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Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled
Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled
DVD ~ Mariam Bernstein
Price: $5.80
55 used & new from $1.95

3.0 out of 5 stars A weirdly pseudo-romantic end to the ever worsening evil genie franchise, May 31, 2014
Director Chris Angel (Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell) returns to bring us the dreaded fourth installment in this series. Some may be shocked that he'd be asked back after seeing part 3. But, much like the Matrix sequels, parts 3 and 4 were filmed back to back with hardly a weekend's break in between. So don't be surprised that the make-up for the Djinn looks exactly the same since, well…it is.

Lisa (Tara Spencer-Nairn) is in the middle of a pretty rough patch with her boyfriend, who suffered a crippling motorcycle accident. As with the previous installments she somehow randomly encounters the Djinn's ruby prison, rubs it (really just touches it) and releases the Djinn (unbeknownst to her). Magically disguised as Lisa's lawyer, our genie tricks Lisa into making her first two wishes, which include a healthy legal settlement and her husband's ability to walk again.

If Lisa makes her third wish then all Djinn--oh, yeah, Hell is just brimming with their kind--will be freed and they'll create Hell on Earth. At this point it should be easy for the Djinn to fool her into making some whimsical wish. No clue why he doesn't…she still has no idea that he's actually an evil genie. But wait, there's a weird twist. When Lisa wishes something the Djinn can't grant himself, he most dote on her emotions to make her love him…in order to open the gates of Hell…romantic, huh? That's right! Djinn's can't just make someone fall in love with someone else. Evidently the Disney Aladdin genie followed the same rules.

The execution of the gore is iffy at times. But there are some satisfyingly gross moments like the "face peel" scene typical of the franchise and some genie-wish-induced self-mutilation. We also get to see other Djinn, which was neat I guess.
Overall…meh. I wouldn't recommend this.

Don't get mad at me for saying this, but isn't the Wishmaster franchise about due for a serious remake/reboot? The original isn't even 20 years old yet and, to this day, is very entertaining and a favorite to gorehounds. But I'd love to see this approached with a real budget (which none of the franchise installments have ever enjoyed) and a far more serious tone. Yes, serious. If it's not serious then there's no point in remaking it at all.


Generation Iron
Generation Iron
DVD ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Price: $9.99
16 used & new from $8.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, inspiring, even soulful with Mickey Rourke's narration, this film is a modern day Pumping Iron, May 31, 2014
This review is from: Generation Iron (DVD)
Generation Iron follows a group of professional bodybuilders from pro-qualifier competitions to the 2012 Mr. Olympia. Some make that journey rather stress free, others find it more tolling. The presentation of these men is appropriately down to Earth and humanizing. You forget that they are in the top 0.0001% in their sport and appreciate them for their flaws and struggles in the microcosm of this single competition in their career. When we see them fail, we understand the realities and that there can only be one winner. But when they triumph, we get lost in the moment and feel happy for them. By the end (when they named the 2012 Mr. Olympia) I was at the edge of my seat…even though I already knew who won! LOL

Mickey Rourke's soulful and wizened narration breathes life into this work and allows the audience, who may have once viewed these athletes as steroid-abusing sideshow spectacles, to understand the level of determination and struggle of these men.

Pumping Iron (1977) introduced the world to bodybuilding which, at the time of its release, was just as unknown and fantastic to the general public as Harry Potter's wizarding world and Hogwarts. In need of a protagonist, they depicted the arrogant veteran and current champion Arnold Schwarzenegger as the hero while essentially vilifying the kind-hearted newcomer Lou Ferrignou. Here, we find Phil Heath filling the role of the arrogant champion and Kai Greene as his humble opponent. The dynamic, however, is rather different since Kai Greene is a veteran who never won a Sandow (the trophy) and Heath is a young champion. So it comes with little surprise that Heath finds comfort in his arrogance. He expects to win whereas Kai Greene expects only to bring his best. That said, there is no clear protagonist in this story. In a way, that may be the documentary's greatest fault. But I still thought it was great!

All of the competitors presented have found their way to the Olympia in different ways. Branch Warren thrives on his instinct and almost reckless work ethic whereas Ben Paluski relies on science to track his progress and hone his training program. Kai Greene protests that his devoted training will earn him Mr. Olympia, but Phil Heath suggests that his natural talent provides a powerful edge. We get a taste of many bodybuilder philosophies, but we delve very shallowly into supplements, training programs or steroids. Although, they do make some strong statements about steroid use in general with respect to competitive professional sports and bodybuilding, especially the fact that steroids don't make their jobs at all "easy." Their development is wrought with pain and sacrifice.

These powerful athletes, often considered dumb meathead hunks of chemically-developed muscle, reveal their vulnerabilities and what they can and cannot control. For some, their career is everything, for others it's just a chapter in their life, and bodybuilding saved Kai Greene from a youth of delinquency and a likely troubled adulthood.

This is a fun ride for any fan of the sport. You'll see the likes of Lou Ferrigno, Michael Jai White, Busta Rhymes, Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Dennis Wolf, Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Ben Pakulski, Roelly Winklaar, Bob Cicherillo, Branch Warren, Hidetada Yamagishi, Sibil Peeters, Victor Martinez, Dennis James and Jim Stoppani. Stick around to the end of the credits for a Mike Katz cameo paying homage to when he was pranked by Ken Waller in Pumping Iron almost 40 years ago.

As a weightlifter myself, I found this film inspirational and I'd beg anyone with waning dedication, discipline or interest to give this a watch. You'll be re-invigorated!


Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday to Me
DVD ~ Melissa Sue Anderson
Offered by cds_dvds_guaranteed
Price: $24.51
37 used & new from $3.54

4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT "bad" 80s horror/slasher flick with plot twists and integrity., May 31, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Happy Birthday to Me (DVD)
This is truly a "great" bad horror movie and it has more integrity than others of its generation. Although I wouldn't recommend it to gorehounds, fans of classic 80s slashers will enjoy it.

Remember the days when all horror was rated R? Yeah, I miss the 80s, too. Those were the good old days when everything was either good or "bad" good. I'd call this particular 80s film a "great bad" horror.

Meet Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson). She's one of the smartest and most popular kids in school, but she suffers from memory loss and blackouts. Now, in the days leading up to her 18th birthday, her hip clique friends begin dying one by one in strange ways and many of them begin acting strangely.

As her friends become defensive, aggressive and damn near homicidal, Virginia slowly regains traumatic memories from her past. However, she also seems to be seeing some things that her friends aren't seeing. All the while we are left to wonder just who is killing all these privileged private school brats? After the first kills, all we know for sure is that the victims know their killer. Is the killer the now mentally unhinged Virginia, or one of her snotty privileged friends?

Grin-worthy 80s lameness abounds. From the opening sequence we have a lame strangling which is salvaged by a most spirited struggle by our hysterical coed victim. The deaths range from ho-hum quality to laugh-out-loud hilarity. My favorite kill involves giving a mean spot while someone is doing bench presses, which of course reminded me of Killer Workout (1987; aka Aerobicide) and Death Spa (1989). And the deliciously macabre birthday scene at the end smacks of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

The gore was definitely adequate for its time, but nothing special. This film is clearly more for classically bad 80s slasher fans than sloshy gorehounds, and this lacks the level of zany gore suggested by the DVD cover art. Fans of the 80s will be pleased to see Lisa Langlois (The Nest, Phobia). And by the way, this was directed by J. Lee Thompson (the original Cape Fear, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes)!

Maybe what sets this 80s slasher most apart from the rest is that it is filled with red herrings. Virginia's flashbacks, blackouts and possible hallucinations combined with her friends' changing behavior offer ample opportunity to misdiagnose the killer. The ending packs such a twisted punch that it would make the plot of a Mexican soap opera seem plausibly reasonable.

This 80s slasher maintains a great deal more integrity than its peers as well. There is no nudity and some effort was clearly placed in constructing the twist-rich plot. I'll say that again, this is a low budget 80s horror/slasher flick with a thoughtfully made plot. That never happens! That's reason enough to consider it worth seeing. But, plot aside, this is fun in its own right anyway. I really enjoyed it.


The Quiet Ones [Blu-ray]
The Quiet Ones [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jared Harris
Price: $22.98

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Abnormal psychology faces off against paranormal psychic phenomena and loses in this well-acted yet poorly written film, May 31, 2014
This review is from: The Quiet Ones [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Very entertaining, but it's not making any "top" lists this year. This film was good-but-mismanaged and found greatness out of reach due to weak story synthesis and character development. However, this movie is rich with charm, jumps and excellent production value. So watch it with a date instead of with a horror snob.

Loosely based on a true experiment that took place in Oxford in 1974, this film delves deep into the notion that what we commonly consider "the supernatural" actually represents telekinetic and "teleplasmic" manifestations of the minds of disturbed believers. Led by Professor Coupland (Jared Harris; Poltergeist), graduate students Krissy (Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne; Vampire Academy) and videographer Brian (Sam Claflin; Snow White and the Huntsman, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) band together to investigate the psychic phenomena produced by the suicidal young Jane (Olivia Cooke; Bates Motel) with hopes of "curing" her.

From Act One to the next weird things happen, Coupland's methods are called into question as Jane's health is placed at increasing risk, and Coupland shifts from methodical to manic in his obsession to cure her. Both Coupland and Brian share a competitive interest (almost a sexual fixation) in saving her, but go about doing so by conflicting means. Jared Harris' psychological descent is impressive and committed whereas Sam Claflin embraces his character's own brand of emotional fragility.
This film was filled with entertaining moments including shocking effects, gripping jump scares and some long scenes tensed up with a solid creep factor. I'd add that the acting was very good; great, in fact, for a horror film. Olivia Cooke managed to capture crazy, disturbed, scary, dangerous and sympathetic all at once. The style of the film goes from something like a "house" movie, to a demonic possession movie, and then to something altogether different which I don't want to spoil (not that it's anything super special). However, as the story shifted gears from skeptical science and rational explanations to "what have we gotten ourselves into?" I found myself generally uninvested in the characters and the outcome. Don't get me wrong, the movie is not without its charm, I enjoyed it and was entertained, and I really "liked" the characters. The thing is, their "development" didn't lead me anywhere interesting. And whereas the facets of the story (and the scenes behind them) were independently interesting, they failed to find any of that effective and satisfying synthesis that makes us care if the protagonists succeed.

Director John Pogue (The Skulls, Quarantine II) may not have wowed us with this film's story synthesis. But, given his résumé, this represents a good step forward in his professional development and I must admit that it was very entertaining. However, the premise itself is more interesting than its execution. It won't please gore hounds or story snobs who pine only for unique horror fare--and who, might I add, are almost never 100% happy with what they're served--but it will please the popcorn "movie night" guys who just want to see good effects, enjoy acting that doesn't hurt their soul, and laugh at well-placed jump scares. It would probably be a good scary movie on date night as well. Had it only balanced its writing with its quality scares, acting, ideas and filming with a better screenplay, this would have been quite good instead of good-but-mismanaged.

To the less-initiated and perhaps younger horror fan, this PG-13 film may serve as a great introduction to horror. Those who aren't overly critical or "so tired" of loud-noise induced jump scares should get a real kick out of this. What it lacks in character development and cohesiveness it more than makes up for with jumpy scares, neat effects, minimal gore, great acting, solid production value and a cool premise.


Oculus [Blu-ray]
Oculus [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Rory Cochrane
Price: $19.96

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clever, engaging, hypnotic, creepy, psychologically-driven ghost story about an evil mirror, May 31, 2014
This review is from: Oculus [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Both creepy and engaging, this time-distorting, psychologically driven ghost story weaves our protagonists' tortured past into their present with a shockingly smart script. Definitely the best killer mirror movie on the market, and a superior horror film overall as well!

POLARIZED REVIEWS: Other reviews' opinions seem to vary wildly, ranging from calling it poorly acted and carelessly written to praising it as fantastic across the board. I fell on the "pro" side of the argument and feel that those who were disappointed don't like to think about their horror (during the movie) as much as I do. After all, it is no rollercoaster nor is it really "exciting," so I see how some may bore of this.

Horror is a genre characterized by one-dimensional characters typified by hardly serviceably acting their way through flat writing to occupy the time until they drink, vandalize, have premarital sex, or do whatever it is that justifies their upcoming death. Despite this, filmmakers press on and we find the occasional pleasant surprise in The Cabin in the Woods (2012), The Conjuring (2013), or other films in which people actually cared about more than simply turning a profit and brought us new spins on classic tropes and even some entirely original ideas. I feel that Oculus is one of those refreshing films. Its scares number low and it's gore is nothing special, but the acting is phenomenal and the story execution is captivating, although tough to follow at times. More a product of deep and undeniable intrigue than dread, the tension mounts and really never loosens its grip until the closing credits are cast down the screen.

Tim (Brenton Thwaites; The Signal, Maleficent) and Kaylie (Karen Gillan; Doctor Who) had a seriously messed up childhood. As tweens, they endured a disturbing experience involving their parents' murder and a demonic mirror which resulted in young Tim being held responsible and placed in a psychiatric care facility until his 21st birthday (ten years later).

Not a day after his release to begin his "recovery," Kaylie makes it readily apparent that everything he has been conditioned to understand as psychosis and repression has remained, much to his surprise, very real to her. Kaylie, in fact, remains absolutely convinced that her parents' deaths were caused by The Lasser Glass, a centuries old antique mirror housing a malevolent force. Obsessed with proving to the world the evil nature of this supernatural mirror, Kaylie reconstructs the item's history and creates an evidence-documenting scenario festooned with failsafes to circumvent the antique's hallucinatory mind-bending wiles. After obtaining this proof, they would destroy it…a task which has proven strangely difficult. Kaylie's elaborate documentarian approach smacks of Poltergeist 2 (1986), and she leaves little room for error.

Writer/director Mike Flanagan (Absentia) makes frequent and careful use of flashbacks. Kaylie insists that she recalls their terrifying past correctly and Tim resists, contrastingly rationalizing her claims with psychological babble. As Tim and Kaylie's tortured past unravels before our eyes, that same past seems to slowly take hold of their present as they fight this evil reflective entity.

Any good horror movie pays close attention to lighting as much for mood as for execution. Smart cinematography, deliberately distracting lighting and scene-cut transitions mislead our own sense of time along with our protagonists'. Our notion of the present becomes ever distorted and with every step that Tim comes closer to believing his sister's claims, their horrific past seems to eerily converge with their perhaps inevitable future as hallucinations distort the present. It's easy to get lost in it, but I found that to be intentional and engaging.

Everyone did a solid job with their roles. Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff (Riddick, White Noise 2, Battlestar Galactica) play the parents and they really own their mania. I was particularly shocked by the committed performances by Garrett Ryan (Insidious Chapter 2) and Annalise Basso as the younger Tim and Kaylie, who get ample screen time in the flashbacks. If anyone left something to be desired, it would be Brenton Thwaites' portrayal of the most complicated character Tim.

Oculus is a movie you can't trust. As the story persists and the timeline is distorted we are as readily confused as the protagonists…and this is a good thing! It's clever, it keeps us guessing, and there's nothing like it. You may be left with more questions than answers. But this is a quality of deliberately disorienting mystery rather than plot-holed writing.

This is a must see!


Night Of The Tentacles
Night Of The Tentacles
DVD ~ Nicole Gerity
Price: $14.95
32 used & new from $6.95

2.0 out of 5 stars A true indie and an obscene Faustian tale illustrating the tentacle-rich Lovecraftian consequences of ObamaCare, May 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Night Of The Tentacles (DVD)
This semi-art house, semi-perverse film is only for lovers of true indie horror. That said, this was well-done considering its shoestring budget.

After suffering some serious heart complications, fantasy erotica artist David (Bath Salt Zombies, Easter Casket) strikes a deal with the Devil for a new heart. He didn't turn to Medicaid or venture to Canada for cheaper solutions…nope. The Devil had just what he needed. And with that David's heart is replaced by a tentacle monster in a wooden chest. Just one problem: the monster needs to be fed living flesh in order to survive. The monstrous heart is eloquently voiced by an Bill Nighy sound-alike.

Writer/director Dustin Mills (Bath Salt Zombies) clearly made an effort with this script. His writing is far from brilliant, but he definitely deserves credit for delivering far more than I've come to expect from the vast majority of direct-to-DVD horror. Theatrical devices like overt melodrama, narration and asides add an irregular flavor to this film. Whereas this flavor may please the art house crowd, some may find it over-the-top and distasteful.

Speaking of distasteful… Is there a lot of sexuality and perversion? Yes. But I see it as being used more as an exploitative "device" than purely as a crutch to cover the film's shortcomings. There's masturbation, which seems to reveal our protagonist's desperation, and nudity, which does not utilize the typical stripper-cast actresses. There are also several sex scenes with little to no nudity.

Some of the acting in this is real crap (sorry, but I'm referring especially to Dustin Mills' cameo) and the effects are about as cheap as they come. But considering this film had a budget of about $1500, I think I'll let it slide. If you can make anything that entertains me for that cheap, then you've succeeded as a filmmaker. The closing action sequence is awful and fun.

I should note that whereas this film is not nearly as deep or art house-ish as Lo (2009), the style is similar enough to warrant comparison. Those who love true indie horror will likely enjoy this film. But just because you consider yourself an adventurous horror-goer, that doesn't mean this is for you.


Antichrist: (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Antichrist: (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Willem Dafoe
Offered by newbury_comics
Price: $25.99
23 used & new from $20.97

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutally dark, intense, weird, unnervingly erotic, AMAZING art house film brimming w/ visual splendor and vile imagery., May 11, 2014
A brutally dark, intensely and weirdly and unnervingly erotic, AMAZING art house film brimming with an admixture of visual splendor and vile imagery. This is easily among the most provocatively messed up movies I've ever seen.

Lars von Trier (Nymphomaniac, Melancholia) sets a powerful mood in this visually stunning film straight from the opera-scored opening slow-motion sequence of a sex scene complete with pornographic penetration in the first 60 seconds. I know, I just mentioned penetration. But just trust me right out of the gates that this shot, however controversial or shocking, fits the scene perfectly like an artistic puzzle piece that has a significant story to tell. Whereas there is something ominous to be feared for sure, the scene is more a splendor to the eyes than a 1990s French noir perfume commercial--you know, the commercials that are so "out there" that you never knew what they were advertizing until they told you at the end. Some call this high art, others pornographic and provocative.

This film strikes me as a challenge. We only ever see three actors, one of which is the child who dies in the opening sequence. As husband ("He") and wife ("She"), Willem Dafoe (Nymphomaniac) and Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac, Melancholia, 21 Grams) carry every scene as nameless characters enduring the loss of their child, who died while they were having sex. He is an over-involved psychoanalyst (playing more the role of therapist than husband) attempting to guide her through her grief, which she serially transmutes into sexual fixation. In an effort to force her to properly grieve and face her mounting irrational fears he takes her to a secluded cabin in the woods, where the sexuality, tension and violence escalate…often, in fact, TOGETHER!

Great acting, great film! As past tragedy begets the tragedy of their present, the Biblical symbolism rains down hard on these actors' positively fearless journey venturing to dark places most actors wouldn't dare.

Strikingly sublime imagery stimulates us as we endure often unsettling profound emotions. The raw visceral nature of their surroundings parallels her ravaged, desperate psyche. The more he tries to deconstruct her mental torment, the more she in turn tries to disarticulate their sexuality.

This is easily among the most provocatively messed up movies I've ever seen. Full frontal nudity, masturbation, sexual penetration, animal birth, violent sex scenes, violence against animals, violence against women, torture and genital mutilation are sprinkled about in this controversial (but far from conventionally exploitative) artistic endeavor. So, while I encourage adventurous cinephiles to accept the challenge of seeing this film to its end, let's just not make a family night of it and DEFINITELY don't watch it on a first date.


Blood Glacier (Watch While It's In Theatres)
Blood Glacier (Watch While It's In Theatres)
DVD

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What Al Gore wants you to think will happen as a result of global warming…an inconvenient truth of mutant monster animals!, May 11, 2014
This fun, monster-driven B-horror movie follows The Thing's playbook. It's entertaining, but I'm not going to suggest you break down doors to see it.

Finally, a film with a message! This film addresses the important questions, like "What will happen to us if the polar ice caps melt?" The answer: we'll all be starring in a mash-up of National Geographic and The Thing (2011)! I figure this is the inconvenient truth that Al Gore wanted you all to think would happen as a result of global warming if you don't start investing in more solar panels.

This film opens with blatant over-exposition "explaining away" why each character is important in a color-by-numbers format. Our story takes place at a climate research station in the Alps housing four people and a dog. Did you just cringe, thinking about the dog kennel scene in the original The Thing? Yeah…me, too.

During some sort of "weather patrol" with the dog (wink, wink) they stumble across a "blood glacier." They briefly lose track of the dog and everyone somehow gets conveniently cut or bruised. From here, the auspiciously scored "infection sequence" is so obvious there may as well be smoke signals. But it's not just the researchers we have to worry about. The blood from the thawing glacier infects the local wildlife with some hybridizing single-celled organism that mutates them into hideous monsters. HOORAY!

The effects are not exactly high-tech, but they get the job done and the clumsily-puppeted rubber creatures put a big grin on my face. There's a beetle-fox mutant (think The Nest), a giant killer roly-poly (think The Bay), giant mosquitoes, evil mountain goats, insectoid birds of prey…see the grin forming yet?

There's nothing in this movie you haven't seen before many times over. The scene with examining and explaining the virus/parasite/mutagenic thing, the infected dog scene, watching the clock as infected people become a liability, pulsating parasitic infections housing brooding monsters… I mean, there's basically even a facehugger scene.

SO, WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER? Well, there is the bummer that this was not in English. This isn't necessarily a "flaw", but I don't speak German. I saw it dubbed in English, so I wasn't distracted from the effects by "reading" the movie or anything. But the dubbing quality was akin to a less-popular Anime and the characters' mood and enthusiasm rarely seems to match the scene. You also get little appreciative sense of the acting and you can basically hear in the tone of the voice actors that they simply don't get paid enough to care. I felt this especially detracted from the humor of the opening scene, in which the debilitatingly hungover technician Janek (Gerhard Liebmann) is called to fix a glitch in his underwear.

Director Marvin Kren (ABCs of Death 2, Rammbock: Berlin Undead) successfully delivers a trope-rich, predictable, fun monster movie that should please horror fans and gorehounds. I'd save this for the fanatical, though. Folks who watch "a scary movie" once a month will likely consider this terrible.


Blood Gnome
Blood Gnome
DVD ~ Vinnie Bilancio
Offered by Broadband ERA
Price: $20.98
20 used & new from $0.96

1.0 out of 5 stars I think Ghoulies (1985) is what you really wanted when you thought to yourself "how bad could this Blood Gnome movie be?", April 20, 2014
This review is from: Blood Gnome (DVD)
Writer/director/editor John Lechago (Bio Slime, Killjoy 3, Killjoy Goes to Hell) has put together a real stinker! This movie has low film quality akin to a WikiLeaked sex video, lousy writing and even worse acting. This comes off as a poor student-made film. Given the present filmmaker's skills, it should come as no surprise that nudity abounds (including a Julie Strain cameo) to cover up its shortcomings with juvenile entertainment. Lloyd Kaufman's raunchy, exploitative Tromaville films are more attentively crafted than this crap.

From the start we learn that a drug distributor has some little monsters in a crate. As horrible as this movie clearly is, this actually raised a brow in interest for me at first.

A naked couple engaged in BDSM activities are killed by an invisible force. Spoiler alert! Blood gnomes did it! A crime scene photographer (Vinnie Bilancio; Witchcraft XI, Bio Slime) is on to something strange when he sees a tiny bloody hand print and starts seeing invisible monstrous gnomes eating victims with his infrared camera setting.

What's preposterously stupid here is that he sees the gnomes eating the victims right in front of the CSI team! As if they're being invisible meant that no one would see the masticated flesh or hear the slopping sounds of flesh-eating two feet away from them.

As if it was his job to solve the case, our photographer becomes involved with a dominatrix and his "research" takes the form of BDSM sessions. How this will help a photographer solve a string of evil gnome homicides, I have no idea! As a result, far more than telling a story about carnivorous fairies this movie succeeds at teaching the ABCs of BDSM to anyone completely ignorant to the subject. In fact, that may be the only thing this movie does successfully.

The budget is bare bones low. It's as if the special effects were paid for with whatever they had in their pockets at the time, which wasn't much. The blood work is weak and the blood gnomes are less impressive than Muppets. In one scene we see a blood gnome birth and find out the source behind the drug…blood gnome afterbirth from some tentacled abomination. It's never made clear what these monsters are or where they came from before some drug-dealing dominatrix got a hold of them. But I guess I'm glad I was spared having to endure any more screen time fumbling through a poorly rendered explanation.

The effects are weak, but later in the movie the blood gnome attacks become marginally entertaining and much more frequent.
I'd have to recommend that you skip this one.


Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell
Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell
DVD
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars All the gore and dumb plot but not of the Divoff's canny evil cheeky charm of the previous release., April 19, 2014
All the gore and dumb plot but not of the Divoff's canny evil cheeky charm of the previous release. A noticeable drop in quality for the franchise, but at least the effects are still fun and cheesy. Wishmaster (1997) and Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999) are both much better, largely for Andrew Divoff's ability to appear credibly pleased with his Djinn's evil.

First off, bad news guys. Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies) will not be returning to play the Monkey paw, wish-twisting Djinn. If you loved his performance in parts one and two, then maybe this movie isn't for you.

After an opening montage of museum relics including something akin to Pinhead's Hellraiser puzzlebox, the camera settles on a nightmare-plagued, semi-attractive college girl (A.J. Cook). Diana, having agreed to help her classics/mythology professor with some Iranian exhibit at a museum, snoops around and discovers the foreboding puzzlebox-looking artifact. I'll give you all one guess at what's inside? BINGO! A giant blood ruby! As if it made perfect sense to do this, she immediately rubs this ruby (which was already clean and sparkling) with a rag. Aaaaaaaaand GENIE! But just like the previous two movies, the genie never seems to arrive until after the ruby-rubber departs, leaving the genie with the need to find them.

This box and ruby was shipped to her mythology professor who says the Iranian trinket is inscribed in Aramaic. So he teaches classic mythology, studies Iranian relics and reads Aramaic? Smart guy. I get that some academics have weird combinations of interests, but this is up there with Christopher Lloyd in Piranha 3D (2010) being a fish store owner who is an expert in piranha biology (so he's into ichthyology), extinct piranhas and their fossils (a dash of paleontology; not too farfetched yet though), and the local subterranean bodies of water (yup, cave lakes) in a region with no piranha species (and now it's ridiculous that he has a fish store there). Oh, and he owns a piranha fossil. Doesn't that thing belong in a museum, bro?

Anyway, the genie arrives and two things are very different about this movie compared to its predecessors. One, there is no highly memorable, uber-gory opening in which the genie must eat a soul to become fully constituted into the tentacle-headed monster we've come to love. And two, Andrew Divoff's iconic evil voice has been replaced with some synthesizer-enhanced voice. It's not good. Worse yet, the franchise's budget clearly took yet another hit, leaving the Djinn's skin looking as rubbery as ever. And what's with the goofy over-sized ears?

Amazon's editorial review claims this is "the goriest installment of the hit franchise yet." That's a blatant lie to sell DVDs, people! You'll find more truth in the Djinn's granted wishes! This is no more gory than previous installments…which is sufficiently, playfully gory. I'd say it's the least gory, but not by a lot. The gore seems to drop with each subsequent sequel (and budget cut).

It's far beyond the stabs and blood in a typical slasher movie. Gross, gory scenes include "forced" magical liposuction-to-death and gutsy limb regeneration. Overall, the gore is a little less than part 2 (and way less than part 1) but the effects team made a decent effort with what they had. The classic Wishmaster "face peel" looks a bit lame in this movie and his genie magic is still depicted as cheaply-CGI'd blue electricity.

The real downfall in this third installment--other than an actor who couldn't fill Divoff's shoes--was the Djinn's appearance. If you think I'm being critical take another look at the Djinn's make-up and prosthetics paint job. Like so many other lower budget horror movies, this sequel relies on nudity to fill the void…not that it needed it to be entertaining. I guess starving actress' breasts are cheaper than rubber guts these days.

The most totally random thing that happens is when, by Diana's wish, her boyfriend Greg (Tobias Mehler; Disturbing Behavior, Carrie [2002]) gets transformed into an archangel (i.e., Greg now has blue eyes and a sword) for a painfully bad fight complete with Djinn-flipping, pew-throwing nonsense. This fight is about as bad as the story (which was admittedly about as bad in part 2) and the genie's attempt at evil humor (which was actually loads of fun in part 2--did I mention how much I miss Andrew Divoff?).

The twisted wishes are as lame as ever, there gore well doesn't flow as abundantly, and Andrew Divoff's replacement offers none of the fun personality that fueled the success of the first two installments. So, why watch this one? Honestly, despite the stupid story it's not bad for a "fun" 2001 horror and it's rather decent considering its budgetary constraints. The effects are largely biased towards the second half, but once you arrive there they make for an entertaining ride.


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