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Hideaway

DollarindexHideaway is a 90s horror movie based on a novel by Dean Koontz, and it really feels like it. There’s something about a film based on a novel, we see it in a lot of Stephen King adoptions as well, something about the tone, pacing, and style of the film that just feels like it’s an adaption. Indeed, this movie actually reminds me a lot in its construction and tone of the mangler, whether it’s a jumble of recognizable names pasted across a pastiche of 90s horror tropes complete with dodgy CGI that may have looked cool at the time, but never looked realistic.

Hideaway is the story of a man – Jeff Goldblum – who experiences a near-death event, and comes back connected to other psychics. One of them happens to be a sociopath with his eyes on Goldblum’s daughter and it’s up to him index3to stop the psycho killer by any means necessary.

Hideaway also features Alfred Molina and Alicia Silverstone. If you’re expecting much from Silverstone though, you’re going to be in for disappointment. She is a vast with a couple of the story line seems to herself.

It’s weird timing for that too, seeing as this movie came out a year after Jurassic Park, when Goldblum would be at the height of his power, and the same year as Clueless, which would catapult Silverstone to stardom. I suspect it was shot a bit earlier and then somebody suddenly realized they just happen to have a index4film on the shelf starting the hero of last year‘s Blockbuster and this year’s it girl, which would explain why Silverstone is so prominently featured in the poster, but is largely absent from the film.

This is absolutely Goldblum’s movie. The problem with using Jeff Goldblum though, is you have to cast a really strong actors who can hold their own against him. That’s not the case here. The wife, even when she’s complaining about him bringing a gun and indignant about having to leave, feels hollow, and Silverstone really just sleep walks through the film. Instead of feeling dread when watching our villian up to his own machinations, I find myself frequently just a little bored and waiting for index2Goldblum to come back on and continue the story.

At the end of the day, it’s not that this is a terrible movie, it’s just not the sort of them I’m into – it’s too many of the 90s clichés with no monster, Lawnmower Man levels of bad CGI, and a certain indifference to the genre. It was worth the one dollar that I paid for it, but the shelf of the dollar tree store is exactly where this thing belongs.


Robert

Looking at the cover of Robert, you can see they’re trying to strike a balance between the imagery of the Anabelle films and the newer Child’s Play remake. The film starts with a warning that the film what you’re about to see is based on the tragic real life events with a family after estranged all called Robert entered their lives. Blah blah blah, etc. etc., whatever the truth may be, Robert the doll has gained a legendary and fearsome reputation. Really? Because I’ve never heard of this little sucker until I started finding these DVDs littering the dollar tree shelves.

We get a prologue with Agatha, a Lynn Shaye look-alike warning a couple that they are being hunted, not by a house, but by a doll. We fast forward three years where Agatha is now the nanny for a different family.  She keeps Robert locked in suitcase, just in case. That’s probably not a good thing because she’s about to get fired by Jenny, a bored housewife with some mental problems and having a midlife crisis. On our way out, she stops to see Gene, the boy she’s been taking care of and gives him Robert… telling him that now that she’ll be gone, he needs a new friend!

 

The parents don’t make much of it, though they do question the young boy… “Since when do you play with dolls?”

“He’s different,” Gene says. “He talks to me.”

 

Spooky things start to happen. Footsteps in the middle of the night, as well as a child’s play gag of tiny footprints through sugar. We get a glimpse of something moving, and I’m amused to spot a child’s drawing of Robert pinned to the fridge. We get some stalking POV shots, low to the ground,  and a defaced painting. Jenny is already paranoid, and erupts in anger when her son tells her it’s Robert causing the mischief.

The next morning, a maid arrives, and there’s none too impressed by Robert. He creeps her out and she shakes her head and bewilderment

“This is messed up.”

This displeases Robert, and an upset Robert is no good for an unsuspecting maid.

With our first body in the bag about halfway through the film, Robert starts to feel his oats, writing DIE on the bedroom mirror in the mother’s lipstick. She is horrified as she stares down the hall into her son’s room – Robert is sitting on the rocking chair with the lipstick still in his hand.

Jenny asks her son if she can stash Robert away in the attic but Gene warns her that this would  be a bad idea- Robert will get mad. Indeed, that night  it seems like even Gene  is beginning to show some fear of Robert. The couple head out on a date and leave him in the care of a sitter, but when it comes time for bed, Gene requests that the light be left on. Those fears may be justified because the babysitters the next one to get it.

We enter the third act with the mother hysterical and furious at her disbelieving husband. She’s had enough, taking the doll away and screaming at it, demanding it talk to her the way he talks to her son. Her husband thinks she’s crazy, but she doesn’t care… and locks Robert in the outdoor shed.

The next day she’s off to track down Agatha, to try find out where Robert came from. The problem is, Agatha’s dead… and while she explores her house and correspondence to try and dig up some answers, her family has been left home alone… with Robert.

The ending is a bit of a shocker.

 

Robert is a nice, low budget Child’s Play rip off (Ironically, the real Robert doll was the inspiration for Chucky). It takes place mostly in one location, in one house, with good reason. The movie was shot in just eight days, with their child star only available for three of them. Robert himself gets enough screen time to satisfy, and when he’s not on screen, people are talking about him. It makes his character pervasive. This is essential to the story being told, because according to director Andrew Jones, in many ways, Robert is a stand in for mental illness.

“The lead character Jenny has schizo affective disorder, some of the symptoms of that involve hearing voices and seeing hallucinations. Her husband Paul is worried about her state of mind and also about whether or not the illness has been genetically passed onto their son Gene,” Jones told StudyParanormal in a 2015 interview. “The whole film is essentially Robert serving the same function as the mental illness, causing distrust and tension between the characters simply by his presence in their home.”

 

Even in this first installment, the film deviates significantly from the events it’s based on.

 

“The real life story of Robert doesn’t really work for a narrative film because it had no natural ending. It would have been tough to build a film towards a definitive resolution sticking entirely to the true story.” laments Jones.  “There isn’t a great deal of back story out there for Robert’s origin, nor is there any great detail about the Otto family. So I had to embellish on the characters’ personal stories and also give Robert some additional back story to add more drama.”

 

In the actual history, a young man named Robert Eugene Otto was first given the doll back in 1906, when he was a mere six years old. It was gifted by an angry Bahamian servant who supposedly had an interest in black magic. It’s been said that the gift was the servant’s revenge for being poorly treated by the family. Young master Otto decided to give the doll his first name,  Robert and suddenly decided that he would no loger go by the name “Robert” himself, but rather requested that everyone refer to him instead by his middle name, Gene. Gene would go on to become a well know artist and author in Key west, but would keep Robert by his side for the rest of his life, right up to his death in 1974. It is rumored that Gene’s wife, Anne, was driven insane by her husband’s lifelong devotion to the doll.

 

The film was shot on location in Saundersfoot and Swansea in Wales, UK, as opposed to the actual location, a mansion at the corner of Eaton and Simonton streets in Key West, Florida, now known as the Artist House. In 1978 the Artist House was converted into a Hotel. As for the doll itself, The real life Robert the Doll now resides at the East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, though the doll is annually loaned out to the Old Post Office and Customhouse in Key West during the Halloween season.

The doll itself is not a well-articulated puppet, but that seems more a function of budget than anything else. Still, the use of low angles and partial shots – an arm or a leg sticking in the frame really helps to sell the character. They do well with what they have. It’s average straight to video fair, but worth the dollar that I paid for it. I’m interested in seeing the next sequel.


Tomatoes vs Hellraiser

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You opened the box…we came.

Yeah, this wasn’t what I was expecting…..

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Closed for the holidays

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The Munsters Scary Little Christmas

I found this at the dollar tree sometime either this past spring or summer 2020. I came across it for something else in my library, and decided it was finally time to throw this in the DVD player and give it a spin.

I know I was in trouble almost immediately, when it became apparent that wasn’t Fred Gwynne on the cover. I understand how universal would’ve been eager to try and reboot the Munsters in 1996. The massive success of the two Addams family films made it seem like a simple prospect. But there’s some significant differences between the Addams family and the Munsters . Scant as it may be, the Addams family has source material. It may just be a collection of single panel cartoons by artist Charles Adams, but it defined The look and ethic of the TV series, movies, and all other sundry sequels. With the Munsters however, they are the source material. Yes, I understand they’re based on the universal monsters, but Herman Munster is not Frankenstein. Grandpa is not Dracula. They are their own unique creations, defined by the actors who stepped into those roles.

This is one of the immediate places where these Munsters reboots fail. The actor playing Herman just doesn’t look right. He’s not tall enough to proportion out that barrel chest, nor is his face long enough. And would’ve gone along way towards that, as well as an additional half inch at the top of the four head appliance. Grandpa is even worse. We have Jack Klompus, (The rival of Jerry’s father in Seinfeld) done up in corpse paint and an incomprehensible false nose. He lacks the roundness of Al Lewis, not to mention his charm. He’s chewing the scenery and doing his own thing, and it’s jarring. Herman at least attempt to act like Herman… When he remembers to. But it’s a cartoonish exaggeration, something that was earnest when Gwynne would do it. Honestly, I am completely incredulous that they didn’t just bite the bullet and hire Brad Garrett. That man had been preparing for that role his entire life, and he was definitely available for a TV movie or two in 1996.

The other big difference between this and the Addams family reboots, is money. Those two films had an enormous budget, they backed up the stellar performance by Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd with a well-funded background design. You can see a huge difference by the time we get to the Addams Family Reunion, where the scanty Power Rangers TV budget makes the whole thing look so cheap that even the brilliance of Tim Curry can’t save it.

Likewise, this series looks cheap. I realize that HD TV wasn’t a thing in 1996, but I’m watching this on DVD in standard definition and I can still see the seams on the ears and the noses. You can spot the eyebrow pencil being used to create the widows peaks. They re-created the costumes all right, but they look cheap. Fur around Santa‘s boot falls down at one point, circling his ankle, and they leave it in. Even the film stock feels… Less than.

The exterior set Is done well enough, it’s a facade that’s designed to look more like the Addams family house than the monster one though, and the actors they use who are pretending to be animatronics, well, it just looks a little dumb… Much the way it did in Kiss meets the Phantom of the park. I just keep coming back to that. The whole thing just looks cheap.

For their parts, the actress playing Lily, and the kid playing Eddie do a good enough job. Marilyn too. But the truth is, they’re mostly walking props. The focus isn’t on them, though when Lily does get a little something to do, I do feel like I’m watching Yvonne DiCarlo. It’s good.

Since they’ve moved from Transylvania to Southern California – really? – Eddie just isn’t in the Christmas spirit. It’s too different here, he’s getting bullied at school, and he’s just down. So the family devises their own plans to make him feel better. Marilyn wants to throw a party with all of their relatives… A good excuse to bring in as many universal monsters as possible! Lily on the other hand thinks that what Eddie  needs is involvement in the community… Kind of like in a Charlie Brown Christmas. Herman thinks he can solve it by getting Eddie the perfect Christmas gift, and goes off to look for a second job so he can afford it. Grandpa just believes all Eddie needs is snow. Herman and Marilyn’s plans are quickly sidelined, they’re not even the “B” storyline… Although they do get referenced at the very end. The main thrust of the story comes when grandpa accidentally transports Santa into his lap instead of snow. Then the movie becomes a story about how the Munsters have to get Santa back to the north pole and save Christmas. But can they do it in time? Santas got to lecherous elves with him who would really like the night off and they might just have a thing or two to say about it!

It’s just weird. It feels like somebody took a bunch of puzzle pieces that may or may not fit together, tossed them all into a blender and poured out this movie. I can almost see The writers room with a couple of checklists.

Munsters costumes question Check.
Herman in a Santa suit? Check.
Herman in a biker costume? Check.
Junior high bullies? Check. Santa Claus? Check.
Comedic misunderstanding? Check.
Munsters saved Christmas? Check.
Nosy neighbor? Check.
Holiday contest? Check.
Fruitcake? Check.
Subverting Christmas archetypes for comedic affect? Check.
Drag U La? Check.

It’s all here, it’s all mashed up, safe as can be, but with no coherent vision or Throughline. It’s so safe, no network exact could possibly have said no. But, that makes it so by the numbers, what’s here to get me to watch this instead of a rerun of Baywatch?

Perhaps I’m being a little hard on this, it was the third attempted monster reboot over the course of about five years. But still, this thing is pretty much a stinker. It looks nice on my shelf of misunderstood Christmas movies, but I can’t recommend it in anyway shape or form.


Mr Freeze and the Suicide Squad

Costume

Mr. Freeze wasn’t actually in the Squad, but he could be – Captain Cold did at least one mission and it’s the only way I could justify this really strange line-up!
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Curse of the Wolf

index.jpgCurse of the wolf starts off in the chat room with someone consulting a bed on how best to tranquilize or subdue the large dog – large like a wolf. I very much get the impression that this movie is trying to be Ginger Snaps, and that worries me – low-budget knock-offs are rarely satisfying.

Our young lady werewolf has obviously been taught by a group of werewolf hunters. We get our first attempt at a transformation sequence through flashbacks as she lays prone and drugged in her basement. It turns out that the other hunters are also werewolves. They do well to keep the suit in shadows and quick cuts as much as possible – because the suit is awful.

We get stark font credits over loud metal music and the whole thing starts to feel very amateur before we even hit 15 minutes. They drag her back to the cavern club house, and we just kind of… Drift. Six months later we cut to a vets office, she appears to be index.jpgworking there mostly to have access to drugs she needs to control her werewolf disease. She stops a bunch of metalheads street dogs from assaulting a woman using her super werewolf kung fu, but at half an hour, about a third of the way through, I’m still waiting for a story to kick in. The hunters are looking for her again to bring her back into their fold– I guess that is close to a story as I’m going to get.

Amateurly filmed with not enough plot (and terrible lighting – everything is crazy dark), curse of the werewolf comes off feeling like a bunch of guys had been playing werewolf the index2apocalypse, or vampire the masquerade too much and decided to make a movie of one of their adventures. Even with the inclusion of several competent martial artists, this is not One of the underworld movies. We get some gore here and there along with copious amounts of metal music and it seems like at some point somebody wanted to turn this into a character study of Life fighting the curse, but it all falls kind of flat. How on earth did they manage to stretch this out to an hour and 45 minutes? Even when viewed on fast forward the movie feels endless. Skip this one – it’s not really even worth putting on for background noise.


The Vampire Conspiracy

indexReading the description for the vampire conspiracy, it sounds like Saw with vampires – in the washed out grey dirty room that it starts in does nothing to dispel that impression. Five people are abducted by maniacal vampire and put into a deadly maze of wits and endurance – if they make it out alive, the vampires fortune is theirs but if they fail they will be doing to be his bloodthirsty slaves forever.

The film starts with two people who are at the end of this particular game, and obviously about to lose as the vampires descend upon them. It’s not a bad start, and I’m feeling optimistic about the next 88 minutes. Maybe less if there is a lot of credits. Then the head vampire shows up, in a long cloak and a frilly pirate shirt, looking like he stepped right out of an Anne Rice porn parody. And now I’m worried again.

On the other side of the credits, the film begins in earnest, with five people in a white marble room – very reminiscent of Cube. 20 minutes and I’m still waiting for the action to start – it’s been a very talky first act with the vampire basically explaining to his index2.jpgcaptives what the plot is. What little action we seen, one of the guys taking a swing at the vampire, the vampire tossing another one out of the way – it’s all stilted and slow.

Once we get into exploring the house, the trap some cells aren’t exactly so complicated – it’s picking the lock on one door and trying not to open the other one that houses the vampires.

They go in for foggy flashbacks, very much like Saw – and attempt to connect the relationships between the people in the game. There is a good deal of squabbling between the prisoners, in an attempt to build tension through the interpersonal conflict – but it’s a waste, we haven’t had enough time to really connect with these characters so the squabbling just falls flat.

The film attempts a third act climax by having the remaining characters confront their pasts – that is to say confront the people that they have loved and lost. Dead partners and brothers, resurrected and to emotionally confront them before revealing they are now vampires.

index2The setting is smart – because they’re wondering through a maze of identical rooms, all they really need is one set with a couple of extra walls to create hallways in. Shooting could be one or two days with a group of extras to provide vampire attacks and the rest of the time we simply got this small cast off for five people.

What really disappoints me, is the lack of  gore. We have some vampire teeth and minimal make up on the horde of bloodsuckers, but the kills and the defense with the stakes never gets particularly bloody – I never get any torn flesh or complex make up jobs. It’s an interesting idea, but lacking both tension and blood. The film ends up being quite unmemorable. You might wanna watch it just for curiosity, but I won’t blame you if you don’t make it all the way through.


Fist of the Vampire

index.jpgFist of the vampire… What a stupid name… And that logo looks a lot like they want to emulate the Shaw Bros intro – the film dives into grainy footage that says it’s from 1977. I don’t know, these 70s vampires look awfully 21st-century to me as they pursue a guy in a ponytail and a three-piece suit down a desaturated alleyway.

On the other hand, maybe I’m being too hard on things – we get into some bloodletting and action right away, and if they keep this kind of pace this may well be a nicely entertaining flick.

The vampire attack is brutal – full of blood and fire. Somebody knows how to use after effects and bought some stock footage. This is especially evident as we watch some very stylized credits over metal music. A lot of quick cuts and flashing images, leading us into the gunfight that begins the film. Young one flees the policeman, shooting it out in a video store and eventually being followed to her hideout where more gunplay ensues. You can tell the makers of the film are movie people, the living room walls are covered in DVD shelves, and I wouldn’t be surprised if index1.jpgthat video store was actually creation in somebody’s basement. Nevertheless, they really know how to stage action, whether it’s hand-to-hand throwing punches and kicks or pistols and automatic weapons enhanced by CG muzzle flashes. It’s well done enough that they’re able to maintain this action sequence for long stretches of time without you getting tired of it. 23 minutes into the film, we are finally getting a breather from the action as detectives investigate this crime scene, – and I didn’t even notice that time fly by.

We move on to a detective investigating an underground fighting ring. It’s being run by the vampires from the 1977 sequence and in large part appears to be there to showcase several martial artists in exciting fighting in sequences that aren’t required to propel the narrative. With all of the stilted performances being delivered by the amateur actors here, I understand why – they need all the production value they can get, and these fight index2sequences really do add quite a bit.

The thing is, even with some of the week performances and by the numbers plt points, this is still a really entertaining action film. A box set like this is the perfect place for it, though it might be more at home in an action set rather than a horror one. Either way, it’s worth a watch. Of all the movies in this said, it was the only one that really made me want to explore the directors other work – and there’s been quite a bit of it – low budget direct to video crap but with as much fun as I had here, it might be worth a look. If you have the opportunity, definitely catch this one at a film festival or marathon. Just remember to turn your brain off first.


Killbot

3d.jpgI have this really unreasonable love for certian films – such as Chopping Mall. This is one of the killer robots from the 80’s horror schlock film called “Chopping Mall”. I modeled this thing up from scratch using Bryce 3d, arms are included in a separate file and are glued on (it seemed to tricky and fragile to integrate them on the bot itself).

 

Model can be found here https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2914278

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned

index2.jpgI’m not really expecting much from Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned – but I’m hoping that it’s got its got a sense of humour as the name indicates. I noticed that Lloyd Kauffman is gonna pop in here and I’m looking forward to seeing his cameo. It comes early and is one of Lloyds best ones ever.

Set up is pretty much what the title says, a dude picking up bros and heading to his bachelor party at the bungalow. Strippers arrive about 20 minutes in and of course, Demons. They drug the bachelor before seducing all the guys (not a difficult task, tight leather). Debauchery leads into some gruesome deaths before everything is interrupted by a call from the fiance. The best man escorts the succubi out, And they reluctantly comply, staring longingly at them through the windows. The groom is not dead but looking anemic

This is when the three Demon girls return, claiming thier car has broke down.

index2Around this time, the best man discovers the dead bodies in the Demon ladies attack. The word vampire gets used, but they don’t feel like vampires to me – whatever they are though, the film is full speed ahead from here out – bloody and gory and with plenty of action. The pacing gets a little choppy though, there’s at least two places where the film probably should have ended but wouldn’t have met its length requirements to be a feature – the segways between scens are awkward, almost feeling like they were tagged on. I’d have liked that better if it had been integrated more smoothly. Still, I actually really, really enjoy this. It’s low budget, sophomoric humour,and Unpolished production values but great dumb fun.


Mr Freeze and the Gotham gang

Costume

I pulled out my Mr. Freeze outfit and did some minor repairs, then realized I couldn’t find my freeze gun. A whole new freeze gun became a part of these upgrades!
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Grave Mistake

index.jpgGrave mistake starts off with a drunk guy in the middle of the desert by A shallow grave pouring chemicals on it in the hopes it will destroy the body… Well, at least we know how the zombie apocalypse got started on this one!

During the credits we get a zombie attack on a truck in and some kids heading home from the skate park. It turns out the drunk with the chemicals is also an abusive father – nice.

We kept to the mechanic in his office having flashbacks of his time at war – things ended badly there, and there is some PSTD involved. You are moving seen of him trying to decide whether or not to kill himself we cut to a jump in the car reading is on the box and then what appears to be an impromptu medieval fair going on in the wilderness. I’m extremely confused. (It seems to be more of an excuse to have guys who can swing swords at the zombies later on)

Mechanics assistant is a goofy Conrad Brooks type who’s written a book on surviving the zombie apocalypse. Good thing to do, because there is some news report that the zombies have arrived!

Zombie some cells are only in airbrushed grey with some gruesome flight details, but it’s effective enough and someone’s certainly beginning to learn their gore fx . There are some clever mixtures of gore and camera trickery used to achieve some of the more interesting kills, but not much of a story – it’s secondary to the filmmakers ability to show off their make up skills.

index2We get to standard small group on a run (heading to the local armory), as well as the occasional zombie attacks, the running out of gas gag and the “let’s go shopping” scene.

The actors do a fair job and the cinematography is adequate despite the consumer grade equipment being used here.

It’s worth watching as part of a collection like this, especially for some of that kills force the end and hopefully would serve as a good calling card for the filmmakers to go on to bigger and better things.


Iron Sapphire redux

Costume

Out of nowhere, Maddie asked me to redo her Iron Sapphire armor! I’ve always been leased with it, but we had to completely remake the midplate expand the legs because she’s grown so much since the last time she wore it!

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Awaking the Dead

index.jpgAwaking the dead begins with a highly stylised to CG sort of introduction. It worries me because it usually signals a poor production values throughout the rest of the film.

From shots of the city we move to a small bedroom, desaturated with a young muscular man waking up to an annoying alarm clock.

He opened up a letter that reads “they didn’t die in vain, go to the old house and wait for me”

The next person to wake up is a young woman in an equally desaturated bedroom, her nudity tastefully obscured.

She has a note as well, “stay inside the house, I’ll be there soon…”

Back to the man who is now revealed to be a priest. He tosses a suitcase in the car and heads out.

Driving montage with gloomy metal playing over. He enters the house with the key that was hidden in a Bible. The girl greats him with a baseball bat. It turns out he used to index.jpgwork with her father and had come for her.

Outside, a plane releases vapour trails that infect a couple of badly dubbed schoolgirls. Children play and neighbours point and priest and discovers his tires been slashed.

Knock on the door and the girls huge, slightly homicidal boyfriend makes his way in. She convinces him to leave with a large knife. The priest continues to wait for her father. She also managed to secure a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses with a knife in a particularly funny scene. The boyfriend’s been sitting in his car though, stewing and finally busts out again ready to go get her. It’s too late, the schoolgirl zombies get him first.

index2.jpgInside, the priest falls asleep with dreams of faceless people. Children point of him accusingly. dream wakes him, Disturbed, he turns over and attempted to go back to sleep. In the meantime, zombies are at the windows.

Good news is there only one zombie out there. The bad news is it’s her hulking boyfriend. a blow to the eye dispatches him quite well.

As the zombie plague grows, the house becomes a refuge for more and more survivors.  But the priest notices outside someone watching and taking notes – he begins to suspect that this is not a natural phenomenon on, but rather a manufactured one.

Things go badly and it becomes time to leave the relative safety of the house to go seek index2out the location on a map where this or may be stemming from. Survivors get up and take to the streets.

Some of the action is interesting and the character signs suddenly look a lot better but it’s not enough to salvage the film. Waking the dead as the germ of a good idea but drags in its pacing… The constantly saturation seems to be there to disguise poor production values and attempt in artistic astetec, but the film itself never really manages to get up and running. This one is a pass, even in the box set.


Basket Case

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“The Tenant in my 3d Printer is very small, very twisted and very mad.” From the not-so-classic Frank Henenlotter horror film “Basket Case”, this is the basket dwelling monster Belial. I designed him as an OBJ in Bryce 7, then converted it to STL in Paint 3D. It imports into my printing software as about 4.5 inches, but I shrunk him down a bit to fit closer in scale to my 6-7 inch action figures. I ended up printing Belial about 2.4 inches tall, with supports that I had to scrape out of his mouth and his underside. He tips to one side or the other with his round belly…but he’s not supposed to be stable. After all, he’s a BASKET CASE!

 

 

 

Model can be found here   https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3751264

 


I Am Omega

mastersofterror

index.jpgI know I’m in for some pain when the Asylum logo shows up over the I Am Omega credits. It’s my own fault, I knew that’s exactly what this would be, but decided to take the plunge anyhow.

It begins with a mother evacuating herself and her son from their home, now under attack by some fairly impressive and bloody zombies. It turns out however to have all been a dream – our main character of remembering his wife and son as he sleeps. He’s awake now though, and when a perimeter breach sets off the alarm he knows he has some hunting to do. I’ve got to give the asylum props here – they’ve got some inventive and gory kills right there at the beginning and it gives me hope for the rest of the film.

You got the formula down – brooding, exercising and then gearing up to go out and look for supplies. It actually feels like it’s trying to be an update of Vincent Price in Last Man on Earth.

indexHe heads up to an old barn/garage, greeting the corpse inside with her cheerful “hey boss” . He grabs beer and fuel from the joint and cautiously drives off, encountering and dispatching zombies throughout the wasteland, planting what look like explosive charges in the sewers. This is his life until one night, he receives an incoming video feed on the computer. Before he can answer, his perimeter alarm sounds again and he is forced to run outside to check for monsters. One of the unfortunate louts has got his zombified hand stuck in the power box. Blast some out of the garden comes back inside… Staring at the message, unable to believe it and hesitant to accept it.

“Hello? Can you see me???”

The sight of a living woman on his computer screen startles him so badly that he falls index2office chair – she’s not sure how to react.

She tells him that she is trapped – she was lost as part of a caravan on its way to a place called Antioch, a safe haven in the mountains with hundreds of uninfected people.

He turns her down, returning to his usual routine. But the next day an unmarked white van arrives with two guys that claim to be from Antioch want to talk about the girl he  met online. They want to go and rescue her, convinced that she’s got the antivirus in her blood. They need to do it before the man carries out his plan to blow up the city. They force him to help lead them through the sewers to go rescue the girl.

index2He makes it to her, but so did the zombies – they run for it, and of course not all is as it seems with the man from Antioch.

It’s predictable, and not really anything to do with Richard Matheson’s I am legend, but for a low-budget asylum film, it’s actually a good piece of work that manages to hit a lot of the tonal beats and give us an entertaining ride. I’m genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed this film – and definitely worth getting as part of the set.


Last of the Living

mastersofterrorindexLast of the living actually starts off pretty nicely – with shots of young men cinematically exploring and abandoned city juxtaposed with news footage of the zombie apocalypse. It’s overlaid with a punky rock song and sets the tone perfectly

We introduced to the trio guys who are living in a house together – young bachelor types reminiscing about the girls  and wondering what they’ve got as far as supplies. The real problem is the beer is low, so they decide they need to make a run. They gear up with sports equipment and run through the abandoned city trying to avoid the zombies while high energy pop music plays in the background. We get some inventive zombie kills and a generally fun vibe from the film. Adam takes a detour to try and rescue a hot girl, but she turns out to be a zombie. We get the impression this isn’t the first time this has happened. They finally arrive at the grocery store and enter cautiously. It’s a stock scene, very much a rip-off of what we saw in Shaun of the Dead.

index1Right around the end of the first act I’m wondering if this is going to be just a slacker dude zombie comedy when our group discovers a young woman and her father hiding in one of the abandoned buildings. The father is immediately dispatched of course because we need some romantic tension, and the young woman reveals that they were trying to transport a sample of what they think might be the cure for the zombie plague to the authorities. She convinces them to help.

They arrive at the lab but things take a turn for the worse when the power goes out in the zombies invade.

index2What was a much more lighthearted film suddenly turned serious as the zombies become more of a threat and the bickering starts amongst our characters. It’s almost as if the film can’t decide what it wants to be, and as we attempt to get this sample to the people who can help during the zombie apocalypse things turn all of it more dire. We get a couple of deaths that I totally didn’t expect towards the end. It ends up being exciting but a severely uneven film. Definitely worth a watch, especially on late night cable or when included in a box set like this.


Mr. Freeze vs Wonder Woman

Costume

I actually ended up doing two versions of this – the first one among the ruins didn’t really thrill me. WW kept blending into the rocks. The blue and red background may be simpler, but it really pops a lot more.

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Cinema Wasteland Fall 2021

“You’re not leaving already?” Eric Roberts looked at me.

I smiled and shook my head, and as I readjusted my backpack.

“No, I’m just trying to get everything stashed and get out-of-the-way.”

Roberts smiled. “You’re not ever in anyone’s way, and you’re a lovely man!”

You know, these sort of things just don’t happen at Horrorhound.

It feels like Cinema Wasteland lite this time around, even more so than the movie nights Ken occasionally throws. He tested the waters with one of those movie nights month or two ago, and was putting on the first full Cinema Wasteland this weekend since the lockdown. But, the attendance was a little more sparse than usual. Regulars like Tom Sullivan were notably absent. About half of those in attendance and vending were wearing masks. Like I said, it felt a bit like a light version of the normal show. Nevertheless, I hadn’t realized how much I needed a wasteland weekend.

I did an smaller number of shows the last couple years… Basically hitting anything that was open to show support for the cons that dared to run a show. That means a lot of Jeff Harper events, as well as some trips south to the Toyhio show. It also meant a couple of trips to PA, where my buddies finally managed to drag me to the big Steel City comic con in Monroeville. But Wasteland is different. Wasteland reminds me why I love convention life. I said it in my reviews, the Steel City is a cash grab. It’s a cattle call, moving you through expensive guest lines and it’s programming is lackluster… Then there are the shows like the Harper events where there’s no programming at all.

Wasteland is all about programming. It’s all about the curation, and showing me films I never knew I needed to see like The incredibly strange creatures just stopped living and became mixed zombies. This one was playing Friday evening, hosted by Gunga Jim. I generally enjoy his stuff, and he is always a fun personality at the events. Gunga Jim came into the movie room to announce that this would in fact be the only time he gets to show this film. Somebody had just snatched up the rights to this public domain movie, just this week and that prevented him from selling it or ever screening it again. Such a bizarre development, and really, after watching this movie… Who would WANT to buy the rights to it? This thing isn’t getting a criterion Blu-ray release!

But I also was happy to be back at Wasteland to remind me that there are still shows out there that aren’t just trying to gouge their customers at every opportunity. Most guests were charging $20 for an autograph, and that went down to $10 if you brought your own thing. Photos were free with the autograph. David Millbern was pleasant and chatty, showing me photos of his new Emmy, as well as the contract from slumber party massacre… just to prove how ridiculously low his day rate was. I make more than that at my own job. Roseanne Katon squealed in delight when I Unrolled my Motel hell poster for her to sign… She’d be the first person on this one. She talked about filming and even shared that her daughter had dressed up as her character for Halloween one year… gotten make up for a bloody slit throat and everything. Fred Olen Ray was in his corner, hocking DVDs. If you bought two or three, he would throw in a free autograph. That’s actually a pretty good deal on the best of days. Likewise, James Edwards from JR Bookwaters crew was set up, and happy to sign my DVD copies of Dead Next Door and Robot Ninja for free. He was delighted to hear about the screening we had in Cleveland couple years ago and amazed I actually got to see it on the big screen.

Guests at Cinema Wasteland tend to be more obscure ones, not the main stream folks who are constantly on the convention circuit… there are a lot of first-timers and these are people who genuinely want to be there. They’re having fun and amazed at how nice the crowd is. Wasteland tends to spoil a first time convention guest for any other shows.

Zander Vorkov could not make it this year, some health problems have sprung up recently, so I signed the giant get well card that Ken had set out at the registration desk. Another fun little touch that wasteland generally does for guests to have to bow out because of some ailment or another.

I managed to slip in for the short film block, but I swear, these things are getting longer. The last feature was a full hour! That doesn’t count as a short film in my book! Still, I sat through an interesting kind of ghostly cult film for 23 minutes and God bless the guys who did the second one. Creating a fun and Quick little shock story and showing how effective that can be even in a mirror three minutes. I’ll admit I bailed right before the third time. I know what to expect from this particular filmmaker, he’s an expert in molding and sculpting silicone, and nobody does gore better than he does. I wasn’t up to 40 minutes of that though, but I did run over to his table To purchase some grotesque body parts for my collection.

My personal favorite film this time around, had to be psycho ape. The premise is a crazed killer rate goes around murdering people with bananas. In this universe, bananas are as razor sharp and deadly as any knife or blade. He’s pursued by a teenage girl who wants to be the next Jane Goodall, trying to help him, and the sinister doctor ZOOmis; Wildlife specialist with a Dr. Loomis from Halloween sort of obsession with capturing and imprisoning psycho ape. The apes it is bad, the CGI blood packs are terrible, and the whole thing is just ludicrous… And it revels in it. They know exactly how bad of a film as it is, and they lean into it. It ends up being bloody, funny, and just a generally good time.

I ended up my weekend, by popping out to wasteland Sunday afternoon for one quick last go around in the dealers room, before headed out to the Cleveland Comic and Nostalgia Show a couple towns over in Westlake. I’ve reviewed a couple of Harper shows this year already, there’s not much that changes or that needs to be said. I was there for $.50 bins and to hang out with a friend who was having a birthday.
 
It was nice to cap off the weekend with one extra run through a different dealer’s room. All in all, it really does help remind me, why I enjoy con life. I can’t wait until we really see things get back into full swing.
 
 
 
 

 


House 4

franchisebannerindex.jpgWho the heck is Lewis Abernathy? Because I think he’s got a lot to answer for.

One of the things that really sets House 4 apart from the rest of the series, is the budget… Or rather the lack of budget. It appears to be the lowest budgeted entry in the franchise, and it really holds it back. You can see it in particular once we’re in the house. Other than the living room, the house looks extremely plain and unremarkable. It feels more like a cheap TV show set rather than a residence. That’s not surprising, considering that it is infact a set. You might have seen much of this set used previously in The People Under the Stairs. in fact, The People Under the Stairs were actually reusing the sets from this film, House 4 was shot first, filming in 1990 but was shelved indefinitely until it’s direct-to-video release in 1992. Of course when you don’t have a budget, what do you do? You get a star! Or at least you get a cameo. William Katt returns for this entry, although if you’re watching this for him then you’re probably going to be a bit disappointed. He’s killed off almost immediately (and only shot 2 days on set) because of a power struggle and land deal over what has to index6be the creepiest family homestead out in the middle of nowhere ever! How anybody could look at this is anything less than a haunted house I don’t know!

Katt’s character Roger Cobb has a new wife and daughter, and a brother that we’ve never heard of before. He and his brother argue over what to do with the house. Roger made a promise to his father that he wouldn’t sell, it’s a generational promise that his father had also made to his grandfather, who believed the house was magic. The Cobb family gets in a automobile accident, killing Roger (and just to make sure we’re certain of it, we actually see his wife sign the do not resuscitate order… if I hadn’t already known he was getting killed early on in this thing, I’m pretty images4.jpgsure I would have been pissed) and crippling the daughter. The wife, honoring her husband’s wishes refuses to sell and returns to the house to live in it. We now have our setup.

It becomes Terri Treas film, but the transition feels awkward because part of me still wants Roger Cobb to be the main character. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly flashing back to the accident and looking at photographs of Katt – it’s an attempt to keep the character in the film, but it also subverts Terri’s character of Kelly as the lead. She’s brought back to the house with her grandfather (Dabbs Greer, who happened to play the minister on Little House in the Prairie) and he tries to talk her out of staying, but she’s adamant. Staying here will be her way of honoring her husband’s wishes, she even brings him index2.jpghome. Roger Cobb’s ashes rest on the mantle of this old house.

An unexplained housekeeper arrives to help them whip the house in shape and they gather up all the old junk for a yard sale. Around this time the brother shows up again, shocked to find Kelly living there. He expected the house to pass to him, but that’s not the way it worked. He attempts to apply some pressure on her but she won’t sell.

Creepy things start to happen, brown goo from the faucets, a vision of a hand emerging from Roger’s ashes, and then there’s the singing Pizza – which is possibly the weirdest and most effective gag in the entire film (That’s Kane Hodder’s face in the pizza by the way). Then the nightmares begin. It’s enough to drive her to the local Native American images3shaman to try and search for answers. He tells her that the house is built over a sacred spring, a healing place for spirits. A great seal was built to seal the last of this power and to hide it, the house was built over it, and now Roger is trapped there.

In the meantime, the evil industrialists still want the property, and Roger’s brother has promised to sell it to them. They’re looking for a dumping ground for toxic waste and it’s a cartoonish and its portrayal of the villains. It’s a very typical Captain Planet sort of bad guy. Since they can’t get them to sell, he send some goons over in fright masks to scare the mother and daughter. Curiously enough, the house protects them. A dog shaped lamp on the daughter’s nightstand transforms into a real dog to chases the men away. It does more than that, it shows Kelly the way that her husband was murdered – it’s giving her visions and now she knows that it was Roger’s brother who murdered him. It’s time for one last showdown between her, the house, and the bad guys.

The movie is far less polished and effective than the previous entries, but it really does manage to capture the spirit of the House films. The real quibble here is the wholesale alteration of every canon – we know from the first film that Roger had a son, not a daughter. Sure, this could be a step daughter and a new wife, but it’s not really clear – in fact it’s really suggested that this is his biological daughter and he’s been with her all along. That’s in congruent with the events of a film a mere seven years prior. It’s weird because while House 4 may be the weakest to the series, it’s far more true to the franchise than the third entry was and in many ways I like it better as a sequel. What I really need, is something to bridge it back to the first film and address the continuity changes. Could someone write me a novel please?


Dollman

midnighthorrorindex.jpgOh Full Moon, how I love thee. Tim Thomerson too. Albert Pyun perhaps not so much, after all he was the one who gave us that appalling Captain America movie with Matt Salinger. Still, Dollman has been one of Full Moon’s stable of franchises for awhile, so I’m kind of looking forward to seeing how this turns out. Please don’t let me down “story by Charles Band”!

The film begins a galaxy away from earth, on a red planet called Artotos. We get some stock footage from Buck Rogers and then cut to a criminal being chased through concrete alleys. He holds up in a laundry room with 13 hostages and that’s when they send Tim Thomerson . Big gun, sunglasses and an attitude. He’s got a reputation as a Dirty Harry space cop – in other words he’s playing Tim Thomerson . Did I mention he’s also already under suspension? Doesn’t matter, he gets the hostages out without anybody getting hurt and this just makes the index2police chief angrier. Despite him saving the hostages, the police chief and the news reporting that everybody died in attempt to frame Thomerson .

Thomerson is then kidnapped by gangsters who attempt to kill him in the wilderness – he turns the tables on them, blasting them on the pieces before the leader escapes… Pursues his flying saucer in a spaceship and his own and they both plummet through a rift in space, ultimately crashing on earth.

There’s only one problem, the people on Earth are six times larger than the people from index1.jpgThomerson’s planet. It’s a world plagued by graffiti in crime and gangbangers in the middle of a block war.

Six times his size or not, Thomerson isn’t about to sit and watch an assault happened and immediately saves a girl from three gang members with his insanely powerful gun. The girl issafe, but she knows that the gangbangers will be back so she picks up dollman and his entire space ship and runs off. In the meantime the gangbangers discover the head from space, and he makes adeal with them. He promises ultimate weapons  if they take care of him – and more importantly if they take care of Thomerson . The gang shows up at the girl’s house and Thomerson index3.jpgfights them off – the boys are a little surprised that Dollman has such a big gun!.

As the girl attempts to make things better in this impoverished neighbourhood, the 81JvVEaNr2L._SL1500_Dollman starts to give the people hope – hope that maybe they can ultimately get rid of the gangsters. The gangsters of course are ready to respond in kind, kidnapping the girl and spiriting her away to an old ironworks… It’s up to Dollman now to rescue her!

Dollman is classic full moon – an over the top comic book action film with a touch of gore though they’re not veering so far as to be gross. They managed to be low budget without looking cheap and this is a perfect example of full moon when they’re truly on their game!


Ghoulies 4

midnighthorrorindex.jpgI didn’t even realize there WAS a fourth Ghoulies movie – I thought the series died after Ghoulies go to college!

The film begins with a very comic book like Female thief dressed in revealing leather who is able to easily overpower and murder the guards. The killing makes her less than sympathetic but progresses the story quickly. She opens a box from Cairo and extracts a jewel – obviously the prize she was here for. Spray-painting a pentagram on the floor she begins a ritual, and the bodies of the slain guards disappear while in the center a hooded figure materilizes, demanding the jewel. She tried to give it to him but steps over the line, breaking the circle – both men vanish in smoke as the cops arrive. The thief leaves and in doing so misses the arrival of two small Ghoulies.

index1.jpgThese are not the Ghoulies that you may remember from Charles Band’s films, this is really a pair of two little people in suits – more goblin than Ghoulies. They immediately launch into three stooges style violence upon each other before scampering off into the darkness.

I have a bad feeling about this. At least it’s directed by Jim Wynorski.

On the other side of the credits we meet a pair of wacky cops on a stakeout.They foil a robbery at the local liquor store, getting drawn into a bloody gun fight.

In the sewers, our burglar, Alexandria summons the man in the cloak again. He informs her that there is a second stone and that she must find it for him (and it just so happens to be hanging around the cops neck). This means more human sacrifices, fortunately Art index2.jpgCarney’s character from the honeymooners is down there and ready to get killed.

Our two Ghoulies themselves flash back to the first film to try and connect everything… It’s debatable whether or not this was a wise move, it highlights the very different look of the actors in costume from the puppets used in the previous movies. According to IMDb, the puppetry was a cost the film could not afford.

The Ghoulies sneak into the cops trunk to hitch a ride. They accidentally blast a hole in the roof of his car while he is in the quickie-mart getting milk, then run off into the darkness. And this does nothing to inspire confidence from his superior detective Kate. He heads home, too tired to even boff his girlfriend or a hooker or whenever she is… The images.jpgGhoulies follow as he dreams of scenes from the first film.

Elsewhere, the Ghoulies and stop a mugging.

Alexandria luers the cop out by kidnapping his partner, but what she doesn’t know his hooker girlfriend is already absconded with the ruby necklace. It turns out, the cop knows Alexandria – they used to date. When she discovers he doesn’t have the jewel, she commands the brainwashed partner to murder him. We get a fist fight in the warehouse, destroying tons of antiques, conveniently laid out on the table.

Alexandria heads to the cops apartment, but the Ghoulies are already there searching… They pepper spray her and make good there escape.

images1.jpgDetective Kate puts cop to bed and I and meets the hook a girlfriend in a amusingly Catty exchange. Sadly, it’s the last time she’ll see her because Alexandria scoops her up outside the apartment and sacrifices her to hooded guy. Detective Kate notices this happening through the window and it sets the cop off to go look for her. Turns out they used to be Satan worshippers together but she got too into it and he dumped her at the mental asylum.Well now, the inmates are in control of the asylum – and Alexandria is using it as a hideout (And a place to complete her ritual).

Who taught the mental patients Kung fu?

The cop and detective Kate show up just in the nick of time to disrupt the ritual and attempt to save hooker girlfriend.

81JvVEaNr2L._SL1500_In some ways, I really like this.The heavily occult themes of this film really harking back more towards the original movie.I can’t complain that the Ghoulies have minimal screen time, once again that also harkins back to the original film. My main objection is that the Ghoulies are little people in costumes that look nothing like the originals rather than puppets. They are constantly cracking wise – it gets grating .Still, overall it’s a stronger entry into the Ghoulies series then part three and one of the better films in this midnight horror collection


Green Arrow Badge

3d.jpg

A friend asked me to create a Green Arrow badge/buckle for his Arrow quiver. Could also be worked into a belt buckle. I’ve uploaded two versions. There’s the big model I was working with, and the smaller one scaled down to the two inches he requested.

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Model can be found here     https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2862615