EVIL DEAD TRAP

EVIL DEAD TRAP (1988)

One of the many Interesting kills in EVIL DEAD TRAP

For several years I have seen the DVD of EVIL DEAD TRAP II for sale or rental, but never part 1. This is probably the reason why I waited until now to actually take the time and trouble to track down a copy and watch it.

The plot is relatively simple. A TV reporter receives a mysterious video tape that may or may not be snuff. At the end of the tape, it shows the building where it all went down followed by images of the reporter. Curiosity gets the better of her and she decides to take her news team to explore the abandoned factory to verify if the tape is real or a fake. Immediatlly, her friends begin to die one-by-one in obscure ways as she tries to escape to safety.

This movie was basically the poop baby of Dario Argento’s Golden Years that had buttsex with Sam Raimi’s ‘Evil Dead’ films. The score, as much as I wanted to like it, sounded like a failed attempt to become GOBLIN (Mostly the score from SUSPIRIA). The POV shots were obviously mimicing THR EVIL DEAD by getting the camera man to hold the camera and run around in the woods.

Even though this “borrowed” from MANY other films from other countries, I have to hand it to them.. They eventually turn the film around and add more WTF moments that had everyone around me scratching their heads or dropping their jaws.

The gore was very well done, but the kill scenes were a little unbalanced for my tastes. One character gets impaled by several peices of wood and ends up looking like a human jack, yet another character… gets her hand cut open by a knife.. and falls over dead.

There’s a lot of twists and unexpected goodies that I won’t mention for your benefit, but trust me when I say this, its literally the last thing you will ever suspect… and most of these treats take place during the final 20 minutes. For these moments alone, I forgave the similarities to other movies and confusing plotholes. This film is DEFINITLY worth a look… and I only hope the sequels are just as obscure as this was.

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THE SENTINEL

THE SENTINEL (1977)

John Carradine in THE SENTINEL

I first heard about this film from Bravo’s 100 Scariest Scenes of all time. The image of an elderly man’s ghost caught my attention and gave me the proper motivation to rent this flick. (This is back in the day… when there would be these places where you walk into a store and rent a DVD or VHS for money). I got bored and decided to rewatch this classic and I am glad i did.

Alison, a model in New York, is searching for an apartment to rent. After no luck, she stumbles upon an old apartment building that hosts several strange residents. While getting to know her new neighbors, it becomes clear that she has several emotional problems that get in the way of her work and love life. Not only does the stress from work, relationship problems, new apartment issues, the death of her father, and her emotional baggage start to cause trouble.. but turns out this place is haunted. Actually, haunted is a huge understatement, her apartment is resting on the gates of Hell… don’t you hate it when that happens?

They sure don’t make films like this anymore. The characters have substance and.. well… personality. The music is what you would expect from a 70s horror film, but that didn’t really bother me.

The way the film is shot will have you entertained, shocked, confused, and uneasy. When Alison has a flashback, she literally will walk into her memories, so it gets confusing at times. The ghosts were creepy as hell to say the least. In fact, these are some of the freakiest looking spirits I’ve ever seen.

They really hit the jackpot when it came to casting. Cristina Raines did a spectacular job as the leading lady. I’ve never seen her other films, but it is beyond me why her career didn’t go as high as it could. Chris Sarandon, when he was shown, did what he does best. John Carradine, who plays the ever-so-creepy Father Halliran. Just looking at him will give you goosebumps. Christopher Walken shows up from time to time as a Detective. Jeff Goldblum does a pretty good job portraying a typical fashion Director. Even Beverly D’Angelo plays a Character unlike ever before. A sexual voyeristic Lesbian mute. If you look closely.. you can see Richard Dreyfuss as an extra… im sorry… ‘Man on Sidewalk talking to Girl in Red Sweater’… and Tom Berenger as ‘Man at End’.

Without giving anything away, I can tell you without a doubt, that this is one of the best supernatural thrillers ever made. It upsets me that this film is so overlooked. I would choose this movie over Amityville Horror any day. This remains one of my favorites of all time.

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MESSIAH OF EVIL

MESSIAH OF EVIL (1973)

When I pushed play and sat down to watch this film… I had no idea what surprises were in store for me. I went in with the expectation it would be a badly dubbed predictable story about a Satan worshiping cult… killing randomly for “evil purposes” (aka… no reason).  Half-way through the opening sequence, I realized I should never judge a film by its title…

The story is simple enough. A woman travels to a secluded town to search for her missing father. She meets a group of people who are also visiting the town researching a local urban legend. They soon discover something sinister is going on and its up to them to solve the mystery and stop it from happening.

All of the characters are interesting and have substance. There are no cut-and-dry stereotypes. The dialogue is well thought out and cleverly written.

The lighting and set design has Dario Argento’s ‘SUSPIRIA’ all over it. It not only was well executed (unlike the disaster that was ‘THE BLACK CAT/DEMONS 6).. but it brought more to the table and added a supernatural enigmatic vibe.

I also cannot stress this enough… there were legit horror scares in this film. This did not rely on… or take the easy way out… with fake scares. The way it was shot.. had me breathless… watching something as simple as a man looking at someone.

I was pleasantly surprised by how good and well made this film was. It’s very difficult for someone to try and explain how weird, obscure, and creepy this film can be. It’s hard to track this film down… but trust me… it’s well worth the trouble.

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THE FUNHOUSE

THE FUNHOUSE (1981)

When the carnival comes to town… a group of teens decide to spend the night in the fun house. While hiding in the ceiling, they witness the mentally challenged ride attendant murder a psychic fortune teller that they previously pissed off earlier in the night. They find out that they are locked in with a psychotic murderer and his carnie family… let the good times roll…

The similarities between this and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are all over the place. We got a mutant mentally challenged murderer… a psycho family… and impaling people on hooks.
The pacing was a little slow for my taste. It took about 30 minutes for something to happen. Before the first kill takes place we just follow 4 teens and a child going through the carnival and seeing the attractions.

Luckily our characters are not complete dumbasses. They know what they have to do and what will happen to them if they don’t. They also blessed us with no lines such as: “Hey, we can cover more ground if we split up”… or… “I’ll be right back”. At one point, the slutty blonde, knowing the mutants weakness is sex with women, attempts to use her sexuality to survive and attack the killer.

At times, you kind of get annoyed by the set ups and blatant foreshadowing. From the beginning, you know a scenario will arise where the kid will be inches away from saving them, but won’t because he thinks its the big prank his sister warned him about. You aren’t really surprised when it happens and are just glad to get it out of the way early on.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the fact that one of the weapons was a gun. Its kind of an unwritten rule of circus horror movies to use whatever is around you as a weapon of opportunity. Luckily, the gun didn’t play too big of a role in the film.

As for Killings go: we get one mauled by a retard, a hanging while getting an axe to the skull, a good ol’fashion beating, an impalement, and a nice juicy electricution while being crushed by machenary. For what the film neglected during the first chunk of the movie when it came to the creepy carnival shenanigans… it makes up for during the climax.

Overall, even though I was expecting a supernatural carnie movie, I was actually surprised by how good this 80s slasher was. It could have been more inventive, given its set design, but it wasn’t too bad.

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PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2: TOKYO NIGHT

PARANORAL ACTIVITY 2: TOKYO NIGHT (2010)

No…. no… this is NOT a review for the recent sequel released by Paramount Pictures. This is a new, unknown, official sequel made by Japan.

After Katie murders her boyfriend at the end of the first film, she is run over by an Asian Woman Driver (Insert Racial Joke Here). When returning to Japan in a wheel chair, her brother notices strange things going around the house. It wouldn’t be a Paranormal Activity movie without handycams, now would it?
At first, I feared I was doomed to a shot-by-shot retelling of the first movie. It opens with the guy adjusting his camera while the girl arrives by car. The bass-filled atmosphere that occompanies the hauntings also return.

Luckily, this installment brought back what worked from the first one and added to it. The possession was creepy as hell and some of the shit that goes down had my jaw dropping.
Unfortunatly, the biggest flaw of the film is the recycling of everything from part one. They basically spell everything out for you, leaving nothing to the imagination, but then again… its a sequel to Paranormal Activity… so I wasn’t really expecting much in the immagination department. I also dreaded the reusing of the signature ‘toss-to-the-camera’ shot.

Overall, the movie was an interesting way to spend a Friday night. It delivered some scares, added onto the franchise a little, gave another alternative explaination to the hauntings that wasn’t retarded beyond comprehension… (I’m sorry, but nothing was a bigger letdown to me than the American sequels explaination of making a deal with the devil). I prefer this explaination better, because it shows how powerful and unstoppable this evil can be. Other than that… if you have seen the first one… you’ve basically seen this.

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PROM NIGHT II

Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou (1987)

In the 50s, Some bitch gets roasted on the stage after a prank goes horribly wrong. Years later, the culprit, who is now the principle, teams up with a priest who try to stop her vengful spirit.

Don’t kill me, but I wasn’t a big fan of the first Prom Night… I dug Jamie Lee Curtis and the atmosphere, but I just couldn’t get into it. The sequel, which stands alone from the first one, is more of a supernatural revenge story.

The acting was refreshingly well done… as well as some of the scares. We got demonic possession, vengful spirits, objects coming alive, etc. Its also packed with 80s cliches.

However, there are many times during the film that had me facepalming the hell out of myself. A priest waving a crucifix screaming THE BODY OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU… over and over again.. come on… that screams out THE EXORCIST.

The film also borrows a lot from NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET… where the main protagonist, a teenage girl, is seeing disturbing things in her subconscious, such as her dead friends who was killed by a spirit seeking revenge. She also becomes sleep deprived and surrounded by Paranoia.

All in all… the film has likable characters, predictable scares if you’ve seen enough horror films, a dash of lesbonic activity, and plenty of 80s culture to shake a stick at. Its a great way to spend an hour and a half.

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RABID GRANNIES

RABID GRANNIES (1989)

I’m going to start off with this one by saying that this is the Troma-Release version that can be found on Netflix. Apparantly there are multiple versions of the film and didn’t want people to get confused.

Two elderly sisters have all their gold-digger family members over their mansion for their birthday celibration… with the exception of one… the Satanic-worshipping relative. He gets wind of the party and is pissed he wasn’t invited. During the birthday dinner, the grannies recieve a mysterious box as a gift from the occultist… which turns them into demonic cannibalistic spawns of Satan. The reunion quickly becomes an every-man-for-himself bloodbath.

The movie starts off slow and is probably one of the worst dubbed movies I’ve ever experienced. Apparantly the movie is French, one of the worst languages to dub (Italian being the easiest).

Every family member is impossible to relate to. The most redeemable character in the entire movie would have to be the Lesbian prostitute that cheats on her client with the client’s brother. Even the children, who are dubbed by adults, are annoying and able to sway the most conservative person suddenly pro-choice.

When the killings begin, the pace goes into overdrive. The gore was actually surprising.. as well as the make-up. It reminded me of Lamberto Bava’s DEMONS, which made me like the film better. The killings are also interesting and inventive. At some times, the film even managed to catch me off guard and surprise me. Nothing says entertainment like a good ol’fashioned eating of a little girl with pig-tails.

Overall, the film is an entertaining way to spend with friends while enjoying alcohol. It is boring at the start, but quickly changes at the first kill and refuses to slow down. It is in no way a good movie, film-making-wise, but a well-made B-movie that shows unlikable characters meeting their well-deserved end by the hand of two demonic-possessed grannies.

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SEVEN DAYS TO LIVE

SEVEN DAYS TO LIVE (2000)

When I heard people referring this film as ‘The British Shining’, I really had no idea how accurate that description was. It’s about an Author who wants to get away from it all and write his latest book. He moves into a secluded mansion with his wife, who begins to see things around the house. He gradually changes into a maniac as she runs around the house with a giant kitchen knife. A local old-timer who warns her about the house manages to come to her rescue… sound familiar?

The film lacked anything genuily creepy from start to finish (minus the last part of the opening scene), but I kept watching it hoping it would add something new to the story. I kind of dug the backstory about the dead little boy and was impressed by the acting. However, it was too similar to The Shining, which is a huge distraction.

Also, I was confused as to how the hell the house, which is dragged into the abyss and crumbles away, manages to be standing again as the ending credits role. Apparantly the house either sprung back up like a daisy… or someone made a huge continuity error.

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HOUSE OF LOST SOULS

HOUSE OF LOST SOULS (1989)

I decided to finally sit down and go through my external hard drives for movies I got years ago and have yet to indulge in. The title looked promising so I turned it on and gave it a go.
Immediatly, I noticed that the soundtrack was ripped off from other movies, most notedly DEMONS. I dug the shining-like vision sequence, only to be let down to the horrible truth of what was in store for me.
I’m not entirely sure if it was the screenplays fault, since I have yet to watch the Italian version, but goddamn… the dialogue made me burst out laughing. One of the first lines in the film takes place after the main character has a vision of murder and blood. Her boyfriend tries to calm her down with his words of wisdom: “Hey, calm down. The doctors gave you a reasonable explaination… you have psychic powers”.

The dialogue may suck beyond comprehension, but I have to hand it to Umberto Lenzi.. he knows atmosphere. What kept me watching this flick after the first few scenes was his use of atmosphere. You could tell there was a presence all around the house.

The kills are also pretty inventive. I never seen someone attacked by a laundry dryer and decapitated by it, lol. The ghosts M.O. are strickly limited to decapitation, so objects throughout the house become players attributing to the characters doom.

Although the acting sucks with cut-and-dry characters, the film is surrounded by creepy atmosphere, interesting kills, and enough haunted house cliches to entertain you for the whole ride.

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Rape Squad

RAPE SQUAD (1974)


So, while looking for some outrageous exploitation movies on Netflix, I happen to stumble upon this. Judging from the title and plot… I expected to be bombarded with shock and lulz, but sadly.. was let down to a lifetime television original movie-like experience with great potential for future rifftrax material.

Plot- Linda is raped by a man in a hockey mask that forces her to sing ‘Jingle-Bells’ while he rapes her. When the cops do nothing, she teams up with other victims of the Jingle-Bell Rapist and seek revenge. Joining their ‘Rape Squad’ is also some old lady who knows Karate, who teaches them the ways of self-defense.

They first decide to pay a visit to someone who got away with raping someone they just met at a bar. They cuff him to his bed, wreck his house, strip him, and hold up a bottle of acid. I braced myself for what was to come, hoping it would be better than ‘Santa Sangre’, but watched in extreme disappointment as the girls poured purple paint out of the bottle. The girls tee-heed and I sat there pissed off, letting the rage build inside me. Their so-called “Justice” is beyond pathetic and had me sitting in confusion and hoping that these retards meet their demise soon. Instead of looking for clues or being persistent in stopping the masked rapist, they continue to attack men who had nothing to do with it. They strip some old guy naked and threaten to all rape him (umm.. ok… yeah.. that’s what will teach him… sex with 5 women at once). They also beat up a pimp after destroying his car.

The masked rapist lures all the members of the rape squad to a closed-down zoo, where he picks them off one by one. The stupidity of these characters are beyond ridiculous. One character, knowing the rapist is there, decides to turn from the group and walk home by herself. Another character decides to sacrifice herself so that he wouldn’t harm two of the others… who LOCKED THEMSELVES IN A CAGE AWAY FROM THE RAPIST.

There were times that the absurd decisions of the characters, lack of logic in the plot, and random events that took place had me laughing. Overall, there were too many plot-holes, boring scenes, and characters being retarded that made the bad outweigh the good in this film. It’s good for a few laughs, but its mainly a disappointment and manages to set women back a few hundred years.

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