Friday, July 27, 2012

Season of the Witch

Watched July 24, 2012

Starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore and Stephen Graham.

This one does have witches in it at least.  It's the crusades and plague times all wrapped into one. It begins with a couple of supposed witches being hung and drowned. The main monk knows that once you drown those horrible witches you have to recite some words from a holy book to really destroy the witch demons. The demon witch comes back to life and before the monk can say the right words,  the demon kills him. So begin the plague times.

Now we meet our heroes, Nic Cage and Ron Perlman. They're Knights of the Crusades and they're destroying heathens left and right. Nic kills one lady too many and finally wakes up to the fact that he's murdered a ton of people. Nic and Ron quit the holy army, wander around and stumble upon a plague town. They are trying to hide that they're knights but are quickly found out. They are then asked to undertake a special task. The town has a witch captured and they're convinced she is the bringer of the plague. Since she is a witch demon, she has to be taken to a special castle/abbey where a holy book can properly destroy the demon and give the girl a fair trial. A group is assembled to make sure the witch girl makes it to the castle.  They make sure a teen with a gross mustache joins the team.

As they travel it seems like the girl isn't really a witch, she just has the demon inside her. Sometimes she seems nice, other times she gets possessed with the demon and tries to kill everyone. She makes the trip really difficult,  one night she summons wolves and turns them into CGI wolves to attack everyone.  I wonder why they didn't kill her right then and there or at least knock her out.  Nic Cage seems to be bent on making sure she gets a fair trial.  Fair trials didn't exist back then,  so they should have just killed her.
They make it to the abbey and all the monks are dead from the plague.  The monk that is traveling with them finds the holy book just in time for the demon to show its true form. The demon flies around and tries to kill everyone.  The monk is killed reciting the words, who is going to read the holy book now? Luckily teen knight pulls it together, starts reading and finishes vanquishing the demon. Too bad Nic and Ron die doing their best to destroy the demon. The witch girl survives the demon leaving her body and the plague is gone. The girl and teen boy ride off together, obviously in love, because everyone else is dead from the plague.

I thought it was going to be worse than it was, but maybe I've been watching too many super slow movies that don't go anywhere. This movie isn't good by any means, but at least it's got lots of action and terrible accents. The scenes of Nic and Ron during the crusades killing people seem to be repeated a thousand times.  Nic Cage has a really impressive beach waves wig that looks likes he's been back on the set of Valley Girl chilling by the shore. Everyone wears a thousand blanket robes for costumes which is pretty entertaining. Nothing really blew me away to make it truly memorable.

An alright movie to watch with a group of people, I think it would terrible to view it alone.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Watched July 16, 2012

Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacy Nelkin and Dan O' Herlihy and the weirdo little brother from Teen Witch; Joshua John Miller.

 Warning: There are no witches in this movie.

I found out there are a couple of unrelated movies that share the title Season of the Witch.  The first on my list to watch was Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Much like Troll 2, this movie has nothing to do with the previous movies. There is no mention of Michael Meyers or Laurie Strode.

 It begins with a guy running away from an evil matrix-like guy. The man is almost murdered by the matrix guy,  he ends up in the hospital clutching a mask. He is then strangled by a different matrix dude, who then gets in his car and douses himself with gasoline and sets himself ablaze. Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins)  watches this happen and has to explain the death to the man's daughter Ellie (Stacy Nelkin.)  Dr. Challis is a gross old dude, but all the ladies seem to want a piece of him.  Dr. Challis and Ellie team up to find out what happened to her dad.  They head up the the Silver Shamrock Novelty factory where the mask was made. This is where the real plot unfolds. The head of the Silver Shamrock company Conal Cochran (Dan O'Herlihy) has a super evil plan for the upcoming Halloween. He has put microchips that contain stolen pieces of Stonehenge rock into the masks he is selling. On Halloween as the kids watch a special program it will activate the masks and kill all the kids. Why he wants to do this is never explained, or I missed it anyway.  Dr. Challis finds out the plan and tries to stop it, it seems like he has done it by calling the TV stations and telling them to stop the broadcast. As the screen goes black you hear the Silver Shamrock theme and it's assumed that all the kids are exploding with blood and bugs.

I wouldn't recommend this. It's pretty slow and the plot doesn't make much sense.  The beginning is kind of awesome as it's a zoomed in computer screen that slowly reveals a digital jack 'o' lattern. The Silver Shamrock commercial for the masks is pretty awesome with it's minimal electro beats even though it's played a million times. You don't root for any of the characters as Dr. Challis is a horrible dad and Ellie turns into a robot. I like the idea of trying a new story since Michael Meyers died in Halloween II, but this one is not a winner.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Death Bed The Bed that Eats

Watched July 9, 2012

Starring a bunch of people I've never heard of. (I did check it out on IMDB and it turns out that the brother is played by  William Russ who's been in a lot of stuff, including playing Corey Matthew's dad on Boy Meets World.)

I was somewhat recommended this movie because I had a terrible idea for a moment about making a movie about a vampire stop sign. What the concepts share is a bizarre villain, in this case a bed that eats people. This movie was never theatrically released, instead being traded underground on VHS until being officially released on DVD in 2003.

The first thing that struck me is that there really isn't much dialogue, but there are a ton of inner monologues and somewhat of a narrator voice. The basic plot is this: several hundred years ago a demon fell in love with a maiden. The demon created this bed for them, but the maiden died. The demon was so distraught he cried tears of blood on the bed. This made the bed come to life and it was filled with a lust for blood. The bed found a home in a castle and ate people that tried to sleep on it.  At some point a really sick artist was using the bed, but the bed didn't want to eat him.  Instead the bed trapped the artist behind a drawing of the bed. The bed and the trapped artist became sort of friends as the bed would give the artist gifts from the people it ate, rings and such.  Now in the present day 1970's, three young ladies come to the castle for a retreat. The first girl is super paranoid that no one likes her, so she is the first to be eaten by the bed. The bed is really good at cleaning up the mess so the other two ladies don't know that the first girl is dead. Sadly, the murder scenes are pretty mundane. The bed doesn't have awesome teeth, instead it just envelopes the person when they lay on it. Then you see a screen of stomach acid digesting the victim. The second woman is almost eaten but she managed to very slowly crawl away before the bed grabs her with a sheet arm and finishes her. The last women watches the bed eat her friend, collapsing in shock. Luckily her brother has been looking for her so he shows up and tries to stab the bed. The bed cannot be killed by conventional means so when the brother stabs the bed, his hands are dissolved by the bed's stomach acid. By chance, the bed demon finally falls sleeps which lets the artist in the painting talk to people. The artist tells the sister how to destroy the bed. She follows the instructions and the bed bursts into flames, but not before the women's body is inhabited by the maiden that the demon loved.

The plot unfolds very slowly and the deaths are pretty tame. The explanation of the bed's history doesn't come out until more than halfway into the movie. Everything happens painfully slow and the supposed climatic scenes are still terrible. The best part is when the brother's hands are melted off and he just stares at them, then they burn his hand bones in the fire.

I own this movie, as a friend gave it to me, but I never want to watch it again. The idea is fun in theory and could be translated into an interested 15 minute movie. But this movie really doesn't work even if you like bad movies.  If you do check out the bonus feature, the director gives a very detailed way on how to use the internet and message boards.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Never Too Young to Die

Watched July 2, 2012

Starring John Stamos, Vanity, Gene Simmons and George Lazenby

I bought this at a thrift store a couple years ago based on the awesome box art.  I was completely sold by the back description of Gene Simmons playing the evil hermaphrodite villain Ragnar. This movie is pretty nuts, and I love it. It's trying to be a son of James Bond type of adventure/action movie.

George Lazenby plays deadbeat dad/super spy Drew Stargrove to John Stamos's Lance. Drew dies trying to foil the plan of Velvet Von Ragnar (Gene Simmons) to poison the water supply.  Lance finds out his dad is a secret agent at the funeral and inherits a ranch retreat.  Lance wants to find out how his dad really died,  he is told it was a car accident, but he knows something is up.  He goes to the ranch house where he finds all sorts of secret weapons.  Danja (Vanity) lives there,  I guess she was Drew's assistant.  She makes a point to tell Lance that she didn't sleep with his dad.  So Lance teams up with Danja and tries to thwart Ragnar's plans to poison the water supply.  Ragnar has a whole army of punk warriors that are sent to retrieve the disk that Drew stole before his death, as it is believed that the disk was sent to Lance. The disk is referred to as RAMcakes, which is really weird.  One of the greatest scenes is when Stamos is trying to not be seduced by Vanity, he does this by changing outfits, eating fruit and drinking bottled water. They do finally do it though, so don't worry. Luckily,  Lance is a gymnastic whiz he takes to spy work really quickly and in the end saves the day and the water supply.

There are several songs written just for the movie, one about Stargrove and another about being never too young to die. Both are fantastic additions to the excellent 80's soundtrack.

This is a movie I have watched several times and I plan to watch again. It's got action, punks, motorcycles with horse heads, hermaphrodite Gene Simmons, Uncle Jesse and Vanity which is a perfect combination for a good time.

Not available on dvd that I'm aware of,  but it's worth searching for on VHS.