Friday, November 30, 2012

"The Howling 4: The Original Nightmare" - - Just Goo It

Ever wonder what a werewolf movie would be like without werewolves? I know I haven't. But The Howling 4: The Original Nightmare was made anyways.

For the first, oh, hour and 10 minutes, there are no werewolves shown or even talked about. What is going on during that period of time then, you ask because you talk out loud to blogs. Well, there's ghosts! Because what's a werewolf movie without ghosts, right!?

Despite the fact that the main character hears howling every night, and every day walks up to someone and says "I hear an odd noise last night. I heard . . .a howling." there are NO WEREWOLVES until the last 15 minutes.

And then they are everywhere. But before the werewolves invade we are treated to one the longest, most disgusting, and most ridiculous werewolf transformation scenes filmed.

As opposed to all those realistic werewolf transformation films we saw in Health Class.

I think if, in between man and wolf, you turn into a puddle of goo, you're not a werewolf. You're a weregoo that turns INTO a werewolf! Also, do they have to go through this disgusting process every single time, or do lifelong werewolves get an EZ Pass and just shift from man to monster? If not, who cleans up the piles of goo every morning?

Anyways, once the werewolves do show up, there's about 15 minutes of running around being chased by actors with sharp teeth and pale skin but they are not vampires!

"I vant to suck your blood . . .or turn you into goo, either or."

In the end, there's a showdown in the old town bell tower where they meet this guy:

"Does anyone know how to get to Fraggle Rock?"

Oh but the Howling 4 needs more than just a grotesque looking guy, right? I mean what's a werewolf movie without a scene where a man rips his own face off?

"You were right, Janice. There are werewolves . . .just not until the last 15 minutes."

At the end of that clip, you can hear one of the women say "We must destroy them according to the legend!" So silver bullets. right?

Nope! They blow them up!

*As bad as this movie was, it was better than the last werewolf movie I watched called Night Terror. The werewolf in that also didn't show up until the end, and they killed it by hitting it with a car.

Werewolves are actually one of the scariest movie monsters but for some reason they have the highest suck ratio as far as their films go. For every 8 Howlings there's one "Dog Soldiers."

Now that is how you make a werewolf movie. And there actually are 8 Howling movies, including "The Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf"


So that's why my sister's bed was always covered in goo!

"Foolish" - - "I don't think P knew what movie we were making."

Foolish is a movie that fails so hard, even the Closed Captioning has some serious issues. Now, I get that whoever did the Closed Captioning for this may not be up on the latest street slang, but at this point who doesn't know the proper way to spell it is "Nigga?" Either A) Racists or B) People who shouldn't be captioning a Master P film.

In the next scene, all the the captions just read "Oooga Booga" and "Where da white wimmin!!!"

The movie itself is a mixture of stand-up comedy from "Foolish Waise" aka Eddie Griffin as himself and a bizarre mafia subplot that is dropped in the middle of the second act. In fact, the last half hour of the movie is a stand up set so the entire plot is dropped at that point.

In between we get: Foolish talking to ghosts, Foolish chasing his girlfriend around with a baseball bat, Foolish talking about getting another girl pregnant six years ago (which is only noteworthy because the actress they chose for the part, but we'll get to that later), and Master P acting how you would expect him to act: badly.

I think Eddie Griffin is funny. I know that Master P sucks. Going into this film, I figured the two would balance each other out for a purely mediocre film. So why did it cross the Rubicon into the land of unwatchable (It took me three days to watch it after falling asleep twice)?

Well, for that we have to go to the director's commentary, where we learn such gems as:

1) Master P personally funded the film, so he had himself put in as a co-star but would only be on set for 15 minutes at a time. His limited availability caused whole chunks of the mafia subplot to be taken out but . . .

2) P put the mafia subplot into the script in the first place. It was originally a semi-biographical story of Eddie Griffin's life until Master P said he would fund the film. Between the two competing narratives there were 15 rewrites of the script (including one where they shoot a man to death in the second scene. What a laugh riot!)

3) P insisted that he have a romantic scene with every female, leaving Eddie with no love interest.

4) P hated shooting outside, where at one point the director had to argue with him to get him to stand outside for an establishing shot. The scene had to be shot in 5 minutes.

5) Foolish's ex, the one he had a relationship with 6 years ago was supposed to be played by Lela Rochon but on the first day she was on set her and Master P got in a "disagreement" (the director tiptoed around what happened, but I assumed he tried to make her say "uhnnnn"). The character is a lawyer who helps them set up their own comedy club. While the director is trying to recast the part, Master P shows up with a girl who looks barely 18 and says "Here's the new actress!" An 18 year old lawyer. Who Foolish got pregnant 6 years ago.

"Clap if you don't know how to make a movie!"

In the original script, it was based on the real life exploits of Eddie Griffin's days in the clubs. But as the title changed from "Tears of a Clown" to "Foolish," the highs and lows of Eddie's story got lost. It was at the point when Master P changed the name of the film that the director lamented "I don't think P knew what movie we were making." It turns out Eddie did, in real life, have huge fights with his girlfriend and in turn smashed up his own car with a baseball bat. Compelling stuff. I'd watch that movie.

But P wanted a scene where they did a home invasion wearing "funny masks." (The director stated this was one scene P insisted having in the film.) There was supposed to be a scene where Master P boxed Mike Tyson . . .why?

Although, watching Master P get punched in the face would have made this movie my favorite film of all time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"The Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver" -- . . . .and then Hitler showed up to save the day!

This is not the dumbest part of this movie.

No, scenes like that are not the worst parts of this movie. In fact, the worst part was there weren't enough of them.
The intro to the movie is a spoof of The Silent of the Lambs, and in that part it is successful. It's not very funny, but it works as a parody where it makes subtle changes to the overly serious Hannibal Lecter scene. >
Next, we find The Gingerdead Man (ok I'm shortening that to G-Man) breaking into a time machine lab and traveling back to 1976 and that's where the movie really derails.

About 10 minutes in.

I get it, it's a goofy comedy/horror. I'm not judging it on its cheesiness or bad CGI or any of that because that stuff comes with the territory, But the next hour and 20 minutes is a "parody" of Carrie, as in it is the plot of Carrie.

Instead of seeing a killer confectionary, we see the trials and tribulations of a young outcast girl with telekinesis who falls in love with shoe rental guy, makes enemies with the reigning Roller Boogie queen, gets yelled at by her weird Aunt (who honestly I thought was a man and was going to be a parody of Psycho), and gets pig blood dumped on her, at which point The Gingerdead Man shows up and the movie enters its final act.

There were some cool deaths, like when G-Man hooks a hose up to some acid during a bikini car wash . . .

Or maybe she got bit by a werewolf

There were some funny lines, and some laughingly bad effects but to get to those you had to watch 20 minutes of melodrama The G-Man killed somebody and then back to 20 more minutes of teen angst set to a terrible faux-70's soundtrack that played over and over again.

And then Hitler shows up! Oh, you wacky movie you, I never would have expected that. But by the time he does (he's a good guy in this by the way) the movie has lost all it's charm for me. I did laugh when Jeffrey Dahmer jumped into a time portal screaming "Canibonga!" in spite of myself though.

This movie could have been better. That's the worst thing I can say about it; this movie disappointed me. It wasn't as funny or crazy as the premise allowed or the title promised. To simply use the plot of Carrie without making it a parody is lazy and lazy filmmaking is boring.

Good acting, hot chicks, some nice death scenes, fun villain + Terrible, boring plot = terrible, boring movie.

*Also, here's a tip for future film writers: Actors love scenes where they get to lay in bed, because what's better than showing up to work to lie down for 8 hours? It takes a long time to shoot even the shortest scenes. So before you write a script where 90% of the cast spends every scene in rollerskates, make sure you have a good enough plot to justify their discomfort. Just a tip.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Convict 762" -- More like 76Booo!

"and . . .(looks around the room to make sure he's not hiding in the recording booth) Billy Drago." I can imagine Billy cornering the trailer narrator and saying "You tell anyone I'm in that film and I'll cut your throat!"

Yeah, this movie was lame. I won't worry about giving away plot points in this review like I avoided with my review of Fortress, but if you don't like spoilers, I'll give you some advance warning.

No, I lied. Convict 762 is a ghost. I think.

Here's the set-up: A spaceship crew (like Alien) has to land on a hostile planet (like Alien) where they encounter a hostile element (like Alien) that kills them one by one (like Baby Geniuses 2). The whole "mystery" of this movie is who is Convict 762? Is it the handsome guy who beats them up and runs away, or the weird looking old guy who beats them up and runs away?

Decisions, decisions.

The whole movie is set up so you don't know who Convict 762 is, but it could have been easily solved by just, I don't know, making the prisoners remove their clothes and look for tattoos.

OK, the more I write the more I'm remembering. The movie is them constantly fact checking these two men's stories, and the computer is like "Yep, that's the right guy. He really is a guard." but then at the end he's 762! And then there's this NSFW scene of the captain and one of the prisoners getting it on with some hot monkey sex . . .

Sorry, so sorry for that. Wrong video. But why does it have "convict 762" in it's search terms? Why would anyone . . .out of all the search terms . . .

If you got off on that video, you are on a government watch list now.

How many times did they show his back? 3? 4? But it's not until the end of the sex scene (which was hot before Alex Jones decided to re-dub it) that we see the DUN DUN DUN 762 tattoo on his back. And that's pretty much this whole move in a nutshell. It's all about misdirection, even if the misdirection directly contradicts what you have just seen two seconds earlier.

This movie isn't even so bad it's good; it's just lame. And boring. It had no sense of space. You never knew where the characters are at in relation to each other. When you look at effective horror/slasher/suspense movies there is a sense of location: here is the kitchen, here's the storage bay, here's the cockpit, etc. so when we see something happening in one location we know if the character we are watching is in danger as well, how far away rescue is, and so on. Alien did this well, hell the House on Haunted Hill remake did it well. It's not rocket science and on a low budget film with limited locations it should be easier. But sometimes in Convict 762 I didn't know they were off of the ship until they were banging on the airlock to get in.

So in Convict 762 a ghost? I don't know. Was it the guy from the sex scene with the 762 tattooed on his back? No. He actually just had that number on his back because Convict 762 scarred it on him, but then the other prisoner, the old weirdo,  earlier in the film was casting was a spell to kill Convict 762  (or something, he was just yelling "I'm going to kill Convict 762" and spreading dust around himself for two minutes straight) but then at the end HE'S Convict 762 but then at the very very end you see a video of the old weirdo explaining that YOU are Convict 762!!!!

No, I'm not making that up.

This is worse than the controversial Inception ending where I found out I was the top.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Video Vandals

Welcome to the first post of the Video Vandals. I have the flu so I'm going to make this brief. Each week we'll be reviewing movies that are either direct to DVD, had limited theater releases, or are so old you probably forgot they existed. Now, if my knowledge of blogs is correct, this intro will appear on the bottom of any future posts, so I don't even know why I'm writing this!