Sunday, September 16, 2018

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018) Movie Review


Another Puppet Master movie dropped this year. If you're keeping count at home that is a total of 13 PM movies. Finding out it was released made me realize how much I miss the bonus features on dvds or end content on VHS tapes. There was a time I couldn't wait for the next Full Moon movie to come out. VideoZone always had me begging for more. It was cool to see the 'making of' and interviews with the cast. With so many ways to reach fans today, nothing can really replace the ease of pushing out all that extra content on the same DVD as the movie.


Charles Band has created some good horror series under Full Moon for over thirty years. The creative artist being able to hold onto the rights of their creation has led to long-running franchises. Under the studio system, someone was lucky to hold on to their creation for one movie. The only way to get a movie made was to give up the rights. Sam Peckinpah ('Wild Bunch 1969', 'Straw Dogs 1971', 'The Getaway 1972') had a long history of having his movies taken away in post-production, getting an edit that audiences couldn't follow. Friday the 13th series quickly became under the control of someone who rapidly shifted to cheap gimmicks and into a TV series that made no sense. The Xtro movie the writer/director was able to keep control of the name but not the story. There has been far to many movies, fans want to see, but rights issues make it improbable. The Saw Series quickly became the high grossing horror franchise of all time due to having the person who created it, retaining control.

YouTube Puppet Master 2018 Trailer

Full Moon movies tend to stick to a common formula that works well for horror films, babes, boobs, blood and beasts without taking themselves to seriously. Without ever getting too crazy in any one area. Not 'Dead Alive' (1993) gory, not 'Slave Girls Beyond Infinity' (1987) boobies, and not overusing the big-bad. With the Muppet Master series, they rotate in different puppets each movie. Every fan has his favorite. Not only does this allow them to show off new puppets but leaves fans wanting to see the next movie to see old crowd pleasers but also what devilish new creations will be rolled out next.


Unfortunately, Full Moon movies always tend to have slow spots. The first ten minutes is painfully slow. There is nothing interesting. The dialog, especially between father and son, falls completely flat. These early minutes have a dated feel to them. But, the latest installment of the long-running series quickly picks up when Ashley the girl next door (Jenny Pellicer) shows up and doesn't slow back down. Scream Queen Barbara Crampton had a small role in the first one returns for a bigger part here. Very cool how after thirty years they can bring back one of the original actors. Also, starring is Michael Pare, who was incredible in some early 80's cult movies, 'Streets of Fire' (1984) is a must see. This newest installment does a good job of standing on its own. So if you haven't seen any of the others or have missed a few it's not a big deal. It's a puppet gone wild, kind of movie.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Machine Gun Baby (2018) Movie Review


A throwback to a time before the rise of the current PC culture. Everything in this movie should be banned. The rape jokes, abortion jokes, Cosby jokes, gun culture glorification, obscene depraved and corrupt all of it, male-dominated chauvinistic frat boy workplace quackery, it should all be banned! The Director of Public Prosecutions needs to reform and place this piece of trash on the Video Nasty list. Jesse Helms needs to rise from the dead to condemn this film. The Catholic church needs to save the souls of every deprived pervert that even thinks about watching this gross monstrosity. There is something seriously wrong with the low life vermin that would find even the littlest enjoyment out of all the blood, guts, dark humor, and gratuitous nudity.


Ok, now that is out of the way. This is an awesome grindhouse movie (just don't watch it with your mother)! A beautifully told story about a poor Oildale debutante with the unfortunate condition of being nine months late for her meeting with Aunt Flow. The kindly Dr. Spurlock (D.T. Carney) realizes she needs the help, that only he can provide. With patronage from some generous benefactors (Brinke Stevens and George the Giant), looking for some sweet sweet baby steaks. And a very vivacious, commando going (at least in my mind), secretary (Erica Rey), that is a me-too hashtag waiting to happen. Along with an all-sleaze cast of deplorables with odds-on, they all end up in hell or shot by pro-lifers.

This movie reminds me of one of my favorite movie that I watched repeatedly in the early 90's called Terror Within (1989). Where they have to abort a baby to save mom, but the baby ain't going down like a little punk. The babes, bloody mayhem and multiple stolen scenes from Aliens (1979) makes this movie worth watching. Starring George Kennedy and Andrew Stevens, wonder if there's any relations to Brinke? It had an enough of a cult following it got a sequel Terror Within 2 (1991) that had R. Lee Ermey and Stella Stevens in it. If they are related, this ramble would make a lot more sense.

It's always fun to see Scream Queens or character actors show up in new movies. Quentin Tarantino has resurrected many careers from the dead. My favorite one recently was E.G. (Elizabeth) Daily in Rob Zombie's 31 (2016) also had Meg Foster. Ms. Daily was seemingly in every mid 80's movie, Valley Girl (1983), Streets of Fire (1984), Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), Better off Dead (1985) and then she kind of disappeared into voice work. But Brinke never disappeared, she has been steadily making movies (writing, directing, producing, and acting) since screaming onto the screen in the 80's. The number of list of movies is too long to list here. If you don't know who Brinke Stevens is, I'm done talking to you. She also has a ton of movies coming out this year and next.


YouTube Machine Gun Baby Trailer

Waiting for a link to the Trailer, I ended up reading another review. A HORROR movie reviewer for a HORROR dedicated website criticized a low-budget, grindhouse, short for its production values, acting, and audio! Let me repeat that last part, 'criticized a low-budget, grindhouse, short for its production values, acting, and audio!'.... Even calling out Brinke Stevens acting? Really, let's say it one more time, 'criticized a low-budget, grindhouse, short for its production values, acting, and audio!' I'm all for ripping a movie to shreds, the greater the budget the more I trash 'em! My reviews aren't great, a fifth grader could write a more comprehensive review. And I've seen the show, a fifth grader is smarter than me. But this Roger Ebert wannabe needs to go back to running his Titanic (1997) fan page from his mommy's basement. If I did rate movies like the webmaster wants me to do, I would give this low-budget, grindhouse, short a 10 out of 10!


YouTube Behind the Scenes of Machine Gun Baby

The worst thing about this movie is there isn't really a tagline. Maybe 'Don't worry, it's just a baby, with an NRA membership'. Or say it out loud, 'Don't worry, it's just a wee tiny baby (in a Fat Bastard voice)....... With an NRA membership (Charlton Heston voice)'! If anyone thinks of something better add it to the comments below.

Premiere Tickets and presale DVD link

 Picture of director Rickey Bird, trying to get in touch with his character, and find its motivation.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Patient Zero (2018) Movie Review


The long-awaited movie has finally seen the light of day, and no, I'm not talking about Machine Gun Baby (2018). Patient Zero had been whispered and dangled about for far too long. Being on 2013's Blacklist for best scripts not made. Finished filming in early 2015, only to collect dust while the release date had been pushed back to August 14th, 2018.


A great line from Boondock Saints (1999) Willem Dafoe's character Paul Smecker "Television. Television is the explanation for this - you see this in bad television. Little assault guys creeping through the vents, coming in through the ceiling - that James Bond shit never happens in real life!". Unfortunately, there are far too many moments in this movie that screams 'bad television'. Survive the Zombie Apocalypse where everyone else only has the clothes on their backs, cramped on cots in a missile silo, but the main charter somehow has bought a couple cases of rare wine and his vinyl record collection. Bad TV always has that scene towards the end where the one person sacrifices themselves for no reason, 'Oh great, we made it to the six-inch thick steel door, you guys go on. I'll stay here to hold off the huge horde of infected, which they will rip through me in ten seconds because obviously, we can't have everyone survive!'


This is a B-movie, with an A-list supporting cast, and a tv actor cast in the lead role. Maybe that's unfair to Matt Smith, who isn't bad in the role of Morgan. But everyone else just shines in this movie. Stanley Tucci is an award-winning actor, who has been in a ton of underappreciated movies, Wild Card (2015) to name one. Both Natalie Dormer and John Bradley of Games of Thrones fame stand out. While GoT is on "tv", it's such an epic show that is so much more than a normal "tv show". Neither one of them comes across as a "television actor". Particularly Natalie, normally when a beautiful actress plays a doctor it's hard to believe. Think Denise Richards in 'The World is Not Enough' (1999).


Patient Zero Trailer YouTube

Another problem is after 'World War Z' (2013) the story told by Patient Zero just doesn't seem like anything new or interesting. My guess is it was placed on the Blacklist before anyone saw WWZ. That's why this was dropped from theatrical release. Studios and streaming services are still trying to quantify movie releases via streaming. The good is they don't get a black eye from releasing a bomb. Also, it's an enjoyable movie to watch and make fun of. It's perfect for a streaming platform that needs decent new content for all us binge watchers with no lives. This movie and 'Bright' (2017) would have died a horrible death at the box office. They both have a place in a world that it takes an hour to find anything new to watch on Netflix.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Tarnation (2017) Movie Review



A movie can lose it's way, rambling on for eternity till the cast, crew, director, and audience just in one way or another (either the film ending or mass suicide) wants the horror to end (horror as in nails on a chalkboard or mind splitting headaches, not the blood and guts we want to see). Seems like, they only wrote the first twenty or so minutes then winged the rest without regard for anything in the first part of the film. Ozploitation films are awesome in their own retarded redheaded incest baby with extra fingers, Michael Berryman lookalike, short bus kid of the future, kind of way. The director, Daniel Armstrong, coined his own term 'Neo Pulp', which he should spend more time in script development and less time on trying to make 'Neo Pulp' happen.


In all fairness, the first twenty minutes are really good. Evil unicorn, bad-ass celestial virgin, kung fu monks, cute actress getting dumped on, drunken ex-boyfriend damnation party all at a fast clip. Then the brick wall, hear the brakes, tires screeching, loud crash of metal and an explosion. The movie till the end is small skits and random acts, with the cute actress looking like an alcoholic trailer trash housewife who hasn't showered in a week. It really seemed that they were trying to film Daisy Masterman (Oscar) in the most unflattering ways possible. Didn't help she seemed to be taking on and off her push up bra between scenes.


Low budget movies can be great, this one is not. Rule one when working with a minimal budget or less than spectacular special effects, Less is more! Think Jaws (1975) or Terminator (1984) the shark is seldom seen as is Arnold cutting out his eye. Everything is implied and creative angles. This movie is like a bad old slow magician where the audience can tell how the trick is performed. Close up, long shots, with good lighting, doesn't make anything scary. The evil unicorn becomes less scary and more weird as the movie rolls. Bluecifer, the public artwork outside of DIA, is scarier than the unicorn. And the classic 80's toy Boglins is way scarier than the weird ball with eyes that came out of nowhere for one scene.
Bluesifer
Boglin
Apologetically a fan of The Evil Dead (1981) with many Deadesque nods. But these guys learned nothing from watching the Evil Dead. Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi have talked about the market research they did, finding once the action starts it can't stop. But also the evil/terror/monster has to have rules. In this film, things are just happening randomly, not connected seemingly to anything else. The whole movie is random characters dying and coming back to life. The whole second and third act are sorely missing motivation for the main character, leaving Oscar to do her worst Ash impression.


Tarnation YouTube Trailer

If you happen to be in the dark corners of the interweb, where light is the enemy and lemon parties happen, and you happen to come across 'Tarnation' or aka 'Cabin of the Damned' or 'Die Damonen Sind Los' only watch the first twenty minutes. Mister fast forward button does nothing after this mark.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Maximum Overdrive (1986) Retro Movie Review


Maximum Overdrive is a lot like Solo (2018), anything short of an epic, mind-blowing spectacle would be a failure. The marketing build up of having the king of horror make a movie had expectations high. When it fell short everyone jumped ship. Mr. King "a moron movie", Yeardley Smith "most embarrassing movie", the critics picked the bones clean. It didn't help that this was the first film to be made by Embassy Pictures. Also difficult for a first time director who's previous movies like Christine (1983), Carrie (1976), and The Shining (1980) were directed by John Carpenter, Brian De Palma, Stanley Kubrick. But it's a really good movie for a first time director. Unfortunately had the effect of dragging down the King movies that followed.


Didn't help that 1986 was a big year for movies Aliens (budget 18.5 million), Highlander (budget 16 million), The Fly (budget 15 million), Manhunter (budget 15 million), Big Trouble in Little China (budget 25 million) along with a slew of cult movies, Howard the Duck, Critters, Little Shop of Horrors, Troll, The Hitcher, Friday the 13th 6, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Rawhead Rex, The Wraith, Labyrinth, and Stand By Me. With a budget of 10 million compared to some of the others made that year it had a cheap look to it. The bar was set very high for the director, but it's a good thing he was coke out of his skull the whole time making this. The bar really didn't matter.........


YouTube Maximum Overdrive Trailer

Dino De Laurentiis can be blamed for many movies. His oafish behavior drove talent running off of every movie set, but not before he got a career and financial bump out of them. 'Dino the Horrendous' took advantage of and credit for anything he could. Famously flew Arnold Schwarzenegger to a remote location to do a cameo in Red Sonja (1985) only to hold him hostage, and suddenly star in him in the film, for weeks on end. In turn causing Arnold to refuse to make the last couple Conan pictures on his contract. Same with Sam Jones and Flash Gordon (1980), after Mr. Jones had enough of Dino they had to finish the movie without him. All actors where signed to a three-picture deal. Making this even worst is the rest of the cast in Flash Gordon were hugely talented actors, with everyone in Hollywood wanting to play Flash! Sam Jones was hand picked by Dino over A-list actors. Maximum Overdrive ended up being more of the same Dino. First telling Stephen King he would have total control than forcing him to cast Emilo Estevez, who played a wooden uninteresting version of himself. Strangely, not one effort was made to capitalize off having the biggest worldwide rock band of the time turn in one of the best movie soundtracks ever! Most people didn't realize Who Made Who by AC/DC was anything but a best of compilation. The association should have gave the movie tons of free press and raised interest in the movie. But this was the guy that quickly drove movies studios into the ground.


A fun movie to watch. All the machines going berserk on the human race is pretty entertaining. Many faces are recognizable Leon Rippy, Pat Hingle, Frankie Fasion, Yearley Smith (voice of Liza Simpson), and Marla Maples (Ms. Trump number 1). Super funny hearing Lisa Simpson cuss. Rewatching this movie I can't help but think how much cooler this movie would have been with Bruce Springsteen. That's who Mr. King wanted to play Billy. But, Dino overrode him and selected Emilio. People forget before celebrity bloggers, YouTube stars, and people famous for being famous, Stephen King was King Shit! He got AC/DC for the soundtrack. He could have easily got the Boss. Talk about box office draw and what could have been!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Revenge (2018) Movie Review



Most will steer clear of this French twist of a rape film. Seventy's sexploitation movies like 'I Spit on Your Grave' (Originally 'Day of the Woman' (1978)) and 'House on the Left' (1972), both inspired by European movies, were more focused on the grittiness of the story. Revenge is a visually stunning cinematic masterpiece. Mixing the beautiful landscape and symbology (yes know, I need to stop watching that movie, it makes me dumber with each viewing) to make the almost two hour run time go flying by. Many directors lose focus during the long process of making a film. Michael Cimino known for making the biggest Hollywood bomb for almost forty years was so caught up in having every shot be a cinematic marvel, nothing else mattered. Heaven's Gate is a very beautiful film that's nearly unwatchable, especially at four-plus hours, unless you're a French film snob.


Most smaller films stretch the run time because they want the film to be a full-length feature and not be confused with being a short. The average moviegoer would rather be blown away with a short film than having to wish for a 'mister fast forward button'. Master's of Horror (2005-2007) showed a really good story could be told in fifty minutes. Director Coralie Fargeat keeps the action moving. While lingering on some scenes that need to be taken in. The two hour run time is justified, Coralie fills it brilliantly. Defining the wolf-pack mentality, building to the assault and transformation of Jen to the bad-ass heroine of death. Any of you prepubescent, vape smoking, basement dwelling, Gargamels, who only going to watch this to see some boobies. Well, be warned not only is there subtitles, but Coralie clearly has a stalkerish thing for male lead Kevin Janssens. You're going to see a lot of his ass and junk.


There are some issues that pull the viewer out of the story. We all love a good movie that sucks the viewer in, where thought and time cease to exist. First, off the twelve gauge shotgun that shoots like a rifle. Why don't people who make movies learn how guns work. Only the French would put a scope on a shotgun. I'm sure someone will tell me about this special French gun they have. But if it looks like a twelve gauge pump shotgun and uses twelve gauge shells, it's a shotgun! Second, the amount of blood used and the length of the final kill both cross over from dramatic to comedic.


YouTube Revenge Trailer

IMDB Revenge page

Revenge is a great movie to watch. The long runtime doesn't seem like it. Old westerns had long run times. And they seemed like it! Anytime the cowboys started to move the heard across the river, you knew you had at least ten minutes for a bathroom break. The transformation of beautiful dainty Jen from party-girl being creeped on, to the angel of death is entertaining as hell!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tremors: Cold Day in Hell (2018) Movie Review

Direct to Video- May 1, 2018

What started out a little cute low-budget movie that became a classic, has in each proceeding sequel played on the weakest storylines, the monster comes back, look-like ancestor in the old west, long-lost relatives show up. Sequel three added some new twists and number five the magical unknown son both kept a little charm and humor of the original. Cold Day in Hell doesn't add anything new or meaningful.


All five sequels have followed Burt Gummer, this one screams it's time to come up with a new story-line. Instead of trying to flog this dead character follow some new blood. Since Tremors are popping up in new and exciting places how about exploring a new group of people trying to figure out how to survive. Instead of Burt showing up with his guns, being a cocky know-it-all, and in this one acting more like an over the top weekend warrior than normal. If Ashey Slashy can call it a day, it is definitely time for Burt to hang the Elephant Gun over the fireplace.


There has been rumors, press releases, and chatter about a new tv series starring Kevin Bacon. But after a couple of years of low-level whispers, one starts to lose faith. First, it was announced on SYFY now maybe Amazon...... This might be another case of development hell.


Special effects have gotten better and cheap since 1990. But they just fall flat here. The monsters show up to no one's surprise, they don't make the audience look up from their smartphones. An Ass Blaster shows up, doesn't do anything, then disappears. We've seen these creatures defeated time and time again by Burt, they pose no threat. The viewer feels no danger nor really care if anyone dies. The creatures just don't seem dangerous, when someone actually dies it's almost comical.

YouTube Tremors 6 Trailer

The first rule of making a movie is, don't do a story that you don't have the capabilities to pull off. If there is no access to horses don't try and make a western. From some reason Tremors Six has been set in the Arctic Circle. Filmed, as was the fifth one, in South Africa. Which looks nothing like the Arctic Circle. A huge distraction to the story, that no matter how many jokes about global warming, like Jason in Manhattan, I just don't by it.


Seeing a bad sequel of your favorite cult movie can feel like visiting an old friend. He might be broken down and the state of his life is sad, but it's nice to catch up, find out what he has been up to since last seen, get closure on the past. This go around doesn't provide any nostalgia. No warm fuzzies. Maybe next time they will let the Tremors win......