Gross Movie Reviews #382
Howling II: My Sister is a Werewolf (DVD) – The sequel to the original and highly successful ‘The Howling’ takes a complete left turn introducing a whole other idea of werewolves among us instead of just owning a small community in the mountains. The sequel goes for the jugular with it’s over the top chaos of introducing Sybil Danning as a head werewolf fulfilling a prophecy and Christopher Lee as a man of the occult. The film picks up from the end of the first film in the sense of Dee Wallace’s brother wants answers but also just wants to bury her and be done with it. But after Lee’s occult character shows him a video tape of her changing into a werewolf and going to her grave to silver in her heart he believes. They travel to Transylvania to fight the werewolves on their turf and we get fun 80s music, punks, werewolf orgies, Christopher Lee being Christopher Lee, werewolf vision, hilarious and fun B-movie stuff. The sequel does have its fans but also there is a few horror fans believe this sequel destroyed what could have been a very good series of movies. Right or wrong this film was fun when I was a teenager but doesn’t hold up as well as maybe part five or six in the series? I give this flick 2 ½ stars.
Howling V: The Rebirth (DVD) – This sequel is easily one of my favorite ‘Howling’ films. Being released direct-to-video in 1989 where horror sequels were still being churned out almost daily trying to cash-in. The ‘Howling’ series is a werewolf series that clearly suffers from lack of direction like the ‘Hellraiser’ series later on after it. I believe this film was actually some random werewolf film that got the title change when someone figured that the series could use a change as the three sequels before it sent horror fans screaming far away from the series. But anyway the film is a classic “Who dun it?” or this case “Who is the werewolf?” The film begins in 1849 Budapest, where a group of people are in a bloody heap around a dinner table inside a huge castle. Before you ask, no it wasn’t Charles Band’s castle… But anyway people have been slayed in the name of god to stop the werewolf curse. Problem a baby survives! Present time, 1989, a group of people have been invited to an opening of the castle that hasn’t been open since the slaughter of 1849. With little information given the group speculates on why or how they got the invite and what is the story behind the castle and its history. A snowstorm moves in and one by one the invitees disappear being killed by a werewolf. The film could have used a little more gore but I totally believe it still holds up many years later as one of the best sequels of the series. Everybody forgets there is seven films in the series plus a forgettable “Twilightish” reboot. So if you are looking for a good werewolf film no one talks about this would be a good place to start my friends as I give the film 3 ½ stars.
Howling VI: Freaks (DVD) – Two years after ‘The Rebirth’ we got another direct-to-video sequel in the series that seem to have less of a budget but another intriguing storyline. This one involves a Freak show run by Harker (Bruce Payne) who he and companions roll through the small dying town Canton Bluff. Meanwhile a British drifter named Ian rolls through town looking for work but is secretive about why he is really there. Harker finds out about Ian’s secret (a werewolf) and uses a spell to make him transform when he wants aka for the show. Harker captures Ian in attempt to use him but turns the town against him after Ian escapes but little the town knows is that Harker is a vampire. Again another fun entry into the series that doesn’t get talked about much but also like ‘Puppet Master’ or ‘Hellraiser’ doesn’t connect it to other sequels in the series. I give the werewolf sequel 3 stars.
I Love Lucy (YouTube) – A normal looking short film idea about a girl named Lucy who is going to the Valentine’s dance with her perfect boyfriend Rex. Lucy’s girlfriends seem to be pressuring her into thinking its “time” and she will enjoy “it” but Lucy hesitates. Lucy even feels pressure from the school principal. But once home and Lucy and her boyfriend are alone in her bedroom that is when the short film gets truly weird and bizarre and I enjoyed it! The short film is from Zach Lorkiewicz and I always love seeing truly cool stuff like this from unknown filmmakers. Want more info or see a trailer check out: www.facebook.com/counttheclock and www.counttheclock.com as I give the short film 3 ½ out of 4 stars.
Return to Salem’s Lot (DVD) – A sequel to Stephen King’s TV movie from the late 70s truly came out of left field in the late 80s but was a staple of late night cable television. Michael Moriarity stars as Joe who is in the Amazon taking video of a tribe that has never been seen before. The tribe is chased off by the locals only to tell Joe he needs to get back to the states for his son. His ex-wife cannot control him any longer so Joe decides it’s time for him and his kid to head to Maine where his aunt left him some property. Maybe there they can get closer and know each other again. But as they enter the town of ‘Salem’s Lot’ they know it’s not your normal town as not many people around during the day. They shortly learn the town is full of vampires and the judge wants Joe to write the town’s bible/history to share with the world in maybe a hundred years or so. Especially since the vamps came over on the Mayflower! Once Joe understands this is wrong and the judge is trying to take his boy and teams up with an old dude who knows the judge from years ago. They go house to house burning down ‘Salem’s Lot’ so they can escape. The effects are a little cheesy, it has nothing to do with the original, but it has Michael Moriarity and makes a great double bill with ‘Sundown’. I’m always in when it comes to these oddball 80s sequels as I give it 3 stars.
The Divine Enforcer (VHS/DVD-R) – Oh yeah mother fuckers a cast of Jan-Michael Vincent, Eric Estrada, Jim Brown, Robert Z’Dar, Judy Landers, and Scott Shaw (Rollerblade Warriors: Taken by Force fame) show up in this 1992 direct-to-video B-flick about a priest taking the law into his own hands. Father Daniels shows up at his new parish that happens to be in a rough neighborhood. But he can only take so many horrible confessions from horrible individuals. Father Daniels takes down the local mob, strip clubs, but the one he is having trouble with is the serial killer “Vampire of Los Angeles”. With the help from a woman who has ‘the gift of sight’ Father Daniels eventually tracks down this murderous evil. Also pay attention to the last scene of the film, hilarious crap folks as I give this B-movie gift 2 ½ stars.
The Killer Elite (DVD) – Not knowing the Statham and DeNiro film was a remake of this 1975 flick it made me want to track down a copy and check it out. The film stars James Cann and Robert Duvall as two agents from a secret part of the government who do things the military or the regular government cannot. Well Duvall’s character wants more money and decides to shoot Cann in the arm and knee to retire him. A year or so later after rehab, Cann has a new life but is approached by his old boss about a job that could help him get revenge. Good flick but for me not as much fun as the remake which surprised me a little as I give this 70s action flick 2 stars.
Hard Target (DVD) – A John Woo film produced by Sam Raimi that stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lance Henriksen, Arnold Vosloo, Yancy Butler, and Wilford Brimley… Brilliant! Set in New Orleans where Lance Henriksen plays a bad villain who sets up human hunts for rich people. When Butler’s character comes along looking for her homeless father she screws up the perfect hunt and its all-out war on Jean-Claude’s character ‘Chance’. A great 90s action flick worth revisiting just for JCVD’s glorious mullet! I give the film 3 stars for the mere reason they figured out how to push in two bad ass dudes (Henriksen and Vosloo) into one action flick.
Cell (Theater) – The film based on a more recent Stephen King story that involves cell phones. After the book was released in the early 2000s there was a frenzy of companies trying to buy the rights for the film adaption. After a lot of scuttlebutt of Eli Roth being attached in the early stages of the film the project went quiet for a few years. Then John Cusack got a hold of the project and the ball was rolling again and finally made. Cusack is Clay, a man who gets off a plane and wants to see his son and celebrate with his great news. But his cell phone battery dies. He tries to call on a pay phone but notices people begin going nuts killing each other, eating each other, smashing their heads off of pillars; planes crashing… you get the picture. End of the world kinda stuff folks! Clay and Samuel Jackson’s character meet up on a subway car and leave to go to Clay’s apartment to decide on what they should do next? Clay wants to get back to his son up north believing he is still alive and as long as they don’t listen to their phones signal they won’t turn into mindless zombies of sorts. The film is shorter than I thought it would be but still interesting like the book. My only issue with the film is the ending as in the book it just kinda ends where the film tries to give a twist that doesn’t make much sense. But like most of Stephen King’s works he has trouble ending stuff as many horror fans would agree. Is this the perfect version of the film I wanted for the book, “No”. But I still really enjoyed this horror flick for the mere fact the signal isn’t really explained and this easily can happen these days. I give the film 3 stars and sit back and let all the other film geeks argue over the movie as like most horror films I enjoyed it for what it is.
Monster from the Surf (DVD) – A groovy mid-60s film where some beach bums grooving to some surf music, surfing, and partying get attacked by a sea creature. The main suspect just happens to be a crippled dude named Mark that lives down the beach since the cops don’t believe in a sea creature? A film that should be only watched at the old school drive-ins. But well worth checking out when revisiting the old 50s and 60s creature/monster flicks as I give it 2 stars.
She (DVD) – Some years after a nuclear war a goddess rules over women and her name is ‘She’. ‘She’ is played by the cool actress Sandhal Bergman who comes in contact with two men who are in search for the one’s sister who was captured by a tribe called ‘The Norks’. ‘She’ allows the men to stay alive helps them search for Tom’s sister but along the way must fight mutants, vampires, a warlock, and eventually ‘The Norks’. ‘The Norks’ look like extras from the film ‘The Warriors’ but great villains for this fantasy/apocalyptic film. What’s weird about the film was it was finished in 1982 but not released in the U.S. until late 1985. It got a release in several countries during that three year period with the U.S. being last. I give this weird fantasy film 2 stars.
I Survived a Zombie Holocaust (DVD) – Another fun oddity from New Zealand where a zombie outbreak happens during filming of a low budget zombie film ‘Tonight They Come’. But it all centers on Wes. It is Wes’s first day on the job as he just graduated film school and has big expectations. Wes quickly learns there are a lot of bitter people behind the scenes of making this flick but Wes also soon learns there is such thing as real zombies. Soon the real zombies begin to feast on cast and crew and all Wes can do is try to survive the onslaught of horror as long as the crew doesn’t kill him first? My favorite scene has to be the special effects guy shoots himself in the face when he jumps out to fight the zombies head on. This is after he begins shooting real people and not the zombies. Horror films from New Zealand never get old as I give this treat 3 stars.
The Darkness (On Demand) – Kevin Bacon and his family go on a camping trip to the Grand Canyon only for their autistic son to find an ancient place in the mountains by accident. He picks up these ancient stones and takes them home. These ancient stones when removed from their resting place can open a doorway to something called, ‘The Darkness’. They are demons that live in the shadows and can drive people mad until they die or just steal their souls. Either way you are screwed if you have opened up the doorway. The autistic kid uses the stones every day and talks to his new friend Jenny. Soon his room is fire, a snake attacks grandma, a dog attacks his sister, mom starts drinking again, some weird hokey shit is going down people. In the end I see the film as Poltergeist-lite with an autistic child. Good cast, the film doesn’t insult you like some paranormal films, it will find its audience as I give it 2 ½ stars.
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