Barbarian (HBO/Max) – Our film begins with a mix-up of renting an “Air BnB” between Tess, Keith, and the company or property owner who they cannot get ahold of in the middle of night. Keith being there first is very unsure of allowing Tess in but explains it’s a bad neighborhood (outside of Detroit) gives in. After some awkward conversation they go to bed in separate rooms only for Tess to hear something from the basement? After lots of buildup Tess finds herself locked in the basement the next day when investigating. Keith comes to help which eventually doesn’t go well after Tess finding a secret passage. Meanwhile a few weeks pass by and a disgraced Hollywood star played by Justin Long who actually owns the property show up to get away from a possible lawsuit involving rape? Justin Long or AJ after finding his home looking lived in decides to enter the basement and soon finds the secret passage way to find a maze of hallways and something else lurking in the shadows… Enjoyed the buildup of the story but the subplot that comes out of nowhere ¾’s of the way into the film throws me off. This horror film was good but felt there was a better way to introduce the subplot they did without getting too much into detail as I give the film 3 stars.
Terrifier 2 (Theater) – Art the Clown is back and brutal as ever but after doing some laundry and mysteriously reappearing after the end of the first film Art is back on the street stalking victims. The filmmaker absolutely keeping Art a mystery is able to expand the clown’s universe but never really explaining it. Meanwhile, Jonathon and Sienna have lost their father recently and Jonathon has recently become obsessed with Art the Clown while Sienna is just trying to get out being normal. This sets up a wonderful family interaction but also a weird connection between Art, the murders, and (spoiler alert) Art being some kind of supernatural cannibal! I loved the first film and this one did not disappoint in its brutality and gore but what I think holds it back just a tiny bit is its 2 hour and 18 minute running time as I can only give it 3 ½ stars. Honestly wasn’t thrilled with the film minutes after watching it but I let set in and I love it just didn’t need the “Avengers cut”?
Legion of Iron (DVD) – Sorry folks it isn’t a documentary about Iron City Beer but a bootleg of a bootleg of a bootleg “The Running Man”… maybe? Anyway Queen Diana who lives and hosts death matches for rich people to bet on sends her minions to go kidnap a high school football star and his girlfriend for fresh meat to fight her champion. Anddddddddd to make more money! Billy and his girlfriend are promised to be released if he goes along with the plan to be trained and fight the champ when needed to make more money for Diana’s underground fights. Billy knowing he will never leave tries to escape any chance he can get when he isn’t training in the sword closet with his trainer. It is bad but like watchable bad even for 1990 as I give it 2 stars.
Unholy Night (DVD) – Another holiday anthology that is quite uneventful as the wraparound begins with a kid killing their father in the beginning only to have flashbacks later on in life about a talking mannequin and fighting a controlling mother. In between we get stories of why not to do shrooms while meeting cannibals and don’t conjure up pissed off holiday ghosts. There isn’t a lot going for this horror holiday anthology to make it watchable as I give it a ½ star.
Bring it On: Cheer or Die (DVD) – Unusually I took a look at reviews (some very negative reviews) and seen SyFy Channel was the distributor and dropped it so you had my interest! I am here to say fuck those people but let me tell you a little about it first. Back in 2002 the Diablos cheer team had a terrible accident where one of their own died during competition. Since then they were disbanded until recently but the school principal literally wants them to understand they are very low on the school totem pole. But with the regionals coming up the team wants to go prove themselves but they need to be able to practice aerial stunts that is disallowed at school. So the team plans a 24 hour practice at the old abandoned school. Oh by the way it’s on Halloween weekend! After the captain is murdered in her home before the practice Abby the co-captain is forced to take control but this doesn’t stop the cheer squad to be stalked and picked off one by one mysteriously. Yes the film is PG-13 but it has its funny moments and a good twist to the horror version of this popular cheerleader movie series. Give it a chance like I did kids as I give this horror film 3 stars. Now for the people who were shitting all over this, honestly it is a cheerleader horror flick that was based on past cheerleader films for dudes to watch young women shake their ass for 90 minutes! What in the Rutger Hauer were yinz dumb asses expecting? An Oscar winning film? Second, SyFy channel dropping a horror film or I should say NBC, just go back to being irrelevant since “Sharknado” and turning into the ‘Harry Potter’ network. This shit coming from the network that played “The Fast and the Furious” on Halloween this year.
The Retaliators (DVD) – So this was the Five Finger Death Punch film that I literally heard no horror fan talk about so of course I needed to watch it. Near Hillsdale, New Jersey, Pastor John allows the older of two daughters to take the car out to travel to a party. She stops for gas and witnesses something weirdwith a man and his sports car, next thing you know she is being restrained to her steering wheel and drowned. Enter a detective who promises to track down this killer, meanwhile the main suspect disappears and being tortured in a basement of Tobin Bell’s summer home. Next thing we know Pastor John is being led down a dark path and he must choose? There is blood, the pastor’s head getting crushed in a vise, escaped barely humans mistaken for zombies, and a woodchipper! All plots of the film eventually intersect but suffer from way too much going on… Example it felt like a horror movie fan without structure was literally like “we should do that, oh yeah that would work, and you should do this” after the script was written and the filming was ongoing. I like the movie but beware it does have flaws as I give it 2 ½ stars.
Trash Juice (YouTube) – Veteran independent actor Doug Waugh writes and directs this flick where a priest stumbles upon a bunch of weirdoes hanging out at the dumpsters who want to tell stories. Or a very unique or unusual way to have an anthology… The priest just wants to help the weirdoes but he has to survive the stories first in order to get through to them. We have a story about the price of internet fame, a man losing his mind over his squirrel hand puppet (oh yeah the squirrel goes for the dude’s dong), two insane gentlemen known as “Shiteaters”, and a story that involves a creature, drug abuse, and a dude yelling at women. After failing the people the priest gets hooked on the juice! For me at least this falls in the category of “Just not my cup of tea” but if there is something great to say about it, it does feel like a lost Troma anthology from the early 90s as I give the film 2 out of 4 stars. With this soon to be released on Tubi I am sure some of the Troma fans will find it and rave about this film in 2023.
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