Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Pyx

aka The Hooker Cult Murders

Director - Harvey Hart (The Aliens are Coming)
Starring - Karen Black (House of 1000 Corpses), Christopher Plummer (9, Priest), and Donald Pilon (Bulldozer)
Release Date - 1973
Genre - Horror/Crime
Tagline(s) - "The demons hunger" "Deep in the city lies an unmentionable horror" "Her business is pleasure. Until her date with ... The Pyx" and "See It...Find Out What It Means!"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (15 Horror Movies Volume 2)

Rating (out of 5):
     People often ask me why I take the time to review older films instead of the newer ones.  My answer to that one is fuck you.  I'm just playing.  Anyway, I like to review older films because most of the younger generations have no idea most of these even exists.  Hell, most of my reviews are written after watching these films for the first time myself and a majority of them were released decades before I was born. Almost all new films, regardless of the budget, will always find someone to review them.  However, the films released before the online boom have very few sources people can turn to for others opinions on the film.  That was my problem with this film here.  I searched around online and could not find many reliable sources for it.  I was curious about this one because it was on the 15 Horror Movie set I have been reviewing films from and because it starred Karen Black.  When it was this film's turn I gladly threw it in not knowing what to expect.
     The film follows Detective Henderson (Plummer) as he scrambles to find the truth behind the death of a heroine addicted prostitute (Black).  The prostitute fell to her death and the detective finds an upside cross and a pyx (small tin container) on her body.  As the detective works every lead and angle, all the suspects in the murder case are killed.  The detective quickly discovers that the murders are all connected to a satanic cult.
     The seventies were a time where films about Satan and Satanic cults were everywhere.  Hell, there is even one starring The Shat himself, William Shatner, with a brief appearance by John Travolta.  The film, The Devil's Rain, is actually a halfway decent flick.  Anyway, the point of my rant is that the 70's was filled with films regarding Satan.  By this point this film was competing with hundreds of other Satanic films and to make matters worse this religious horror film had to also compete with one of the greatest horror flicks of all time, The Exorcist.  Both films were released the same year and only one would stand the test of time while the other slipped in to obscurity.  The only thing that is really worth praising in this flick is the acting.  The entire cast did an amazing job in their roles.  It was also nice seeing Karen Black while she was young.  I was really surprised by how damn hot she was back in the day.  The story is nothing really special and could easily be compared to the hundreds of films released during this time with the same subject matter.  In all honesty I don't really see any original thought applied to this one.  Finally, the film does not offer us horror fans any real special effects or deaths on screen.  The filmmakers wanted to really push the religious horror at the viewer instead of what I like to call "carnage horror."  Unfortunately, they failed miserably at creating any kind of atmosphere that is truly scary.  Overall, this is a very poor excuse for a horror movie that was only created to cash in on a temporary craze.  Avoid it.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Savage Weekend

Director - David Paulsen (Schizoid)
Starring - Christopher Allport (Jack Frost, The X-Files), Jim Doerr (The Journey of the Fifth Horse), and David Gale (Creepshow, Re-Animator)
Release Date - 1979
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "You have been chosen. You are doomed. Prepare for.... SAVAGE WEEKEND"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Drive-In Movie Classics 50 Movie Pack)

Rating (out of 5):
      Sometime over the summer I decided that I wanted to slowly start collecting slasher films.  As I have mentioned before, I collect all horror flicks but zombie and slasher films are by far my favorite horror sub-genres.  Anyway, I did a little wiki digging and came across a list of slasher flicks.  This little diddy here caught my eye.  The title for this one is the perfect for a slasher flick. I had to have it but most copies I found were used and not that cheap.  Being the cheap fuck I am I did a little digging and came across the Drive-In Movie Classic 50 film set for around $15.  The set had some other films I wanted to see so I threw it on the wishlist.  After a few months I decided it was time to order the set and check this slasher out with a few others one night...
     The film follows a group of city slickers as they head out in to the country to check on a boat that is being built while spending some time with each other, as well as, nature.  When the group arrive they meet the local that is building the floating vessel, Otis (William Sanderson, True Blood).  Otis is pissed that the city slickers came to visit and is very hostile toward them.  The owner of the boat tells the group about Otis and his temper and how he caught his wife cheating and burnt an "H" in to her chest for whore (Otis isn't the smartest man in the world).  As members of the group turn up dead they assume it is Otis behind the murders.  However, they are dead wrong as the killer is revealed to be one of the young lady's ex-husband wearing a mask.
     I judge slashers by the year they were made.  I often meet slashers made before 1980 with skepticism.  That does not include John Carpenter's classic, Halloween.  Anyway, slashers before 1980 were still trying to find that perfect formula and the right amount of cheese and cliche that most of the classics from the later years followed.  This movie is a shining example of why I often meet those films with skepticism.  This movie has a hard time deciding if it wants to be a straight forward slasher or a slow running mystery.  The film would have been a lot better if the direction of the film would have followed the solid horror path instead of trying to be original.  I know most people bitch because a movie is not original, however, in some cases the film just does not pan out well when trying something new.  The story is your standard slasher storyline.  A group dying in the wood.  Basic as that, however, the film does offer a great twist for the revealing of the killer that caught me off guard in true slasher style.  The acting is decent by most of the cast, however, Sanderson and Allport really stand out in their roles.  I spent most of the film waiting for one of them to come back in to the scene.  Finally, the special effects are nothing special and the same can be said for the kills.  We get very few on camera and they lack blood and gore.  Overall, this is a weak film and an even weaker slasher.  I can recommend so many other slashers that are a lot better.  Watch at your own risk.        


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Casket

Director - Dustin Mills (Night of the Tentacles, Bath Salt Zombies)
Starring - Josh Eal (Bath Salt Zombies), Brandon Salkil (Night of the Tentacles), and Erin R. Ryan
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "It's gonna be a bad hare day"
Format - Streaming (Youtube Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
      I write reviews as a way to relax and do something that I deem productive.  I also write as a way to give back to the horror community.  I think my reviews influence people and help them choose which movies they should buy or rent before they have done so.  However, I place being a fan of movies and the horror genre before being a writer.  When a director has dished out some solid films I revert back to my childhood and "geek out" when I hear he is working on a new film.  When I head Dustin Mills was working on Easter Casket I immediately got involved the best way I could and plastered his indiegogo campaign on every website I had access to.  Every film he has released has been absolutely amazing and I knew this film would be no exception.  I pre-ordered the film but could not wait until it arrived to watch it.  Luckily, Mills released a screener online for those wishing to review it.  Finally, my writing worked out to benefit me.
     The film follows a warrior priest named Father Asher (Eal) and he investigates the murder of a super foxy nun.  Father Asher is sent with direct order from the Mega Pope to find the killer.  While investigating he discovers that two priests, a nun, and a schoolgirl was also murdered.  Asher crosses paths with a young schoolgirl who is being stalked by an unknown figure.  He brings her along with him to keep her safe and holds a meeting with a church cardinal.  The cardinal (Salkil) informs him that the murders are being committed by the Easter bunny because the church is trying to remove everything that has nothing to do with Christ and his resurrection from Easter.  The cardinal then reveals that he is the one that unleashed Peter Cottontail.  Asher immediately kills him and sets out to slaughter the bunny in the name of Christ.
     When I was sent the link for the screener I had no idea what to expect.  Mill's last film, Bath Salt Zombies, was a great film but it was nothing like his other flicks and I was worried this one would fall short as well.  So I want to take the time to apologize to Mr. Mills for ever doubting him and to also thank him for sending me the link to the screener.  Now, as for the film.  The acting in this one is probably the best I have seen in any of his films.  In my Zombie A-Hole review I talked about how Eal was very talented when it came to the action scenes but he just did not have what it takes when it comes to the scenes regarding acting.  I once again put my foot in my mouth.  Eal picked it up big time and delivered a very solid performance.  He has definitely been working on his acting skills and it has paid off tremendously.  The rest of the cast did an amazing job as well.  Some of the cast actually do not have any speaking roles but are merely in the film to show off their bodies.  I am behind that fully because Mill's has an eye for babes.  This one has a lot of hotties fully nude...which made it difficult to watch with my wife.  I had a lot of explaining to do after watching this so thank you Mills for at least finding the hot ones.  The story in this one is fucking amazing.  For a low budget horror flick this one is pretty in depth and it is painfully obvious that Mill's put a lot of thought and hard work in to this one.  The film could have easily went the action/comedy way but was very effective as a horror flick.  Finally, the special and visual effects are exactly what you would expect from a Mill's flick.  Visually the film is stunning.  Mill's is able to craft practical effects, CGI, miniatures, and puppets to create a unique blend that is hardly seen in horror.  My only complaint about the whole film is the audio.  At times the actors are crisp and easy to hear while at other times the hiss of feedback is heard.  Call me an asshole but that slightly bothers me.  Overall, this is another masterpiece by Mills.  This movie is one hell of a ride from start to finish leaving you with a wet crotch and asking for more.  Buy it now!    

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Director - Michael J. Gallagher (Roadkill)
Starring - Caitlin Gerard (The Social Network, The Awakening), Melanie Papalia (Super Hybrid, Supernatural), and Shane Dawson (The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The new face of fear"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):

     I often find myself hating films that I often come across and consider mainstream.  These are usually the flicks you can check out in theaters.  I do come across a few that I find entertaining, however, a good portion of those films are not.  That especially applies to the horror genre.  Most are made for horror fans by people who know nothing about the genre except the films they see themselves in a theater.  This is why I love independent cinema and b-movies.  They are made by fans for the fans of the genre.  Most of these films are entertaining even if they are bad, however, some are just straight up shit.  That brings me to this shitstorm of a film here.  Some movies are way too bad to be released in theaters and the company behind the release know they fucked up and shove it out on DVD for cheap hoping not to make too big a lose.  I saw the trailer online a few months back and thought I would give it a chance.  I quickly changed my mind after checking out the IMDB page and discovered most of the cast and crew have no prior work in the genre.  I decided to avoid it but my wife had different plans.  She often picks up films for me when she is out and about and grabbed this one for me as a surprise...what a surprise it was.
     The film follows a young timid college freshman, Ashley (Gerard), as she moves in with her new roommate Proxy (Papalia).  Proxy is very tech savvy and spends most of her time online.  Proxy tells her new roommate about an urban legend known as Smiley.  The story goes that if you're in a webcam chat-room and someone says "I did it for the lulz" three times he will appear behind the other person and kill them.  The two try it on their unsuspected viewer and he does indeed die at the hands of Smiley.  After witnessing this, Ashley goes through a bout with depression and wants to inform the police about what happened.  However, Proxy will not let her and convinces her not to because the police will think she is crazy.  As other members of Proxy's online community start to turn up missing, Ashley's depression and guilt worsen as she suspects Smiley is behind it all.  Ashley then tries to get the police involved, behind Proxy's back, but that goes no where because they do not believe her.  She does find comfort in another computer geek that is harassed by the others.  The young man reported Proxy and her friends for posting a child porn video as a prank and is now nicknamed Pedobear.  The young man and Ashley start to fall for each other and she confesses what had happened to her.  He believes her and tells her that he has been investigating the entire ordeal.  Smiley starts to stalk Ashley outside of cyberspace forcing her further and further into insanity before she finally dives out of a window killing herself.  It is then revealed that her roommate Proxy, Pedobear, and the rest of Smiley's victims are actually alive and are working together to create their own urban legend tale that will live forever.
     Most people enjoy a certain genre because it fits their personality.  Those that enjoy comedy tend to have a more layed back lifestyle and view life a lot differently than those that are loyal to the horror genre.  It is because of that very reason that most have a difficult time transitioning from one genre to the next.  Those not familiar with the genre often do not notice the things that horror fans love.  After watching this film I did a little digging and discovered that most of the cast and crew worked previously on comedies, some of which were online on various sites such as youtube.  That made perfect sense because this movie lacks everything that horror fans wants to see.  First thing I want to mention is the story.  The movie is a more modern adaptation of the Scream series mixed with the Clive Barker classic Candyman.  Scream was a modern slasher film during the 90's that somewhat revitalized the slasher sub-genre.  However, trying to make a film similar in style a decade later and mixing it with another film is setting yourself up with large shoes to fill...and this film does not fill them at all.  The film does not develop very well on screen and at times is very difficult to follow.  I had a difficult time watching this move because it is just so damn boring and the characters are extremely difficult to like.  In fact, the college professor and Pedobear are the only ones the viewer feels any real connection with.  The acting is not the reason behind this because the entire cast does a great job.  I was shocked at that fact because I am unfamiliar with most of the cast.  Finally, this film does not offer any real special effects.  What few kills we do get consist of slit throats and that is about all we are treated to.  A slasher flick really needs to have more in depth kills, especially one that borrowed the plot from two of the biggest horror films of all time.  Overall, this is a horrible excuse for a horror film that has no redeeming qualities.  Avoid this one like it is your great aunt that smells like Bengay and shame.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Splitting Heirs

Director - Robert Young (Vampire Circus)
Starring - Eric Idle (Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Life of Brian), Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters, Little Giants), and Barbara Hershey (Insidious)
Release Date - 1993
Genre - Comedy
Tagline -  "A wickedly funny comedy of royal proportions"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     When I was growing up my cousin had hundreds of VHS.  His mom had been buying and recording movies for years because his dad was building them a cabin out in the middle of nowhere.  They needed movies to watch because the area did not have cable.  It was at his house that I saw this film for the first time.  I was not able to finish the film because my dad came to pick me up...the inconsiderate prick.  Anyway, I completely forgot about this movie until one day I was at Big Lots and found it for $3.  I quickly grabbed it and about five other comedies.  
     The film begins with the Duke of Bournemouth and his American bride as they lose their baby while dining at a restaurant during the 60's.  The film then jumps to what they say is present day (film was released in 1993).  Here we meet Tommy Patel (Idle) who is a white stockbroker living with his Indian family.  He is clearly nothing like his family but has never questioned his bloodline.  One day his supervisor has him play host to an American representative of the firm,  Henry Bullock (Moranis).  The two hit it off and become close friends.  Henry makes Tommy take cash out of the petty cash box at the firm and Tommy is caught.  His supervisor reports him to the President, aka The Duke of Bournemouth.  The following Monday he has a meeting scheduled to fire him.  When Monday rolls around Tommy reports to his office expecting to be fired when he is greeted with Henry sitting in his chair.  Henry tells Tommy about the duke dying and how he is now the duke.  Henry also tells Tommy about how when he was little his parents left him in a restaurant and when they returned he had disappeared.  The police then find him hours later in a telephone box in the same bassinet but missing his silver rattle.  His mother then left the duke and returned to America where he was raised.  Tommy slowly starts to piece together his life and concludes that he is the real Bournemouth baby.  His Indian family adopted him and when they got him he had the silver rattle.  Tommy visits the man who handled his adoption and discovers he was found and put up for adoption the same day the Bournemouth baby went missing.  The man makes a joke that if Henry does have an accident and Tommy can provide evidence he is the real duke then he would earn the title.  Tommy thinks nothing of the matter and leaves.  Tommy, after thinking about what the man had said, decides to kill Henry so he can have what is rightfully his.  After many failed attempts he begins to care for Henry again and stops.  However, the man that handled the adoption has decided to help Tommy out and tries to kill him.  Just like with Tommy, many of his assassination attempts fail miserably.  Henry marries a beautiful young girl and the pair have a child.  The young girl has a fling with Tommy before her wedding day and sometime after discovers she is pregnant.  She tells Tommy the baby is his so he will stop trying to kill him.  One day when the baby is crying, Tommy goes in to check on it and gives it his silver rattle.  The baby's grandmother walks in and sees the rattle and discovers he is the real Bournemouth baby.
     I did not remember a lot about this movie before watching it again, but what I do remember was that I really enjoyed what little bit I got to see.  I often talk about my favorite actors and directors and I might as well add Rick Moranis to that list.  What movies I have seen him in I absolutely love.  His film Little Giants and both Ghostbuster flicks shaped my childhood.  Anyway, the acting in this film is great.  Everyone in the cast did an amazing job with Eric Idle putting on a great performance.  The story is pretty in depth and could have easily went the black comedy route but instead pursued the straight forward comedy.  Unfortunately, the film does not offer as many laughs as it could have.  Instead, the film makes up for it by offering an interesting plot that keeps you watching.  Overall, this is a great movie but a weak comedy.  I highly recommend it.