Sunday, January 25, 2015

Python 2

Watched January 12, 2015

Starring: William Zabka, Dana Ashbrook, Simmone Jade McKibbon

Even though Anaconda (1997) was only a relative success it spawned several sequels and enough interest to inspire the made for TV movie Python (2000).  To further capitalize on interest in giant snakes, the direct to video Python 2 was made. I can't say I'm above any of it since I bought Python 2 at a thrift store. You never know if a giant snake movie might be a hilarious gem.

A team of military men including Russian and American soldiers join together to capture a giant snake for the reward of $500 million. They track it down to a giant cave, but it's such a massive beast that it kills several of the soldier before it's stunned. Somehow they manage to get it aboard their plane in a custom built snake box. While flying back to their base they are shot down by some Russian rebels. The snake escapes its holding box killing more of the soldiers before the plane crashes.

Greg Larson (William Zabka) is next in the chain of command to capture the snake. Greg subcontracts the shipping to Dwight (Dana Ashbrook) because he has shipping business and a large truck. Dwight is an American while his wife Nadia (Simmone Jade McKibbon) is a Russian who cannot leave the country. Dwight has some slight back story about being a professional baseball player but having some sort of meltdown or fight that forced him out. She also can't leave the country and the solution is a bunch of money that they'll get from this job. Greg only tells them that he has a large cargo that he needs to driven from Russia to a port where he can ship it out. Dwight and Nadia don't know that it's a giant snake. 

Greg has a team that tracks down the snake to a military bunker. Somehow they know that the snake survived the plane crash. At first Nadia and Dwight just wait by the the truck for the cargo to arrive. Dwight is suspicious of the the situation and it confirmed when one of the soldiers comes out almost dead, they head into the bunker to find out what has happened. The snake has been found but has killed several of the Greg's men. Greg is given orders to at least capture the DNA of the snake if it's too dangerous to capture it alive. Dwight, Nadia, Greg and the remaining soldiers get trapped in the underground bunker. A snake shoots venom out of his mouth and it blinds Nadia but she is the only one who can fit through the ducts to get back to the minivan for the C4 explosives. She crawls out the bunker and brings back the C4. Little does she realize that Greg has been given orders to kill everyone. Dwight and Nadia manage to fight off Greg and snakes and make it out of the bunker before it explodes killing Greg and the snakes. Oh yeah, there were two snakes this time.

The plot is very simple, but still somehow confusing and the action scenes don't add much to the enjoyment. I mostly found it boring which sounds crazy in a movie about a giant killer snake. The CGI is very poor so the snake doesn't look remotely real. There is a very strange credit sequence. We first see the opening titles, then the movie starts with the soldier going to the cave to find the snake. Once that is over another opening title sequence that includes clips of parts of the movie that we have yet to see. It seems like they had to pad the movie to get the run time they needed. It made me think it was a TV movie with some strange commercial break placement, but IMDB says it was straight to video.

The actual locations don't make a ton of sense, I'm not totally sure it takes place in Russia or somewhere else. It seems like the snakes are impossible to kill, they are shot multiple times with no damage.

The visuals of the movie were nothing to paint a picture about so I went with a break dancing snake to tie in my favorite sequel subtitle electric boogaloo. Unfortunately the snake didn't breakdance in Python 2.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cutting Class

Watched January 5, 2015

1988 (the VHS tape I have said '88 but IMDB says '89)
Starring: Jill Schoelen, Donovan Leitch, Brad Pitt, Roddy McDowall

I wouldn't say that I loved Jill Schoelen's performance in Popcorn so much that I sought out her other work. It's happenstance that at a hippy thrift store in Petaluma, in a basement pile of VHS tapes that I found Cutting Class; another horror movie that she made before Popcorn. This also happens to be an early Brad Pitt movie, but that isn't saying much.

Paula (Jill Schoelen) is a high school student who is dating Dwight (Brad Pitt.) Their relationship is pretty weird, he's very possessive and wants to go all the way, but she's not ready. He's huge dick who drinks a lot, but she still likes him for some unknown reason. Brad's old friend Brian (Donovan Leitch) is let out of a mental institution, he was put there for cutting the brakes on his dad's car which lead to his dad's death, but he was proven insane and sent to the institution. Now he is deemed fit to reenter society and is back in high school.

Paula's dad, William (Martin Mull) just happens to be the State Prosecutor who put Brian away in the mental institution. He heads out for a week long solo duck hunting trip. Not long after getting to the lake, he is shot by an arrow.

Brian begins stalking Paula, he just happens to show up wherever she is, at first it seems harmless. Paula is a model for the life drawing class, even though she seems really uncomfortable in her leotard. Brian randomly shows up and the art teacher forces him to pose with Paula. Later that day the art teacher is pulling large ceramic pieces out of a huge kiln, when he is pushed in and burned alive. 

 At the big basketball game, Dwight is playing while Paula and her best friend, Colleen (Brenda James) are cheerleaders. Sitting in the bleacher, Colleen slipped under to make out with her boyfriend. As she jumps down, she sees her boyfriends throat being slit then she is attacked. No one can hear her screams over the cheering of the game. Paula is worried that she can't find Colleen but she doesn't do that much about it.

Brian continues to act super weird, even though there is no proof that he is anything more than a creep. But his behavior is weird enough to get him suspended by the vice principal. Not long after we see the Vice Principal attacked and she is killed by having her face smashed into a copier, with the pages showing her slow demise. Dwight is suspicious of Brian so he chases after him through the school, but Brian escapes.

 Later that night, Paula is washing her hair at home when Brian shows up like a total creep. Paula is convinced that Brian is about to kill her but instead he shows a photocopy of Dwight's special class ring on the hand that is pressing the Vice Principals head down and killing her on the copier. Paula falls asleep as Brian watches, which continues Brian's creep status. In the morning, she gets a call from Dwight and she is worried that he is about to kill again. It's Saturday, so the school is empty but Paula's finds the math teacher. They are chased through the school and end up in a classroom where there is a word math problem, which determines which door to escape from. It doesn't matter because Brian kills the math teacher. It was Brian all along, Dwight shows up to help Paula escape and they continue being chased through the school. They end up in shop class and all the power tools are turned on. Dwight's head in in a vice and he is about to get a drill into the skull when Paula confuses Brian enough to hit him with a hammer, killing him. 

Paula and Dwight head home, they don't seem that freaked out but then Dwight almost runs into Paula's dad. The arrow didn't kill him, he's been walking home the whole time. Paula's dad then says the titular line of the movie.

This is a weird time with horror movies in that they are so self aware. This movie tries to be funny as well as serious but it gets a little lost along the way. Brian is a good creep, and it does seem like Dwight is the killer, but then the weird kid is the real weird killer like we suspected all along. There is a weird janitor character who hates Dwight the whole time. He ends up mopping up a bunch of blood and popcorn after the basketball game, but he doesn't tell anyone. I don't think they ever find the art teacher in the kiln. Brian kills because he's nuts and that's why Paula's dad was so adamant about keeping him in the mental institution.

I did like when all the parent's held up photocopies of the Vice Principals death. I liked Martin Mull as the dad but he's only in it for about five minutes. Brad Pitt plays a total jock dick, I don't know why Paula is with him at all. All the teachers are total pervs, as Paula bends over a lot for the Principal, Mr Dante (Roddy McDowall.) This is pretty whatever of a movie, not scary or funny enough.