Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Trip with the Teacher

Director - Earl Barton
Starring - Zalman King (Galaxy of Terror, Blue Sunshine), Brenda Fogarty (The Candy Tangerine Man, Fairy Tales), and Cathy Worthington (Monster Squad, Dallas)
Release Date - 1975
Genre - Crime
Tagline - "How far should a teacher go to protect her students"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     I've enjoyed exploitation flicks my whole life.  I can remember when I was little and my dad was traveling when a man approached him at a gas station.  The man claimed to be broke down and strapped for cash.  When my dad refused to give him money he offered my dad a box of VHS tapes.  My dad knew I was a movie fan and took him up on the offer. When I got home I found several movies I had never heard of.  The ones that stood out to me was Headhunter and Truck TurnerTruck Turner was a popular film in my home.  My dad was a western junkie but he would always watch Truck Turner with me.  This love for Blaxploitation opened the door to exploitation and I've been watching sleazy flicks ever since.  Vinegar Syndrome is a company that has made a name for themselves releasing exploitation of every flavor.  Sometime ago Vin Syn released the classic exploitation flick Trip with the Teacher.  This is a movie I had actually never seen before but owned in several different box sets.  Vin Syn was kind enough to send me a review copy.  Thanks guys.
     The film follows a teacher and a group of teenage girls who go into the desert as part of their school trip.  On the way there they encounter a group of bikers who follow them looking for a little tail.  Innocent flirting turns deadly when one of the bikers doesn't get his way and he kills the bus driver.  Another biker they had picked up along the way is not into violence and tries to stand up to them but fails.  Now the teacher and the students are the biker's playthings unless they can work together to get away from the deranged men.
     I've seen this flick tossed into several horror and exploitation collections but I never took the time to check it out.  Honestly, I had no idea what it was about and the title was not that appealing to me.  Hell, if I wasn't asked to review the film I still wouldn't have seen it.  I'm glad I did because this is a film that I'm sure I will be watching occasionally until the day I die.  The acting in this one is hit and miss.  Like most of the exploitation flicks the cast in this one doesn't try to create a character that is genuine or natural.  Instead, they casually say their dialogue while trying to capture the perfect mood with their face.  With that being said, Zalman King made the fucking movie.  His performance is fucking insane and intense.  He brought a character into film that will never be forgotten.  In fact, I'm shocked I've never seen shirts and other merchandise with his character on it.  It was an amazing performance that deserves more credit than it gets.  The story for this one is simple but very effective.  A teacher and a small groups of students out in the desert with no supplies is unrealistic but no one will pay attention to that small detail.  Instead, they focus on the secret bloodlust of one of the bikers and what he is going to do with those young woman.   Finally, the film has a few death scenes but they are low quality and offer up little to no entertainment value.  If you want a flick with the red stuff you may want to check out another Vin Syn release.  Overall, Trip with the Teacher is a fucking fantastic exploitation flick that only lacks in the blood and gore department.  Sexually depraved and counter-culture like any good exploitation.  Check it out.  

Red Roses of Passion

Director - Joseph W. Sarno (The Pink Clam, Porked!)
Starring - Judson Todd (Anything for Money, Deep Inside), Jean James, and Carl Holleck (Naked Frog, The Swap and How They Make It)
Release Date - 1966
Genre - Drama
Tagline - "A picture...that dares delve and dissect a very unusual facet of love and life"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     Vinegar Syndrome rarely lets me down. Hell, you know you can put all your faith in a company that released Demon Wind in blu.  Their releases of long forgotten horror and exploitation flick is unrivaled in the movie industry.  While most of the other movie companies fight for rights to classic horror films to release them on yet another format, Vin Syn searched the globe for films people don't remember watching at the drive-in because they were stoned or was trying to get laid.  These films are classic in their own rights and have not seen a physical release in decades if they ever were released.  Recently I reviewed the fantastic Psychos in Love from Vin Syn and decided to keep it going with another one of their releases.  This time I went with the 1966 sexploitation cult flick Red Roses of Passion.  Thanks Vin Syn for sending this one my way.
     The film follows Carla who lives with her aunt and cousin after her parents pass away.  She is a modern woman who likes to live in the moment.  Her aunt can't stand the fact she brings guys over and is often shaming her in front of her guests.  She becomes frustrated with her life and her friends invites her over to check out a group she is a part of.  She has to wear lace panties and she witnesses women become sexually enthralled after rubbing a rose.  She decides to use the rose to her advantage and have one delivered to her aunt and cousin every night to weaken them but what she doesn't know is that there is something far more sinister going on.
     The artwork for this one really intrigued me.  The title put me in mind that I was going to watch a standard sexploitation flick like the many currently available from Vin Syn.  However, the bloody girl on the bottom and the synopsis on the back made me think this was more than that.  The film was definitely more than your standard sexploitation flick but there was several aspects that was severely underutilized.  The acting in this one is not the best I've seen.  The cast works very well together but they have a difficult time creating personalities for their characters.  Everyone on screen is bland for the most part.  Very flat and one dimensional.  The story for this one is great.  I really enjoyed the sex cult with the hidden agenda.  Sadly, this is not used as much as I would have liked.  That was a very powerful angle in the film that was not touched upon as much as one would expect.  The revenge on the aunt and cousin is funny to an extent but does weigh the film down somewhat.  Personally, I would have loved more cult and less revenge subplot.  Finally, this isn't the bloody flick you are looking for.  In fact, there is not really any blood in the film.  If you want something bloody check out Psychos in Love.  Overall, Red Roses of Passion is a surprisingly fun piece of sleazy cinema.  The story could have been so much more but the film entertains just the way it is.  Check it out. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Psychos in Love

Director - Gorman Bechard (Cemetery High, Galactic Gigolo)
Starring - Carmine Capobianco (Model Hunger, Killer Waves), Debi Thibeault (Assault of the Killer Bimbos, Death Collector), and Angela Nicholas (Deadwood, The Domicile)
Release Date - 1987
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "Love hurts"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I like bad movies.  I can't help it and I refuse to deny it.  I don't think movies are bad but the movies most people dislike and I love have charm, heart, and wit that most others lack.  I'd rather watch a movie with a weird inanimate object killing people in punny fashion over any torture porn.  I have friends joke amongst themselves that if I tell a filmmaker I like their film it should be an insult.  After watching Boo 2! A Madea Halloween and actually liking it I decided to venture back to my horror flicks.  I looked at the films next on the chopping block and found the Vinegar Syndrome release of Psychos in Love.  This looked like a great mash up of horror and comedy which is one of my favorite types of flicks.  Thank you Vin Syn for sending this one my way.
     The film follows a bar owner who is looking for the perfect woman.  Someone who has an ass so nice he can bite it and doesn't like grapes.  He finds love in a manicurist who despises grapes as much as him and has a heart shaped heinie he so desires.  They both are harboring a dark secret from each other.  They both have a knack for killing but when they discover each other's secret a love blossoms until jealousy takes over and they have to stop the killing.  This is when their life takes a weird twist.  Their sink is clogged so they call a plumber who discovers their dark secret.  Instead of turning them in he tries to negotiate a deal where they kill and give him the bodies to eat.  Will they do as he asks or will their own bloodlust take over?
     I really enjoyed the artwork on the Vinegar Syndrome release of this which made me have extremely high hopes for this film.  The film shattered those expectations and became one of my favorite Vin Syn releases to date.  The acting in this one is fucking fantastic.  I loved the characters that Carmine Capobianco and Debi Thibeault brought to life.  Their chemistry is perfect and their characters are great to watch.  The only downside to their upbeat portrayal of killers is that it makes the film not feel like a horror movie but I still enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed the supporting cast as well.  The characters are very colorful and the film benefits from having such a great cast bringing them to life.  The story for this one is fantastic.  It doesn't try to overcomplicate things.  It has a simple story to tell and tells it simply.  The story of two lovers that kills people could be easily centered more around romance than the horror aspect but the film balances it perfectly with more comedy than I was expecting.  Every scene is fun and will hold the viewer's attention.  Finally, the film is bloody.  Some of the kills we get are pretty simple and basic while others are a little more brutal and fun for you gore hounds out there.  The effects we get are pretty good for the type of film we get but don't expect KNB quality kills.  Overall, Psychos In Love is a must for any sleazy film fan or fans of Vin Syn.  This blu NEEDS to be in your collection.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

Director - Tyler Perry (Boo! A Madea Halloween, Love Thy Neighbor)
Starring - Tyler Perry, Cassie Davis (Married with Children, Kenan and Kel), and Patrice Lovely (Hell Hath no Fury Like a Woman Scorned, Madea Gets a Job)
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "You scurred?"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     I'm not much on Tyler Perry.  I've seen a few of his Madea flicks over the years and none of them was entertaining to me.  The character does have a comical charm that I can see why it is appealing to so many people but just isn't for me.  The humor feels forced, the characters are not that funny, and the stories are extremely predictable.  I can see the charm and appeal of these movies but they are not for me.  When Boo! A Madea Halloween was released I took my wife my wife to the theater to see it.  The showing was packed and the audience in attendance laughed at each an every little thing.  Sadly, this was another flick I didn't care for which is sad considering it is a Halloween flick.  When the sequel was announced I completely brushed it off but several horror fans that I am friends with told me I needed to give it a chance.  When the film was released I was able to secure a blu to review.  Would this film be better than the first?
     The film picks up one year after the first Boo film.  We follow Tiffany (Diamond White) who is sneaking out of the house to party with the same frat from before.  This time they are having it at a haunted campground which was once the site of a massacre.  Tiffany goes behind her father's back and had her mom agree to let her go party.  When she arrives she notices party goers vanishing and before long they discover that the local legend is true...or is it? 
      I reviewed the first Boo! film when it was released.  Several horror fans understood what I wasn't a fan of the film while a few others called me racist and other negative terms.  Race had nothing to do with it.  A boring and bland film has nothing to do with color but blamed on writing and execution.  I'm glad I gave the sequel a chance.  It was leagues better than the first.  The acting in this one is more of what you get in any Madea flick.  Madea and her elderly gang is overdramatic and underwhelming when trying to be funny while the remainder of the cast attempts to deliver a more practical performance.    This makes the film feel inconsistent.  The film struggles to find the perfect balance between "real" characters and comical characters that stands out.  The cast does a decent job for the type of film but it doesn't fit well together.  The story for this one starts out similar to the first flick where we follow teenage high school girls who sneak off to a college party on Halloween only to be haunted by supernatural menaces.  This film does the same but the scope is so much bigger.  I really enjoyed the haunted camp ground/lake angle a lot more than what we were given in the first film.  The scares were a lot more effective in this film.  They did a more thorough job creating atmosphere and tension.  The story is still predictable but there is a few little twists I didn't see coming.  Finally, you are an idiot if you turned to a Madea movie for gore.  The film is void of the red stuff.  There is minimal practical effects with no deaths for the viewer.  Overall, Boo 2! A Madea Halloween was no the train wreck the first film was.  The film was slightly entertaining but was full of flaws and pacing issues.  This would be a fun one to throw on at Halloween and the alcohol is pouring but I don't see myself revisiting this one.  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Monster Hunt

Director - Raman Hui (Shrek the Third, Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five)
Starring - Baihe Bai (Go Away Mr. Tumour, Personal Tailor), Boarn Jing (The Guillotines, Rise of the Legend), and Wu Jiang (1911, Let the Bullets Fly)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Comedy/Adventure
Tagline - "The monsters just got bigger)
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     I've seen some of the most vile, disgusting, and depraved horror films that the indie scene has to offer. Some are controversial while others are just gore ridden.  Some cause people to become sick while others are accused of being real.  I've seen some pretty outlandish stuff some of these movies I've reviewed.  I love horror but I still remember the films I watched growing up.  Movies like Air Bud, Space Jam, Heavyweights, The Big Green, and so on.  These were staples in my home until the horror obsession.  Now that I have kids I try to track down these flicks to show them and I recently completed my Prehysteria collection for them (and for myself).  When MVD announced their acquisition of the live action/animated hybrid Monster Hunt I was excited.  It was a monster movie that I could share with my kids.  I requested a copy and they were kind enough to send over a review copy.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows a cook who is impregnated with the egg of a monster queen who is fleeing for her life from the merciless monster hunters.  The cook befriends a female monster hunter who plants on selling the egg and gaining rank among the other monster hunters until it hatches.  Once the baby is born the two become protective of the baby and protect it at all costs.

     Monster Hunt was not the type of film I was expecting.  The film is proud of the fact that this was handled by the same team that produced Shrek so I was expecting to see a mostly animated film.  Instead, the film is 90% live action with animated creatures.  Sadly, my kids didn't give a damn about the film but I actually liked it.  Probably more than most men my age!  The acting in this one is fun.  The cast has a great wit about themselves and really sold me on their characters.  The characters are very quirky but that adds some charm to the film.  I really enjoyed the cast and can't wait to see them in the sequel.  The story for this one is overwhelming.  Every scene has something going on to hold the viewer's attention.  The scenes have a great mix of humor and action.  The comedic timing is perfect and the action is flawless.  The story works well for a children's film but could use a little more animation to drown out some of the live action to make it more appealing to children.  Finally, this isn't a bloody monster movie like most of us are accustomed to.  Instead, it is a cute action packed film full of visual effects.  I really liked how the monsters looked but when you put it next to a live action actor they do look rather absurd.  Overall, Monster Hunt was a fun film that can be emotional at times.  I recommend this one for any movie lover.  Check it out.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Director - Brett Kelly (Homicycle, My Fair Zombie)
Starring - Kim Valentine (Monster Pool: Chapter Two), Eric Deniverville (Boy for Sale, Prisoners of Time), and Joel Elliott (Countrycide, Monster Pool: Seven Deadly Sins)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "They've traveled over a billion miles to come and crash the party"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     When I was getting into horror I started collected the essential horror flicks like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Hellraiser, and so on.  Once I obtained those I started working on other titles.  I found myself being drawn to little monsters.  The first movie I picked up was Gremlins using change I had collected on my dresser.  I still remember that little detail to this day.  After I grabbed the sequel I got the Critters series and then It's Alive.  For the longest time little monster flicks was my favorite.  Sadly, you don't see a lot of these types of flicks anymore.  Late last year news broke that Camp Motion Pictures was releasing the indie flick Ghastlies.  The artwork knocked me for a loop.  Horror Society was lucky enough to get the exclusive on the film and now I was able to finally review it.  Thank you Alternative Cinema and Camp Motion Pictures for sending this one my way!
     The film begins with a cult performing a ritual when they are interrupted by small alien creatures with a taste for human flesh.  We fast forward and a group of sorority girls are planning a weekend getaway.  They bring a new pledge along for initiation but she accidentally unleashes the beasts from a well and they go on a bloody rampage.


     Ghastlies has one of the greatest posters I have seen in recent years.  It's fun and just screams the 80s.  Sadly, the film did not match the poster.   The film doesn't create that fun environment the poster paints.  The acting in this one is fun.  The cast has fun in front of the camera and dives deep into their characters.  There was several scenes that showed the cast's inexperience but for the most part they did a fantastic job at carrying the film.  The story for this one just doesn't cut it as a feature length film.  I love a movie that takes the time to develop the characters but this film has more scenes than needed to establish which character is which.  The film does have clich├ęd characters that are fun to watch but so many scenes are dedicated to establishing who is which.  The pacing in the film is a little off.  The film flows like an uneven rollercoaster with some of the thrills bunched together and long periods of dry scenes.  My biggest gripe with the story is the lack of small creatures.  They are pictured on the cover but don't share that much screen time.  Finally, the film is bloody but the effects are horrible.  Some of the scenes left me scratching my head trying to figure out why they decided to film the scenes the way they did. The puppets are fun to look at but the deaths are laughable at best.  Overall, Ghastlies is the biggest let down of 2018.  It had all the makings of a modern classic but failed to bring it all together for an unforgettable film.  It still has a few fun moments and would be fun to watch with a couple beers.