The B-Movie Bungalow Presents: Ninja Vs. Vampires (2010)

Justin Timpane

Jay Saunders - Aaron
Daniel Ross - Kyle

Cory Okouchi - Cole

Devon Marie Burt - Alex

Carla Okouchi - Lily

Kurt Skarstedt - Seth

sa McConnell - Ann
Daniel Mascarello - Manson

Genre - Action/Horror/Vampires/Ninjas/Comedy

Running Time - 89 Minutes

The "Vs." aspect in action and horror films have really been finding their niche for the past few years. FREDDY VS. JASON set the box office on fire back in 2003. ALIEN VS. PREDATOR, while a flawed attempt, still managed to create an audience for itself. And those Asylum films, like MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS and MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID, have garnered the SyFy Network millions of viewers many Saturday Nights.

You just had to know that vampires would want to get into that piece of the pie. After all, they've taken over television. They've taken over film. They've taken over Hot Topic while buying the newest A.F.I. album while stocking up on black eyeliner. These fanged freaks want to be part of everything so we can continue to talk about them. So who can they feud with? Werewolves? Been there, done that. Zombies? Lack of blood supply. Ninjas? That's just sil---

Wait...someone actually made a film about NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES? Well, why should anyone be surprised? If people still want Chyna making porn movies [excuse me...I vomited in my mouth there], then NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES, distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures, can make total [not really] sense. What I'm really surprised about is how well the film works, even if director/writer Justin Timpane's ambition far exceeded what the small budget could present.

Awkward, wanna-be director Aaron (Jay Saunders) has huge feelings for his longtime best friend Alex (Devon Marie Burt). Unfortunately, Alex doesn't feel the same for Aaron. Aaron tells Alex that he can't be friends with her if they can't move their friendship to a deeper level. Before Alex could respond, she and Aaron are attacked by a group of vampires. Lucky for them, a group of Ninjas save them and slay the vampires.

Apparently, there now seems to be a war between these Ninjas and these vampires, run by a pretty boy named Seth (Kurt Skarstedt). Like most villains, he wants the vampires to rule the world by eliminating the Ninjas who protect it. They also have a huge interest in both Aaron and Alex, who are being protected by the Ninjas. Eventually, Alex gets kidnapped and Aaron has no choice but to join the Ninjas - training, learning strategy, and reaching his full potential - before fighting the vampires, including Seth's crazy strong brother Manson (Daniel Mascarello).

NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES is the sequel to 2008's NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES, a film I haven't watched so I can't compare the two. It's obvious that Justin Timpane loves Ninjas and he loves horror monsters, which means we'll probably see more of these NINJAS VS. films. To be honest with you, I wouldn't mind seeing more installments with these characters. I honestly believed this would suck [no pun intended], but I ended up liking it for the most part.

I think the clearest inspiration for NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES is 1998's BLADE, where Wesley Snipes would use swordplay and martial arts moves to battle vampires. Unfortunately for Timpane, BLADE actually had a budget to work with to achieve what it wanted to present to its audience. NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES does what it can with a $15,000 budget, but its these limitations that stop the film from truly becoming what Timpane probably wanted it to be. Thankfully, we don't have vampires that sparkle - they also don't get harmed by garlic and it seems blood gives them info from and about their victims. These vampires do die via sunlight, decapitation, and stakes through the heart which results in them turning into ash. This is done with really cartoonish and cheap CGI, to the point that even the skeletons look animated. We also have supernatural stuff, like a witch and her powers, plus a portal that takes the characters to another realm. The CGI for this isn't too horrible, but it does look cheap. But for $15,000, it's the best CGI they could use. I think if Timpane had a bigger budget to work with, the special effects would have looked pretty amazing here.

Thankfully, we actually have a story or two here to distract us, even if it doesn't make a whole lick of sense for the most part. The main story, obviously, is in the title. The vampires want to take over the world by gaining some amulet that will grant anyone who holds it great power and the ability of the holder to steal the power away from any victim. The Ninjas want to make sure this doesn't happen, even if they end up sacrificing their own lives. It's a pretty simple tale of good vs. evil, with the usual betrayals, deaths that inspire the group to work better as a unit, and the all-out finale where people fight, die, and make sure the world is still safe until the next threat arrives. There's nothing new about this type of plotline, but Timpane makes it work well. Sometimes you get a title as epic as that, yet the only time we see the two groups battle is at the end for a unsatisfying three minutes [see MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS]. You get exactly what the title promises you here from start to end, so I can't really complain.

The sub-story are the characters' relationship with each other. We have Aaron and Alex's friendship-turned-romantic relationship that is the centerpiece of the film. Aaron's love for Alex, and the knowledge that the vampires want her, motivates him into reaching his full potential as a Ninja, fitting right into their group. So we have a love story and a coming of age story all rolled up into one. We also have tough Ninja leader, Cole, and his relationship with bad vampire turned good, Lily. There's also comic relief Kyle's budding romance with witch Ann. And of course, vampire leader Seth has his own kooky girlfriend who spouts one-liners as if they were out of style. While it's nice to see these interactions, they honestly don't mean much as a viewer because there isn't enough time to really get to know these characters. Cole and Lily's relationship doesn't do a thing for me, and Kyle and Ann's seems to be going somewhere until tragedy happens. I guess I needed to see NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES to really get the full effect here, but their relationships felt forced rather than natural. Aaron and Alex's relationship is build up better, but Alex's feelings from friendship to girlfriend status aren't believable. It just seemed to happen because it had to happen. To be honest, the only love story I bought was Seth and his girlfriend. They were both power hungry, thirsty for blood, and just all around insane. In other words, they were your typical evil couple. And I bought it.

Speaking of the characters, the vampires are pretty lame here. I'm not talking about their abilities or their actions. I didn't mind that. What I mean is that they're portrayed pretty silly to me. Seth is nothing more than a Deacon Frost wannabe, but with bigger muscles and a monotone voice. Then there are these three other vampires - one looks like Doctor Doom and the other two are like his cheerleaders or something. I guess it's supposed to be funny, but it didn't make me laugh once. I thought Seth's girlfriend was cool though, only because she had a personality. The main vampire attraction is Seth's brother, Manson, who looks like an oversized dude in a gimp costume. Supposedly he was trapped in some dungeon for years for doing something bad and Seth releases him in order to kill the Ninjas. There wasn't enough about the backstory to make me care much about Manson's background, but I thought the character was pretty alright. He looked intimidating and acted like a bad ass, which is more than what the other vampires got portrayed as.

The script is also helped by the fact that it seems self-aware of itself at times, mentioning certain moments of pop culture that relate to what's going on. From things like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, to POLTERGEIST's "They're Here" line, to comic book references, to characters dressing like Freddy Krueger and Princess Leia, and to a blood-soaked moment inspired by CARRIE, NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES knows exactly what it is and embraces it. I thought these moments were pretty funny when they popped up. My favorite was the first victim wearing a shirt that said "I Love Edward" on it. I guess we know what Timpane thinks of the TWILIGHT franchise. Sometimes the pop culture references can be a bit too much for some films, but I had no problem with them here. It added to the film's charm.

The direction by Justin Timpane is actually well done for the most part. Besides some editing and lighting issues [the dark scenes were a bit too dark], the visuals were nice. The CGI is kept to a minimum and only used when it needs to be. The composition and framing works. The fight sequences, while not the greatest or most exciting, still pack a punch. I admire Timpane's ambition for wanting to create a spectacle with such a tiny budget. I can only imagine what he can do with a bigger one. Hopefully he gets that chance one day.

The acting is okay. Jay Saunders, as Aaron, was probably the best actor for me. He played the nerdy guy well, and his evolution into a bad ass ninja worked for me since Saunders definitely had the martial art moves to pull it off. Cory Okouchi, as leader Cole, is cool and tough. He kept the film together, I thought. Daniel Ross was pretty funny as Kyle, who is the comic relief of the film. He's really the pop culture guy and Ross seems to be having fun with the role. His more serious moments were decent as well. Devon Marie Burt, as Alex, as okay for me. She was very cute and played her character well, even though her memory loss got annoying after a while. Carla Okouchi as Lily played a nice mysterious vampire. Kurt Skarstedt as Seth was kind of bland though. Maybe that was how the character was written, but he was pretty stoic through most of the film. I could use some of his fitness tips though. And Daniel Mascarello as Manson was a standout. Besides the silly gimp costume, Mascarello was really the only interesting villain of the film. I think he should have been in the film more.


- Alex wondered if Aaron was shooting her chest on camera. I wouldn't concern myself with it, unless he starts shooting your booty as well. In that case, he's probably a pirate.

- Alex, having some short memory loss, couldn't remember being attacked by vampires. Arnold Schwarzenegger wishes everyone else could share the same condition, ever since Mildred and the love child destroyed him more than Skynet could ever do.

- Aaron had a dream where he was naked while Alex, his mom, and a group of other women chanted "Lil' Dick" at him. That would have been a nightmare if the stereotype wasn't most likely true...

- Vampires had a bunch of tied up and blindfolded girls in a circle, slicing their throats one by one. Looks like the challenges are pretty fierce in this edition of America's Next Top Model. It still needs more smizing though.

For $15,000, NINJAS VS. VAMPIRES from Breaking Glass Pictures is an above average action-horror film that I think fans of both genres should try and check out. While the results don't fully satisfy, at least the ambition and the love for filmmaking is present, which is more than most films I've seen and/or reviewed. It's pretty clever and pretty funny, with some decent fight choreography and decent acting. The CGI and the villains could have been better, but this film exceeded my expectations. Judging my the ending, it looks like Timpane and company aren't done with this potential franchise yet. I won't complain about that - I just hope a bigger budget and a stronger story comes along with it as well.

2.5 Howls Outta 4


Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

Fran Rubel Kuzui

Kristy Swanson - Buffy Summers
Luke Perry - Oliver Pike

Donald Sutherland - Merrick
Paul Reubens -
Rutger Hauer - Lothos

Hilary Swank - Kimberly Hannah

David Arquette - Benny Jacks

Genre - Horror/Comedy/Vampires

Running Time - 85 Minutes

Don't listen to the media: vampires have been "in" since Bram Stoker wrote about them in "Dracula" back in 1897. From Count Orlok in NOSFERATU (1922), to multiple incarnations of DRACULA, and to more recent fare such as The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Being Human, and the sparkling creatures of TWILIGHT, vampires have always been one of the more common monsters in horror entertainment. And while everyone loves these fanged creatures, we have also come to love those who oppose them. Who can forget VAN HELSING? What about CAPTAIN KRONOS - VAMPIRE HUNTER? How about The Frog Brothers from THE LOST BOYS or Peter Vincent from FRIGHT NIGHT? And I have to mention my personal favorite vampire slayer - Buffy Summers.

God, I miss Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I still consider it my favorite television series of all time, ever since I was once of the few who actually watched the show right from its pilot episode during 1997's mid-season schedule on the WB Network, up until its finale on the now-dead UPN in 2003. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was a great show - not because it was about a girl kicking vampire ass - but because it was charming, funny, witty, exciting, suspenseful, and dramatic in every way. It was a vampire soap opera that never insulted your intelligence. Was it perfect? No. But it was certainly memorable from beginning to end. Hell, I even love the spin-off, Angel, as well [while Buffy is my favorite, I think Angel was the better show in many ways].

I remember when I first read about Buffy in the TV Guide before its premiere. I couldn't believe that someone actually had the balls to make a show based on a horrible film of the same name. I thought it was joke. I'm thankful it wasn't because I was addicted from the start, but the idea of it was just bizarre to me at the time. To be quite honest, I hadn't watched BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER since the early 1990s until this past weekend, knowing it could never compare to the television show that improved on it in every way. But I've matured since my last watch and gave BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER another shot. I'm still not the biggest fan of it, but at least it's better than what I had remembered it to be.

Buffy Summers (Kristy Swanson) is like your typical Valley Girl. She's the head cheerleader of her high school. She's dating the captain of the football basketball team. She enjoys shopping and saving the environment [just to create a cool theme for the school dance]. And she's also been chosen to save the world from vampires. Uh, say what?

Yes, Buffy is this generation's vampire slayer. A man named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) claims to be her Watcher, or the one who is assigned to train her in slaying vampires. Buffy dismisses it at first, but when Merrick mentions the strange dreams she's been having, she takes the idea more seriously. When Merrick puts Buffy through her first test and she slays two vampires easily, she realizes she's the chosen one.

As Merrick trains her, Buffy learns that she has to get rid of a vampire master named Lothos (Rutger Hauer) and his idiotic sidekick Amilyn (Paul Reubens), who want to kill her. With this, the school dance coming up, and falling for a rebellious dude named Pike (Luke Perry) who lost his best friend Benny (David Arquette) to vampires, Buffy realizes that getting into a good college isn't the hardest thing she'll have to deal with in her young life.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is one of those films you either like or you don't. I used to really dislike this film, and the fact that the television show surpasses it in every single way possible makes it harder to like. And while it's still hard to take seriously, the film does have its moments and isn't all that bad. It's just a lost opportunity that thankfully was fixed years later.

The history of why this film turned out the way it did starts with Joss Whedon's involvement with the project. Before he became famous as Buffy's creator, Whedon was very successful as a writer on the sitcom, Roseanne. Being a comic book, science fiction, and horror geek, Whedon created a character he believed could carry a franchise. He wrote a serious script for the film, that was pretty dark and brooding - close to what the television had become when he was allowed, creatively, to form his vision of the character. However, Hollywood felt that audiences weren't interested in the original script's tone. So studio executives, who seem to know better than everyone else, demanded rewrites to the script in order to give the film a lighter, more upbeat tone. Instead of a mysterious, dark, and suspenseful film Whedon had envisioned, the film became a comedy with the horror as an afterthought.

And that's the major issue with BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. It's supposed to be funny, yet most of the jokes miss and a lot of the timing is off. Also, what exactly is the film making fun of? Is it making fun of vampires? No, because the vampires don't really portray themselves as clowns. Yeah, they're humorous but you never laugh at them. Is it making fun of high school? The characters we follow are stereotypical, sure, but they're somewhat believable at times. It's obvious that Whedon, in his original script, was trying to build a world where this cheerleader just happens to be the biggest threat to the vampire race. As we've seen with the television show, it works. However, once the rewrites settled in, the film wants to be more VALLEY GIRL than THE LOST BOYS. It doesn't really work.

Also, the vampires never seem or feel like a threat. After all, the fight between Buffy and Lothos lasts about five minutes at most. The love story between Buffy and Pike feels forced as hell. Luke Perry has more chemistry with Jason Preistley than he does with Kristy Swanson. The emotional connection when Buffy loses someone dear to her never feels real. And the characters all act like idiots, making the more serious second half of the film feel out of place. There's no focus here, just ideas trying to come together for the sake of telling a story that no one will remember a year from now.

I would have also appreciated to see Buffy struggle with the fact that her life was now changed as the Slayer. There should have been moments of conflict and confusion about her new role to the point where she eventually learns to embrace it once she realizes she's doing a world of good by accepting her destiny. Instead, she just buys quickly into it for the most part besides small reservations. I don't think Buffy really changes as a character from the start of the film to the end besides the fact that she knows she can kick vampire ass.

Is the film all that bad? No. Some of the jokes do work and will make you chuckle. Amilyn's death, in particular, is probably the highlight of the film for me since he takes forever to croak. The scene where Buffy and her friends discuss using the environment as the theme for their dance, claiming that insects are the worst thing about the topic, is pretty funny. In fact, a lot of the scenes with the girls interacting with each other is pretty clever. But it doesn't really take the story anywhere and gets old pretty quick, even if it is the only real form of entertainment in the film. I also enjoy the clueless principal handing detention slips to the slain vampires for crashing the dance. The thing is that there is a good story in here somewhere and while not everything works, at least you know where the film is heading and that there's an effort here by most of the people involved.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER doesn't really have special effects to mention. It's quite funny that the television show really went all out when it came to the vampires turning into dust after being killed or other supernatural events that required a lot of CGI or awesome make up. Here, the only real special effect is the elf-like makeup given to the vampires. They look more funny than terrifying really, but it fits the tone of the film I guess. The vampires also don't dissolve after death, which is kind of a bummer as well. Maybe there was no real budget to work with, so that's understandable. But I still think the makeup could have been better.

The direction by Fran Rubel Kuzui is probably the worst part about BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. The way things are shot just make the unfunny stuff even more unfunny. For example, when someone is delivering a joke, Kuzui actually has the actor overact it as if that will make people laugh. And when the joke bombs, there's like a pause after the delivery, making it possible to hear crickets as no one will be laughing. Also, the fight sequences are not well shot. I should be excited to watch Buffy battle these vampires. But the way they're visualized and presented just leaves me cold. When the most fun action sequence is the training montage, there's a problem. I will say that the film is short and well paced for the most part. And the film looks nice. Kuzui would later become a producer for the television show and its spin-off, Angel. She made the right move, I think.

The acting is a mixed bag. Kristy Swanson is pretty good as Buffy. It's not really fair to compare her to Sarah Michelle Gellar due to Gellar having more time evolving into the role. But Swanson is likeable, hot, and seems more likely to kick someone's ass than Gellar probably would. She has decent chemistry with her co-stars, even if some of it is forced [see: Luke Perry]. But I always thought Swanson was a decent actress and I'm surprised she didn't become bigger. Donald Sutherland brings a bit of class as Merrick, giving the character a semblance of weariness after he's seen so many of his Slayers die. The man definitely has a presence when he's onscreen. Rutger Hauer doesn't really get much to do as main villain, Lothos. But he seems to be having fun with the role and he's a natural bad guy. Paul Reubens is probably the funniest character as Amilyn. His death scene is still funny after all these years. Luke Perry plays a goofier Dylan McKay as Pike. He wasn't horrible or anything, but he didn't do anything impressive either. David Arquette is pretty annoying as Benny, though that was probably the point. And we have Hilary Swank [as Buffy's ditsy best friend], Ben Affleck, and Ricki Lake all making appearances before they really became famous. Also Seth Green makes an appearance as a vampire, which is funny since he would play a werewolf on the television show. Not a horrible cast. I just wish they had better material to work with.


- Buffy got a C+ in history for thinking El Salvador was in Spain. The fact that she even got a C+ shows that her school's grading system is a lot of bull.

- Buffy insinuated that Pike's name isn't a name, but a fish. Since she doesn't come across as intelligent, I think this epiphany came to her once she finally opened her legs.

- Benny got bitten easily by Amilyn. For someone READY TO RUMBLE, he didn't put up much of a fight.

- Buffy shot a thumb tack out of her mouth to kill an annoying fly. Looks like Mr. Miyagi made Buffy use his personal chopstick from time to time if she has spitting skills like that!

- Pike can't believe he has to deal with vampires. I don't know why he's complaining. They're easier to deal with then Shannen Doherty for four seasons!

- Lothos let Amilyn get killed by Buffy as a sacrifice. I guess "stake" really was the secret word.

If you're going to watch any version of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, watch the television show. It's incredible television that definitely deserves its cult status. Also, it presents Joss Whedon's true vision for the character and her arc. As for the film, it's an okay time-waster. It has some good moments, but most of it just leaves you wanting more or looking elsewhere for something more stimulating. If the horror and the comedy were blended together in a believable way, this review would be a lot different. Maybe the television show ruined me, I dunno. But it's not a horrible film and it's worth a watch for historical cult value alone. At least I don't hate BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER like I used to, but I still don't particularly love it either.

2 Howls Outta 4


Hitch on the Hump: Young and Innocent [a.k.a. The Girl Was Young] (1938)

Alfred Hitchcock

Nova Pilbeam - Erica Burgoyne
Derrick De Marney - Robert Tisdall
Percy Marmont - Colonel Burgoyne
Edward Rigby - Old Will
John Longden - Inspector Kent
George Curzon - Guy
Pamela Carme - Christine

Genre - Suspense/Mystery/Thriller

Running Time - 83 Minutes

I am very honored to have been asked by my good friend, TL Bugg, from The Lightning's Bug's Lair, to contribute to his excellent Hitch on the Hump series, where he [and guest bloggers] discuss an aspect of Alfred Hitchcock's life - whether it's his films or other stuff related to the Master of Suspense. I chose one of his earliest films from his British era, YOUNG AND INNOCENT [also known as THE GIRL WAS YOUNG] from 1938. So go over to The Lightning Bug's Lair and read my thoughts on the film. Also if you haven't yet, check out the rest of his site. It's a fantastic blog that deserves everyone's attention. Thanks, Bugg!

Hitch on the Hump: YOUNG AND INNOCENT (1938)


X-Men (2000)

Bryan Singer

Hugh Jackman - Logan/Wolverine
Patrick Stewart - Professor Charles Xavier

Ian McKellen - Eric Lehnsherr/Magneto

Anna Paquin - Marie/Rogue

Famke Janssen - Jean Grey

James Marsden - Scott Summers/Cyclops
Halle Berry - Ororo Monroe/Storm

Rebecca Romijn - Mystique
Bruce Davison - Senator Robert Kelly

Tyler Mane -
Ray Park - Toad

Genre - Fantasy/Comic Book/Action

Running Time - 104 Minutes

Back in the day, I was an avid comic book collector. While DC Comics has some interesting heroes [Batman tops them all; Superman is okay at best for me], I was definitely a Marvel guy. I bought every issue of Spider-Man [Amazing, Spectacular, Sensation, Web, regular, anything related], Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and especially the X-Men [Uncanny and the other 200 spinoffs]. As someone who was bullied when I was younger, I could relate to the adventures of these mutant heroes trying to find a place in society that not even their powers could help them with. I thought it would always be cool if they had made a film about the team. After all, the 90s cartoon on FOX was a fantastic interpretation of the team, taking stories from the comics and doing them justice [especially the episodes with Phoenix/Dark Phoenix - great stuff]. But I knew making a film about a team that had so many years of history would be a tough task to pull off.

After all, prior to 2000, comic book films [especially on Marvel's side of things] weren't doing so hot. Sure the 60s and 70s television shows like Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Incredible Hulk were very cool [the less said about that Amazing Spider-Man show, the better]. Plus in 1978, you had a huge superhero film in Richard Donner's SUPERMAN, which crafted [in my opinion] a better sequel in 1980's SUPERMAN II. Too bad SUPERMAN III, SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE, and SUPERGIRL weren't that great.

In 1989, Tim Burton restarted the cycle with BATMAN, a film that shattered box office records at the time and gave everyone hope that comic books can work as live-action movies. However, the 1990s weren't great for comic book films. While 1992's BATMAN RETURNS and even 1995's BATMAN FOREVER were more than watchable films, WB bombed with 1997's BATMAN AND ROBIN. We also had TANK GIRL, THE PHANTOM, JUDGE DREDD, STEEL, and SPAWN - films that really didn't set the box office on fire. Besides 1994's THE CROW and 1997's BLADE [the first Marvel Comics film property to be successful in a long while], things were looking pretty bleak.

That is until X-MEN was announced for a 2000 release. Directed by THE USUAL SUSPECTS and APT PUPIL director, Bryan Singer, and boasting a pretty impressive cast, there was some decent hope for the film. Crafting a film with these characters in a realistic world that audiences [who may or may not the comics' history] would be a challenge for the filmmakers, as it would obviously not please everyone. Still, X-MEN was going to be a major success since it was highly anticipated for years. It did well at the box office. Critics enjoyed it. Fans liked it for the most part. And it reignited, not only Marvel Comics film properties, but the entire comic book film genre in general. So while X-MEN isn't the greatest superhero film adaptation out there, it deserves a lot of respect and credit for not only giving us other comic book adaptations that would be released later on, but for being a decent film in its own right.

In the near future, some members of the human species are undergoing an cellular evolution that provides these members with special abilities that make them somewhat superior to normal humans. This has caused some fear in many, sparking a political debate, led by Senator Robert Kelly (Bruce Davison) - who wants to create a bill that will let the public know exactly who's a mutant in order to quarantine them somehow, hopefully stopping the threat of their existence. While upstanding mutants, like Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) who both have telepathy [Jean is mainly a telekenetic], are trying to ease the public in believing that mutants are just like everyone else, most of the public is willing to sign this bill.

Meanwhile, a teenage girl named Marie (Anna Paquin), who calls herself Rogue, runs away from her home in Mississippi after she puts her boyfriend in a coma after kissing him on the lips. Apparently, Rogue has the ability to absorb the lifeforce of others with just a single touch, causing her grief and loneliness. She arrives in Canada and ends up in a bar. Here, she meets a steel-cage fighter named Logan (Hugh Jackman), who calls himself Wolverine. Wolverine's mutant power happens to be healing wounds and illnesses at a rapid rate, but his main attraction seems to be sporting a Adamantium skeleton with claws that could cut through any material.

Wolverine and Rogue reluctantly partner up, unaware of an ambush by evil mutants known as The Brotherhood who have a great interest in them. They're saved by another group of mutants called the X-Men, who are associated with Professor Xavier. Using a school as a cover up for their identities, Xavier explains that the school is used to train mutants how to use their powers to protect humanity. However, Xavier's former best friend Eric Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen), who is The Brotherhood's leader as Magneto, believes that humans will never understand or appreciate mutants, wanting to destroy homo sapien life once and for all.

It's really a surprise that X-MEN, even 11 years after it's release, still holds up pretty well and works as well as it does. You'd think with, at the time, 37 years of history and hundreds of characters to work with, the film would turn out more of a disaster. After all, putting a comic book movie is pretty hard to do, since you have to please two sides of the audience: those who already know the history and those who are watching just to see action and cool special effects without knowledge of the backstory. It's even harder when you're doing an origin story where you can't do too much so it doesn't alienate both audiences. X-MEN, while not perfect in any way, still does enough to give everyone what they want while creating a foundation for a future franchise.

The screenplay by David Hayter, with help by Bryan Singer and Tom DeSanto, takes its subject matter seriously and with respect. It must have been a tough job trying to create an origin story with characters that have such a huge history for so many years. What characters do you use? What story from the comics do you tell? How do you please fans of the comics while introducing these characters to those without any X-Men knowledge? I think for the most part, Hayter chose the right characters to build a franchise on. Do I wish other characters could have been in the film? Of course. Gambit would have been a shoo-in for me. Maybe even Beast as well. What about Colossus and Nightcrawler? Eventually, those characters do appear in the film series. But they would have made interesting additions to the X-Men squad from the beginning. But the characters we do get are pretty much characters that should be in an X-MEN film.

Obviously, the purpose of this film is to establish characters and establish the story arc that would continue in other installments. As we all know, the X-MEN franchise is really Marvel's way to bring the most popular and probably most overrated [in my opinion anyway] X-Men ever - Wolverine. While the focus on one of the most bad ass characters ever created would become a problem in the later entries of the franchise, it's easy to see why he's such a draw in the original. He has a rebellious personality. He can kick your ass and not think twice about it. He has cool metal claws and speaks like a younger Clint Eastwood. He flirts with hot redheads and plays a father figure to damsels-in-distress. Who doesn't want to be this guy? I think the way Wolverine is portrayed here is pretty close as it is to the comics - the tough loner who eventually finds a family that he won't abandon or betray. Should he be the main character for a group hero franchise? That's questionable. But he's the one fans and non-fans know, making Wolverine an easy candidate to be in the spotlight.

Because of Wolverine's focus, the other characters in the film do get a bit of the shaft except for a few. Obviously, the main strife between Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto has to be a major focal point since their rivalry is why the X-Men stories exist to begin with. Xavier, taking the Martin Luther King, Jr. approach, believes that mutants should co-exist with humans. Magneto, taking the Malcolm X approach, feels that mutants are better than humans and deserve more respect because of their powers. If they can't handle that, then he'll eliminate his enemies by any means necessary. While we don't know much of Xavier's background from this film alone, Magneto's motives come from the fact that he was a survivor of the Holocaust. Feeling persecuted again for being different, he refuses to be a victim and will maintain power even if he has to eliminate an entire species to make it happen. While Xavier's X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood attempt to hurt each other to bring their respective leaders' points across, there's an odd mutual respect that goes on between the two men, since they were once best friends. No matter if Xavier wants to infiltrate Magneto's mind or Magneto poisons Xavier's mutant locator, Cerebro, the two men still manage to remain cordial to each other as if it's a game of Chess. It's an interesting relationship that grows as the franchise expands [their relationship seems to be the main focus of the prequel, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS]. It also mimics their relationship in the comics to a tee as well, giving the material a lot of depth that most comic book films seem to lack.

The other characters that get more time than the others are Rogue and Jean Grey. Rogue is the inexperienced, young mutant who has no idea how to handle her powers. She also plays Wolverine's reason to join and stay with the X-Men, helping them as they help her deal with her horrible condition. I've always had an issue with how Rogue was portrayed in these films. She's such a strong, tortured, and interesting character in the comics that it's kind of sad to see what she's reduced to in the movies. She doesn't have super strength. She can't fly. The seductive Southern accent is nowhere to be found. Even her relationship with Mystique is glossed over and Mystique is in the damn film! I always felt that this character was really Jubilee and Kitty Pryde merged together [both characters were usually under Wolverine's wing in the comics], only with Rogue's absorption powers. I sort of understand that to do Rogue, they would have to bring in a much larger backstory and bring in characters that other studios may have had the rights to [Carol Danvers in THE AVENGERS franchise soon?]. But without Gambit and without the look and feel of the comic character, Rogue just feels like a missed opportunity. Sadly, Rogue is portrayed here the best than in the other films.

With Jean Grey, she's here to be Xavier's confidant due to their identical powers and skills. She's also one of the main reasons Wolverine stays with the X-Men, as he has a huge attraction to her - one she quietly returns, even though she's with the X-Men's leader, Cyclops. While the love triangle does feel a bit forced at times, it does need to be there because it was a huge part of X-Men history. And I never really realized it until watching the film again recently, but the moment where Jean finally uses Cerebro to find Rogue's whereabouts after Magneto kidnaps her, is the catalyst for what should have been the Dark Phoenix Saga. Unfortunately, we all know how that ended up, but it's nice to see how subtle it was set up.

It's too bad the other characters don't get much screen time. Mystique and Toad have a ton of personality and shine in every scene they're in. Toad is really shocking since he's not really considered a major X-Men villain, even though his powers make him interesting. Mystique has always been a favorite of mine, with her ability to look hot and shape-shift. She's probably one of the highlights of the franchise as a whole. Sabretooth, while an awesome character in the comics, is nothing but Magneto's lackey in the film. He's portrayed as dumb, but the comic book character is one of the most dangerous and cunning villains the X-Men have ever faced. He would get a better and bigger role in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE years later. As for the rest of the X-Men, Cyclops doesn't get much to do really. It's a shame since he's supposed to be the leader of the team and has been a part of every major storyline in the X-Men's history. As for Storm, what a waste of character space she is. Another one who is a born leader, all she gets to do is wear a bad white wig and say lines that just make you cringe. She deserves better.

I will say that the narrative really focuses on the true essence of any good X-Men story - the fact that being a mutant can be a great thing for some, but it could also be lonely, painful, and difficult to deal with due to others not being able to understand or tolerate one's evolution. The sense of being alienated has always been at the core of the X-Men series, and the film captures that really well. From the politicians wanting to end this "Mutant Menace" because powers are dangerous to humankind [even though they refuse to see the good they could wield], to the idea of destroying those who don't understand due to the lack of hope in change, and to the idea of family and the struggle to keep everyone on the same page even when they have different opinions are all presented well - creating a serious and thought-provoking action film underneath the special effects and fight scenes. The characters, even with their silly powers and costumes, all come across as real. They face problems just like everyone else. The only difference is that they can manipulate the weather, reads minds, or use metal as a toy. It's not as dark or brooding as BATMAN, yet it's not as colorful as SPIDER-MAN. It handles the balance very well.

I think what doesn't help the narrative is the short running time. At 104 minutes, this film would be long enough for an origin story for a singular character. But when you have this many characters in one film and you're trying to set up their backstories, create conflict, and get from point A to point B, you really need more time to give each character their due. In fact, the action sequences [there should have been a few more really] do feel a bit rushed at times. It's as if you can tell there was more to the story that was told here, but there's so much you can tell in such a short time. Also, there are a few moments of exposition that slow the pace a bit, which is not good when you're watching an action film. Still, the film is mostly successful in what it attempts to accomplish.

Like with every comic book film, the main attraction is really the action sequences and special effects. X-MEN, surprisingly, only used a $75 million budget. While understandable that 20th Century Fox would be a bit cheap with this huge project, due to the fact that comic book films weren't setting the box office on fire at the time, it does limit the visuals a bit. Not only did the budget cancel out certain characters from the original script [Gambit was supposed to be a main character from the beginning, but his powers would have cost $$$], but it makes some of the CGI look really cartoonish at times. Wolverine's claws, at times, look visibly like CGI instead of real metal. The scene where Wolverine cuts a part of the Statue of Liberty's crown looks really fake. There are other moments as well, but most of the effects do look solid. It's too bad Fox rushed X-MEN for a summer release instead of the holiday 2000 release as it was intended. Maybe those issues would have been ironed out. As for the action sequences, they're quite well choreographed. The highlight is definitely the final sequence, with Wolverine pretty much kicking ass by himself and with the X-Men's help. Both issues would improve greatly in future installments [except for some of the special effects in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE], but it's a decent start. It just looks primitive to what we're used to now, that's all.

Bryan Singer does a great job directing such a complicated comic book film. It has superheroes and supervillains doing extraordinary things like a fantasy film, yet it's believable and kept grounded in reality. The film moves pretty fast, the editing is fantastic, the cinematography looks nice, and the acting sequences are shot well and with some nice style. While the final sequence is great, my favorite moment in the film is actually the scene at the train station where Magneto has a showdown with the police. It's just a tense, suspenseful moment in the film that not only shows how good of a director Singer is, but gives his main villain a lot of power that makes him truly come across as a threat [even if Magneto is a 60-year-old man in a stupid outfit]. The music by Michael Kamen could have been stronger and more intense to really push X-MEN over the top [like Danny Elfman's scores for these films]. It was just there for me and doesn't add tension or any sort of excitement to this film, which is probably why I hear people claim it's boring. But other than that, Singer used X-MEN as a teaser for what he had planned in future installments, even though he only stayed around to do one more. But that's a story for another time.

The acting is mostly good. The film really belongs to then-unknown Australian actor, Hugh Jackman. I can't imagine how Dougray Scott [the original pick for Wolverine] would have managed since Jackman truly brings the character to life in more ways than one. This film truly made the man a star and deservingly so, as he carries the entire film on his back and doesn't even sweat it. He's a bit taller than I would have liked, but he knows exactly who the character is. Just like Wolverine, Jackman is the best at what he does. I can't see anyone else in the role.

Patrick Stewart is the only choice to play Charles Xavier. Even before the film was released, I would always tell my friends that he's the only actor that could pull the role off. Not only does he look like the character, but he gives the film class and a level of respect that this kind of film needs. Same goes with Ian McKellen as Magneto, who really gives X-MEN depth by creating a villain we can't hate as a person, but can hate the way he does things. We understand both characters and see both their points quite easily, due to having two actors who can seriously provide a foundation that this franchise is based upon.

Anna Paquin is good as Rogue in terms of what the film is trying to accomplish. She handles the torment of not being able to touch others without hurting them, along with the loneliness the character has to endure, with grace and conviction. She presents the negative side of being a mutant and does it well. She also has nice chemistry with Jackman, with makes her role as his crutch believable. I also dig the moment she gets that trademark white streak in her hair by the way. I just wish the character was portrayed more like the comic book version.

Famke Janssen is sexy as hell as Jean Grey. She portrays a real woman - one who is intelligent, powerful, and easy on the eyes as well. She's the backbone of the film and does a great job with the material. Also sexy is Rebecca Romijn, who rocks Mystique in nothing but blue paint with some material covering her privates. She doesn't say much in the film really, but her seductive presence is definitely felt.

As for the other actors, Ray Park does well as Toad. He knows how to play physical roles, even giving audiences a nod to his Darth Maul days. Tyler Mane looks physically imtimidating as Sabretooth, but doesn't impress other than that. James Marsden does a good job as Cyclops, even if he never gets his moment in this franchise. And Halle Berry is just...yeah. That accent is horrible and the wig distracted me. Storm [and probably Berry] deserved better than what was given. Also, Shawn Ashmore [as Bobby Drake/Iceman] and Bruce Davison do well in their small roles.


- When Rogue kissed Cody, her absorption powers put him in a coma. Apparently, she's related to M.C. Hammer.

- Bobby made a rose out of ice for Rogue. Too bad it's the only way he'll get a chance to touch Rogue's "flower", if he knows what's good for him.

- Rogue touched Logan for his healing factor after he accidentally stabbed her during a nightmare. Not only was this the most penetration Rogue would probably ever get from a man, but Logan's pain equaled my pain of watching him in AUSTRALIA. I'm still suffering...

- Magneto held off the police by manipulating their metal guns and using the weapons against them. Remember - those sweating bullets will suffer a Megadeth.

- Never hit Wolverine in the balls. He'll take that personally. So would 100% of the male population. Save the nutcracking for Christmas!

While not the best made superhero film or superhero origin story, X-MEN still holds up pretty well after 11 years and deserves credit for creating a superhero film that's mature, smart, and respectful to its source material. There are certain aspects about the film I would probably do differently as a fanboy, but Bryan Singer deserves a lot of credit for doing justice with what probably was a challenging task to bring one of the most popular comic book teams to life. X-MEN, for the most part, marks the spot.

3 Howls Outta 4


Short Film Roundup: Trilogy of Blood (2010)

Rick Kelley
Charlie Ruckus

Tish Gardner - Connie
Brenna Lee Roth - Marilyn

Elyse Girl - Sherry

Joey Broy - Hitchhiker/Singer

Jason Herr - Toolbox Killer/Guitarist

Genre - Horror/Backwoods/Cannibals/Indie

Running Time - 27 Minutes

Three sexy girls from the city (Tish Gardner, Brenna Lee Roth, and Elyse Girl) drive through the backwoods of Virginia. They see a Hitchhiker (Joey Broy) and pick him up. He invites them to his home where he's having a barbecue and a concert where he's the lead singer of the Deadneks. Unfortunately, the girls realize too late that the barbecue isn't the standard burgers and hot dogs kind. In fact, they're the main course.

TRILOGY OF BLOOD is a 27-minute short film by Ruckus Productions that's really a homage to Herschel Gordon Lewis films like TWO THOUSAND MANIACS and BLOOD FEAST. It's hard to really review this film since it's really a promotion of the Deadneks music hidden within a $62 dollar budget [that's the real budget]. Luckily, the music of the Deadneks is good [think Reverend Horton Heat with an angrier tone] and it helps the tone of the film.

The story is pretty simple - girls pick up a hitchhiker who tricks them into being food for himself and his friends. You don't get much character development or any real connection of who these characters are, especially the victims. Even in a 27-minute film, you should at least have some semblance of that. But the film isn't really about that. It's about watching these Deadneks hammering people in the head, cutting out eyeballs, slicing throats, and burying some axes in various craniums before eating them. For cheap, the gore looks better than you'd expect. And there are some sex scenes - from lesbian cousins, to a dude who likes to choke girls while they ride him, to some dude who enjoys his tractor a bit too much. I thought it was funny stuff because this whole universe is so freakin' odd! There's female and male nudity, so this film is definitely not for children.

The direction hides the limitations of the budget as well as they can. The murders look good due to the editing [which is a bit iffy at times] and faux-grain look on the film print is cool but I found it distracting at times. It's also a bit out of focus at times and it has a sepia tint, which help create that grindhouse feel. Like I said, the film is really meant to showcase the Deadneks band, and the direction definitely does that.

The acting is okay. The main actresses [including B-movie starlet Brenna Lee Roth - who is also the daughter of Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth] do a commendable job. The Deadneks are pretty cool as well. The actors all seemed to be having fun and that's a good thing, whether the acting is Oscar-caliber or not.

TRILOGY OF BLOOD is not the greatest low budget horror film I have ever seen, but it's entertaining, bloody, and long enough to tell the story it wants to tell. The music is definitely the highlight of the film, which is nothing more than a long-form music video with gore and sex. Don't take this film seriously and you should have a decent time with it. Now where's my tractor?

2.5 Howls Outta 4

Ruckus Productions

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Mother's Day (1980)

Charles Kaufman

Rosie Ross - Mother
Tiana Pierce - Trina Hart

Deborah Luce - Jackie

Nancy Hendrickson - Abbey

Holden McGuire - I
Billy Ray McQuade - Addley

Genre - Horror/Slasher/Comedy/Cult/Backwoods

Running Time - 91 Minutes

Mother's Day - a day where we celebrate our moms for being there for us through the good and bad, raising us to become the best people we could possibly be.

Mother's Day - a day where our wallets get a lot lighter because commercialism has decided to use this special day as a way to sell flowers, cards, and feminine products that will traumatize any young man's mind.

Mother's Day - a day where you murder, rape, and humiliate others just to entertain your sadistic mom, who just happens to be afraid by her deformed sister who lives nearby in the woods.

Try making appropriate cards for that, Hallmark!

Seriously 1980's MOTHER'S DAY, which has been recently remade by Darren Lynn Bousman [of SAW II, III, IV, and REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA fame], has nothing to do with the day itself. But it's silliness and attempts at bad taste create a film that shouldn't be entertaining, but somehow manages to be even with its limitations and flaws.

Ten years after graduating from Wolfbreath College, a trio of best friends decide to meet for their yearly surprise getaway vacation - Abbey (Nancy Hendrickson) who has to deal with her overbearing sick mother who sounds like a dude speaking like a lady [Steven Tyler, is that you?], Jackie (Deborah Luce) who keeps getting used by her lazy ass cokehead boyfriend, and Trina (Tiana Pierce) who is the rich and famous bitch of the group. It's Jackie's turn to pick the trip, which ends up being a camping trip in New Jersey's Deep Barons forest and lake. Unfortunately, the Deep Barons are the home of Mother (Rosie Ross) and her grown sons Ike (Holden McGuire) and Addley (Billy Ray McQuade), who decide to kidnap and attack the three friends during the middle of the night for some really silly torture, rape, and murder. Talk about a modern family!

MOTHER'S DAY is one of the earliest films done under the production of Troma films, a company known for its low-budget bad taste films such as THE TOXIC AVENGER, CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH, and POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD. You either love Troma or you hate Troma - there's really no middle ground with Lloyd Kaufman and company. Fortunately, I dig Troma's stuff although I wasn't always a fan of MOTHER'S DAY. I disliked this film when I first watched it years ago, mainly because I didn't really understand the satire of the film. Now that I'm older and could appreciate what the film is trying to do with its limitations, I think MOTHER'S DAY isn't a bad film at all. In fact, it's one of the better Troma films in my opinion, even if the film isn't perfect.

The narrative is a cross between Wes Craven's 1972 exploitation classic, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, and Tobe Hooper's 1974 masterpiece, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. In other words, there's rape and attempted murder performed by a backwoods family of weirdos that no sane person would want to hang out with. Fortunately, it doesn't really exploit the rape like THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, or especially I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, had done. Instead, it takes the serious issues of kidnapping, rape, and murder and presents them in almost a comical and silly way. In fact, compared to later Troma films, MOTHER'S DAY is very tame and played more for laughs than for shock value. In fact, I just laughed and rolled by eyes for much of the film, never really taking the story seriously for much of its running time. And that's not a bad thing because that's the point of the movie anyway.

The film is also loaded with themes that are done with a satiric wit. Consumerism is a big one, as the family's home is full of material things you wouldn't expect in a home like theirs. The televisions are on 24/7, there's a Big Bird clock next to a corpse, and name brand foods are consumed right in view like it was water. Also the walls are written with sexual references and common quotes. There's also satire about self-help groups, which Mother is a member of at her Ernie's Growth Opportunity, or E.G.O., group. This group has worked so well that Mother decided to take the "good" from the city for her daily life. And by "good", I mean rape, murder, torture, kidnapping, and whatever sinful act one could commit, spreading this "goodness" to her children. It's as if the idea of self-help groups are not being taken seriously by writer/director Charles Kaufman and co-writer Warren Leight.

MOTHER'S DAY also does something that most Troma films don't really showcase - decent character development. It's not great screenwriting when it comes to developing the protagonists, but it's more than you would expect out of a film like this. For the first half of the film, we get to see the three female leads travel together, camp together, and even reminisce about the good old days [like getting back on some naked pervert named The Dobber]. Then when we get to the last half, where the girls are kidnapped, humiliated, and attacked, we understand the reasoning for these girls to help each other out of this situation rather than being selfish and risking each others' lives in order to survive. The strong heroes are helped by interesting, if not cliche, villains. From the kooky and sinfully sweet Mother, to the dimwitted Ike and Addley who constantly bicker about whether disco or punk music is better, the antagonists are entertaining in an odd way. They are not the deepest characters in the history of film [as a matter of fact, they are all stereotypes], but they're some of the strongest in a Troma film for sure.

However, I did find the girls to be very annoying in the first half of the film. The slideshow montage with the girls talking all over each other about the photos shown grated me from start to end. And then there are scenes [which are mostly filler] where the girls are driving and playing pranks together that just made me want to stop the film and watch something else. I understand that real female friends may relate to each other in this fashion in real life, but it doesn't mean that people actually want to experience this on film. Luckily, I liked them more as the film continued. But their first impressions weren't welcoming for me.

I also didn't understand the mysterious sub-plot about Mother's sister, Queenie. Now supposedly, she was this deformed family member that was exiled to the woods and considered a threat to Mother to the point that she was afraid of this Queenie. The problem is, she doesn't matter much to the story at all. In fact, she could have been completely left out and the narrative would not have changed a bit except for the ending. And what a stupid ending it is! It's obvious they're going for a CARRIE or FRIDAY THE 13TH shock ending here, but it just comes off contrived and ridiculous. And speaking of Queenie, what the hell was she supposed to be? The She-Bitch from ARMY OF DARKNESS? Honestly, I have no idea who the hell this character was supposed to be or why she was so important to be added into the story. It just ruined the ending of the film for me because it definitely wasn't needed.

By the way, was that first female victim Lady Gaga? It sure looked like her, but I couldn't read her poker face. Ma ma ma ma...

The special effects by Josie Caruso and Rob E. Holland are very primitive, but that's due to the low budget. Even so, I still enjoy watching what was presented. The decapitation scene in the beginning is extremely fake looking [Duh! It's a mannequin and I don't mean Kim Catrall], but at least it made me laugh with its cheap-ass charm. We also have a hatchet to the nuts [which displayed the obvious padding in the crotch area in the next shot - oops], Drain-O down the throat [with pink mouth foam!], an antenna impaled through the neck, and a fake plastic breast suffocation that just makes me scratch my head. It's not the most violent or goriest film, but it's Troma and it's cheap looking. Anyone who would expect Troma to produce the highest quality of effects needs to do their research. So the SFX are what I would expect for a film like this.

The direction by Lloyd Kaufman's brother, Charlie, is okay. It's nothing more than a point-and-shoot affair really. It's pretty amateur stuff in terms of editing, composition, cinematography, and direction. There are good tense moments when it comes to the chase scenes where MOTHER'S DAY that raise the thriller/horror level of the film. But other than that, it's not a visually exciting film. But the pacing is good and the direction tells the story well enough to make a more than watchable film experience.

The acting in MOTHER'S DAY isn't that bad actually. Rosey Ross [real name: Beatrice Pons] is the highlight of the movie as the Mother. She's funny, crazy, loving, sadistic, and touching all in one. The character is a monster, enabling her children to entertain her by raping and torturing people, but Ross makes her charming at the same time - giving us the knowledge that this Mother really loves her children. Nancy Hendrickson, Deborah Luce, and Tiana Pierce are all good as the victims. Nancy Hendrickson is probably the strongest as the nerdy Abbey, who has her own mom issues which play out later on the film. They annoyed me at the beginning, but I liked them by the end of the film. So that's pretty good acting right there. I thought Holden McGuire was very good as the dimwitted Ike, who was vicious but at the same time sensitive to his mother's needs. And Billy Ray McQuade was the more perverted one of the group, which he played well. You don't normally equate Troma with quality acting, but MOTHER'S DAY seems to be the exception to that rule.


- A bunch of people were graduates of E.G.O. [which stands for Ernie's Growth Opportunity]. I'm sure Kanye West was a straight A student during his semester.

- Trina had a pool party with perverted old men and stupid middle-aged women. This boy ain't looking for no play at this mansion.

- Dobber enjoyed doing naked push-ups inside a football field. Even though he comes up a bit short, he's still the team's best wide receiver. He's also great a football too!

- Ike and Addley took photos of Jackie role playing before slapping her around and raping her in front of their mother. It was like watching that last season of Roseanne, just without the slapping part.

- Ike and Addley argued that either punk or disco sucked. Can we all just agree that we should have drowned "Disco Duck" at "Rockaway Beach"?

- The girls attacked Addley with a hatchet to the balls and an antenna through his throat. I know some people enjoy watching The Nutcracker on TV, but that's just ridiculous.

- Drain-O was poured down Ike's throat. If that doesn't smooth the frog caught in there, nothing will.

MOTHER'S DAY is a quirky horror and comedy film that is one of Troma's better acted films. It's also made with a level of serious competence and has more suspense and tension that's unusual when it comes to Troma, making MOTHER'S DAY stand out from the rest of the pack. And to think, mothers want murder instead of flowers on their special day. I really need to step up my game...

3 Howls Outta 4

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