Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus (2009)

Jack Perez (as Ace Hannah)

Deborah Gibson - Emma MacNeil
Lorenzo Lamas - Allan Baxter
Sean Lawlor - Lamar Sanders
Vic Chao - Dr. Seiji Shimada
Dean Kreyling - US Sub Captain

Genre - Science Fiction/B-Movie

Running Time - 92 Minutes

Score - 1.5 Howls Outta 4

In the history of cinema, we have watched movie characters translate into icons. And these icons have often caused us to debate who win if they would battle each other. Some of these debates have been answered for us.





These battles have been long anticipated by fans and the majority of them have met our expectations. Now it's 2009 and there seems to be another battle brewing that has fans salivating:

In this corner, at 1000 feet tall and weighing a shitload of tons...MEGA SHARK!!

In that corner, at 3500 feet tall and weighing a shitload of tons...GIANT OCTOPUS!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages...let's get ready to RRRRRRUUUUUUMMMMMMBBBBBBBLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEE!!!

::A minute later::

Wait, the battle is already done? Well, that was disappointing. Just like the film MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS is.

Somewhere in Alaska, Emma MacNeil (Deborah Gibson in her finest role since Skating With Celebrities) and some fatass sidekick are in some mini-sub to watch a bunch of humpback whales get it on. Whatever floats her boat, I guess. Anyway, the military [who are usually behind everything in these sci-fi/horror flicks] begin dropping sonar bombs to see if they work or something. Being the geniuses that they are, they forgot that these bombs would scare animal life and destroy glaciers. Oh yeah - they also forgot they would release the thousand years old Mega Shark and Giant Octopus, who were trapped underwater in ice in mid-battle.

MacNeil, witnessing it all, complains about what the military has done, but the Man [a.k.a. the Government] just dismiss her 80s pop star ass. But when a dead whale shows up on the beach with a giant tooth stuck in it, MacNeil decides to steal the tooth and unravel the mystery herself. While MacNeil, her stereotypical Irish mentor (Sean Lawlor), and a Japanese scientist (Vic Chao) investigate, the Mega Shark begins attacking ships and leaping hundreds of feet in the air to attack airplanes [talk about an overachiever!] and the Golden Gate Bridge while Giant Octopus attacks Tokyo [I guess to abuse their seafood loving asses]. Some dude working for the military (Lorenzo Lamas in his finest role since appearing on TMZ the other night) kidnaps the three scientists and uses them to figure out how to stop this menace. After a quickie, MacNeil and Dr. Shimada decide that phermones are needed to attract the two beasts and lead them into battle against each other [I guess that's what you would call what they do to each other for a single minute]. I still think DEBBIE GIBSON VERSUS TIFFANY would have made a much better flick.

, created by the shameless B-movie company The Asylum, got the attention of many due to a really cheesy trailer promoting the film's release to DVD a few weeks ago. Seriously, the thought of Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas co-starring in a film where a huge shark jumps out of the ocean just to destroy a flying plane and may have to do battle with an equally as huge octopus got a lot of people very interested in this film. We all knew it would be cheesy. We all knew it would probably be so bad that it's good. Unfortunately like most trailers, it's a whole lot better than the actual film it's promoting. It's disappointing because this could have been a really cheesy film that happened to be a lot of fun. Too bad there's not much fun here to be had.

The story...well the story isn't the point to watch this film. But then again, it fails because the film should be about Mega Shark kicking Giant Octopus' ass, yet that barely happens in this film. As a matter of fact, the two stars of the film are hardly in the film at all. The real sub-plot of the film deals with MacNeil's investigation of the two creatures and her attempts to contain them at first and then destroy them when she realizes that they'll do more damage if alive. Because this narrative isn't all that interesting, exciting, or even entertaining for much of it, it just drags the film down. Do I really need to see MacNeil and her friends stare at tubes of colorful liquids in two separate montages? Hell, I was less interested in the film and more interested in whether they would share some Kool-Aid with me. I haven't had some in a while. Pass it on to a brother! Also, the "love story" between MacNeil and Shimada was so quick and forced that it just made me chuckle at how contrived and ridiculous it all was. And don't get me started on the final act where everyone is stuck in a submarine in danger of Mega Shark and Giant Octopus finally confronting each other. It felt like it wouldn't end, with everyone making seriously strange faces and just yelling at each other. Not fun to watch, The Asylum.

The dialogue, while horrendous in every way, did make me laugh every once in a while. Especially the dialogue with that dude in the airplane, who mentions he'll get married in two days or something. What that had to do with anything is beyond me. And Shimada's random philosophical ramblings about nature, love, and whatever came to mind just made me roll my eyes. But that was his character development, so I'll take it.

And then there's the whole sub-plot involving Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus - IT NEVER HAPPENS! Well, no more than two minutes maybe and it involves recycled footage that loops. How could anyone mess up something like this? Having the two creatures do damage to large cities while the human cast reacts with shock, fear, and then bravery would have been really cool. It would have been even better if the effects were as cheesy as those in those Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episodes, giving us a true guilty pleasure to enjoy. But out of 90 minutes, maybe 10 of those minutes are devoted to the creatures in the title while the rest involves the humans. What's the point then? It didn't help that the whole situation was treated as a serious thing, instead of being really hammy and over-the-top. It just made the whole disappointment that much worse.

The SFX, if you could call them that, are extremely laughable and more cartoonish than any Pixar film out there. I was laughing at the fact that CGI was needed for the mini-sub, humpback whales, and even a shark and octopus. They couldn't find real creatures and just input them into the scene via computer technology like in those SHARK ATTACK films? And the "fight scene" between Mega Shark and Giant Octopus was pretty lame and the CGI didn't help. But then again, I wasn't expecting a big budget here and it was decent for what it was.

The direction by Jack Perez [or Ace Hannah as he calls himself here, probably to escape the shame of directing this] is pretty mediocre. It's pretty much a point-and-shoot affair with cheesy CGI in the mix. Perez loves these weird and annoying transitions, where the screen will flash white and then in the next frame, it's in black-and-white. I guess it was an aim for style, but it just looked tacky and was pretty distracting. It's not like there are any flashbacks in this film for where that kind of effect would be suitable. The editing is pretty lazy, especially when Gibson presses some buttons with black nail polish, yet the character isn't wearing any. Plus the nail polished hand looked manly anyway, so I just laughed at the sight. It's just not a great directorial flick, but then again, no one is watching this for the technical aspects anyway.

The acting was actually better than I was expecting it to be. Lorenzo Lamas hams it up and has the worst dialogue that's so cliched that it's actually laughable. He's not a great actor by any stretch but he did okay. Vic Chao played the stereotypical Asian scientist who seemed to have read a book of Confucius proverbs before having conservations with people. He had no chemistry with Deborah Gibson, by the way. Sean Lawlor was really Irish and looked and sounded like a poor man's Sean Connery. Quite honestly, the best actor was Deborah Gibson. She won't win any awards [well maybe a Razzie or two] but at least she was convincing enough that I believed her performance. She's pretty charming, she's honest even when saying really bad dialogue, and she's not bad on the eyes even after all these years. I think she should act in more B-movies. It ain't like she's doing anything else these days, right?


- The mountains in Alaska reminded me of The Fortress of Solitude. The sad part is that Smallville has better effects than this film.

- Deborah Gibson was fascinated by whales. Nice to see Kirstie Alley and Rosie O'Donnell still getting acting jobs despite Hollywood's body conscious standards.

- After releasing Mega Shark and Giant Octopus, Debbie Gibson had a look of terror on her face. I'm not sure if it was because of the potential destruction of the two creatures, or because she realized she's starring in a film called MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS. "Only In My Dreams" [and probably hers] would this 80s singer be in a better movie.

- Debbie has a way of seducing security guards into letting her do illegal things behind their backs. What I can say? Once she smiles at you and you get lost in her eyes, you just can't shake...her love!

- The Mega Shark jumped out of the ocean and took down a flying plane full of passengers. Even after all these years, The Sharks and The Jets are still in conflict. This is so 1960!

- Dr. Shimada seemed to have a thing for Debbie. Looks like she put a "Foolish Beat" in that young man's heart.

- It took MacNeil and Shimada to have sex in order to realize that pheromones will lure Mega Shark and Giant Octopus into their trap. This proves the Catholic Church wrong about premarital sex being completely bad. It also proves Debbie's taste in Asian cuisine is totally "Out of the Blue".

- Mega Shark destroyed The Golden Gate Bridge. First earthquakes, then Magneto, and now this? I won't be going to California anytime soon...

- Debbie Gibson uttered the words "fuck" and "shit" in this film. I never thought I'd hear those kind of words come out of her sweet mouth, but then again she's full of that "Electric Youth".

I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, but I was expecting more out of MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS. Like maybe an actual decent fight between the two monsters? Hell, when you can't even live up to the title, we've got ourselves a problem. Still, it could have been a lot worse and the acting was decent for the film and the dialogue was laughable. And I have to give points for the awesome Mega Shark, who stole the show with his destroying planes, ships, and bridges. Stick with the trailer or find clips of Mega Shark destroying shit. The rest you can avoid if you don't want to be disappointed.


Freddy In Space - MS vs. GO Review

Final Girl - MS vs. GO Review

Bargain Bin Review - MS vs. GO Review


The House On Sorority Row (1983)

Mark Rosman

Kate McNeil - Katherine Rose
Eileen Davidson - Vicki
Janis Ward - Liz
Robin Meloy - Jeanie
Harley Jane Kozak - Diane
Jodi Draigie - Morgan
Ellen Dorsher - Stevie
Lois Kelso Hunt - Dorothy Slater
Christopher Lawrence - Dr. Nelson Beck

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 92 Minutes

Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

Sororities suffer several stereotypes. Some say that sororities are made up of dumb girls, mainly blondes, who flaunt their sexuality to get ahead in college life. Others say that sororities are nothing more than glorified pageantry and modernized domesticity. And then there are some who believe sororities consist of snobby, bitchy girls who do nothing but party, get drunk, and have promiscuous sex. Now I have nothing against the last one. As a matter of fact, I promote it. What I don't promote is pulling pranks on the House Mother and accidentally killing her instead. Unless the girls do it naked. Then I could turn a blind eye and let it slide.

Wait, what was I talking about again?

Oh right...my review for THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW. So yeah, these seven sorority babes accidentally murder their bitchy House Mother and try to cover it up before a party. Girls will be girls, ya know? Unfortunately a killer appears and seems to be targeting just these seven girls? Hmm, I wonder who the killer could be? Cliched, predictable, and silly at times, this 1983 slasher flick still manages to be a fun time. And fun times always win out for me every time, especially when it centers on cute "murderous" girls.

We start on June 19, 1961 where a woman undergoes an emergency Caesarean during a difficult labor, only tragically losing her baby. The woman would be Mrs. Dorothy Slater (Lois Kelso Hunt), who 22 years later would become the bitchy Housemother for Theti Pi Sorority. Seven of the "sisters" have graduated college and want to throw a party at the sorority house. Unfortunately, Mrs. Slater finds out and prohibits the party from happening. Despite this, the girls decide to have the party anyway.

Things get worse when one of the girls, Vicki (Eileen Davidson), decides to bring her boyfriend to the house for some "one-on-one" on a waterbed, which Mrs. Slater stops immediately by destroying the bed with her cane. This prompts Vicki to set up a prank on Mrs. Slater as an act of revenge, to which the girls agree to. They pull off the prank the day after, with Vicki pointing a gun on Mrs. Slater to scare her. While the other girls are oblivious to this part of the prank, Mrs. Slater and Vicki fight for the gun - setting the gun off and murdering Mrs. Slater. Katherine (Kate McNeil) wants to call an ambulance and the cops to end this game, but the girls convince Kate to dump the corpse inside the dirty pool that hasn't been cleaned in years. Unfortunately for the girls, the corpse rises to the surface to be seen by anyone nearby.

The same night, the girls decide to have their Graduation Party but feel more paranoid than festive. The paranoia starts to ring true when the girls start getting killed one by one with Mrs. Slater's trademark cane with the sharp tip at the end of it. Is Mrs. Slater back from the dead? Or is there more to this story and Mrs. Slater's past than meets the eye?

is a slasher film that slipped by for all these years until a good friend of mine informed me of a remake called SORORITY ROW would be released in October of this year. So I decided to check the original out before the remake was released. And I'm glad I did because THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is a pretty cool slasher gem that I'm sure not many have seen or even heard of. It's got T, A, impalements, a decapitated head in a toilet, and a pop/rock group that just cracked me up with its cheesiness. All in all, an entertaining slasher.

The story is pretty generic if you've seen 80s slashers. But at least it's pretty interesting and fun to watch play out. We get the usual set up of the stereotypical characters. We get the crime that leads towards the climax. And then we have the mystery killer who sets up the twist ending with the final girl. Nothing new at all, but at least it's done in a good way. What was also interesting is that the story never centers on creating the goriest kills or even exposing a lot of skin to keep viewers captivated. Writer/director Mark Rosman makes sure to flesh out the characters just enough for viewers to either relate to them or want them dead. He also doesn't create over-the-top situations that would be quite implausible like in some other slasher films. There's a genuine feeling that Rosman was trying to make a good suspenseful horror film here and I liked that.

The only things that bothered me within the narrative:

- What was that scene with the three tighty-whities guys and the pool about? Was that really necessary? It added nothing to the film at all but maybe nausea on my part. Now I know why I switched to boxers.

- I admire the attempt of pairing Katherine and Peter on a blind date, but it just seemed really awkward. In fact, the Peter character did nothing for me until the end, where I guessed he gets killed or something. I understand that the situation wouldn't have allowed the relationship to really blossom anyway, but maybe that's why it should have been subtracted from the film. And if Rosman was trying to make Peter a red herring for the murders, it certainly didn't work.

THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW isn't a gory film for you slasher fans. There is blood and some cool impalements via a sharp cane. There's also a siluohette scene where some chick gets whacked to death. Why Cane-Fu never caught on, I'll never know. There are also a lot of throats getting slashed, with SFX so fake looking that I actually laughed. So it just raised the entertainment value for me. And then we have the classic head in the toilet, which is just too awesome for words. THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW feels more like a thriller than an actual slasher, but it doesn't take away it's watchability at all.

The music was pretty cool in this film too. Richard Band, who did the scores for RE-ANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND, does a great job with the help of the London Philharmonic Orchestra [!!!] to set up the film's mood and atmosphere. I definitely dug the score to this flick and it was nice to see a slasher film not rip off John Carpenter's legendary HALLOWEEN score and butcher it by changing into something similar that could also pass for nails on a chalkboard. The only music that was almost unbearable was by some band called 4 Out of 5 Doctors, who performed at the Graduation party. Now I love cheesy 80s music as much as anyone, but this almost reached my saturation point. And none of them got killed! No fair!

The direction by Mark Rosman is very nicely done. Being the protege of Brian De Palma, Rosman definitely learned something and you can tell from this film. There's a nice level of suspense and tension, especially during the murder sequences. Rosman creates a nice pace that builds up thickly until the act is finally done. Most horror directors seem to have forgotten that art these days. The editing is also quite good, except for the shots of the dummies filling in for the actors during their murder scenes. And the cinematography was okay as well. Rosman has moved on to family/Hilary Duff flicks these days. Nice to see he's still making "horror" films...

The acting isn't THE HOUSE OF SORORITY ROW's strong suit, but it doesn't hurt the film all that much. The big name to come out of this is Eileen Davidson, who plays the bitchy Vicki. Davidson, an Emmy-nominated soap opera actress who's currently on The Young & The Restless and did great work previously on Days of Our Lives, pretty much cements her future soap career with a dramatic performance as the instigator of the whole situation that kind of makes you want to hate her. She also shows her ta-tas and I have no complaints about. Davidson was quite fetching in 1983. Kate McNeil did a nice job as the final girl, playing the stereotypical level-headed and intelligent character well. I didn't root for her as much as other final girls out there, but she was cool. Lois Kelso Hunt played the bitchy Mrs. Slater well. I understood why her character acted the way she did but then again, I probably would have pulled pranks on her as well to get her to chill out. Harley Kozak, another soap actress, was okay as the mousey Diane. Her toilet scene is very memorable though.

The rest of the girls were "eh", especially the blonde chick, Jodi Draige, who really was a bad actress. And a bad singer. And a bad drunk. Wow, she wasn't really good at anything, was she? I will commend on whoever casted this film on picking women that actually looked realistic and not like plastic Barbie dolls. I guess Ms. Draige has one redeeming quality after all!


- The sorority babes wore white graduation caps and gowns. If you know anything about college or initiations into sororities, white is the last color these chicks should be wearing.

- Vicki is great at shooting a pistol. So good in fact that she made my gun shoot without even touching it. Damn, I wish she had waited until laundry day...

- Vicki likes having sex on her water bed. I can admire a girl who doesn't mind getting wet and giving her man motion sickness. Sigh...

- The band at the party was called 4 Out of 5 Doctors. How fitting since 4 out of 5 doctors said their crappy music had side effects such as headache, nausea, liver damage, deafness, and herpes. Pregnant women should not listen to 4 Out of 5 Doctors, if prevented.

- If you ever want to distract a girl from her task at hand, give her a ball. After all, most girls love playing with balls. And if they're lucky, they may receive some sharp penetration! But then again, I'm only speaking from experience.

- If you're a drunk, dumb bimbo, don't distract yourself with a spelling block that's really a jack-in-a-box. You'll probably get impaled from behind. Then again, you're probably already used to getting impaled from behind at a nightly basis. So just ignore this one.

- Don't try and bury the evidence in a nearby cemetary. The ghosts of your murderous past will mark you to death. That's what happens when you're both young and restless.

- Katherine saw a head in a toilet. I heard about shitting a log or a brick, but a head? A bit too extreme for me.

is an underrated slasher film that will no doubt get more mainstream attention as the release of the remake approaches in October. It's not the greatest, or bloodiest, or even best looking slasher in the world - but it has style and heart. 80s slasher fans will be entertained by this film. Definitely worth a look.


Slaughter High (1986)

George Dugdale
Mark Ezra
Peter Litten

Caroline Munro - Carol
Simon Scuddamore - Marty Rantzen
Carmine Iannaccone - Skip Pollock
Kelly Baker - Nancy
Donna Yeager - Stella
Billy Hartman - Joe
Gary Martin - Frank

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 92 Minutes

Score - 2.5 Howls Outta 4

Being part of the graduating class of 1999, that means my 10 Year Reunion is coming up. It's not like I'm excited about it or even thinking about going. Sure, I enjoyed high school unlike most people but after not seeing people for 10 years, I don't feel exactly comfortable showing up and sharing my life with them. But then again, there's time to change my mind. Too bad watching the reunion in SLAUGHTER HIGH isn't helping any.

Originally called APRIL FOOL'S DAY before Paramount Studios took the title for their respective slasher that would come out in the same year, SLAUGHTER HIGH shows that 1986 was definitely past the peak of the slasher film. But even though the film is a bad one, it's one of those cheesy B-movies that happens to be mildly entertaining for its terrible acting and pretty cool death sequences. Let's see why we should be somewhat cautious stepping back into the halls of SLAUGHTER HIGH.

Marty Rantzen (Simon Scuddamore) is your typical high school nerd that constantly gets picked on by the "cool" kids. One April Fool's Day [which also happens to be Marty birthday], the beautiful [and 20 years too old for high school] Carol (Caroline Munro) seduces Marty into the Girl's Locker Room. Thinking he's gonna have sex with Carol, Marty is surprised to see Carol and her friends video taping him in his birthday suit before giving him a swirlie to further his embarassment. Carol and her friends are punished, but they're not done with Marty. After giving Marty a spiked joint, Skip (Carmine Iannaccone) adds a special ingredient to Marty's chemistry experiment - so special that it causes an accident that burns Marty severely and traumatizes the poor guy.

Ten years [or five, according to the cheesy trailer] pass and the "cool" kids have all been invited to a high school reunion at the old school. The strange and funny thing is that they're the only group invited to this celebration. How long will it take these idiots to figure out why they're there? Will Marty kill them one by one or will he received another swirlie ten years in the making? And isn't there an age limit to how old people can be in high school? I mean, geez - it's pretty sad to see thirtysomethings going for their diplomas. G.E.D. anyone?

SLAUGHTER HIGH is a film I haven't seen since the early 1990s that I decided to watch again to see how it held up. Well the film doesn't hold up all that well. In fact, SLAUGHTER HIGH is a pretty crappy flick that has some terrible thespian work and really bland cinematography. But hell, the negatives actually create a bit of humor and cheesiness that's actually a bit entertaining and even infectious in a B-movie nostalgic sort of way. SLAUGHTER HIGH isn't the greatest slasher flick out there but at least it tries.

The story is pretty generic if you know you're way around a slasher. Someone gets picked on and he extracts his revenge on those who messed with him in grisly ways. Nothing more, nothing less. The killer obviously has a mask and costume - in this case a jester mask - and uses multiple methods to murder his victims. And the victims are either horny, stupid, or annoying enough to feel good about wishing them dead in grisly ways. It's a slasher formula that has worked for years in the 80s and it does it job here.

The major issues with the narrative [which pretty much make the film a guilty pleasure to begin with] are with some of the actions by the characters. For one, someone dies and one of the victims who witnessed this murder decides it's a great fuckin' time to take a bath. Sure, I appreciated the gratuitous nudity, but does that make any sense to you? And what about the couple that has sex even though they know someone wants them dead? Hey, why not make whoopie when your life is about to end? You gotta die happy, right? And I just love the fact that a 120 pound wimp can lift a 200 pound guy by the neck with one arm. Remember - chemicals and the trauma caused by them can lead to superhuman strength! And let's not forget the ability to be everywhere at once! At least it's explained in the end but still...pretty silly stuff.

I also must thank the casting director for hiring middle-aged actors to play teenagers and then their twenty-something counterparts. Caroline Munro is hot but she wishes she could be 17 again. I wouldn't have been surprised if anyone confused her and her fellow thespians to be members of the school faculty. I found the entire idea hilarious.

The gore is pretty cool in the film though for the right reasons. The Marty burn scene is nice and I love the stomach explosion after drinking beer. The acid scene is cheesy looking but in a good way. And I love that electrocution during sex scene. I need a great laugh every once in a while. I wonder if it was good for them as it was for me...

The music by Harry Manfredini, who did the score for the classic FRIDAY THE 13TH, is pretty silly but it fit the film's atmosphere well. It did annoy me though with the vocals and that wannabe Joker laugh. But then again, it matched the cheesiness of SLAUGHTER HIGH.

The direction by George Dugdale, Mark Ezra, and Peter Litten was nothing remotely special. It's your standard slasher filmmaking. First person POV? Check. Cheap jump scares? Check. Low and high angles to intensify the mood? Check. The film was nicely edited and it set a nice pace. The cinematography could have been better but then again the transfer was most likely taken from a VHS copy of the film. It's no John Carpenter or Wes Craven or anything, but it gets the job done I guess.

The acting is pretty terrible in SLAUGHTER HIGH but it makes the film more entertaining than it has any right to be. The best of the lot is definitely Simon Scuddamore as Marty, the nerd turned killer. He's very convincing as a geek and more convincing as a disturbed individual because of the bullying of his past. Unfortunately, Scuddamore didn't make any more films due to a suicide shortly after the film was released in 1986. But he did good here and I enjoyed his character.

The rest of the cast doesn't compare to Scuddamore at all. Of course, the star of the film is the extremely beautiful Caroline Munro as Carol. Starring in MANIAC and THE LAST HORROR FILM, Munro is no stranger to slasher flicks and she does okay here. But she's not picked because of her acting anyway so there's no point in bringing it up. I still think it's funny she was hired to play a teenager when she was actually 36 at the time, but it doesn't matter. She made great eye candy! The other actors are worse than Munro and don't need mention here. But at least I laughed my ass off because of their acting "abilities".


- Don't pull an April Fool's Day prank on someone with a small penis. It's already April Fool's all year round for the guy. Don't push it.

- Don't add a secret ingredient into someone's chemistry experiment. It could burn the person really badly. Or turn him into The Joker. Smilex was discontinued for a reason, ya know?

- At this high school reunion, the gang decided to chill by snorting coke and smoking joints. From the looks of this, I'm guessing Amy Winehouse believes she's at her high school reunion 24/7.

- Ted's stomach exploded after he sank a can of beer. Well they do say what's on the inside is what counts...

- Don't take a bath inside a school right after you witnessed a murder. You'll probably be bathing in acid, melting you into a skeleton. Or taking the pigment away and turning you into Michael Jackson. You better pray for the first one.

- Never have sex on a metal bed hooked up to a fuse box. That last orgasm will be so electrifying that it'll take your breath away.

- Nancy fell into the sewer drain. Man, she must have felt like shit!

SLAUGHTER HIGH is dated, cheesy, and just an all-around bad horror film. But it has a quality that turns some of those negatives into a pretty fun watch. It's a guilty pleasure only a random few will probably appreciate and it's not gonna hurt to check it out at least once. Believe me - they don't make them like these anymore.

As for my high school reunion, I'll only go if there's a serial killer roaming the school. I mean, who wants to be dead bored? Mmm, I hope they're serving beer...


Mirrors (2008)

Alexandre Aja

Keifer Sutherland - Ben Carson
Paula Patton - Amy Carson
Cameron Boyce - Michael Carson
Erica Gluck - Daisy Carson
Amy Smart - Angela Carson
Mary Beth Peil - Anna Esseker
Jason Flemyng - Larry Byrne

Genre - Horror/ Supernatural

Running Time - 112 Minutes

Score - 2 Howls Outta 4

PLOT - MIRRORS is a remake [what else] of a South Korean film from 2003 called INTO THE MIRRORS. Ben Carson (Keifer Sutherland) is a former NYPD detective who quit the force after he killed an undercover officer in the line of duty. His fellow officers look down on him, he's an alcoholic, his wife (Paula Patton) threw him out of the house so he barely sees his two children (Cameron Boyce and Erica Gluck), and he's now living with his sister (Amy Smart). Feeling he needs to put some normalcy back in his life, Ben takes a security guard job at the Mayflower, a place that was burnt down in an arson fire years earlier and now is caught in some red tape by the insurance company.

On his first night, Ben starts experiencing some weird things that continue to happen outside of the Mayflower. After receiving a package from the previous worker, who happened to have his throat slashed supposedly through suicide with a mirror shard, Ben realizes that the Mayflower harbors an evil that is dying to get out. The evil happens to be trapped within mirrors, using the reflections of people and using the mirror image to kill them. When Ben realizes his family is targeted by this demonic presence, he does everything in his power to satisfy this evil's demands in order to save their lives.


STORY - I've never seen INTO THE MIRRORS, so I can't compared that to the remake. But MIRRORS was a decent flick that didn't do enough to make it a good flick and definitely a better film than ONE MISSED CALL, THE EYE, and SHUTTER. Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur wrote the screenplay and I kind of wish they didn't. It's not horrible and you do understand pretty much what's going on. But it hurts what could have been a pretty cool film. The idea of mirrors harboring evil is pretty scary. We all look at mirrors or anything that reflects our self-image every day. Not only do they give us a glimpse of what we look life, but it also metaphorically shows us our mortality by representing a double of ourselves. Hell, looking into ourselves is scary as we wall all that up with our outer shell. The idea of mirrors is different than phones, camera, and computers. We can live without technology. But our reflection will always be there, which makes MIRRORS' premise frightening. Unfortunately, the mirrors are only used as a plot device to show off decent CGI effects and cool death scenes, but never revealing much else as to why the demon is harbored inside of them. Anyone who has taken Psychology can tell you that mirrors represent a form of schizophrenia, creating two different visions of the same person. But someone not knowledgable in that would be totally lost on the concept.

As for the narrative structure, I dug the first 2 acts over the last act. The beginning and middle of the film were pretty strong due to decent characterization, especially for the Ben character. At times, his paranoia over the mirrors made you question whether the dude was nuts or was the supernatural stuff legit. And his struggle to make others see what he was seeing was done nicely as well, creating tension. I wish that the whole backstory of Ben shooting that cop was elaborated upon and more of his personal struggles with his personal demons could have been focused on more because they were the meat of the story for me. I was expecting a character study and a psychological drama/thriller here. But I didn't get that and I was left feeling empty.

I also thought the last act is your standard, conventional horror finale that turns an interesting premise into a "seen it all before" fest. And I wish the twist was done better, even though I kind of dug it in a weird way. I just wanted more of an explanation as to the use of the mirrors and the whole Esseker deal [which was explained but in a really bland, expository way]. More depth was needed here to really make MIRRORS stand out. Here's the case where a film starts off strong but loses a lot of steam at the finish line.

DIRECTION - Alexandre Aja may not have written a great script, but the man knows how to direct a horror film. If HIGH TENSION and THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake didn't already tell you, Mr. Aja knows his visual style and has no shame in showing it off. The set pieces were great and Aja really used them to his advantage. I liked how dark and bleak the film seemed to feel. There was definitely nice tension going on. And the special effects, especially the death scenes [the Amy Smart one in particular], were spot on. This was a gory film and Aja didn't try to hide it. I do think that MIRRORS is his most "mainstream Hollywood" flick [I actually prefer his other works personally] but it's a whole lot better than most of the remakes that I've seen recently.

VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - Like I said before, MIRRORS has its gore. A beautifully shot sliced throat sequence at the beginning works. Someone gets blown up to bits. And the Amy Smart bathtub scene - oh yeah I dug that alot. The fire sequence was a bit silly in a bad way though. As for sex, we get Amy Smart nude - WORKS FOR ME! And Paula Patton has nice nipples. THANKS! The language is your standard R rated stuff.

ACTING - Here's the saving grace of the film. Keifer Sutherland is just awesome as Ben. The dude can act out of a paper bag, as I was totally convinced with whatever struggle Ben was going through. The fear, the pain, the paranoid ticks he would have - totally bought every single one. I kind of wish he was in a better film because I think he's above this kind of material. But he saves MIRRORS from being a shitty flick because a lesser actor would have sunk this ship. Paula Patton was good as Amy. I found her to be very credible in her role and I liked her chemistry with Sutherland. Plus she was hot too, which helps. Amy Smart is always cool with me and I wish she were in the film more than she was. But she showed us her T and her A, so I can't complain too much. Everyone else did their thing as well. Nice cast.

MUSIC - Javier Navarrete did the soundtrack and I dug it. It fit MIRRORS like a glove.

Probably Alexandre Aja's least inspiring work as a director, but MIRRORS was a better film than I was expecting it to be. It's not HIGH TENSION or THE HILLS HAVE EYES, but Aja tried his best to make MIRRORS work - even if it was in vain most of the time. Still, I love the premise and the acting was great. Nice gore and nudity added to my entertainment. If only the script was tighter, this could have been a very good horror flick. It took me a while to get into it, but I don't regret watching MIRRORS. Average flick that's worth a rental.

My Name Is Bruce (2008)

Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell - Bruce Campbell
Grace Thorsen - Kelly
Taylor Sharpe - Jeff
Ted Raimi - Mills Toddner/ Wing
Ellen Sandweiss - Cheryl

Genre - Horror/Comedy

Running Time - 86 Minutes

Score - 2.5 Howls Outta 4

PLOT - In Gold's Lick, Oregon, some Chinese burial site has been disrupted to the point where it unleashes the Chinese God of War and Bean Curd Patronk, Guan-Di. The kid responsible, Jeff (Taylor Sharpe), realizes that the town can't defeat this creature alone. Being a huge fan of B-movie and favorite cult actor Bruce Campbell (playing himself), Jeff decides to enlist his help by kidnapping him with the help of Bruce's agent (Ted Raimi). Mistaking Bruce for the characters he has played, Jeff doesn't realize that Bruce is really an alcoholic who's going through a divorce, lives in a trailer, and hates his cult career but takes the roles to pay for allimony. When Bruce is just as unprepared to face Guan-Di as Gold's Lick is, Jeff decides to take matters into his own hands. Not wanting to see Jeff get killed [and trying to get back in the good graces of Jeff's mother (Grace Thorsen)], Bruce decides it's time to get groovy and prove that he's just as heroic as the characters he plays on television and film.


STORY - MY NAME IS BRUCE is an entertaining film for the most part, although it does have its flaws. Seeing Bruce Campbell play himself in a more negative, extreme way is a hoot to watch, and having a story based around that involving a demonic presence is a pretty cool premise. The set-up is pretty generic but it works. The characters are all different and are very likeable. The dialogue is well written and will definitely make you chuckle during several scenes. Written by Mark Verheiden, you can tell that Verheiden is a fan of Bruce Campbell's work and knows enough about the guy to make MY NAME IS BRUCE mostly work. He wrote a simple script for a simple premise that focuses more on characterization than on the monster drama itself. Can't knock something that doesn't hide what it is - a tribute to a B-movie legend that deserves every accolade he receives.

However I think Verheiden tried too hard in making some of the gags work. Some of the jokes tended to be knocked to death to the point where you'd wish the narrative would move on to something else. Also, I was expecting MY NAME IS BRUCE to be funnier than it was. While it did make me laugh, I wished it had a bit more edge and freshness to the humor. The jokes should have been "ha ha" funny, not just "kind of amusing" funny.

Also, I thought Guan-Di was a lame villain. He didn't seem to be much of a threat at all and was barely the focus of anything until the beginning and the end. I think it would have been nice if Guan-Di had a bit of a bigger and more impactful background that would at least make me believe this dude was dangerous to this town. Hell, he only killed like 5 people. Not much of a villain, I think. It also didn't help that bean curd seemed to be his kryptonite. Lame.

I also thought some of the characters were ridiculous. Ted Raimi was cool as Bruce's agent, but playing both Wing and the guy who painted signs was a bit too much for me. I was expecting Eddie Murphy to pop out and play either THE NUTTY PROFESSOR or NORBIT. They didn't add much to the story at all and weren't funny at all. Also not funny - the two guys who were playing music between acts. If I wanted to see this routine in a film, I'd watch THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. At least there, it's funny.

Didn't dig the ending either. It went about three minutes too long and just left a bitter taste in my mouth. It's a simple script. Verheiden shouldn't have tried to complicate it for a twist ending. It didn't work. Less is more.

DIRECTION - Bruce Campbell is a very good director. The pace was excellent. The mood definitely had a B-movie atmosphere and feel to MY NAME IS BRUCE. There were some shots that definitely had style going for it. And the special effects were pretty well done as well. The man learned alot from working with his friend Sam Raimi. Can't complain at all here.

VIOLENCE/SEX/LANGUAGE [aka THE GOOD STUFF] - The violence is pretty nice here. We get some decapitations and limbs flying. Not a gorefest but I was pleased with what I saw here. The sex and language are pretty tame here. Some sexual inneundos and random cussing here and there, but nothing that will give anyone a heart attack.

ACTING - Here is where MY NAME IS BRUCE shines. Bruce Campbell is fantastic as always, playing a Bizarro version of himself based on a lot of elements of his EVIL DEAD character, Ash Williams. He was funny. He was charming. He was sexist. He was a prick. He was heroic. The man can do it all. Grace Thorsen was very stunning as Kelly, the love interest. She also played the tough chick well and had nice chemistry with Campbell. Taylor Sharpe was also great as Jeff, Bruce's number one fan. He definitely held his own with Campbell. And this was his first role? Wow, I wouldn't have guessed. Ted Raimi was cool as Miles, the agent. But as Wing and the guy who painted signs? Eh, I could have lived without it. And was that Ellen Sandweiss from THE EVIL DEAD as Bruce's ex-wife? No wonder there relationship didn't work. Once you're raped by trees, that changes a person.

MUSIC - Typical action/horror score. Plus folk songs from those two guitar playing idiots. It was okay I guess.

While it's no EVIL DEAD, MY NAME IS BRUCE is still a more than decent B-movie. While the direction and acting are excellent, the story is what really brings this film down. But it's still an entertaining flick made for Bruce Campbell fans, who will no doubt appreciate this one somewhat. You know what I would appreciate more? EVIL DEAD 4. Please in my lifetime, thank you very much.

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