Friday, November 28, 2008

Man with the Screaming Brain

Man with the Screaming Brain is Bruce Campbell's directorial debut. It is a 50's sci-fi-themed oddity, filmed in Bulgaria, in which a businessman gets mixed up with a strange ex-KGB taxi driver who eventually kills him. This of course makes him a perfect test subject for a local mad-scientist who's wants to transplant parts of his brain into a test subject.

Everything about this film seemed to somehow be simultaneously better and worse than I expected. The characters are ridiculous, but I didn't find any of the actors performances unbearable. The movie seems to try to be a clever mockery of 50's sci-fi, ends up mostly failing at that and doing bad slapstick instead, but then somehow works on a different level as a sort of weird meta-mockery of itself.

Be sure to watch for the Vespa explosion. It's the finest usage of special effects in a vehicle crash, ever.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Piranha 2: The Spawning

This movie doesn't waste any time, the very first scene jumps straight to some film-firsts with an underwater, skin-diving, shipwreck exploration, sex scene... which quickly ends with the pair getting eaten by simulated piranhi.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Slumber Party Massacre

The first of 3 films in the series. Slumber Party Massacre is a pretty formulaic 80s slasher... only the killer uses a huge drill.

In all of the movies, there are social issues addressed, usually involving feminism. The film goes out of its way to put women in classically-male roles. Keep an eye on the construction crews, the telephone repairman, etc... All sorts of little touches like that can be seen througout the series.

Zombie Lake

Here, the zombie make-up consists of actors whose faces are painted green with latex paint. Since several are seen in the lake itself, a lot of the paint is, at all times, washing or falling off in pieces...

And the paint only extends to their faces. Their hands are usually still fleshtone.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the zombie attacks are even worse. The victims scream half-heartedly for a few seconds, then just look bored and look around absent-mindedly while they're being chewed on by the zombies.

At one point, a man's explanation of the lake and how it came to be filled with nazi zombies lasts about 1/3 of the movie.

This one is just painful to sit through on all levels.

Sorority House Massacre 2: Nighty Nightmare

A Lower-end movie in the "massacre" series... Maybe a little more in the way of random gratuitous slasher-film nudity, but less of everything else.

The sorority house is supposed to be a place where a man killed his family, and this is illustrated by stitching the death scenes and most of the end of Slumber Party Massacre into a completely different storyline in which 2 or 3 of the girls and their coach are the killer's wife and daughters.

When you get to the shower scene, listen for the weird squeaking sound effect added every time the soap touches her. Unfortunately, funny little things like that are the high points of the movie.

One Millions Years B.C.

Be forewarned, there is basically no dialog in this film. This isn't a problem for me, but with American audiences today that won't even deal with subtitles... I'm aware not everyone might not be up for an hour of silence.

You do however get to see some great dinosaur/etc stop-motion effects, Harryhausen-quality stuff. There's also the best use of an iguana to simulate a dinosaur that I've ever seen, an effect that I never expected to see done successfully.

This is also the film that this much-used clip of a claymation t-rex fighting a tricerotops comes from. Very good, classic stuff.

Slumber Party Massacre III

Not quite as absurd as the 2nd, in which the driller-killer uses a drill/electric guitar, but it's still just a drill with a 3 foot drillbit. Victims almost have to volunteer to be killed by that thing.