Thursday, 19 October 2017

Big Ass Spider (2013)


It doesn't get much better than this, does it?


Big Ass Spider

Synopsis

A giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampages the city of Los Angeles. When a massive military strike fails, it is up to a team of scientists and one clever exterminator to kill the creature before the city is destroyed.

Review

Surprisingly, at least to me, was that the effects in Big Ass Spider are actually pretty solid. Looking at the initial presentation of the film it looks like it's going to come off cheap. Asylum cheap. Tongue in cheek cheap. But they've actually gone for laugh with it, not at it.

Anyway.

Starring Greg Grunberg (Heroes) as the (excuse my pun) unlikely hero, the film works exceptionally well. Grunberg plays unassuming exterminator Alex Mathis, partnered with Lombardo Boyar (Murder in the First) as bumbling security guard Jose Ramos, who take on the titular spider - an escaped extra terrestrial.


Lombardo Boyar / Greg Grunberg

Action comedy at it's heart with splatters of science fiction and horror Grunberg - rarely a leading man - carries the film well. A supporting cast including Ray Wise and Lin Shaye doesn't hurt either.

The film moves at pace, barely giving the viewer time to breathe between action and horror, and neither Grunburg nor Boyar miss a single comedy beat.


The spider. Eep.


I personally am not a fan of the ol' arachnids myself. I've yet to see Arachnophobia, in fact. But that doesn't matter. This is good, silly, giant spider action. There's nothing skin crawling here. Just good fun.

In fact, I highly recommend it, and would love to see Grunberg and Boyar reprise their roles for a sequel.





Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Wicked Wednesday: Women of Horror (Movies) - 3


This years third recommendation:

Night of the Comet 




Starring Catherine Mary Stewart (Dead Silent) and Kelli Maroney (True Blood), Night of the Comet is one of the many movies to jump on the coat tails of Romero. But this time it's great. As a comet travels close to earth turning swathes of the population to zombies, two sisters and the rag-tag group they make have to fight to survive!

Laughs and horror abound - along with a musical shopping montage.


Friday, 13 October 2017

Endangered Species (2002)



This is just a loose excuse for softcore porn, isn't it?


Endangered Species

Synopsis

A killing machine from another world comes to Earth to kill humans.

Review

Yeah. That. First off, I had to see Eric Roberts sex face. No one should have to witness that. Next, there is no acting in this film. None. Fin.


Eric Roberts

So the synopsis is a little lacking. It's more along the lines of I Come in Peace/Dark Angel except instead of Dolph Lundgren and Brian Benben in a satisfying actiony science fiction piece, it's Eric Roberts and John Rhys-Davies wheezing about in a nonsensical rip off plot involving aliens stealing human skin. To wear. Like they did to the dinosaurs. Leaving them extinct.

I shit you not. The bad guys in this film wiped out the dinosaurs because they were making biker jackets out of them.


"Sex-on-legs" Roberts

I'm almost bemused on how it got made.

And oh God, the gratuitous nudity. I'm fairly sure they made the film and found it to only be, say, 52 minutes, and the director, Kevin Tunney (Brain Dead - not that one) went, 'Well how are we going to fill this?', just as a naked woman danced across in front of him. In the shower. Advertising a strip club.

Jeez.


"This-is-my-career" Roberts

There is nothing on display here to see (um, yeah). This film has Arnold Vosloo in. He's better than this.

Just.

I cannot recommend this to anyone over the age of thirteen. Who doesn't have access to the Internet.

Damn.

I mean, I couldn't even get a proper trailer for it.

Sex face.




Wednesday, 11 October 2017

For the Love of Shorts: The Moonlight Man 2



Director Danny Donahue is becoming a bit of a fixture here. We can't imagine why. Starring Bradley J. Herman and Philip Kreyche comes the sequel to Donahue's 2016 release, The Moonlight Man.

The question we ask is, when is getting a theatrical length release?





Wicked Wednesday: Women of Horror (Movies) - 2


Part two of our Halloween movie recommendations:

May




May is a difficult film to explain. Staring Angela Bettis (The Woman), it's a delightfully strange tale, and definitely somewhat Frankenstein like. In some places heart tugging, others funny, but most terrifying, May is not your average watch, nor your average protagonist.

Sometimes hard to watch.

Harder to take your eyes from the screen.


Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Unraveling (2015)


So it looks good, but does it deliver?


The Unraveling

Synopsis

Michael's heroin addiction is beginning to test his limits, but when he is kidnapped and taken into the woods, he soon discovers just how far those limits will go.

Review

It would be remiss to say too much about the film. It's one of those films that doesn't deserve to be spoiled. Michael is an addict doing all the things addicts do, he steals, he takes drugs. He is a sorry soul. But he is a sorry soul that you want to back. Played amiably by Zack Gold, Michael is both the protagonist and the antagonist. Gold does a great job of making you root for him, all the while hating him.

The film itself is a taut thriller, laced with horror, and a good twist. Set completely within the forest wilderness, the isolation plays well to the themes. The loneliness. The desolation.

And the film has a great production value. Both cinematographer and director (Milton Santiago and Thomas Jakobsen respectfully) do an outstanding job. It's a creepy experience and one worth watching.


Zack Gold

The cast is great, with Gold, Jason Tobias, Bennett Viso, Bob Turton, et al, all doing a realistic job as the main cast, there is little to dislike. It's genuinely creepy. It leaves a taste in the mouth. It's unusual, and new, and I didn't see it coming.

I wish I hadn't guessed the twist before it's unveiling, but alas, an old horror hound like me saw it coming - but it takes nothing from the watch.

In fact, this is one of the best produced indie films I've the pleasure to screen.


SPOILERS: PEOPLE

Available on DVD from today - or tomorrow, depending on how you look at it, The Unraveling is nothing short of a great horror/thriller, and will leave you without wanting.







Thursday, 5 October 2017

Shootfighter II (1996)


Wait. This got a sequel?

Shootfighter II

Synopsis

Shingo & the boys (Nick & Ruben) are blackmailed into helping Rawlins infiltrate an underground shootfighting ring in an attempt

Review

So after realizing that it needs to be a Bolo Yeung film, Shootfighter II gets greenlit. So as the synopsis vaguely suggests, Shingo, Nick, and Ruben, are blackmailed by cop, Rawlins (Chase Randolph) - with the threat of jail for making the first Shootfighter (I mean, engaging in illegal shootfights) - to find and fight in Miami's newest - and illegal - shootfight. (How many times can I get shootfight into one paragraph!). The new shootfight is run by eeevillll Lance. Yes. Lance. This is Lance.


Lance. Really.

And then, much like the first movie, it falls into Kickboxer, Bloodsport territory, and there is much fighting, blackmailing, etc. etc.

Again, the fight scenes are solid. There is less gore in this one, but it's well enough choreographed to sate a martial arts expectant. But again the problems come from elsewhere in the film.

Making Bolo Yeung the star is a great idea. While Michael Bernardo (as Nick again) is an accomplished fighter in the real world, only Yeung has the chops to carry the movie. The problem comes with levering a Shingo centric plot in. You see, Lance is Shingo's brother. Obviously. Estranged from some point in the past for stealing money from their Father, they now battle it out for honor. Or something.

So, Lance is Shingo's brother. Lance Stuart. Now it's never mentioned but can we assume that these two are not blood brothers, but adoption is in there somewhere (Lest we have Shingo Stuart)? Ah, the Shootfighter cutting floor. A plethora of plot points discarded.

Brothers, Bolo Yeung and Joe Son. 

So apart from the, um, ethnicity issues of casting these two as brothers, Joe Son was also in Shootfighter. As Chang. Another fun fact is that he was an MMA fighter who fought four times. Lost all of them. Another fun fact is that he's serving life at the moment in CA for a string of really nasty stuff.

So back to the film. Shootfighter II largely ignores large chunks of the first film. The plot of the first saw Ruben fighting to raise money to save the Dojo that he owned, and hiding that from love of his life Cheryl, Nick's sister. She's not mentioned in this movie at all.  Nick and Ruben run the Dojo now. I like culling major plot threads from one movie to force in another. This allows Ruben to get down and dirty with plot point Sheri (Kristy Eisenberg), his love interest and general muguffin.

So, yeah. That happened. It has a better plot than the first. Downs the gore big time. Again. Generic. Very generic.

Oh, and Carol? Yep, Carol's back.

Didn't make Head of Department this time, did you Carol?