Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Prince of Darkness

Watched October 5, 2016

Starring: Lisa Blount, Donald Pleasance, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong

I'm no expert on imagery in John Carpenter films but he does seem to have some recurring themes in the movies I've seen. He likes a computer screen and that means 80's green on black and there is nothing wrong with that.

A bunch of PhD students at the local university are taking a class with Professor Birak (Victor Wong). They are physics students but the class seems to deal with the metaphysical, and there seems to be only about six people in the class. This includes Brian (Jameson Parker) who has a weird mustache and can't stop staring at Catherine ( Lisa Blount) which is pretty creepy. 

Meanwhile at a local church, one day before he has a meeting with the cardinal, a priest dies, leaving a mysterious key to the basement of the church. Another Priest (Donald Pleasance) takes the key and checks out the oddly candlelit basement. In the basement there are pews, set up for worship and at the center is a large glass cylinder with an aged bronze cap that looks like a green tornado is spinning around in it.

Priest contacts Prof. Birack, the physics professor that is teaching the PhD students as there is a specific book that he needs to be interpreted. They are getting some weird vibes from the green glass tornado and want science to prove what it is. Victor gets his physics students and they also bring in some theology students along with some tech people to bring a ton of equipment to the church. They are going to figure out what the deal is with the green glass tornado jar.

For some reason they have to spend the night at the Church, but they all get cots. They set up tons of computers and stuff. Lisa (Ann Yen) the theology student begins to interpret the text. She's the only one that should be there. Susan (Anne Marie Howard) tests the top of the green jar and it's millions of years old. The skinny nerd computer tech guys leaves for the night and he is the first to be killed by the homeless zombies that have been hanging out around the church motionless. Alice Cooper stabs him with a bike cut in half.

Susan is drawn to the green vat and it sprays water into her mouth, this turns her into a demon/zombie that then sprays liquid into the other students/researchers mouths to turn them into demons too. Lisa is turned into a zombie demon. Kelly runs into a computer and gets a weird bruise on her arm that turn into a rune-like mark. It makes her really tired, she goes to take a nap and then all the green goo rushes into her. At first it looks like she is pregnant but it's just a belly full of green liquid. That liquid is the essence of evil or Satan. It melts most of Kelly's skin off, with Susan and Lisa acting as her bodyguards while this happens. Walter (Dennis Dun), one of the students gets stuck in a closet while this happens. On the other side of the closet the rest of the students have trapped themselves. They start to make a hole in the wall while Walter tells terrible offensive jokes. Kelly is transformed into a demon being and hears Walter talking so she dispatches Susan and Lisa to attack him, and he barely makes it out to of the closet alive.

Kelly/Satan sees a compact mirror on the floor and it gives her a glimpse of the connection to the anti-God on the other side which is explained as Satan's Dad.The compact breaks but then Kelly finds a full size mirror. Donald is in a room where Calder, also a zombie has been mesmerized or he can still see his non zombie self. Anyway Kelly tries to pull the anti-God out of the mirror. Brian is wrestling with Calder, then Catherine decides to push herself onto Kelly, trapping them all in the mirror but not letting out anti-God. Then the Priest smashes the mirror with an ax.

During their time in the church, everyone has been having dreams sent to the future from 1999, we see the rest of the dream and it's Catherine coming out of the church, with the question if she is a demon or not lingering.

More people survived than I thought would, give the Satan presences. Brian is super creep, even though he is supposed to be one of the good one. There is lots of weird bug stuff. The random Alice Cooper cameo is strange. Donald Pleasance is great. The demon Kelly makeup is good. Pretty solid movie but also very confusing about why science has to prove that Satan is alive in a goo and that there is a higher darkness/evil than Satan. It's weird to hear the word caca in a movie.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Uncle The Alien

Watched January 17, 2017

Starring: Hailey Foster, Josh Paddock, Sherwin Ace Ross, Beau Richard Hairston

Kelly (Hailey Foster) is the President of the United States's 10 year old daughter, a Chelsea Clinton type since this was filmed during the Clinton years. One night at the White House, she is visited by "Uncle" a unknown entity, all that is seen is weird feet. Since the title of the movie is My Uncle the Alien, it's assumed that the visitor is an alien.

The next day Kelly and her mom leave Washington, D.C. for L.A. to light a Christmas Tree at a Youth Center. There is lots of press there and they interrupt the ceremony to say a budget referendum just failed so the youth center is going to lose its funding.  Kelly is left at the youth center while her mom goes to talk to the League of Women Voters. Kelly hatches a plan with her youth center friends to ask for money from some other organization. She switches clothes with one of the other girls and they manage to fool the secret service that is supposed to be watching Kelly.

Kelly get into a cab all while the secret service is distracted by a fight between a kid on crutches and kid in a wheelchair. The cab driver is very chatty and recognizes her as the president's daughter. Kelly does this scheme alone, instead of taking a friend and she doesn't use a fake name, which is nuts. The cab driver gets into a car accident. Kelly has a cell phone, she leaves money and calls another cab. The accident happens to take place on the same street where two sketchy dudes van has broken down. They recognize Kelly and decide to kidnap her.

But first a boy on roller blades steals her backpack. She chases after him, with the weirdos chasing after her. "Uncle" from on high zaps the boy with a laser from the clouds and Kelly is able to catch up with him. But then one of the bad dudes grabs Kelly and the boy Zig (Josh Paddock) takes off again.
But Zig sees that Kelly is kidnapped and decides that these guys are no good, luckily their van doesn't go very fast because he's able to tail them on roller blades. He first follows the kidnappers to their house, where they make a plan with Kelly still tied up in the van. One of the dudes works as a security guard at a wax museum, so they go there to figure out their plan for ransom. The bad guys, Ratt (Sherwin Ace Ross) and  Skeeter (Beau Richard Hairston) decide to ask for a million dollars ransom, since it is the president's daughter.

Uncle appears at the museum and he opens to the door so Zig can get in. Zig unties Kelly and they run around the museum being chased by the kidnappers who ultimately catch them and tie them up again. The secret service finally realize that Kelly is missing, so they grill the youth center kids about her whereabouts.

Ratt and Skeeter make the ransom call from a pay phone. They ask for the million dollars  to be dropped of in a trash can by the city dump, which is done. Ratt and Skeeter do get the money but immediately the cops show up. A chase starts with Ratt & Skeeter trying to evade the cops, as they still have Zig and Kelly in the van and they keep threatening to push them out. Just as the chase ends and the cops have the van surrounded, it disappears. Uncle has zapped it back to the wax museum.

Kelly wonders why Uncle didn't help earlier, but he says he was watching the whole time. Uncle has to go back to his home planet, then they are all zapped back to the dump. The bad guys are arrested. Kelly is safe, they use the million dollars for the youth center. I guess they give Zig a home because he is seen teaching Kelly to roller blade in the White House.

I've said many times I have a hard time with these low budget family friendly movies, it's hard for me to appreciate on any level. This one is not great but way better than Nukie and Munchie. Uncle is used sparingly and isn't totally mucus covered and disgusting, unlike Nukie. That still doesn't make it a great movie, even for kids. Kelly's adventure seems like she could get killed at any point which doesn't seem like a great message for kid.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Blade II

Watched June 8, 2016

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela

Unlike the vague memories I had of Blade, I had never seen this one before. And I didn't realize that Guillermo Del Toro was the director until the end credits, but that makes sense why it was a better movie than I expected.

Blade (Wesley Snipes) is still killing vampires. Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) was captured, tortured, not killed and put in a blood tank for years by the vampires. In the meantime, Blade hired Scud (Norman Reedus) as his vampire hunting helper. They eventually find Whistler but the two vampires break into Blade's compound. It turns out they want to work with Blade to fight a new breed of super vampires that feeds on both humans and vampires. Then it turns both into super vampires or "suck heads." Blade is always on board for killing vampires of any kind, even though he is wary of working with vampires so he takes a lot of extra weapons as a precaution.

The vampires have targeted the super vampires and assembled their own posse of fighters.
Reinhardt (Ron Perlman) is somewhat of the leader of the vampire fighters and he doesn't like the idea of working with Blade. The vampire posse all have silly nicknames: Chupa, Snowman, Verlaine, the Priest, etc.

First the blood buddies and Blade go to a vampire rave where the super vampires are suspected to be. It turns into a big fight, the super vampires can't be killed by silver but sunlight or UV light works. Blade finds the main super vampire and they fight on a catwalk until the blackout curtains covering the windows start to show some sunlight. Verlaine's boyfriend is bit by a super vampire but hides it. One of the other vampire fighter is killed and they blame the deaths on Blade. The group does find the entrance to the super vampire lair and a vamp is stuck in the door but he is dying. The super vampires have to eat so frequently if they don't their bodies start to eat themselves.

They do an autopsy on the now dead super vampire and find out it has a bone heart, which may be a secret in trying to kill them. The group makes some UV bombs and head to the lair to kill the super vampires. The bitten vampire in the posse tries to eat his girlfriend, Verlaine so she burns them both in the sun. Reinhardt manages to separate himself and the Nyssa (Leonor Varela) from the group, intending for the super vampires to kill Blade. Blade manages to get all the UV bombs to go off killing all the super vampires that were attacking them but almost killing Reinhardt and Nyssa at the same time.

Blade lets Nyssa drink from him so she can survive but then the vampire cops show up and basically arrest them. Scud is a familiar so he betrays Blade, but Blade knew not to trust him all along so he blows up Scud. Reinhardt beats up Whistler. Nyssa learns that her mega old vampire dad is the one who created the super vampires in the first place. They see the experiment lab with a bunch of vampire fetuses.

The first super vampire is his son, Nyssa's brother.  Blade is captured by the vampires and tied to a table, but Whistler manages to free himself then free Blade. Blade is weak but he jumps into a blood pool and comes out fighting. Blade cuts Reinhardt in half. Nyssa's super vampire brother finds his dad, bites him and kills him, then he bites Nyssa. Blade stabs the super vampire and uses an UV light to kill him. Nyssa doesn't want to die, but know she is about to turn into a super vampire. She asks Blade to take her into the sunrise to die. Blade and Whistler live to fight another day.

There are some crazy fun special effects in this one. When the super vampire die they burn up in an insane way. The super vampires also have crazy mouths that open down the the throat.  Pretty solid sequel, but then again Guillermo Del Toro knows how to do horror. With the Nyssa character they try again trying for a slight romantic subplot with Blade, but he is a robot so that's pointless.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Chopping Mall

Watched April 27, 2016

Starring: Kelli Maroney, Barbara Crampton, Tony O'Dell, Rick Stanton

This was a happy rewatch for me. My friend Benji has been into 1980s mall and gang culture lately, and he hadn't seen Chopping Mall, so I shared it with the group. I wonder how much after hours security was a problem for malls, but this mall takes it very seriously. 

At an after hours mall meeting with the managers and owners of the shops, the security team unveils their latest technology, robots. The robots move around on tank treads and have tasers to stop criminals before they tie them up alert the police. Mary Woronov and Paul Bartell have cameos at the mall meeting as some store owners, it's a great tip off that this is going to be a fun movie. 

Alison (Kelli Maroney) works at the mall restaurant with Suzie (Barbara Crampton). Suzie sets up Alison with Ferdy(Tony O'Dell) on a date to a party at the furniture store inside the mall. It's mostly a make out party, with 4 couples total, which seems a little intense for a first date when everyone around you is having sex. The mall is closed and all the couples are either making out or having sex, except for Alison and Ferdy who are watching a sci-fi movie, but they are hitting it off.

A lightning storm hits the mall security room and zaps the four security robots, turning them into kill-bots.  The robots leave the security office to patrol the empty mall. First they kill a janitor who is just doing his job cleaning the mall. 

Beefcake Mike leaves the furniture store to do something by the pay phones, he's getting something for his bitchy girlfriend Leslie. He is stabbed by the security bots. I think the robots kill the human operator of the security room, so the override system doesn't seem to be an option. Leslie's head gets blown off when she leaves the furniture store to try to find Mike.

Now the remaining couples know something is going really wrong. Down to six, from the original eight they all try to just get out of the exit doors but the whole mall is completely locked up. The guys are girls split up, with the guys breaking into the sporting goods store to get guns. The girls go to the auto body store and make Molotov cocktails out of paint thinner. 

Suzie is killed by a robot igniting her own Molotov cocktail. They do manage to take out two robots. Greg, Suzie boyfriend is devastated by her death, so he helps set up a trap for the robot on the elevator, it doesn't work the first time but they get it to work the second time. They decide to get to the control center to try to shut down the robots from there. Greg is killed by being thrown off the third floor by the robots. The remaining four (Ferdy, Alison, Rick and Linda) head to the department store. They try to confuse the robots with mannequins, which does work. One of the robots is blinded by it's own laser ricocheting off something. But Linda is still killed by the blinded robot. Rick drives a golf cart into a robot and the electrical field kills him. It seems like Ferdy is dead after an encounter with robot. Alison goes to the paint store and empties tons of paint and paint thinner cans onto the ground. The robot gets stuck in the pain and then explodes when the paint thinner ignites. Ferdy is alive after all, he and Alison walk out of the mall together.

This movie is super fun, Alison is great plucky heroine. The kill-bots are awesome, great deaths and it all takes place in an awesome '80s mall with a killer synth soundtrack.