Movie Review: The Human Centipede III: Final Sequence

Body Horror, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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The final installment of Tom Six’s infamous ass-to-mouth franchise was met with critical scorn as soon as it entered pre-production: In all of my years as a horror fan who spends a lot of time on the internet watching movie geeks get their panties in a twist over everything, never have I seen a series receive as much scathing hatred as The Human Centipede.  Dismissed by many without even watching it due to its premise. it might just very well be the most offensive film to ever ingrain itself in mainstream pop culture. That being said, it’s not without its fans; those of us who are in with Six on the joke can’t help but laugh at the commotion.  And in The Final Sequence laughter is aplenty.

Is Tom Six a troll?  A cheap shockmeister?  A pervert with a poop fetish? He’s been called every name under the sun, but for us fans he’s a twisted mad genius with a knack for satire.  The first Human Centipede concept was born from a conversation Six had with a friend on how to punish pedophiles: he jokingly said their mouths should be attached to the arseholes of fat truckers, then realized it would make an interesting concept for a horror movie.  Whether you love or hate it, there’s no denying there’s been nothing else like it.  However, many horror fans were critical of the first movie for being too tame; therefore in the following sequel, he went to the extremes by giving them more than they could handle.  Was he punishing his audiences, or just shocking his way to the bank at our expense?  Either way, he made one of the best black comedies in recent memory.  With The Final Sequence, Six shows no signs of becoming family friendly anytime soon; there isn’t a distasteful topic that isn’t joked about and the centipede has multiplied by hundreds – and once again, Mr. Six has given his haters more reason to hate him, and his fans more reasons to love.  So keep on crying, you’ll only make his dick harder (his words).

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The Human Centipede 3: The Final Sequence takes place in a maximum security prison where a sadistic warden (Dieter Laser) – who feasts on dry clits from Africa and the castrated testicles of his own inmates – struggles to keep his prisoners in control.  The prison needs to cut costs and deter criminals from wanting to commit crime ever again; with an election coming up, Governor Hughes gives the warden 2 weeks to turn things around – or else he’s fired.  At the suggestion of his right hand man, Dwight Butler (Laurence Harvey), they eventually decide to conjoin the inmates in a 500 person centipede and let them eat each others shit for the duration of their sentence.  After consulting Tom Six to determine whether it’s medically possible (Tom Six himself), they go forth with the plan and set in motion the one thing that might just save America one day.

The warden, who goes by the name Bob Boss, is a vile creature; not only does he feast on genitalia, he also sexually harasses his secretary (Bree Olsen), undoubtedly giving every critic the ammo of misogyny to add to the films shit list.  Furthermore, he chews scenery in every frame he’s in, spouting off racist outbursts and rolling his tongue like a lizard.  It’s a mad cap performance; completely unhinged, with the volume turned Nic Cage loud.  There’s even a scene where Boss breaks the hand of an inmate played by Tommy Lister while calling him an ”ape nigger.”  It’s very in your face and every race of humanity gets a slur thrown in their direction at some point; but when the motto of your film is ”100% politically incorrect” then what do you expect?

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As for the gross out moments, we witness boiling water being poured over a man’s face, castration and a man’s guts being raped by an angry prisoner. Of course that’s me just scratching the surface: it might be a far tamer film than the previous installment, but it’s certainly not for the squeamish.

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Final Sequence proudly dwells in the gutter and if you feel like you’re above this vile excrement then so be it; we don’t need you to feast on the crap with us.  Once again Mr. Six has disregarded the boundaries of good taste to play yet another practical joke; so either laugh with it or accept that its laughing at your disgust.  8/10.

Written & Directed By:

Tom Six

Starring: 

Dieter Laser, Laurence Harvey, Bree Olsen, Eric Roberts

Genre:

Horror, Comedy

Running Time:

104 mins

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Movie Review: The Golden Child (1986)

Action, Comedy, fantasy, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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Chinese mysticism isn’t a prominent theme in mainstream movies; in fact it isn’t a very common theme in western movies as a whole; but in 1986 2 were released within 5 months of each other.  The first, released in July, was John Carpenter’s cult classic Big Trouble In Little China, a kung-fu neo-western that failed to make a splash at the box office and would be considered a huge commercial flop, making back a mere 11 million from a 25 million dollar budget.  The second was The Golden Child, released in December, starring Eddie Murphy riding a wave of success after Beverly Hills Cop (1984) became a huge worldwide hit.  The Golden Child, unlike Big Trouble In Little China, was a moderate box office success; but throughout the years it would become forgotten by most while Carpenter’s film would go on to become a cult classic that’s still finding audiences to this day.  Comparisons between both movies are inescapable: they share as much similarities as they do differences, with actors James Hong, Peter Kwong and Victor Wong appearing in each of them.  Furthermore, Carpenter was even attached to direct The Golden Child, but would go on to jump ship from Paramount to 20th Century Fox and speed up production on Big Trouble and beat it to release.  It would seem like both companies were in competition with each other and these movies were the product of their rivalry.  Regardless of what they have in common, I think they’re both unique in their own right.

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The original script for The Golden Child, penned by Species (1995) writer Dennis Feldman was originally supposed to be a darker movie, starring Mel Gibson as the lead.  But due to Gibson’s unavailability, Eddie Murphy was given the part and the script was rewritten to suit his comedic sensibilities. He would be joined by Charles Dance and Charlotte Lewis, who would play his Devilish nemesis and love interest respectively.

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The plot is simple: Eddie Murphy plays Chandler Jarrell, a private detective who specializes in finding missing children.  After the disappearance of The Golden Child – a young monk boy with special magical abilities who was kidnapped by an evil sorcerer – Chandler is the only one who can save him. Chandler was sought out because he’s The Chosen One; at first he thinks it’s all ridiculous, of course – but as the investigation advances he learns that supernatural forces are real and only he can put a stop to the wicked Sardo Numspa (Charles Dance) and his minions.

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Reviews weren’t kind to The Golden Child upon its release and it currently holds a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, suggesting that the majority of critics are joyless morons.  However, in a positive review, Roger Ebert praised it for being, ”entertaining from beginning to end.”  That sums it up perfectly; The Golden Child won’t have you laughing at loud, but its charm is infectious and it’s so well paced and entertaining you’ll never feel bored. It may not be a particularly ”funny” movie, but it’s a fun one – and it has endless rewatch value, much like its cousin Big Trouble In Little China.

The special effects are dated by modern standards, but that just adds to its charm.  They represent a passage of time and era of film that never fails to give me a huge cheesy grin.  The 80’s was the pinnacle for action, adventure, comedy, fantasy and horror for me.  If it was for you too then it doesn’t get more 80’s than this; from the music to the costumes, the action sequences and humour – this is a blast.

The Golden Child isn’t perfect; comparisons to Big Trouble are inevitable and it doesn’t come close to matching Carpenter’s classic in awesomeness; but that doesn’t mean it’s not a gem in its own right.  Do yourself a favour and give it a chance.  7/10.

Directed By:

Michael Ritchie

Written By:

Dennis Feldman

Starring:

Eddie Murphy, Charles Dance, Charlotte Lewis, J.L. Reate

Genre:

Action, Fantasy, Comedy, Horror

Running Time:

94 min

Movie Review: Monsturd (2003)

Creature Feature, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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If you’re the type of person, who, like me watches Kevin Smith’s Dogma (1999) and wishes there was an entire movie about the iconic Golgothan shit demon, then Monsturd is the movie for you, as the villainous Shitman (that’s actually the monsters name here) is without a doubt the spiritual cousin to Smith’s classic turd.  Now, to enjoy Monsturd, you must be the type of person who finds a title like that alluring; killer poop monster flicks aren’t for everyone, but that’s because the world isn’t ready to handle such fecal genius quite yet.

Written and directed by Dan West and Rick Popko, this was born out of impatience towards the studio system that wasn’t taking a chance on them. One of their previous screenplays was bought by Francis Ford Coppola’s Commercial Pictures way back in the late 80’s, but despite making a couple of bucks off of selling the script it was never produced, so they kept on plugging away until they’d had enough.  After watching Christmas classic, Jack Frost (1996), and realizing that studios would produce killer snowman flicks, they were acted out by writing a movie about poop, with the intention of sending it to every studio as a massive ”F U.”  But in the end, they just decided to go with a DIY approach and the results are a politically incorrect, yucky and hilarious trash epic that delivers the goods we want from movies like this.

Monsturd might be about man-sized mutated excrement, but it’s anything but shit – except in the literal sense of its villain.  It’s about the serial killer Jack Schmidt, who escapes from prison and hides out in the sewers.  Little does he know that the sewer is polluted with a chemical concocted by the evil mad scientist, Dr. Stern, whose Detech company have dumped it there as part of their dastardly experiment.  When confronted by cops, Jack falls into the waste, only to transform into a monster who preys on hapless victims through their toilets.  With the towns biggest chili contest of the year coming up, it’s up to the police to stop him before the entire population are sitting ducks to the homicidal dookie.

While placing much of its humour in the toilet bowl where it belongs, the funniest thing about Monsturd is how the actors play it all straight faced. Take the little girl who informs her father that there’s a giant doodoo in the bathroom saying naughty words, only to have him go check it out just to shut her up and end up devoured as a result.  Later when the police take the girls statement, they draw up a sketch of their stinky culprit and make put it atop their most wanted list.  Or, take the scene where the cops drive around pleading with citizens to crap in buckets because their lives are in danger if they use their toilets.  Instead of relying primarily on gross out gags, Monsturd makes an effort to create funny characters going through the motions of a murder investigation.  It’s full of hilarious character interactions and plenty of moments that elevate it from the pan; but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its fair share of vomit, poop and blood either.  It just doesn’t rely on it.

The Monsturd – or The Shitman as it likes to call itself – looks fantastic. Taking the old school approach of man-in-rubber-suit, it gives the movie an 80’s charm.  The monsters weaknesses are that of actual poo; to hurt the monster, treat it as you would any regular, everyday deuce.  Flies damage Shitman, and in this world, you can keep them locked in pet cages with holes in them.  Be sure to stack up on toilet paper as well to combat this threat; equip your head with diapers just in case things get ugly; be sure to load up on dissolving spray as if it were bullets, and, to lure the the beast towards you, make fart noises.  Common sense.  Duh.

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The whole movie is actually much better than you’d expect; for a start it looks as good – if not better – than most micro-budget features.  On paper it might sound like a Troma movie, but it looks much better than all of them. The filmmakers also make use of great locations, like a prison for example, where they shot footage on the sly during a tour.  All of the FX are impressive and satisfying, and in those regards, it’s full of surprises. All in all, it’s a more than passable creature feature loaded with fun, charm and excrement.

Monsturd is a nugget of gold in the endless swarm of trashy independent horror movies; it might be a big doddle of crap, but it’s crap with enough sweetcorn jammed in it to make for a satisfying meal.  Much better than any assumptions would expect and unlike anything you’re ever likely to see again, this is number 2 plays second fiddle to no one and isn’t likely going to be one you’ll want to flush away after seeing it.  Ignore my awful puns and pick this up.  Monsturd is the Citizen Kane of killer poop epics.  7/10

Written & Directed By:

Dan West & Rick Popko

Starring:

Paul Weiner, Beth West, Dan Burr, Brad Dosland

Genre:

Comedy Horror

Running Time:

80 mins

Movie Review: Society (1989)

Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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As a lifelong horror fan, I don’t think the genre gets the credit it deserves: when it comes to making statements about the world we live in, it’s rare you’ll see a horror movie praised for its themes outside of the community of us weirdos who love them so much.  The reality is: horror has always looked at society through a magnifying glass and created true-to-life social commentary as a result. Of course, many of the classics have garnered acclaim and legacies by the general consensus over time, but most of the time horror is dismissed as nonsense. The reason I’m bringing this up is because movies like Brian Yuzna’s Society don’t get the credit they deserve as more than camp, disgusting body horror.  Granted, when it’s all said and done you’ll sit there for 20 minutes afterwards wondering what the hell you just watched; some of you might even laugh out loud at its obvious intended humour; others might even feel sick to their stomach.  However, what Society does do is provide an excellent satire on the unfairness of social class structures and how the rich exploit the poor.  Whether our political or sociological views agree with this ideology is irrelevant; but there is no denying it gets its own point of view across effectively.  Intellectual Mumbo Jumbo crap aside, Society is a hilarious, twisted and downright bizarre 80’s gem.

Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) lives in a Beverley Hills mansion with his rich family consisting of his 2 parents and sister Jenny (Patrice Jennings).  He has a hot girlfriend, he’s a star player on the school basketball team and he’s in the running for class president.  However, he’s never been able to shake the feeling that he doesn’t quite fit in.  In fact, he’s convinced that he’s adopted.  His sister is on the verge of adulthood, therefore she’s about to join the neighborhood society of the elite upper class; this sets off a series of bizarre events and Billy finds a disturbing recording of his sister and parents having an odd conversation to say the least.  Soon things start getting weirder – and Bill is about to make his contribution to the society.

Society is part coming of age drama, part suburban nightmare: as teenagers we all felt out of place occasionally, and here it plays on this idea to paranoid effect.  It also employs incestuous undertones between Billy and his sister, and overtones between his sister and parents, making for one of the most dysfunctional families in the history of cinema.  As Billy’s paranoia increases, so does danger.  He finds out the truth about the secret society his family, peers and neighbours are a part of – and it results in a climax I can promise you’ll never forget.

The core theme of Society, however, is the gulf in power between classes and how the rich exploit the poor.  Billy represents the working class and the sole reason he was adopted by rich parents was for the gain of their secret club.  That’s all I’m going to say about that because I don’t want to spoil the treats; just know that their plans are demented and unlike anything a movie has ever shown – or will show again for that matter.

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Society doesn’t offer much in the way of gore and splatter; but fans of the gruesome stuff need not fret because there’s enough disgusting melting and  grotesque body transmogrification to put you off eggs for a fortnight.  The special effects were courtesy of Nick Benson, who worked on classics such as Tremors (1990) and The Blob (1988).  Brian Yuzna movies are always good for beautifully disgusting imagery, but Society is his pinnacle.

If you want to see a movie that’s odd, sick, hilarious and fucked up, while being entirely unique at the same time, then Society is for you.  I think all horror fans should see it at least once, but those who fall in love with it will keep going back to it just for that final 20 minutes of… something else.  An underrated classic from the 80’s and one of my all time personal favourites.  It makes for an excellent triple feature with Parents (1989) and Pin (1988) for a night of weird family festivities.  10/10

Directed By:

Brian Yuzna

Written By:

Rick Fry & Woody Keith

Starring:

Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, Patrice Jennings

Genre:

Horror, Comedy

Running Time:

99 mins

Movie Review: Gargoyle (2004)

AcionHorror, Fantasy Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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Jim Wynorski (also known as Jay Andrews and other names) is responsible for cult classics such as the killer robot riot Chopping Mall (1986) and the hilarious Return of Swamp Thing (1989), along with hundreds of other titles which fit into the beloved unofficial sub-genre of ”so bad it’s good.”  I haven’t seen enough of his movies (because that would take forever and I don’t expect to live as long as that), but, from the little I have seen, his movies have been a trashy good time.  I went into Gargoyle: Wings of Darkness without any prior knowledge of the existence of the flick at all: but I like gargoyles and Netflix reviewers seemed to enjoy it, so I took a chance.  Needless to say I was not disappointed; for a brain switcher offer, this delivered an abundance of daft entertainment to waste a few brain cells to.  Mindless fun was what I needed and Gargoyle was the sweet, filling box of popcorn to satisfy my craving.

In the 1980’s Michael Pare was a star for awhile; Streets of Fire (1984) is the role he’s most remembered for, but since the 90’s his career has relegated to mostly straight-to-video action and horror movies that only get watched by connoisseurs of cheese such as myself.  Gargoyle probably isn’t one of his proudest moments, in which he plays a CIA agent sent to Romania to investigate a kidnapping only to be confronted with a centuries old computer generated gargoyle hellbent on the Apocalypse.

It opens in 1532 where a gargoyle is terrorizing attacking a village.  A priest and a hot village woman manage to put a brief stop to the beast and trap it underground.  Fast forward to the present day and the gargoyle is loose in Romania once again and it’s up to a poor mans Mulder and Scully to put a stop to it.  Halfway through the movie there’s a ridiculous sub-plot introduced involving a cult that makes little to no sense at all; but that’s not to say it isn’t welcomed.

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The special effects aren’t the worst you’ll ever see, the lines are witty and the acting is the right amount of bad.  There’s plenty of action involving gargoyle attacks and car chases to ensure the movie is never boring.  For an entertaining time passer, it fits the criteria and I’d go as far to call it a little underrated gem; albeit a crappy one.  It’s not completely inept – just really cheap and ridiculous.  7/10 (for pure entertainment factor).

Directed By:

Jim Wynorski

Written By:

Michael Pare, Sandra Hess, Fintan McKeown

Genre:

Horror, Action, Fantasy

Movie Review: Bad Milo (2013)

Creature Feature, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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We’ve all dreamed of killing our horrible bosses, colleagues and peers; but we’d never actually go through with it, would we?  Bad Milo meshes the repressed male murder fantasy with the small creature feature caper to create a funny, gory and oddly touching horror comedy about the fears and frustrations of everyday life and transition to fatherhood – manifested through the little monster who lives in his butt.

Duncan is an average guy who works at an average office job. One day he starts to get pains in his stomach whenever he’s feeling stressed and things get worse every time he tries to bury it inside. As the stress grows, it becomes a little creature living inside him, and it exits through his butt to kill everyone who causes him stress in his life, until one day it targets his wife and must be stopped.

At work, Duncan is pressured by his boss to lay off employees and do his dirty work; at home he’s pressured by his wife to start a family he isn’t quite ready for.  Once he loses his job when the company is audited by the FBI for shady practices, his stress levels are high and his little butt monster goes on a killing spree.  His therapist, played by the always excellent Peter Stormare, encourages Duncan to bond with Milo (the monster) and this is where the movie has a heart warming, adorable center.  When Milo isn’t killing, he’s a cute lovable little rascal who’ll make even the most ardent August Underground fan beam and say, ”AWWWW.”

Bad Milo is a lavish production with a known name cast including Patrick Warburton (Family Guy, Ted, Rules of Engagement), Gillian Jacobs (Community) and Ken Marino (Wet Hot American Summer) as the lead, Duncan.  If Frank Hennenlotter ever went mainstream then this might be the end result; while sporting a non-horror cast and higher budget than most creature features, it still delivers all the necessary requirements of gore, humour and chaos.

A smart, funny, deranged and heart warming creature feature that never takes itself seriously: Bad Milo is a great way to spend 90 minutes.  If you like laughs, practical effects and gore with a story that tugs at your heart strings, then see this immediately.  8/10 

Directed By:

Jacob Vaughn

Written By:

Jacob Vaughn & Benjamin Hayes

Starring:

Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Patrick Warburton

Genre:

Comedy Horror

Running Time:

88 mins

Movie Review: Night of the Tentacles (2013)

Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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Dustin Mills’ Night of the Tentacles is a Faustian tale of terror with a twist; inspired by the likes of Frank Hennenlotter and Roger Corman, it provides a new take on classic tale while sprinkling it with inspiration taken from Basket Case and Little Shop of Horrors.  Dave (Brandon Salkil) is a down-on-his-luck erotic sci-fi artist whose simple joy is listening to his pregnant neighbour masturbate as he too rubs one out.  One day, while stroking the purple headed yogurt slinger, he has a heart attack, only to be given a dodgy ticker.  Not one to miss out on a deal, Satan appears and offers him a new heart in exchange for his soul; the replacement heart lives in a box instead of his chest, but it works just the same as a regular heart.  The only difference is it must be fed twice a week with people meat or else the deal is off.  Surrounded by terrible neighbours, it’s a deal Dave can live with – until the tentacled heart tries to eat his lovely pregnant neighbor Esther (Nicole Gerty) that is.

Esther aside, Dave couldn’t have picked a better buffet for his heart to munch on; the couple next door are constantly having sex which the whole building can here, for a start.  Then there’s the woman who threatens to kill his beloved dog if he doesn’t stop flushing his toilet because the sounds of the faulty pipes annoy her when she pees.  Lastly, there’s his hilarious and perverted landlord (played by Mills) who embodies sleaziness.  But eventually he runs out of neighbours, which only leaves Esther and her unborn baby…

Needless to say, there’s plenty of toilet humour in Night of the Tentacles, but it’s so packed with invention, imagination and heart that it rises above most low brow horror comedies.  That being said, the toilet humour is indeed hilarious: try not to stifle a laugh as Belial, an agent of Satan and reference to Basket Case, asks Dave if he’d like to be farted on so he can masturbate, for example.  Regular laughs will be had throughout, with the bulk of them coming from Dave’s monster heart with its British accent and camp, condescending nature.

The special effects are cheap and charming, but impressive considering the budget was under $2000.  If you can appreciate micro-budget movies you won’t be disappointed, but bare in mind this is home made filmmaking, so if that doesn’t appeal to you then you’ll probably be put off with its cheapness.  Like all of Mills’ projects, he works wonders with what he has to create something grander in scope than it has any right to be.  He’s a superb talent who makes unconventional movies with unique concepts and experimental ideas.  Up until now, they’ve all been a treat and Night of the Tentacles is tasty.  8/10

Written & Directed By:

Dustin Mills

Starring:

Brandon Salkil, Nicole Gerty, Dustin Mills, Jackie McKown

Genre:

Horror Comedy

Running Time:

90 min

Movie Review: Highway To Hell (1991)

fantasy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Review

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The legend of Orepheus and Eurydice in Greek mythology is about a man who enters the underworld to reclaim his wife from the clutches of Hades, after her unfortunate death on their wedding day to a vipers sting as she danced in the meadow with her bridesmaids.  The movie Highway To Hell is about a bride-to-be (played by the luscious Kristy Swanson) who gets kidnapped and taken to Hell by Hell Cop as her husband-to-be (Chad Lowe) pursues.  Guess which one I prefer?

Rachel and Charlie are young lovers who take a desert back road on their way to Vegas, where they plan to marry before the night is out.  On the way they stop for gas, where the old attendant begs them to turn back, but when they refuse, he warns them not to fall asleep between 2 Joshua trees further up the road.  Of course, they fall asleep and a demonic police officer appears, kidnaps Rachel and takes her to Hell.  Charlie returns to the gas station immediately where the attendant informs him he only has 24 hours to enter Hell and get her back or else they’ll be trapped there for eternity.  Armed with a special car and a gun, he travels the highway into Hell and proceeds to get his woman back, while running into various hurdles on the way.

Hell itself is a vast desert highway with biker gangs, bad service diners, horny demons, obnoxious cooks, strip clubs and road service providers who like to insult stranded drivers down the phone.  It mirrors some of the real worlds most common everyday complaints; abusive police officers, busy traffic, poor restaurant service and obnoxious telephone workers are just a few of the real world lows represented in Hell to great comedic effect.  Furthermore, there’s a great nod to the old phrase, ”the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

Highway To Hell was written by Brian Helgeland, whose previous writing credits included A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) and 976-Evil (1988).  He would then go on to have writing credits on classics like L.A. Confidential (1997), Man On Fire (2004) and Mystic River (2003).  The director Ate de Jong directed the cult classic Drop Dead Fred (1991), before going on to mainly Dutch films after Highway To Hell.

I love this movie with all my heart: it’s a fun, smart, campy, romantic, action-packed adventure that jizzes imagination all over the screen.  This is a popcorn classic that’ll bring you a lot of mindless entertainment and joy on a dark, wet night or bright Summer’s eve as the sun is about to set.  I give this a… 10/10 

Directed By:

Ate de Jong

Written By:

Brian Helgeland

Starring:

Kristy Swanson, Chad Lowe, Patrick Bergin

Genre:

Horror, Comedy, Fantasy

Running Time:

94 min

Movie: Review: Father’s Day (2011)

Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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If you don’t know who Astron-6 are by now then you’re missing out on a joy that’s better than sex and pooping combined: these misfits of Canadian independent cinema have taken the genre film world by storm; inheriting the spirit of Full Moon and Empire Pictures to create low-budget strokes of schlock genius for those of us still living in video store nostalgia and grindhouse drive-ins.  In 2011, they made Father’s Day on a budget that wouldn’t even cover catering on a Michael Bay movie; which was then released through Troma to instant cult classic status.  This should give you a good idea of what you’re in store for; but believe me, when I tell you, that no first time viewer will be prepared for the demented treats in store for them here.  Father’s Day is out-of-box, balls-splattered-on-the-wall filmmaking at it’s most gleefully unhinged.  And it’s where my instant love affair with Astron-6 began.

The jest of Father’s Day is this: A serial killer is on the loose again after a 30 year hiatus.  He goes by the name of Charles Fuchman (Mackenzie Murdock), otherwise known as ”The Father’s Day Killer” – a nickname earned by raping dads.  The re-emergence of the killer doesn’t go unnoticed by the church, and young priest, Father Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy), is sent to recruit disgraced vigilante Ahab (Adam Brooks), who now resides in solitude making maple syrup after failing to stop the killer in the past.  Hesitant at first, Ahab finally agrees to help out, and with the aid of his stripper sister Chelsea (Amy Groening), Father Sullivan and teen prostitute Twink (Conor Sweeney) they set out to put a stop to the killer once and for all.

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Father’s Day is a man on adventure movie set to the styling of a 70’s grindhouse revenge nasty.  It follows a group of unlikely heroes as they journey into Hell in search of the vicious dad raping serial killer = who enjoys biting off male genitalia after putting his own in their butt.  To say more about the story would ruin everything; just know that it’s wildly unpredictable, sexy and gross.

Unlike most neo-Grindhouse films; which harken back to drive-in theatres and sperm soaked multiplexes, Astron-6 present their package in the style of a late night television channel.  The faux-grain and style makes it look like a Troma feature that’s been unearthed from the vaults; but Astron-6 surpass Sir Lloyd Kauffman’s gang by possessing a better craft for storytelling, along with funnier gags and higher concept ideas.

What starts out as a simple revenge quickly escalates into a whirlwind of insanity that needs to be seen to be believed – and even then you’ll come out of it speechless.  Father’s Day is disgusting and wacky, but it packs more imagination, heart and passion into it’s micro-budget than movies which are financially insurmountable in comparison.  If you like your films with caution thrown to the wind, made by people with mental problems, then this is for you.  10/10

Written & Directed By:

Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney, and Steven Kostanski (Astron-6)

Starring:

Adam Brooks, Mackenzie Murdock and Matthew Kennedy, Amy Groening

Genre:

Action, Comedy, Horror

Running Time:

99 min

Movie Review: Suburban Gothic (2014)

Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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Richard Bates Jr. arrived on the scene in 2012 with Excision – a teen angst dark comedy that was as bold as it was bloody.  His newest feature Suburban Gothic on the other hand couldn’t be any more different to it’s predecessor: if Excision is black then Suburban Gothic is white, but they do share similarities in terms of laughs and strong characters who’ll resonate with most average human beings to some degree.  With Suburban Gothic, Bates has delivered a supernatural comedy that’s sure to brighten many a dull day and it’s sure to bring out the inner child of the most ardent horror fan.

Suburban Gothic is an innocent spooky caper about down-on-his-luck twenty-something, Raymond (Matthew Gray Gubler), who can’t find work after college and is forced to move back in with his parents; much to the dismay of his overbearing, slightly racist father who resents him.  Upon returning to his home town he sticks out like a sore thumb and it doesn’t take long for him to remember why he left in the first place.  It also doesn’t take long for old childhood demons to resurface in the form of ghosts after an old chest with a dead body inside is unearthed in Ray’s back garden.  Now with a spook on the loose it’s up to Ray and the sassy bartender Becca (Kat Dennings) to solve the mystery and help the ghost cross over to the afterlife.

Suburban Gothic reminded me of a Scooby Doo cartoon with some of Peter Jackson’s underrated classic The Frighteners (1996) thrown in for good measure.  It’s a teen supernatural comedy the whole family can enjoy every Halloween, with some coming-of-age themes that are sure to resonate with those at a lost point in their lives.  However, more than anything it’s sure to keep you laughing for its duration with the exchanges between the characters; particularly Ray and his father (Ray Wise), whose dysfunctional relationship provides the bulk of the entertainment.  Ray just doesn’t live up to his fathers expectations, and Ray Wise’s portrayal of a close minded hard ass is scene stealing.

Of course, no good character driven comedy works without funny central characters, and thankfully Gubler and Dennings have great chemistry as a double team of likeable outcasts hunting down ghosts.  Dennings is her typical smarmy self and Gubler is wonderfully sarcastic and awkward in the face of all adversity.

The effects do look quite cheap but intentionally so to add to the innocent charm of the film; the only scenes which are close to being violent are the back story of the ghosts murder, but even then it’s nothing that’s going to scar the mind and soul of the pre-pubescent.

Suburban Gothic is a much needed feel good horror film for the whole family to enjoy.  This is the type of movie children will grow up, much like Ghostbusters (1984) and Monster Squad (1987) did for past generations of budding horror fanatics.  It’s a silly, fun, oddball romp with human themes we can all relate to.  Richard Bates Jr. is the future of horror and it’ll be interesting to see what he comes out with next.  8/10

Directed By:

Richard Bates Jr.

Written By:

Richard Bates Jr. & Mark Bruner

Starring:

Michael Gray Gubler, Kat Dennings, Ray Wise

Genre:

Comedy, Horror

Running Time:

90 min