Movie Review: The CURSE OF BIGFOOT

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curse of bigfootUniversal Entertainment
1975
NR

A group of high school students on an archaeological dig discover a centuries old mummified body in a sealed cave. Removing the mummy, it soon comes back to life, revealing itself to be an inhuman beast that terrorizes a small California town.

Again with the movies from the +++ movie pack that I got a few years ago. Slowly working my way through. And this was one I knew I had to just suck it up and watch, otherwise it would never get watched.

I’m not that much of a fan of movies based on the legend of Bigfoot. And in the 60s and 70s, there have been many exploitation flicks made involving the big, hairy Northwest critter of lore. Of course, there’s been a handful of movies and television shows from the 80s and 90s, and let’s not forget about that “reality” show on the SyFy Channel. Hilarious, that. But, for the most part, I’ve never really had much of an interest in that area of cryptozoology. But, Curse Of Bigfoot was on that movie pack, thus I had to watch the thing.

The first thing I want to point out is that, Curse Of Bigfoot is less a cohesive movie, and more of a cobbling together of a failed attempt at making a movie with extra footage shot years later just to use up what they had. Oh, and for the record, Bigfoot is hardly in this movie. Seriously, how do you have a movie titled Curse Of Bigfoot, and not have the most obvious thing in there?

No, mostly this movie is told in flashbacks. We have a professor of crytpozoology giving a lecture to a bunch of college kids cracking amazingly lame jokes, when a friend of the professor arrives to talk about his experience running into an actual monster of legend…and to berate the kids for not believing him. Then we get the previously shot film of archeologist students digging around, then stumbling upon a mummy, unleashing a cursed mummy…which turns out to be the titular Bigfoot, I guess?
Look, this movie is just about as forgettable as it is bizarre in its low-budget execution. It’s a hack-n-slash kind of exploitation flick that does nothing to whet any kind of interest in the subject of Bigfoot, or makes me want to solder on with watching the rest of the movies on this pack. Pass…

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Movie Review: The SAND (Blood Sand)

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sand, theMonarch Home Video
2015
TV-14

“This is worse than the woman with the horseshoe crab up her ass.”

If ever there was a quote directly from this movie that encapsulates perfectly the kind of watching experience The Sand was, I would be hard pressed to find anything more on-the-nose than that one. Which is uttered by one Jamie Kennedy, who seemed equally annoyed as he was mystified that he is in this movie. And he was in Son Of The Mask. But, I digress.

I admit, it’s been a while since I’ve viewed a movie of this…caliber. I’ve gone through dry spells where I didn’t really want to watch cheesy B-grade movies, more out of apathy than any kind of shift of taste. The Sand (aka “Blood Sand”, because having multiple working titles is an indication of quality) was one that was, believe it or not, recommended to me by a lovely couple at my church who watched this and immediately thought of me. I’m assuming, actually, but this is something that I would go for. Unfortunately, I was still kinda going through a low ebb in my manic depression, and while I stuck it on my watchlist, I kept coming up with excuses not to watch The Sand. Or do much of anything other than sit and stare at the darkness surrounding me. Such is the nature of depression and all.

Before we begin with this antacid flashback, I want to throw in here that, with a bit of research to the background of this movie, it appears that, besides Blood Sand, there was also some early versions using Killer Beach as the title of the movie. Lovely. Probably would have went with that one, personally, but here we are.

*sigh* Let’s just get the rundown out of the way; I’m already spending too much time dwelling on this flick…

After a raging party on a secluded beach (the flashback of which is shown in Smartphone Video Vision), eight of the remaining partygoers wake up the next morning to find out that if they step on the sand, tendrils whip out and drag them under, eating anything delicious and meaty: Birds, hotdogs, humans. These eight were spared initially because they happened to pass out during the party on things that kept them from touching the sand itself: a picnic table, a convertible car, the lifeguard tower, a garbage can. It’s a situation worthy of inclusion in a Stephen King short story collection. Anyway, after a handful of the survivors, and a persnickety beach patrol guy that’s played by the aforementioned Jamie Kennedy (the only actual acting talent in this whole thing) get eaten by whatever it is that’s lurking in the sand, things are starting to look bleak…and whatever that thing is under the sand seems to be getting bigger…

As modern B-movies go, I have to admit that The Sand wasn’t as painful as I was expecting it to be. Don’t get me wrong; this is a movie that is firmly in the Hilarious For All The Wrong Reasons style of horror flick. The opening scenes do a fairly decent job setting up the plot of the movie, and I understand when we’re dealing with a low budget movie like this, keeping things in one location is one of the ways to keep within the budget.

The problem here is that there’s not enough plot to propel The Sand to a full-length running time. The premise lends itself to a good tight 30- to 45-minute short film; to pad this one out, there’s a lot of arbitrary “tension” scenes, usually involving playing a rousing game of The Floor Is Lava (and just as exciting as watching a game like that in real life), and oh, there’s also a love triangle subplot that is shoehorned in so badly that it grinds the momentum of the plot itself to a halt to remind the viewers that these are people you should totes care for, instead of being a cast of chowderheaded dudebro alpha males and whipped-cream-for-brains scantily clad females that you’ll be rooting to die horribly pretty much from the get-go. Really, the only two salvageable characters here are Jamie Kennedy’s character (of course), because he voices the frustration of the viewers as a surrogate, and the token fat guy who spends the majority of the run time stuck in a garbage can with a dick drawn on his face. I can relate to his pain. Also, he has the best final line before being eaten by the sand monster thing.

Overall, while I don’t hate myself for having watched The Sand (I did get a lot of laughs from this, after all), this VOD offering falls short of the So Bad It’s Good status that affords a recommendation for all to watch more than once. A good once-over for a nice goofy Midnight Flick night, but really that’s all there is to this movie.

Movie Review: OVERLORD

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overlordParamount Pictures
2018
R

“Three months ago, I was cutting grass on my front yard. The mailman shows up with a letter from the army. Now I’m here, and no idea where I’m going to end up.”

In-between taking over the Star Trek and Star Wars movie franchises, along with other projects, J. J. Abrams went back to making a straight-up horror movie as a kind of change of pace in the previous year. That movie was this one we’re discussing right now, Overlord. It was the movie that was originally rumored to be another one set in the Cloverfield universe that’s already three movies deep. But, Abrams squelched those rumors, stating that Overlord was going to be its own standalone horror flick, with nothing to even remotely tie it into the whole interesting-yet-convoluted anthology of films. I’m sure there were those out there that figured he was just bluffing, fully expecting another fun yet kind of ham-fisted entry in the Cover-verse.

But, no, as it turns out, Overlord is not a secret Cloverfield movie, with nothing in it that even remotely pointed to it being one in the first place. Personally, I went in not really expecting some kind of tie to that series, as I have this nasty habit of taking people by their word. It’s gotten me burned on many an occasion, yes, I realize. But I gotta be me. Anyway, what I was expecting was another zombie flick. You know, one that was set during the sequel to the War to End All Wars, World War II (Electric Nazi Boogaloo). And…well, it was, but less Night Of The Living Dead, and more Herbert West: Reanimator, if we were to compare it to previous entries in the horror genre.

So, it’s the eve of D-Day, and a platoon of America’s finest parashoot into the heart of German occupied France, with a mission to sneak into a castle being used by the Nazis as a communications base and destroy a radio tower so that the Allied troops can land in Normandy without the Krauts knowing. And before I’m bombarded with accusations of racism, I am of German ancestry, and I have to say that “Kraut” is our word, you hate-filled bigot. Anyway. after being decimated by heavy fire, the surviving troop manage to sneak into the French village where the castle is at, befriend a local member of the resistance, and holes up in the attic of her house while coming up with their plan of action. As it turns out, not only are the Nazis using the castle as a base of operations, they’ve set up a lab in the basement (do castles have basements? Wouldn’t that be more of a dungeon? Or a lower level?), where the obligatory mad Nazi scientist is conducting experiments on the local townfolk and dead soldiers to refine a serum that would turn their soldiers into long-lasting and durable Ubermensch Soldiers that would serve their Thousand-Year Reich. Planning ahead and all that. Only, there are some glitches. Ones that the Americans discover when, while trying to save the life of a dying soldier, they inject him with some of the serum, and he comes back to life really thirsty, feeling really hot…oh, yeah, and also really violent, incoherent, and hard to put down. So, due to the Resistance lady’s young brother being kidnapped by a German officer and taken to the castle, she and the remaining soldiers sneak into the stronghold to take down, not only the communications tower, but also destroy the nightmares that the mad scientist is creating.

Overlord was a rather enjoyable sci-fi horror flick, overall. I liked the way that the movie went into this as more of a period piece war action movie at first, building up not only the story and the tension, but also giving some depth to the soldier characters and even the antagonist Nazi officers who interact with the heroes. So when the David Cronenberg-level horror is introduced, it’s really effective. And that aspect is done just as well, going less for camp, and more for a gritty and chilling portrayal of the mad scientist horror, when juxtaposed with the more realistic horror of the war raging outside of the castle walls.

It’s a pity that, ultimately, Overlord kind of came and went without much fanfare. J. J. Abrams can really do a good horror movie, without having to make it an obligatory part of his mythos. I wouldn’t mind seeing more like this from him. Besides that, Overlord is recommended.

Movie Review: The INCREDIBLE 2-HEADED TRANSPLANT

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The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant Movie PosterAmerican International Pictures
1971
R

“Stop jerking around. You and I are now one, dummy.”

Dr. Roger Girard id a rich scientist experimenting with head transplantation. His caretaker has a son, Danny, who is an extremely strong full-grown man, but he has the mind of a child. Meanwhile, Manuel Cass, a maniacal killer, has murdered Dr. Girard’s caretaker and is badly injured himself. Dr. Girard decides to transplant the murderer’s head onto Danny’s body. The new creature, with one head of a murderer and the other with the mental capacity of an eight-year-old attached to an extremely powerful body, begins wreaking havoc…

The 1970s was a wacky time for horror and sci-fi movies.As with the fashion, the music, and generally all other avenues of pop culture at the time, I can only surmise it had something to do with the nation detoxing from the last part of the 60s.

That, at least, would be the only explanation for the existence of this here movie, The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant.

This is a low budget sci-fi horror flick that co-stars Casey Kasem, America’s Top 40 radio host, and voice of Shaggy and various cartoon characters. Among other things. Here, he plays Dr. Ken, the best friend of Dr. Roger, the main character that takes the phrase “two heads are better than one” far too literally. I bring this up because the presence of Kasem is the most notable thing in this movie.

From the word go, The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant is about as cheesy as you would expect a movie with that kind of title to be. Of course, this was made in the era where the “psycho killer” was still characterized as a wild-eyed, grinning and manic individual, possibly high on the marijuana from Reefer Madness. And that is how the escaped lunatic killer is played, full-tilt, all throughout the flick. On the other end of the spectrum, I theorize that the only model they had to work with when creating the caretaker’s son with the mentality of a child was from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. There’s even a scene involving crazy enraged-for-no-reason bikers in here that, I’m fairly certain, was thrown in because bikers were a big thing in exploitation cinema at the time. Had this movie been made in the 80s, it would have been ninjas. Which would have made this movie better, really.

The acting matches the premise of the movie; that is to say, it’s crazy and over-the-top. The effects…well, it’s low budget, and also made in 1971. So, yeah, the whole 2-headed thing is kinda…well, it was done better on the television version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

All this to say that The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant is a glorious over-the-top mess that must be watched by everyone. Gather your friends, surround yourselves with your favorite libations, and make a night out of this.

Movie Review: R.O.T.O.R.

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rotorImperial Entertainment
1987
NR

“The only difference between a hero and a villain is the amount of compensation they take for their services. At our pay scale, I’d say we’re closer to heroes.”

The city is in chaos–society’s scum are running rampant, murder and rape are on the rose. A special unit to develop R.O.T.O.R.–robotic officer of the tactical operations research unit–is set up. Its prime objective is to build the perfect cop…a law enforcement machine programmed to overcome all obstacles and make sure the streets are safe.When the completion date for R.O.T.O.R. is brought forward, a major side effect is overlooked, and R.O.T.O.R. goes berserk. The dream turns into a nightmare. Can it be stopped, or will it threaten the very existence of the society it was built to protect?

Why? Why do i punish myself like this? I mean, seriously, I may have a serious problem, here. I see a movie title that I know is going to be painful to watch, and I’m drawn to it like a moth to flame. And when I saw the late-80s sci-fi cheeseball R.O.T.O.R. on the movie streaming service I use, I knew it was going to be a painful one to watch…but something deep inside me overrode that survival instinct, and urged me to click PLAY, sitting at rapt attention and taking in every minute until the end credits rolled, and not soon enough. And boy, what a painful experience that was.

What we have with R.O.T.O.R. (and I have grown to despise having to type out that acronym) is a low-budget mashup of concepts lifted from The Terminator, Robocop, and possibly the Judge Dredd comics. Scientists are developing a kind of robot cop to make law enforcement more effective, their corrupt corporate boss pushes them to release the prototype in a month instead of allowing the several years to develop it properly because of politics, and of course the robotic cop malfunctions right out of the box and begins ganking prole for the most minor of infractions. And when the disposed scientist who was warning everyone of the fallacy of letting this thing loose too early in the first place teams up with his body-building ladyfriend to take the rogue cyborg cop down, things get wacky.

Did I mention that the cyborg cop sports a porn ‘stash and looks like a Village People cosplayer? It’s hard to strike fear and terror when you expect the thing to break into a rendition of “Y.M.C.A.” at any given moment. Although, that would have improved the movie greatly if it did.

It boggles my mind how a derivative piece of garbage like R.O.T.O.R. made it to production, let alone get released to the general public. What’s worse is that, this is the kind of bad movie that you can’t seem to stop watching, just out of morbid curiosity as to just how bad it really can get. And when the end credits roll, you have no other choice but foist this pain onto your loved ones just so someone else can share what you just went through. Proceed with extreme caution.

Movie Review: The LAST LOVECRAFT

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last lovecraft, theOutlaw Films
2009
NR

Jeff, a down on his luck office worker, finds out he is the last living relative of horror novelist H. P. Lovecraft. What he doesn’t know is that Lovecraft’s monsters are real and will soon threaten the very existence of mankind. Jeff and his best friend Charlie are forced to embark on a perilous adventure and they enlist the help of high school acquaintance Paul, a self-proclaimed Lovecraft specialist. Together the three unlikely heroes must protect an alien relic and prevent the release of an ancient evil known as Cthulhu.

I first came across The Last Lovecraft, subtitle Relic Of Cthulhu, on Netflix back in 2011. I recall watching about half before falling asleep. That had more to do with my level of exhaustion at the time than any kind of boredom with watching the movie. I didn’t wake up until the end credits were almost finished, and I didn’t really feel like going through the movie again. It was a few years after the fact that I got around to a rewatch. this time I managed ot stay awake for the entire run.

So, what we have with The Last Lovecraft is something of a dark comedy horror fantasy that has its black ichor-d heart in the right place, but kind of struggles the dismount. Being a fan of H. P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos, I wanted to really like this movie. It does have some interesting ideas going, and the main human characters are affable enough. But, where they really go wrong is the depiction of Starspawn and the Deep Ones themselves. They’re kinda goofy. But, then again that may have been due to budgetary restraints. Still, to see a general of Cthulhu wearing a hoodie and affecting a thug stance is…well, it doesn’t lend itself to awe and terror, really. The story is your standard Adventurer’s Journey that we’ve been through before, nothing too innovative with that.

Again, I really wanted to like The Last Lovecraft. I really did. But, even though I didn’t unlike the movie, it ended up being more “meh” than I hoped it would be. I’ll admit that it at least doesn’t try to insult anyone’s intelligence by trying to be something else. It’s worth a look, at least.

Movie Review: ATTACK OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE

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attack of the puppet peopleAmerican International Pictures
1958
NR

Mr. Franz is a kindly, old, silver-haired doll-maker…who turns people into living puppets! He forces his human inventions to put on parties and sing to him, but one day, tired of being toyed with, the puppets launch an attack, and suddenly Mr. Franz finds he’d better stop playing–and start praying–because these miniature moppets are hell-bent on revenge!

Okay, so, I wonder who wrote that back cover blurb on the DVD this movie is on. Did they even watch the movie when they were tasked to write out the description for use to draw people into watching this “amazing triumph of special effects” (also on the back cover blurb, but that part was superfluous to the review, here0, accuracy be darned to heck? I envy not their task; I doubt that any kind of hyperbole would have been sufficient to cover the fact that this is a movie that features no actual attacks from the titular puppet people. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, here.

Attack Of The Puppet People was a movie that was made by one of the more prominent names in B-Movie horror and sci-fi back in the 50s and 60s: Bert Gordon. He’s tied to the likes of The Amazing Colossal Man, The Beginning Of The End, and another movie I need to get around to reviewing, Village Of The Giants. Yeah, he seems to have a thing for big/small type special effects-laden movies.

Anyway, Attack Of The Puppet People involves the classic story of lonely widower doll maker who plies his trade by, shall we say, unconventional ways. By that, I mean he has a shrink ray, and he turns people and their various accessories fun-sized. it’s the same kind of technology Willy Wonka pioneered in making his T. V. Chocolate bars. As you may have guessed, he has a rather high turnover rate in secretaries for his business, because he has this habit of shrinking them for his collection. His best friend runs a marionette puppet theater, and he at the last part of the movie lends his living doll people for him to use in one of the shows, so that’s probably where the title of the movie comes from. Meantime, he enjoys making his living doll collection throw little parties and sing for him…songs about dolls, of course.

Here’s the thing, though. The movie doesn’t live up to the promise of the title, let alone that boisterous descriptive that was slapped on the back of the DVD release, there. I’m going to spoil this for you, here: There is no attack. The big climax is actually the tiny people distract him long enough to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow or whatever on the shrink ray to get back to actual size…and then they just leave while the old man begs them not to go and leave him all alone. The end.

No, I don’t think I was expecting too much from the movie. The title is Attack Of The Puppet People. I don’t care if they were technically doll-sized people; there was no attack. No sir, I hadn’t this kind of disappointed in false promises since I went to a “Rock Marathon” at the local mall as a kid, only to discover it was a bunch of college students rocking in rocking chairs as a fund raiser. There was carnage that day, let me tell you. I won’t be watching Attack Of The Puppet People again any time soon.

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