Friday, June 27, 2014

Slaughter High

Watched June 22, 2014

Starring: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone, Donna Yeager

Marty (Simon Scuddamore) is relentlessly picked on by the popular kids at his high school. He finally thinks things are turning his way when Carol (Caroline Munro) leads him into the girl's locker room with the implication that they'll be having sex. She pushes him into a shower stall and prompts him to undress. Once he's disrobed she opens the curtain to reveal all her friends are there with video equipment, lights and a spear to poke his genitals with. Marty is mortified, but they won't let him go with just the embarassment of being nude in front of a bunch of jerks. They grab him, drag him across the floor, then give him repeated swirlies until the coach barges in.  All the bullies get gym based detention and blame Marty for this. Even though, based on this prank they're psychopaths, so they continue have it in for Marty. They give Marty a joint for his troubles which he goes to smoke in the chemistry lab, but it's a trick joint that makes him vomit. Skip (Carmine Iannaccone) the leader of the popular jerks puts some powder into the mix in the chemistry lab while Marty is throwing up in the bathroom. When Marty comes back to the lab, his conconction is overflowing and ignites the bunsen burner. He tries to put it out but the lab erupts in flames, Marty flails around and knocks some acid in his face. The whole lab catches fire, Marty is horribly disfigured but survives. 

Ten years later, we meet the same gang of bullies as they arrive at their old high school for the reunion. The school appears to be abandoned but that doesn't deter this group. They break into the school, convinced that the reunion is happening. After wandering around they find the old janitor, now groundskeeper who informs that the school has been closed for 5 years and it about to be demolished in the next month. The janitor lets them hang out and heads on his way when he is murdered by the mysterious killer for no reason. He happens to be black and had nothing to do with Marty's bullying, he actually got the coach when Marty was being attacked in the bathroom. For the first death it doesn't make any sense.

The group finds the party room, which is decorated with a big welcome back banner along with all their old lockers in it and, of course, lots of alcohol. Within their lockers, they each find items that mysteriously disappeared when they were in high school, but who cares, let's party! They start drinking and having a great time. One guys shotguns a beer, instantly feel terrible, then his stomach bursts open and he dies. Thus begins the terror of Marty's revenge. One of the ladies got some blood on her face from the guy's stomach exploding, so she goes to the girl's locker room where there is a bathtub. She takes a bath, but the water coming out of the spout turns to acid blood and burns her alive. The whole school gets locked down, with the windows covered in electrified wire so everyone is stuck in this horrible murder school. Marty hunts down each former bully and kills them. There are some good deaths and a lot of chasing scenes.

Then we find out why this film was originally called April Fool's Day. Marty wakes up from his revenge dream to be in the recovery wing of a mental hospital. He is still horribly scarred but we aren't sure it his revenge fantasy was ever real. But he wakes up and attacks his doctor with a syringe anyway.

I'm pretty sure I got to see the unrated version because Whoa! I wasn't ready for the amount of full frontal male nudity that occurs during the first 10 minutes. It's really intense to think that while these guys were holding Marty in the toilet they basically were looking at his butt hole. I didn't like the movie April Fool's Day because all the murders turned out the be tricks and it makes me like this movie a little less if the murders were just dreams. Right now all I remember about April Fool's Day is that they ate a bunch of boiled hot dogs. 

Marty's bullies are really terrible people, they weren't playing pranks on him they were trying to rip him apart emotionally and tear him down physically too. All these high schoolers look about 40 and the actress that played Carol was 37 when she made the movie and it shows, so that takes away from feeling remotely serious. Still some shockers which makes it worth and you do get to see all these terrible people die.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dracula's Widow

Watched June 5, 2014

Starring: Sylvia Kristel, Lenny von Dohlen, Rachel Jones, Josef Sommer

The Hollywood House of Wax is preparing for a very authentic Dracula exhibit containing artifacts that have been shipped straight from Romania. The proprietor Raymond (Lenny von Dohlen) expected only five crates in the shipment but received six, which is puzzling but he accepts them all anyway. The House of Wax consists mostly of brutal murder scenes so it's no surprise that a graphic vampire exhibit would be a big hit. As you would expect of any wax museum creator and curator, Raymond is pretty strange. After opening all the crates he goes to watch his own 16 mm print of Nosferatu in his sparsely furnished living room. As he is mesmerized by the film, two robbers break into the museum looking for valuable objects to steal. One of the robbers goofs around with a wax figure and begins to burn its face only to turn around to see his co-conspirator being attacked by a woman, so he hightails it out of there. As Raymond watches the film he is approached by Vanessa (Sylvia Kristel) she wants to know where her Dracula is. Raymond is confused by the whole situation, so she bites Raymond and puts him under her control.

The surviving robber goes to the police with his strange story.  Detective Lannon (Josef Sommer) takes the case and begins to investigate. On the same night of the robber's story a man was found bitten and mutilated in a nearby park. Detective Lannon and his partner are on the case.

Vanessa still wants to know where her husband Dracula is, Raymond tells her that he was killed by Van Helsing over a hundred years ago. Obsessed with finding her husband and getting back to Romania she starts searching for clues to where he could be. She has a strange hold on Raymond and she makes him drive her around. They find a building with a pentagram on it and go check it out. It looks like a potential gay orgy, with a bunch of beefy dudes hanging out, but they're are actually satanists about to engage in a ritual. Vanessa in invited to participate and as it gets going, she attacks and kills everyone while Raymond watches. 

Detective Lannon gets around to questioning Raymond, who acts very suspiciously. Lannon doesn't have enough to pin it all on him yet, but Raymond is still his main suspect for these grisly murders.  Raymond isn't completely under Vanessa's control, he has enough free will to give a cross necklace to his girlfriend Jenny (Rachel Jones) so she is protected from Vanessa. This really makes Vanessa mad.

Meanwhile, the descendant of Van Helsing, an old man named Helsing (Stefan Schnabel) gets word that Dracula's widow is going around town murdering and mutilating. He is too old to chase her really, but he explains to Raymond how to really destroy a vampire.

Raymond is arrested as the prime suspect for the murders and taken in for questioning. He tells them about Vanessa but they don't believe him. He gets injured and on the way to the hospital Vanessa attacks them as a bat. Just as Vanessa is about to attack Jenny, Raymond shakes off the spell enough to stab Vanessa in the heart. 

I was surprised by the graphic mutilations since I'm used just a bite on the neck making a kill. Vanessa bit then mutilated all her victims. It starts with a lot of flashy neon signs so if you're prone to seizures watch out for the beginning. When Raymond popped up and I realized it's the same actor who plays the shut-in Harold Smith on Twin Peaks I was on board, since I love Twin Peaks. Every scene where Detective Lannon is back in his office there is no paperwork or anything on his desk, he made me think he wasn't doing anything. There is a crazy use of dramatic red lighting when Vanessa is using her glamour power or about to kill. Overall I enjoyed it, it was a slight variation on the classic vampire story with some gross deaths and weird drama.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Watched May 22, 2014

Starring: Ted Vernon, Michael Simms, Richard Vidan, Victoria Christian

It begins with a dramatic slow zoom to the face of a scarecrow, as the camera gets closer it seems as if the scarecrow will come to life. That doesn't happen and it rightly sums up the action that will unfold in the movie. Jump to nighttime, in a cargo plane four men and one women have taken a father and his teenage daughter hostage. The father is flying the plane and it's vaguely explained that the hijackers are also robbers who've stolen 3 million dollars from somewhere and they're trying to get the plane to Mexico to escape. One of the robbers is a traitor, he throws the money out of the plane, jumps out with a parachute and throws an activated grenade back in the plane. With the some quick thinking the robbers get the grenade out of the plane but are pissed that their colleague has stolen the money that they stole. 

On the ground, the turncoat robber cuts free of his parachute that got caught in a tree. He is in a field that has a lot of scarecrows. He still has his walkie talkie headset on so that all the other robbers can communicate with him, they keep talking to him but he doesn't respond. He finds an abandoned house, luckily he has night vision goggles that lead him there. In the house he finds a strange taxidermy crow and an old framed photo of three men. On the wall a flyswatter mysteriously turns into a key, the key to the truck outside. He gets the truck started and begins driving around looking for the money. Out of nowhere the truck stalls and he checks under the hood, but there's no engine in there! What is going on? That's when he is attacked and killed by a scarecrow. After this guys is killed the generator starts that turns on all the lights in the old farmhouse.

The rest of the robbers demand that they land the plane to get their money back. Once landed they take the teen daughter as hostage but demand the dad to stay in the plane. Luckily, they all have lots of guns and night vision goggles to make their way through the field. They find the same house that the traitor robber found and they poke around and scare each other. They start looking around the field, but the scarecrows have magical powers. They find the traitor's parachute and it looks like he's tangled up in it. They got to get it out of the tree but once they cut it free it's just a bag of blood. The scarecrows manage to separate everyone as they look for the money which is now scattered all over the field. The scarecrows kill everyone except for the teenage girl and cigar smoking robber. They make it back to the plane, as Kellie's dad is already dead. Kellie gets the plane in the air but then her zombie dad tries to kill cigar robber. Cigar robber grabs a grenade, blowing up Kellie's zombie dad and cigar robber. There is a voice over at the end the explains that Kellie flew all night until she got to San Diego, she landed the plane but was in shock and couldn't explain what happened to the hijackers and her dad.

I didn't have many expectations but it looked like it could be a fun movie. Instead it was really slow and strange where the same shots are used over and over again. The scarecrows were creepy but I didn't understand why they wanted to kill everyone, were the robbers trespassing? Did they need human blood to run their farm?  They didn't seem like vampires or anything, they just wanted to kill. Some of the deaths were pretty cool, but there were surrounded by super slow scenes of night vision. Plus the set up was very vague, I had to read the box several times to remind myself what these people were doing. They didn't introduce the character names well but instead they all did have some specific characteristic that helped tell them apart like Cigar guy, Harmonica guy, The lady robber, etc.