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Preview: Wopsploitation


The sexiest in cult/horror/exploitation reviews since 2007.

Updated: 2018-01-30T09:12:06.819-08:00


"The Invitation" (2015) d/ Karyn Kusama


Tonight's arthouse study on distrust of strangers and human politeness comes from director Karyn Kusama, the gal who most recently brought you 2009's Jennifer's Body.  Can't recall how I felt about that one and I'm too lethargic from radiation treatments to go back and see, so...chop, chop.  There's been a great deal of positive internet press about this one of late, causing me to set aside whatever disdain I'd already developed towards it due to a weak, unengaging trailer I'd already checked out a while back, and give it a look. Afterall, a shitty trailer does not a dumpster fire movie guarantee.This snob fest could use David Hess and Johnny Morghen.Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his new squeeze, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi...say that one five times fast), pull up outside David and Eden's (Michael Huisman, Tammy Blanchard) swanky digs in the Hollywood Hills for a dinner party, after wiping out a coyote with the car on the ride there. Eden is Will's ex-wife, who previously attempted suicide after the accidental death of their young son together. David is a fellow she took to during a grief-support group, having spent two years together away from their friends, some of which in Mexico, where the couple picked up Sadie and Pruitt (Lindsay Burdge, John Carroll Lynch) , two new age oddballs who share their bizarre notions on pain management. Besides experiencing painful flashbacks from their time together while noticing Eden hiding away a sizable bottle of pills and noticing that David has locked all the doors behind the guests. And where the hell is Choi, anyway? He should have been here by now.If a hipster hides in a high end joint, would anyone bother to find him?David pops in a promotional video for a group called 'The Invitation' that deals with pain and grief on a spiritual hippie level, as evidenced by footage of the head kook talking a dying woman through her final moments of life. If that hasn't weirded out enough guests, a parlour game of 'I Want' turns into Pruitt's impromptu confession of having accidentally murdered his wife. Will's suspicions are temporarily put to rest when Choi finally does show up, but then there's that pesky laptop, left open to files concerning 'The Invitation'  and their true motives, just waiting for an inquisitive partygoer to stumble across while sneaking about the place. Don't drink that wine! Instead, pass it this way so I can put myself out of my misery. I've seen scarier episodes of Quantum Leap, ferchrissakes."Mexican suicide cults are all the rage these days. Join one, reaaaally you should."In the arthouse world, you'll find two approaches to cinema, more often than not. One is overly excessive, the other is purposely minimalist. Either can make for an effective film, if utilized properly, with heaping doses of self-awareness and artistic flair, but I can't help thinking that tonight's movie might have served itself better had it chosen the former instead of the latter. For a film that many are calling "one of the best horror movies of the year", there really isn't any horror to speak of. The script is smart, the cinematography is excellent, and there's some tension early on, but the plot reveal is obvious a lot sooner than it ought to have been, and the pay off is weak and shockless. Interesting, but rarely engulfing. Worth a look for those aforementioned elements, but ultimately forgettable. You could have had something here. Two wops.In distress? Or just yawning. I think we know the answer.[...]

"Harbinger Down" (2015) d/ Alec Gillis


Those of you out there closer to my age (old bastards, we are now) fondly recall the 1980's as a decade where anything at all could be brought to life upon the silver screen through the extensive usage of practical special effects like prosthetics, stop motion animation, animatronics, or miniatures, and films like The Howling (1980), The Beast Within (1982), An American Werewolf in London (1981), and The Thing (1982) were living proof for rabid genre fans worldwide to enjoy. Enter ADI, a special effects team hired by Universal to provide practical effects for a Thing prequel, only to find most of their gruesome handiwork had been digitally replaced in post-production by computer generated imagery. After a YouTube channel full of videos containing their missing artistry proved wildly popular among fans, Alec Gillis, the director of tonight's review, created a crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign to give the people what they really wanted: a practical effects-heavy monster movie like they used to make 'em, and thus, Harbinger Down was born." I brake for sea cucumbers," notes Graff (Lance Henriksen).After watching a Russian spacecraft burning up upon re-entry and crashing into the Bering Sea, we are fast-forwarded thirty years to the present, where two grad students, Ronelle and Sadie (Giovonnie Samuels, Camille Balsamo) are accompanying their prof, Stephen (Matt Winston),  on an experiment documenting global warming's effects on whales, aboard Sadie's grandfather's trawler, Harbinger, while he and his crew do some King Crabbin' in the Bering Sea. What could possibly go wrong. Oh yeah, spaceship in the ice. Not only does the dead cosmonaut inside show no damage from the fiery crash when Billy Idol was on the charts, he looks as though he just expired yesterday. Scarfaced, vodka-drinking, man-beating Russian stereotype,  Svetlana (Milla Bjorn), seems to take a special interest."Oh lawdy sweet Jeezus hepp meh!" It's funny, because it's true.Turns out the dead fellow's cadaver was loaded with tardigrades in a Soviet attempt to prevent him from burning up upon re-entry,  and the resilient microscopic organisms might have been compromised by cosmic radiation in space, causing them to mutate into a shape shifting monster that can survive inside the bodies of Graff's (Lance Henriksen) crew, or stalk and kill those unaffected with an ever morphing range of interstellar weapons, i.e. teeth, tentacles, pincers, fluid-spraying stalks, the whole gamut of bleeech, baby. Add the fact that Svetlana has set charges all over the vessel with plans of hopping a nearby submarine before the fireworks begin, and you can start to fathom what kind of a boffo, knockdown, drag out finale you're about to witness...You probably should have read the side effects in fine print on your new erectile dysfunction medication.Much credit is due to to the makers of tonight's movie, which stands as a genuine throwback to the heyday of motion pictures of it's type, a brand of film sadly all but lost in this modern era of corporatist shortcuts, and penny-pinching producers who would sooner castrate their production to assure the proper box-office returns for their shareholders, moviegoers and their acute preferences be damned. If you siiv through all of the available genre movies provided by streaming media services online, you'll find little else but cheapskate cgi-heavy SyFy fare, assembly line trash of no artistic merit, aimed at dumbed down audiences who can't tell the difference between a good movie or a steaming dump. An effort like tonight's review deserves more than that, and should be championed and uplifted by those of us who still know better. See it, pass it along to your peers, and perhaps someday in the future, movies like this will again be the norm, not the exception. Three wops, and a strong recommendation.Alien life form, you so nasty, eatin dat booty.[...]

"The Pack" (2015) d/ Nick Robertson


Things always seem more extreme in Australia, don't they? Take this recent "Animals Gone Amok" entry from the land down under, for example, not to be confused as a sequel or remake to the 1977 film of the same name, gods be praised. After all, that one featured performances by Joe Don Baker and R.G. Armstrong among its cast, so any comparison between the two is liable to leave the newer release in the older film's dust."How many dogs have bit, have bit the hand of the man that feeds them? ", ponders Adam (Jack Campbell).The Wilsons, as led by stubborn patriarch, Adam (Jack Campbell), are a family struggling to make it on a farm they can no longer afford.  Mother Carla (Anna Lise Phillips) has taken to moonlighting with veterinary work, to little avail. Their youngest, Henry (Hamish Phillips) , enjoys wasting lazy, Lassie-esque days frolicking in the sun with the family pooch, and hiding bullets in a crawl through maze attached to the house. Their oldest, Sophie (Katie Moore), hates the isolation of their current digs, preferring yapping away for hours on end on the telephone with cute boys. To compound matters, something feral and bloodthirsty has been leaving a gruesome trail of mutilated livestock across the property, despite Adam's best efforts to preserve his dwindling sheep with steel traps.I hope Shari Lewis is okay, because Lambchop has seen better days.After showing up with threats of property foreclosure, the bank manager stops roadside for a piss, blanketed by the forest's dense treeline, which camoflage the pack of attacking canines, that promptly tear him asunder. Back at the farm, the Wilsons have unwittingly found themselves on the wild dogs' ever expanding dinner menu, and it's soon obvious that the family will be forced to pool every last ruthless resource just to survive until morning unscathed, as the bellicose breed even takes down a policeman responding to their distress call. Can Adam tie off his growing list of dog bite wounds and protect his family from the pillaging pooches? Is Carla a resurrected gang member, judging by the ease with which she wields that carving knife? Will Henry retrieve the hidden bullets from the maze without being transformed into dog yummies? Will Sophie ever get off the phone? Find out these answers and more when you see this one for yourselves...So messed up, I want you here. And in my room, I want you here.What this particular doggie in the window has going for it is some lovely cinematography, with ample towering crane shots, some relatively brutal gore, and tension and atmosphere in spades, despite some originating from the time tested old jump scare.  The dogs are appropriately menacing, even if some of the human cast fails to pull its own weight while trudging through an improbable script. Bottom line, I was entertained, and moreso than if I had spent the same ninety minutes surfing funny dog videos on YouTube, which, for the record, I try to never do. On the scale, Pack earns a pair of Wops, and would serve you well as a middle movie in a mangy mutt marathon. Worth a look." It's Muttley and Dastardly from now on, see?!!?"[...]

"Boggy Creek" (2010) d/Bryan T. Jaynes


 Some of you readers closer to my age will fondly recall the first time movie cameras visited Boggy Creek back in 1972, when the prolific Crabtree family's backwoods tranquility was violently disturbed by a belligerent bigfoot, and Fouke, Arkansas would never be the same. In 2010, filmmakers would again focus on the area's swampy hominid, but the results bear little resemblance to it's cult classic predecessor. The Crabtrees have been replaced by horny party slags in bikinis, the autobiographical folk tunes have disappeared, leaving terribly forgettable 90's-esque alternative pop numbers and simulated cowgirl-style sex in their wake. Sounds like empty-headed fun, in theory... "My abs and I are enjoying a pensive moment."After her father is tragically smooshed in traffic while jogging on the side of the road (or as we former drunk drivers used to call it , twenty points), Jennifer is easily convinced by pal of color, Maya, to like, make for her late father's cabin, nestled in Boggy Creek, for some therapeutic rest n' relaxation. Only Maya has taken it upon herself to invite her prankster boyfriend, Troy (Bryan Massey), along for the vacay, and her Matchbox 20-looking buddy, Dave (Damon Lipari), who's taken it upon himself to invite vapid cooze, Brooke (Stephanie Honore'), for partying purposes, and because she won't shy away from a good cocking down. If you're keeping score at home, that's zero dick-stractions for poor Jenny, who's been having flashbacks of being chased through the woods as a child by a sasquatch, but is a good sport afterall, and agrees to the swampy soiree."Why I no get invited to hooman parties? I party heartily enough!"After much lifeless deliberation that wouldn't sound out of place on a scripted reality show on MTV, Mopey's luck seems to change for the better, as Dave grows weary of clingy Brooke, and tells her to hit the bricks. She does, and is dragged off for some interspecies in n' out, by everyone's favorite hairy horndog. Jen also meets the hunky Casey (Cody Callahan), a neighbor-turned-cryptozoologist who's also been cuckolded by the boss of the woods, and despite his best warnings, Troy and Dave turn up gutted like so much tilapia, and Maya also becomes a sex worker for Sasquatch. Jennifer's only hope is a mad dash towards the highway, in hopes she doesn't end up the engine in a Bukwas love train, in the process. Insert non-twist twist ending here."We are Farmers...bum bum bum bum bum bum bum."Besides the gaping deficiencies in the plot, the shaky camerawork, the grating soundtrack songs and the flatlined montage sequences that stiffly accompany them, the amateur delivery of dialog by the non-actors involved (watch Jennifer 'hyperventilate' as evidence), there's also the matter of the suit, which wouldn't make it on the discount rack of a high end costume shop. There's some gore reminiscent of Night of the Demon (1980), but it quickly sinks in the sea of suck that this movie clearly is. Leave this Bigfoot undiscovered. One wop.I had that same face on throughout this one.[...]

"Animal" (2014) d/ Brett Simmons


When enthusiastic indie filmmakers shop their movie ideas to potential investors with the promise of perks and those familiar huge returns at the box office that inevitably dry up into a Video on Demand run on sites like NetFlix and Hulu before the initial hype has fully evaporated, it reminds me of a delicate balance that goes unquestioned and is maintained within the industry. It is because of this balance, one of copycatted topical familiarity and recognizable face-based drawing power, that nothing truly original or groundbreaking ever sees a decent release. Take Animal (2014), for example.Looking for a coherent script? Gonna need stronger flashlights....After seeing two couples fleeing for their lives through the forest at night, no doubt from an unclassified thingie of unequalled aggression, homicidal to humans and not above snacking on the first bimbo who trips over her own feet and falls (such tropes are easy prey. And delicious.), we're then introduced to a gaggle of self-important, collegiate humps fixing to wander off into the same woods for an all-day hike. Don't get lost looking for an elusive waterfall you visited as kids, whatever you do. Oops. There's the cadaver of Barbara the Clumsy (Eve. Yes, THAT Eve) to stumble upon. Jeff (Parker Young) soon joins her as the latest member of the bodycount, thanks to that aforementioned "animal". The survivors make it to a not-all-that remote cabin that is in the process of being fortified by the three survivors from the initial attack. One, Douglas (Amaury Nolasco), is a cynical prick, only concerned with saving his own miserable hide. One is Joey Lauren Adams, former favorite of that fat comic book nut from New Jersey that dabbles in movies. Has it been that long?"Finally free of the patriarchy out here, and all I can think about is cooking flapjacks..."Next comes the heroic escape attempt that Douglas nearly puts the kibosh on, getting him tied to the stairs for all his worst efforts, and then the late Jeff's squeeze, Mandy (Elizabeth Gillies) reveals that she's been carrying his unborn baby. Sean follows that up with the revelation that he and Jeff had also been buttcheek buddies together. At least the "animal" isn't playing with it's food (Matt) directly below them, in the cellar. Oh wait, it has. The group manages to spring Matt from the jaws of the beast,  while Carl eats heroic death running interference for them as they escape upstairs. Doug puts out the suggestion that they all escape while it finishes off Matt, then breaks loose and beats him to death himself when they refuse. Whatta guy. He's next. The remaining yobs plot to trap the "animal" while they raze the place to the ground, which is effective until the second one appears and further thins the herd until Mandy drives over it's dome, a la Phil Leotardo, to safety. At least there aren't any more..."No, Ike, any damned thang but those reptile loafahs of yoahs!", pled a hysterical Tina Turner.Tonight's effort was produced by no less than the delectable Drew Barrymore herself,  and still scores significantly lower than "marrying Tom Green" on the Bad Idea-O-Meter for the sultry celeb, no stranger to genre flicks, having lent her image to such films as Cujo, Cat's Eye, Firestarter, and Scream, throughout her career. The movie is brief, with a running time of less than ninety minutes (leaving out elements like plot and character development will do that for you), but fails ultimately in delivering anything at all that horrorhounds won't have encountered better examples of,  hundreds of times already ("Feast" comes to mind, instantaneously). O solo Woppo."Heeeey youuuuuuu guuuuuuuuuuys!" That was an Electric Company/ Rita Moreno reference, if you're keeping score at home.[...]

R.I.P. Herschell Gordon Lewis


                               06/15/29 - 09/26/16(image)

"3 Headed Shark Attack" (2015) d/ Christopher Olen Ray


Tonight's review goes out to those of you out there who'll watch anything, without whom such a movie (a sequel, actually, to 2012's Two Headed Shark Attack, of course) could be slung together by the man whose familiarity to direct-to-SyFy shlock extends to the aforementioned original as well as high brow genre gold titles like 2010's Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus and Megaconda, etc. ad infinitum. You could maybe forgive one credit like this on a guy's resume, but Christopher Olen Ray should probably be ashamed of himself at this point. Your total lack of discretion concerning what you watch allows bowel-busters like tonight's movie to be scattered with faces like B-movie hero, Danny "Machete" Trejo, celebrity stylist Karrueche Tran, and  pro wrassler extraordinaire, Rob Van Dam, thus, keeping them off of the soup lines, so there's that, too.Is your intelligence insulted by this screenshot? Of course not.So, this giant, inexplicably mutated, three-headed Great White Shark has come to exist by feeding off a floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. The predatory, improbably animated beast is fond of both ninja-style attacks in mid leg-high shallows and magnificent hundred foot Warner Brothers cartoon-style surface breeches on top of its screaming, helpless victims, and it isn't long before it has thoroughly terrorized an island based research facility, headed by an Asian dip named Dr. Laura Thomas (Karrueche Tran) who likes to nod repetitively after loudly shouting orders and directions at people (this would be where the dialog would be, in a conventional release, by the way), and makes no qualms about it, either. There's a few "we've gotta swim to the other side of that there, to survive" 's, and everybody's willing to sacrifice themselves for their friends a little too frequently during this lifeless struggle to escape the facility as the monster follows the trail of aquatic pollution towards death and dismemberment. Laura nods approvingly.Throw spatial reasoning to the wind. Flat or hologram? You decide.A few set-dressing mannequins manage to climb aboard a boat in the nick of time, and what are the odds that there's a spiffy riverboat packed with partying primadonnas and palookas alike in the direct path of our monstruous triple threat, in desparate need of a lunkheaded improbable rescue. Why, there's even a motorboat full of hardcore, tattooed bait n' reel commandos, as led by an embarrassed-looking Danny Trejo (as well he should be, dammit), on the way and willing to lend a hand...or a machete, if need be. Be careful, Vato, as I've heard many a grizzled old sea faring man relate to those that dare, if you chop off one computer generated head, three more are liable to instantly pop up in it's place, and that's a five headed shark attack waiting to happen, but that's another movie in and of itself, and David Hasselhoff, Danny Bonaduce, and Corey Feldman haven't even signed on for it yet. They will. You know they will. Flush."How about a leg my way, you greedy bastard..."What a fucking mutt. This is surely the lowest common denominator in today's horror genre, just below those dime a dozen direct-to-video poltergeist/possession pics all over Netflix and Amazon Video these days. Take the crappiest of a long line of Italian Jaws rip-offs you can find, Mattei or D'Amato, your culprit of choice, and it looks like the Spielberg original in comparison to this, most likely. In the same vein, more than one of you out there will probably stand for an hour in single file line to pay hardcore bucks for the opportunity to get a photo op with one or more of the "stars" at the five hundred-fifty-sixth horror convention this year somewhere, and be glad of it. More power to you, though I've got to be first to tell you, you're on your own there. I've got some very guilty pleasures among my historically specific tastes in rotten cinema, admittedly very guilty indeed, but [...]

"10 Cloverfield Lane" (2016) d/ Dan Trachtenberg


I was under the impression that I reviewed 2008's Cloverfield somewhere along the way, even if only through a brief one take. Apparently not. Where is my mind, like Black Francis used to croon. Still, that missing entry will not halt production here on tonight's review, the 2016 follow up, 10 Cloverfield Lane, a sequel in name only which Dean of Detonation, J.J. Abrams, who produced here, calls a mere "blood relative" to the original movie. Speaking of the original, the hulking, colossal beast is back for this entry, only now he's none other than John Goodman, a genre favorite since we first saw him in 1984's C.H.U.D., and he's supported by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who fright fans might recognize from her appearance in the Black X-mas (2006) reboot, though most, like myself, will have long put that calamity out of their consciousness by now, I'd hope."maybe you could take the next selfie out of three point stance? Sincerely, Brett Favre."After a spat with her fiance spoils her generally cheery disposition, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) takes an angry, late night drive through rural Loose-uh-anna, where the radio confirms a recent blackout phenomenon occurring in major cities. To further compound matters, some reckless fuck suddenly head on slams her car off the road, and she wakes up in a leg brace, shackled to a wall in some concrete cellar. Hate when that happens, don't you? Her captor/saviour is a curious fellow named Howard (John Goodman), who graciously explains to the groggy accident victim that the country has come under attack from a threat of unknown origin, and that she is currently housed in a bunker from which she is unable to leave, due to the toxicity of the outside air. Validating Howard's tall tale to a certain degree, is Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.), a fellow who's helped construct the very bunker that the trio has been subsisting in. He claims to have witnessed the attack in question, and subsequently fought his way into the quarters. Still, Howard confesses that he may have run Michelle off the road on purpose on that fateful night. Awww, somebody's got a crush.The mashed potatoes in this vat belong to me. No one is allowed nary a spoonful unless overseen by me."During one of Michelle's many mad scrambles toward freedom, after jacking Howard's bunker keys, she encounters a hysterical woman outside the main door and decked out in open sores and lesions, who frantically tries to break in, but Michelle seals her fate by taking Howard's side on this one and returning to the group after she brains herself repeatedly on the reinforced door. Time passes, revealing that Howard  may be concealing a dark secret or two of his own, showing photographs of what he claims is his daughter, Megan, except that the pictures show a girl named Brittany, a high school friend of Emmett's younger sister, who disappeared a few years back. Maybe you and Emmett should go ahead and fashion that makeshift biohazard suit, and keep it on the d-l from Howie, just in case he decides to put that fifty-five gallon drum of chloric acid he's got sitting around down there, to good use. Naturally things come to a tension-packed boil, guns are fired, acid gets spilled, and the bunker's entrance is finally breached, but what barely passes for a finale in this instance feels completely added on and unnecessary; a cuckold's by-the-numbers love letter to political correctness and gender balance. This development stunts the picture's possible growth for me, and designates it to the ever-heaping pile of ordinary big studio fodder. Approach with caution."...on rotation for three and a half minutes and my corn dog still tastes like rubber in the middle!"Despite the flat, predictable ending, I found myself enjoying Goodman's performance a lot; a pity that it's immersed in such median genre fare, or I'd probably revisit it again soon. Not ruling such an[...]

"Indigenous" (2014) d/ Alastair Orr


My expectations weren't nearly as high as I was for the screening of tonight's review, a schizophrenic dollar store Descent clone for the impecunious; packed with less flavor than a rice cake, disorganized dialog delivered within the one note range of rank amateurs and with the truth of a reality show. It took me two sittings to get all the way through this mutt of a monster movie, having passed the fuck out on one prior attempt. That's never a good sign, in my experience..."Stroke of luck we stumbled upon this discreet, Panamanian fuck-lagoon, eh?"Five obnoxious twenty-somethings (Four Americans, one Australian) of little virtue and less character have uprooted their "horns up, breeh!" attitude for a vacation in Panama, if by vacation you mean "endless body shots, gay jokes, and ignominious pick up lines", that is. Several uninspired partying montages later, Trevor (Pierson Fode) has made the acquaintance of local honey dip, Carmen (Lauren Penuela) and her amigo, Julio (Juanxo Villaverd), and when she isn't blueballing her new American love interest, she's teasing he and his steak-pussed friends about an alleged breathtaking waterfall and mystic pool combo somewhere in the Darien Gap, off limits to gringos since the last group of teenagers got waxed by chupacabras, who also take  time off from sucking the blood of Texas livestock for some much needed R n' R in Central America, it would seem. After some righteous surfing, Julio again warns the entourage to steer clear of the jungle gap,but Carmen decides to round them up the next morning and drive them there, any old way."Let's sync up our flashlights, and show these bastards what they're messing with!"After a fruitless private liaison in a nearby lagoon, Carmen and Trevor get separated while scoping out weird jungle noises (you know the kind that always preempt sex in movies like this), and before too long Carmen disappears amidst some blood-curdling screams, leaving behind only a pulverized smart phone. Fleeting glimpses of prowling beasts of unknown origin become more frequent as the survivors climb towards ground high enough to provide cell phone service, and as the forest grows darker the vacationers are subtracted in ones from the equation by this pale race of murderers, who are but a cave system away from being a flagrant rip off of Neil Marshall's subterranean sinners in his 2005 effort, The Descent. Is that a cave?? You've gotta be kidding me. Many unremarkable circumstances pack the final reel right up until the end credits, and though I'm not gonna elaborate further upon them here, you can imagine exactly what most of them entail by this point in the piece, I'm sure. Let's wrap it up already." gonna accept my Candy Crush Saga request or what?"Tonight's movie kind of plays like the aforementioned Descent, if it was tackled by MTV Studios ultra-leftist propaganda machine, and cast from that show where skateboarder Rob Dyrdek entertains an audience of catatonic hipsters with video clips that are readily available to anyone with a Wi-Fi connection that knows how to use a browser. Even America's Funniest Home Videos had more appeal than that, ferchrissakes. These characters are abrasively self-absorbed and shallow as a vomit splash, nobody's rooting for any of them, besides maybe Lauren Penuela's Carmen, who's hot enough to stay tuned long enough to chuckle at her total disregard for common sense while speaking highly of her own virtue at every juncture. Other than that, there's really nothing out of the ordinary here at all, and on the scale, a single Wop is par for this particular, repetitive course. Avoid."Blew it! You shoulda picked the Wet Willie!"[...]

R.I.P. Cecil "Prince Buster" Campbell


                                05/24/38 - 09/08/16(image)

"Jaws 2" (1978) d/ Jeannot Szwarc


It struck me funny while I was zoning out the other night and staring at one sheets,  that in the nine plus years we've fielded fright flicks here at the Wop, I've yet to review a single film in the Jaws series, not even the original. Naturally, we've covered all the possible Italian Jaws rip-offs, and even other countries feeble attempts to cash in on Spielberg's 1975 summer blockbuster, but never their inspiration. Well, that gets remedied tonight, when we won't be assessing Steven's two hundred and sixty million dollar box office smash, which I coincidentally saw in the theaters the first time around, in case you were wondering, but the 1978 sequel, as helmed by French-American director, Jeannot Szwarc, the guy who previously directed things like nineteen episodes of Night Gallery and also William Castle's Bug (1975) . Seventy-seven million at the box office for lots of Roy Scheider, no Richard Dreyfuss or Robert Shaw, more mechanical shark, and significantly more groovy seventies parasail-crazy teens that wouldn't look out of place in an episode of Eight is Enough. Who doesn't want any of that, I ask you.Down killock, ye nautical nerd (Keith Gordon)!Some time after the climactic fishing trip that removed the original devil of the deep from the island's equation, Amity has returned to normal, preparing for the grand opening of a new hotel. Meanwhile, two divers photographing the sunken wreckage of Quint's boat, the Orca, are set upon by another huge great white shark. It also attacks a pair of groovy water skiers, horribly scarified by the boat's female driver, who inadvertently dumps gasoline over herself and sets the boat on fire while trying to avoid the monster's fatal bites. There's also a beached killer whale carcass with tell-tale bitten chunks out of it, the radius of which is more than slightly reminiscent of a problem predator the island's citizens once faced. Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) gets more of the same response as last time from Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), ultimately getting himself fired when the city council grows weary of his manic running up and down the shoreline with his sidearm drawn during peak beach hours, and inconclusive underwater photos that may or may not reveal the eye and mouth of a massive great white. Relax, Martin, you'll live longer.Don't light the match until you're sure you're standing on all surviving prints of this movie first.Brody's older son, Mike (Mark Gruner)(who's aged quite a bit considering the time that has passed), like most of the teenage islanders, even the nerds, is obsessed with parasailing while avoiding dragging his younger brother Sean (Marc Gilpin) along during efforts to impress Jackie (Donna Wilkes), the new chick in town. She rocks polyester and screams her fool head off with the best of 'em. Cue: Foolhardy aquatic youth ignoring the flaccid warnings of the local constabulary in favor of crisp waves and the twenty-something foot long devil lurking just beneath them, with a chip on it's massive pectoral fin. With Matt Hooper off studying on the Aurora in the Antarctic, and Quint's half-digested, exploded remains spread for a mile in every direction, Brody is forced to combat the scarred beast, who's eaten a helicopter, mind you, on his own this time around. There also might be the unlikeliest of underwater power lines off of ol' Cable Junction, of course, to turn the odds in favor of our favorite hydrophobic police officer, just saying. So keep an open mind for that, haha."Jeeezus, watch out for those hydraulics!"At six, I was traumatized seeing the original in the theater, but by the time this sequel rolled around, I had matured into a nine yr old in Cheryl Ladd t-shirt and flip flops that regularly went swimming downtown at the Y. Mechanical sharks had been toppled from my scary [...]

"Troll Hunter" (2010) d/ Andre Ovredal


This is more fucking like it. Tonight, we'll delve into the old Norwegian mythology when a troll wasn't necessarily a thirty-something guy living in his basement starting flame wars on message board regs,  as envisioned by Norse writer/director Andre Ovredal, and acted out by his one time commie comedian/countryman, Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, another comedian, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Morck, and Tomas Alf Larsen. You're into peculiarly named actors, this flick is a treasure trove, indeed. Oh, and don't forget to stay tuned past the end credits...Somebody found a full Budweiser in the forest.Volda University sends off three of it's brightest students in audio/visual production to get to the bottom of the recent rash of bear attacks and subsequent bagged bears turning up all over Norway. Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), Johanna (Johanna Morck), and Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen) answer the tele-journalistic call under the belief that a poacher is behind the bear deaths, but it's not long before they realize their main suspect, a Land Rover-driving goon in a foppish hat named Hans (Otto Jespersen), is no common poacher. Instead, after much paparazzi-style pestering, Hans reveals that he the country's lone hunter and slayer of mythical trolls. After allowing the team to fully document his dispatching of a massive three-headed rascal by turning him into stone, he offers the crew a free ride while he makes his rounds, whacking different species of woodland trolls, and even the much larger mountain variety, as he's become jaded on the job ever since he was forced to wipe out entire troll families (pregnant females, children, uhhhrvrybodah) that one time. Boy, he hated doing that."Come live your secret dream!," beckons the King of the Nighttime World.As we watch the found footage (sigh...), we learn much of the physiology of these mysterious beasts; They can stand two hundred feet tall, older males grow head-like protuberances on their shoulders as they get older, they eat rocks or anything they can get their massive mitts on, really, and sunlight can either turn them into stone or explode them on the spot. You've gotta rub yourself all over with their signature slime to avoid scent detection, and Jesus Christ help you if you happen to be a Christian, as they can smell your blood if you're of the faith. Hans' liaison is an older bird named Hilde, a kind-hearted veterinarian who he's thrown around naked once or twice, it would seem. Officials maintain that said trolls do not exist, and go to J Edgar lengths to keep this untruth at the forefront of the national consciousness, as the team will later find out. In the end, they replace a squashed, Christian cameraman with a Muslim and square off not against your common Ringlefinch or mere Tosserlad, but a two hundred foot tall Jotnar, the largest of all trolls. What goes down I'll leave for you to discover on your own..."C'mon, just two-handed touch, up to guys'll murder us."Most of the main cast is comprised of high level Norwegian comedians, if you hadn't noticed in our opening paragraph. It works. Despite the well-exhausted found footage mockumentary approach, I rather dug this one for its cinematic flair, originality, inventive, effective use of cg (which I normally hate), and clever script. The lush natural shooting locations are equally impressive, and you might find yourself drinking them in yourselves while waiting for the next giant big nosed oaf to come crashing through the trees. Overall, I give it three out of four Wops, a worthwhile watch for any horror fans with a decent sense of humor that might be looking for something new and different to get into. Check it out, for sure."...Posting it on Facebook and taggin' you in it, too!"[...]

"When Animals Dream" (2015) d/ Jonas Alexander Arnby


September already? Time flies when you're sick as a beast. At least flight jacket weather is upon us, and I can look phenomenal while I'm doing it. A generous bowl of Monster cereal over here, please. I'd seen several trailers for this, the Danish horror debut of Jonas Alexander Arnby, and the foreign artsy-fartsiness on display, which normally never discourages me when I'm sitting down to a new horror film, was a big red light, in this case.Vampires translate well into arthouse as we've seen over the years, but werewolves? Too feral, too wild a subject to be handled with such flair, perhaps. Regardless, I gave it a look, and here's what I came up with..."...still better than Kirsten Dunst."Marie (Sonia Suhl) is a sixteen year old girl living on an island in Denmark with her folks, Thor (Lars Mikkelsen) and her mother (Sonja Richter), who's seemingly catatonic and wheelchair-bound. Marie spoon feeds her slop daily and tries to make a living at a nearby fish processing plant, where the other employees get their jollies by shoving her face first into a dumpster full of fish waste. Oh, you guys. Meanwhile, Marie is noticing some strange physiological changes to her growing body, most noticeably patches of fur, rashes, and bleeding fingernail beds. She begins to draw parallels to her mother's current condition, and begins an investigation of her own towards answers to all of her burning questions. She soon discovers that she may have inherited her mother's inexplicable malady, and her own father may be in cahoots with the local doctor in efforts to keep the family's monstrous medical history off of the minds of locals, who may or may not have the propensity to gather in posses under such circumstances, and hunt said monsters, of which Marie's family may have two card carrying members, to extinction, no less...There's always one bald bully at the fish processing plant. Ever notice that?After hijacking her mother's medical files and exploring a nearby rusty Russian sea vessel with obligatory old Eastern lycanthropy-style graffiti below in the shadows, Marie gets an idea of what she's in for, as a werewolf-to-be, that refuses the massive doses of sedatives that her mother requires to keep from sprouting fangs and tearing out throats, like she'd fancy, if she had her way. She decides she'd like to have some human sex, being ravaged by a handsome young villager before she's finally ravaged by fleas, and the lucky dong-donor is Daniel (Jakob Osterbro), a sympathetic shoulder who's blood-rager isn't diminished by suddenly feeling patches of hair on a chick's back, which would be a deal breaker for me, just saying. Daniel even takes Marie's back when the other townsfolk show their lycanthropophobia, and try to wack her out much later, when she's only achieved about thirty-five percent transformation, or so it looks. It takes a long time to become a werewolf, say this film's producers. A long time. Don't let that eighty-four minute run time fool you out there.James Brown says you're "letting your backbone slide" all wrong.In the end, the wanton artsiness on display here prohibited the film in my opinion from ripping the lid off in the final reel, for a Beast Within-esque, chunk blowing, genre finale, like most fans would have probably preferred, in favor of the nuance of artful subtlety. There's more werewolf in La lupa mannara (1976), ferchrissakes (Italoween III next month, by the way, so keep that in mind). What worked in Låt den rätte komma in (2008)  came up short here. This one's a horror movie for the handlebar mustache and hipster scarf crowd. The cinematography is excellent, and an effective, creepy tone is maintained throughout, but there's nothing that could be mistaken for a scare in here[...]

"Masked Avengers" (1981) d/ Chang Cheh


Good Chinese gung fu movies are like my favorite pint of genre takeaway with an ample portion of steamed white rice as a complement,when that certain mood strikes me. If you're a fan of director Chang Cheh's earlier work, like 1978's The Five Venoms, for instance (and who isn't), and you're seeking out a similarly righteous masked gung fu mystery vibe, then look no further than tonight's review, his 1981 effort, starring many of the "Venom Mob", a splashy, acrobatic, arterial spurting, guts-hanging-off-a-trident good time that plays as darkly as any of his films of that era, i.e. House of Traps,  Five Element Ninjas, etc...Kuo Chui;always excellent drama, acrobatics, and gung fu from the Lizard.It would seem that a rogue crew of evil bastards has been up to no martial good of late, running poor sons o' bitches through on their trademark long tridents, and overseen by three gang chiefs, all who wield a golden trident, and wear a color-coordinated bearded mask that differs from the standard issue horned demon that the boys sure like to sport, while they're pursuing questionable activities as regular pastimes, such as kidnapping young men and trapping them inside elaborate mechanical Buddha statues before spearing them over and over again with their tridents, and catching the spurting blood inside bowls of water, drinking the mixture triumphantly while  gloating over all the cash they amass by carrying out said splashily graphic, overly dramatic executions. Of course, there's Chi San Yuen (Chiang Sheng), nd various members of the prolific Long Clan, who've taken it upon themselves to investigate these killings and expose the mysterious gang for the unscrupulous criminals that they are...starting with the identity of the crew's leader or leaders, whomever that might turn out to be."You can't have any silver taels until you've finished drinking your blood-water, fellas..."Heading the list of potential villains is the rich local fellow Lin Yun Chi (Lu Feng), who seems sincere enough in helping out the Longs in realizing their goals, despite various associates suddenly developing a propensity for being sneakily eighty-sixed by the very gang they currently hunt. There's also Fang Zugang (Wong Li), an equally affluent local chap, whose henchman all seem to parade around in red and black outfits, much like the gang in question. A mostly silent cook named Gao(Kuo Chui) also displays the martial prowess necessary to qualify as a potential chief baddie, but Chi's mate Zeng Jun (Chin Siu Ho) seems to have developed a rapport with the mysterious man, and trusts in him despite his excellence with a gold chief-colored trident, and his coincidental possession of a matching bearded chief mask, just like the real ones wear. Hmmm. Expect an acid, knives, and arrows booby trapped lair full of high-flying gung fu and treachery in the final reel, just the way you like it...Movement number thirteen, narcolepsy in the red paint.No Sun Chien or Lo Mang here, but even without those two heavy hitters, Avengers scores high marks all around for fight choreography, which was provided partially by Kuo Chui, Chiang Sheng, and Lu Feng, paint-splattery death en masse, lots of side-flipping martial turncoatery and plot twists, and some of the most exhilarating individual gung fu performances out of it's cast of main characters, all of which had been known for such dizzying skills before the release of Avengers in 1981, having solidified that reputation here a thousand-fold. A perfect score of four Wops is what I'll bestow upon this one, as it stands as a fine example of Asian fantasy and action of the period, and arguably, one of the finest ever. If this sort of thing is your bag, you'll want to hu[...]

"12 Days of Terror" (2004) d/ Jack Sholder


Sorry about the delay between reviews, I'm finally outta the hospital and back at the front lines of fear, once again. As we take the last few drags on a summer cigarette here at the Wop, let's look at a made-for-television movie documenting the historic New Jersey shark attacks of 1916 that would eventually inspire Benchley, Spielberg and company to change the game forever with the horrific (PG-rated, which is still unbelievable to me) Jaws sixty years later. In the directorial chair was Jack Sholder, who you'll remember from genre efforts like 1982's Alone in the Dark, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), and The Hidden (1987), while script duties were shared by none other than Tommy Lee Wallace of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) and television miniseries It (1990) fame. In front of the camera, you've got soap opera heartthrob Colin Egglesfield and Gimli himself, John Rhys-Davies, who only agreed to appear if Animal Planet (where tonight's review was first broadcast) gave his beard it's own reality series. Just kidding about that last part..."You're such a blatherskite. I don't pay any mind to your balderdash or your poppycock."From July 1st to the 12th of that particular month in the year of nineteen and sixteen, long before it would be overtaken by ab-obsessed guidos and meathead paisan chicks that make the shallows look like the Mariana Trench, the shores off of the state of New Jersey were terrorized by unseen cartilaginous terror from the murky ocean depths. Alex (Colin Egglesfield) is a lifeguard plagued with good looks, a complex love triangle with his best chum (Mark Dexter) and his current bride-to-be, Alice (Jenna Harrison), who he may or may not have shared some fluids of the non-sarsparilla variety with, and the current climate of beach bathers leaving the surf with large tell-tale bites taken out of them he also shares with his fellow Garden Staters. Shark? Who's ever even heard of those in this era of the Black Tom explosion of '16, in Jersey City, no less? Those damned Germans!"Since you won't be wearing those swell new calfskin loafers again, you can always hand 'em over to this fellow."Naturally, the first attack falls upon ignorant ears in town, and even the second one merits only the most minor of precautions in the form of a flimsy off shore fence that wouldn't keep Kevin Smith out of a box of Devil Dogs. Then there's the grizzled Captain (John Rhys-Davies) who's reluctant to sign on and fish the horrible beasty out of the drink so folks can try that new beach bathing lotion on, in their full form bathing suits, usually striped. He later notices it swimming upstream into a Matawan creek towards your obligatory oblivious boys in the water, splashing about in their youthful quest for aquatic horseplay, but no one puts too much faith in the word of a drunk. The lifeguard meets the same resistance, taking it personally when the shark bites off a sizable portion of his best mate, killing the poor chap. Still, the authorities refuse to close the beaches. You can figure out where this one is gonna end up if you've read the book of the same name, or seen Jaws (1975)."Northern Fur Seal or human gastrocnemius muscle? I'm terribly confused, indeed..."The producers of the film would have you believe that a Great White was the culprit in these historic attacks, but the laziest of research will inform the reader that at least one of these must have been perpetrated by it's smaller, more aggressive, more adaptable cousin, the Bull shark. Hell, they even murder in fresh water if the fancy arises. All in all, the effects weren't half bad for a tv movie, especially a made-for-AnimalPlanet movie.There's nothing part[...]

"The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1994) d/ Kim Henkel


In 1994, Kim Henkel, who co-wrote the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) with director Tobe Hooper, would write and direct the fourth movie focusing on the cannibalistic family of unemployed cattle slaughterers, and specifically, everyone's favorite hulking, chainsaw-wielding lunatic, Leatherface himself. The sequel in question, basically an imprecise remake, made the festival scene before being shelved for three years, until its two young leads, Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger rose from obscurity with roles in A Time to a Kill (1996) and Jerry Maguire (1996), respectively; after which the film was re-cut, re-titled, and re-released as Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1997) to precious little fanfare. I'm not about to sing its praises here tonight, either, but read on, anyway...Don't squeeze the trigger, Renee (unless you want to, and really, you'd be doing us all a favor...).We follow the post-prom exploits of four Texas teens, including the pot smoking wallflower, Jenny (Renee Zellweger) and her faux airhead pal Heather (Lisa Marie Newmyer), who blow the negative vibes of the formal clambake in favor of dark, winding, dirt roads only to be targeted by the latest bellicose brood of  the infamous Slaughter family (weren't they the Sawyers? Mehhh.). There's Leatherface (Terry Jacks), who's taken to wearing full drag, and the wrecker-driving, point and shout-happy Vilmer (Matthew McConaughey), who's got a robotic leg brace that's controlled by television remotes, and Walter (Joe Stevens), who drops an endless array of quotes from famous people (and little else). There's also the execrable insurance agent Darla (Tonie Perensky), who flashes her augmented breasts at passing cars when she isn't contentedly enjoying her mutually abusive relationship with the aforementioned shouting tow truck driver she calls her boyfriend. When the teens' car slams into an oncoming car in the night, leaving its driver unconscious and in need of medical assistance, the couples split up to find help. What they find, instead, anybody can see coming from a mile away...Leatherface (Terry Jacks) or Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri, you be the judge.It isn't long (or perhaps it's entirely too long, who can tell at this point?) before Vilmer is exaggeratedly driving over one prom date in his tow truck and snapping the neck of the unconscious crash victim, while Leatherface is clobbering the stuffing out of the other male prom goer with a familiar mallet, stuffing a screaming Heather in a cooler before ploinking her down on a nearby meat hook. Jenny is taken captive by the family, forced to look with horror upon a taxidermized family at the dinner table, while Darla comically dislocates her beau's bum kneecap with the press of buttons on a tv clicker. Vilmer points and shouts a lot, slashes himself repeatedly with a straight razor, and is dispatched by the propeller of a low flying Illuminati airplane. Did I mention the Illuminati? Yeah, a fellow in a suit named Rothman shows up at the dinner party, disappointed by the family's inability to breed terror in its victims (sort of like this whole movie), and he ultimately drives Jenny to safety in his stretch limo while drag Leatherface does the spinning, whirling "She got away!" chainsaw dance on the highway. Sound familiar?"Relax, Miss Jones, we'll locate your diary for you, alright.", exclaims Cop (John Dugan).On a positive note, the film features three blink-and-you'll-miss-'em cameos from the original cast, John Dugan (Grandpa), Paul Partain (Franklin), and Marilyn Burns (Sally), though she's billed as ANONYMOUS in the credits, and "Queen" Debra Marshall, Stone Cold Steve Aus[...]

"The Human Centipede 3 (The Final Sequence)" (2015) d/ Tom Six


Just when you thought it was safe to go ass to mouth again, depraved Dutch director Tom Six returns with the final installment of his twisted trilogy, boasting of a five hundred person long centipede while uniting the two leading men from the prior episodes, Dieter Laser and Laurence Harvey, and enlisting the talents of former butterscotch porn sweetie/Sheen-slave, Bree Olson, and Julia Roberts' bass mouthed brother, Eric, for good/bad measure, depending on your feelings about the first two films. The way I see it, the first effort was clever cult material, with most of the gruesome gore implied. The second offered up overly sloppy splatter at barf bag levels to quell the hunger of the vocal hardcore horror hounds who were unsatisfied by the pioneer film. So what would Six serve up for the most foul finale? I had to see for myself. As I recall, it went like this..."Heyyyyy, this ain't 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' like they promised us!!!"Warden Bill Boss (Dieter Laser) runs one fucked up state prison, in conjunction with his portly accountant Dwight (Laurence Harvey), who suggests his chief executive screen both Human Centipede movies while his assistant, Daisy (Bree Olsen) rubs his feet. Boss shits on the shitty films as pure shit, while Daisy enjoys them, earning herself a wet finger in the coochie for her opinion, which Boss suggests she keep to herself in future. Meanwhile,  one of the correctional officers has been stabbed by a disgruntled black inmate who, in turn, gets his arm compound fractured and crushed under Boss' foot. At this point, the warden receives a special package in his office, which contains dried African clitorises which Boss eats for strength(!) when he's not disfiguring inmates with boiling water torture. The governor (Eric Roberts) arrives on the scene and immediately demands that Boss and company cease and desist from all the brutal violence, or the pair will be seeking employment elsewhere. Boss then castrates another inmate with a heated knife blade, spreading blood from the open wound all over his own face, and demanding the testicles be prepared for his lunch. You know, as energy food. Right? Meanwhile, Daisy gives an under-the-desk skulljob to her boss, after which, she inadvertently chows down on one of the clitorises, mistaking it for candy to mask the bad taste in her mouth."Some mood music, baby? Perhaps Lady Guh-guh-guh-guh-guh..."Finally, Dwight pitches his idea to his employer: turning all inmates into a massive human prison centipede, sewing them together, ass to mouth to ass to mouth know the routine by now. Boss balks at the idea until he's haunted by a nightmare where one inmate shanks a large hole in his lower back and death rapes one of his kidneys as the rest of the cell block looks on. Tom Six (himself) shows up and sells the medical accuracy of the process, and agrees to allow the staff to recreate it so long as he can watch. The inmates are shown both previous movies, while those individuals physically or mentally incompatible with becoming a centipede are whacked by the warden, and an unsuccessful prison break leaves Daisy in a brutally beaten comatose state, or in other words, the optimal condition for Boss to rape her in front of his dismayed accountant. As the operations get under way, Tom Six tosses his cookies as he witnesses certain prisoners being dismembered as well as being sewn together. The governor returns just in time to see Boss's five hundred segment prison centipede in person (which Daisy has unwittingly gotten herself sewn into), and also a "human caterpillar", comprised of legless and armless inmates. It gets wors[...]

"Baskin" (2015) d/ Can Evrenol


Remember when the Republic of Turkey was renowned for cinematic excellence the world over, and film fans could hardly wait to see what spectacle the Turkish lens fell upon next? Yeah, me neither. I do however recall the nation that brought us such unforgettably rotten gems as Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam aka/ Turkish Star Wars (1982),  Seytan aka/ Turkish Exorcist (1974), and Badi aka/ Turkish E.T. (1983). Naturally when the internet buzzed concerning director Can Evrenol's Baskin I was mildly skeptical, to say the least. Still, I approached tonight's review with open eyes and a similarly receptive mind. Read on, woprophiles, for my synopsis and verdict, if you dare...Carnivorous since birth, I confess that I wouldn't mind taking a healthy bite out of this after some extensive flame broiling.A group of Turkish cops bet on football and discuss the finer points of zoophilia and chick-with-dick-tricks at an out-of-the-way restaurant (translation: plywood Akcaabat meatball shack) where they bully paying customers for laughing at their outrageous stories, ending in one cop left screaming in a reflexive mirror wig out, when they're called to another even more out-of-the-way location as back up to another squad. Who's driving? The officer who's just experienced the breakdown, of course. The fellows belt out a Turkish pop song with the radio before naked men run across the road, and the ride is ultimately cut short when the vehicle barrels into someone standing in the middle of the asphalt in the darkness.There's a lot of frogs, too, for a reason unbeknownst to your humble narrator. On foot, they encounter some creepy gypos in a camp (One particularly acromegalous one is a frog hunting giant) before arriving at the abandoned police station that is the source of their call, another squad vehicle parked outside with the engine running and lights flashing. Not a good sign, as Nancy Loomis used to say...Hugh Jackman, eat your heart out, buddy.Upon entering the building, they find a fellow officer slamming his dome piece repeatedly into a wall, mostly covered in ominous Satanic-looking graffiti and decorated with weird stuff hanging from strings, a la Blair Witch. Naturally, they've stumbled onto a black mass of sorts, with throngs of folks wrapped in clear plastic, cheap animal masks, and whatnot. The cops are overpowered before too long, and end up bound to the ceiling, and awaiting judgment in H-E-double hockey sticks, which is overseen by the Turkish equivalent of a member of Slipknot, and ultimately, a little rubber-faced creep with long nails, known as Baba or "The Father"(Mehmet Cerrahoglu), a cruel and unusual cat who grooves on disemboweling motherfuckers with his fingernails, poking dude's eyes out with a knife to strains of Riz Ortolani's Cannibal Holocaust soundtrack, and simply sawing open fella's throats and rubbing the free-spilling blood all over his chrome dome. One cop is forced to knock at the back door of a chunky woman in an animal mask and plastic sheet ensemble, on all fours. In the end, the easy way out is chosen to wrap up the clumsy, hole-ridden narrative, and you'll see it coming.In Hell, there's sex at it's unsexiest.On a positive note, some of the cinematography is effective, and the torture porn-level gore is passable if slightly pedestrian, but neither aspect really compensates for the lack of story or budgetary confinements that the film is anchored by. Another deficiency I feel I have to mention, is the lack of sympathetic characters here, as all protagonist parties involved in the cinematic Hellride I neither rooted for nor against throughout the[...]

"Pet Sematary" (1989) d/ Mary Lambert


Author Stephen King once said that the only novel he wrote that truly scared him, was Pet Sematary, the basis for tonight's review. Is it any wonder that he would tackle the screenplay himself, overseeing much of the production, which was shot just twenty minutes from his Maine home? Ah-yuh, it's anothah horror movie full of bottles of beeyah, Herman Munstah, zombie cats, and reanimated scalpel-wielding toddlah cadavahs that are bound to have you and yours shouting, "Awwwww, isn't he precious?!!?" at your television screen. I grooved on it slightly back in '89 at the theater, at a time when I was more apt to accept a genre film that assumes it has to spell everything out for it's audience the way this one seems to. Forward...Formica rufa, baby. Wood ant. Wouldn't. Get it? Ah, forget it.The Creeds move from Chicago to Ludlow as Louis (Dale Midkiff), family patriarch and professional Tony Romo lookalike, is offered a job as a doctor at the University of Maine. His wife Rachel (Denise Crosby), and their two children, Ellie (Blaze Berdahl) and Gage (Miko Hughes), and their cat, Church, all get acclimated to the rural landscape that's bisected by a stretch of road that's seemingly traveled at breakneck speed by the same tanker truck all day and night long. That's gonna pose a problem, later on, I just know it. Elderly neighbor Jud Crandal (Fred Gwynne) takes a shine to the young family when he isn't chain smoking Marlboro's and drinking Bud bottles. Ah-yuh. It doesn't take long for Jud to show them the local pet cemetery, and even less time for him to reveal the Micmac indian burial ground that supernaturally raises your dead pet from the grave on the chance that you're not quite ready to say goodbye, when Church gets splattered on the side of the aforementioned treacherous stretch of asphalt while Rachel and the kids are back in Chicago for Thanksgiving. The only problem is that no pets ever come back from the other side exactly the way they were pre-mortem, explained away as a side effect of the stony ground of the magical area. Uh huh."My balls are this big." boasts Father Phone-it-in (Stephen King).Despite getting clawed and ominously hissed at by his undead cat, Louis eventually asks Jud if the site was ever used to bring back something other than a pet, spurring the old man to repeat his trailer tagline no less than four times for dramatic effect ("Louis...sometimes...dead is bettah."). During a picnic in the nearby field, all the adults lose track of little Gage as he stumbles in front of the tanker truck barreling down the road, and Louis automatically has designs on putting Jud's warning to the test, against the constant, annoying warnings of a teenage ghost named Pascow (Brad Greenquist). It should also be noted that Rachel is also haunted by the twisted memory of her wheezy,bone-cracking spinal meningitis-stricken sister that she believes she let die as a fear-gripped child. Naturally, Louis digs up his boy and replants him on the Micmac grounds, leading to some totes adorbs evil toddler action, and a twist ending that nobody in the civilized world didn't see coming...Herman, you dead idiot.Dale Midkiff also appeared in 1986's Nightmare Weekend. I'll refrain from any jokes involving Denise Crosby, seeing as how she was Lt. Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and you sci-fi nerds will likely doxx me for it. Miko Hughes would also show up in New Nightmare (1994). Much like our previous entry, tonight's boasts of a director change, from George A. himself, who was too busy working on Monkey Shines at the time and his pal Tom Sav[...]

"Silver Bullet" (1985) d/ Dan Attias


What started for author Stephen King as an artistic collaboration on a calendar illustrated by Bernie Wrightson (of Swamp Thing, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Heavy Metal, etc. fame), soon became a novella called Cycle of the Werewolf, and was finally transformed into the film that would be the basis for tonight's review. Though I confess I never got around to buying the illustrated hardcover or the trade paperback back then, surely some sort of transgression against the genre gods, as a lifelong Wrightson fanatic, and a reader of King for nearly as long, in and of itself,  I'll also concede that I skipped the movie the first time around, too. Even then, the idea of a kid in a rocket wheelchair squaring off against a werewolf? Not the greatest idea Stephen King has ever dreamed up, I don't mind telling you.Heading out to the highway. Only made it as far as the railroad tracks...In the Bicentennial year of 1976 (some of you may not know the year, having not lived it), a dysfunctional clan called the Coslaws and their surrounding neighbors in a fictional Maine town called Salem's,uhhh-errr, Tarker's Mills, are plagued by a year's worth of brutal slayings at the paws of a murderous werewolf. We see his bloody handiwork in a decapitated railroad worker and a suicidal teenage pregnancy. Our protagonists are Jane (Megan Follows), a resentful teen who's begrudgingly forced to tend to her younger brother, Marty (Corey Haim), a paralyzed lad who whizzes about in a rocket wheelchair, as designed by his lovably zany drunken uncle, Gary Busey. His character has a name, indeed, but for all intents and purposes, you're getting Gary Busey. When Marty and his buddies aren't tormenting Jane for being a yucky girl who wears dresses, (the way young boys displayed their affections before being socially castrated by the authoritarian left, you remember, don't ya) get waxed by the wolfman while flying kites. Who the hell flies kites, anyway?"Forget how to knock? Can't a girl enjoy her pureed tomatoes in peace??"Sheriff Joe Haller (Terry O'Quinn) 's hands are tied, as he and his punchy deputy are clueless to the mysterious killer's identity, leading the less level-headed and reasonable townsfolk to hunt the beast in the shrouded mist themselves, only to get tooled up in the dark by the mythical monster. Meanwhile, Nancy Drew and the Har-uhh, errrr, Jane and Marty have a helluva time convincing their drunken uncle that a werewolf is responsible for the murders, despite his obvious outer space origin/current mindset. The lycanthrope nearly puts an end to the rocket wheelchair montages, complete with nerve-wracking eighties synth pop, but thanks to the bag of illegal fireworks his uncle bestowed upon him, the search is soon narrowed down to anyone wearing an eye patch. Stay out of Maine, Slick Rick. Then more stuff happens, mostly of the "Who didn't see that coming?" variety. Approach with great caution."This is what I get for lighting fireworks off with Jason Pierre-Paul!"Corey Haim you'll probably recall from The Lost Boys (1987) or heavily publicized drug problems.You probably won't, but I remember Megan Follows from her role as "Anne of Green Gables" in the 1985 Canadian tv miniseries. The sacrifices one makes for broads. I got a little caught up in it, I confess. In a supporting capacity, you've got the likes of Terry "Stepfather" O'Quinn, Lawrence "Reservoir Dogs" Tierney, James "Dawn of the Dead" Baffico, and of course Everette "Twin Peaks" McGill and Gary motherfucking Busey rounding off the list of notable actors who [...]

"Graveyard Shift" (1990) d/ Ralph S. Singleton


Props go out to the Doctor, whose timely suggestion of Stephen King fear fare the other day provide us with some reviews of his cinematic creature content that we've yet to examine here at the Wop, starting with this 1990 entry, based off of his short story o' the same name. Lead baddie and Philly native Stephen Macht has also shown up in things like Nightwing (1979), Galaxina (1980), and The Monster Squad (1987). Interesting to note,  Ralph S. Singleton's other directorial credit to date, has been a pair of episodes of Cagney and Lacey, and though I've never seen either one of them (or any other episodes of that specific show, thankyouverymuch), I'd wager that they've got more bone-chilling jump scares than this movie. Onward..."I'll be providing extermination services and laughable Vietnam facsimiles of Quint's U.S.S. Indianapolis speech...", notes Tucker (Brad Douriff).A driftah...errr, drifter named Hall (David Hall) finds himself seeking employment in a skeevy New England textile mill overbrimming with rodents, and overseen by a fascistic, misogynist of a boss named Warwick (Stephen Macht), who pays off inspectors to keep his plant open and bullies his workers into gritty graveyard shifts when he isn't laying the female ones down on the work couch for some horizontal side-boppage, despite secretly being married. While Warwick gloats over and mocks his sweaty, exhausted staff relentlessly at every opportunity, they seem to be meeting gruesome ends, whether by unsafe, antiquated machinery or something else entirely, as witnessed by the thousands of rats that overrun the mill. To alleviate matters, drop one-liners, and keep the health board off of Warwick's back, is a cartoony Vietnam vet-turned-exterminator named Tucker (Brad Douriff) and his trusty rat terrier, who's been prejudiced towards the little furry bastards since he's seen the Vietcong force live ones into the abdominal wounds of captured prisoners during his tour of duty, as he so dramatically relates to fellow characters and audience alike, a single tear streaming down his cheek....and Kelly Wolf as the hard luck, blue collar mogambo.There's also a lass of earthen, salty beauty named Jane (Kelly Wolf), a former conquest of Warwick's that takes a shine to the new guy in town, much to the dismay of their over-the-top supervisor, who jealously rewards the new couple with a week of overtime graveyard shifts cleaning up the basement of the mill with a skeleton crew of miscreants that include an unhinged fatso named Brogan (Vic Polizos) who screams like Rambo as he blasts scrambling rats with a power hose, Carmichael (Jimmy Woodard), the token black guy and his ghetto blaster, and Danson (Andrew Divoff), a mullet-topped crybaby. But hey, who's turning down double pay in this economically stressful time, I ask you. When Hall discovers a trap door amidst the old waterlogged garbage, he leads the crew into a subterranean Hell, inhabited by a giant bat that hasn't gone hungry in ages, judging by the massive piles of bones in its cavernous home. At least Warwick hasn't gone mental, shaving down the payroll one employee at a time, letting them stumble into the winged freak's clutches, with sewer-caked mud all over his face, though. Might have spoken too soon, there, honestly."Yoah lovebehd is a slampig for shoah, a biddie with an empty pockabook!", exclaims Warwick (Stephen Macht).Make no mistake. There have been a few decent big screen adaptions (and a made-for-television example, I don't mind adding) of Stephen King's work o[...]

B.W.'s First 10 VHS Tapes I Ever Bought


With the arrival of August upon us, and the end of VCR production by Funai Electric, the last company still producing them, announced due to declining sales, I thought it might be a fitting tribute to the format's long run by listing the very first ten movies I bought for my collection, popped eagerly into my Panasonic PV-1270 VHS, which, for the record, ran over seven hundred bucks at the time. As you'll see, it wasn't just the players that were pricey back then.   1) Halloween (1978) Media Home VideoFifty bucks later, I had my favorite movie at the time, to watch repeatedly, which I certainly did, over three hundred times over the next decade or so. I still remember the faulty tracking as Michael pulls down his mask and Loomis feeds him a chamber full of late night lead-based Halloween treats. Useless trivia for you, Halloween would be the first movie I bought when I finally switched formats, to dvd, in the late nineties. I'm nothing, if not consistent...2)The Fog (1980), Magnetic Home VideoJust under ten sawbucks (ninety-two, if my memory serves me correctly) at an electronics outlet on Wyoming Avenue got me a Carpenter favorite. The apex level Magnetic Video title card with it's TSR-80 graphics and elevatory shmaltz will stay with me always.3)Night of the Living Dead (1968), Media Home VideoAt one point in the nineties, due to the perceived public domain status this movie had, there were dozens of different cheap VHS releases available for purchase for as low as a dollar. Fifty-two different ones at the time of this writing, to be exact. Media's release, the original, cost me fifty bucks at the time I bought it. Worth it back then to a thirteen year old horror nut, I guess.4)Dawn of the Dead (1979), Thorn-EMI Home VideoMy first clamshell (not  Enter the Dragon (1973) as some close friends might speculate) was this Romero splatter opus which cost me sixty-five bucks from a source which escapes me at the moment. Wyoming Valley Video, mebbe? We watched this one all the time, and my Ken Foree impersonation remains impeccable, to this very day.5)Blood Feast (1963), Cult VideoI snagged this title and the next one from a Violent Videocassettes magazine ad in Fangoria, which was my bible at the time, for sure. The order cost me just under a hundred clams despite the reduced "Merlin Mail Price". Looking back, actually pretty steep for Herschell Gordon Lewis movies, if you think about it, though there are some of you out there that may have just dumped over two bills on a UK blu-ray box set that might disagree with me, unaware of the irony of H.G. and "hi def" being used in the same sentence...6)2,000 Maniacs (1964), Force VideoBy the way, my name's Haaaarper.7)Basket Case (1982), Media Home VideoSnaked this one in the glorious video section of Joe Nardone's Gallery of Sound store at the Wyoming Valley Mall for fifty spondulix, money well spent for the opportunity to see Frank Henenlotter's cult classic midnight movie for the first time, and several more afterwards over the years.8)Zombie (1980), Wizard Home Video Another mail order score, that I recall being produced in the small box long before ever seeing it in the trademark Wizard Video big box, so savory to the neck-bearded, man-bunned, late-to-the-party dork knobs out there these days. How do I know? I was fucking there, you bell ends. Plus, mine was of the small variety, so...9)Gates of Hell (1980), Paragon VideoAnother sixty-five clams well spent at the Gallery of Sound. Classic Fulci a[...]

"Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter" (1974) d/ Brian Clemens


Tonight we look at one of the odder vampire flicks in the Hammer canon, a strange mixture of action, comedy, and horror, that showcases some excellent cinematography and moments of genuine atmosphere in bringing a vastly different genre experience to the silver screen than the familiar Lee/Cushing formula that the studio regularly churned out in their heyday. Once intended to be the first in a series of films chronicling the adventures of the good Captain, poor box office returns made certain that would never happen, after the production stagnated on the shelf for two years before finally being released. This would also mark the final appearance of scream queen Caroline Munro for the studios, who were experiencing a marked decline at this point.Kronos is unsure where the vampires are, while Grost (John Cater) has a hunch.After freeing a  comely 19th century gyppo bird named Carla (Caroline Munro) from the stocks, the dynamic team of Captain Kronos (Horst Janson) and Professor Grost (John Cater) gallop across the European countryside in search of active blood sippers, who differ greatly from their conventional neck-supping counterparts, in that they drain the life energy from their victims rather than the usual red vino on tap, leaving behind withered (yet alive, if only briefly) husks of humanity as evidence. Kronos is a former Dragoon who was forced to depart his own wife and child from existence when they showed signs of vampirism. He's joined by his pal Heironymous, a crook-backed member of academia whose specialty is dispatching fanged types. Carla hitches a ride with the duo offering them her assistance, and even regular gyppo trim for the blonde hero, though she denies Grost the same benefits, as hunchbacks must not be her bag, man. Along the way, Kronos is forced to come to the aid of his deformed chum in a pub, when three local toughs mock him. Did I mention Kronos is a master swordsman? Yeah, he really isn't."Flappy brought mommy her strawberry preserves! Mommy loooooves her lil' Flappy..."On their journey, they follow the trail of innocent peasant girls with the life sucked out of 'em like so many Mountain Dew slushies, leading to unorthodox vampire hunting techniques, such as the burying of several dead frogs in boxes in suspected areas of sharpened incisor activity, with the hopes that any passing vampires will bring the nearest frogs back to life. There's also a bell-heavy tripwire of little effectiveness. The trio meet up with the local physician, a sensible chappie named Marcus (John Carson), and perhaps the last one of his ilk in the region, with the peasants mostly being of the suspicious and superstitious variety. Could the local aristocracy be sheltering the responsible pair of fangs? There's poncy fop, Paul (Shane Briant) and his ageless ginger sister, Sara (Lois Daine), and their terminally ill mother, Lady Durward (Wanda Ventham) herself, confined to her deathbed with a grill like a dead man's frosting bag. You'll find out all the who's, why's, where's and when's if you snag yourself a copy and screen it, soon afterwards."I can see your reflection in that steel, dahling, you look maaahvelous."Did I really just reference Billy Crystal's Fernando Lamas impersonation from 80's SNL? Holy ham steaks, I'm old. Brian Clemens gained fame more for his writing skills than directing, as evidenced by the scripts he penned for And Soon the Darkness (1970), Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971), The Watcher in the Woods (19[...]

"The Watcher in the Woods" (1980) d/ John Hough


1980 wasn't a fantastic year for live-action films released by the folks at Disney, which would later grow into the multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate that none of us could ever get enough of, to be certain. With titles like Midnight Madness, the Popeye musical, The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, and Herbie Goes Bananas to compete with, it shouldn't have taken too much effort for tonight's review, a supernatural thriller from the guy who brought you Howling IV : The Original Nightmare (1988), to achieve "Finest Disney Live Action Movie of 1980" status, with all due respect to David Naughton, Eddie Deezen, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, and a yellow Paul Smith swimming away out to sea, respectively. Does it manage? Read on, and find out...You spelled REDRUM wrong, bitch.The Curtis family moves into a spacious manor on the English countryside that's enveloped by foreboding forest and overseen by it's elderly owner, Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis), a secretive old sourpuss who looks as though she goes to the same stylist as Christopher Walken. When she sees the family's eldest daughter, Jan (Lynn-Holly Johnson), and her striking resemblance to Aylwood's own daughter, Karen, who disappeared mysteriously some thirty years earlier, she feels compelled to lease to the family. Right off the bat, Jan shows an uncanny propensity for making mirrors crack in the same triangular pattern when she stands near to them, and also notices weird blue lights out in the forest. Little Ellie (Kyle Richards) also seems to be a lightning rod for unexplained PG-rated weirdness herself, after buying a puppy and naming it Nerak, spelling it out on a dusty window, which seen backwards happens to spell out Aylwood's daughter's name. Insert fifties-style theremin here. Jan also unwittingly plunges into a nearby pond while gazing at circles in the water, being rescued by Aylwood and her trusty gondola rowing oar. Bo staff? Witch broom? The plot thickens.From Ice Castles to Blouse Busters.Before too long, Jan takes it upon herself to investigate what really happened to Aylwood's daughter all those years ago, and some unseen force seems to be protecting her as she does, with premonitions of doom saving her hide from an out of control exploding dirtbike that would have creamed her for sure, and a lightning-struck Citroen stalled out on a wooden bridge that would have spelled the end for the sisters and their mother (Carroll Baker), as she races to remove her girls from this supernatural presence that seems to be pestering them. Patriarchal Paul (David McCallum) tickles the ivories briefly and fiddles with some sheet music to let the audience know he's a musician for sure, but that's about it. A local wildlife-rescuing gimp named John (Ian Bannen) spills to Jan about the fateful night he and two of his mates took Karen to the abandoned chapel for a secret friendship ceremony that involves "Ring Around the Roses" (Disney, all day) and how she disappeared amidst the flash of lightning, tumbling church bell, and flaming rafters. I'll just bet it's gonna take a recreation of said ceremony using all original parties during a solar eclipse to finally get to the bottom of all this. Call it a hunch."Come, Kyle. Help me to drown Goofy." sneers Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis).Hough has directed some real genre goodies over the years, from Twins of Evil (1971) and The Legend of Hell House (1973) to The Incubus (1982) and Escape to Witch Mount[...]

R.I.P. John Burton "Jack" Davis, Jr.


                               12/02/24 - 07/27/16(image)