Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Watched November 10, 2015

Starring: Dee Wallace, M. Emmet Walsh, Scott Grimes, Nadine Van der Velde

Outer Space
A bunch of Krites escape a prison asteroid on a stolen space ship. The alien warden of the jail hires two faceless bounty hunters to capture them, as the Krites are very dangerous. It is determined that Earth is the only habitable planet around so the Krites must be headed there.

Grover's Bend, Kansas
The Brown family live on a small farm. The teen sister, April (Nadine Van de Velde) is into making out with her latest boyfriend Steve (Billy Zane) and teasing her younger brother Brad (Scott Grimes). Brad likes making explosives. Later that afternoon, hanging out with the local drunken weirdo, Brad gets in trouble for using a slingshot to hit a rock at April, even though it was a accident. Because of this he doesn't get dinner and is confined to his room. April bring Steve over for dinner, then they go make out in the barn. 

The critters do crash land on Earth and are looking for something to eat. They first mutilate a cow, that Brad and his dad, Jay (Billy Green Bush) find. Back at the house, they hear something moving around in the cellar. Jay goes to check it out and it attacked by some of the Critters. The Critter can shoot paralyzing spikes, which is really cool. Since they are pretty small, this is a great attack for them to take down larger prey. The Critters already attacked some local cops in town and they torn up the phone lines so the Brown family are stranded on their farm.

April and Steve are attacked in the barn by a critter, Steve is killed but April is saved by Brad. The space bounty hunters show up, one of them has taken the face of Johnny Steele, a famous rock singer. The other bounty hunter doesn't pick a permanent face, instead keeps taking faces of random people they run into. Once the bounty hunter lands, they find the cop the critters killed and take his car. They don't know how to drive so they run into the church. When they don't get any information about the critters, they shoot up the place. They go to the bowling alley but don't get a lot of information and shoot it up too.

Once the bounty hunters get to the farm house they start blasting critters until only a couple are left. One of the Critters grew to be very large and takes April back to its space ship. I'm assuming at some point they found time to fix the ship. Brad manages to get April out of the ship and leaves an explosive, but he can't light it in time. The town drunk makes a molotov cocktail and throws it in to the Critters space ship as it is taking off. As the Critters are flying away they blow up the Brown's home with laser blasts. But not too long after the molotov cocktail explodes and the Critters are blow up.

The bounty hunters give Brad a special medallion thing when they leave the planet. Brad touches the medallion, it glows and the Brown's house comes back together as if it was never blow up in the first place. You think the critters are gone but they left a couple eggs in the Brown barn to set up Critters 2.

I'm sure it's all about perspective when you watch a lot of bad movie and moderately fine movie will seem like the best movie ever. I really liked Critters, it was super fun. It had some excellent humor element and the Critters were both cute and a little scary. They also did funny things like push the kid's bike over randomly. This is a great combination of light horror and comedy. There are a lot of sequels that I'm not totally sure I'm ready for, but this is a fun one on its own.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Watched November 3, 2015

Starring: Robert Glaudini, Demi Moore, Al Fann, Vivian Blaine

It begins with a strange sequence where a scientist, Dr. Paul Dean (Robert Glaudini) is working in his lab that is filled with red fog. It is revealed that he is working with parasites, but then he is unexpectedly punched in the face by a businessman. In the tussle, Paul knocks over the container with the parasite, which escapes and works its way into his body. There are also some flashes of him being tied to a weird operating table, so perhaps he was supposed to be infected the whole time.

In the year 1992:
Some kind of apocalypse has happened and the world is run by a strange company called Xyrex. The suburbs have been turned into work farms. Dr. Dean, infected with the parasite, has stolen a van with his scientific equipment and driven to remote Joshua, California where about 60 people live. 

 He checks into a boarding house and seems pretty sickly. He has a thermos with a larger parasite inside, and is injecting himself to control his own parasite. A bunch of street kids show up and hassle him, they end up stealing a bunch of his stuff, beating him up and taking him back to the garage where they all live. They are curious about what is in his thermos, open it and the parasite attaches itself to Zeke (Tom Villard.) They can't get it off so they blame Dr. Dean. Patricia ( Demi Moore) a local young lady who isn't involved with the street toughs, rescues  Dr. Dean and takes him back to her house which is even more remote than the tiny town.

In the meantime, the Xyrex businessman is trying to find Dr. Dean.  He has a laser gun that he cuts an old man's hand off with. He has a couple run-ins with the street toughs, since one of them used to be a businessman like himself.

The parasite kills Zeke, then grows massively larger and attaches itself to Dana (Cherie Currie.) They take Dana to Collins (Al Fann), the local merchant. Even though they were just hassling him the day before. They get Dana to the boarding house run by Miss Elizabeth (Vivian Blaine), but Dana dies anyway, which releases the parasite to find another host. The parasite then attacks Miss Elizabeth and it explodes out of her face. Dr. Dean and Patricia are now trying to get the larger parasite, because Dr. Dean needs it for some reason. He gets his equipment from his room and manages to remove his internal parasite with a oscilloscope or electricity or something. Dr. Dean and Patricia escape the boarding house before the evil businessman and the  larger parasite and the businessman are blown up. The End.

While not a great movie by any mean there is a nice build up to some of the better special effects, specifically when the parasite bursts out of Miss Elizabeth's face. They don't completely explain the dystopian world and some of the character motivation is hard to decipher. Times are obviously tough since all the merchant has to sell is canned soup. The businessman seems like he gave Dr. Dean the parasite so it's weird that he is trying to get it back. That is never explained. Then it ends. After watching it I saw a trailer that showed the main marketing for this movie focused on it being in 3D, so the plot really just had to throw a lot of thing in the audience's face for it to be a hit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Watched October 27, 2015

Starring: Lance Hendrikson, Jeff East, Kerry Remsen, Florence Schauffler,

I first saw this at a slumber party in 6th grade and it scared the crap out of me. This was my first revisit since then, and while not as scary as I remembered it, it's still a solid monster movie.

Ed Harley (Lance Hendrikson) and his young son Billy run a rural general store. A group of city teenagers stop by the store on their way to a vacation cabin in the woods. They have motorcycles with them and while stopped two of the guys start riding around the dirt field nearby. 

A local customer stops by to pick up some things and it turns out that Ed forgot some feed or something that the customer ordered. Ed leaves to get the feed from his house, leaving Billy and his dog to mind the store, which is nuts. Not too long after Ed leaves, the dog runs after the motorcycles and Billy runs after the dog. The first guy on his motorcycles goes off a dune, does a jump, sees Billy and dog and manages to turn out of the way. Right behind him comes the second motorcycle, which doesn't turn in time and hits the kid. The guy that hits the kid freaks out because he's had a couple of beers and is on probation anyway. He grabs his girlfriend and they speed off in his sportscar to the cabin.

The rest of the group is concerned but they can't find a phone to call anyone from the General store. Two of the teens stay with the kid while a couple others drive off to find help. Ed comes back to find his son mostly dead and he is devastated. He wraps his son in a blanket, doesn't try to take him to a doctor, instead he goes to the rural farmer and delivers the feed like he promised.While at the farm Ed asks some kids about Pumpkinhead, a local revenge demon legend. The farmer won't have anything to do with it, but one of his kids tells Ed that he will show him where to find Haggis, the old crone witch.

Haggis (Florence Schauffler) lives in a dilapidated old shack on a swamp. Ed is so distraught he will do anything to get revenge. Haggis warms him that this is not what he really wants, but Ed is adamant. She tells him to go to a specific old pumpkin patch/graveyard and dig up a specific site. He digs up a skeleton and brings it back to Haggis. She begins the spell that uses Ed's blood to bring Pumpkinhead, the revenge demon to life.

Pumpkinhead comes to life and begins to kill the teens one by one. But as Pumpkinhead kills, Ed feels and sees through Pumpkinhead's eyes the murders, which is more intense than he imagined. Ed quickly gets sick of the revenge killing and helps the last two kids who weren't terrible survive. Ed kills himself to destroy Pumpkinhead since they were connected.

After watching so many really low budget terrible movies this one is pretty good. The effects hold up. The plot is very simple but at least makes sense and all the actors do a good job. It's a nice country versus city slickers tale with a super weird monster thrown in. It really made me think about the crone Haggis and how she got to be an old conjurer. What was she like when she was young? Who trained her in revenge spells? Why does she still do this if she knows it always turns out bad? Maybe someone will make a movie about her.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Nightmare City

Watched October 20, 2015

Starring: Hugo Stiglitz, Laura Trotter, Maria Rosario Omaggio, Francisco Rabal

A mysterious plane lands at the city airport, air control doesn't know exactly where it's coming from but they do know that a renowned  scientist is supposed to be on board. It's greeted by the police and military since they don't know if it may be aggressive. Once the doors open a hoard of zombies rush out and kill everyone with knives, axes and guns. The reporter who was assigned to cover the landing of the plane, Dean (Hugo Stiglitz) goes back to his news station and does a special report, but he is cut off by the military. They don't want to freak everyone out since they don't know exactly what the situation is. 

The TV station is currently running a crazy dance show on with dancers in tiny leotards. The zombies make to the news station and kill everyone. The military find a zombie corpse and figure the only way to kill them is to shoot them in the brain. These zombies love stabbing and cutting off boobs. Their makeup looks like lazy masks, some are better that others in detail. 

Dean, the reporter heads to the hospital to warn his doctor wife, Anna (Laura Trotter) about the zombies. He arrives after the zombies show up and kill a ton of people. Dean and Anna manage to escape in a small hatch back ambulance. They drive off to the countryside as they don't really know what to do.

There is a subplot with the sculptor wife of one of the military guys. Introduced as they are making out at their home, he is called away to deal with the zombie crisis. Once he realizes what is happening he calls his wife to tell her to lock the doors and don't let anyone any. Not to much later she is tricked by a lawnmower running on its own in her yard, she goes outside and leaves the door open for a second. This lets some zombies into her home that later attack her and her friend.

Dean and Anna run out of gas and stop at a rest stop with a snack shack. It doesn't seem like anyone is there but they do discover a bloody ax. They take their time at the snack shack and make instant coffee, then the zombies show up and try to take their car. Anna and Dean blow the car up with a molotov cocktail to kill the zombies, then they run to an amusement park. But the park has already been attacked by zombies. Dean and Anna find a jeep, but then are found by the zombies. They climb to the top of a roller coaster and are saved by a general in a helicopter, but the wife has a hard time climbing the rope and she falls. The reporter wakes up and thinks its all a dream until it comes true and we watch the beginning footage again. It was not a dream but a premonition.

 Zombies aren't particularly my favorite horror monster but this group are some of the toughest, smartest zombies I've seen in a long time. All the military are terrible at shooting them but the zombies are great at killing. How the zombies are created in the first place isn't clearly explained, they may have flown over some toxic waste. I enjoyed that the women weren't completely weak, they often could fight off the zombies fairly well. In spite of the some positives, this very low budget film is still pretty tough to get through. The zombie make up is very poor and inconsistent between characters. Plus Dean waking up and thinking it was a dream only to have to be shown the first ten minutes all over again was pretty tough.