Gross Movie Reviews #350
By Tim Gross
What We Do in The Shadows (DVD/On Demand) – Loving the horror flicks coming out of New Zealand as they are just absolutely amazing over the past year! This isn’t a horror movie as its more of a documentary/mockumentary about a camera crew given access to a flat housing four vampires in 2012… and crucifixes! The camera crew is given full access to film everything of this secret society where vampires, werewolves, zombies, all exist and living among us in a major city in New Zealand and always have. But the crew is there to record the everyday simple stuff leading up to an event called “The Unholy Masquerade” where all the monsters or creatures of the night get together for a night of partying. And no humans are allowed! It’s a well-produced monster reality show of the four vampires living together, telling their stories, and how they came to be until now. While the camera crew is there they mistakenly make another vampire who introduces them to his human friend Stewart who in return introduces the vampires to cell phones, internet, and friendship. Another flick I feel many people will have on their list of best movies for 2015 as I will. I literally busted out laughing more than a few times while watching. Great stuff! I give it 4 stars, at first I was only going to give it 3 ½ stars but I rewatch it and laughed harder.
Virtuosity (DVD/YouTube) – Its 1995, it’s another movie about virtual reality coming to life, and it stars Mr. Denzel Washington. Biggest difference between this and many other movies that were a product of that concept at the time weren’t very good in the first place but if anything this flick may have gotten better with age as I am the first to admit I did not like this film when it was first released. Oh, did I mention Russell Crowe is the villain, William Forsythe, Traci Lords, Kelly Lynch are in the film. The film centers on virtual reality of course or ‘LETAC’ to be precise as they have come up with a program called “Sid 6.7” aka artificial intelligence. He is to be shut down after killing a prisoner during a simulation for police training. When Sid 6.7 convinces his master to produce him in the real world, real people begin to die and it’s up to another convict Parker (a convict also) to go catch him. It is a little 1995ish but great sci-fi fun as you can see a young Russell Crowe before he beats up hotel telephones and Denzel realize he can be an action star? I give it 3 stars.
Gator Bait (VHS/DVD-R) – Is there such a thing as redneck-exploitation? Well I think I found it in this 1974 film that stars the absolutely stunning Claudia Jennings who died at 29 only a few years after this film’s release as a wild child of the back swamps of Louisiana. Claudia aka Desiree Thibodeau takes care of her younger sister and brother in the swamps and is pretty much left alone by local authorities. But there is stories of her cutting a man’s balls off because of him trying to bump uglies with the young lady and all she wants to do is be left alone to take care of her kin! Once she escapes the antics of the sheriff’s son and his friend Ben Bracken that he accidentally shoots when Desiree throws snakes in their boat a hunting party is formed to go bring her in and pay for what she did even though it isn’t her fault someone was shot. The hunting party consists of the Bracken family and the sheriff and his son. They tell stories of the legendary Thibodeau family and how they have lived in deep dark swamps poaching gators for many years. But after Desiree’s sister is shot in the vagina and killed Desiree thirsts for revenge hardcore style as she leads the hunting party deeper in the woods and becomes their worst nightmare. Never seen it until and think it’s an amazing 70s film! I give it 3 ½ stars.
Gator Bait 2: Cajun Justice (DVD/DVD-R) – A sequel made fourteen years later made by the Sebastian couple who directed and wrote the first film put their daughter in the lead role of this mostly boring and really useless film unless you are into incest… kind of? Angelique and Big T get married. Big T just happens to be the boy, now a man, from the first film who didn’t talk because he didn’t have a tongue but now is perfectly fine as he bangs the bejesus out of the Sebastian’s daughter on film several times. And before some crazy redneck dudes come by to watch her bathe, kidnap her, rape her, she escapes, fuck people up, end of movie. But that is the problem Angelique aka Sebastian’s daughter is a beautiful redhead… Awesome! But remember her parents are filming her rolling in the hay several times with Big T which is about 70% of the film. Weird! Incest weird… Like weirder than the Mr. Dario Argento rumors or stories horror fans have heard about with Asia Argento, oh yeah I went there. The movie is bad but takes a whole other weird reason to watch it when you know Jan Sebastian’s aka Angelique is given direction by her parents: Okay show more boobs… Good now you will be topless for 65% of the film and we will film the character Big T fake banging you in the sack! WEIRD SHIT PEOPLE? Maybe this is the reason Mr. Quast and Mr. Poling believe I will watch anything and the human shield for bad movies? Anyway I give it 1 ½ stars, why… She’s a redhead, I thought that was simple.
Maggie (OnDemand) – Arnold Schwarzenegger and zombies shouldn’t be in the same sentence unless we are talking about my reimagining of “I Am Legend aka Last Man on Earth aka Omega Man”… Apparently I was wrong as I sat down to watch this amazing performance from crazy old ass Arnold as a farmer in the Midwest who is trying to protect his family from a virus that turns people into zombies and possibly came from the crops that are now being burned by everyone. His daughter Maggie runs away to the big city to see the devastation and is bitten. Arnold brings her home from the hospital to try and live comfortably before she turns. This isn’t your typical balls to the walls bloodbath of zombies as the film is more about the story of love between father and daughter and the progression of this particular zombie virus. You do not immediately turn into a flesh-eater it takes several weeks and there is a quarantine set up. It’s more of humanity still trying to control the apocalypse before it all goes to shit! Let me say also Abigail Breslin as Maggie was wonderful. There is maybe four zombies and a few ounces of blood throughout which sets this film far apart from your usual zombie fare but a must watch for all horror fans as Arnold may be doing some of his best work of his career right now! I give this cool zombie/end of the world flick 3 ½ stars.
Don’t Despair (You Tube) – A sixteen minute short film from a filmmaker named Alfred Giancarli. Never heard of him but glad I do now. Alfred directs a fun little masterpiece about a famous serial killer… of sorts? Two collectors who meet to exchange a piece of history like most collectors. But this is different, the man and woman or Rachel and William are people who collect items of serial killers but this magazine William brings to exchange has an extra added happiness for Rachel as she can absolutely feel the thoughts and feelings of her favorite serial killer. And it is very apparent she feels the same connection now after talking for several minutes with William. Because of this connection Rachel has a special surprise for William and without me giving too much of the short film away I will allow you to go watch it yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfOnRpmHbSI . But this one of the best short films I have had the pleasure seeing. Alfred gave great direction and Erin Etheridge and Kevin Reed were perfect for the roles of the two main actors. After watching it a second time I believe Mr. Giancarli is smart enough to understand this concept cannot be stretch to a full feature as it might kill the magic captured in the short film and some things should be just left alone as you move on to new and different projects. I give it 4 out of 4 stars and horror fans give yourself a present today and go watch this short film.
Kung Fury (YouTube) – There is a bad VHS tape that has horrible tracking and has a movie on it called, “Kung Fury”. A crazy mixture of nerd’em, the 80s, ninjas, and elements of the movies “Manborg” and “Iron Sky” and you have this crazy mix of a 30 minute computer animated film that has Hitler time traveling! It is one of those “WTF did I watch but I like it” films. It is set in Miami, 1985 where a cop named Kung Fury was hit by lightning and bitten by a cobra at the same time after his partner was sliced and diced. Now he has new super Kung Fu powers of some ancient monks. He stops an out of control video arcade machine that is giving people the finger and killing them only to ridiculed for all the damage done to the city. Seconds after Hitler arrives and kills all the cops through the phone and Kung Fury must travel with help of ‘Hackerman’ to stop Hitler. Brilliant and thank you David Sandberg (Any chance you related to famous Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryan Sandberg?) as I give the 30 minute film 4 stars.
Cheap Thrills (DVD) – This was an oddity sent my way by Out of Print Dan who said I needed to watch it. A pretty dark film about two friends who haven’t seen each other in five years and meet in a dive bar talking about all their bad luck of recent times. They meet a married couple who are having a good time and start making stupid bets like “who will drink the whiskey faster?” Soon the two longtime friends find themselves wrapped up in this twisted fantasy of free money and over the top bets. Everything from cutting off a pinky for $15,000 to banging the dude’s wife for $4500 as it just spirals out of control in a night of craziness. I give the film 3 stars and did I mention Trent Haaga was one of the writers on the flick.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (DVD) – Oh the beauty this film is as it stars Vincent Price in one of his best roles as a crazy, over the top, undead doctor who seeks revenge against the doctor and his assistants who killed his wife several years ago. When people start showing up dead from bats, snakes, and all kinds of crazy things, Scotland Yard begins to investigate all the doctors past patients but is it too late for them to stop the reign of terror that Dr. Phibes spreads across London? This is one of those films that don’t make total sense but you don’t care as horror fans just sit back and enjoy Vincent Price having fun and total weirdness of the film. I give the film 4 stars.
Dr. Phibes Rises Again (DVD) – Three years has past and Dr. Phibes has risen from the grave only to find his home in shambles and his map to immortality gone. This map is the key for his wife to be restored to life again as he is still protecting her. Soon people die mysteriously again in London but a strange death of a man dead in a life size Gin bottle sends Scotland Yard to Egypt where they want to capture Dr. Phibes before he spreads his reign of terror again. It’s weird; it’s the 70s, its Vincent Price playing an Organ, why wouldn’t you want to watch this sequel as I give it 3 stars.
Cabin by the Lake (DVD) – Judd Nelson in one of his best roles outside of “The Breakfast Club” where the character Stanley who is a writer and he is a serial killer. Stanley is working on a new script for a film that is supposed to be going into production but is still trying to decide how to flesh it out and end it. Stanley is a serial killer who not only kills his victims underwater but also sets them up in his garden where he tends to them daily until one gets away. And with the help of a special effects couple and the local police they try to set up Stanley so he can be captured. I believe this flick premiered on the USA network in 2000 before being released on DVD. Don’t forget to check out Michael Weatherly as the deputy before he became an N.C.I.S. agent on the long running popular NCIS show. I give the film 3 stars.
Return to Cabin by the Lake (DVD) – The sequel was released a year later but takes place a couple years later as a film crew is trying to film the story of Stanley and his “Garden of Flesh”. Stanley survives the first film and returns killing his way onto the set of the movie of his life as a second-unit director where he is trying to have the story told correctly. The movie centers more on more of his obsession as a writer is trying to get into Stanley’s head even he is believed dead to make the movie the way it should be. Bodies pile up and Judd Nelson is still pretty good as Stanley the serial killer but the sequel loses its luster the original had as I give it 2 stars.
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