Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Charles E. Sellier, Jr.

Robert Brian Wilson - Billy Chapman (age 18)
Lilyan Chauvin - Mother Superior
Gilver McCormick - Sister Margaret
Danny Wagner - Billy Chapman (age 8)
H.E.D. Redford - Captain Richards
Britt Leach - Jerome Sims
Toni Nero - Pamela
Linnea Quigley - Denise

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 85 Minutes (Uncut Version)

Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

Ah, the early 1980s. Ronald Reagan was President. His wife was preaching people to say no to drugs. Madonna was preaching out being like a virgin. Michael Jackson was getting his jerry curls caught on fire. Van Halen had the biggest album in the world. People wanted to see films about nutty classical musicians. And girls just wanted to have fun. Oh yeah...soccer moms with too much time on their hands were protesting some Christmas horror flick that depicted Santa Claus in a bad light.

You gotta love 1984, where sex, violence, and snorting cocaine was appreciated greatly, yet a murderous Santa Claus was absolutely reprehensible. The priorities, people - the priorities!

While it was okay to have kids killed in their dreams or watch some dude in a hockey mask butcher campers, conservative parents [probably led by Tipper Gore - she was usually behind stuff like this at the time] flocked to theaters to protest the release of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. I mean, how dare some movie studio desecrate the loveable image of Santa Claus by having him murder people on screen? I mean, it's never happened before on film if you don't count the 1972 version of TALES FROM THE CRYPT or 1980's CHRISTMAS EVIL! I mean my God! Santa killing naughty people - the sacrilege! These parents ruined any chance of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT having any sort of box office chance, pretty much dooming it to video stores in record time where it gained the cult following it truly deserves.

24 years have passed and it's pretty laughable to think anyone who have a heart attack over SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. As a matter of fact, I can't believe anyone would go out of their way to protest this film in 1984! What's the big deal? Women showing their boobs and seeing people murdered in brutal ways was nothing new at the time. Hell, evil Santa films were around way before this one. However, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT managed to do something most films failed to do - blur the line between reality and reelity. And that's why SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is a slasher classic during the peak era of the slasher film. It also helps that the film is also pretty good, even today.

Poor 5-year-old Billy Chapman (Jonathon Best). After a trip from the nursing home to see his grandfather (Will Hare) [who scares Billy with the idea of a vengeful Santa Claus who kills those who are naughty], Billy, his two parents, and his little baby brother drive on home until they see a hitchhiking Santa (Charles Dierkop) on the road. What the Chapmans don't know is that this Santa Claus just robbed a convenience store and murdered the store owner. This killer Santa shoots Mr. Chapman and then rapes Mrs. Chapman before slicing her throat - all in front of a hiding Billy, who now believes that Santa has punished him by killing his parents.

Three years later, Billy (Danny Wagner) is at a Catholic orphanage, where he is still haunted by this evil Santa. The Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin) tries to beat the fright out of him and even forces Billy to sit on a Santa's lap to get over his trauma. It doesn't work, as Billy is more traumatized than ever.

At the age of 18, Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) is helped by Sister Margaret (Gilver McCormick), who finds him a job as a stockboy in a toy store. The customers love him [especially the women, who find him good looking and nice] and the boss adores him, much to the chagrin of some of Billy's co-workers. However when the store Santa becomes sick, he's given the task to be the new store Santa, which causes Billy's mind to snap. With an axe at hand, Billy vows to punish everyone who has been naughty as a killer Santa Claus.

proves that the hype and controversy was done by people who failed to either watch the film or understand it before making a judgment on it. There is no killer Santa Claus in this film. SNDN is about a kid who was traumatized by someone dressed as Santa to the point where he feels he needs to act like Santa in order to deal with it, which he never does. The producers are not endorsing evil Santas to scare children. They're not condemning the whole Catholic Church because a single nun happens to be a cruel and abusive bitch. This is a horror film made for horror fans that just happens to take place around Christmas time. What else was the killer supposed to dress up like? The fuckin' Tooth Fairy? Christmas equals Santa Claus and the film takes advantage of it. If these protesters had actually thought about what they were protesting, they wouldn't look like jackasses right now. How people can be offended by something like this when there were more important issues in the world at the time is beyond me.

SNDN is pretty much your typical slasher but with a sympathetic killer. In probably the harshest setup in slasher history, we watch Billy go from an innocent child to someone who is so traumatized that he loses his mind and becomes the person he fears the most. I mean, the kid watches his dad get shot to death and his mom raped and killed, helpless to do anything about it while his baby brother cries. And then when he's trying to deal with his trauma, some bitch nun who thinks she has the answer decides to whip the boy with his belt and condemn him because he's still afraid of what happened to his parents. How insensitive can one person be? And she's serving the Lord? I'm sure there are nuns like this in the world but hypocrisy pisses me off. Wasn't that bad mullet Billy had to sport bad enough on the kid? And then as an adult, he's forced to wear a Santa suit and watch a girl he likes get raped right in front of him. I mean, how much can someone take before wanting to grab an axe and kill? These stupid suburban soccer moms could only see what was on the surface, not bothering to watch the damn film to see what the real story was. It's a slasher with a true psychological formula. There's an actual story and the people in the film actually have personality and character. How many slasher flicks can you really say that about? SNDN should be commended for that, not criticized for it.

What SNDN is known for [supposedly] are the death scenes. We get a whole bunch of stuff here. We have gunfire, throats being sliced, a piercing arrow, someone gutted like a fish, death via hanging from Christmas lights, hammer to a skull, a decapitation, death by being thrown out a window and having a shard of glass impaling the victim, and the classic Linnea Quigley death via antlers. The "uncut" footage shows some of these scenes visually in action, but they could have been just as effective being left out. I honestly don't understand the whole thing about the gore in this film. Yeah, there's some but it's pretty tame even by 1984's standards. Slashers like FRIDAY THE 13TH and THE BURNING are a lot gorier than SNDN, so I never understand why alot of my friends gush over the stuff in this film. I think the only special one is the Linnea Quigley death while the others are pretty standard.

The film is also pretty sleazy. Billy's mom shows her boobs. A nun shows hers. Billy's co-worker, Pamela, displays her nice ones. And Linnea Quigley never turns down a nude role and this film is no exception. SNDN is a very voyeuristic film where the characters want us to watch them be as naughty as possible. Billy got to see all of these boobs too up close. Lucky bastard.

The direction by Charles E. Sellier, Jr. is actually pretty good. The visuals aren't perfect and some of the shots are badly framed at times, but the pacing works really well and the editing is nicely done. I also like that there is some tension during some of the slashing sequences, although it's never overwhelming enough to scare someone. It's a nice looking slasher flick for a low-budget production. SNDN looks more expensive than it probably was so that's good direction. Too bad he never directed another film due to the controversy of SNDN. I really don't blame the guy for leaving it all behind after the backlash.

The acting is pretty decent here too. The three actors who played Billy [Jonathon Best, Danny Wagner, and Robert Brian Wilson] all did a good job protraying the transformation from an innocent child who loved Santa Claus to a deranged individual who feared Santa Claus to the point where he became him. Best was cute as the innocent Billy. Wagner was believeable as the scared and confused Billy. And Wilson used his good looks to contrast with the ugliness Billy harbored inside. Sometimes his "Naughty!" and "Punish!" bits were laughable because Wilson was so serious saying them. But I felt for the character and that wouldn't have happened if the actors weren't good at their jobs. Lilyan Chauvin as Mother Superior really pissed me off. She's the kind of woman you just want to see slapped around a bit because she's such an evil bitch. Chauvin did a great job making me hate her and confirming why I'm against organized religion to begin with. Gilver McCormick's performance as Sister Margaret was simple. She only stood out because she was quieter and nicer than Chauvin's character. And Linnea Quigley does what she does best - show us her beautiful breasts. Top notch performance as always by a young Ms. Quigley.


- Santa Claus only comes when everyone is asleep. That's because he's a sadistic pedophile who likes to stuff more than just stockings. Not that I know that from experience or anything...

[That's the last Christmas I spend at Neverland Ranch.]

- Grandpa told Billy that only boys and girls who were good the entire year get presents from Santa. I guess 99 percent of the population will be punished Christmas morning. I hope I remember my safe word!

- Don't ever pick up a hitchhiking Santa Claus. It'll end up being a "slay" ride for anyone involved.

- Billy was shocked to find two people having sex inside the Catholic orphanage. I don't know why. Aren't religious people supposed to be screaming "Oh God!" and "Jesus Christ!" while in deep penetration, I mean prayer?

- Billy punched Santa in the nose after refusing to sit on his lap. Who knew a little boy could turn Santa Claus into Rudolph?

- The very drunk Mr. Simms got hammered in the head by Billy. Don't you just love ironic moments?

- A couple were about to have sex on a pool table. Too bad that 8 ball in the corner pocket was probably more of a scratch than an actual victory.

- Billy killed Denise by impaling her on a pair of antlers on the wall. Thanks deer for the visual!

- Don't go sledding alone in the snowy woods. You'll lose your head over the thrilling ride.

While not the best slasher film in the world, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is still a classic piece of Christmas horror that any horror film will like every Christmas Time. It has a great story and some interesting characters. Just don't expect scares or a lot of gore in this slasher salad. And if you don't appreciate this one, Billy will consider you naughty. Remember - when it comes to a killer Santa Claus, he deals with a "don't axe, don't tell" policy. Merry Christmas, everyone!


Santa's Slay (2005)

David Steiman

Bill Goldberg - Santa Claus
Douglas Smith - Nicholas Yuleson
Emilie de Ravin - Mary Mackenzie
Robert Culp - Grandpa Yuleson
Saul Rubinek - Mr. Green

Genre - Horror/Comedy

Running Time - 95 Minutes

Score - 3.5 Howls Outta 4

When it comes to watching Christmas films, I don't go for classics like MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, WHITE CHRISTMAS, or MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET right away. I have to be in a sort of cheery mood to watch those flicks. But when it comes to Christmas and horror, I'm always in the Christmas spirit. Whether it's BLACK CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS EVIL, DON'T OPEN 'TIL CHRISTMAS, GREMLINS, JACK FROST, or SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, I'm definitely down for it.

I can now add the Brett Ratner produced SANTA'S SLAY to the list that puts me in the Christmas mood. I've heard about this film for a while now but always avoided it because Bill Goldberg was the lead actor in the film. Since I wasn't a fan of his work in the squared circle [he was always a Stone Cold Steve Austin clone to me without the charisma or the ability to wrestle a decent match most of the time], I couldn't see myself sitting down and watching him dress as Santa Claus and butcher people. I like Kane and look how SEE NO EVIL turned out. Yeesh!

Anyway after much pushing and shoving for me to finally see it, I sat down this past weekend to check it out. And I can honestly say that SANTA'S SLAY was a pleasant surprise from beginning to end. It wasn't perfect and I don't think it's as good as a lot of people make it out to be, but it's definitely a film any horror fan will be entertained by during this holiday season. Bring on the ho, ho, hos and let's see why you should stuff SANTA'S SLAY in your stocking!

After murdering an obnoxious and dysfunctional family that includes James Caan, Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan, and Rebecca Gayheart, we learn that Santa Claus is really the son of Satan, who years ago lost a bet with an angel (Robert Culp) and was forced to play the role that we now associate with Santa Claus for a thousand years. Well those thousand years are up and Santa is tired of giving people presents and sliding down chimneys. Now back on Earth, Santa plans on doing what he loves best - killing people
alone or with his flying buffalo that loves to run people down. The only hope to stop Santa are the angel's grandson, Nick (Douglas Smith), and his girlfriend Mary (Emilie de Ravin). Will they be able to send Santa back to Hell or will they just be two more victims on Santa's Naughty or Nice list?

SANTA'S SLAY is a really fun film. It was meant to be released in theaters but something happened and went direct-to-DVD instead. It's a shame because we don't really have many great horror-themed Christmas films out there and SANTA'S SLAY could have restarted a trend that started with BLACK CHRISTMAS. Then again, the studios were probably afraid of another backlash similar to the one SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT received in 1984. Who knows? But it's definitely worth checking out if you're into this kind of movie.

The story is actually really clever here. I've been hearing and reading things about how Santa and Satan are either related or the same person for years now. So to have someone write a script based on those myths and actually make sense out of it is pretty awesome. I loved the whole idea of an evil Santa Claus forced to be nice for a millenium just because he lost a bet to an angel. And having Santa played by a big muscular dude like Bill Goldberg was genius. It made the character menacing and makes you wonder why would a guy like this actually go out of his way to make children happy. Plus Goldberg is Jewish and seeing him dressed as Santa was pleasantly ironic to say the least. I always thought Santa was a weird dude anyway, so this was just icing on my cake.

We also get a lot of little things in this film that makes SANTA'S SLAY stand out. Things like the grandson being named Nicholas Yuleson [as in Saint Nick] and his girlfriend Mary [like Saint Nick's Mary] are a nice touch. The town the film is settled in is called Hell Township, which leads to many one liners such as a weatherman claiming it's "near freezing...in Hell," and I believe there was another involving "crime doesn't stand a chance in Hell" or something. The grandpa was formerly a Hell's Angel. A cop's name was Dick Zucker [hardy har har!]. Mr. Green, the Jewish deli owner, used the Star of David to stop Santa from attacking him as if he was a vampire [didn't work, duh!]. And my personal favorite - the tracking system that monitors Santa's whereabouts being called GONAD. Yeah, they're all corny as hell. But sometimes cheese puts a smile on my face and it makes me chuckle. At least there was an attempt for humor and the film is pretty funny at times, especially when Santa sprang one-liners that were corny as hell but still amusing at the same time.

And I thought the main characters were developed quite well for the most part. They all had great dialogue and while stereotypical, they also had a bit of depth at the same time. I do think the Mary character was a bit off at times because she would act really strong and masculine and then become a scaredy-cat out of the blue without one having time to adjust to the mood change. It wasn't believable some of the time as to how she would switch from being brave to scared to brave again. But I did like the pairing of Mary with Nick, who seemed to be the girl in the relationship. And everyone loves a nutty grandfather who's more wise than he lets on.

I thought the best part of the film had to be the very beginning, where you have all these cameos by Fran Drescher, James Caan, Chris Kattan, and Rebecca Gayheart sitting at a table and then getting massacred by Santa Claus. The exchange between Caan and Drescher [who played husband and wife] is hysterical with the added bonus of Kattan and Gayheart reacting to it. The actors were obviously having fun here and if you watch the Gag Reel on the DVD, you see that I'm right. This scene was probably the true motivator for me watching SANTA'S SLAY, as I caught the clip on YouTube months ago and laughed my ass off. Just a great intro for the film. And I gotta say - Fran Drescher may have an annoying voice but hot damn does she look bangable as hell! I need me a cougar, stat! If she doesn't win the New York State Senate seat, she can always sit on mine! Meowr...

I think where people will be most disappointed is the lack of gore this film has. People get killed here. I mean alot. We have death by menorah, people on fire, hit-and-run by buffalo, killing someone with a sharp candy cane, stringing someone with Christmas lights to death, and so on. But we barely see any blood or any visible aftermath scenes. So yeah, if you want to see that kind of stuff, stick with SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. And the film isn't all that scary anyway. It's more comedy than horror, but it's still a cool flick for what it does.

David Steiman does an excellent job directing SANTA'S SLAY. For a low-budget flick, it looks visually impressive. The cinematography is beautiful. The editing and pacing is crisp. The CGI looks believable enough. I loved the Rankin-Bass Christmas animation portion of the film where the bet was shown visually. I love those Christmas animated features and it made me all nostalgic. I have no complaints about the direction of this film actually. It was a really nice job.

The acting was really good. Bill Goldberg actually surprised me at how cool he was as Santa Claus. Like I said, I'm not a big fan but the guy won me over by just kicking ass and saying those stupid one-liners with a straight face. He looked like he was having a great time and this was a definite improvement over UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN and the "amazing" READY TO RUMBLE. I wouldn't mind seeing him do this again in a sequel. Douglas Smith and Emilie de Ravin have great chemistry together and really worked well off of each other. They made their stereotypical characters worth investing in and I liked the two of them alot. Then again, I have a thing for de Ravin since Roswell so I'm biased. Gotta love the epilogue in the deleted scenes where her character ended up Lost after the events of the film. Funny. And Robert Culp was eccentric and cool as the angelic grandfather. Culp is a great actor so I can't complain.


- James Caan, Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan, and Rebecca Gayheart all got brutally attacked by an angry Santa Claus. Why?

a) Santa wanted to get revenge on Scott Caan over READY TO RUMBLE through his father.

b) Santa would rather bang The Nanny dead so he wouldn't have to hear her voice.

c) Santa doesn't like Mango. Is it because he's the homo-gay?

d) Santa feels that Noxzema products dry his skin.

Santa has issues, I gather.

- Senior citizen, Mrs. Talbot, told Santa to "Suck it!" Wishing Santa a Degeneration X-Mas will only get you on his naughty list. And death by car crash. Break it down!

- Don't ever mug a pissed off Santa. It's a pretty trashy thing to do. Literally.

- Mary gave Grandpa a plate of wolverine after her father shot one. Funny, I thought wolverines murdered their family and then themselves. Just like the WWE, I'm trying to erase that from memory.

- Santa likes to frequent the strip clubs. Now I see what sets his Yuletide log on fire.

- Some kids asked their parents if they could open their "motherfucking presents". I don't know why they were so offended. Their mom did fuck someone to pay for those presents, didn't she? Yeah, she looked the type. That ho, ho, ho!

- Mr. Green was killed by a menorah. I guess it'll take eight crazy nights to completely pull it out of him.

- Nicholas didn't know how to use a shotgun until Mary stepped in and gave him instructions. If your girl has to tell you how to use your gun, I don't think the relationship is gonna last too long.

- Santa was throwing down presents that exploded. They must have been unwanted copies of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN. That'll scare anyone.

- The pits of Hell are underneath an ice-skating rink. That explains the evil behind the whole Kerrigan-Harding scandal of the 1990s. Also explains the popularity of Brian Boitano. What would he do?

SANTA'S SLAY will definitely put a horror fan in the Christmas spirit. While not scary or gory, it's a cheesy B-flick that will be a great stocking stuffer for this time of year. It's rare to have a former professional wrestler to be a great film, so take advantage of this fact as soon as you can. A clever, silly, and extremely entertaining Christmas horror film - who knew? Spear your way and rent/buy this one. SANTA'S SLAY is definitely on my nice list this year.


Pocahauntus (2006)

Veronica Craven

Lisa Allen - Dr. Beth Anigav
Stephanie Basco - Pocahauntus
Julia Bindi - Ginger Sinclaire
Eliza Swenson - Destiny Moonbeam
Kate Melia - Alexis Finney
Cory Knauf - Jimmy Finch
Barry J. Ratcliffe - 'Bear' Teddy Ray Buford
Molly Celaschi - Angry Girlfriend

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 88 Minutes

Score - 1.5 Howls Outta 4

PLOT - In POCAHAUNTUS, we learn that the legendary love story between Indian Princess Pocahontas (Stephanie Basco) and Englishman John Smith was made up by The MAN in order to sell the story for book and movie rights [cha-ching!]. We learn that in reality, Pocahontas was bitter at her marriage to Smith, vowing supernatural revenge on those who killed her tribe and took their land - proving to haunt some Virginia woods every 100 years or so to kill any of those settlers' descendants.

Recently, some greedy and perverted landowner (Barry J. Ratcliffe) has bought Pocahontas' former land and decided to open it for campers. These include a gynecologist (Lisa Allen), a porn star (Julia Bindi), some tree-hugging lesbian hippie (Eliza Swenson), a drunk celebutard (Kate Melia), and a pot-smoking surfer (Cory Knauf) with a bitchy girlfriend (Molly Celaschi). Two deputies keep appearing at the site to make sure nothing goes on but are persuaded not to discuss the legend of Pocahontas. Unfortunately, Pocahontas has returned and starts killing the campers off one by one in the least exciting ways possible. No wonder so many Native Americans drink.


STORY - What story? It's pretty much a FRIDAY THE 13TH ripoff with horny adults at camp instead of horny teenagers at camp. And replace Jason Voorhees with Pocahontas. Yeah, that'll ruffle anyone's feathers. I guess Ratcliffe and Craven were trying to go for some sort of sex horror-comedy or something. Yeah, I guess I didn't get the memo because nothing about this film was sexy, horrifying, or funny. Hell, there's like one nude chick in the whole film and she wasn't even anything to talk about. And the dialogue? Really awful to the point where I actually amazed myself by sitting through this film in one sitting. At least the characters are stereotypical idiots that deserve to die like in the old slasher days where this was commonplace. But when the best thing you can come up with is Dr. Beth Anigav [spell her last name backwards - oh, how fuckin' clever!] for the gynecologist character, there's a problem. I won't even mention Mangina. Ew. I did like the concept of the film though. I just wish the story actually did it justice. Sigh.

DIRECTION - Veronica Craven didn't do a great job I gotta say. She couldn't handle the actors since their lines seemed forced. The pacing was okay and the editing was decent. I wish there was more suspense or tension, but there's barely any here. The biggest crime for me was that Pocahontas was shown BEFORE she actually killed someone! Yeah, I know she's the killer but you could have at least kept her out of the frame before any action took place! I will say that the camera work was quite good and the film looked more expensive than it probably was. That's quite impressive for a low-budgeted film like this.

VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - We get the standard slasher stuff: slit throats, darts to the neck, bashing in the head, eyes getting gouged out and stabbings galore. Nothing really gory here. Same with the sex, which is just one tattooed chick who's nude. That's it. We get some lesbianism and sexual innuendos [everyone is HORNY in this film] but we don't get to see much action going on. And we get the usual language in a horror film.

ACTING - The acting was pretty bad here. No one seemed convincing in their roles but at least they looked like they were having fun working on this film. Because of that, I found the actors sort of infectious. Yeah they sucked but you can never hate actors who love what they do. Besides, I never expect actors in low-budget horror flicks to be all that great anyway. So since it met my expectations, I can't complain too much here. The one who played the bitchy girlfriend was actually decent though. Too bad I don't remember her name...

MUSIC - Honestly? I can't remember a damn thing about the soundtrack here. That's not a good sign.

doesn't really advertise what it's selling. But it didn't drive me to suicide, so it gets saved from the WTF? Vault [barely]. But I would never watch this again and I won't recommend people to watch it either. Unless you want to see Native Americans get revenge on the white people for taking their land in some of the lamest ways possible, then be my guest. POCAHAUNTUS sucks out the "Colors of the Wind" when it comes to the story of Pocahontas.

Wicked Lake (2008)

Zach Passero

Carlee Baker - Mary
Frank Birney - Sir Jim
Michael Esparza - Ray
Eryn Joslyn - Helen
Will Keenan - Palmer
Eve Mauro - Jill
Marc Senter - Caleb
Robin Sydney - Ilene
Tim Thomerson - Jake
Angela Bettis - Mother

Genre - Horror/Witchcraft

Running Time - 95 Minutes

Score - 1.5 Howls Outta 4

PLOT - WICKED LAKE is about four really close friends and witches who engaged in lesbian activities. Is this Skinemax or a horror film? Anyway, it begins when shy and really awkward Caleb (Marc Senter) has to draw the shape of nude model, Ilene (Robin Sydney), for his art class. For some reason, the two meet up after class and he walks her to her home. He gives her the drawing he did in class, which is not of Ilene but a unicorn flying over a rainbow. He grabs her boobs and then rushes home, where he is abused by two asshole and nutty brothers and some really fucked up war veteran uncle in a wheelchair. Caleb lets the family in on Ilene, claiming that she's perfect for something, giving them a sick idea.

Meanwhile, Ilene and her friends (Carlee Baker, Eryn Joslyn, and Eve Mauro) decide to drive to some cabin for some R & R, skinny dipping in a lake and making love to each other. Their vacation is interrupted by Caleb and his family, who end up holding these girls hostage while attempting to rape them. During the struggle, it's revealed that these girls are witches - using their powers to get revenge on those who did them wrong.


STORY - WICKED LAKE attempts to be an exploitation film, showing women in their birthday suits who engage in homoerotic activities for us to drool at while having stereotypical explotation villains who are nutty and have torture and rape on their minds. While this is great and all, it's all pretty shallow at the end. It's like watching one of those Cinemax erotic films mixed with supernatural elements to put it in the horror genre. There's no substance. There's nothing that really stands out besides the nudity and some of the torture scenes. The characters aren't developed all that much. Plus we never get a sense that these girls are in any danger, even when they're tortured. Plus it's the girls themselves who act like bitches and do the really horrible stuff to the guys. Who am I supposed to root for here? Plus there's a subplot with two cops that's actually pretty decent but doesn't really fit in with the rest of the film. I mean, how did they know these girls were at that cabin anyway? The story and dialogue just seemed to lack focus, which is evident when the nudity and the gore are the highlights of WICKED LAKE. This film is another case of interesting concept but failure in execution.

DIRECTION - Zach Passero isn't a horrible director at all, but his focus seems more on the naked women in the film than the actual story itself. Still, the pacing is perfect and the editing is great. The film does look a bit low budget but it's still a nice looking film. Though the directing is inspired by films like LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, I'd rather watch any of those films than WICKED LAKE. But at least Passero is competent behind the camera and the film wasn't a total eye-sore to watch.

VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - Well, we're 3-for-3 in this department. Like I keep mentioning, there's a lot of female nudity and lesbianism going on in this flick. I don't mind at all actually. It was probably the best part of the film as far as I'm concerned. Still, I expect more substance in a horror flick. I could just watch an old Jenna Jameson flick if I want my share of HLA [Hot Lesbian Action]. The violence in this film is very good. There is a lot of gore here. We get a bit off penis from someone's groin. Someone sucking brain fluid and blood directly from a straw. Throats get bitten. Gunshots are fired. Teeth are pulled out. And even a head explodes in a microwave. Not bad really. And of course, we get the usual cussing in modern day horror. Nothing major there.

ACTING - The acting was okay in this film. Nobody really stood out though except for Marc Senter, who played a really creepy awkward guy to a tee. The performance was just so bizarre that I actually liked it. The girls were decent but I think the nudity outperformed them. Angela Bettis also makes a short appearance but doesn't do anything of note. What a wasted opportunity there.

MUSIC - Al Jourgensen of the band Ministry did the soundtrack for WICKED LAKE. We get his covers of Golden Earring's "Radar Love", T-Rex's "Bang A Gong (Get It On)", and Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World". Doesn't sound like anything Ministry would do but it works well enough.

was pretty disappointing. I loved the nudity, the lesbianism, and the gore. But everything else fell flat for me. I was expecting a horror flick and I got a softcore porn film instead. Even though I'm a horny guy, I still expect more than just boobs, ya know? A little substance goes a long way with me. I wouldn't recommend this film unless you're lonely and you have left over baby oil to use. Otherwise, you're not really missing much.


Dance of the Dead (2008)

Gregg Bishop

Jared Kusnitz - Jimmy
Greyson Chadwick - Lindsey
Chandler Darby - Steven
Carissa Capobianco - Gwen
Randy McDowell - Jules
Blair Redford - Nash Rambler
Mark Oliver - Coach Keel
Justin Welborn - Kyle Grubin
James Jarrett - Gravedigger

Genre - Horror/Zombies/Teens

Running Time - 87 Minutes

Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

PLOT - Due to some power plant nearby, the dead [once again] has risen from the grave and decided that they're hungry for flesh. If this was my town, it would probably liven up the joint. But since it's not, it's pretty bad timing. Why? Because it's the night of Junior Prom and who wants to get blood on their tuxedoes? They're rentals, people!! Anyway, some of the kids end up not going or leaving the prom for different reasons, not realizing that the dead have invited themselves to the dance to feast on some teenage flesh. Because of this, the only chance the town has are those who didn't go to Prom which include a slacker, a cheerleader, a class president, a bunch of geeks from a Sci-Fi club, and a gun-wielding bully. No this isn't THE BREAKFAST CLUB! This is the DANCE OF THE DEAD!


STORY - DANCE OF THE DEAD, written by Joe Ballarini, is pretty much a teenage hybrid of two zombie comedy classics, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Unfortunately, the story nor the laughs are as powerful in this film as they are in the ones that inspired it. Still, DANCE OF THE DEAD is an entertaining zombie flick that pretty much uses every cliche and rule from the Official Zombie Handbook. We have flesh eating zombies that are faster than your usual George A. Romero snail-like zombies. We have misfits who argue alot about the situation until realizing they must work together and make sacrifices in order to survive. It's all here but done in a John Hughes' 80's teen flick sort of way. The story is never original nor it tries to be. It's pretty simple and moves smoothly from one act to another. The characters are fleshed out, which is a plus because they're very fun to watch as their personalities mesh together or clash against each other. The dialogue is funny at times and the teens actually talk like teenagers, which is refreshing. Some things, like why punk music stops the zombies from killing others, and jokes that don't work hurt the film a bit. But it's a new twist on an old story and it's nice to see Ballarini using his inspirations to create new angles on classic zombie flicks.

DIRECTION - Gregg Bishop uses what he's seen from films like RETURN FROM THE LIVING DEAD, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, NIGHT OF THE COMET, and CEMETARY MAN to his advantage, creating an energenic zombie flick that's fun to watch. For a low-budget flick, it looks anything but, as gore is never spared and the CGI is used in a way that it doesn't look out of place with the "realism" of the rest of the film. The pacing is dead-on and the editing is great. I loved the cinematography as well. Just a really nice looking flick that makes me want to see what else Bishop has in store.

VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - Every zombie flick needs violence, so you won't be disappointed with DANCE OF THE DEAD. Limbs get torn. Heads go flying across the screen. There's an explosion. We have a gym teacher who kicks zombie ass. Blood splatters pretty frequently. There are a lot of chasing and fighting sequences. The gore will never disgust you but it'll never bore you either.

As for sex, the most you'll get is a few make out scenes including one between a couple of zombies in love. Those who like to jerk off to zombie flicks will have to find something else to get their rocks off to.

As for the language, we get a few cuss words here and there but nothing you wouldn't hear out of a PG-13 flick. Nothing major.

ACTING - This is the one department where the film is perfect. It's nice to see actors who are teenagers or close enough to look like teenagers playing these characters. Jared Kusnitz, who was in OTIS, does real well as the lead teen. Instead of playing Jimmy as a loser, he plays him as a likeable underachiever instead, which is good. Justin Welborn, from THE SIGNAL, plays the bully who enjoys weapons and looks to be having fun doing it. Greyson Chadwick as Lindsey was quite a cutie and a smart character as well. Her and Kusnitz had great chemistry. But my favorite was Mark Oliver as Coach Keel, who kicked ass with his over-the-top antics and his brash one-liners. This dude was awesome and he cracked me up. All the actors here, including the zombies, were pretty cool. Great cast.

MUSIC - You get your usual zombie score. Plus you get the punk band playing some songs for the zombies, including a cover of Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night". It sounds like an 80s flick. It feels like an 80s flick. Me likey.

is a good zombie flick that will please anyone who loves their films starring the undead. If you're looking for a great zombie comedy, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and/or SHAUN OF THE DEAD is the way to go. But if you've seen those and are looking for something else, DANCE OF THE DEAD would probably be your next bet. First pigs blood and now zombies? Geez, they weren't kidding when they said Prom was a night to remember! Check this flick out.


Child's Play (1988)

Tom Holland

Catherine Hicks - Karen Barclay 
Alex Vincent - Andy Barclay 
Chris Sarandon - Mike Norris 
Brad Dourif - Charles Lee Ray/Voice of Chucky 
Dinah Manoff - Maggie Peterson 
Tommy Swerdlow - Jack Santos 
Jack Colvin - Dr. Ardmore 

Genre - Horror/Thriller/Possession 

Running Time - 87 Minutes

Score - 3.5 Howls Outta 4 

I remember when I was young Wolf in the late-1980s and being bombarded by advertisements for toys during After-School cartoons, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Duck Tales, Tiny Toon Adventures, and so on. The biggest craze at the time was those dolls that read stories to you when you put a cassette in their backs. Their mouths would move and it would be like they were really speaking to you. Of course, I had a Teddy Ruxpin and I thought it was really cool having a talking doll at the time. That was until I saw CHILD'S PLAY

I believe I first saw this film in the theaters in 1989 in a double billing with the Hulk Hogan classic, NO HOLDS BARRED. I remembered being scared shitless by CHILD'S PLAY, wondering if my Teddy would want to possess my body and/or kill me when I got home from watching this. I was so paranoid that I actually destroyed my Teddy and threw him in the trash. But it didn't help when your classmates would bring their Teddies and those Sesame Street talking dolls to class to show off to their friends. I couldn't win. 

I honestly can't believe it's already been twenty years since CHILD'S PLAY has been released. Surprisingly, even with multiple sequels and an inevitable remake coming out, CHILD'S PLAY holds up remarkably well even though the fear factor isn't really there anymore. Still, out of all the evil doll films that has been released, I believe that CHILD'S PLAY is the top of the heap and still a blast to watch. 

The Lakeshore Strangler, Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), runs away from Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) and gets fatally wounded by him during a shoot-out. Charles' partner-in-crime drives away without him, leaving Charles to escape inside a toy store. He encounters a "Good Guy" doll, which are dolls that talk to you when they register your voice patterns, and performs a voodoo spell that allows him to transfer his soul into the doll's body. Mike finds Charles dead, thinking the worse is over.

After this, we meet Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), a little boy who is celebrating a birthday and is obsessed by Good Guy products. Gotta love the world of advertising. Anyway, he's disappointed when he doesn't receive a Good Guy doll to play. This makes his mother Karen (Catherine Hicks), who doesn't have much cash to pay for these expensive dolls, to actually buy one from some peddler selling one. Karen gives Andy the doll, who happens to be named Chucky and who really likes to play. Once Chucky enters the Barclay's lives, bad things start to happen that lead people to believe that Andy is behind them. In reality, we learn that Charles Lee Ray is really Chucky and he's using his new doll disguise to get revenge on those who wronged him. But once Chucky realizes his new doll body will turn more human the longer his soul stays inside of it, he discovers that possessing Andy is the only way to escape once and for all.

CHILD'S PLAY is one of my favorite horror films and one of the better ones of the 1980s. Unlike the sequels, the film plays out more like a detective mystery with slasher elements implemented. It's serious and it actually tries to be scary, which is more I can say for the other installments - although the comedic aspects of the sequels do work very well. While the scares aren't going to work today, the film still works if one has a great level of disbelief suspension. I mean, we all could probably kick Chucky's ass just by kicking him and pushing him around at his small size. But if that happened, we wouldn't have a film to review about, now would we?

I think the story in CHILD'S PLAY is really good. Although the voodoo aspect of it could be a bit more elaborated for my tastes, at least it's never the focus and doesn't distract from the main plot. Don Mancini and John Lafia give us a premise that works so well because they manage to convince us that what's happening could really happen, even when we know it couldn't. This isn't your standard hack-and-slash slasher flick that focuses on the villain while the rest of the cast are paper-thin idiots that deserve to die. There's a level of intelligence in the screenplay, as it's a commentary on commercialism and how we're built to buy what's being marketed to us, even if we don't really need it or it could do some damage in the long run.

We also have a mystery thing going here. Sure, we know once Andy gets Chucky and the bad stuff goes down, the doll is the culprit. But we never actually see Chucky do anything until Karen finds out that there are no batteries in the doll and Chucky just goes on a verbal tirade [probably my favorite scene in the whole film - still makes me laugh]. While we know Chucky is the villain, there's a part of us that could believe that Andy is psychotic and may be using Chucky as a cover of his own deeds. Hell, it's not like this stuff hasn't happened in real life or on films before. It helps that director Tom Holland actually uses POV shots in the first half that make us believe that either Andy or Chucky are the ones responsible for everything. Most slashers would just show you the killer right away. But here, it takes a while and it makes the revelation that much sweeter even when we know it's coming.

The screenplay is also strong because of the characters. They all have distinct personalities and neither one is annoying. As a matter of fact, they all act like real people even in this bizarre situation. Andy acts like a little boy looking for a friend through his doll. But then he grows up quickly when he realizes that his friend is evil and wants to kill him. He never acts like he knows more than he should. It's a believable characterization and that's why we warm up to him so fast. Karen and Mike are the non-believing adults until reality hits them in the face. Karen is the mother who wants to make her child happy even when she doesn't have the resources to do so. She protects him, even when she doubts him. And when she learns the truth, she does anything in her power to save him from Chucky, even when it almost gets her raped and killed. Mike is the stubborn, hard-nosed stereotypical detective who begins to open up once he realizes that Andy was telling the truth about Chucky. He's never protrayed as a hero, but a man who's job has made him a cynic. I also like the chemistry between him and Karen. I like the fact that they never really get romantically together even more. That would be the Hollywood way. But it's realistic here because we sense their connection, even when they never act on it. 

And who can forget Chucky, who even as a doll has more personality than Paris Hilton and all those celebutards combined. He's evil. He has a wicked sense of humor. He cusses like a sailor. He's a character we should hate but can't help like. I do think the voodoo thing should have been explored more. It doesn't really bother me that it's not, but when the whole situation began with an act of black magic, it would be nice to know why Chucky loves it so much and why he hadn't used it before to elude the police. In fact, the scene where he talks to that voodoo guy and uses a voodoo doll on him made me scratch my head. Why didn't he make voodoo dolls of his enemies to begin with and kill them that way? Yeah, it's my logic side talking and we wouldn't have a film if Chucky had done that. But still, it just makes you question how smart Charles Lee Ray really was. At least the voodoo stuff is never complicated and we understand everybit of this small sub-plot. That's good enough for me, I guess. 

The special effects here in CHILD'S PLAY are a bit dated now to be honest, but they were pretty awesome for the time. Watching Chucky walk around, breathing and talking, is still a cool sight - especially knowing it was done with robots. It gives Chucky a lot of human personality and makes what he does to these people believable. No real CGI here at all, which is pretty impressive. I hope they don't go the CGI way for the remake because that would be awful. I also dug the explosions and that car sequence between Chucky and Mike. The action sequences and the killing scenes were really nicely done.

The direction by Tom Holland is very good here but not as good as FRIGHT NIGHT. Still, Holland does what every horror director should do: create tons of tension and suspense, give the viewers a level of intrigue when it comes to the killer/evil situation, and keep things fast and simple. Holland builds up the appearance of Chucky, letting POV shots done on a steady cam give him life before letting us actually seeing him move and talk after 45 minutes. We get slow motion shots. We get nice angular shots. The editing and pace is tight. It's just simple and effortless, which shows what a great director Holland is.

The acting is also a highlight, which was a rarity for horror flicks at the time. Catherine Hicks, who is probably best known as the mother on 7th Heaven, is a bit hammy at times but I think I'd be a bit over-the-top if I found out that a plastic doll was giving me lip and trying to kill me. So all is forgiven. I thought she gave credibility to her role. Chris Sarandon is pretty cool as Mike. He acts like a cop. He has the presence of a cop. I bought it. I thought he had great chemistry with Hicks too. You think they'll give in to their sexual tension, but they never do. Quite refreshing actually. Alex Vincent is probably my favorite child star in horror. He was cute, charming, and he made everything he did credible and believable. I bought it when he was happy. I bought it when he talked to a doll. I bought it when he was scared. And I especially bought it when he had that crying scene. Man, that kid could act and he never annoys you once. Kudos to you, Mr. Vincent! And of course, we can't end it without mentioning the awesome Brad Dourif, who brings Chucky to life with just his voice. He gives the character a ton of personality and he plays the nutty characters quite well. I heard he's still gonna do the voice for the remake, so that alone makes that remake better than the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET one. Great cast.  

After 20 years, CHILD'S PLAY is still an effective horror film that gives the viewer more than one would want from the genre. I consider this a horror classic because it's not only a great film, but it made Chucky a part of the pop culture lexicon. It's just a fun flick that has great acting and a great story. What more does one ask for in their horror stew? CHILD'S PLAY will always be my friend to the end. Hidey-Ho!


The WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza Presents: Return To Sleepaway Camp (2008)

Robert Hiltzik

Vincent Pastore - Frank
Michael Gibney - Alan
Paul DeAngelo - Ronnie
Jonathan Tiersten - Ricky Baker
Issac Hayes - Charlie the Chef
Lenny Vento - Mickey
Erin Broderick - Karen
Adam Wylie - Weed
Christopher Shand - T.C.
Michael Werner - Michael
Shahidah McIntosh - Bella

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 98 Minutes

Score - 1 Howl Outta 4

In 1983, a cult slasher film was released called SLEEPAWAY CAMP. Next to other slashers like HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, and THE BURNING, SLEEPAWAY CAMP was pretty standard and not as great as those flicks. As a matter of fact, SLEEPAWAY CAMP probably would have been long forgotten if not for that shocking ending where our protagonist and killer, Angela Baker, was revealed not to be a female at all...but a dude forced to act like a girl! Because of the conclusion alone, SLEEPAWAY CAMP became a slasher staple for bringing something new to the table. Of course, two sequels followed that were pretty fun [especially SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS] but they didn't compare to the effectiveness of the original.

Now 25 years later, RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP ignores the two sequels and uses the original actors from the original to continue the story of Camp Arawak. This movie was in production hell for years, supposedly due to the CGI gore effects not looking great and a need for reshoots and more edits. But I think I have a better idea why it was delayed:


Sorry, but the fourth [or fifth, depending if anyone counts that unmade SLEEPAWAY CAMP IV film as an actual sequel] installment of this franchise is an embarrassment to the original. Sure it's great to see Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersen, and Paul DeAngelo back. Sure the death scenes are cool. But other than that, this camp doesn't deserve a return visit. No roasted marshmallows is gonna take away my disappointment over this one.

Former steroid-freak and balls-hugging-shorts-wearing Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo) is still a camp counselor after all these years at Camp Arawak, now called Camp Manabe [ha ha...how fuckin' clever...oh...]. Anyway, everything's normal at the campsite until some commotion occurs. You see, the kids are picking on some really annoying fat dumbass named Alan (Michael Gibney) for being obese, unhygenic [I don't even think he showers], and an asshole to the other campers. Yet he's the protagonist. Whatever. Anyway, making fun of Alan is just one of the camp's favorite pastimes, other than sports, swimming, doing drugs, and murdering other campers. Oh wait, that last one is not a pastime. But there is someone killing the kids, which really upsets Ronnie. Ronnie, still traumatized by Angela Baker's (Felissa Rose) rampage and seeing her man parts all those years ago, is convinced that Angela has escaped from her stay at a mental institution for an encore. But is it really Angela? Or could it be Alan, getting back at those making fun of his fat ugly ass? Or could it be Angela? Or could it be Ronnie, who's so nuts and has his nuts so tightly squeezed that all he sees is red? Or could it be Angela? Like I'd tell you [believe me, you wouldn't care].

I have three words for RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP:


You have no idea how long I have waited for this film. I was so excited when I heard the original director and cast were coming back. Hell, this was gonna be a true sequel to the original, and I love SLEEPAWAY CAMP. But after watching 98 minutes of this, I wish I had never heard of this fuckin' movie. I'm severely disappointed and I feel like a fool to think that this would be any good. This is not the review I wanted to write for RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP. But I have no choice but to tear this piece of shit a new one. Where do I start?

Let me get the easy stuff out of the way and tell you guys what I actually liked. I thought the gore FX wasn't half-bad. As a matter of fact, there were certain death scenes that were actually clever. My favorites were the bunk bed scene, where some annoying bitch got impaled by metal nails or something from the bunk bed above her when the killer jumped on the top bunk so hard, that it crushed her. That was pretty neat. The other one happens to be where Weed is forced to drink gasoline and his insides are lit for some internal burning that doesn't happen to be an STD. And that penis pull - oh my God - I felt so bad for that annoying bastard! My friend shriveled up watching that. I could have used more of the red stuff though but the corpses looked pretty sweet. The death scenes were probably the highlight of the film, stopping it from becoming a total BOMB.

I also liked seeing the old cast back years later. Ricky still looks like Ricky, but with short blonde hair now. Ronnie is off the roids, but still looks good for his age. And Angela, who does make an appearance in the film, still looks pretty hot. So yeah, the nostalgia factor played well here.

And then the atmosphere was dead-on. It felt like the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP. It kind of looked like the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP. The mood and atmosphere was definitely present. I think that was the only good thing Hiltzik added to this long-awaited installment.

And then there is everything else. God, everything else was horrible. Let me start with the story. It's pretty much a retelling of SLEEPAWAY CAMP. Someone gets picked on for being different. People end up dying. The bullied party is believed to be the prime suspect. And then there's a twist at the end. However, it's not as good as the original in its effectiveness. The dialogue is awful and not in a good way either. The characters are extremely unlikeable and all deserve to die horrible deaths, especially the main character. And the twist can be seen from a mile away. If people who saw this did NOT get the real deal about this one and have been fans of the SLEEPAWAY CAMP series, they must either be blind or just really retarded. It was so obvious once I saw the "hint" to solving the film's "mystery". Nice try. Didn't work. So lame. And there was another twist too, but the extras is the only place to find it. It would have been cool if the script had actually implied it somehow.

I gotta express my utter distain for the character of Alan. I dunno if it was just the written character itself or the actor playing him, but I've never hated a horror character this much since Tina from HALLOWEEN 5. Hell, I'd take 10 Tinas over 1 Alan any day of the week. He's that bad. And we're supposed to sympathize with this guy. Why on Earth would I want to feel bad and root for a fat, dumbass, annoying son of a bitch like Alan? He gets picked on for his weight and lack of hygiene. Yeah, that's horrible. But the thing is that Alan is probably a bigger bully than the ones bullying him. Alan constantly makes fun of girls. He pushes and beats up people smaller than him. Plus he treats his counselors with disrespect and enjoys it. And last but not least, his comeback line is always "Your ass stinks!" Really? Is that the best Hiltzik can come up for this fuckin' asshole? I swear...the moment this dude appeared on my television screen, I had to turn off the movie. I really wanted to stop watching because I knew he was gonna be in the film alot. But I soldiered on and watched the entire thing, getting more pissed off because Alan got worse and worse. Why, God, why??

There was a reason why Angela/Peter worked so well in the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP. She was never a bitch. She was never stuck up. She never whined, or cried, or talked to frogs [which reminded me of that horrible FROGS movie, asshole!]. She was quiet. She kept to herself. And the things that happened to her were beyond her control. Her buttons were constantly pushed until she exploded and killed all those people. That's why we like Angela. She was actually a VICTIM of society. That's why we root for her, even though what she does is horrible.

Alan is the total opposite of this. He's not a victim. He's a bully who is called on his faults: he's fat, he's disgusting, he whines, he cries like Nancy Kerrigan, and he stalks girls that are WAY out of his league while not taking "no" for an answer. Yeah, we want this guy to live until the end. Yeah, we should care for his fuckin' fat ass. Alan is supposed to be the GOOD GUY of the film. But he's just as bad as everyone else, maybe worse. I really don't know what Hiltzik was thinking here. I really don't.

And the other characters are no better. Besides Ricky, Angela, and that new girl Karen, everyone else were either annoying, unlikeable, or just major dumbasses. Even Ronnie was pissing me off here with his constant whining and horrible attempt at lunacy and paranoia. The biggest dumbass in the film has to be T.C., who deserved to die more than I realized once I saw the final seconds of his reel life. You want to know how big of a genius this T.C. guy was?

He looked down a hole on the floor with a sharp broomstick poked out from that almost killed him. Not once. Not twice. Not even three times.


Yep, all he did was constantly look in the hole to show his friend the evidence that he was almost killed from below. "Sure, let my dumb ass look inside a hole where there's a weapon that almost impaled me. Nothing is gonna happen to me if I keep looking. Hyuk hyuk!"


And you know what? It put a fuckin' shit grin smile on my annoyed face. Serves that motherfucker right for being an idiot. I know horror characters aren't supposed to be all that smart in order for them to get killed, but that was just too much to take. No one is that stupid. No one. Ugh.

The direction by Robert Hiltzik was pretty bad. The film looked nice. The atmosphere was there. But that was it really. The editing, I felt, was really bad. The film felt disjointed in lots of places. Something would happen and it would like quickly jump cut to another scene. It almost gave me shell-shock. The pacing was severely off. I mean, people didn't really start to die until the last half-hour because the focus was on Alan's story. There was barely any tension or suspense in this film other that that penis pull scene that still makes my bits numb. I dunno, it visually did nothing for me. Hiltzik did awesome for the original SLEEPAWAY CAMP. It sucks he couldn't repeat it here.

The acting was just off-the-wall horrible. I won't lie - some of it did make me laugh. But most of the time, it just made me wish I was watching something else. Michael Gibney as Alan should never act in a film, on television, on stage, on radio, on anything ever again! He was over-the-top whiny and annoying. Maybe that's what Hiltzik wanted to him to do, but it just annoyed the hell out of me. The character was badly written, but the protrayal didn't do it any favors. I seriously wasn't sure if this guy was mentally challenged or not. I'm still wondering. God, even the frogs working with him wanted to drown themselves in the lake backdrop. Vincent Pastore, from The Sopranos, must have really needed a paycheck. He's way better than Gibney, but he looked embarrassed to be in this film. I seriously don't blame him. And how did I know a "Big Pussy" reference would pop up? So witty. Paul DeAngelo is still a horrible actor like he was 25 years ago. But he annoyed me this time instead of making me laugh the last time. Bad to the bone.

The other actors didn't really do a whole lot to make an impression. Felissa Rose and Jonathan Tiersen weren't in it long enough for anything to really register although they were two of the actors that didn't annoy me at all. So that's a plus, I guess. And Issac Hayes, in his final released movie role, pretty much plays himself for like 10 minutes and then disappears without any mention of where he went. I guess he followed those Salty Chocolate Balls or something...


- Camp Manabe promises the following: "Canoeing, Archery, Volleyball, Swimming Lessons, Arts and Crafts, Nature Hiking, Bonding Games, and more!" I'm glad I read that correctly. If I had read "Bonding Games" for "Bondage Games", I would have been greatly disappointed over bringing my gimp outfit for nothing. No Nipple Twisting? Boo!

- Alan called someone a "Big Penis". I doubt Alan would even know what a penis looks like, since he probably can't find his on his fat ass body.

- Camp Manabe is run by Vincent Pastore. "Big Pussy" and "Big Penis" - sounds like a match made in premature ejaculation.

- Alan considers frogs his only friends. Well every Kermit does need his Miss Piggy.

- Mickey got burnt in a deep frier filled with oil.

Oh Mickey
You're so fried
You're so fried
That you're gonna die
Hey Mickey
*clap clap clap clap*
Hey Mickey
*clap clap clap clap*

- Blow Job, I mean Alan, smoked a fatty full of cow manure. I've watched this guy for 20 minutes and I already knew he was full of shit.

- Weed got his mouth filled with gasoline and then was forced to smoke to the point where he burnt from the inside. Too bad. He seemed so fired up to clean himself when he returned home!

- Randy got his pecker squeezed and pulled from his body by a wire that was connected to a jeep his girlfriend used to get away from the killer. Take about a horrible circumcision...I mean circumstance!

- T.C. got stabbed in the eye by a sharp broomstick from a hole below after, like an idiot, constantly looked in the hole. You gotta be careful with these glory holes. Mouth? Yes. Eye? No. Did no one learn from George Michael?

- Don't ever fix an evil cheerleader's ride. The consequences will be very crushing to your ego. Or your head. Whichever comes first.

If you're curious about RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP, stop. Unless you want to see a really bad installment of a cult franchise that left me really disappointed and aggravated, skip this return visit and forget this film even exists. Other than the death scenes, RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP is a waste of time, money, and energy. One of the worst horror films of 2008 and it hurts me to even write that.


Transporter 3 (2008)

Olivier Megaton

Jason Statham - Frank Martin
Francois Berleand - Inspector Tarconi
Natalya Rudakova - Valentina
Robert Knepper - Johnson
Justin Rodgers Hall - Horatio
Eriq Ebouaney - Ice
Jeroen Krabbe - Leonid Vasilev
David Atrakchi - Malcolm Manville

Genre - Action

Running Time - 100 Minutes

Score - 2.5 Howls Outta 4

Jason Statham has had a pretty up-and-down 2008 when it comes to movies. He started out the year with Uwe Boll's IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE that ended up being a lousy flick with Statham being the best part of it. Then we had the action-drama, THE BANK JOB, which was a good film with a very good performance from Statham. Unfortunately, no one went to see it until DVD. Then we have the remake of DEATH RACE 2000 titled DEATH RACE, which was a decent action flick.

And now we have TRANSPORTER 3, which is supposed to be the "final" film in the trilogy of Frank Martin. Combining the story element of the first part and the over-the-top action for the second part, TRANSPORTER 3 attempts to be the best of both worlds for action fans. Unfortunately, TRANSPORTER 3 is just another in the line of three-quels that ends up being more disappointing than anything. While still an entertaining film carried once again by Jason Statham, TRANSPORTER 3 shows that this franchise may be out of gas.

Frank Martin (Jason Statham) gets called on another job. This time, it's to transport some red-headed annoying Russian bimbo named Valentina (Natalya Rudankova). However, something's weird about this mission. One, no destination is set to leave Valentina. Two, Frank has to waste gas by driving around for hours while his GPS is updated to tell him his next move. And third, the guy who hired Frank for this mission, Johnson (Robert Knepper), doesn't trust people with his packages. So to make sure everything goes as planned, he makes both Frank and Valentina wear these bracelets that will explode if either one of them is more than 75 feet away from the car. How will Frank and Valentina get these things off? What is Johnson's true plan? And why is this Valentina bitch so damn annoying? Transport her ass six feet under, Frank!

is a hit-and-miss with me. I was entertained by this sequel, but it just wasn't as fun as the first two installments. Maybe that's because we've pretty much seen this film twice before. Maybe that's because the action isn't really all that spectacular or even frequent. Maybe that's because one of the actors in the film gave me a headache. I dunno. But TRANSPORTER 3 tries to mix the best qualities of the first two films into a single film and pretty much loses what made these films so good to begin with.

The story was probably the worst of the three. I understood it. It had entertaining aspects to it. But for the most part, it did nothing for me. The whole anti-environmental scheme in these action flicks is getting old. And then the love interest sub-plot between Frank and Valentina was grating, especially when this was pretty much 65 percent of the film. While I think Statham and Rudakova look like a hot couple, they just annoyed me together. The constant sparring is supposed to be charming and a turn-on. Here, it just made me want to rip my hair out of my scalp. And then when the seduction stuff does happen, it was more weird than anything. I dunno, I thought Frank had more chemistry with Shu Qi and Amber Valletta in the previous flicks. The love angle didn't really work for me here but at least Frank got some!

Anyone looking for character development will surely be disappointed. Not that I think anyone would expect that in a film called TRANSPORTER 3. But if you were looking for some deep stuff here, go see AUSTRALIA or something and leave me alone!

The action, while not as frequent as in the other TRANSPORTER installments, still manages to get the job done. We get cars parking on trains. We get Statham ripping his clothes off [again] and using them against his adversaries. We get some driving on two wheels and cutting through tractor trailers. I also liked the chase where Frank's car was stolen and he had to catch up before he blew up. The action is great here [again, nice choregraphy by Corey Yuen] and I wish there was more of it instead of having the romance sub-plot be the true focus of this film. I don't care if Frank gets poontang! I want to see him kick ass!

The direction by newcomer to the series, Olivier Megaton, does decent. His directorial style is very in your face. Lots of close-ups. Lots of jump cuts that work for some scenes but totally destroy the effectiveness of the action sequences. The camera shakes quite a bit as well, which is somewhat annoying here. I understand Megaton is trying to set a quick-paced atmosphere here, but I actually want to see the action go on. You could do it in a way that works, like in the BOURNE sequels. But it's just distracting in TRANSPORTER 3. But I liked that the 100 minutes never felt long and the cinematography was pretty cool too. Not as good as Louis Letterier, but decent enough.

The acting...well, you're not watching these flicks for the thespian work, are you? Jason Statham is still one of the coolest motherfuckers on the planet and could play Frank Martin in his sleep. He carries this film single-handedly and is the only real reason to watch this sequel. He gets more to do dialogue-wise than he did in TRANSPORTER 2 and does it quite well. He's the star of this film and makes sure everyone knows it. Natalya Rudakova, unfortunately, is the total opposite. She's pretty good-looking but recites lines like she's reading off of a cue card. She says things without showing any sign of personality [not like the character has any to begin with but at least attempt it]. She whines a bit. She's just grating and irritating to watch. A WAY better actress could have taken this nothing character and at least made her somewhat interesting. Rudakova doesn't even bother and she makes the viewers suffer for it.

Robert Knepper, who stars on FOX's Prison Break, did nothing for me as Johnson. The villain is totally one-note and is never really creepy or evil. And it's sad because Knepper does both well on Prison Break. And Francois Berleand is still cool as Inspector Tarconi. Unfortunately, he doesn't share all that many scenes with Statham that I would have liked and is again underused as far as I'm concerned. But I still enjoyed him here nonetheless.


- Frank and Valentina were trapped wearing bracelets that would explode if they were 75 feet away from their vehicle. Not only did this rip off SPEED, but was it really necessary to rub the whole bracelet thing in front of Statham's friend, Guy Ritchie? I mean, that's why Ritchie stayed with that nutty Madonna all those years, right?

- The Russian Valentina annoyed me with her harsh English and her dull personality. It just made me want to t.A.t.U. my foot print in her ass for "All The Things She Said".

If you liked the first two TRANSPORTER flicks, you'll find something to like about TRANSPORTER 3. It's not a horrible way to spend 100 minutes, but there was a lot of potential here for a better sequel. I hope this is the last TRANSPORTER flick because I think the series has finally run its course. But I can't say I wasn't entertained by this installment. I still get a kick watching cars doing death-defying stunts and a single man taking down an entire group of fighters by himself. Leave the brain at home and try not to be annoyed by that Russian broad. You'll be fine. My bro-mance with Jason Statham continues on.


Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)

Michael A. Simpson

Pamela Springsteen - Angela Baker
Tracy Griffith - Marcia Holland
Michael J. Pollard - Herman Miranda
Mark Oliver - Tony DeRaro
Haynes Brooke - Bobby Stark
Sandra Dorsey - Lily Miranda
Daryl Wilcher - Riff
Kim Wall - Cindy Hammersmith
Kyle Holman - Snowboy
Jill Terashita - Arab
Cliff Brand - Officer Barney Whitmore

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 80 Minutes

Score - 2 Howls Outta 4

I believe I mentioned some time before that I've never been to camp. I've never slept in a tent. I've never told ghost stories around a campfire. I've never roasted marshmallows hanging off of a twig. I've never put a firecracker up a camp buddy's nose, lit it, and watched his head explode. I pretty much missed the whole outdoors portion of my childhood and adolescence.

But at least I can live the camp experience with Angela Baker, the gender-confused killer of SLEEPAWAY CAMP. While the experience the third time around isn't as memorable as the first or as funny as the second, SLEEPAWAY CAMP III: TEENAGE WASTELAND is still an average sequel that gives SLEEPAWAY CAMP fans pretty much what they have come to expect: deaths, T & A, and silly one-liners. Oh that Angela...

After killing some Latina chick with a truck, Angela Baker (Pamela Springsteen) disguises herself as her as she returns to Camp Rolling Hills, which is now being called Camp New Horizons due to Angela's killing spree. This time around, the camp counselors pretty much figured it's time to conduct an experiment where rich kids would end up camping with poor kids, hoping that they will share in each other's experiences and get along. Posing as a poor kid, Angela is split into a group as part of the experiment, hoping to keep her cover as Officer Barney Whitmore (Cliff Brand), who happens to be the father of one of Angela's last victims in SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS, is in charge of one of the groups. Of course, Angela can't manage it for long as she still doesn't understand adolescence at all, killing those she considers immoral.

is a film I saw many years ago and really could not remember much about. And after watching it again recently after so many years, it's easy to understand why. Besides certain death sequences, nothing really stands out in this installment. It's pretty much what you'd expect from an 80s slasher sequel like this. While watchable, it's pretty tame stuff and doesn't push the envelope enough to make it pop in the genre.

The story in SLEEPAWAY CAMP III has a pretty interesting premise. Using the class issue between the rich and the poor is a pretty cool concept. A lot of drama could arise from a situation like this, especially in a woodland environment that just happens to have a killer on the loose. Unfortunately, it's never used in a way that makes the film any more interesting or different from other slasher films. What we get instead is the usual stereotype: white rich kids calling poor black kids the N-word, black kids playing hip-hop, street kids spray painting stuff, preppy looking rich kids liking kinky sex shit [no wonder so many politicians have sex scandals] and a rich girl falling for a poor boy. I wished to see all the kids kind of group together against the killer, and then turning on each other to save their own asses. It could have brought a lot of drama to the proceedings, but unfortunately we don't get that here.

Speaking of the kids, these characters were really unlikable or uninteresting. Besides Angela, Tony, and Marcia, all the others deserved to have painful deaths. They were so stereotypical, it wasn't even funny. These "teenagers" [who looked thirty years old] had about as much depth as an episode of The Hills. I thought the characters in part 2 were barebones! I know slasher flicks aren't known for their high level of character development, but when these characters don't have personalities that grab my attention, I'm gonna shit all over them. Especially Riff with his hip hop music. I like hip hop, especially old-school hip hop, but it just went on and on and on. What also went on and on and on is the fact that these characters didn't get killed fast enough for my tastes. Just really annoying as hell.

And the script tries to be as funny and witty as UNHAPPY CAMPERS but fails. Sure, Angela gets some decent one-liners in between kills, but they're more miss than hit for the most part. The dialogue was pretty lousy in this flick. It sort of felt rushed to me.

The gore and death sequences aren't all that great but at least they're enjoyable compared to everything else. I think the best ones were the death by lawnmower, where some old bitch is buried underneath garbage and gets her head chopped by the blades of a mower. I also liked the firecracker in the nostril bit. Pretty sweet. I liked the double axe murder too. The death by flagpole, where a victim was lifted up by rope to the point where she was high enough for Angela to let go and let the bitch drop, was okay too. Then you get your normal stabbings, decapitations, and constant stick beatings which got boring after the first two whacks. The deaths deliver but feel tame compared to the first two installments. I guess Angela wasn't motivated this time around.

The direction by Michael A. Simpson was decent. The film looked nice and the pacing felt just right. My favorite bit of direction was the scene was when Angela raised the zipper of a tent while Herman, who was inside, was lowering his pants' zipper. It actually made me smile because that shows the director had some thought going into this film. Still, the film is never suspenseful. No tension to be felt here, people. Angela kills exactly when you know she wills. Plus the whole film takes place during the day! Where's the horror in that? Some night shots would have been nice!

The acting wasn't the film's strong suit, no. But it was effective enough for the story. Pamela Springsteen is still a pleasure to watch as Angela, but there's something missing this time around. She actually looks bored some of the time, which may have been due to the filming of UNHAPPY CAMPERS and TEENAGE WASTELAND back-to-back. Still, I enjoy watching her have her way with stupid characters I'd probably hurt myself. Tracy Griffith was pretty cool as Marcia. She played it sweet and charming. I liked her. Same goes to Mark Oliver's Tony. Good acting from him and he seemed pretty cool. Too bad he was a victim of late 80s fashion. Yikes! Michael J. Pollard as Herman annoyed me. Especially since the old fart got to play with some quality knockers. Bastard. Haynes Brooke couldn't die fast enough for me as the kinky Bobby. He looked like he was 35 and unhygenic. Like Angela would ever sleep with him. Sandra Dorsey as Lily was also annoying and such a bitch that a lawnmower death was still to kind for her. Knowing my luck, I'll end up marrying a woman like Lily. Just my luck. Cliff Brand was cool as Officer Barney. I bought the bitter performance and his confrontation with Angela towards the end. And Kyle Holman was Snowboy was pretty funny. He's definitely a dude I'd hang with.

If you liked the first two SLEEPAWAY CAMP films, you'll probably like TEENAGE WASTELAND as well. It does suffer from sequelitis, but it delivers where you least expect it to. If only if the film had more energy, better characters, and jokes that actually worked, TEENAGE WASTELAND would have been on the level of UNHAPPY CAMPERS. But it's good for a rental, especially if you're hanging with buddies and have some beer nearby. Entertaining flick but forgettable after it's over.


The Transporter (2002) & Transporter 2 (2005)


Jason Statham - Frank Martin
Francois Berleand - Inspector Tarconi
Matt Schulze - Darren "Wall Street" Bettencourt (THE TRANSPORTER)
Ric Young - Mr. Kwai (THE TRANSPORTER)
Hunter Clary - Jack Billings (TRANSPORTER 2)
Alessandro Gassman - Gianni (TRANSPORTER 2)
Amber Valletta - Audrey Billings (TRANSPORTER 2)
Kate Nauta - Lola (TRANSPORTER 2)
Matthew Modine - Jefferson Billings (TRANSPORTER 2)
Jason Flemyng - Dimitri (TRANSPORTER 2)
Keith David - Stappleton (TRANSPORTER 2)

Genre - Action

Running Time - 93 Minutes (THE TRANSPORTER)/87 Minutes (TRANSPORTER 2)

Score -
3.5 Howls Outta 4 (THE TRANSPORTER)
3 Howls Outta 4 (TRANSPORTER 2)

I think I've made it known a couple of times in certain reviews about my hetero man-crush on Jason Statham. Ever since I saw him in Guy Ritchie's LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS and [especially] SNATCH, Statham had been on my radar due to his charisma, presence, and acting ability. I think I've pretty much seen every film this has been in, give or take a couple that I'm still getting to. This guy has star written all over him, but that wasn't really realized until his first leading role, 2002's THE TRANSPORTER. I remember seeing the trailer to this film and watching all the fight sequences and thinking that Statham was the toughest badass I've seen in a film in years. Unfortunately, I was one of the few who actually saw THE TRANSPORTER in a movie theater as the film made only $10 million in the United States. Thankfully, the power of DVD made the film a big hit and worthy enough for another installment - 2005's TRANSPORTER 2, which was more over-the-top and more action-packed than the original was. This time, I wasn't one of the few who saw this in a theater as the sequel made a pretty good chunk of cash during its release, making more on DVD than the first one did.

Now in 2008, we have TRANSPORTER 3 coming out today which I probably won't see until this weekend. I'm actually looking forward to it, even though I know the third installments are usually not all that great. But I'm willing to give it a chance because I'm a big fan of the first two installments, which prove that action is alive and well in the 21st Century. So before I review TRANSPORTER 3, I figure it's only right to review the first two and see if they still hit the mark today as they did a few years ago. After all, I have rules and you always follow the rules.

In THE TRANSPORTER, Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is known in the European underground as The Transporter - meaning he will transport anything for a fee to anywhere that he's directed to without asking any questions. A former military dude and a guy who is proficient in martial arts and firearms, Frank is pretty anal about his job and follows certain rules for each one:

- Never change the deal.
- No names.
- Never look in the package.

Frank is very on point about his transporting business, always knowing shortcuts or planning ahead for certain occasions [like police trouble] that may hinder his job ability. Driving his BMW 735, Frank can pretty much outdrive anyone without injury or scratching his car.

During one transporting job, Frank gets a flat tire. Going to his trunk for a spare, he sees the package he's transporting - moving and screaming. Letting his curiosity get the best of him, Frank decides to look in the package to find some Asian chick named Lai (Qi Shu), who is part of some slave-smuggling cartel deal. Violating his third rule destroys the private and quiet life he once had before taking this certain mission, making him realize that one should always follow the rules.

In TRANSPORTER 2, Frank relocates to Miami from France, now playing driver to a kid named Jack (Hunter Clary). Jack happens to be the son of some big government official (Matthew Modine), who trying to stop the world of narcotics in the area. Being a dumbass, he doesn't realize this just put a target on him and his entire family.

One day, Frank takes Jack to a doctor's appointment. Unfortunately, some bad guys kill the staff at the clinic, posing as nurses and doctors to attack Jack. Frank realizes this quick and manages to save Jack, until the mastermind behind this latest attack (Alessandro Gassman) and his anorexic girlfriend (Kate Nauta) force Frank against a wall that allows Jack to get kidnapped, as well as taking the blame for the crime. They try to kill Frank, but he manages to survive. More pissed off and determined as ever, Frank has to save Jack as well as the entire world, as this madman is planning to spread a bio-chemical weapon that will murder anyone who breathes it.

films are what I consider guilty pleasures. They're basically plot-less most of the time, requiring the action to shut your brain down so you can just enjoy being stimulated by the visuals on screen. The stunts are really over the top, almost to the point where they become borderline ridiculous. It's cliche, after cliche, after cliche - yet both films make all this work. Why? Because they never take themselves seriously as if the filmmakers know they're making a ridiculous action flick or two. And I'm more than fine with that because action films should be exciting and have to be sort of illogical in order to work.

Like I mentioned above, these films are basically plot-less. That's not to say that THE TRANSPORTER and/or TRANSPORTER 2 don't have stories. Both films do have a Point A, a Point B, and a Point C that moves these films along. Obviously, both films focus on Frank Martin - British Bad Ass who makes sure his actions are louder than his words. The funny thing about Frank is that we barely know anything about his background. We know he was in Special Ops, but we still haven't learned about how he even because a Transporter or why he continues to do so when it gets him into all sorts of trouble that complicated his quite life. Yet while we have no inkling of his past, we're still allowed to know what kind of character he is. He's a neat freak. He doesn't talk much unless he has a point to say something. He cherishes his cars like his life. He has rules he tries to follow. And he's an ass-kicking machine. Frank can be a very cold character and almost seems anti-social, but he's greatly appealing and charming at the same time. I think it's because the character is always up front about who he is and why he does what he does. There's no shadyness with Frank and that's why we root for him.

But the character development pretty much ends there with these films. Unless you count Inspector Tarconi, who is a pretty loose police officer who's willing to help Frank do anything without judging him, none of the other characters are really fleshed out. We barely know anything about the people Frank associates with, as they're just necessities for the films' plots.

Still, it doesn't matter because these films aren't about Academy Award winning screenplays, memorable dialogue, or great characterization. These films are about the action on screen. And that's where THE TRANSPORTER and TRANSPORTER 2 succeeds. The first one is pretty much more grounded in reality. We get great high speed chases, with lots of cars crashing into each other and such. We get insane fight choregraphy. We have explosions that involve cars and houses. I swear the first time I saw this film, I saw things I had never seen before - especially the combat scenes. THE TRANSPORTER has better pacing than TRANSPORTER 2 does because there isn't action all the time, as we have some expository scenes that bridge these sequences.

TRANSPORTER 2 is pretty much all action, all the time. And that action is extremely out there, as it almost feels like watching a cartoon most of the time. It's not a bad thing at all, as I still find the action in the sequel to be satisfying as an action-junkie. But unlike THE TRANSPORTER, TRANSPORTER 2 makes you throw all logic out the window as your suspension of disbelief is stretched pretty tightly. I mean, how does a man fall from many feet above onto a moving car, make a massive dent on the top of the car, roll off the car, and get up as if nothing had happened. There's another part where two cars crash into each other as Frank does a split in mid-air to avoid the collision. Should I even mention the insane spinning airplane sequence towards the end of the film where Frank and Gianni have fisticuffs in mid-air as the plane crashes down into the ocean? And what about all those ramps that appear just in time for Frank to leap away from danger? The stunts and action in TRANSPORTER 2 are insane and pretty much unbelievable. Yet, I don't take these films all that seriously anyway so it doesn't bother me that Frank can pretty much survive everything death throws at him. I do hate some of the CGI used in the sequel [you can't miss it really]. It looks faker than it should and it almost takes you out of the film. But other than that, the action sequences are the highlights of these movies.

The fighting choregraphy [by Corey Yuen] is also fantastic in both of these films. Jason Statham pretty much does most of the stunts in these films and he's a tremendous athlete. I'm not sure if he took martial arts training before THE TRANSPORTER, but Statham moves like a cat and is extremely believable when he's throwing punches and kicks, using his T-shirt to wrap it around the necks of goons, and covering himself with oil and busting heads that way. And the use of weapons as well is extremely impressive. Statham is not a dude I would fuck with in real life. The choregraphy is incredible and I see things in these films that I've never seen before in any action movie I had seen prior. I think the closest I've seen to these are in Jackie Chan films where the choregraphy is stunning to watch. There's definitely a Hong Kong influence when it comes to the fighting style and I've always been fascinated by these kung-fu style movies. Learning these steps is probably really tough. Making them look convincing is probably even tougher. But THE TRANSPORTER films make it possible. Sure, it's silly to see one man take out 10 guys with weapons all by himself in the matter of three to five minutes when you think about it, but it feels extremely right when you're watching Statham do it in THE TRANSPORTER and TRANSPORTER 2. Kudos to the people behind the scenes bringing the action and making it good.

The direction for these films are also very good. Corey Yuen and Louis Leterrier co-directed THE TRANSPORTER, with Yuen filming the action portions and Leterrier filming the most story driven stuff. To be quite honest, I didn't even realize two men directed this film until recently. Nothing about the film gives it away. It flows extremely well from beginning to end. THE TRANSPORTER feels like a Hong Kong action flick, as it has that mood going for it. It feels fresh and the cinematography is beautiful [kudos to Pierre Morel for that]. I do think the editing by Nicolas Trembasiewicz is a bit too much at times, especially during the action sequences, but it doesn't bother me a lot. But less jump-cuts would have made the sequences a bit more watchable.

Louis Leterrier solo directs TRANSPORTER 2 and does it really well again. Unlike the first one, Leterrier kisses reality goodbye and just lets shit rip, filming the most insane action sequences that assault the eyes and shut down the brain. TRANSPORTER 2 is pretty much Leterrier doing style over substance, but at least the style is pretty awesome. Also, the editing is a lot better here. You get a better feel of the action in the sequel as there's no major jump cuts that distract you. And again, the cinematography is beautiful. The film is a lot brighter and sunnier than in the original, as the film takes place in Miami. I really dig the direction in both films. Yuen and Leterrier provide action aficionados what they want and that's enough for me.

The acting is not these films strong suits, but I do feel the acting in THE TRANSPORTER is a bit better than in TRANSPORTER 2. Jason Statham is awesome in both installments, convincingly playing Frank Martin as a bad motherfucker who will kick your ass in so many ways that it'll make your head spin - probably literally. Statham is charismatic. Statham has a presence that makes you notice him. He's good when he speaks dialogue, but he's even better when he just uses facial expressions and body language to convey what the character is feeling. Plus, Statham is fantastic at fight choregraphy. The dude is a machine in these films. He is the franchise and he carries it extremely well.

Francois Bereland is also very good as Inspector Tarconi. His character acting and humorous take on Frank's world is a nice contrast to Frank's more serious and colder character. The two have great chemistry whenever they appear together on screen. I do think he's kind of wasted in TRANSPORTER 2 but hopefully he has a bigger role in TRANSPORTER 3 where he shares scenes with Statham. The two make a good duo.

The other actors are a mixed bag. Shu Qi is very beautiful and has a nice presence about her as Lai. I think her handling of dialogue is a bit weird, but that's probably because speaking in English on film is probably foreign for her. Sometimes she would sound natural; at others, it sounded almost like she was reading from a cue card. But I liked her and she made an interesting love interest, even if it wasn't all that believable.

Amber Valletta has more chemistry with Statham than Shu Qi, but doesn't get to do all that much really but cry and vent. She's a good actress but the role wasn't much for her. Matthew Modine was a bit of an overactor though. I don't know if he was having faux-Vietnam flashbacks from FULL METAL JACKET, but he was trying a bit too hard to be angry here. Plus his character wasn't developed enough for me to care. He's a better actor than this. Hunter Clary was cute as Jack though. Most child actors annoy the hell out of me, but Clary didn't. I actually liked the dynamic between him and Statham. The two shared nice chemistry that could probably melt alot of hearts.

The bad guys are also a mixed bag. I find the villains in THE TRANSPORTER to be better than the ones in TRANSPORTER 2. Matt Schulze was swarmy, sarcastic, and a real jerk as Darren Bettencourt. He was an asshole in THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and he continued that persona here. And Ric Young as Mr. Kwai was a bigger dickhead, treating his daughter Lai as a business proposition rather than a family member. I bought these two in their roles, as cliched as they were, because at least they had personalities. Alessandro Gassman and Kate Nauta were pretty one-note in TRANSPORTER 2. Gassman just looked pretty I suppose with his accent. I guess he figured his toned body would do the acting for him. Didn't work, bro. At least Nauta was a little more fun to watch as the crazed Lola. I liked her scenes with Statham and they shared an interesting chemistry as well. Maybe if she was the main villain, the film probably would have been equal to the original. But she was Gassman's lackey and Gassman was pretty much a pussy. Kind of lame, but I guess that's to be expected from these action flicks.


- If you want to rob a bank, do it in France. Not only are the police not great at their job at all, but they'll probably surrender before the chase even begins. Sucre bleu!

- Frank has a photographic memory. Unfortunately, that means he can't forget GHOST OF MARS or IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE. No wonder he's so sullen.

- If you're transporting a female prisoner, never let her out if she wants to pee. She's lying and is trying to escape. Remember - women always go to the bathroom in groups, never alone.

- Don't bomb a British man's car. He'll get so bloody pissed off that your fate will be as bad as marrying Madonna. Let's not get SWEPT AWAY, shall we?

- Don't leave a kidnapped Asian in your house while you go to bed. She'll snoop around, find info about you to get into your life, do your homework, and eat all of your pets. Yoko O-no!

- Saving the life of an Asian can be beneficial. Remember, if you do they'll love you long time.

- Lai's father paid hundreds of dollars to send her to school and teach her English. Couldn't she just have watched Sesame Street? What a rip off! And I thought Asians were smart!

- If you need to fight like 8 guys at once, cover yourself with oil. No one will be able to touch you. Like Frankie Valli once sang, "Grease is the word."

- Frank is not afraid of AnnaLynne McCord, even when she was holding a gun on him. He must have seen 90210. Laughable, I know!

- The bad guys had Frank by the balls in Miami. If this was Miami Vice, this shit wouldn't have happened. Well, maybe to Tubbs. But Crockett and his 5 o'clock would have totally kicked ass!

- Frank has the ability to jump over ramps, knock off bombs planted beneath his car in mid-air, flip 360 degrees, and still drive away without a scratch on his car. It's just like Grand Theft Auto! Insane Stunt Bonus, baby!

- TRANSPORTER 2 shows that one can hunt down and capture criminals by uploading info from an iPod from one computer to another. Man, my iPod can barely shuffle songs from a playlist without the hard drive going nuts on me, freezing the damn thing. What the fuck?

- Frank jumped from a boardwalk onto a waterski below, flipping the female driver over his shoulder so he can take control. Frank sure knows how to handle the ladies and make them wet.

- Frank used sliced watermelon as boxing gloves. We all laughed at him, but we should have known Gallagher was onto something.

- Frank keeps an extra suit and tie in his car trunk. I guess every girl is crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

- Lola was killed by a wall of spikes. I'm sure that wasn't her first time being impaled...

- Frank and Gianni were fighting and floating inside an out-of-control spinning airplane that was about to crash. Geez, where's Ted Striker and Otto when you need them?

If you're looking for some intelligence in your action coffee, THE TRANSPORTER and TRANSPORTER 2 are not gonna satisfy your brain. But if you just want to kick back and have fun watching insane stuff happen to people and their cars that would probably never happen in real life, then these two films are the perfect popcorn flicks for your action fix. I'm pretty sure TRANSPORTER 3 will be just as stupid as these two films are and I can't wait. If you haven't seen these films for whatever reason, don't go in expecting much. Follow that rule and you'll enjoy THE TRANSPORTER and TRANSPORTER 2.
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