Monday, February 27, 2012

Dollman vs Demonic Toys Review

You see a lot of straight to vhs film displayed in the old school video stores that line up our memories, but today? Good luck. I live in a town with no video store, so finding these rare gems like I did when I was a kid means utilizing every ounce of my brain to remember what I saw on the shelves and basic cable television when I was a kid. Most of these B-movies get translated into Spanish and are played between soccer games. I finally broke down and sat through this one, in English this time, and it’s not exactly an instant classic. The movie we will talk about today is none other than Dollman vs Demonic Toys.

This film went straight to dvd and features a lot of flashbacks. One of my personal pet peeves in film is the constant draw of flashbacks to tell stories. This film tells a story of Brick Bardo, who is Dollman as he goes to a new town with a shrunken nurse, and tries to make things right for her, and a rogue cop that has uncovered a secret lab where demonic toys are being built and used to kill!

The main purpose of the film is for Dollman to face off against the demonic toys because there is a demon soul that wants to have sex with our shrunken nurse! I kid you not. This film has a lot of deliberately stupid moments, including several flashbacks with nothing more than Dollman blowing things up. At one point he blows up can only be noted as a rapist van with the words “FAGS” written on the side of it.

You most likely know how this one turns out, and well, you will find that the movie only plays for about an hour before it just finishes itself off. The movie feels as though this film was commissioned by the old Science Fiction channel, now known as syfy, the way some of the cuts are presented, some of which just yearn for a commercial interruption, and well, maybe that’s why it is formatted in the way that it is.

The music is spooky, and eerie, not too unlike what you’d find from a Goosebumps made for television film. The music is actually a surprise, and feels odd to me.

Tim Thomerson reminds me of Rugged Ronny Garvin in a way, but other than his crew cut and weakness for a hot nurse, he’s a character that doesn’t do a whole lot for me in this film, compared to the original Dollman. Phil Fondacaro plays a cop protecting the toys at one point, and at first I thought he was the dwarf from Seinfeld, but upon closer inspection realized that he wasn’t at all, much to my dismay.

The movie is short, the characters are vapid, and if you haven’t seen the rest of the demonic toys or dollman series, you won’t really care for this one. It really feels like a made for tv movie from the 1990’s more than it feels like a release that would go straight to dvd in these modern times. The poster art is cool, and some of the musical cues are worth checking out, but overall, this is a laughable movie. The fight sequencing in the end with an oversized Guile toy is just too much, just check it out to see what I mean. Dollman vs Demonic Toys is not a highly recommended film, unless you’re watching all the series in one sitting, as there is a box set out now.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Waxwork Review

Ah yes, the suburbs, a place where I got to spend six solid months getting to know hot young girls, and none of them liked Mexicans. If only I had an inch of confidence back then, I’d have said what’s up to the girls softball team, those chicks were hot. Anyways, today we talk about a small film that came out in 1988, and features some very macabre things; it is none other than the film Waxwork. Long before House of Wax got a remake, and long before the slew of films in the horror genre were only straight to video, there were b-movies on the big screen that featured some gore, some horror, a little sex, and some laughable plot points that were taken a little more seriously than they should’ve been. That’s where start with Waxwork, a film that has some funny moments, some scary moments, and most often just laughable scenarios.

The film has a simple storyline; a wax museum comes to life at night with the curse of many of horror’s iconic pieces. For instance, a mummy shows up, Dracula shows up, and so much more. There are approximately 18 evil things that arise from the museum/mansion and they attack anyone who ventures inside after hours. Think “Night of the Museum” meets “Night of the Creeps” and you might start to see how this film is set up.

While the gore levels are interesting at times, the movie takes a more comedic approach to things opposed to focusing on the violence. Yes, there are violent moments in this film, and yes you get some pretty sick stuff, including a head explosion and blood bath sequence, but other than that, it’s a tame film with some interesting comedic elements.

The main plot involves creating the undead, or rather recreating scenarios with original characters and figures that come back to life when paired with an original artifact of the guy. So if a mummy's tomb is placed with a wax work, the mummy will return to life to kill! The goal of course is to take over the world! We find this out far too long into the film, so by that point you're just waiting for the Nickelodeon style twist or something, because it's getting relative boring.

The characters aren’t that memorable, standard teenage/young adult fare, and you end up watching what a grown up “Jumanji” might be like. I found the film to be tedious at times, and at others quite fascinating. I wanted to love this one, especially since the idea of all sorts of scary elements coming to life and burying people in wax, seems like good fodder for a scary movie. Instead, there is too much mixing between fantasy, science fiction, horror, and dare I say romance to keep with the unsettling idea of the undead. Waxwork is interesting, don’t get me wrong, but I found it less scary and more, I don’t know, comedic for my tastes. I recommend it, at least for a quick viewing, as there are some cool spots of horror that are shoe horned into less than scary moments.

They made a sequel to this film, one that I haven't seen in a long time, maybe I'll review that next time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fright Night Review

The remake of the classic 1980’s film didn’t seem to get the reception that I thought it would get, specifically because I don’t’ recall it opening up to rave reviews when it was released in movie theaters last year. I wanted to go see it when it came out, but for whatever reason I didn’t get to go out and make it happen, so I had to worry about a lot of other things, and nearly forgot about this movie. The film is quite interesting, to say the least, and while it does take a few pages from the original, it is mostly a stand-alone film that should be warranted on its own. The film I’m speaking of is of course the remake of Fright Night.

Fright Night is one of my personal favorite movies from the 1980’s, so when I heard that it was going to be remade last year, I was skeptical because Hollywood has a way of ruining movies that were good in the past with their twists and turns into modernism. Despite my reservations, and the first act being somewhat boring, the movie started to gain steam with their obvious parody of Criss Angel. The movie moves quickly through the third and fourth act and starts to fight hard to keep your attention.

The plot revolves around a vampire that moves into a suburban area outside of Las Vegas and how teenagers are starting to vanish. This prompts one local nerd to investigate, only to get his friends into a skeptical point of view before finally realizing that the guy that is moving next door is not just another guy, he’s non other than the undead.

By the time the movie sets up the fake Criss Angel, and we get our antihero moving through to be the ultimate good guy, this movie starts to unravel. The rationale and the twists that made the first film (1980’s) so good, was left behind for some more action and killer special effects. The CG work is actually quite good, although you probably can see it coming a mile away. The detail on the flames, burning skin, and skeleton features at the end of the film is definitely something to write home about, even if it is only a small part of the overall picture.

The movie hits hard, it really is interesting to watch for the most part. However, I didn’t find it better than the original, and didn’t really care for the lackluster set design at times. I much prefer the original Fright Night to this one, but this is definitely a better movie in the genre that came out last year. It doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares, and pushes something interesting, unlike some other remakes that have really made me mad. This one definitely is worth checking out, so watch it now.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

10 To Midnight Review

10 to midnight
I’ve seen a lot of movies, and if you’ve been following this website for any given amount of time, you know that to be very true. What I’ve found recently is that there are a lot of movies that pass under the radar as simple genre pieces, when they are more than that. That’s the first thing I realized when I was watching the movie I’m reviewing today, starring none other than Charles Bronson. The movie is called 10 To Midnight, and it mixes several elements of exploitation, slasher, and cop movies all into one vat of awesome cinema. This movie has everything you could possibly want from a movie, whether you’re a horror movie fan, an action junkie, or a deviant looking for gratuitous nudity. You’ll find it all happens here and it all hits hard and fast.

The movie starts out like a traditional slasher, with a weird man running naked in a forest killing men and women having a good time. We then shift to a more traditional drama that depicts a hard cop and a newcomer partner that he doesn’t like. The two bicker and have a hard time being friendly, until they have to work together on a case where it involves someone that Leo Kessler (Bronson) knows. The film then shifts back to the killer as he targets women, and eventually targets the detective’s daughter.

There aren’t a lot of gore scenes, but you do get a lot of serial killing action. You see the killer a lot like you saw Christian Bale in American Psycho. He kills often and he kills fast, causing a lot of problems for anyone that gets in his way. He has an insane rampage in a woman’s sorority of sorts, or a nurses ward, I’m not sure, but there’s a lot of twenty something flesh that is exposed.

Some of the camera angles, and knife shots are completely similar to Dario Argento’s “Gialo” type of film process, and that’s where you really start to feel the genre shifting move the audience into select paths. The cop element is brought in when Bronson has to come save the day, and eventually mops up but not before we get the criminal ranting of insanity. Despite how awesome I think this film is, when it was released everyone hated it, and it wasn’t exactly gaining much attention. I think it’s great, Bronson plays his role perfectly, the serial killer is legitimately insane and horror inducing, and you truly feel like you’re watching a slasher/horror film NOT a cop movie. I suggest picking up 10 To Midnight on dvd today.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hostel 3 Review

hostel 3
I’ve been eyeballing this movie for a while every time I visit the video store, or my local retailer, and I finally got it into my grubby hands. This film is a direct sequel to the Hostel movies, and it is the latest to come from the franchise. The trilogy isn’t exactly the most lucrative or praised of film sets, but apparently there was enough interest to film a third one and then try to sell and rent it to idiots like me. The movie takes the club that everyone seems to want to join, in order to torture people, moves to Las Vegas. The setting is sin city and we join up with a group of 20 somethings that are going to find out that they are the hunted in a sick sad world. Hostel 3 is not going to win many awards, and most people won’t even care for the gore, which happens from time to time, amidst sexualized moments from B-movie actresses that needed a pay check of sorts.

The movie is simple enough, a group of friends go to Vegas for a bachelor party, and things get out of hand. No, not just drunkenness but something more, they slowly get trapped into a game of death where only members of a club get to decide the fate of the captives. The way you saw old Hostel movies changes in a great way and you end up seeing a group of people that get to vote, like a game, on what kind of death the trapped will get.

By the time I figured out what was going on in this film, I was bored. The pacing lacks luster, even though the opening sequence is amazing for a straight to dvd film. The movie features some gore, some nudity, and a lot of torture, but I don’t like the way the film just drags through the middle, and right when you think that there can’t be anything worse happening, the movie throws in a subplot about revenge and what not…I hated it.

Hostel 3 is one of the worst straight to dvd sequels I’ve seen and I’ve seen a lot. I admit, I did want to see it because of the cover, and the premise on the back of the box, but I didn’t like the way it played out. You will most likely hate it too, as the pacing and the gore don’t really add up to more than just a cash grab into a series that peaked on the first film. This is a terrible example of how studios cash in on franchises for no apparent reason other than to make a few bucks. If you must, check out this dvd, otherwise, avoid it.

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