Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Return to House on Haunted Hill" review

Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007)

Director: Víctor García
Writer: William Massa

Amanda Righetti ... Ariel Wolfe
Cerina Vincent ... Michelle
Erik Palladino... Desmond
Tom Riley... Paul
Andrew Lee Potts ... Kyle
Jeffrey Combs ... Dr. Richard Benjamin Vannacutt
Steven Pacey ... Richard
Two words: Undead lesbians. In one sequence in “Return to House on Haunted Hill”, one of the conniving thieves, (who just happens to be a hot babe), gets seduced by two ghoulish lesbians. She never bothers to question why these ghostly women are all over her. She just gives in to their warm, deadly Sapphic embrace. It’s important, thought-provoking scenes like this which bring me back to B-movies time and time again.

A disparate assortment of characters get drawn into the house on haunted hill by promises of an evil statue worth millions. The professor wants to save it and the thieves want to sell it. As they make their way through the abandoned asylum, the ghosts take offense to their presence and proceed to dispatch them in the most gruesome way possible. The statue may hold the key to surviving their night with the living dead.

“Return to House on Haunted Hill” is a straight ahead, mainstream B-flick. The story moves from point A to point B with few surprises. However, it is nice to watch a straight to video flick that was made with at least some degree of professionalism. “Return to House on Haunted Hill” is a slick, no nonsense exercise in genre filmmaking. It throws in the blood, guts, scares and undead lesbians into the mix to delight the B-movie fans. You can’t fault it for that. Well, at least I can’t. It’s worth a look.
SCORE: 3 out of 4 bloodthirsty ghouls

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Splatter Beach" review

Splatter Beach (2007)

Directors: John Polonia Mark Polonia
Writer: John Polonia

Erin Brown ... Tess
Erika Smith ... Tonya Smith
Alison Whitney ... Beach Dancer
Brice Kennedy ... Rodney Spinner

“Splatter Beach” warns you up front that you will suffer. A warning scrolls by at the beginning of the movie telling you that no living thing should watch this movie. I ignored their warning and pressed on to see what thrills awaited me at “Splatter Beach”. Then I saw the director’s names and I started to succumb to that feeling of nameless B-movie dread that makes your soul cringe. Yes, I’m talking about the Polonia brothers and their shamelessly cheap moviemaking ways. They’ve crawled up from the depths of the ocean to wreck havoc on my DVD player again.

“Splatter Beach” is about the Polonia brothers trying their hardest to rip off “Humanoids from the Deep” and other sea monster flicks. Erika Smith and two guys end up at a cabin for some rest and relaxation. One guy takes the wise path and has sex with Erika. The other dork decides he wants to get to the bottom of all these local disappearances. He’s certain that there are shambling sea creatures out there that want to eat everyone. Misty Mundae shows up to try to convince the naïve fools that there are monsters roaming about. She doesn’t have any lesbian sex so no one is really interested in her. But with the help of the reporter dork and some random weightlifter on the beach, they just might live through the night.

Well, “Splatter Beach” is obviously a bad movie but I can’t say I hated it. It plays out as cheaply and incompetently as you’d expect but it does have some amusing moments. The weightlifter on the beach had me laughing with his clueless banter with the main dork. Erika Smith does have a brief topless scene and that’s always good to see. In fact, it was so good that I had to hit rewind and watch it a couple of times. It was good each time.

It’s hard to take the hammer to this one although it certainly deserves it. At least the Polonia brothers admitted that “Splatter Beach” could cause hysterical blindness to whoever is doomed to watch it. “Splatter Beach” is only about an hour long so it doesn’t have enough time to really grind your bones into dust. “Splatter Beach” is for the undiscriminating B-movie fan. Come to think of it, is there another kind of B-movie fan? If you’re in dire need of a sea monster fix, rent “Humanoids from the Deep”. If that’s out, try “Deep Rising”. If that’s gone too, “Splatter Beach” might be able to tide you over until a good sea monster flick is available.

SCORE: 1.5 out of 4 shambling sea creatures

"Species: The Awakening" review

Species: The Awakening (2007)

Director: Nick Lyon
Writer: Ben Ripley

Helena Mattsson ... Miranda
Ben Cross ... Tom Hollander
Marco Bacuzzi ... Rinaldo
Dominic Keating ... Forbes McGuire
Marlene Favela ... Azura

A beautiful blonde has a problem. She just might be an alien. Her creator kept the truth from her all of these years in an effort to make sure he had his hot blonde “niece” with him at all times. Mad scientists can sometimes get attached to their evil experiments. They like to nurture them into their full hot blonde maturity. Unfortunately for the adopted Species monster, it seems her life span only lets her live to about 22 human years or so. That’s like 90 in Species years. They decide to take a road trip to Mexico to find an evil expert in Species biology who just might be able to save her.

Why is all this hand wringing over an alien beast happening in a “Species” sequel you ask? Good question. The filmmakers tried a different approach this time by trying to get us to care about the alien babe and her attempts to stay alive. Of course this perverts the very idea behind the franchise. The whole premise of these flicks is watching some beautiful alien woman try to mate with every man she sees before ripping his head off. The “Species” flicks give you a lot of eye candy before delivering the killing blow. In “Species IV”, we get a hot blonde who wants to stay human and not tear her way across town. This will not stand.

Fortunately there is a screw-up at the lab and the blonde monster starts giving in to her alien instincts. She goes out to mate and procreate with some doomed soul. There is also another beautiful Species creature, (Marlene Favela), who wants to destroy her. Marlene didn’t like her barging in on her good times and wants to finish her off. This will lead to a showdown between “Species” babes to see who will rule.

“Species the Awakening” is a fair B-movie. It won’t hurt you to watch it but there aren’t many scenes that are memorable. Actually, it’s pretty much fading from memory now. Also, the nudity and Species sleaze is light in this one. A little too light for my tastes. But both Species women get naked and a reasonable facsimile of a good time is had by all. Or maybe just some people will like it. At any rate, if you’re into the “Species” flicks, (and let’s face it none of them have been great movies anyway), you’ll probably get into it.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 killer Species

Marlene, Marlene, Marlene.

"Primeval" review

Primeval (2007)

Director: Michael Katleman
Writers: John D. Brancato

Dominic Purcell ... Tim Manfrey
Brooke Langton ... Aviva Masters
Orlando Jones ... Steven Johnson
Jürgen Prochnow ... Jacob Krieg
Gideon Emery ... Mathew Collins
Gabriel Malema ... Jojo

“Primeval” is a cry for peace disguised as a giant crocodile movie. I was wondering why the marketing for this one was so garbled. Now I know that the marketing department was just as confused as I was. I saw posters around town with a bunch of skulls and bones on it but had no idea what the movie was about. When filmmakers mess with time honored monster movie conventions, you usually end up screwing the pooch. “Primeval” screws a few pooches.

A bunch of reporters head into Burundi to do a story on Gustave, the giant killer crocodile that is feasting on a smorgasbord of Burundians. There is a warlord in the bush who likes the way Gustave operates so he emulates his monster friend by calling himself Little Gustave. Gustave controls the water and Little Gustave controls the land. But who controls this movie? Giant crocodile flick segues into African atrocity movie to give the filmmakers some mental relief that they’re not just wasting their time on another killer croc flick. The reporters decide it’s their duty to report back on the senseless murder going on in Burundi so they try to turn the B-crocodile flick into an A-action movie by matching wits with Little Gustave’s militia. Big Gustave gets upset that he is being forced out of his own movie.

“Primeval” is a mess but it has moments that make it an enjoyable mess. Gustave rips and tears anyone who is stupid enough to enter his habitat. He is a merciless monster who kills people just for fun. But Gustave moves too fast for a giant croc which exposes him for the fake digital effect he is. The blood and guts scenes are almost always set during a driving rainstorm which makes it hard to figure out exactly whose blood and guts is flying around. Then again, I’m always happy to spend some time with a giant man-eater so I had some fun watching “Primeval”. If you are not picky about your monster thrills, “Primeval” may be worth a look.

One last thought, the real point of “Primeval” is spelled out at the end of the movie where the reporter comments that humans are responsible for the monster that Gustave has turned into. Thanks to non-stop warfare in Burundi the lakes are filled with dead bodies which is where Gustave got his insatiable appetite for human flesh. The evil that men do gives rise to monsters. This would have been a cool idea for this movie if they had started out showing the militia dumping bodies into the lake. That way we could have watched Gustave grow into the beast that he is.

Watching human evil manifest itself as a monster is still a good idea for another horror movie. How about giant gorillas running amok through Rwanda in “Primeval 2”? Genocide crimes come back to haunt the killers! The gorillas take revenge and want total human genocide! Not that I’d endorse exploiting African warfare just to sell a B-monster movie but “Primeval” did it so they can keep the ball rolling.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 hopping mad Gustaves

Monday, October 08, 2007

"House on Hooter Hill" review

House on Hooter Hill (2007)

Directed by Jim Wynorski

Taylor Wayne (as Taylor Wane)

It’s Déjà vu all over again in Wynorski land. His business model is set in stone. Any deviation from the softcore playbook will not be tolerated. Once again, his favorite cabin in the woods is the setting for yet another sex filled romp with as many large breasted women as the lease would allow. This one must have been filmed at the same time as “The Breastford Wives” as Taylor Wane and Glori-Anne Gilbert return for yet another round in the hot tubs. But this time there’s some inane plot device which allows women with enormous tits to have sex while music blasts over the action. Oh wait, that’s just like every other Wynorski sex flick.

Wynorski could teach mainstream cinema a thing or two about how to stretch a budget. Even the DVD case reeks of cheapness. There are two shots of Taylor Wane lifted right from the cover of “The Breastford Wives”. Why waste money on taking a new picture when you can spend it on something important? Like, for instance…hmmm…what does Wynorski think is worth spending money on? I don’t know but it’s definitely not new pictures of Taylor Wane for the cover. Speaking of the cover, I should also point out that Alexia Moore is displayed prominently on it but doesn’t appear anywhere in “House on Hooter Hill”. Of course she doesn’t. Why should I be surprised? I should just be grateful that there was actually a movie inside the DVD case.

Jim Wynorski and his softcore partner in crime Fred Olen Ray have pretty much cornered the market on late night sex flicks. Cinemax is flooded with their movies. They’ve created slick B-movie making machines which crank out the softcore flicks with brutal efficiency. To say Wynorski is in a rut is an understatement. All this softcore money has made him lazy beyond belief. But you know what? Who can blame him? If you had Cinemax bankrolling your life, wouldn’t you spend it on watching large breasted women have copious amounts of sex? The man knows what he likes.

“House on Hooter Hill” is exactly what you expect. Gilbert and her husband go up to the infamous cabin and proceed to bang anyone with a gigantic rack. Taylor Wane will leave her fortune to anyone who can figure out the secret clue she has left them. Amazingly, the secret to unraveling the clue lies in the women putting their breasts together and having a lot of sex. There are two guys and about six or seven girls. Everybody gets naked and a good time is had by all.

One thing still irritates me though. I’m going to have to file an injunction with the Softcore Film Board to bar Glori-Ann Gilbert from appearing in any more of these movies. When does this madness end? She blew two more lesbian scenes in this one and made me long for the days when Julie Smith was running around in Wynorski flicks. But of course, I always long for Julie Smith movies. Now there’s a woman you can depend on for some fun. I can depend on Gilbert to make me put my fast forward button to good use.

The best sex scene was at the beginning with Taylor Wane. She had a pretty good lesbian scene with another larger breasted girl in the hot tub. “House on Hooter Hill” was off to a good start. The rest of the movie is fairly standard although I did like the muscle-bound Xena look-alike. She didn’t really have any good sex scenes but she was a nice change of pace from the usual women who appear in these movies. Overall, “House on Hooter Hill” is a decent softcore flick. It’s worth a look.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 Hooters girls, girls, girls