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Night of the Comet 1984

Posted in Bad Bad, Monsters/Creatures on August 2nd, 2011 by bill

Continuing with the theme of “Night of the ____” I present to you…

SYNOPSIS

When Earth through the tail of a comet, it wipes out all the people turning them to dust, except for two Valley girls who are left to fight the mutant survivors.

REVIEW

The “Night of the Comet” DVD cover (two Valley girls holding uzis and shopping bags) suggested the movie would be sot of a Buffy the Mutant Alien Slayer, but what it delivered was ham, pineapple, and a whole lot of cheese. It’s sad when the coolest part of your movie is when people are shooting the shit out of an empty car. Though these girls do raid a mall in a quirky “shopping” montage that I guess kinda relates to the DVD cover. It’s worth noting that I think this is the same mall used in EVERY 80s horror movie that takes place in or has a scene in a mall (SEE: Chopping Mall). Their mall-scapades get cut short by zombie stock boys, which could’ve have been cool had they been more cleverly written and not just watered down Warriors wanna-bes.

The movie has crappy make-up effects that half the time look like the actors went bobbing for apples in a barrel of puke or over the counter rubber latex Halloween Woochie FX with no effort made for realism. And the kills, which are very, very few, are minimal and uninspired. They must have spent all their money on the car explosion scene and the numbers Magenta filters that litter the movie’s post-comet skyline.

The one thing the movie has going for it is two 80s-hot leads, but fails to get them any on screen skin time. Tho one comes close, but no cigar. Oh and did I mention the movie’s rather long for an 80s horror piece, especially when nothing interesting is really happening.

I’d say, based off the DVD cover this movie was “The last thing on Earth I ever expected.” Skip it and head to the mall instead.

RATING: 14 out of 75 deadly comet years 

TRULY TRIVIAL: The original working title for the film was “Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies”.

*BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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Night of the Creeps (1986)

Posted in Good Bad, Monsters/Creatures on July 3rd, 2011 by bill

*Alternate foreign poster HERE. Very reminiscent of the House poster, which is interesting since director Fred Dekker and his friend Ethan Wiley wrote House (and Wiley directed House II).

SYNOPSIS

When an alien experiment winds up crash landing on Earth in sorority row, a pair of college teens and a grisly detective  team up to fight off these slug-like creeps before they infect the whole town.

REVIEW

So I’m doing this review after a midnight showing of “Night of the Creeps” that had Fred Dekker in person. It’s really been a treat seeing these last few movies in the theater. I’ll include some cool little tidbits Fred revealed in the trivia section of this review. It was also very interesting to hear his take on how filmmaking was much different back then than it is now. He said when they sent out the script for Creeps there were no notes, the producer loved it, and they shot it as it was. He noted that today that would never happen as movies are mainly greenlit by a committee rather than the producer and most of the time that committee now is the Marketing Dept. Anyways, on with the review… THRILL ME!

This movie is the potpourri of 80s horror movies, it’s got it all: aliens, zombies (human and animal), killer brain infesting slugs, and even an axe murderer. But what’s really 80s about this film, and what I love about it, is that the protagonists are the most unlikely duo a dorky ginger college kid and his crippled best friend. You’d never see that in this day and age.

This movie is part “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” part “Night of the Living Dead” with gorier effects and some amazing one liners, mostly delivered by Detective Cameron played perfectly by Tom Atkins! There’s no shortage of exploding heads or slimey, slithery creeps in this film. It’s got shotguns, flamethrowers, and even a lawnmower (6 years before Dead Alive mind you) as the weapons of choice. But most of all, it’s got a staple of what every good 80s movie should have: Dick Miller. Oh and of course boobs. There’s also gruesome effects of the zombies, cryogenically frozen and recently thawed bodies, living corpses, dead zombie cats and dogs and let’s not forget the little alien gastropod mollusks being dragged around on fishing line. Though what might be the creepiest thing in the whole film is the bleach blonde hair of the douchey fraternity leader, the Bradster (and his minion of lackie frat buddies with classic 80s mustaches). Like I said, this movie is like potpourri, it’s got it all!

So if you’re looking for a movie tonight, that’ll have you running away at 40mph screaming like a banshee, then make tonight the “Night of the Creeps”!

RATING: 29 out of 36 brain infesting slugs 

TRIVIA: Director Fred Dekker never got into film school, so instead he majored in English and worked on films with his friends Ethan Wiley and Shane Black (who wrote Monster Squad, also directed by Dekker) amongst others. All the characters (and the college) are named after famous horror and sci-fi directors. Special Effects artists Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero have play zombie extras and Shane Black can be seen as a cop in the police station.

ALTERNATE ENDING: The original ending, viewable here, is sometimes show on TV broadcasts of the film and some VHSes but it is also available as a special feature on the DVD and BluRay.

*BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE or HERE depending on what ending you want*

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Ghoulies (1985)

Posted in Good Bad, Monsters/Creatures on March 30th, 2011 by bill

Seeing as I’m a fan of hand drawn posters, I used the one above as opposed to this more familiar Ghoulie’s one sheet.

SYNOPSIS

After being spared as a human sacrifice as a baby, a guy and his girlfriend move into the old creepy family mansion where he’s possessed to performing Satanic rituals and summons various ghoulies as his minions.

REVIEW

What’s more embarrassing than your girlfriend catching you masturbating? Probably nothing, oh wait, yeah you alone in the basement dressed in a weird robe holding a cheap high school play looking Poseidon trident while attempting to perform Satanic rituals. This is what happens after Jonathan Graves, an almost sacrificed baby, grows up to inherit the family mansion and throws a house warming party that’s so boring he convinces his friends to do a Satanic Ritual in the basement to summon up a ghoul. The ritual fails, so they think, and we get a cool 80s optical transition of a ghoulie entering our realm.

Though the movie’s poster touts a ghoulie protruding out of a toilet*, it has nothing to do with the film itself (aside from one shot of said scenario happening to no one in particular). The actual events of “Ghoulies” don’t particularly add up, little things like why any of them are doing the Satanic Rituals to begin with? Or why after a cleaning montage of the house, Jonathan drops out of school and slowly just knows witchcraft and blacksmithing.

But the monsters look cool as shit even though they’re movement is very limited to the hand through the hole in the floor puppet style. And like “Critters” they use the leap at your head attack strategy. I think one of them might have even been played by Deadwood’s Garret Dillahunt! There’s also a cool “killer tongue”effect which I think one of the Elm Street movies ripped off (“New Nightmare” perhaps?). There’s also this very creepy Dracula looking clown doll that has some awesome scenes.

Some of the visual effects are a bit cheesy and don’t quite look right. The one I’m speaking of mainly is the “green possessed eyes” effect. Quite a few times it looks like one of Jonathan’s eyes is lazy, and I don’t mean just late for work, I mean it didn’t even bother to show up! Oh and did I mention this movie has midget? Cause it does and they’re voices have been dubbed over to perhaps make them sound deeper? And they even use the old Solarize/Negi-Positive effect in one scene.

One of the more hilarious scenes is when Jonathan has sex with his girlfriend and a ghoulie watches, and then Jonathan totally kills the mood by moaning Latin spells instead of “ooh baby” and “you like that?” Totally mood killer Johnny boy!

The movie does conjure up a few logic questions, such as “Why can’t the midgets leave the summoning triangle but the ghoulie can?” or “Why does Jonathan perform a spell that brings his dead father back to life, who ends up wanting to sacrifice him AGAIN?” and most importantly “Why they hell are they all wearing sunglasses at the dinner table?”

Overall, “Ghoulies” is good times when it’s having fun but can also be sort of slow when it’s not. There’s some legitimately creepy scenes (mostly involving the Dracuclown).

I’d say “Ghoulies” is one turd monster you want to take a look at before flushing down the toilet.

*NOTE: though this is barely in the movie, I remember the poster (or VHS cover rather) made me scared to sit on the toilet as a kid.

RATING: 37 of 67 toilet monsters

LOOK FOR: an awesome cameo appearance by Twin Peak’s Jack Nance! (and also his oddly out of place random narrations that pop up twice throughout the film that I can only assume were added after a test screening where the audience was confused at what was going on.

ORIGINAL TITLE: the project began in 1983 under the title “Beasties” and was to have special effects by Stan Winston. DAMN!

 

*BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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Critters (1986)

Posted in Good Bad, Monsters/Creatures on March 22nd, 2011 by bill

 

*Check out some of the alternate posters: there’s this one which is a simpler teaser type, as well as this one which shows a whole lot more of the movie’s characters.

SYNOPSIS

After a group of hungry space critters escape from an asteroid prison and hijack a spaceship, they’re chased by a duo of space bounty hunters and wind up in a small town in Kansas where they begin to feed on anything they can get their teeth on.

REVIEW (request by Jason Pecho)

I know what you’re thinking, another review with the wonderful Dee Wallace in it? Well yes, and perhaps I’ll follow it up with the Howling and 3-peat like the ’93 Chicago Bulls. Anyways on with the review…

Remember how the other mogwais from “Gremlins” that popped off Gizmo’s back were all evil. Well imagine if they were escaped prisoners from space*, had way more teeth, shot poisonous spikes from their backs, and they ate every living thing in their path, including, but not limited to, Billy Zane. Well then you’d have ”Critters.”

I love the FX in this movie. From the miniatures, to the classic optical composites, and especially the not featured nearly enough puppeted creatures. Now the actual blood FX were somewhat lacking but that is also mainly due to the very low body count of the movie (2 people, 1 mutilated cow, and some assumed chicken fatalities). The majority of the “attacks” in this film are in the form of bites on the shoulder or calf areas so that’s a little weak, but really funny. As is the “holding a stuffed creature prop to your neck and shaking it around” styled action! That combined with some rolling balls of fur around make for the cheesier FX, BUT there’s some pretty impressive stuff in there too.

The creatures, when you actually see them, look great and there’s some cool explosions (even though one doesn’t make sense -when the spaceship explodes and the for some reason the already destroyed house explodes again!). But the most impressive, even though perhaps the most simply executed  one, is the “re-building” of the house which is merely a reversed footage trick but looks sweet as hell on screen!

Even though the deaths aren’t very inspired and the gore FX are fairly scarce, “Critters” is definitely entertaining and fun ride from another galaxy.

Head on over to the Brown’s farm, and tell them, “You’re here for the Crites!”

*I can’t say that mogwais weren’t from space, we are actually never given a story of their origin.

RATING: 26 out of 32 intergalactic asteroid prisons 

WATCH FOR: The crite death involving an M-80. Awesome! And the scene where two crites are talking “They have weapons.” “So what?”… classic!

BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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Cujo (1983)

Posted in Classic, Monsters/Creatures on March 16th, 2011 by bill

SYNOPSIS

A mom and her child are terrorized and trapped in their car by a rabid St. Bernard.

REVIEW

What if Travis hadn’t taken out Old Yeller at the end of that movie? Well he probably would have trapped Dee Wallace and her son in a car after mauling  few hillbillies…. that’s my guess, and Stephen King’s apparently.

Cujo” just may be the quintessential “car won’t start” movie. The movie has a few decent hillbilly deaths (which are always a plus in my book, that and stepping on spiders), though when dealing with a rabid dog, there’s only so many times you can see a canine chew out someone’s throat before it gets redundant. It lacks the creative variety in killing techniques native to films like “Friday the 13th.”

Although the dog gets bitten by a rabid bat in the opening of the film, it takes a while for it’s wild rampage to begin. Though it took it’s time getting started, I really liked the way it spent that time setting up the kid’s fear of monsters in the closet and the relationships of the family as well as the dad’s job/predicament.

The blood/make-up effects were minimal, mostly just corn syrup blood and an egg whites and sugar concoction for rabid foam. What was really cool were some of the camera shots/lighting. Good use of POV and tension within a fog cloud and what’s probably the orgin of the “That 70s Show” styled round table shot but within the confines of a vehicle. Very cool stuff.

Though it may not be the most horrific horror movie, it has some good moments and a few scares (it’s based more on tension than jump out scares and gore). It’s definitely in that “Classic” category. So for that reason I say definitely check out “Cujo” and remember, “It’s not a monster, it’s just a dog!”

RATING: 3 out of 5 human bones buried by a rabid dog. 

FUN FACTS: Five St. Bernards were used, one mechanical head, and a guy in a dog costume. ”Cujo” is an ancient Indian word meaning “unstoppable force.” To make the St. Bernards attack the car, animal trainers put the dog’s favorite toys inside the car so the dogs would try to get them. (more)

BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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White Dog (1982)

Posted in Monsters/Creatures on February 28th, 2011 by bill

SYNOPSIS

A young actress hits a white German Shepard with her car and saves it only to later find out that it’s racist and attacks black people.

*NOTE: the term White Dog, as the movie explains, is any dog that is trained to attack Black people such as slaves, escaped convicts, and the like, whereas Black Dog is what tired truckers see according to the Patrick Swayze movie of the same name.

REVIEW

There have been a number of dog wreaks havoc on white people movies, Cujo, Man’s Best Friend, Beethoven to name a few. But finally there’s a movie where a canine goes primal on someone else for a change.

Although this movie has an awesome premise for a horror movie and imdb listed as such in it’s genre, I found that White Dog is actually not really much of a horror movie, unless the thing your most afraid of is a racist dog. Though the movie had everything it needed to be a good horror flick (social/political commentary, original premise, bad one-liners, and a scary antagonist) it leaned more in the direction of drama, which is why I rated it so low. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, it’s just not a good horror movie per se.

It does have some good cheesy one-liners, such as “You got a four-legged time bomb!”

The biggest problem with White Dog is that despite the dog mauling and killing people, it remains alive for stupid reasons. No one’s willing to put the thing down. Perhaps that wasn’t a legal requirement back in ’82? Or maybe they just knew if the put the dog to sleep right way that wouldn’t make for good cinema. So instead, they try to deprogram the dog, it kills more people and finally it kills an old white guys so THEN they finally decide to shoot it. I’m sure all those people that got their jugulars eaten out were happy that thee fools at least tried to learn how to reverse the dog’s training to hopefully stop racist people from making racist dogs.

After researching a bit about the movie, I found it was based on a novel of the same name. Though they changed the ending which would have ALSO made for a great ending if it were a true horror film (basically the Black guy they hire to deprogram the dog, trains the dog to kill white people and it kills it’s owner).

This is one pup that you can rest easy when it’s been put to sleep.

[Since this wasn't the horror movie I expected it to be, I'm going to review Cujo since now I want to see a real killer dog movie.]

RATING: 1 out of 9 albino killer K-9s

TRIVIA: Director Roman Polanski was originally hired to direct, but had to leave the project… I mean the country when he statutory raped a 13-year-old girl.

BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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The Funhouse (1981)

Posted in Good Good, Monsters/Creatures, Slasher on December 19th, 2010 by bill

SYNOPSIS

Four teenagers decide to spend the night in a carnival funhouse. What they didn’t know was that a deformed freak of nature donning a Frankenstein mask was going to kill a fortune-teller in a botched prostitution exchange and come after them for witnessing it…

REVIEW

Let me start off by saying that going into it, I actually thought the movie was about the funhouse attractions coming to life and killing people, but I guess I read a poorly written synopsis, hence my super descriptive one above. I think my misread version would’ve been even better! The movie is actually about a botched hand job refund turned deadly encounter between a gypsy fortuneteller and an “it” who looks like the retarded bastard love child of Sloth and a C.H.U.D. monster.

The Funhouse opens with a credits sequence comprised of eerie carnival music and shots of creepy funhouse dolls that look like the family members of the scary ass clown from Poltergeist. Again at this point I still thought it was about an evil Funhouse, but since it was directed by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist*) I should’ve know it would actually be about a hillbilly family with a deformed killer son. It’s basically a less gruesome Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a carnie Funhouse.

The movie has some boobs within the first 5mins, which is always welcomed. Then after the blah blah blah set up, dad says don’t go to the carnival, dead kids last year, blah, new boyfriend named Buzz, blah pick up friends and smoke weed, blah they go to the carnival anyways… a carnival littered with creepy homeless people. It takes a while for them to wade through the other carnival attractions like the animal freakshow (where all the animals are ALIVE… in case the barker out front didn’t make that clear enough), a terrible alcoholic magician, an angry fortuneteller and a peepshow that’s sadder than a night at Jumbo’s Clown Room, but finally they decide to stay overnight in the Funhouse and the real movie we came to see gets going… well technically I never saw the movie I thought I was going to see because the funhouse dolls never came alive, damn you poorly written internet synopsis!

The make up on the freak monster dude is great and I’m not sure if the two headed cow was animal makeup or a real deformed cow, but either way it looked pretty legit- more so than the freak baby on display in that same tent. The kills are ok. The first one, well second if you could the prostitute, was fairly clever albeit slightly looney toon-ish with it’s “look over here”… YOINK! Hangman’s noose trick.

One of my favorite scenes is one that’s random as all hell, all I’ll say is that a driver asks the little brother if he wants a ride…

Overall it was a pretty decent flick once it got going, so if you’re in the mood, come one come all, come see this freakish creature of God, not man and it is alive, alive, ALIVE!

*rumor has it that Spielberg actually did most of, if not all, the directing on Poltergeist, if you watch both director’s body of work and then Poltergesit it’s easy to see that the rumor is accurate.

TRIVIA: A novelization of the movie was written by Dean Koontz, under the pen name Owen West. Due to production taking longer than expected, the book was released before the movie.

RATING: 11 out of 15 Frankenstein’s Monster-masked killers

*BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Posted in Good Good, Monsters/Creatures on October 13th, 2010 by bill

*DISCLAIMER: It should first be noted that this movie is not part of the Romero Dead series (although it does reference it and use it’s events as part of it’s plot). You can read a little bit about it HERE.

SYNOPSIS

Freddie just got a new job at a local medical supply warehouse. When his co-worker Frank gives him a tour of the place, the two accidentally unleash a deadly gas that causes dead bodies from a near by cemetery to re-animate. Unfortunately, Freddie’s punk rock friends are partying it up in that cemetery!

REVIEW

Before there was “Shaun of the Dead,” there was “Return of the Living Dead.” It is one of the earliest, if not first, zombie comedies or zom-coms. The movie pays homage to the original “Night of the Living Dead” films by basing it’s plot around the fact that the event really occurred an that Romero was approached by the government and forced to change parts of the story. Then through a clerical error, containers holding the undead bodies from the incident were shipped to the medical supply warehouse where Freddie and Frank work.

The film is very funny, and very 80s. There’s a whole group of 80s punk thugs who party in the graveyard for kicks and wind up in the middle of the zombie outbreak. And these aren’t your “SLC Punk” kind of punks they’re 80s movie punks (although one punk named Suicide claims, in regards to his attire, “You think this is a fuckin’ costume? This is a way of life.” The punk group is a random collection of people that doesn’t make any sense why they’d hang out, but I guess that’s the 80s for you. The fact that they’re friends with the main character Freddie is beyond me and only surpassed by the line one of them has while looking for a party that night,  “Freddie always knows where there’s a place to party.” Freddie doesn’t look like he’s ever been invited to a birthday party at ShowBiz Pizza let alone always knowing the places to party with punks. So the logical thing to do is party in the graveyard next to Freddie’s work until he gets off. Speaking of getting off, there’s some awesome random full frontal Zuul-like nudity from Trash, played by scream queen Linnea Quigley, which I was later disappointed to find out wasn’t full frontal at all because she was wearing some sort of vagina cover that makes her look like a Barbie doll.

The real comedy comes from the people trapped in the warehouse and even more so when they move over to the morgue. Freddy, Burt, Ernie, and Frank provide the real humor. From the scenes where Frank shows Freddie the warehouse to when Burst comes over to see the first animated cadaver that they attempt to kill the same way they saw in the movies, to most importantly when they go to Ernie to try to cremate a “bag of rabid weasels” which is a great scene in and of itself (my favorite part is the acting on Ernie, played by Don Calfa, when they guys sneak up on him and he jumpily whips out his gun. Classic).

There’s some quality make-up and animatronics going on in this flick too. One character, referred to in the credits, as Tarman is pretty damn sweet. There’s also a female torso corpse, or corpso (not really I just made that up) who explains to people the age-old mystery of why zombies eat brains. Which is… I’m not gonna give you everything, go watch the movie!

And let’s not forget the timeless rockin’ 80s music… eh actually you can forget it. It works very well for the movie but you’re not rushing out to the store to pick up the soundtrack.

Overall, this movie delivers exactly what it sets out to and more. There might not be many scares but there’s a good amount of laughs and they take their zombie make-up and effects seriously. Which is half the battle… and a battle with zombies at that!

DON’T MISS: the midget zombie chasing Ernie after he unsuccessfully tries to shoot it!

CLASSIC QUOTE: After feasting on the current paramedics, a zombie uses the ambulance radio and requests “Come in dispatch, send more paramedics.” Followed later by another zombie making a radio call to “Send more cops.”

RATING: 69 out of 83 undead corpses

*BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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C.H.U.D. (1984)

Posted in Good Bad, Monsters/Creatures on May 28th, 2010 by bill

SYNOPSIS

When people start disappearing in a small section of SoHo, the local Police Captain teams up with an old criminal turned Reverend/Soup Kitchen Manager to investigate who or what’s behind these bizarre disappearances.

REVIEW

All this time you’ve been afraid of Alligators and Mole People living in the sewers when it’s C.H.U.D. you should’ve been having nightmares about! For those of you that don’t know, C.H.U.D. is an acronym for Cannibalistic Underground Humanoid Dwellers*.

The movie starts with a cold cold open of a woman walking a dog down a dark steamy NY street…. literally walking a dog in the middle of the street, not the sidewalk. Why? Because there’s no sewer caps on the sidewalk dummy! She drops her purse next to the sewer and is grabbed by a pair of three fingered mutant hands and the title card comes up.

The story begins by following photographer George Cooper and his model wife Lauren Daniels but their plot lines which include retaining artistic integrity at a perfume photo shoot, deciding whether or not to abort their baby or not, and delivering your photos to work on time barely connect to the main story line, other than the fact that George did a photo piece of people living in the subways and now is friend with some of the homeless (at least friends enough to bail them out of jail after one tries to steal a cop’s gun). The real story follows Captain Bosch as he tries to get down to the bottom of all these missing persons cases (motivated by the fact that his wife has gone missing). He seeks help from an old collar of his named A.J. Shepherd who is now a ‘Reverend’ and runs a soup kitchen. When his regualrs begin to disappear, A.J. is quick to join the case.

This seems to be a running theme in “C.H.U.D.” show parts of the creatures (usually just the hands/forearms or head) and cutaway during the kill then maybe cut back to the aftermath. That’s the major downfall of this movie. Now don’t get me wrong, the creatures look great, which is why it’s surprising that they don’t show more of them. I mean I always a fan of the Jaws styled less is more concept, but even Jaws SHOWED Quint getting eating alive come the end of the film. But I digress, this is by no stretch of the imagination the masterpiece that Jaws is, but as with an B 80s horror movie, you want to at least see some good gory effects, and this movie usually cuts around them. Except for the end during a pretty good fight scene between Lauren and a CHUD that’s broken into her apartment (and a sort of mini homage to “The Thing“) with the creature doing a morphing neck stretch that feels like it should’ve been scaled bigger if they had the budget.

The acting is mostly good. The best performance by far is Daniel Stern as A.J. Also all the homeless actors do a really great believable job, most notably the guy who plays Val, easily the craziest of the bunch. John Heard also does a good job, although the character itself seems just thrown in a little. His story doesn’t offer too much towards the overall plot except for taking some photos of an injured bums leg that Bosch and A.J. later steal. Note: this is the first time Stern and Heard appear in a movie together though not the last: see “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”  Christopher Curry starts out weak but gets better towards the end of the film, and George Martin does pretty well as the weasley NRC rep.

Overall the pacing of the movie is a bit slow for me and a few scene feel like they should’ve been edited into earlier parts of the film, rather than where they ended up. Also there is no nudity despite having both a nude perfume photo shoot scene and a shower scene (the shower scene has a random inexplicable clogged drain that spurts blood that doesn’t garner the reaction one would expect from the showeree).

My two favorite scenes are 1) a scene where Bosch and A.J. travel down into the sewers and find a Geiger Counter. Upon turning it on, it starts to click as the level rise and rise signaling the approach of something radio active and then it retreats. One of the most suspenseful scenes in the movie, and far too short. If they executed more moments like this the film would’ve been a lot scarier. 2) the scene in which a C.H.U.D. breaks into Lauren’s apartment and she fights it with a sword. There’s a great moment where she locks the creature in George’s dark room and awaits it to break down the door so she can attack it with her sword. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it’s hilariously awesome.

Overall, the premise of the film is good and has a pretty classic setup (nuclear waste dumped in the sewer creates mutant creatures) but the execution is a bit slow and more about investigating then actually fighting monsters. I really wish they included more scenes with the monsters such as the one where the grandpa and his granddaughter use a pay phone and are ambushed by a C.H.U.D. The movie also could’ve benefited from more B movie styled blood and guts during the monster attacks. I rarely saw this about any film as I hate re-makes but this movie could be a potentially good remake if done as an indie and not a studio remake. (my stance on re-makes is and always has been that they should re-make movies that had good premises but bad execution, not classic movies that they think they can make more money off of).

*There’s a few things wrong with this label, as cool as it may be. Now the creatures are technically not cannibals as they don’t eat each other. But you could use the argument that they ARE being cannibals as they are mutated homeless people and are thus eating other humans. But then I assume you wouldn’t use the word Humanoid as you’re calling them human. It’s a slippery slope and one best not to think about. Besides, we find out later in the film that the true acronym is Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal. So I guess we can let it slide.

I’d say “C.H.U.D.” is kinda worth the watch, but it’s nothing I’ll go searching through the sewers to track down. If it’s on late night cable or your friend let’s you borrow the DVD then by all means go for it.

RATING: 4 out of 9 barrels of  toxic waste 

WATCH FOR: Cameos by John Goodman and Jay Thomas as “Cops in Diner.” One of the best, most random ADR lines to date (at least Josh and I thought so as we rewound that scene like 5 times) at 1hr 6mins when they find Captain Bosch’s wife’s head at the docks “Oh my God that’s his wife! Get him out of there!” During the final scene watch the continuity of the gun A.J. takes out of Bosch’s waistband, kinda funny.

*BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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The Stuff (1985)

Posted in Good Bad, Monsters/Creatures on April 18th, 2010 by bill

 

*I also really like this alternate poster, but couldn’t find a high resolution enough image of it, but definitely check it out!

SYNOPSIS

When two country bumpkins find a delicious tasting white goo oozing from the ground, they soon market it into a new treat called “The Stuff” that takes the world by storm. The only problem is that they might not be eating “The Stuff”, it might be eating them!

REVIEW (requested by Elek Hendrickson)

The Stuff” will do for frozen yogurt what “Psycho” did for showering and “Jaws” did for swimming!!! Okay so that might be a bit of an overstatement, okay a lot of an overstatement, but after watching “The Stuff” you might think twice about eating at Pinkberry.

“The Stuff” will do for frozen yogurt what “Psycho” did for showering and “Jaws” did for swimming!!! Okay so that might be a bit of an overstatement, okay a lot of an overstatement, but after watching “The Stuff” you might think twice about eating at Pinkberry.

“The Stuff” is part “The Blob” and part “Invasion of the Body Snatcher” although they never explain what the motivation of “The Stuff” actually is. In fact there’s much more than just that missing from this script. It feels as though a lot of the explanations of things are skipped over and fixed with a line of dialogue later on. This is prevalent from the very beginning of the movie, wherein the first scene a redneck sort of fella finds this white goop on the ground and his first order of business is to taste it. Next thing we know it’s the number one selling product in the country. The story follows (or trails behind) the merging plots of Jason, a boy who sees “The Stuff” move in the fridge one night, which none of his family believes him about, and the quest for a hired gun corporate spy, David “Mo” Rutherford to discover the mysterious ingredients of this new sensational product. As the movie goes on, it introduces a number of eccentric characters that seem to come and go out of nowhere and re-enter the story when convenient (specifically the Colonel towards the end of the film).

The movie has a total 80s feel for the most part, although some of the more boring adult scenes feel somewhat 70s-ish. The movie is directed by Larry Cohen (1974’s It’s Alive) and borders on having a ‘tongue in cheek’ comedy sort of air about it. Which makes some scenes hard to tell if it’s deliberately trying to be funny, or just so serious that it’s ridiculous. For example, there’s a scene where “The Stuff” attacks Mo’s face Alien style, and the girl he’s with get it off by pouring brandy on it and lighting his face on fire- which just so happens to work and luckily leaves Mo unscathed.

The special effects in the movie are what really shines. There’s some great trick photography done with the goo to give it a life of it’s own. Some cool miniatures that get destroyed. And best of all some really cool makeup/creature effects of the stuff escaping people’s bodies. The scene of Chocolate Chip Charlie’s is one of particularly great note.

Overall, the movie is at least entertaining. If it’s a good scary movie you’re looking for, I’d say skip it, as it’s definitely more enjoyable for a laugh (whether intentionally or not). The special effects make the movie generally worth watching although there’s nothing totally groundbreaking here. The main thing it leaves me wondering is what “The Stuff” was made out of. It appears to be a thinner version of the popular marshmallow sandwich spread ‘Fluff.” whatever it is, it looks blandly delicious!

If you’re looking for something that’s funny in a good-bad sort of way then I’d say you definitely just won’t be able to get enough of “The Stuff.”

*NOTE: this is not a ‘melt’ movie, despite what the posters may seem to insinuate.

RATING: 12 out of 16 ounces of killer yogurt

KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR: Some interesting cameos by Danny Aiello, Paul Sorvino, and Garrett Morris. The face lighting on fire scene. Chocolate Chip Charlie’s transformation scene. And an awesomely 80s TV commercial for “The Stuff.”

*BONUS: Watch the full movie HERE*

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