Archive for » February, 2008 «

Thursday, February 28th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Popcorn

Maggie has nightmares, mostly recurring ones of a crazy man in a trippy movie sacrificing a young woman. She’s also a film student at the local community college, so it manages to play in well for her ideas and writing. When the class decides to clean up an old theater scheduled for destruction through a horror movie festival as a fund raiser, all seems well. Film nerds having fun, cleaning to a musical montage, the works. All’s well the night of the show until suddenly members of the class begin to disappear after the viewing of a small film role that was found and just so happens to mirror Maggie’s nightmare exactly. Is it as Maggie fears, Lanyard Gates famed film cult leader returned from the dead for revenge? Or is there something else afoot?

Ah the 80′s; a fine period of horror cinema. At least that’s the way it seems as I look back through my rose colored glasses. Often times this holds true; sadly often times these recollections fall far short of the way I remember them. Perhaps it’s the innocence of youth, perhaps it’s my newly gnarled old man exterior these days. Regardless, some movies I remember fondly from back in the day, turn out to kind a suck. Such is the case with “Popcorn”. Sure, the movie came out in 91, but was a definite hold out of 80′s aesthetic. Clothes, hair, jokes; it was all there and all very 80′s.

The premise is a good; movie nerds killed off one by one by a masked killer. We can all get into that, sure. When you take a premise as such and load it down with and hour and a half of boring dialog, useless scenes, musical montages, and lackluster murders, well it just doesn’t work out so well. The story behind “Popcorn” is solid enough. A man running a film cult coming back for revenge. It’s a fairly original idea for the time and helps spice up your standard slasher well enough. There was even an unexpected twist or two as well. When you throw it all in the pot and boil down, you get stuck with a bland and boring stock, simple enough.

Even the acting for “Popcorn” fell into the ‘mediocre’ range. Jill Schoelenn, while somewhat well known in horror circles and rather babe-a-licious, was by far the more animated of our group of bmovie hopefuls. Tom Villard chimes in with a decent acting job too, although it does feel a bit of a stretch from his standard ‘goofy guy’ schtick from classics such as “One Crazy Summer”. Everybody else? Not very exciting. I couldn’t even tell you their names. (Note: I was saddened to learn that Tom Villard passed away in 94, shortly after the release of “Popcorn”.)

The highlight of the flick was the deaths themselves and how they all were worked into their surroundings of the old movie theater and the festival going in. Death by giant mosquito, electrocuted by sound board, on and on. Sure, not plausible necessarily, but pretty fun all the same. The gore content is low but again, it’s the thought that counts.

Those of you who remember “Popcorn” with a warm glow, tread lightly. It’s not going to be as fun as you remember it. Sleepy, slow and outright boring in parts, the movie is passable as far as story goes. Unfortunately it is low on fright and entertainment overall. In the end; you get to watch Jill Schoelen for an hour and a half. That’s not all bad.

2.5 ‘Hey, at least the horror festival looked cool.’ out of 5

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Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Here it is folks, the B-Movie battle of the century! Facing off tonight, our two contestants have much to lose, more to gain! In the blue corner, Japanese classic: Battle Royale! In the Red Corner, American rip-off, The Condemned! Two will enter, only one will leave!

That’s right folks! Tonight on Irreconcilable Differences we’ll be doing the side by side comparison of Battle Royale and the Condemned!

Check it out LIVE tonight at 9pm EST!

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Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Dawn

Dawn’s a blood sucking freak! Vampire’s have been around for ages even if some of their tales vary from telling to telling. This one is possibly the most unique yet; you see, Dawn is only nine years old. Being a nine year old with a taste, nay need, for blood is a hard road to tow. Follow along as young Dawn and her dad skip from town to town, lying low while getting her the nourishment she needs.

As I said above, vampire stories have been done to death. I’m still a bit of a sucker for them naturally, it comes with the territory. It’s nice though when one comes along that manages to fit outside the normal fold. “Dawn” is the perfect example of this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a low budget flick and comes with that standard low budget feeling; hammy acting, near cam corder quality, etc. etc. The catch here is the story; it’s fairly unique and overall it’s good. You may not consider at first glance that a nine year old vampire would be that moving. This flick manages to hit a few of the heavy notes that may weigh on a youth in that situation. First off, she’s not your typical vampire; she’s alive. There’s just enough back story to explain this but again, the vampires in “Dawn” are not your typical variety. They can be in the sunlight, they can die by normal means, they just have to feed on blood and human food is poison to them. Where the story truly comes to life is in the fears and nightmares of Dawn her self; she knows she is unlike other kids. Still, all she wants is to be a little girl who loves her daddy and not to become a monster. The movie itself is a tale of her struggle to keep from turning ‘mean’ and to keep from eating her daddy, and her longing of being like everybody else.

“Dawn” is an interesting low budget flick that I’m glad I watched. You would be glad you watched it too. The movie is low on gore which is fine; it’s not the point. The point here is to tell a tale of the emotional struggle of a young girl facing a life filled with murder and a lack of normalcy. This, they hit spot on. The acting here is competent, from our main characters at least. Dad comes across too over the top at first but as the movie rolls on, he becomes more believable in his fatherly ways. Kacie Young who plays Dawn was actually a great find in an unknown actress. She manages to convey the worries and weight of her plight rather nicely for a child of that age. The rest of the cast…well, why spoil the happy picture I’m painting for you here!

“Dawn” is a unique horror flick in today’s age of high gloss and gore. This isn’t going to set the genre on it’s ear, but it’s a nice addition none the less. Just be prepared to ignore the trappings of a low budget movie so that you can enjoy the good story contained within.

3.5 still better than Anne Rice’s effeminate vamps out of 5

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Monday, February 25th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week Jon talks about “The Signal”, and the crew takes a trip to Tromaville to review the classic “Tromeo and Juliet”. Plus, as always, box, DVD releases, and horror news.

We now have a comment line. If you have feedback for the show and want us to play it on air, give us a call at 206-600-6576.

Click here to check it out!

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Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Tiki

Amy’s leaving home; it’s time for college! She has her heart set on going to acting school, a long way away from her Big (arsed) Kahuna of an aunt in Hawaii. Once there, she does her awkwardly best to fit in with the other students and making a grab for the starring role of the school play, and her theater teacher’s heart. She’s nerdly, the other kids don’t like her so they do the usual; play a prank that lures her to her professor’s house in her skivvies. Once she realize she’s been had and the teacher chases her out…something happens! Her brain breaks and she goes into convulsions on his front lawn! Enter Aunt Big Kahuna; she’s pissed. She wants revenge. So, she dances about, shakes some twigs around all while chanting ‘mekka lekka hai mekka heiny ho!’ and brings for the instrument or said revenge; a wooden Tiki doll that stands about two foot tall and is hell bent on murder!

Take a good hard look at that cover; what you see, is what you get. A tiny wooden statue wreaking havoc. If that’s not good enough, you get a whole cast of ham fisted acting to pack around it! Sounds great doesn’t it!

hahahahahahahaha

As you can imagine, this movie’s got issues. A lot of them. The least of these is the little wooden dude running around slaughtering normal sized humans such as yourself. He’s actually pretty cool in hindsight. Where the issues start, we have to look to the casting department for that answer. When casting a leading lady, it’s common to have an actress that is strong, has presence, and looks to back it all up; whoever the casting director was on this flick failed on all accounts. Amy is a rather homely girl. Not much to look at, and I’d go as far as to say that she reminded me a lot of my old friend ‘Fatkid’ in the looks department. And to go beyond being completely superficial, she had zero skills to back it up as well. Whiney, nasally, zero presence, and a lack of excitement all piled together to give us a lack luster performance that was hard to sit through. She wasn’t alone however; none of her cast mates could act worth a shit either.

Story wise, it’s a bout a killer tiki doll. I wasn’t expecting Shakespeare here, so honestly I wasn’t disappointed by plot holes and the like. They cobbled together a mildly amusing story and figure out how to make a killer doll cohesive; they fell fall short of their inspiration however. Charles Bland and Full Moon Pictures this ain’t. There was however, a few minor things I did enjoy. For a low budget flick, the kills and gore were actually pretty well done. Ranging from death by high heeled shoe to a botched scalping, upgraded later to a full scalping, it was entertaining. That was about it though.

“Tiki” gets the coveted ‘don’t bother’ award, unless your are drunk and/or stoned. That’s really the only thing I see making this enjoyable. Even that could be stretching a bit as in the end, it’s just a plain old fashioned snore fest.

2 ‘Chicks shouldn’t look like Fatkid, especially in their underwear’ out of 5

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Tuesday, February 12th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

You know what would make your Tuesday night so much better? Sure, it’s nice to get home from work, kick back and relax, watch some trash like Big Brother on the boob tube…..

Oh but it could be better!

That’s right, come check out some REAL trash!

Tonight at 9PM Est, Irreconcilable Differences! Join me and the First Lady of Fright as we ramble on for a solid thirty minutes! This week, we got a good one for ya folks;

It may not look like it by the cover, but this is some good straight to video horror folks. Come find out why, tonight at 9!

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Monday, February 11th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Murder Set Pieces

Las Vegas, Nevada, home of bright lights, casinos, budding models, fashion photographers, and serial killers. One particular German photographer is new to the scene and working hard to build his portfolio. He’s also working hard to fill his basement. You see, this photographer has a penchant for improvising on his photo shoots turning them into a sadistic case snapshot of death. Just how bad is the guy? Pretty bad. The only person that suspects is young Jade, his girlfriend’s young sister.

My brain hurts. I’ve watched numerous bad and underground movies. This one? It doesn’t make sense. None whatsoever. Director Nick Palumbo had a solid idea and put it to film. Unfortunately, said idea became a jumbled mess that was disjointed and failed to put together a cohesive story. After a bit of research, there may be a reason for this.

Stories say that Palumbo’s original take on “Murder Set Pieces” was quite gruesome, extremely brutal, and extraordinarily violent. This was all well and good, especially for an underground horror flick; the problem was, nobody wanted to sell it. Eventually, Lionsgate came to Palumbo and promised distribution if he could deliver an edited movie that they could sell in the large chains like Best Buy and the like. Whether or not this is true, I can’t say for sure. So far I’ve found one website that tells the tale. After discussing last week’s Irreconcilable Differences, I received an email from a listener who backed up the story. For myself, I’m inclined to believe. It was apparent that there was heavy editing involved and unfortunately, it detracts from the movie as a whole.

The most glaring issue with “Murder Set Pieces”? There’s no gore. Everything you read about the flick promises extreme violence and mayhem; in the end, you don’t get to see any of it. There are many times that you see the Photographer setting up for the kill, then cut to him lifting weights covered in blood. No payoff, no mayhem. If you’re throwing in a movie promising to be disturbingly violent, don’t you want to see said violence? I know I do.

The writing has issues here as well. If said story of a heavily edited version is true, the writing problems could be attributed to this as well. Starting out solid enough, the tale unfolds of this obviously disturbing man and his relationship with both his girlfriends and his models. As we truck along however, the plot begins to unwind and become disconnected from scene to scene. Often times a new victim appears out of nowhere with no setup to how he met her or how he led her back to his lair. Nearing the end of the film, they unveil an element of crazed Nazi beliefs; when they try to do anything with it, it comes across tacked on and fails to meld into the story as a whole. At one point a German woman appears and cooks him dinner. We’ve not seen this woman before, despite the fact that they appear to be quite well acquainted as well as possibly married; we may never know though as there are no subtitles included in the scene and she disappears soon afterwards.

Therein lies my problem. This movie could quite possibly be good. There is a very strong hint that the film is indeed quite violent and disturbing; we just don’t see it in this Lionsgate release. Had we been able to see the splatter effects, it would have been a highly different movie. Let’s be frank. With a movie like this, that’s what we’re here for; blood and brutality. The story is usually an appetizing side dish to said main course, but with the edited movie, the side dish appears rotten. I will go as far as to say that the cut violence for the movie would definitely make “Murder Set Pieces” far more enjoyable on a visual scale. For the story, I have no idea. I can only hope that the movie would make far more sense in it’s uncut production. It’s sad because “The Photographer” was entertaining enough as a character. Sure, the guy had issues holding on to his accent through the flick and was fairly wooden in his non crazy parts. It worked though, and I could buy into him as a killer. I just wish I could have seen him as one.

Ultimately, “Murder Set Pieces” could have been great. Lionsgate gives us an edited version of the movie that is far from it.

2 woulda been, coulda been’s out of 5

And if by some crazy chance that you happen to read this Mr. Palumbo? Shoot me an email; I’d love to get my hands on an uncut copy to see this movie as you envisioned it!

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Monday, February 11th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week we take a much needed intellectual look at the infamous film “Cannibal Holocaust”, speak briefly about the Project Greenlight flick “Feast”, and… projectile vomiting. And as always, the week’s most interesting horror news stories.

We now have a comment line. If you have feedback for the show and want us to play it on air, give us a call at 206-600-6576.

Click here to check it out!

If you like what we’ve been doing with our podcast, please take a few minutes today to write a review or vote for us at the places below. Your support will help move us up the charts and expose the show to a wider audience. So if you get a chance, lend us a helping hand!

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Tuesday, February 05th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Just a reminder folks, Irreconcilable Differences airs tonight at 9:30pm!

Tonight we’ll be looking at some Direct to DVD horror in the form of ‘Hell Asylum’ and ‘Murder Set Pieces’!

So tune in, give us a shout, join the chat! We promise to be moderately entertaining!

Click here to listen!

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Tuesday, February 05th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

The Fallen Ones

Matt Fletcher is an archaeologist. He tries his damndest to be all ruggedly handsome and adventurous as Indiana Jones, but it doesn’t really work out for him. Working for a land developer checking the area for ancient artifacts before they level it all, Matt stumbles across a startling discovery; a mummy. Not just your run of the mill mummy though, a giant mummy! They find this all fascinating of course but before long they begin to put the big guy’s back story together and discover that he’s something special. (Not that the fact that he was a giant wasn’t special enough.) Soon a new face begins to poke around the site and it’s discovered that the man may have some mystical powers and he may just be a fallen angel with an agenda! Mayhem breaks out, giant mummy’s stomp around and soon Casper Van Dien is running around looking all studly and stuff.

What a conundrum. You see, one of my dark secrets… I can enjoy a Casper Van Diem movie. Not saying the guy’s stellar or anything of that nature, but he’s typecast into a particular type of role and he pulls it off. So as I’m rifling through the covers I spot his name, so I pause to take a look. At first glance, the stylish wonder of the built in Windows font used in the cover design was a definite tip off; this is going to be pretty damn cheap. But, they promised giant mummies and C. Van Dien as the poor man’s Dr. Jones, so what the heck! Fears not folks, the special effects contained with in are definitely on par with the content held within! So at first I was a bit appalled by the cheap blue screen wizardry, the quite laughable giant, and Mr. Fallen Angel’s spells. How could anybody make a movie of this caliber and get away with it? Mid way through my viewing I hit up IMDb for some more info and all was made clear; what I had here was a SciFi Channel exclusive.

Pretty much everybody in existence knows that ‘SciFi Exclusive’ means crap; cheap crap. “The Fallen Ones” is no exception. With the previously mentioned cheese ball effects on display this ranked right up there with “Mansquito”. The bewildering thing was the cast they managed to pull together. With such actors as Casper Van Dien, Robert Wagner, Tom Bosley (yes Tom Bosley!), Geoffry Miller, and the craggy visage of Irwin Keyes, I was truly amazed that they managed to pull that many people into such a low budget affair. Mind you, this was not the highlight of any of these men’s career’s. The thing is all of them are experienced actors, they all know how to make material work, and for this fact alone the movie managed to actually be watchable and even a tiny bit enjoyable for the hokey-ness of it all. With truly horrific sights such as the Elder Tom Bosley playing a Rabbi in shorts, how can you not help but chuckle gleefully at the craziness of it? Throw in a B-Movie stalwart such as Irwin Keyes who’s sole line, repeated throughout the film, consists of “AHMAN NAHAH!”, you’re going to chuckle.

The writing itself is so atrocious; it’s almost pointless to cover. The story is there; a fallen angel knocks up a mortal woman way back around the time of Noah. She spawns a giant baby (how that worked out, I got no idea). Dad poisons the giant baby to bring him back some time later to rule the world, jump to that time in the future. Pretty simple, relatively coherent and somewhat extravagant as far as mummy movies go. Beyond that, there are so many inconsistencies that we reach a point where you pretty much give up on trying to make sense of it all. Take for instance Casper Van Dien and ‘token blond co-star’; they start out bitter enemies as they both try and take over the same dig site. Over night, the progress from bitter enemies to bedroom eyes, with no conversation whatsoever. I could only hope for powers such as those. At another point Mr. Fallen Angel’s followers come stomping through the scene out of nowhere in a giant mechanical robot….thing. No hints of this, no idea where it comes from, just BOOM Irwin Keyes steering the thing across the desert screaming ‘AHMAN NAMAH!’ until they fall into a hole. Still trying to figure that one out myself.

Piled all together, “The Fallen Ones” is a pretty big vat of pure cheese for the sake of being cheese. The only thing that makes this movie redeemable is it’s cast of experienced actors holding things together by a meager thread. Nobody involved with the production takes themselves seriously which helps add to the campiness of the film. I hate to say it, I really do; I just can’t help but enjoy it just a tiny bit for the simple absurdity of it all.

2 Tom Bosley really should not wear shorts out of 5

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