Thursday, February 27, 2014

Manos - The Hands of Faith (1966)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Manos - The Hands of Faith (1966)

If I had cent every time I heard "It is bad, but it is not Manos", I would have almost ten cents. Movie is not well known to general public, but for bad movie reviewers, it is benchmark of a bad movie. I wanted to check it for some time. It is easy, since it is public domain film and you can find it from Youtube. I have always forgotten it, when I have had time to watch movies. Then someone mentions it again and I remember, that I should check it. Now I have Bad Movie February and someone happened to mention it, when I was planning, what movies I should do.

I don't want to go too hard on this movie. It is amateur work. First and last movie of its director Harold P. Warren. It was obscure film until Mystery Science Theater 3000 had it on one episode. It is still obscure film, but now it has become benchmark bad movie. For general public Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space it worst movie ever. They haven't seen this. There are many movies between Plan 9 and this one. I wouldn't say this is the worst movie. This just has that reputation. Yes, it is really bad. But I think there can be worse movies. We just haven't seen them.

What makes Manos so bad? It has bad acting, bad dialog and bad editing. It never goes over the top crazy. It stays serious. It doesn't become so bad it is good. It is just does bad choices. There is a scene, where caretaker attacks father from behind. We see father walking for second before caretaker attacks. I had to watch that scene again to see what actually happened. Movie is full of that kind of cuts. Then it stays in some shots long after we have understood, what it tries to tell long time ago. Characters doesn't seem to understand what others say. I don't think it is because movie's deeper message is, you should listen what others say or you will get hurt. It is because bad writing.

Movie is story of Mother, Father and daughter getting lost. They go to house, where Master worships Manos. Caretaker tries to send them away, but father insist, they stay there over night. During night Master and his wifes wake up. This is horror movie, you can guess, what happens next. Movie is only little over hour, but feels much longer. Everything happens so slowly. There is nothing interesting. You could almost say, watching pain dry is more interesting. Supporting cast includes two polices and two teens making out. We see them doing same scene twice. Addition to that teens do make out scene without police twice. Polices and teen doesn't bring anything more than few minutes to length of movie.

Obviously this movie has to have something, which lifts it from the mass. It is Tom Neyman's costume and performance as Master. This is his only movie, which is shame, because he was such great as crazy cult leader. Great as bad movie standards go. His performance was only so-bad-it-is-good thing in this movie.

Should you watch this movie? I think you should watch it, if you like bad movies or want to see benchmark of bad movies. It is not as painfully bad as some say and it is not the worst movie ever.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ghost Storm (2011)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Ghost Storm (2011).

Third Syfy original in Bad Horror February. Only three out of eight were from Syfy. This is only real horror movie out of those three. Or at least most like real horror movie. Many ways this is like all the other disaster Syfy originals. But this has supernatural disaster instead of more natural like Sharknado. This is not as over the top as other Syfy originals. It shows lack of horror experience by changing the rule during the movie.

There is ghost smoke that kills people. First it has to touch you to kill you. Later it can kill you using electric devices and sockets. Even mobile phones. It started to use those, when people locked themselves out of smokes reach. When it couldn't use electric sockets, it could used pipelines and turned into blood, which opened cracks under taped doors. People were in church. They were safe there, until it was time for panic. Then smoke killed people without any problems. Seconds before it couldn't do anything to them. Nobody opened doors. Nothing changed in way, that would have allowed smoke to kill people. Only rules changed. Movie needed panic, so it changed the rules.

Another thing making this movie confusing, is over use of twists. Just when you think, you figured it out, there is a twist. To be honest, some of twists were actually good ones. Like smoke killing the priest didn't change anything. Hero expected that and we should have trust hero, because hero is always right. Somehow it felt like hero could be wrong this time. That would have been good twist too. Build for that scene was great. You couldn't be sure what will happen. I mean that in good way. Many times you couldn't know what will happen because movie didn't follow its own rules. But that scene and build up was good one.

It was interesting choice to kill almost every character except hero and his family. I had to think, did anyone else survive. There were few extras, who survived at church. But everyone, who did any acting and wasn't part of family got killed. Some disaster Syfy originals are quite deadly to characters, but I don't remember any of them to be this deadly. This happened in island. It felt like whole island died.

Ghost Storm refers to ghosts of dead cult, the ghost smoke. Ghosts got free, when lightning stroke to their memorial breaking it.  First they killed people when no-one watched. After few kills, they started to kill everyone they reached. Mystery of the movie is, how cult members actually died. There were points, where we were led to believe, the cult could be innocent and only wants to correct wrong doings against them. Or it was just me who thought that, because usually haunting ghosts are like that and they leave, when they have had their revenge. How ghost were destroyed was so stupid, I don't want to remember anything about it. There was one innocent soul among ghosts and it resonated on different frequency than other souls. Heroes sent weather balloon into ghost storm and enhanced innocent souls frequency. That killed supernatural ghost storm.

Movie wasn't as bad as I expected. It had good moments and the mystery was interesting. It felt like this was ment to be serious movie unlike some other Syfy originals. Biggest problem was changing the rules during the movie and second biggest was too many twists. With few changes this could have been good movie. If ghosts wanted the priest and left after they got him, I would have liked this movie. There were problems before that, but biggest problems were after that.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Alone in the Dark (2005)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Alone in the Dark (2005).

I am not sure, if I have seen this before. It feels like, my brains want to forget, this movie exists. I didn't remember what will happen next, but ending felt like I have seen this movie before. Couple other scenes felt like that too. There is not much to remember. There is little point to remember what happened earlier in movie during the movie. It may even be better, if you don't remember earlier scenes, because phasing of the scenes is terrible. You get slow romantic scene followed by urban warfare in same apartment. Later you get largest battle of the movie followed by quiet suspenseful scenes. No building into any of this. You just wonder, what happened to battle, because you don't see solders losing the battle. Last time it looked like they were holding their ground.

You can't expect characters to act constantly. Early in the movie Professor Hudges seems to be scared of Xenos. Later in movie, there is a scene, where he seems to control Xenos. He injected Xeno's blood in one scene, but why he didn't do that before earlier scene, because he seemed to have one Xeno prisoned and he didn't get that during the movie. Maybe there were many things happening out side the screen, which makes the movie make sense, but we just didn't see them.

10 000 year ago Abkani civilization found door to dark world. They locked the door and hide the key around the world. What they found managed to kill them. 20 years ago, 20 orphan kids were infested with dark world creatures by professor Hudges. Present day, one of these kids, Edward Carnby, is looking for Abkani artifacts. All pieces of the key are found, but they are in hands of different people. Professor Hudges want to have the key to open the door to dark world. Bald guy attacks Carnby. Bald guy can't be killed with bullets. He dies, when he is impaled with sharp tool. Bald guy was infested with dark creature, which gave him extraordinary powers. Later these people are easily shot, because they have special bullets and lights, that hurt dark creatures. Except that those lights didn't have any effect. But better, if you don't remember too much what movie tells you.

Should I go deeper into Carnby's ex-girlfriend, who haven't seen Carnby for six year and who thinks he is dead, but she still has key to Carnby's apartment? I guess I shouldn't, because Uwe Boll cut virtually all of her scenes from director's cut. She was female lead of this movie. I haven't seen director's cut, so I can't tell, if that made movie any better or worse. Out of curiosity I would like to see what that would looks like.

Movie continues as supernatural thriller until Carnby and ex-girlfriend have sex. Right after that it turns into special force solder fighting a war against Xenos and their infected humans. Fighting scenes are terrible. They are just solders firing their guns in darkness. You have no idea, what is actually happening. Just people posing with guns and shooting. I wonder, where all these solder come from. They act so stupidly, it is miracle they have survived this long. Or this is their first real mission and they get killed in it, because they are so bad. Highest officer knows, how bad they are. He goes first into cave, where they expect to find enemies. His is followed by two civilians. I know these are main characters, but you should try to make special forces look more professional.

Our heroes find door to dark world inside cave. They explode it to shut it. When they get back on the ground, it is day and city, where they are, is evacuated. All fighting and destroying the door happened during night time. When they climbed to ground it was day. Do I need to mention, that movie didn't hint anything about evacuation? We just learned that all special force solders were killed. Before fighting scenes movie hinted only one Xeno on the loose. During fighting there are dozens of them. Where did they came from? The door had been closed for 10 000 year. Where Professor Hudges got his Xeno? Am I asking too much?

Movie is really bad, but it is not Manos. It is what you could expect from Uwe Boll. Again, I can't pinpoint any one thing, which makes the movie so bad. Now actors tried more than in BloodRayne. It feels like everyone tried, but the movie is really bad. Makes you wonder, who gives Uwe Boll money to make these movies. Do these movies really return the money put into them? I have heard the story about German tax exemptions, but I am not sure if should I believe it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

BloodRayne (2005)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie BloodRayne (2005).

I am using term horror movie loosely this month. BloodRayne is more fantasy movie than horror movie. But it has vampires and I wanted to do it here. So this month it is horror movie. This my first Uwe Boll post. Uwe Boll is infamous for making bad movies. I tried to figure out, what makes this bad movie. I can't pinpoint anything. It is just bad.

Movie has interesting cast. There are Michael Madsen, Udo Kier, Meat Loaf, Michelle Rodriguez, Billy Zane, Ben Kingsley and Kristanna Loken, who all have been in much better movies. I liked Terminator 3 (2003), thanks for asking. Some of these actors are there just for paycheck, without putting too much effort into acting. Either that or Michael Madsen put Oscar worthy performance of a man, who really doesn't care about anything. Even in fighting scenes others save him, because he doesn't care to react to enemies.

Kristanna Loken tries, but it is not enough. She is only one, who really tries in this movie. Others put their average or as little as possible performance. I am not sure, if it is director or script, but movie never starts to work or have interesting moments. Maybe actors knew, what they were doing and adjusted their performance according that. Kristanna Loken had leading role. She did her best to show, what she could do. It is shame, that rest of the movie didn't help her.

Evil vampire Kagan controls the land. Brimstone society fights against him. BloodRayne is dhamphir, child of human and vampire. Kagan is her father. She is half vampire and half human. It is not told, how she is any different from vampire. Only difference seem to be, she fights for humans. It wasn't shown, that blood would heal vampires like it heals BloodRayne. That could be another difference. Circus has captured BloodRayne. She is presented to audience as freak. One night BloodRayne tastes human blood. She goes crazy and start to kill circus members. Even her friend. She was so crazy, she didn't recognize her before it was too late. Escape scene was cut out of sequence and pretty badly. It was only part that was so bad, it jumped in your face. Rest of the movie wasn't as bad.

There are bad moment after that too. Dialog doesn't always make sense. Actors change their mood in a second without any reason. Same happens with Sebastian in final fight. He got injured. First he is like nothing happened. Second later he falls down dying. Few moments later he is ok again. After helping BloodRayne to kill villain, he continues his dying. BloodRayne is only one showing any emotion. She stops doing that after her friends are killed in the end. Michelle Rodriguez is always angry, but that seems to be her normal state when camera is rolling on any movie. Michael Madsen's death scene is one of the best ever. Enemy holds him still. Ben Kingley just holds his sword, casually walks to Michael Madsen and let his sword penetrate Michael Madsen's chest. Neither actor put any effort to scene. That was villain killing the male lead.

This movie is based on video game. I have no idea, how faithful this is to video game. This story could have made interesting movie. BloodRayne is interesting character. Dialog rewritten and with better director, this had been better. Movie had good actors, who could have done better job, if given better material and director to work with. Strangest thing is, that this movie has two sequels BloodRayne II: Deliverance (2007) and BloodRayne: The Third Reich (2011). Both directed by Uwe Boll. Kristanna Loken is replaced by different actress in those movies.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Silent Hill: Revelation (2012).

Let's  start with major spoiler. Sean Bean doesn't die in this movie. For real I mean. He dies in dream, but his character is alive at the end. I guess, they did dream killing, because of the meme. Or he really has dying clause in his contracts. Other better known actors in this movie are Carrie-Anne Moss and Malcolm McDowell. What has happened to them? Carrie-Anne Moss has come long way from her Matrix fame. She was also leading female in Memento and Red Planet during that time. Now she has a supporting role in Silent Hill movie. Malcolm McDowell has come long way since Clockwork Orange. And Sean Bean from Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I guess paycheck is paycheck and you shouldn't blame actors for doing their job. Not everyone can choose only good movies.

I am not sure, if I have told, I like original score albums. Some of most interesting music today can be found from original score albums. Music and sound design are best parts of this movie. Some scores are good even without the movie and work also in movie. This movie aims so nightmarish mood, that you do not want to listen original score by itself. In movie it gives you the right mood, that movie is aiming for. It gives you that mood even without the movie. Movie shouldn't have been so over the top with nightmarish imagery, music and sound design would have given you that feeling. I thing it would have been much more effective that way. Now, there was too much of nightmarish imagery. It started to lose its effectiveness after a while.

I haven't played any Silent Hill games and I am not familiar with the story. Movie felt like I should have know the monsters, to really know what is going on. Sometimes it felt like director wanted to add as much monsters from the games as possible. Main character just run from one nightmare to another. And then the nightmare ended and they were able to leave the place. It was like nightmare, then explanation scene and then back to nightmare. I don't even try to open the story, because I am not sure what actually happened. First movie explained things better. I probably should have remembered, what happened in that movie to know what happened in this movie. But to be honest, that wasn't very memorable movie. Neither is this one.

I think you have guessed this months theme. I will make it theme, if I find enough suitable movies. I can't think any reasons, why to watch this movie. Unless you have movie blog and want to write about bad horror movies. Yes, Sharknado is horror movie this month. Good moments are few and far between in this movie. Actually there is only one, when our heroine introduces herself in her new school. It is downhill from that moment on.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Darkest Hour (2011)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie The Darkest Hour (2011).

I expected this to be really bad. Then I saw the potential and wanted to like it. In the end, it was just less than average scifi end of the world movie. So, what was the problem? The script, like in most big budget movies, that doesn't work. Movie had interesting aliens. It was set to Moscow. Main characters were so one-dimensional, you didn't care what happened to them. First you expected all of them to survive. When they started to die, only thing you felt was surprise, that one of them died.

Movie start with two american nerds coming to Moscow to promote their new social network service. They soon find, their swedish partner has screwed them and taken their social network from them. After that they go to bar, where they find two american girls. Swedish partner is also there. Lights go out. Everyone goes out to see what happened. They see northern lights and some lights coming down from sky. Everyone wonders what happened, until one of the lights kill police officer. Panic breaks as invisible aliens start to kill everyone. American nerds, american girls and swedish partner escape to cellar, where they stay for several days.

Movie doesn't use fact, that swedish partner screwed nerds anyway. Nerds and swedish partner are like strangers thrown together by end of the world. Why creating the social network angle, if it is not used? Everyone could have been tourists and it wouldn't have changed nothing. All survivors take end of the world quite casually. Some of them freak out at times, but most of the time, they are like they are on adventure vacation. Best zombie movies are never about zombies. They are about people reacting civilization falling around them. This movie is about aliens. That is this movie's problem.

Aliens have technology, that makes them invisible. Their electric charge is only thing telling, where they are. These would be perfect aliens for horror game. They work in this movie too, but in good video game, they would be really effective. We learn, aliens are electric and they came to earth to mine metals. They attacked major cities, because cities have most metals. Faraday cages make you invisible for aliens. Only problem, I have with aliens, is their appearance, when they are visible. Other than that, they do their role in this movie.

There is one almost interesting character in this movie. He is russian scientist, who invents weapon capable disturbing aliens armor, making them visible and vulnerable. One of the american girls get him killed before he becomes interesting. Thank you very much. There was one almost interesting character and he gets killed almost as soon as we meet him. American girl gets killed right after that, so we are not reminded of that incident later. Damn, you had guy, who saved people and made safe haven and you freak out and get him killed. He was only character I cared. Everyone else lacked personality.

Movie looks good. Plot is interesting, but one-dimensional characters destroy the movie. Movie lacks impactful kills. Characters survived, when their death would have made impact and died, when it didn't make impact. That russian scientist was different case, because we shouldn't have cared about him. His death made biggest impact. Ending left sequel open. I don't know, how they continue this story in sequel, if they ever made one. This was about young americans escaping from Moscow. Only way to make it work, would be different characters and different city. Writers should understand, movie is zombie movie, where zombies are replaced by aliens. Movie could advance humans fight against aliens. Then in third movie humans could win. You could make trilogy out of this. I fear that sequel will have same characters, but more like action heroes. In this they were lost americans helped by resourceful russians.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cleopatra 2525 briefly

I mentioned Cleopatra 2525 in my Mongolian Death Worm post. I felt like I should tell more about the show. I might do proper post about it in future.

It was produced by Sam Raimi. Many ways it was scifi version of Xena. On first season, it had half hour episodes and it was aired with other half hour show. Other show got cancelled after first season. On second season Cleopatra 2525 became one hour show. After that season it was cancelled. I have only seen first season. I have tried to get second season from time to time, but seems, it hasn't been released on dvd. I don't know, how show worked as one hour show. Half hour episodes felt like perfect length for the show. Main cast included Victoria Pratt, Jennifer Sky and Gina Torres. Gina Torres has been many of my favourite tv shows, including Firefly and Angel.

Show's events happened in year 2525. Humans have lost war against robots called Baileys. Baileys rule the earth and humans live under ground. Cleopatra is stripped from our time, who was frozen after failed operation. She is woken at year 2525. Two warrior women, Hel and Sarge, saved her from criminals. Cleopatra 2525 shows trio's adventures at underground world, where humans live.

Show has cult following. I recommend checking it, if you have change. It is action oriented, but it also has interesting themes.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mongolian Death Worm (2010)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Mongolian Death Worm (2010).

Things I do for this blog. I watched Sharknado and this same day. Sharknado was watchable. Victoria Pratt is only reason to watch this movie. Who is Victoria Pratt you may ask. She was Sarge in Cleopatra 2525 and  Shalimar Fox in Mutant X. Two interesting scifi shows, that were cancelled too early.

Mongolian death worm is cryptic from Gobi desert. It is their version of Loch Ness monster or Yeti. It is said, worms could kill humans from distance and they have electric powers. Electric powers are not mentioned in movie, but malfunctions of electronic devices may refer to that. No-one has ever seen one and there is no evidence they exist. Another legend in movie is the tomb of Genghis Khan. No-one actually knows where that is. Mongolian death worms protecting the tomb was this movie's invention. Someone thought to combine both, because Genghis Khan came from Mongolia and Mongolian death worms are from there. This is all about Mongolian death worms. Writes knew Genghis Khan was some rich dude from Mongolia and his tomb may be something characters could search.

This is Syfy original. It doesn't feel like that, because it doesn't try too hard. Everything else feels like Syfy original. Acting is bad. Plot is quite stupid and twists make little sense. Characters actions weren't consistent. They did what ever story required them to do at that point. Which was weird because some characters were build to be real characters, only to something, which made no sense from characters point of view. Distances weren't consistent either. Travelling from place a to b took the time story required it to take. There was police, who seemed to be everywhere. He couldn't be travelling between places that took over day to travel. But our heroes had to take break during night time, when they travelled between same places.

There is archeologist looking for tomb of Genghis Khan. Gangster is after him. Archeologist picks up two doctors to take them and medicines to nearby village. Near by oil plant has discovered tomb of Genghis Khan. Boss wants to steal the treasure. Gangster get archeologist and doctors. Mongolian death worms kill gangster and his gang. Death worms start to appear everywhere. Archeologist and female doctor goes to seek help from oil plant. They need to evacuate the village. At oil plant they realize, that oil plant has woken death worms from permafrost. You know, these same worms, that protected tomb of Genghis Khan, that wasn't in permafrost. Death worms were in permafrost and tomb they protected wasn't. And these worms lived in the tomb. Guy, who wrote this, was paid to write this movie. Think about that.

Boss kills people. Death worms kill people. Archeologist finds the treasure, but he has to explode the plant to kill death worms. Scene, where archeologist made decision to leave treasure, was strange. It felt like script had internal struggle in it, but actor and director didn't want to show that. Female doctor was about to convince archeologist to explode the plant. But archeologist made decision before she could do that. Maybe the actor couldn't express internal struggle and they left that out.

Victoria Pratt is only reason to watch this movie and you have to be her fan, if that is your reason. She is not that good, that she could save the movie. She is just better than everyone else. If you want to see her, better watch Cleopatra 2525 or Mutant X. They are much more entertaining.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sharknado (2013)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Sharknado (2013)

It is Syfy original and it is called Sharknado. That is all you have to know to know, what kind of movie this is. I heard about this movie be before it premiered in USA. It is a small phenomenon in bad movie circles. It is like ultimate Syfy original. This time, they didn't even try to be serious. You know that by the name. Some may argue names like Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus or Mega Piranha, tells you, you won't be getting serious movie. Those movies tried to be serious too. This didn't even try. It is rollercoaster ride from beginning to end.

I have done few Syfy movies before. I haven't liked them much, because they have been somewhere between serious and over the top stupid. This is just over the top stupid. And that works. Tornado full of shark is so over the top idea, you have to try really hard to mess it up. Like every other Syfy movie, this tries too much and adds too much content. It is full of bad acting and bad effects. Just what you expect from Syfy original and everything is turned to eleven. If you haven't seen any Syfy originals and want to know, what kind of movies they are, this is a perfect movie to watch.

Plot is quite simple. Tornado is hitting Los Angels. Before it hits Los Angeles, it lifts swarm of sharks into it. Divorced father tries to get to his ex-wife and kids. Tornado brings floats and there are sharks everywhere. If you don't pay too much attention, you don't see in how shallow water sharks swim and how they are still big enough to eat humans as whole. Float also acts strangely. High places may float and low places could be completely dry. And it doesn't matter how much there is water, sharks appear anyway. It is funny, how casually characters react, when sharks come to shore and later to inlands miles away from shore. I won't go into main story any further. It is just constant string of stupidity and cliches.

I want to go deeper to beginning. Idea of sharknado is just insane. But you still expect characters to be reasonable. Not in this movie. To be honest, characters in main story acted almost like reasonable persons. Almost. Characters in beginning didn't do that. Fishing boat is at sea hunting sharks. Inside boat asian businessman negotiates the price of sharks they will get during this fishing trip. Yes, they are negotiation price of sharks before they know how much shark they will get. Why would anyone do that? And why businessman is in fishing boat negotiating? Businessman offers 100 000 dollars. Captain wants one million dollars. Captain pulls his gun and forces businessman to agree with one million dollars. Why would anyone do that, if they want to do business with that person again? Or anyone else. As soon as they are on shore businessman could break the deal and refuse to pay.

Businessman give 100 000 dollars as front payment. Then sharknado hits the ship and sharks start to eat the crew. Businessman escapes the captain. To where? He is on small fishing boat. He tries to kill the captain and take the boat and the money. That is really good idea, because this is the first time he is at sea and he knows how to operate the boat. And everyone wants to do business with him after he has killed captain and taken his ship. Captain is faster and shark eats the businessman. Right after that captain is eaten too. Then we get to main story.

It is Syfy original and it is called Sharknado. It is what you would expect to be. Name made it cult movie and movie lives up to its name.