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Byzantium [Blu-ray]
Byzantium [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Gemma Arterton
Price: $23.51
39 used & new from $12.16

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Realism, intrigue and deep characters bringing a fresh, intelligent perspective to the secret lives of vampires., April 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Byzantium [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
An intelligent, superbly acted vampire story, serenely-scored and with a more realistic, fresh perspective.

This finely shot film opens with an elegantly underspoken narration by Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), a young woman who reveals that her fate is bound to Clara (Gemma Arterton). As we are cautiously introduced to these strong characters our eyes traverse one scene to the next, and with each we swiftly approach an understanding of their desperate lifestyle spent drifting and suppressing secrets.

The acting is superb. Like Anne Rice's Lestat, Clara portrays the ruthless, manipulative, survivalist parent whereas Eleanor (much as the resistant Louis) resents her mother's actions. Director Neil Jordan (The Borgias, In Dreams, The Crying Game, Interview with a Vampire , The Company of Wolves) has an impressive résumé including period piece drama, sexual thriller, classical vampirism and gory non-mainstream fairy tale horror, so we I read he was directing this film let's just say "you have my attention." This film moves at a generally slow pace, punctuated with occasionally eventful blood flow. It is far from exciting; more "interesting" really. For even the slow seasons curry my curiosity of what fate will befall Eleanor, Clara, their relationship, their lives.

Through a series of flashbacks we discover a more mysterious vampire origin; one that neither matches folklore nor is completely explained . These vampires walk in daylight and have no fangs, but live forever, crave blood and require invitation. The vampirism is not exactly presented subtly, but the focus is placed on Clara and Eleanor's struggle to survive and the growing strain on their relationship. To protect this secret Clara would do anything. But it seems Eleanor yearns to share her secret. When she meets a brooding love interest (Caleb Landry Jones; The Last Exorcism, Antiviral) her willingness to suppress her secret wanes.

The score is serene, able to lull a beast to calm before putting it down. It complements the thought-provoking, moody atmosphere so well as we estimate the dubious future of these vampires. The gore is abundant in brevity, but not distasteful, and occasional scenes are brutal, but appropriate. One shot of bloodletting was actually quite beautiful.

I was never swept away by an Anne Rice-esque violent vampiric passion. But I remained engrossed in this story, beautifully told by characters with depth.


Under the Bed
Under the Bed
DVD ~ Jonny Weston
Price: $9.85
48 used & new from $3.21

3.0 out of 5 stars A senseless story and slow at the start, but the bonkers gory creature-tastic third act are worth the price of admission!, April 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Under the Bed (DVD)
Novice director Steven C. Miller (Silent Night) takes a stab at an R-rated contemporized approach to the classic "monster under my bed" story. I was generally pleased with Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011) and The Boogeyman (2005), so why not give this a shot?

After years apart following the death of his mother, disheveled and angsty teen Neal (Jonny Weston; John Dies at the End, Taken 3) returns home to live with his father (Peter Holden; Alien Abduction) and younger brother Paulie. He had been sent away two years ago to "get well" after he burned the house down with his mother in it, defending himself from the monster residing under his bed. Now that he has returned, he learns his little brother has been tormented by the same demon every night.

The notion that an otherworldly monster can magically cross into our dimension through the floor under one specific kid's bed is pretty silly. Terrifying, in fact. That it only does so in the dark while you're asleep…even scarier. There was so much potential for dark figures and painfully drawn-out tension. But for some reason I never saw or felt either. And what about the story…actually, what exactly is the story? What drives this monster and how did it get in their house? Why did it want these boys? Are there more of these monsters? Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011) and The Boogeyman (2005) made at least some effort to explain their monsters, their motivations, their origins and their behavior. But here, it just seems that this monster came with the house and its abilities and weaknesses seem to change without explanation as the movie persists. That's really all we get.

Not willing to tell their parents this ridiculous story (as they haven't in years past), the two brothers unite to fight this monster. They arm themselves with flashlights, tape, wire, a power drill and duct tape. But is this monster really a threat? Neal was once psychologically tortured and sleep-deprived by this creature. But that creature had 365 opportunities a year to get the upper hand on a sleeping child and somehow never won! After Neal left, his younger brother made it 730 consecutive nights unscathed. If this monster was really in the business of eating children to survive, it clearly would have starved to death by now. It doesn't seem that menacing. A clawed hand reaching out from under the bed is scary, YES! But if it never does anything else…what's the big deal?

I think the filmmakers really thought this movie was scary…..it wasn't. Despite their addition of loud music prefacing "SOMETHING SCARY" every time the camera zooms in on something (like, for example, the edge of a menacing bed skirt), I never felt convinced that anyone old enough to buy their own ticket for this movie could possibly be frightened by it. Sophomoric scare attempts include a shaking washing machine and load noises, loud noises by themselves for no apparent reason, and close-ups of Neal looking at the bed with loud noises. Noticing a trend here?

THEN ALL THE SUDDEN EVERYTHING CHANGED!

For over an hour we sit back and wonder why this movie isn't rated PG-13 or even just PG. Then, after years of going hungry under the bed, the monster suddenly decides to show Neal's family and the audience that it is, in fact, not at all bound to the bed! Neal and Paulie are next door when the creature arrives and twists off the neighbor kid's head in a gloriously gory display. There's that R-rating we came for! When they run back home it follows them and tears their dad's head apart like a food processor. You hear that? It just followed them! Why the Hell did it just stay under the bed all these years? We went from a lame movie starring a rubber claw under a bed with loud music and no scares to a gore-slathered, slimy creature romp. The monster itself is actually pretty damned cool looking and the special effects are up to snuff as well. It looks like an inbred, disfigured Moorlock covered in snot.

Why on Earth the director waited so long to reveal this creature, the action and the gore is beyond me because all of the exposition leading up to this was completely empty and the other characters--the parents, the neighbors, some random love interest that never goes anywhere--really never offered anything to the story, which never made any sense to begin with beyond the simple fact that inexplicably there is a child-hungry monster under Paulie's bed.

If things weren't random enough yet, the monster actually fashions a hunter's rope snare, traps Paulie like an animal and drags him into the under-the-bed slimy Netherworld! So, just like in Poltergeist II (1986), Neal ties a rope around his waist and goes after him armed with a flashlight trident. I can't even believe what I'm writing right now! WTF is going on in this movie? Were the writers all high? When they come back to--ummmm…reality I guess--the monster now literally has the ability to teleport before our eyes like Nightcrawler in X-Men. Hooray consistency! Then Neal is about to lose a fight against our under-the-bed teleporting Netherworld snot monster when he discovers that his dead mother's ashes are its one weakness. Yeah! He throws his mother's ashes on the monster and that's what kills it!

After a slow, confusing start this film eventually catapults its audience into a tumultuous spin cycle of bonkers gore, creature effects and action which--despite making no sense whatsoever--make the whole experience worth the price of admission. In fact, the last 20 minutes were so off-the-wall entertaining that I don't regret buying this at all. Yes it's very dumb. But it's the kind of dumb I want to share with friends with an improvised drinking game.

Enjoy the madness.


Alien Abduction (Watch Now While It's in Theaters)
Alien Abduction (Watch Now While It's in Theaters)
DVD
Price: $6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This found footage alien/horror movie captures a good idea, but does so very poorly. Some good scenes, overall not worth it., April 13, 2014
This movie captures a good idea, but does so very poorly. There are a couple good scenes here but they are largely outweighed by the bad and the very bad. I give this two disfigured alien thumbs down.

This found footage film opens with the following caption: "The following is actual leaked footage from the US Air Force." It's cute when obviously untrue stories masquerade as true stories just to add mood or generate buzz. The Fourth Kind (2009) had people rushing to Google to check stats of people disappearing and FBI investigations in Gnome, Alaska. They did it well. Although that was about all they did well.

"For centuries, people have been disappearing on and around Brown Mountain, North Carolina. Locals believe the disappearances are directly linked with sightings of THE BROWN MOUNTAIN LIGHTS." News casts, accounts from locals and witnesses, and testimonials from paranormal experts follow. These segments represent one of few things that were done well in this movie.

A family goes on a camping trip in the Brown Mountains. The parents and kids are somewhat likable, normal people and their trip is filmed by their youngest son. On their first night, the kids see lights in the sky moving in a way no star possibly could.

The acting is far from top notch. When the father gets them lost and loses his temper his behavior is totally unfounded. When they run out of gas (which I don't see happening on a family road trip into the mountains) the family tension escalates and the father becomes rage-y, again unconvincingly. Then again, even if they nailed their lines, the writing wasn't great either. They come by several abandoned minivans and SUVs…as if some camping family Rapture had taken them all, leaving their cars and camping gear behind like a scene from The Walking Dead but without the walkers or corpses.

We come across all the standard alien invasion film tropes. Birds becomes disoriented and fly into things creating jump scares, obscured film of extra terrestrial figures in the darkness, lights in the sky, satellite interference, alien mind control telepathy attacks a la Independence Day (1996), aliens examining humans, tractor beams, monstrous alien sounds…you name it, these filmmakers borrowed it. Almost none of this is executed well. But there is one really cool, brief scene in the entire movie when a tractor beam gets someone, cracking and contorting their body while being levitated.

The aliens follow the most simple of paradigms. They're tall, lanky, grey-skinned, big-eyed, four-fingered extra terrestrials that sound, at times, like the Predator (1987) mating with a velociraptor while slitting a pig's throat. Later we hear them communicate with the bubbly blip sounds from Signs (2002).

First-time director Matty Beckerman does a hardly serviceable job delivering an entertaining movie. The biggest faults are clearly found in the writing (also done by a first-time writer) and acting, especially the loner mountain man the family encounters--worst performance in the movie by far. There are some pacing issues as well, with some seriously dull lulls between periods of action. This movie actually goes from okay, to bad as we transition from the first act. It just seems to get worse and worse and the film wears on.

Maybe I'd take a chance at whatever this director does next, but I won't get my hopes up. At one point in the movie the mother describes Brown Mountain saying "It's like Deliverance, minus the anal rape." As far as my enjoyment of this movie goes…well… it's like Deliverance, with the anal rape. There were short segments of this film that were done well, but too much was poorly for me to recommend this to anyone.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2014 1:16 PM PDT


Inside (Unrated)
Inside (Unrated)
DVD ~ Beatrice Dalle
Offered by Amazing Savings USA
Price: $13.95
33 used & new from $6.15

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More bloody fun than an at-home Cesarean, this will fill your screen with brutal gore like a sprinkler system in Hell, April 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Inside (Unrated) (DVD)
More bloody fun than an at-home scissors Cesarean, this film will fill your screen with brutal gore like a sprinkler system in Hell, and the gore is matched by the claustrophobic sense of desperation. This film is a real winner for lovers of extreme violence.

Shortly after the death of her husband, Sarah wishes to spend the holidays alone away from her family while awaiting the birth of her first child. But when a strange visitor arrives at her home, alone is the last thing Sarah wishes she was.

This film begins at a somewhat slow but interesting pace. But once the gore comes into play the effects team, sound editors and actors have their work cut out for them as things turn into a messy shockfest full of impalements accompanied by the most visceral of sounds. Béatrice Dalle does a fantastic job as the gap-toothed nameless menace who obsessively wants Sarah's child for her own while Alysson Paradis (as Sarah) is convincingly tortured and terrified. They each bring their own brand of desperation and, when they clash, you may want to turn away.

Directed by at-the-time newcomers Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (Livid, Among the Living, The ABCs of Death 2), Inside brings all manner of shocking imagery from car crash victims to nightmare birth sequences. The brutality knows no end as blood spews from stabs to the throat, face, hand, knee and even crotch. At one point someone's face is blown off in about as fantastic a manner as I've seen. But the hits just keep on coming and the shocks continue as kitchen appliance assaults, make-shift flamethrowers, an improvised domestic bayonet and some alternative uses for scissors all contribute to the most blood-splattered movie sets I've seen in ages.

This film may have started out slow, but with each palpable laceration our pregnant heroine becomes ever more speckled and smeared red with the heightening mania. Moving to the finale, we shift from gory and shocking to absolute bonkers neo-natal insanity complete with an at-home Cesarean birthing scene with blood cascading down the stairs.

This is an absolute win for lovers of extreme violence and intense gore. So put on your favorite gore bib and dig in!


Afflicted (Watch Now While It's in Theaters) [HD]
Afflicted (Watch Now While It's in Theaters) [HD]
DVD
Price: $6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A contemporary vampire film following the Chronicle playbook; AMAZING first 45 min, squandered last 40 min...still worth it., April 6, 2014
The first half of this film serves as a stand alone film with great characters and a cool story. The second half squanders all the good that was curried in the first. Watch for the splendid beginning and try not to let the ending ruin it for you.

In most familiar form, this found footage film begins with a scene in which we are introduced to our protagonists. This smacks of obvious staging on the part of the writers and director and, in concept, it's not an original idea. However, this is effective when done well and it really got me to invest myself in the Cloverfield (2008) characters.

In this film, the introduction to our stars Derek (Derek Lee) and Clif (Clif Prowse) is SUPERB! The directors and especially the film editors did a spectacular job to get me to completely forget that I was watching a horror movie as I enjoyed meeting this fun-filled pair. Our heroes are embarking on a bromance-adventure around the world and they're going to record everything and make a topical website/blogumentary chroniclng their adventure.

I must say that I was astonished at how much I liked these characters within the first three minutes of this film. This is a rare quality in ANY film! Most horror movies are made to turn a profit. This was clearly crafted as a labor of love. These guys didn’t just have an idea worth showing us, they wanted to show us their real journey together as filmmakers as a meta-prologue to this film…this horror film. What a creative leap! They show actual film footage and photos of themselves together as teenagers sharing their love for filmmaking and convincing us of their most sincere bro-bond. It's actually kind of…well…sweet. You believe these characters because these actors are these characters, they have taken their actual selves and imported that concept into a horror premise. I s*** you not, I stopped the movie and started it over after the perfectly done six minute intro just to watch it again in all its splendor. These characters are full of life-loving passion, every day quirks and credible flaws. You will identify with their dreams. Even if you don't enjoy the horror of this movie, you'd have to be stone cold to not enjoy the intro.

Things take an interesting turn when our gameless Derek--against all geeky odds--manages to take a French girl to his hotel room and Clif later finds him beaten and gashed up, unconscious, and with no recollection. Clearly sick with something but driven to continue, Derek insists they continue their expedition. From this point, what would normally be formulaic feels subtly approached yet tactfully shocking. Derek begins exhibiting symptoms that are all too familiar to any horror fan. These symptoms are presented cleverly, they foreshadow a dubious future, and they stoke the playful intrigue of discovery much as was done in Chronicle (2012). In many ways, this film borrows from Chronicle (2012). Derek seems to have superpowers.

Derek also seems to be…changing. With this change the tone shifts from fun and adventurous, to dark…and darker. Unfortunately the "darker" third act of this film (which is half of its running time) seems to fall apart, squandering the interest it curried in the first 45 minutes.

I was never someone to scoff at found footage films. Whereas many unfairly stereotype that it's just a cheap method to get low quality films released quickly, I always viewed the style as a "tool"--and I think most open-minded critics would have to agree. Crappy films come in all forms, and so do GREAT films. The first 45 minute of this movie (but not the second half) represents a good film and I hope it will get found footage haters to shut their mouths and re-evaluate whether they're truly mad at found footage as a style….or if they're simply upset and feel cheated for wasting their money on a few horror duds that happen to be found footage horror while completely ignoring the horror slop they also hated that happened to have standard (and thus more expensive) production. Found footage is "different" so it's easy to point a finger at it and say that's why it's not good. Don't just join the mob and hate…even if you didn't like this film.

My biggest criticism of this film is that it probably should have only been 45 minutes. It could have ended right there appropriately. After about the 45 minute mark this seems to become an entirely different movie and all the cool, the new and the interesting has already become old hat.

Despite my feelings about the second half of this film, the first half stands alone as a good film and should be celebrated.


Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies
DVD ~ Holly Fields
3 used & new from $17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A flimsier story and a little less gore than the original, but still a worthy sequel with a smaller budget and more Divoff., April 5, 2014
A flimsier story and a little less gore than the original, but still this is a worthy sequel with a smaller budget that was stretched as far as possible for our entertainment.

Our story beings with a robbery in the very museum where Wishmaster (1997) ends. During a shootout between museum security and some hooded bandits, the statue which entombed our favorite wish-twisting Djinn's ruby prison is shot, loosening a chunk of stone and revealing the artifact.

Honoring the Djinn's gorily memorable emergence in the franchise opener, part two follows suit by having the museum wall apparently "give gory birth" to our horribly misshapen genie (Andrew Divoff; Lost, Wishmaster) from a gore-slathered stain turned bubbly mess. He's slimy and distorted and he wastes no time before soliciting wishes to a dying thief…which apparently results in the Djinn's resumption of his normal, tentacle-headed form.

Now things get a little weird. So the Djinn goes to prison after admitting to being a museum robber and Morgana (Holly Fields), the thief who unearthed the Djinn's ruby, gets away. As the Djinn (in Andrew Divoff's form) engages in his Monkey Paw shenanigans while serving time, Morgana has sweaty dreams in her underwear as if they share some sort of psychic link. But why does the Djinn feel content to remain in prison? His powers are limited to granting wishes, I suppose, so maybe he can't leave…I'm really not sure. Is it really easier to dupe people out of their souls in prison? He should go to an elementary school. He should have no problem getting kids to wish away their souls for no homework, ponies, cookies for dinner and the like.

Despite how painfully slow and ineffective dial-up internet was in the 90s, Morgana somehow sleuths out what the Djinn is and what he wants. She realizes that she has to stop him! But why she'd want to stop him from killing a bunch of incarcerated felons is beyond me. He needs 1001 souls before he comes for Morgana's. I say let him take a few more criminals out first.

This sequel is helmed by the slightly more established director Jack Sholder (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, The Hidden). With an uninspired plot, this sequel's story is just as flimsy if not more so than the original and we enjoy a little less of the gore and the wide variety of effects presented in part one--perhaps a function of a lower budget (which was half that of the original and this is especially obvious in the final act). But you can tell they tried to do a lot with what little they had. I can appreciate that.

Replacing some of the gore is more acting…specifically, Andrew Divoff's menacing performance. He's awkward yet appropriate and over-the-top yet spot on given his supernatural, riddling role. He gets more screen time in this sequel, as well as more "horror humor" a la Freddy Krueger. Andrew Divoff is great in this. But make no mistake, he is no Robin Williams or Barbara Eden; this is not your mother's genie movie.

Despite having a flimsier story and a little less gore than the original, this is a worthy sequel with a smaller budget that was stretched as far as possible for our entertainment.


Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies [HD]
Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies [HD]
DVD
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A flimsier story and a little less gore than the original, but still a worthy sequel with a smaller budget and more Divoff., April 5, 2014
A flimsier story and a little less gore than the original, but still this is a worthy sequel with a smaller budget that was stretched as far as possible for our entertainment.

Our story beings with a robbery in the very museum where Wishmaster (1997) ends. During a shootout between museum security and some hooded bandits, the statue which entombed our favorite wish-twisting Djinn's ruby prison is shot, loosening a chunk of stone and revealing the artifact.

Honoring the Djinn's gorily memorable emergence in the franchise opener, part two follows suit by having the museum wall apparently "give gory birth" to our horribly misshapen genie (Andrew Divoff; Lost, Wishmaster) from a gore-slathered stain turned bubbly mess. He's slimy and distorted and he wastes no time before soliciting wishes to a dying thief…which apparently results in the Djinn's resumption of his normal, tentacle-headed form.

Now things get a little weird. So the Djinn goes to prison after admitting to being a museum robber and Morgana (Holly Fields), the thief who unearthed the Djinn's ruby, gets away. As the Djinn (in Andrew Divoff's form) engages in his Monkey Paw shenanigans while serving time, Morgana has sweaty dreams in her underwear as if they share some sort of psychic link. But why does the Djinn feel content to remain in prison? His powers are limited to granting wishes, I suppose, so maybe he can't leave…I'm really not sure. Is it really easier to dupe people out of their souls in prison? He should go to an elementary school. He should have no problem getting kids to wish away their souls for no homework, ponies, cookies for dinner and the like.

Despite how painfully slow and ineffective dial-up internet was in the 90s, Morgana somehow sleuths out what the Djinn is and what he wants. She realizes that she has to stop him! But why she'd want to stop him from killing a bunch of incarcerated felons is beyond me. He needs 1001 souls before he comes for Morgana's. I say let him take a few more criminals out first.

This sequel is helmed by the slightly more established director Jack Sholder (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, The Hidden). With an uninspired plot, this sequel's story is just as flimsy if not more so than the original and we enjoy a little less of the gore and the wide variety of effects presented in part one--perhaps a function of a lower budget (which was half that of the original and this is especially obvious in the final act). But you can tell they tried to do a lot with what little they had. I can appreciate that.

Replacing some of the gore is more acting…specifically, Andrew Divoff's menacing performance. He's awkward yet appropriate and over-the-top yet spot on given his supernatural, riddling role. He gets more screen time in this sequel, as well as more "horror humor" a la Freddy Krueger. Andrew Divoff is great in this. But make no mistake, he is no Robin Williams or Barbara Eden; this is not your mother's genie movie.

Despite having a flimsier story and a little less gore than the original, this is a worthy sequel with a smaller budget that was stretched as far as possible for our entertainment.


Wishmaster
Wishmaster
DVD
Price: $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This fun horror with diverse gory effecys explains why evil jerk genies can't even earn their freedom by granting free wishes., March 30, 2014
This review is from: Wishmaster (Amazon Instant Video)
This was one of the more fun horror movies of the 90s, complete with a broad diversity of deaths, gore and effects.

This movie is based on the idea that man was born of earth, angels of light, and Djinn of fire. These Djinn dwell in "the void." Now, I'm no theologian, but when they next say that if a Djinn grants three wishes it's freed upon the earth, I'm guessing that's not from any religious text that folks study in seminary school.

Our story begins in 12th century Persia when some jerk wishes to be "shown wonders." Can we just start by criticizing this stupid wish? A "wonder" to a wealthy Persian would wildly differ from a "wonder" to a homeless person. Purely subjective. If I were that genie I'd take "wonders" literally and make it so that the wisher could see thought bubbles hovering over people's heads that showed what they were thinking. What follows is a gloriously gory sequence loaded with fun, diverse special effects ranging from a woman being attacked by a monster that formed from a man's guts, a snake man mutant, a man's stop-motion animated skeleton rips itself from its skin and attacks people, and some other fun stuff. After this delightfully entrail-rich sequence I think we all know we're in for a fun ride!

The hooded Djinn (Andrew Divoff; Lost) sounds just like The Emperor from Star Wars! They must be related. He would surely have take over the earth had a man not imprisoned him in a large ruby. Fast forward to present day and some gemologist (Tammy Lauren) rubs the ruby during an appraisal, thus resetting the pandemonium.

Directed by special effects artist Robert Kurtzman (Jinn, Texas Chainsaw 3-D, John Dies at the End), clearly we see influence from the great horror of the 80s. For example, the Djinn "hatches" from the ruby looking quite similar to the quadruple-aputee monster that Craig T. Nelson vomits out in Poltergeist II (1986). Then, after granting his first wish, he slimily metamorphoses a la Hellraiser (1987) to his crusty Djinn form.

To gain his freedom, the Djinn wanders around town trying to find Alexandra, the somewhat cute gemologist that rubbed his ruby prison. Now, every other genie pretty much ever appears immediately when its lamp is rubbed. It seems to me that if this Djinn was just more punctual, he wouldn't have missed her after he emerged. He's just lazy! During his search he coaxes (even fools) people to make wishes which he swiftly Monkey Paws, often resulting in their death. A bum, not realizing the genie's power, trades his soul for a shower and a jug of Jack Daniels. A cop wishes he could convict a felon, who then shoots several of his colleagues in front of him at the precinct. A woman wishes to be beautiful forever and is turned into a mannequin. You get the idea. Yet, for all the evil genie's power, he needs to ask around and interrogate people in order to find Alexandra so that he can force her to make three wishes.

It occurs to me that this genie would have been free long ago if he wasn't such a jerk. I mean, think about it. If he granted wishes like the nice Robin Williams Disney genie, then people wouldn't be afraid of him or his twisted wish-granting. He'd grant a wish, the wisher would be happy, he'd grant two more wishes, and he'd be free! It's not like he has to ruin the wishes. He's just an ass about it. If you ask me he deserves to be trapped in his gem prison without cable TV or Netflix for eternity!

The special effects are abundant, gory, fun, and result in a variety of entertaining deaths. Also enjoy all the familiar faces of horror icons. Look for cameos by Ted Raimi (Oz the Great and Powerful, Drag Me to Hell), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hatchet, Galaxy of Terror), Tom Savini (Machete Kills, The Theater Bizarre), Tony Todd (Final Destination 5, Hatchet), Kane Hodder (Chillerama, Hatchet, Ghoulies Go to College) and narration by Angus Scrimm (John Dies at the End, Phantasm, Subspecies, Chopping Mall).

This movie was one of the horror highlights of the 90s. It's not conventionally considered "good" in any film classes, but it's fun and entertaining. I enjoy it as much today as I did when it came out in 1997.


Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead
Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead
DVD ~ na
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $12.86
8 used & new from $9.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A largely inappropriate, exploitative and hilariously fun fecal fiesta of tapeworm-induced zombiism; great for Tokyo Shock fans!, March 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A largely inappropriate, exploitative fecal fiesta of tapeworm-induced zombiism. If you love butt and fart jokes, then this may be your Tokyo Shock Pulp Fiction (1994). I loved it! Needless to say, you shouldn't watch this with your mother.

Considering that the opening credits features girls dancing in short shorts and eating hot dogs, it seems that horror comedy writer/director Noboru Iguchi (The Machine Girl, RoboGeisha, The ABC’s of Death – “F” is for Fart, Dead Sushi) will never change his quirky ways…not that I'm complaining at all. In fact, I'd call this his best work yet BY FAR and one of the better installments to the growing exploitative Tokyo Shock genre.

A group of friends venture to the wilderness in search of trout parasites (tapeworms which they'll evidently catch with a butterfly net) to make wannabe actress Maki (Asana Mamoru) thinner so she can be famous. Fearing that a zombie would have them arrested for catching trout off-season, they abandon their mission. But not before the large-breasted Maki swallows a fishing lure-like tapeworm to begin her journey to skinny town.

They wander to a nearby village which is filled with diarrhea-smeared zombies which vomit, you guessed it, more diarrhea. Why? I have no idea, probably because it's gross and it makes drunk and high people laugh…and me. While succumbing to some wicked constipation along with the emergence of an evil mutant butt-tapeworm from her rear end, Maki becomes zombie kibble.
Our protagonist Matrix-bullet-dodging, martial artist, school girl Megumi (Arisa Nakamura; The ABC’s of Death – “F” is for Fart, Kazuo Umezu's Horror Theater: The Harlequin Girl) is a quiet, innocent loner. But when the s*** hits the fan and the crap-covered deadites are upon them she gains a Dwayne Johnson-like proficiency for shotgun headshots and general asskickery.

We learn that every zombie has an evil monster tapeworm, which actually eats and then controls the brain of the infected body, and the zombies bite to infect others with tapeworm eggs. An early symptom of this tapeworm-induced zombiism is profuse fart emission. Hmmmm, I'm no tapeworm expert buuuuuuuuut…seems legit.

Inappropriate bathroom scenes, a butt-to-mouth skewering, exploitative grabbing, laboratory enemas, a lot of sexual and phallic scenes involving tapeworms, some nudity, feces-slathered sewage zombies, lots of bleeding from the tush, sexual tapeworm impregnation, panty-revealing high kicks, weaponized anal tapeworms and gastrointestinal sound effects all do their integral parts to contribute to this fart-scored film's raunchy charm.

Poo is everywhere. The stool-studded zombies even throw feces like they're in the middle of a monkey crap-fight at the zoo. There's spraying vomit (done with weak effects), blood-gushing prosthetic dismemberments, and the jettisoned gore is complemented by CGI and silly scenarios. It's all done quite well and there was hardly a slow minute in this movie.

What really stoked the fires of hilarity is when the zombies start skittering backwards, butts in the air with their evil butt-tapeworms turtle-heading out of their rectal domains ready to strike.

Regarding the action, this movie truly succeeded where its predecessors failed. The action was often original and some of the hand-to-hand combat was not only quite entertaining and thoughtfully (though humorously) choreographed, but well-executed given the effects and budget. We also enjoy tapeworms whipping from elevated cabooses like Scorpion's Mortal Kombat "get over here" harpoon…which then turn a bit into Anime-style sexual assaults with tentacles. The action-packed finale is loaded with diverse, decently-executed effects, a nifty monster for Megumi to fight, a clearly unconsensual tentacle mating scene, and aerial combat made possible by anal jet propulsion which all culminates in a Top Gun aerial death-by-enema victory! Because, when zombie-infected tapeworm evil is defeated by an enema in a fart-propelled dogfight, don't we all win?

As if this movie could be spoiled for anyone, I'll now warn "SPOILER ALERT." What really brings this together is the underlying plot that a scientist has an "agreement" with the tapeworms contingent on the tapeworms curing his daughter's myeloid leukemia. See? It's thoughtful writing like this that proves that there are still original ideas out there.

Despite the exploitative, highly sexualized nature of this movie, it's funny and never gets more than a bit awkwardly raunchy…for a Tokyo Shock film. If you can handle the Evil Dead (2013) tree rape scene, then this will be fine. It's all in good (i.e., totally gross and raunchy) fun and the action ranks quite high in Tokyo Shock canon. This is one of the best Tokyo Shockers I've seen since I first saw Tokyo Gore Police (2008)! Needless to say, you shouldn't watch this with your mother. BUT WATCH IT!


Frontier(s): Unrated Director's Cut (After Dark Horrorfest)
Frontier(s): Unrated Director's Cut (After Dark Horrorfest)
DVD ~ Karina Testa
Price: $7.83
71 used & new from $2.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Well-composed, solidly executed; lovers of cruelty and extreme French cinema should enjoy this as well., March 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a well-composed, solidly executed film and lovers of cruelty and jaw-dropping violence will likely enjoy it. It's not great--but very good for sure.

I'm beginning to develop a fondness for extreme French cinema. Martyrs (2008) and High Tension (2003) delivered some solid splatter along with well-thought stories that didn't seem run-of-the-mill, formulaic or familiar. Frontiers may follow the ABCs of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, but it remains well-executed and moderately interesting.

Four morally questionable twentysomethings flee to the country from Paris after political events result in violent riots citywide. They find their way to an inn run by some rather crude, aggressive, lascivious folk…two attractive women, and their rough brother Goetz (Samuel Le Bihan; Brotherhood of the Wolf). They exude a strange mixture of unnervingly forced hospitality and an almost sociopathic abrasiveness. During their stay we come to find that much more of this strange family runs things around here…and not in the most conventional of ways.

This twisted family turns out to be a bunch of cannibalistic neo-Nazis with a patriarchal pecking order and they have plans for their new guests. From here, as with any Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn, Hostel or Hills Have Eyes film, we sit back and watch while wondering if any of our protagonists make it out alive.

Writer/director Xavier Gens (The ABCs of Death - X is for XXL) brings us from a socially/sociopathically awkward bed and breakfast to a tour de force of violence, cruelty and gore. From hooks through Achilles tendons to using boltcutters on Achilles tendons, this film provided me with ample reasons to wince...and a lot of reasons for me to fear for my Achilles tendons! The sound editors clearly had their hands full with all of the bloodsplatter, bludgeoning, crushing and stabbing going on.

I was especially pleased with the acting. I don't speak French, but the fear of the victims felt real and the family had a more intelligent and methodical Texas Chainsaw-esque vibe to their unsettling behavior and fearful respect of their father. The fear was certainly merited and shared by the audience because of the tone set by the constant violence. Although the violence never turns to rape or sexualized violence (like so many movies just out to shock us at whatever cost), there is abundant violence against women and the ease with which it's executed is truly illustrative of the soulessness of our villains.

I found this to be a well-composed, solidly executed film and lovers of cruelty and jaw-dropping violence will likely enjoy it.

This review was of the unrated director's cut, which was not available with English dubbing. Surprisingly, the subtitles seemed poorly translated at times. I won't explain…it's no big deal, but you'll see what I mean unless you can follow the film in French.


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