Thursday, October 29, 2015

House II: The Second Story

Watched September 15, 2015

Starring: Arye Gross, Jonathan Gross, Royal Dano, John Ratzenberger

Based on the cover art of the decomposed hand ringing the doorbell of a house and the description on the back of the box I figured this movie was about a haunted house that didn't want anyone to live in it. So it proceeds to attack the main character with ghost and ghouls. I was so wrong, this movie is not really a horror movie, it's like a weird fantasy movie with some strange horror aspects, kind of.  
A young couple in the 1950's give their baby away but are sad about it. Then they go back into their old Richardsonian Romanesque house. The wife hears something strange, the husband gets a shotgun then a ghost man named Slim Razor shoots them.

Twenty five years later, that baby is all grown up and he comes back to the house. Apparently the house has been in Jesse's (Arye Gross) family for years. Who raised him or who took care of the house for those 25 years is left unexplained. He shows up with his girlfriend, Kate (Lar Park-Lincoln) who works at a record agency. They are maybe moving into the house, but it wasn't clear to me. That night his friend Charlie (Jonathan Stark) and his girlfriend Lana (Amy Yazbeck) show up drunk because it's Jesse's birthday. Charlie and Lana are invited to stay in the house and they specifically play Lana's new demo really loud to get Kate interested and it works. Kate think Lana has some talent so she calls her boss John (Bill Maher) to come check out Lana's music.

Jesse is some sort of artist, but that doesn't amount to anything aside from Charlie giving him a copy of American Art that Jesse is featured in. Jesse in obsessed with the history of the house and finds some photos of his great-grandfather and a crystal skull. Jesse wants to know where the skull is so Jesse and Charlie dig up his grandfather's grave. As soon as they get the coffin out the ground and open, the crystal skull is there and a hand chokes Jesse. Jesse and his Great-Grandfather share the same name. The grandpa comes to life, he has been waiting for 70 years for someone to dig him up. They bring him back to the house where he tells them a bunch of stories in a crazy montage. Gramps and Charlie get drunk and drive Charlie's sportscar around, which is super weird since cars didn't exist in Gramps's day. Gramps says it's important to protect the crystal skull, so he puts in on the mantle.

While the guys were hanging out int he basement, a Halloween party has started. An old girlfriend of Jesse's shows up and hits on him which makes Kate mad and she eventually leaves with Lana and John. A beefy caveman with rough clown make up shows up and steals the crystal skull. He takes it up stairs into room that leads to a jungle dimension. Charlie happened to have an uzi in his car and with Jesse they go get the skull from the cave man. Just before Charlie is about to be killed by the caveman, a pterdactyl eats the caveman and takes the skull to it's nest. Jesse gets the skull but a baby Pteradactyl has it. They fall through the floor back into the house with a baby peterdactyl and a dog worm.

The party is now over as the house has been opened up to different time dimensions. Some Aztecs come and steal the skull next, but Charlie and Jesse can't tell where they went. The next day a electric repairman ( John Ratzenberger ) shows up to fix the wiring in the old house. Instead of fixing anything he rips a giant whole in the wall that leads to another dimension. He is not surprised as he has seen walls open to other dimensions before.  In that dimension they find the skull and the Aztecs who are sacrificing a virgin. Charlie and Jesse fight the Aztecs and get the skull back and save the girl. Back in the house with Gramps they all sit down to have a nice turkey dinner along with the woman they saved, the worm dog and the baby Pteradactyl. When Gramps pulls off the cover to reveal the turkey, instead it's the wild west bad guy Slim Razor who shoots Gramps. They are taken to the wild west zone and Jesse manages to shoot off Slim's head. The cops show up and surround the house because of all the previous gunfire. Slim comes back to life and shoots the cops. Charlie and the virgin are still tied up in the wild west dimension. Jesse defeats Slim and gets the skull but Gramps still dies. He grabs the Pteradactyl, the dog worm and heads to the wild west to live there forever.

The back of the VHS box that I have has this movie rated R, which doesn't make any sense. Elsewhere it seems rated PG-13, which seems like a better fit as nothing very terrible or gross happens. 

Part of my disappointment in this movie was thinking it was going to be a horror movie, not expecting a strange fantasy adventure tale. Since Jesse ends up in the wild west, is it possible that he is his own Grandpa? It's never explained why Gramps wanted the skull, was he trying to come back to life?  

They set up the girlfriends with backgrounds at the beginning but then they just leave after the party, so their stories don't go anywhere. This movie was very strange, there is a worm dog and a baby Pteradactyl, which I've never seen before as supporting characters. Even

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Spiders II: Breeding Ground

Watched September 8, 2015

Starring: Stephanie Niznik, Greg Cromer, Daniel Quinn, Richard Moll

On the high seas, a group of people are hanging out on a boat playing cards. They kill a large spider on the wall, foreshadowing the menace to come. Unexpectedly, some pirates board their boat, then knock out and kidnap several of the people.  As the pirates leave they throw a grenade on the boat to blow it up.

Next we see a married couple who is headed to Hawaii on a little sail boat. They encounter the boat from the beginning and it was only partially blown up. They board the burned out boat and see two dead bodies, the remains of the group. A storm comes out of nowhere, so the couple Alexandra (Stephanie Niznik) and Jason (Greg Cromer) get back on their boat and call in an SOS. They are quickly thrown off their boat and are stranded in the ocean.

Luckily, a large cargo ship shows up and takes them aboard. The cargo ship doesn't say where they are headed, as they have a minimal crew and a crazy doctor onboard. Jason had cut his neck during the boat wreck, so he is given shots by the Doctor (Richard Moll). Alexandra is hit on by the captain, but she doesn't take it too seriously. Jason has a weird dream that he is being touched by a giant spider. Once he wakes up he snoops around and finds a cold storage room full of dead bodies. When he gets Alexandra to show her, the dead bodies are gone and it's just cow carcasses. She thinks he has a fever and is being crazy. They have a fight at the mess hall and the crew drags Jason away. 

The crazy doctor takes Jason to his lab where he is implanted with a spider egg by the queen spider. It wasn't a dream, this ship is full of spiders.  Alexandra has dinner with the Captain and he tries to make out with her. She pushes him away and goes to find Jason who is no longer in the recovery room. She tries to get to the lab where Jason is, but it's being heavily guarded. She turns off the power which releases all the spiders from their cages. Instantly the freed spiders start attacking the crew.

Alexandra finds Jason and tries gets him out to the deck, but he is weak from being a spider womb. They are attacked by spiders all along the way, but still manage to get to the deck of the ship. Jason  needs the antidote to the spider egg inside him, or he won't make it. The doctor still wants Jason so he can continue his experiment  with the spider that is inside him. A spider sneaks up on the doctor and kills him. 

Alexandra heads back to the lab to get the antidote. She fends off a spider then opens up a ton of barrels of flammable liquid. She escapes to the deck, gets Jason and herself onto the lifeboat, but the winch stops so they have to jump into the ocean. Then the cargo ship explodes. There is a spider that is almost the size of the ship, which is nuts. The coast guard helicopter finds them and starts to pull them up when one last spider pops out of a box and grabs Alexandra. It's dragging her down until the coast guard throws her a grenade. She pulls the pin to blow up the spider and they manage to escape onto the helicopter.

The CGI is terrible, it's like cut and paste spiders all over the place. They do use several animatronic spiders that look a lot better. In once scene, Alexandra takes the toothpick out of one of the shipmates mouth and stabs him in the cheek with it, later he puts it back in his mouth. It's not great, Alexandra and Jason are supposed to be in love but they fly into rages at each other pretty quickly. It's an intense acting style. Unless you're really into giant spiders, don't waste your time with this one.

The director also directed Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo.