR!

When I saw that title I thought, “huh?” but then I saw the train on the cover and I thought oh, I get it, not a passed out automobile, but the place on a train where you sleep. Okay. I’ll go with it. Actually, this looks kinda good.

But it does not open promisingly. Some guy is making out with some woman in a train car. She strips down to her historical panties and giant boobs and they giggle and make out while the score by Ray Colcord (My Two Dads, AMITYVILLE DOLLHOUSE) erupts into erotic saxophone. The engineer (John Carl Buechler, director of FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE NEW BLOOD) comes in and yells at the guy to stop fornicating and do his job. He chooses instead to continue with the fornicating, and then the engineer jumps off the train right before it crashes head on with another train and then he yells into the sky like newly minted Darth Vader when he finds out Padme is dead. (read the rest of this shit…)

On the Rocks

There are two movies I had been wanting to see for a while but they were Apple TV+ exclusives and maybe I was gonna get a free preview to check them out or something but I never got around to it. But recently due to a housesitting situation I had access. So, Spike Jonze’s BEASTIE BOYS STORY is a really great “the story of the Beastie Boys as told live on stage by Mike D and Ad Rock” documentary that made me cry from both laughter and the other kind. The humbly told autobiography of an all time great band and a moving story of friendship. I don’t really want to review it though, just want to say if you love them try to find a way to watch it, you won’t regret it.

The other one is Sofia Coppola’s ON THE ROCKS (2020), and this one I can write a little about. Also, it’s one you can watch without subscribing or housesitting, because they just put it out on regular old blu-ray and DVD. It stars Rashida Jones (COP OUT) as Laura Keane, an author in Manhattan trying to work on her new book while her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS) is launching a new company. (A “tech startup” they call it, so our suspicions are up.) He’s been doing all these business trips and she sees how he’s surrounded by all these young attractive women, and then a couple weird things happen like she finds a toiletry bag in his luggage that he admits belongs to his co-worker Fiona (Jessica Henwick, UNDERWATER). And at a work party she sees Fiona touching him, and the other women get real quiet and awkward around her when they find out she’s Dean’s wife. It doesn’t look good. (read the rest of this shit…)

Antlers

In a small, depressing town in Oregon, ravaged by economic despair and opioid addiction, out crawls a monster to make shit even worse. Come on, read the room, monster. We don’t see him clearly for a while, we don’t know what he’s up to at first, or how he works, but we get his general vibe. Uncool.

We see this story primarily through the eyes of elementary school teacher Julia Meadows (Keri Russell, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, and I believe I heard she was in a ‘90s television show created by the directors of those films, not sure about that, probly mistaken), who is not in a great spot. She moved out of town when she was young, but has recently returned to find it not as good as it even was then. She temporarily lives in her childhood home with her brother Paul (Jesse Plemons, BATTLESHIP) and every day goes to the store and stares longingly at the liquor shelf while she buys a pack of gum or something.

She has trouble getting all but one of her students to engage at all in class, but she tries. For example she calls on Lucas Weaver (Jeremy T. Thomas, “School boy / classmate,” DOLLY PARTON’S COAT OF MANY COLORS), a scrawny sad little kid with holes in his shirt, who may possibly be illiterate. He goes from drawings with no text when he reads his story, an extremely grim and thinly-veiled autobiography about a young bear and his sick father bear. We can see how it sounds to her, but we know it’s even worse: his dad Frank (Scott Haze, VENOM, MINARI) and little brother Aiden (Sawyer Jones, one episode of Modern Family) had an encounter with the monster and now they’re locked in the attic as veiny, bestial zombie-type creatures. Lucas kills small animals and chops up roadkill to feed them. Alot of responsibility for a kid that age, and he definitely steps up to the plate. (read the rest of this shit…)

Immortal Combat

One thing about IMMORTAL COMBAT (1994) is that it’s called IMMORTAL COMBAT. Pretty good. However, just like the last American Sonny Chiba movie I watched (BODY COUNT, formerly known as CODENAME: SILENCER), you can tell from the opening credits cutting to black for the title that it used to have another title. This time the original title was RESORT TO KILL, because it takes place on an island resort. And some people get killed there.

Another thing about IMMORTAL COMBAT [sic] is that it stars both Roddy Piper and Sonny Chiba. And the villain is Piper’s THEY LIVE co-star Meg Foster as Quinn, who rules the island with her husband Stan (Roger Cudney, TOY SOLDIERS, BARBARIAN QUEEN II) and is behind some scheme with a chemical company called HybriCo to kill fighters and turn them into brainwashed, uh, ninjas or something. I didn’t totally follow it but these companies are always up to complicated shit. What else is new? (read the rest of this shit…)

Patreon bonus review: 2 Halloween(ish) episodes of ‘The Crow: Stairway To Heaven’

Happy Halloween everybody! (Or I suppose Devil’s Night Eve, as of this posting.) I hope you have enjoyed my super-sized 5-day-a-week horror reviewing this month. But if you need even more review content to put into your container or whatever and you happen to be a Patreon contributor (or want to start) I took a look at two episodes of the short-lived 1998 syndicated action series based on THE CROW and starring Mark Dacascos. And if you missed it I still have last year’s Halloween special, a Knight Rider episode featuring an Anthony Perkins impersonator and the Silver Shamrock pumpkin mask, plus the year before’s Walker: Texas Ranger about a satanic cult.

Enjoy!

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

 

 



John Hawkes Horror Double Feature: Scary Movie (1991) and Night of the Scarecrow (1995)

Do you like scary movies? What about SCARY MOVIE? I’m not talking about the original script title for SCREAM, or the parody movie series named after the original script title for SCREAM, but the 1991 movie starring John Hawkes and taking place on Halloween night. It was shot on 16mm in Austin and when the American Genre Film Archive released a restored blu-ray and DVD in 2019 they said it had never been “legitimately distributed” until then. I did find a reference to it playing “limited runs in Europe and Asia,” but anyway, that’s why most of us never heard of it before.

Hawkes is from Minnesota, but as a young man he moved to Austin, where he was in a couple bands (including one with Rodney “Joey from ELM STREET 3 & 4” Eastman) and started appearing in locally filmed movies like FUTURE-KILL (the one with the unrelated H.R. Giger cover), D.O.A., and a thriller called MURDER RAP where he’s the star. He’s also the lead in SCARY MOVIE, playing a fraidy cat nerd named Warren who goes with his more outgoing buddy Brad (Jason R. Waller, Austin Stories) and Brad’s girlfriend Shelley (THE BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFE) to a haunted house attraction. (read the rest of this shit…)

Trick

I figured I should see another Halloween-set film this season, and I knew this one was from director Patrick Lussier (DRACULA 2000) and writer Todd Farmer (JASON X), the team that brought us MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D and DRIVE ANGRY 3D, so I’d been wanting to see it even though it was filmed in a pathetic 2 (two) dimensions.

TRICK is a mystery slasher set not just on Halloween, but on multiple Halloweens from 2015-2019. It begins at a high school party during a game of spin the bottle. Well, spin the knife. The camera focuses on the reactions of Cheryl (Kristina Reyes, Blindspot), who seems uncomfortable with a guy in a pumpkin mask (Thom Niemann, The Deuce) who is not speaking or responding to anyone. When it’s his turn she calls him “Trick,” which does turn out to be his name. He spins and it ends up on a boy and he tries to re-spin but they tease him and tell him he has to kiss the boy. As he leans in to do it, suddenly he grabs the knife and stabs the guy.

(Though this inciting incident implies some sort of homophobia-related motive, that does not turn out to be a theme of the film.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Macabre (Rumah Dara)

MACABRE (RUMAH DARA) is a 2009 Indonesian cannibal movie. It’s the first feature directed by “The Mo Brothers,” a.k.a. Kimo Stamboel (THE QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC) and Timo Tjahjanto (THE NIGHT COMES FOR US). It starts out confident and unassuming and by the end has accumulated a DIE HARD level of injury and a nearly EVIL DEAD amount of blood.

In the grand horror tradition, a group of young people get stranded somewhere bad and have to escape. It goes down when Adjie (Ario Bayu, GUNDALA) and his pregnant wife Astrid (Sigi Wimala, SATRIA DEWA: GATOTKACA) take a road trip with their doofus friends. Jimmy (Daniel Mananta, A MAN CALLED AHOK) is pretty straight-laced, but Eko (Dendy Subangil, SANG DEWI) is the horny loud mouth who embarrasses them and makes them uncomfortable, and Alam is kind of the crazy one. That’s established when he threatens some guys at a bar for sexually harassing their waitress, Adjie’s sister Ladya (Julie Estelle, “Hammer Girl” from THE RAID 2!). It seems like a very successful stare down until he turns around and gets a bottle smashed over his head. So for the whole movie he’s wearing a large bandage on his head that’s completely unrelated to the horror movie stuff that happens. (read the rest of this shit…)

Clive Barker double feature: Haeckel’s Tale / Transmutations

You know how it is, you love Clive Barker-based movies but you’ve seen HELLRAISER, NIGHTBREED, CANDYMAN and THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN a million times each, you’re not quite ready to try again on LORD OF ILLUSIONS, you even watched BOOKS OF BLOOD last year, but you want a little of that Barker movie kick, so it’s time for a Clive Dive. You gotta try some of the lesser ones out, see if you missed a good one, or if one you didn’t like back in the day is any better than you thought at the time.

So I tried one of each. The one I’d missed was the Masters of Horror episode Haeckel’s Tale, from 2006. It’s adapted by Mick Garris (THE FLY II) and directed by John McNaughton “in association with George A. Romero.” According to Wikipedia that just means Romero was supposed to direct it but had a scheduling problem. Around that time he was starting DIARY OF THE DEAD and announced a thing that never happened called SOLITARY ISLE, so it must’ve been one of those. (read the rest of this shit…)