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Trainwreck
Trainwreck
DVD
Price: $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is The 40-Year Old Virgin of the present decade! EVERYONE is hilarious in this cameo-filled raunchy romantic comedy., July 26, 2015
This review is from: Trainwreck (Amazon Instant Video)
In her first major role as Amy, a well-educated writer for a trashy magazine, Schumer breaks gender barriers and basically plays the female version of a womanizing, overindulgent “bro.” It’s like a frat house version of Sex in the City. She drinks in excess, sleeps with everyone, has a “rule” about never spending the night, takes the longest walk of shame ever (even involving a Ferry from Statin Island), and assumes that if a guy calls her the next day that it’s either a butt-dialing accident or that he’s a psychopath.

The story is simple. The perpetually single and aloof Amy is assigned to write a story about an orthopedic surgeon (Bill Hader) to sports stars. They have drinks, click, sleep together and, well, it turns out to be something more meaningful than a one-night stand. Of course, Amy is confused, repulsed and scared by this and from these emotions emerge the resistance and humor that synthesize this story of Amy becoming romantically “sensitized.” Much more interesting than the story, however, are its characters, which include too many cameos to mention. Most comedies have one or two people drawing our laughter, but here we have a dozen!

The film opens with a great scene in which Amy’s father (Colin Quinn) rationalizes divorce and infidelity to his two young daughters using Teddy Bear analogies to convince them of the non-existence of happy monogamy. Quinn is delightfully brutal and always on point, stealing every scene in which we find him as he claims that “every 12-year old in the Dominican Republic is better than Babe Ruth” or that his nursing home is basically a Viagra-fueled sex house after lights out.

Likewise, Schumer and Dave Attell (cameo) bombard us with numerous comedic nuggets regarding sex with strangers (or even objects) and overindulgence. Schumer is always “on” but, much to my pleasure and very loud laughter, so is everyone else. As her boss, Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer, Only Lovers Left Alive) steers clear of her typically serious roles to play a soulless, shallow, quick-witted magazine editor whose every line is a memorably cutting one-liner.

However, among all of the shallow sex jokes we encounter some softer, even touching moments. Amy gives a most memorably sweet yet honest eulogy at a funeral (like in This is Where I Leave You), LeBron James (as himself) steals the show with funny but heartfelt commentary about being romantic and frugal, and Bill Hader brings the voice of reason to the entropy of Amy’s otherwise romance-free life. As Aaron, Hader plays his role straight and dramatic, which works our fantastically.

Most shocking was John Cena (The Marine) as Amy’s perhaps sexually confused boyfriend. Their dirty-talking sex-scene is hilarious, seeing Cena nearly naked is (speaking from a male perspective) equally horrifying and intriguing (at 255 lbs, the dude is gigantic for 5’9”), Cena getting taunted in the movie theater is awkwardly genius, and all of his dialogue is shockingly well-written. By the way, Schumer did an AMAZING writing job penning this--her first script!

Directed by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year Old Virgin, This is 40), this is exactly the raunchy romantic comedy for anyone in their 30s-40s with a history of partying, serial dating or at least a couple one-night stands…or even someone with a close friend or sibling like that. The film is formulaic in general plot points, but excellent in comedic execution. A few scenes feel like they run long, but they account for all but maybe 5-10 total minutes that I wasn’t laughing out loud.

This is The 40-Year Old Virgin of the present decade, folks. Don’t miss this. It is comic brilliance and I can’t wait to see what Schumer does next.


Trainwreck (Blu-ray+ DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
Trainwreck (Blu-ray+ DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)
Price: $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is The 40-Year Old Virgin of the present decade! EVERYONE is hilarious in this cameo-filled raunchy romantic comedy., July 26, 2015
In her first major role as Amy, a well-educated writer for a trashy magazine, Schumer breaks gender barriers and basically plays the female version of a womanizing, overindulgent “bro.” It’s like a frat house version of Sex in the City. She drinks in excess, sleeps with everyone, has a “rule” about never spending the night, takes the longest walk of shame ever (even involving a Ferry from Statin Island), and assumes that if a guy calls her the next day that it’s either a butt-dialing accident or that he’s a psychopath.

The story is simple. The perpetually single and aloof Amy is assigned to write a story about an orthopedic surgeon (Bill Hader) to sports stars. They have drinks, click, sleep together and, well, it turns out to be something more meaningful than a one-night stand. Of course, Amy is confused, repulsed and scared by this and from these emotions emerge the resistance and humor that synthesize this story of Amy becoming romantically “sensitized.” Much more interesting than the story, however, are its characters, which include too many cameos to mention. Most comedies have one or two people drawing our laughter, but here we have a dozen!

The film opens with a great scene in which Amy’s father (Colin Quinn) rationalizes divorce and infidelity to his two young daughters using Teddy Bear analogies to convince them of the non-existence of happy monogamy. Quinn is delightfully brutal and always on point, stealing every scene in which we find him as he claims that “every 12-year old in the Dominican Republic is better than Babe Ruth” or that his nursing home is basically a Viagra-fueled sex house after lights out.

Likewise, Schumer and Dave Attell (cameo) bombard us with numerous comedic nuggets regarding sex with strangers (or even objects) and overindulgence. Schumer is always “on” but, much to my pleasure and very loud laughter, so is everyone else. As her boss, Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer, Only Lovers Left Alive) steers clear of her typically serious roles to play a soulless, shallow, quick-witted magazine editor whose every line is a memorably cutting one-liner.

However, among all of the shallow sex jokes we encounter some softer, even touching moments. Amy gives a most memorably sweet yet honest eulogy at a funeral (like in This is Where I Leave You), LeBron James (as himself) steals the show with funny but heartfelt commentary about being romantic and frugal, and Bill Hader brings the voice of reason to the entropy of Amy’s otherwise romance-free life. As Aaron, Hader plays his role straight and dramatic, which works our fantastically.

Most shocking was John Cena (The Marine) as Amy’s perhaps sexually confused boyfriend. Their dirty-talking sex-scene is hilarious, seeing Cena nearly naked is (speaking from a male perspective) equally horrifying and intriguing (at 255 lbs, the dude is gigantic for 5’9”), Cena getting taunted in the movie theater is awkwardly genius, and all of his dialogue is shockingly well-written. By the way, Schumer did an AMAZING writing job penning this--her first script!

Directed by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year Old Virgin, This is 40), this is exactly the raunchy romantic comedy for anyone in their 30s-40s with a history of partying, serial dating or at least a couple one-night stands…or even someone with a close friend or sibling like that. The film is formulaic in general plot points, but excellent in comedic execution. A few scenes feel like they run long, but they account for all but maybe 5-10 total minutes that I wasn’t laughing out loud.

This is The 40-Year Old Virgin of the present decade, folks. Don’t miss this. It is comic brilliance and I can’t wait to see what Schumer does next.


Trainwreck (DVD)
Trainwreck (DVD)
Price: $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is The 40-Year Old Virgin of the present decade! EVERYONE is hilarious in this cameo-filled raunchy romantic comedy., July 23, 2015
This review is from: Trainwreck (DVD) (DVD)
In her first major role as Amy, a well-educated writer for a trashy magazine, Schumer breaks gender barriers and basically plays the female version of a womanizing, overindulgent “bro.” It’s like a frat house version of Sex in the City. She drinks in excess, sleeps with everyone, has a “rule” about never spending the night, takes the longest walk of shame ever (even involving a Ferry from Statin Island), and assumes that if a guy calls her the next day that it’s either a butt-dialing accident or that he’s a psychopath.

The story is simple. The perpetually single and aloof Amy is assigned to write a story about an orthopedic surgeon (Bill Hader) to sports stars. They have drinks, click, sleep together and, well, it turns out to be something more meaningful than a one-night stand. Of course, Amy is confused, repulsed and scared by this and from these emotions emerge the resistance and humor that synthesize this story of Amy becoming romantically “sensitized.” Much more interesting than the story, however, are its characters, which include too many cameos to mention. Most comedies have one or two people drawing our laughter, but here we have a dozen!

The film opens with a great scene in which Amy’s father (Colin Quinn) rationalizes divorce and infidelity to his two young daughters using Teddy Bear analogies to convince them of the non-existence of happy monogamy. Quinn is delightfully brutal and always on point, stealing every scene in which we find him as he claims that “every 12-year old in the Dominican Republic is better than Babe Ruth” or that his nursing home is basically a Viagra-fueled sex house after lights out.

Likewise, Schumer and Dave Attell (cameo) bombard us with numerous comedic nuggets regarding sex with strangers (or even objects) and overindulgence. Schumer is always “on” but, much to my pleasure and very loud laughter, so is everyone else. As her boss, Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer, Only Lovers Left Alive) steers clear of her typically serious roles to play a soulless, shallow, quick-witted magazine editor whose every line is a memorably cutting one-liner.

However, among all of the shallow sex jokes we encounter some softer, even touching moments. Amy gives a most memorably sweet yet honest eulogy at a funeral (like in This is Where I Leave You), LeBron James (as himself) steals the show with funny but heartfelt commentary about being romantic and frugal, and Bill Hader brings the voice of reason to the entropy of Amy’s otherwise romance-free life. As Aaron, Hader plays his role straight and dramatic, which works our fantastically.

Most shocking was John Cena (The Marine) as Amy’s perhaps sexually confused boyfriend. Their dirty-talking sex-scene is hilarious, seeing Cena nearly naked is (speaking from a male perspective) equally horrifying and intriguing (at 255 lbs, the dude is gigantic for 5’9”), Cena getting taunted in the movie theater is awkwardly genius, and all of his dialogue is shockingly well-written. By the way, Schumer did an AMAZING writing job penning this--her first script!

Directed by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year Old Virgin, This is 40), this is exactly the raunchy romantic comedy for anyone in their 30s-40s with a history of partying, serial dating or at least a couple one-night stands…or even someone with a close friend or sibling like that. The film is formulaic in general plot points, but excellent in comedic execution. A few scenes feel like they run long, but they account for all but maybe 5-10 total minutes that I wasn’t laughing out loud.

This is The 40-Year Old Virgin of the present decade, folks. Don’t miss this. It is comic brilliance and I can’t wait to see what Schumer does next.


Hellraiser/Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Hellraiser/Hellbound: Hellraiser II
DVD ~ Hellraiser
12 used & new from $4.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring Clive Barker’s Labyrinth; gory, dark and engaging, this is one of the more interesting horror movies of the 80s., July 23, 2015
The movie opens with a something of a highlights reel of the best and grossest scenes from part 1. Continuing immediately from where Hellraiser (1987) ended, we find Kirsty (Ashley Laurence; Hellraiser, Warlock III) in a mental hospital where her account of what happened to her father, uncle Frank and stepmother Julia (Clare Higgins; Being Human) is received as more than a little hard to swallow.

Whereas Hellraiser (1987) delivered credible character reactions to an incredible evil force, Hellbound takes a nosedive into bonkersville in terms of plot believability. I, in no way, mean this as a complaint…I LOVE this movie. But this "movie" is the point in the franchise when we stop using the word "film." Clive Barker’s infernal art and brilliant storytelling are behind us now. It seems that perhaps our new director Tony Randel (Amityville: It's About Time, Fist of the North Star) was trying a little too hard to fill Horror Master Clive Barker's (Nightbreed, Hellraiser) shoes. The gore--which was already heavy, sloppily gross and pleasurably unique in part one--is now turned up to an "11" and the plot elements seem to have shifted from credible to nonsense. Almost every event in the story evidences this mania—not that the horror genre is known for its storytelling. In fact, as bonkers as it is, this story is told more eloquently than most horror (especially in the late 80s).

Now in a mental hospital, the doctor in charge of Kirsty's case just happens to be an amateur expert and collector obsessed with all things occult, especially the Puzzle Box and its history. In other words, coincidence has been pushed to the extreme as Kirsty's caregiver has been waiting for this! After Kirsty warns police to destroy the mattress on which Julia died in part 1 (because Kirsty somehow understands exactly how coming back from Hell works all the sudden), Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham; Hot Fuzz) somehow gets the police to deliver this murder case evidence to his private residence with the intentions of summoning Julia. For a blood offering he checks out a deeply disturbed patient from the screaming basement ward of his mental hospital--it's what you'd expect from an 1800's mental hospital…in a horror movie…on steroids…and then more extreme!!! Dr. Channard seems to frequently bring disturbed patients to his home without restriction.

So clearly, this movie has gone to comicbook lengths to bring something crazy to the screen. But you know what? It remains crazy awesome!!! I haven't read Clive Barker's books (on which this is based), but I think we can safely assume that these actions were all much more carefully explained and tactfully justified in his detailed pages. Meanwhile, in Hellraiser movieland, no one seems concerned with the disappearance of several patients.

It may sound like I’m slamming the plot. I’m not. In fact, overall the story itself remains elegantly unique. After all, whatever liberties this director took in making this film, it is still based on Barker’s refined writing.

After Julia's "resurrection," she sexually beguiles Channard--even though she hasn't any skin--to help fully restore her with more victims. He obliges and we get to enjoy a room full of life-drained corpses. But this isn't enough for Channard. He wants to know and see the secrets of the Hell that is The Labyrinth. So he brings a mute patient with a knack for puzzle-solving to open the gate to Hell with the Puzzle Box.

Things get yet crazier as Channard and Julia wander the corridors of Hell. He gets transformed into a Cenobite himself (simply referred to as "the Channard Cenobite") by the God of Hell Leviathan and is for some reason way tougher than Pinhead and his Cenobite gang. He kills loads of people with his stop-motion bladed hand tentacles, so Kirsty gets Pinhead to see his inner child and wears Julia's skin as a suit. A lot of cool stuff is happening, FOR SURE!

Whereas part 1 was entirely based on illustrating one man’s escape from Hell and the temptations required to accomplish the task, this sequel addresses that component just in the first act and then moves on to exploring the Labyrinth and witnessing various personal Hells while being swiftly introduced to how Barker’s Hell works and is ruled. Despite the busy plot of this movie (it does cover a lot), it remains very dark and creepy and, more importantly, the plot makes sense. We can’t say that about a lot of horror. Its gore-pleasing effects are abundant, the story pushes the Hellraiser franchise into a new dimension, and we learn more about the background of the Cenobites and the mythology behind Barker’s Hellish Labyrinth.

This movie is buckets of cool and one of the more interesting horror installments (along with part 1) of its decade.

Watch it! Love it! Buy it! Watch it again!


Hellbound: Hellraiser II (Midnight Madness Series)
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (Midnight Madness Series)
DVD ~ Ashley Laurence
Price: $6.35
40 used & new from $2.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring Clive Barker’s Labyrinth; gory, dark and engaging, this is one of the more interesting horror movies of the 80s., July 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The movie opens with a something of a highlights reel of the best and grossest scenes from part 1. Continuing immediately from where Hellraiser (1987) ended, we find Kirsty (Ashley Laurence; Hellraiser, Warlock III) in a mental hospital where her account of what happened to her father, uncle Frank and stepmother Julia (Clare Higgins; Being Human) is received as more than a little hard to swallow.

Whereas Hellraiser (1987) delivered credible character reactions to an incredible evil force, Hellbound takes a nosedive into bonkersville in terms of plot believability. I, in no way, mean this as a complaint…I LOVE this movie. But this "movie" is the point in the franchise when we stop using the word "film." Clive Barker’s infernal art and brilliant storytelling are behind us now. It seems that perhaps our new director Tony Randel (Amityville: It's About Time, Fist of the North Star) was trying a little too hard to fill Horror Master Clive Barker's (Nightbreed, Hellraiser) shoes. The gore--which was already heavy, sloppily gross and pleasurably unique in part one--is now turned up to an "11" and the plot elements seem to have shifted from credible to nonsense. Almost every event in the story evidences this mania—not that the horror genre is known for its storytelling. In fact, as bonkers as it is, this story is told more eloquently than most horror (especially in the late 80s).

Now in a mental hospital, the doctor in charge of Kirsty's case just happens to be an amateur expert and collector obsessed with all things occult, especially the Puzzle Box and its history. In other words, coincidence has been pushed to the extreme as Kirsty's caregiver has been waiting for this! After Kirsty warns police to destroy the mattress on which Julia died in part 1 (because Kirsty somehow understands exactly how coming back from Hell works all the sudden), Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham; Hot Fuzz) somehow gets the police to deliver this murder case evidence to his private residence with the intentions of summoning Julia. For a blood offering he checks out a deeply disturbed patient from the screaming basement ward of his mental hospital--it's what you'd expect from an 1800's mental hospital…in a horror movie…on steroids…and then more extreme!!! Dr. Channard seems to frequently bring disturbed patients to his home without restriction.

So clearly, this movie has gone to comicbook lengths to bring something crazy to the screen. But you know what? It remains crazy awesome!!! I haven't read Clive Barker's books (on which this is based), but I think we can safely assume that these actions were all much more carefully explained and tactfully justified in his detailed pages. Meanwhile, in Hellraiser movieland, no one seems concerned with the disappearance of several patients.

It may sound like I’m slamming the plot. I’m not. In fact, overall the story itself remains elegantly unique. After all, whatever liberties this director took in making this film, it is still based on Barker’s refined writing.

After Julia's "resurrection," she sexually beguiles Channard--even though she hasn't any skin--to help fully restore her with more victims. He obliges and we get to enjoy a room full of life-drained corpses. But this isn't enough for Channard. He wants to know and see the secrets of the Hell that is The Labyrinth. So he brings a mute patient with a knack for puzzle-solving to open the gate to Hell with the Puzzle Box.

Things get yet crazier as Channard and Julia wander the corridors of Hell. He gets transformed into a Cenobite himself (simply referred to as "the Channard Cenobite") by the God of Hell Leviathan and is for some reason way tougher than Pinhead and his Cenobite gang. He kills loads of people with his stop-motion bladed hand tentacles, so Kirsty gets Pinhead to see his inner child and wears Julia's skin as a suit. A lot of cool stuff is happening, FOR SURE!

Whereas part 1 was entirely based on illustrating one man’s escape from Hell and the temptations required to accomplish the task, this sequel addresses that component just in the first act and then moves on to exploring the Labyrinth and witnessing various personal Hells while being swiftly introduced to how Barker’s Hell works and is ruled. Despite the busy plot of this movie (it does cover a lot), it remains very dark and creepy and, more importantly, the plot makes sense. We can’t say that about a lot of horror. Its gore-pleasing effects are abundant, the story pushes the Hellraiser franchise into a new dimension, and we learn more about the background of the Cenobites and the mythology behind Barker’s Hellish Labyrinth.

This movie is buckets of cool and one of the more interesting horror installments (along with part 1) of its decade.

Watch it! Love it! Buy it! Watch it again!


Extraterrestrial [Blu-ray]
Extraterrestrial [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Brittany Allen
Price: $15.85
26 used & new from $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A playful approach to gory sci-fi horror that samples a little of everything. Pure dumb fun for the uncritical horror fan., July 21, 2015
In this spirit of entertainment (and good fun), this flick seems to have sampled a little of everything. It’s pure dumb fun for the uncritical horror fan. I recommend it.

The opening scene is worth mentioning. After being refused refuge by some ponytailed jerk at a woodsy remote gas station on a stormy night, a frightened young woman makes a call from a phone booth in the middle of nowhere and it--the entire phone booth and woman--disappears…then crashes down from the sky without her in it. This sets the tone for a fun flick. Next, the credits seem serious and well composed, with glimpses of what appear to be red-filtered UFO clips. So apparently some aspects of the production were tended to more lovingly than most direct-to-DVD horror flicks.

April (Brittany Allen; Dead Before Dawn) is going to the family vacation home, a cabin in the woods, with her boyfriend Kyle (Freddie Stroma). Unbeknownst to April, who was only going to take photos of the cabin to put it on the market, Kyle invited a bunch of their friends. Melanie (Melanie Papalia; The Den, Smiley), Seth (Jesse Moss; Tucker and Dale vs Evil, Wolfcop) and Lex (Anja Savcic; iZombie) join.

The sheriff (Gil Bellows; The House at the End of the Street) warns these 20-somethings of recent criminal activity in the area. After agreeing to behave, our youth in revolt drink and smoke, grill and dance. In the middle of a drinking and pot-smoking session, the group observes something fiery falling from the sky. Upon investigation, they find a prototypical flying saucer has crash landed leaving inhuman footprints departing the scene.
When we see the alien it has the classic look to it, however much taller and quite gangly. They shoot it, leave it for dead and end up trapped in the woods by a suspicious treefall blocking the road.

Filmed in both traditional and found footage techniques, this trope-by-numbers movie over-explains things to us with the victims saying things like "that's a [eff'n] alien" and "is it still in the house.” We see things like a skinny naked alien with big eyes a la Communion (1989), someone getting beamed up in a tractor beam, and every other alien movie staple you can think of…so it should come as no surprise that the aliens use mind control as well.

The effects were as good as they needed to be, including a very cool yet simple effect involving rain. I was also quite pleased with some gunshot wounds, loving the gore from the headshot. There were slimy imprisoning cocoons and slimy hallways a la Aliens (1986), a cabin siege a la Signs (2002), an Alien mothership megaplex a la Independence Day (1996) and Oblivion (2013), a weird grub impregnation a la Wrath of Khan (1982) and a bladed drill bit anal probe. Yuuuuck. We also encounter experiments hybridizing humans and aliens a la Alien Resurrection (1987) and District 9 (2009). In this spirit of entertainment (and good fun), this film seems to have sampled a little of everything.

I was happy to see Sean Rogerson (Grave Encounters, Underworld: Evolution) as a deputy. Also, look for Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers) in a cameo as a weed-farming nutcase. He's a conspiracy-theorist Vietnam veteran with claims of nearby experimental aircrafts. His character is annoying at times, poorly written most of the time (perhaps deliberately), and entertaining all the time. He explains that the aliens are attacking because a peace treaty with these gangly aliens was broken when our victims shot the first alien.

From the makers of Grave Encounters (the Vicious Brothers), this is pure dumb fun for the uncritical horror fan. I recommend it.


Manborg
Manborg
DVD ~ Matthew Kennedy
Price: $4.97
50 used & new from $0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars An homage to schlocky 80s trash cinema; a cyborg battles Nazi zombie mutants, robots and vampire demons from Hell., July 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manborg (DVD)
Everything about this movie is stupid and cheesy and over-the-top…but for some people that works. You know who you are. ;)

Kung Fury (2015) meets Mutant Hunt (1986) with a dash of cracked out Robot Chicken (2005-present) and Flash Gordon (1980) in this trashy collage of schlock, super cheap effects and stop-motion creatures.

So here's the short synopsis by IMDB: "A soldier, brought back to life as a cyborg, fights alongside a band of adventurers against demon hordes in a dystopian future." If that doesn't make you want to see this movie entirely on its own, then you probably shouldn't watch this.

"Earth, the legacy of the Hell Wars when mankind fought the armies of Hell and Hell won… With every passing hour, another nation crumbles to the technological might of this unholy menace, and their monstrous leader Count Draculon."

The film is choppy and it appears as if actors are being greenscreened over a 1990s videogame backdrop as soldiers battle Doom zombie pseudo-Nazis with laser guns and stop-motion monster zombie shock troopers. In fact, this feels a lot like watching a videogame…while on drugs. One brave man in the battle field goes toe-to-toe with the evil warlord Count Draculon (a Nazi vampire demon from Hell?) and is left for dead.

This man becomes Manborg (Matthew Kennedy; Father's Day) in a cybernetics montage. Laser hoverboards, combat droids, cheap computer graphics, even cheaper costumes, and a Liu Kang-ish martial arts-y sidekick named “#1 Man” mix nicely into this persistent assault on good taste—or a delightful bubble bath of bad taste, depending on your preferences.

Manborg is captured and forced to battle in the evil Nazi zombie fighting pits. Their champion is a giant claymation monster with laser rocket launchers. I loved the claymation, however bad it was. Speaking of "bad" this film was both bad and delightful (to lovers of bad films). It had a budget of $1000. 1000 DOLLARS!!!!! That in mind, this is actually quite impressive.

Massively cheap and grossly overacted, Manborg is an homage to 80s schlock trash cinema directed by Steven Kostanski (Father's Day, ABC's of Death 2 "W is for Wish"). At times the ultra-low budget and ultra-badness of it all was a bit exhausting. Other times it was weirdly refreshing. I especially enjoyed The Baron's lines, attempts at romantic courtship and awkward demeanor. Attempts at gore, however cheap they may appear, were abundant and suitably messy and gross to match the trashy scale of the rest of the film.

This film even made an attempt at a plot. You see, Manborg was actually created by the same mad scientist who accidently opened the gate to Hell in the first place. So, he made Manborg to combat this infernal evil from Hell. While doing so, Manborg delivers loads of tropes from 80s trashy action badness along with digital future-scapes and weird special effects galore.

This is CLEARLY not for everyone. But for some of you (the schlock lovers), this may be just what you need.


Hellraiser (Midnight Madness Series) [Blu-ray]
Hellraiser (Midnight Madness Series) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Clare Higgins
Price: $10.86
30 used & new from $4.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Steering clear of paradigmatic horror, this fulfills your darkest pleasures with creepiness and awesome practical effects!, July 20, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In 1987 horror was already becoming predictable, but Barker takes us into uncharted territory that lacks the predictability of this film's horror peers. The victims aren't drunk teens, people don't make horrendously stupid decisions, and things in no way happen as we'd expect them. Even the gore and effects take us down a more rare and satisfying path. This film will fulfill your darkest pleasures. Clive Barker introduces us to Pinhead in this ultra-creepy, practical effect gorefest with a solid story!

Larry (Andrew Robinson; The Puppet Masters, Pumpkinhead 2) and his reluctant second wife move into an old family property in which, unbeknownst to anyone else, his brother Frank had toiled with the powers of evil and now suffers in Hell. Some blood is accidently spilled where Frank was torn apart by an otherworldly evil and this blood initiated the beginning of the transformation of his remains to a rather "incomplete" facsimile of infernal Frank.

This scene is a testament to the patient practical effects of the 80s. We see organs develop from blood droplets and his body slowly finds form from a gory muck. The scene is long and gross, and it includes some creepy stop motion of his decrepit skeletal arms and bloody resurrection. This transformation scene is one of the most memorable scenes in 80s horror.

Now a skinless, weak, macabre husk of his formal self he tempts Julia (Clare Higgins; Being Human) to "help" him by bringing him more blood. Julia clings to an adulterous memory of a past lusty tryst with Frank and wants more. She has no love for Larry but much carnal desire for Frank despite Frank's criminally loveless nature--making this quite the perverse story.

Whereas Frank's desire to be whole again bridges our story from reality to Hell, the keystone is Julia's adulterous desire to be in his arms. As she finds comfort in the murderous means to fully restore Frank, we see her shift from an apathetic (in her marriage with Larry) and effortless housewife to a comfortably made-over black widow. Once she has brought blood to Frank slimy flayed body, she starts to do her hair differently and her make-up looks sharper--more villainous.

Although many scenes occur elsewhere this feels much like a chamber thriller, claustrophobically taking place mostly in the confines of the house. We, like Frank trapped in the attic-like spare room, feel isolated; trapped under a roof with a damned skinless man. The only impediment to Frank's freedom is Larry's daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence; several Hellraiser sequels, Warlock III), who learns the infernal power of the Puzzle Box and bargains with some demons to return Frank to Hell.

These leather-clad, macabre demons are called Cenobites and they look like members of a devil-worshipping 80s metal band. They include Chatterbox, Butterball, Female and their leader Pinhead (Doug Bradley; Nightbreed). Their monster make-up work is off-putting and their silent demeanor only adds to their malevolence. Their words are few but direly chilling.

The Puzzle Box leads us to the only special effects in the film that don't hold up well. While watching the Puzzle Box being solved is actually very simple (no significant FX involved really) and cool, the Box brings about some effects that resemble Atari-Tron videogame lasers. However, the Box remains powerfully mysterious and it draws our ominous attention whenever it's on screen.

Written and directed by Clive Barker (Nightbreed, Lord of Illusions), this film offers no shortage of gore to compliment the fantastic, effective story. Frank's victims are drained husks of pus and maggots, Frank himself is a horror to behold in his various phases of development, and then we still have other cruel visions, the twisted make-up of Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites, the Puzzle Box opening creepy gates to a somewhat ambiguous Hell, and Frank ultimately being torn apart by hooked chains in another iconic horror scene of the decade.

I find the story and characters every bit as powerful as the gory practical effects and consider this a must see for anyone who considers themselves a fan of modern horror.


The House of the Devil
The House of the Devil
DVD
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Style trumps substance in Ti West’s delightfully atmospheric callback to 70s and 80s occult horror., July 8, 2015
Style trumps substance in Ti West’s delightfully atmospheric callback to 70s and 80s occult horror. Neither gory nor exhilarating, if you don’t like slow-burns then you definitely won’t like this. However, if you’d enjoy a callback to atmospheric 70s-80s horror with a well-developed and endearing victim, then this is for you.

From the opening shot director Ti West (The Sacrament, The Innkeepers, Cabin Fever 2) transports us to what feels like 1980, a time of payphones and public bulletin boards with thumb-tacked want-ads. The score, film quality, wardrobe and even the credits simply ooze "VHS horror." The film doesn't just "look" old, it "feels" old. Like it's been in a dusty box of tapes in a closet for the past 35 years.

As with It Follows (2014), we take our time getting to know and invest in our female lead, Samantha (Jocelin Donahue; Insidious Chapter 2). Her hair and delicate features remind me of a young Margot Kidder (Black Christmas) and, thus, a good victim. She rents a house from an all-too-kind landlord (cameo by Dee Wallace; The Howling, Cujo, Halloween) but desperately needs money to pay her rent.

West gives us a lot of subtle hints, and then some unsubtle ones in the spirit of the more obvious horror of the 80s. When Sam finds a "babysitter wanted" flyer, it's surrounded by flyers/ads for watching the upcoming lunar eclipse. Later the radio and TV news harbinger the ominous eclipse. Add that to the babysitter trope, a house in the middle of nowhere and her friend (reluctant to leave Sam alone) finding the house and owner creepy and no one in the audience should have missed what’s going to happen.

The house is huge and remote. Its owner (Tom Noonan; Wolfen, RoboCop 2) is weird but polite, speaking of preparation for the eclipse to a suspicious degree. He clearly wants Sam alone in the house, protesting the presence of her friend. When Sam hesitates the old man offers her $200, $300, then $400 to watch over the house for a few hours while he and his wife (Mary Woronov; Warlock, Chopping Mall) are out. Sam's friend says this is “too good to be true” and she should leave…she’s obviously right!

There's a lot of exposition but it's delivered tactfully enough; like a subtle delivery of blatant content, which also holds for the scares and gore, when present (though rare and skewed to the end).

The film moves at a slow pace and it tiptoes the line between slightly boring and provokingly interesting. I don’t mind, though. I’m digging the nostalgic atmosphere and West does a god job of getting us familiar with Samantha and her friend (Greta Gerwig). Several scenes endear them to viewers, my favorite being Sam’s cute scene dancing around the creepy house listening to a Walkman.

The payoff in the end is nothing we haven’t seen before (many times, in fact, in 70s occult horror), but again, I don’t mind. It’s creepy. And even though we saw it coming and very little happens until the very end, I enjoyed this for what it was. Honestly, I enjoyed the buildup in the first 60 minutes more than the payoff at the end. Some may even argue that the final act does the film’s first hour no justice. Despite this perhaps somewhat justified criticism, I felt the film was largely beautifully executed.

West wisely cast aside the CGI, overblown gore for shock value, nudity and over-exposition. He ignores the rules of modern horror success and contemporary tropes to instead resurrect the nigh-forgotten tropes of decades past as he breathes life into that 70s/80s style that never truly benefited from high production value back in its time. In short, West has created a “classic horror” film for a modern audience that has lost its patience with dated films—and I applaud him for it!

There’s actually nothing original at all in this film. However, West’s careful approach restores my faith in an overplayed genre.


Love in the Time of Monsters
Love in the Time of Monsters
DVD ~ Doug Jones
Price: $17.99
12 used & new from $10.50

4.0 out of 5 stars This B-movie horror comedy gets an A+. Chest-bursting zombie squirrels, mutants in bigfoot suits, and delightful stupidity., July 7, 2015
This review is from: Love in the Time of Monsters (DVD)
A horror comedy filled with chest-bursting zombie squirrels, mutant rage zombies dressed as bigfoot, and delightfully deliberate stupidity.
This B-movie gets a solid A+. I love the gore and the zany creatures, and after a slow start the movie keeps stacking on the gore and lunacy more and more until the end.

With all the style and subtlety of a summer camp slasher combined with a strong sense of self-aware satire, Love in the Time of Monsters sweeps horror fans away to a land of laughter. There are no scares to be had here--just gore and giggles. I'll admit, I came in skeptical (and curious) and it took me a little while to figure out what kind of movie I was watching. Just know this, I love horror comedies and I grew to enjoy this film more and more as it revealed its nature to me.

Marla (Gena Shaw; Insomnium) and Carla (Marissa Skell; Sorority Party Massacre, Slumber Party Massacre) arrive to some tourist trap family vacation destination in the woods with cabins, fishing, hunting and buffet dining. Pretty much 'Murica!!! The place is staffed by Lou (Kane Hodder; Wishmaster, Hatchet, Smothered) and his bigfoot suit-wearing entertainers.

The story takes root when one such furry entertainer is exposed to some contaminants. Subsequently, the other four fully-suited entertainers (including Kane Hodder) become infected with some sort of virus-thingy-whatever that makes them get slimy, put on their bigfoot masks, and become belligerent jerks that chase all unafflicted humans and eat their human flesh…sometimes…it's not very consistent. LOL.

Now that we've delved into flesh-eating and what I can only describe as "mutant rage zombies" we should address the special effects and the apparently low budget. Whatever afflicts these bigfoot-costumed men is pretty simple to recognize by our now-hunted protagonists. A dash of ooze on the face, a couple of wart clusters on their face or neck and, oh yeah, they're wearing bigfoot costumes. But this silly premise and low budget seem to be something to celebrate rather than ridicule. I was dazzled with glee when a bigfoot tore off a woman's head with a dangling spinal cord in tow. It was sloppy and gory and it made me smile. It's at about this point in the movie that I realized "this movie isn't stupid, it's FUN." This film knows what it is and runs with it much to my pleasure.

All logic goes out the window in this film. A favorite scene of mine is when a bigfoot "sneaks up on a cop" by bum-rushing him in the middle of an open area and then projectile vomits face-melting acidic bile all over his face. Why can it do that? No clue (well, it's quasi-explained later). But it's a gore-slathered mess and I like it. Afterwards we get a Romero-esque rubber gut-ripping display and another guy has his face torn off and eyes popped out. Lots of gore. Pure joy.

What's more is that this silly script and it's often lame lines are delivered strikingly well. The acting rightly feels deliberately campy. I roll my eyes and grin at the lines, but the lines are intentionally delivered in such a manner as to bring about that very reaction. Everyone is hitting on everyone else, drug and alcohol placement is blatant, and some girl clumsily runs through the forest in high heels and lingerie. Oh, right, and some murderous afflicted men are killing people in bigfoot costumes. This is just plain silly. This film clearly has no illusions of being taken seriously by viewers. So if you're taking this movie seriously and thinking "what am I watching and why am I watching it," you're doing it wrong!

All the characters have their overblown clichés and the film is stitched together with one farced trope after another. A favorite character of mine was the Sasquatch hunter Chester (Hugo Armstrong; Coherence). He's weird and played with a straight face but has some of the funniest lines…"A woman on the radio in the gentle forest silence…It's like diarrhea in a kiddy pool" and "I couldn't leave you running around in the dark like that, so…I shot you."

There's a simple brilliance behind the bigfoot costumes. Without them, we'd have slimy warty jerks as antagonists. It would have looked stupid; it would have been stupid. Lord knows I've seen enough lousy student films helmed by visionless filmmakers. But with these silly costumes we are given something to laugh at and playfully mock instead of sneer at and hatefully criticize.

Speaking of silly, completely out of nowhere a doctor in a felt Abraham Lincoln beard (Doug Jones; John Dies at the End, Absentia) explains that the cause of the affliction is a combination of medical and pharmaceutical waste and some bacteria giving the men irregular strength and pain tolerance. He explains that they will continue to get stronger, faster and meaner until they die from overcharging their body. How Dr. Lincoln could know this is beyond me. This was just another utterly ridiculous nugget that made this silly movie work in its own way. Oh, and he can make an antidote…because he's an expert in medicine, toxicology, pharmacology, and pretty much everything else and can conduct ground-breaking science in an hour with whatever is on hand at a vacation lodge in his office.

So far this movie is pretty fun, but there's room to grow. But just then, in the spirit of Blood Glacier (2013) we encounter a mutant rage zombie moose, mutant rage zombie trout swimming upstream, and a flock of mutant rage zombie geese. Again, these effects are not necessarily good, but they are abundant and easily "good enough" and most importantly they are FUN. The real treat comes at the end…mutant rage zombie squirrels!!! They swarm lodge entertainer Brandi (Heather Rae Young; Chillerama), strip her naked while biting her all over, and make roaring sounds. Then, as if combining "The Cat from Hell" (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie) with Alien (1979), one of them forces itself down her throat and then tears out of her chest between her breasts, ringing the dinner bell for the bigfoot gang to chow down on some bloody, gut-covered boobs.

Things are really getting out of hand at this point. Then, out of nowhere, the "real" bigfoot shows up (with a moderately more convincing costume than the mutant age zombies) and battles the electrically charged Kane Hodder mutant rage zombie. Then zombie raccoons, a moose and roaring squirrels show up for a final fight battle montage. This is nuts.

This movie is loads of fun and the moment you think you've hit the climax of the excitement it gives you more zany, gory madness again and again. Give this fine slapstick horror comedy a chance.


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