Archive for » November, 2007 «

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Camp Utopia

Directed by: Robert Madero

Sometime back in the 70′s, there was a rock star who decided he had enough with the rock star life and disappeared from the ‘scene’. A few years later he resurfaced as the guru Timothy Bach and started a free love commune out in the woods. Everybody was happy and high as a kite until one day Mr. Bach lost his shit and killed everybody with a machete. (DO NOT EAT THE BROWN ACID) Jump to present day; five college kids are going for a camping trip and to make things spookier and more exciting, they want to camp on the land of Back’s Camp Utopia. Settling in to their camp site all is well until the girls stop putting out and people start to disappear in the night!

To kick this off, I will state that this is a cheap flick. There is a lot of low budget horror out there and in many cases this should not deter you from watching them. There are some true low budget gems out there. With “Camp Utopia” the opening sequence of The Guru’s love camp in the 70′s, while still showing its low budget roots, was still stylishly shot and enjoyable to take in. The blood and guts shown in the ensuing massacre were campy and over the top, but that’s a good thing. Buckets of blood and rolling heads are fun, and knowing they had a low budget, it shows that they still put in some good effort to get a presentable product as opposed to some red food coloring slapped about. With that in mind, you can imagine my dismay when the opening credit sequence finished. It all went down hill pretty fast from there.

Our basic plot driving “Camp Utopia” is a decent one; a drug crazed free love guru goes nuts and carves up his disciples. A fairly original turn and the irony of it is enough to make you smile. Even with the twists and turns written in and loose attempts and red herrings were acceptable even though they were clumsy; it’s a slasher flick, it’s what they do. What brought this movie down from mediocre to ‘oh god is it over yet’ is the lackluster cast driving it. Feeling rather stiff throughout and more importantly, annoying as F%#&, the cast manages to annoy and fumble through deliveries enough to pull you out of the movie. Sounding much like a group of high school kids screwing around at the lunch table I was holding my breath in anticipation of a random ‘Like….totally’ throwback to Valley. When you have a weak plot and no budget, you cannot have a cast that makes you hope for their deaths from get go. We need at least one person we can get behind and feel slightly bad for when they die. With this cast it was a matter of making a list as I watched on who I wanted to go first. Except for Ranger Rogers; I liked him, he had a good Carl Spackler vibe to him. (Gungagalunga.) His interaction with his toy poodle actually got a few laughs out of me. But when your viewers come out of a flick relating most to the sleazy minor character? You have problems.

So, the cast is annoying; there’s still a chance for this one to be saved when they get whacked, right? Unfortunately, no. Slasher flicks are just that; people getting brutally slashed by a killer. That’s part of the draw and why we rent them. With “Camp Utopia”, we don’t see anybody die. With most of the deaths consisting of either somebody taking one shot to the head from behind, or simply being discovered mutilated, the critical element to the genre was missing. Since there wasn’t anything to get behind with the cast or the killings, there wasn’t much to get behind at all. Again, the exception to this rule was Ranger Rogers. He at least kept things interesting.

So yes, “Camp Utopia” has some major issues. It’s rather slow, there is nothing going on mayhem wise, and the cast…well, I’ve driven my point home on them. There are some good things here though, if not few and far between. Some of the slight jokes against hippies were pretty funny and the killers rants to its dead mother were pretty entertaining as well. Unfortunately there was nothing else there to back it up. And the fact that the killer decided to do the deeds after smoking the Guru’s long lost stash of weed? That was pretty funny too.

In the end, the killer was at least effective; I feel like I lost two hours of my life as well.

1 whacked out stoner out of 5

NOTE: I also wanted to add, quite possibly the most disturbing thing out of all of this was that the main survivor girl? She looked like Jason Mewes with boobs. That’s pretty scary.

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Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 | Author: Colleen Criswell

Demon Summer

A while back I posted a review for “The Red Skulls”, written, directed, produced, and staring Andrew and Lucas Campbell. Today I found I had another one of their films, “Demon Summer”. It was in a video 4 pack called Skinned Alive; seeing as how I got a kick out of “The Red Skulls” I thought I should check this one out as well. This film is earlier in the brother’s career so I knew I was digressing a bit and wasn’t expecting anything of high caliber.

As I watched the film I recognized a number of the key players that were in “Red Skulls”. Very much like when I watch a Christopher Guest movie and see the same people playing different roles, I was interested in seeing if the same held true for this group.

Eh… not really.

Ryan Maille who played the silent Romeo in Skulls, actually had lines in this one as “Kid”. Though his younger self was still a cutie, I think I liked his portrayal of Romeo better.

We have the same type of characters, really. Instead of gangs we have cliques of young people. We are treated with all the emotions of high school angst such as hormones and fights and wanting to be noticed. The writing was good, I will give them that much.

With that said, it is obviously a low budget film; they did a good job of working with what they had however many of the scenes were way too dark. The performers, just as with Skulls, were obviously not trained professionals. It came across as a lot of kids who got a hold of a camcorder and decided to make a movie. The performances were about high school play quality. But, like I said, they had to work with what they had.

Another issue I had was the whole age factor through out the movie. Now I understand that with no budget you will have a hard time finding actors, however an adult should somewhat look like an adult rather than the same age as the kids. The cop and Crazy Bob looked no older than the other actors in the movie. More than likely they were the same age; however it made the whole idea of them in these roles as laughable.

I will state again, I do look forward to seeing more of the Campbell brother’s films, I think they really do have a good future in film making if they could only get a decent budget and actual actors.

2 discussions on anal sex out of 5

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Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Ladies and germs, it’s that time once again.

In this episode we cover Black Sheep, Hitman, The Mist, this week’s DVD releases as well as the most interesting in horror news from last week. Plus, Eric takes the first ever live pee in Podcast history.

How can you pass that up?

Click here to download!

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Monday, November 26th, 2007 | Author: Colleen Criswell

Amateur Porn Star Killer

So, today I picked up one of the movies on the stack of films that
have been sent to us to review. Today’s film du-jour was “Amateur Porn
Star Killer” written directed and starring Shane Ryan. The movie which was filmed in entirety on a handheld video camera, is about a young man named Brandon who picks up a girl who claims to be 18 (played by the co-writer Michiko Jimenez ) who is waiting on a ride. He invites her back to his hotel room to make a movie, then after a very awkward
interview period, he rapes and kills her.

The main focus on the movie is in reality, the urban legend of the snuff film. The beginning of the movie we get a little background on the “myth” of the snuff film. There is still a lot of controversy over whether there is or is not such a thing. There has never been any actual movie that has been found to be genuine so at this time it is still just considered a myth. The ending of the movie gives us a little information on our killer; that he is still at large and that he apparently rented movies and then replaced them with his own films. Very much like “The Last Horror Film”.

Now from the get go we know what the movie is about. It says so right on the movie case; “This young girl will be humiliated, raped, murdered. And you will watch.” Unfortunately what it doesn’t tell you is that you get to enjoy the homemade movie of Mr. Ryan and his wife during the entirety of the film. Now don’t get me wrong, I have
nothing against a home video like that, however it had nothing at all to do with the movie. I mean if they made it out to look like it was the film that he taped over, that would make more sense but they didn’t do that. And then throughout the movie, you would see in the corner a window with them having sex, which was distracting, however it did give you something to focus on during the rather tedious parts
of the movie.

So we have the young girl who claims to be 18… Then she says no, she is 16… And then she says she is actually 13. And then we have Brandon, our host for the evening, who says he is 18. We see Brandon as a personable and fairly attractive young man, very much like Jeffrey Dahmer was said to be. Unfortunately, with the soft spoken lines and the rather boring build up to give it realism, which I am sure is the point, it also made me sit there looking at my watch and reaching for my DS. The rape didn’t seem like much of a rape to me, either. There was a showing of dominance, yes; she just sort of laid there like a rag doll and really gave us nothing to truly sympathize with. It just seemed overly choreographed and rather tedious. Where it is obvious that it was shot with a low quality camera, again adding to the realism of the film, the poor lighting, the odd angles and the shots of the floor and ceiling made the movie a bit annoying. I mean, I understand why it was filmed in this way but I would think that if this guy who we later understand has made the most wanted list in 10 states and has had over 81 films found, that he would at least know what he was doing giving us a better production.

With serial killers, they are usually very particular on how they do things. The drive is for a specific reason, not just the want to kill; there is something more to it. In video taping the kill he is showing that he wants to see his dominance, wants the world to see his dominance, but due to the poor filming and the fact that we didn’t really see it clearly, it makes it very difficult for me to view this guy as the serial rapist and killer that he is supposed to be seen as. In my mind he would have taken great care to have the camera set up properly to get the best view, he would have made sure that the lighting and the mood was just right so that we would be able to view his accomplishment. The fact that we were not given these things not only makes his kill worthless and meaningless, it doesn’t give us the whole impact of his mentality. In order to appreciate the depravity of his actions we must understand his madness. He video tapes it to let us see through his eyes; this movie, unfortunately, didn’t give me that.

The whole build up was a bit lack luster. Where it did give us the whole awkward feeling, as she sits there looking down at her hands not knowing what to say and acting all shy and coy, he really didn’t give us much of a reason to continue watching it. He is supposedly putting this movie out for us to see but he hasn’t given us a hook to keep us
watching. There was no real personality on either character’s part. The only really interesting character was the blond at the beginning of the movie. She at least gave us some personality.

2 penis shots out of 5

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Monday, November 26th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

The Mist

After a freak storm springs up, artist David Drayton packs up his son and heads to town for some groceries and supplies to patch up his newly broken window. While David and Billy are in the local grocery stocking up, the town begins to notice a strange mist starting to envelope their small town. Most shrug this occurrence off as yet another strange weather pattern until one of their local residents are seen sprinting ahead of the clouds in a panic state. With cries of ‘There’s something in the mist!’ he makes his way to the store just as the surrounding fog progresses to the store front. Most feel the man’s obviously skipped a track until they hear the screams from the parking lot. Soon they are trapped inside a grocery store as mysterious noises and monsters emerge from the mist to assault their strong hold. With a mixed bag of locals, religious zealots, and strong willed tourists trapped inside, soon the survivors begin to cave under the pressure. Is there an end to the mist? Is there a cause to the mist? There’s only one way to find out.

Originally a novella in Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew collection, “The Mist” was one of my first foray’s into King’s unique brand of kookiness. Filled with mystery, monsters, and despair, the story understandably left an indelible mark upon my young junior high aged self. For many years one of my favorite King stories, few out ranked it. With that in mind, it’s pretty understandable that I went into the theatrical release with pretty freaking high expectations; after all, I’ve only been waiting for a movie version of this for like…twenty one years. When it was announced that Frank Darabont would be helming this particular creature feature, I was quite ecstatic for one, and my expectations rose even higher. After all, Darabont gave us “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile”. It’s pretty easy to say that he’s given us quite possible two of the best King adaptations set to film. Settling in for this two hour ride, I beheld a school boy grin as I finally got to see this gruesome tale of survival come to life. And guess what? I wasn’t disappointed; for the most part.

Speaking from the point of view of the scared as shit little boy who first discovered “The Mist” way back in ’86, I loved nearly every aspect of the film adaptation. The despair was thick, the monsters were wondrous, the fear in the Food House could almost be tasted. Much of what I remember picturing in my head while reading through came to life on the big screen at last. Wasting no time to get the fun started, the film kicks off in a hurry and doesn’t look back. With a near perfect atmosphere to set us on our way, the town’s fire whistle begins to blow it’s lonely howl as the mist creeps across the parking lot unsettling us and making you on edge from the get go. As the critters begin to arrive there are jump scares a plenty as well as some good blood and guts when needed. All melds together to make a tense horror flick that sets your hair on end at the start, and keep it there throughout it’s two hour running time. For the scares, “The Mist” is spot on.

Adding to this aspect, there is an excellent story layered across the top; a story of society on the verge of apocalypse and how the fragile mind, and mob, holds up to such pressure and possibilities. As the survivors holed up in the Food Shack start to consider the ramifications of where they are stuck, things begin to break down. Turning to Thomas Jane in the form of David Drayton, they find an unsuspecting leader to at least help keep them focused on a task as opposed to running around in blind panic. Thankfully, Thomas Jane was up to the task and made the perfect fit for Mr. Drayton. Many will remember Jane from his last role as “The Punisher”; fear not, action star he is not this time around. Filled with emotion and believable concern for those around him and more importantly, his son, he managed to make this quiet hero work well. For his polar opposite, we get Marcia Gay Harden as Mrs. Carmody, the local religious fanatic spouting fire and brimstone from the rafters and scaring those trapped with her into following her word. For Ms. Harden, she made it easy for us to dislike her character and gasp with astonishment as she fell deeper and deeper into her religious insanity. With these two opposites playing off of each other we begin to see how the group mentality can kick in and how fear can make you believe in things you may not have the day before. Essentially, this group dynamic and the break down of society is the true plot of “The Mist”; the monsters and critters are there to give them a cause to panic.

As you can see, I am pretty in love with “The Mist”. I sing high praise of Darabonts handling of the characters, plots, and baddies. All is with good reason too; it’s pretty intense stuff. All is not well in Mr. King’s fictional land of Maine however; to all good things must come and end, and unfortunately they managed to screw the pooch when they got there.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen many books made into movies and things have to be changed. It is inevitable and necessary and I can deal with it. However in “The Mist”, they managed to change the ending of the book but in doing so, they managed to fundamentally change the meat of the story and therein lies my problems. I’m not totally blind here, I can see how Darabont’s new ending can be seen as a good thing by those that have not read the book. I am also aware that most likely myself and others who have read the book are probably in the minority. I can even see where they were going with their changes and why; they just took two steps too far. There are two fundamental changes that I remember from the ending of the book. If the movie would have finished just five minutes sooner at the end of the first change, this would have been a phenomenal movie and garnered a five out of five for sure. Instead we’ve lost a couple points and left me in a pissy mood for the rest of the night.

“The Mist” is a phenomenal horror flick in it’s own right, and deserves it’s spot in the Darabont/King team up portfolio. It is easily as good as “Shawshank” and “Green Mile”, but for different reasons. For fans of the original novella, be prepared for that last five minutes but by all means, don’t let that stop you from seeing it. The rest of it is spot on and worth your nine dollars. For those of you coming into this completely clean? Enjoy the ride and just be prepared, you’re going to be depressed as hell when you’re done!

4 things that go bump in the mist out of 5

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Monday, November 26th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Sorry, I’m a bit emotional right now.

Remember last week when I talked about all the movies I was going to watch over the Thanksgiving holiday? Yah, didn’t happen. Too much turkey cut severely into my late night viewing habits. Turkey and a comfy couch does not make a good combination with my 33 year old self. The fact that it had the opposite effect on my 7 year old daughter did not help at all either as she continued to bounce off the walls until midnight every night.

So yah, I’m so sorry :’(

In the meantime though…we’re back to normal now!

Well… as normal as a horror blogger can be considered! Stay tuned for a look at this weekend’s big boogie release “The Mist” as well as the First Lady of Fright and myself preparing for our very first live web radio show that launches next Tuesday! The Bloody Good Podcast will be recorded tonight as well as we take an in depth look at “The Mist” and “Hitman” as well as our regularly schedule ramblings of nonsense!

Stay weird folks

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Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Well folks, it’s Wed. in November, the night before Thanksgiving.

What does the holidays mean to those movie nerds like ourselves out there? Food, beer, turkey, football, and family. And if you’re like me, a weekend at the family’s house? That means movies. Lots and lots of movies!

I plan on trying to fit in quite a few over the next couple days as I’ll have ample time on my hands. So what all might I try and get in? First off, the D and myself are kicking off the holiday festivities with a Cartoon Network original that is fact, not a cartoon, Ben 10: Race Against Time. I know, I know, you’re wondering why I’m posting that on a horror blog rite? Well, if you’re familiar at all with the Ben 10 Toon, it’s all right for a kids action toon. This time around though, for whatever reason, it’s live action!?! I’m not a big fan of the toon myself, but I have to give them credit…from what I’ve seen of the commercials, the aliens look pretty kick ass. That, and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a certain 7 year old little girl get excited over something on the TV, and it’s not pink or princessy, so what heck.

No worries though. The rest of the movie watching ordeal promises to fit in nicely. I have a stack of crap that I’ve been slacking off on and I’m going to make my best effort to get through. We’ll call it a mini marathon of sorts. (If by some strange fate you’ve actually been reading this blog for 2 years, you might remember me doing this back in 2005.)

So what’s on deck? Hold on to your butt.

Night Fangs
Wedding Slashers
Black Sunday
Nightbreed
Suspiria
Revenge of the Cheerleaders
The Insatiable
Monster a Go Go
Blue Sunshine

And that my friends, is about half of what I brought with ;)

Now, I’m not going to promise I’m going to make it through all of these, but I do promise I’m going to try my damnedest. Remember though… tomorrow’s turkey day, and I do love me some turkey. And naps. I really love me some naps too.

I’ll do my best though.

In the meantime, if any of that list above trips your trigger, be sure to check back periodically through the weekend, I’ll be positing when I can! Have a happy gobble wobble and remember, it’s a holiday. Carve up the turkey, not your family.

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

You remember way back when when the First Lady of Fright and myself started a new feature here called ‘Irreconcilable Differences’ where we would give a he said/she said review on various flicks?

Probably not!

But still, the announcements I hinted at last week? Well it’s time.

On December 4th at 9pm, in conjunction with Blog Critics.com and Blog Talk Radio, you will be able to tune in and hear the First Lady and myself in person…and live.

That’s right folks, we’re taking Irreconcilable Differences to live web radio!

If you can’t make it Tuesday nights at 9, no worries, the shows will be available as downloads shortly after!

So…wish us luck, brace yourselves, and prepare to tune in to Irreconcilable Differences live at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cinemafromage !

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Join myself, Eric, Mark and Jon as we give our Wrap-up from Horror Hound Weekend, including Eric’s having his own place to shit and sexy ladies with whips. Also, Hatchet, DVD releases, and all of last week’s most interesting horror news.

Check it out!

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Monday, November 19th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Redsin Tower

Kim and Mitch have broken up. Poor Mitch, he’s not handling it too well. He KNOWS Kim still love him, she just doesn’t realize it yet. So, to get drive the point home to her so that she remembers how much she loves him, he’s going to call every five minutes and yell into her answering machine. Enter cutie goth friend Becky. Becky knows Kim’s having a hard time, despite how much she hated Mitch, so she’s going to take her out on the town for some partying to get her mind off of things. Now that Mitch knows that the girls have left he decides to flip the stalker switch and follow Kim about so he can prove his love once and for all. Best way to get back at her? Call the cops on her party! With no where else to head to Kim and Becky gather up their stoner friends and find a new place to party; The Redsin Tower. Aside from sounding spooky, Redsin has a history of macabre massacres and demon worship. Are these kids going to find more than they bargained for as the set forth to fornicate?

If not, we’d be wasting our time.

There’s a certain air that comes with low budget horror cinema. Generally you get camcorder quality cinematography, horrible acting, and shoddy special effects. In “Redsin”, all of these are a step above the normal low-budget fare and the movie is far more enjoyable for it. Speaking of, when the credits roll, it all boils down to one thing; it’s a fun movie to watch. Sure, it has problems. The acting isn’t Oscar quality, but if you wanted that you wouldn’t be watching horror. A few scenes manage to roll on a touch too long causing your eyes to begin to roll, but the dialog is snappy enough to keep you interested. There’s a handful of issues, but the movie is fun enough to keep you from hitting the eject button.

In many ways, “Redsin” feels like a solid throwback to the 80′s. Partying teens in a spooky castle with a dark and sinister history, something comes to whack them all. Rounding out this feeling, there are plenty hammy jokes and one liners sprinkled about, much like the slashers of yore that hooked us in the first place. Plus there’s boobs too! The plot, while a bit stretched, is still pretty cohesive throughout. In fact, there’s a nice little twist at the end that while not M. Night Shyamalamadingdong caliber…it’s a clever and unexpected finish. The band of misfits, while I don’t necessarily believe that a goth would hang out with a preppie chick, while the both go to party with a pair of stoners and two jocks, were all entertaining and served their purpose. Even nutso Mitch was entertaining in that ‘twitchy nerd in the back of the class’ way. My only true bitch? Why didn’t goth chicks ever hit on the fat guys when I was in high school?

“Redsin Tower” despite it’s faults is still a worthy watch for a late night movie marathon. You’ll manage to laugh, perhaps jump a time or two, and the gore is pretty nice as well. You’ll scratch your head a time or two, there’s a couple things I wasn’t to sure of myself; but I’m still glad I stuck it out to the end. With a good edit, this movie would jump to a four easily but what’s still manages to make for a decent horror flick.

3.5 ‘goth chicks SHOULD hit on fat guys’ out of 5

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