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Sex and the Shitty

doomasylumDOOM ASYLUM

1.5 Stars  1987/79m

“It’ll send shivers up your funny bone!”

Director: Richard Friedman / Writers: Richard Friedman, Steve Menkin & Rick Marx / Cast: Patty Mullen, Ruth Collins, Kristin Davis, William Hay, Michael Rogen, Harrison White, Kenny L. Price, Dawn Alvan, Farin.

Body Count: 11

Dire-logue: “Come on Kiki, it’ll be alright…at least I think it’ll be alright.”

A long standing member on my to-see list, my buddy Ross of the fab Anchorwoman in Peril cheerily sent me his copy, I suspect dancing and cackling all the way to the post box as he finally got rid of it!

Anyway, Doom Asylum is infamous now as being the requisite resume shame for Kristin Davis, who played Charlotte York in Sex and the City – and still does so in the spin-off movies. Davis plays Jane, the big-specced know-it-all friend of Kiki, whose mom Judy died in a car accident a decade earlier that also killed Judy’s hotshot lawyer boyfriend Mitch, who then un-died on the pathology table, albeit a little too late to have prevented his face being partially cut off and killed the doctors doing the post-mortem.

Kiki and her friends – Jane, dorky Dennis, loverman Darnell and her indecisive boyfriend Mike – take a road trip out to the scene of the accident and then the institutey-hospital whatever-it-was. Why they go there is never really explained but when the titles looked like this, all hope of credibility, explanation or valuable intellectual subtext went out the window:

dooma1So far, so Slaughter High. Well, visually anyway. The kids decide to lie around in the sun outside, Kiki starts calling Mike Mom and one by one they venture into the building, which is the rehearsal space for volatile all-girl rockband Tina and the Tots. However, hurled insults between rival groups are the least of their worries when the wisecracking Mitch begins stalking and killing them one by one by one by one etc…

dooma4dooma3Doom Asylum is undeniably shite. It really is crap, further fuelling my theory that 1987 was the recipient of some kind of horror curse that rendered all slasher films made that year crud. Not so, you ponder? Watch Berserker, watch Terror at Tenkiller and Blood Lake – go on, watch them and report back!

There is some mercy in Doom Asylum‘s awareness of its ornate crapness: the killer’s comments are rubbish but Mike’s indecisive nature raises a couple of minor chuckles: “You’re in a lot of trouble, Torpedo Tits. I’m gonna get you for this. Well…maybe not me, but the cops will!” Then there’s Kristin Davis, who acts acceptably given the ‘demands’ of her role and the vile blue leotard she spends most of the movie in… She meets a gruesome death towards the end of proceedings if you’re keen to fast forward to that moment.


Dear Lord, that’s horrendous. If she even remembers making this film, let alone owns a copy of it, I’d be staggered.

Blurbs-of-interest: director Friedman also helmed the much better Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge as well as some episodes of Friday the 13th the TV series.

“Sometimes we’ve got to cut ourselves just to make sure we still bleed.”


3 Stars  2008/98m

“Life imitating art, art imitating death.”

Director/Writer: Franklin Guerrero Jr. / Cast: Neil Kubath, Matt Carmody, Ursula Taherian, Jonathan Rockett, Kristyn Green, David G. Holland, Erik Fones, Luke Vitale, Natasha Malinsky.

Body Count: 13

Isn’t it funny how psychos have such unique names. This is questioned in Dark Ride, indeed why is it always Jeremiah, Elias, or Isaac? And if your surname happens to be Slaughter, Gore, Knifey, Cutty, or Carver then it appears you can skip that career aptitude normalizing test (Ms Hoover: “…or cant.”)

“Yay,” it’s another Hostelian torture porn flick with shades of the Texas Chainsaw remakes, which would have you believe that it’s based on true events, this time concerning a quartet of twenty-somethings who swanned off camping, never to return…

Brothers Pete and Bryan and trying for some before-college bonding and meet up with their fun lovin’ criminals friends Zack and Rachel for the trip, where they soon run into Kate, another camper whose friend has gone AWOL (actually decapitated at the beginning).

The kids befriend the part-disabled bar owner, Billy Hall Carver, and accept free drinks and fifty bucks in return for clearing out some junk from his barn, where anti-wilderness Bryan turns up some old film reels that feature what look to be amateur slasher flicks…with very realistic effects work. The rest of the gang take no heed of his paranoia and enjoy a night of drunken partying, during which Zack meets a very icky fate at the hands of Billy’s obese brother Bobby, who first drags the boy off the can and handcuffs him to the wall, then rips the shit-covered fitting from the wall and empties its contents over the boy before taking a wrench to his genitals and squeezing until his balls burst – like, literally at the camera! I expect all male viewers crossed their legs at this point.

Meanwhile, Pete convinces his brother to return a stolen reel of the maybe-snuff-movie to the barn, where they are soon boxed in by Bobby, who is hauling a corpse back for further dismemberment and soon turns his attention to offing them one by one as they struggle in vain to find a means of escape, which leads to a painful arm-under-a-heavy-door scene, which, in addition to your crossed legs, will have you folding your arms around yourself, Carver evidently being produced by Yoga enthusiasts.

Despite its grisly nature and lots of seen-it-all-befores, it is the assembly line elements that work in favour of the picture, rather than against it, wisely avoiding the usual dumb-character pitfalls (save for a couple of fatal misjudgements). Bobby likes to kill to the tune of a cheery country song about a turkey in the straw (“hee-hee-haw”), which provides a surreal audio backdrop to the scenes of horror.

Nominating a final boy is also something a bit different to the usual fare, although his actions towards the end raise questions, with a not-so-twisted twist pulled out of the bag as if we hadn’t seen it chugging down the roads towards us ages ago… Even so, there’s some enjoyment here, thanks in main to characters who haven’t got ‘obnoxious moron’ stamped on their foreheads and nice interplay between the actors.


ice-cream-man2 Stars  1995/18/84m

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for the Ice Cream Man.”

Director: Norman Apstein / Writers: David Dobkin & Sven Davison / Cast: Clint Howard, Justin Isfield, Anndi McAfee, JoJo Adams, Mikey LeBeau, Olivia Hussey, Lee Majors II, Jan-Michael Vincent, David Warner, Karl Makinen.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “You little turds are gonna learn you can’t run from the ice cream man!”

There’s an IMDb review of Ice Cream Man titled ‘I Scream, You Scream, We All Screamed when we saw Clint Howard’s face.’ Quite appropriate.

Ron’s bro is the titular tormentor, Gregory Tudor, in this strange B-flick, in which he thinks nothing of grinding up the locals – mostly parents of the kids who accurately suspect that he’s the one behind a spate of disappearances.

A quartet of plucky kids decides to investigate for themselves when one of their gang vanishes (secretly a willing captive in Gregory’s aged ice cream parlour). Meanwhile, cops Lee Majors II (!) and Jan-Michael Vincent (!!) look into Greg’s past at the Wishing Well Sanatorium and try to pin something on him. Hussey plays a kooky ex-nurse who has a garden of plastic daisies. And there’s a fat kid named ‘Tuna’.

Similarities between this and 1991’s C-flick Mr Ice Cream Man are obvious to anyone who’s seen both, though the budget and crew competence here run circles around the other film. There are also rumours that the crew of the older film sued those of the latter, which was reportedly part-financed by Converse Footwear, hence the numerous shots of trainers/sneakers throughout.

The comic trimmings don’t always work; there’s a completely extraneous and prolonged scene in the mental institution that doesn’t seem to add anything relevant to proceedings and was probably inserted to pump up the running time. Disappointingly, our fiend doesn’t murder any kids at all, settling for cops, a neighbour’s dog, and a couple of unfaithful parents instead. The idea of a murderous ice cream man could be scary if he was offing the little darlings on the block – it was freakin’ scary in serial killer flick When the Bough Breaks. Ergo, it wouldn’t be hard to make a truly scary film of this ilk, but after two botched attempts to get the scoop into the cone, I doubt anyone who try balancing a third on top…

Blurbs-of-interest: Howard had a small role as a luckless patient in The Dentist 2; Hussey was, of course, the lead in Black Christmas and also played Norman’s ma in Psycho IV: The Beginning.

Valley of the Cheapjack Franchises: SCARECROW

Call me good, call me bad, call me anything you want baby… Today, lazy will do. Yes, it’s three reviews in one hit. Why? Well, is there any point in really going into detail over a trio of films with about as many distinguishing features as Tom Sizemore’s career prospectus? Avoid thy Blockbuster bottom shelf no more – it’s the Scarecrow “trilogy”…



2.5 Stars  2003/18/87m

“You’ve never been stalked like this…”

Director: Emmanuel Itier / Writers: Jason White, Emmanuel Itier & Bill Cunningham / Cast: Tim Young, Tiffany Shepis, Aristide Sumatra, Todd Rex, Jen Richey, John Moore, Jason Simon, Roxanna Bina, Mark Irvingsen, Belinda Gavin, Sonja Ecker.

Body Count: 17

Dire-logue: “This town…this place…evil lurks here.”

Lonely teenage dork Lester is to his school what a Rubik’s Cube is to a cow: useless. Possibly because he looks 35, he is tormented by the popular kids until be makes a friend in Sheriff’s daughter Judy, played by Pink-lite Shepis. But when Lester sees her kissing one of his bullies, he storms home and picks a fight with his mom’s trailer-trash boyfriend, who ends up strangling Lester in a nearby cornfield, beneath its scarecrow centrepiece and setting it up to look like a suicide.

A short time later, a back-flipping, wise-cracking scarecrow, now possessed by Lester’s vengeful spirit, returns to town to get his own back. Most of the murders are sloppy sickle deaths but there’s also a spade in the neck and death-by-frying-pan. Curiously, there’s only one female victim, Lester’s nasty teacher who gets a board-pointer in the head, odd considering the abundance of female characters.

The Troma-rooted production department do their best to make this outing look good and for the most part they manage to paper over the budget cracks efficiently enough, but poor acting and odious retorts from the rather piss-poor looking foe turn it all into a damp squib. All the same, it’s a cheap night out kinda deal (considering it was shot in 8 days!), which gives thanks to Dario Argento and several famous horror icons in the credits! Bless.



2003/18/87m 1 Stars

“He cuts to the chase.”

Director: David Michael Latt / Writers: Bill Cunningham, David Michael Latt & Joel Newman / Cast: Tony Todd, Nicole Kingston, David Castro, Steven Schultz, Scott Carson, Todd Rex, Jessica Mattson, Elizabeth Perry, Steven Glinn, Scott Stepp.

Body Count: 17

Dire-logue: “You know, you have a real small penis for a guy who’s a real big dick!”

Scarecrow uno may have been cheap but it looks like a billion dollar project compared to its skid row follow-up, with which was shot back to back. Tony Todd – appearing purely for the paycheque, I must assume – is a nutty farmer who saw his daddy impaled on a pitchfork by a scarecrow when he was a sprog and has since guarded his own ‘crow with a frenzied grin on his face.

When two frat pledges show up with the intention of stealing it, he accidentally shoots one of them dead. Dead dude’s soul is sucked into the scarecrow and he spends the rest of the film following around his Jennifer Love Hewitt-after-bad-reconstructive-surgery girlfriend, killing randoms for no identifiable rhyme or reason. Maybe when you become a scarecrow that looks as convincing as a nine-year-old’s homemade Halloween costume the trauma is just too much to take?

Dorky Lester had motive but the scarecrow here, mercifully devoid of one-liners, has no reason to do anything it does. The other frat boy, Karl, who’s a little bit special in an eerie way, spends most of the time trying to persuade people to go back to the field and fails to react credibly to almost everything that occurs. Karl sacrifices himself and somehow becomes another scarecrow and the film ends with the two of them duking it out like two kids making a home movie tribute for their WWF fandom.

CGI gore-jobs, horrible acting and some of the most stupid characters on celluloid digital ass-rape any enjoyment out of this one, although Jessica Mattson supplies a couple of light chuckles as the ditsy girlfriend of a frat brother. But that’s it.



2.5 Stars  2004/15/88m

“He’s the death of the party!”

Director/Writer: Brian Katkin / Cast: Matthew Linhardt, Samantha Aisling, Caleb Roehrig, David Zelina, Ken Shamrock, Kristina Sheldon, Tara Platt, Jeff Rector, Lisa Robert, Travis Parker, Lindsay Douglas, Sean Flynn, Eric Forte, Steve Worley.

Body Count: 15

Dire-logue: “If I hear the words “let’s split up,” I will bitch-slap the both of you.”

The ropey plastic scarecrow returns for its third and final outing and manages to improve on the horrendous effort that was Scarecrow Slayer: a college football team initiate four new players by carting them out to a cornfield…blah blah blah…mythical killer scarecrow…blah blah…one of them lashes out…blah blah blah…slips into diabetic coma…blah…becomes the scarecrow…blah blah…

The rest of the team and their bimbo girlfriends head off to the beach for Spring Break where carnage of a pavlovian extent unfolds as the scarecrow turns up (yes… it’s a scarecrow on the beach) and sickles them all. The duo of good kids figure out that they need to bring their friend out of his coma to stop all the killin’ but for everyone else it’s just too damn late.

Like the first two films and many other cheapo efforts, the script is hampered by annoying melodramatic altercations between the testosterone-fuelled cast members (“who are you calling bitch, bitch?”) but thankfully they all die. The scarecrow even runs one of them over in a truck! The overlong finale tries to add some tension and fortunately the happily-ever-after ending is skewered in a barrage of gory violence a few (screen) weeks after the massacre (which everyone else has forgotten about).

No more Scarecrow films have turned up yet, but when you’ve sent the damn thing to a beach and had it drive a fucking pickup truck, what can you do next? Scarecrow on the Moon? Scarecrow at the Louvre? For a good scarecrow slasher film, seek out Night of the Scarecrow (not to be confused with Dark Night of the Scarecrow) or if you want something even worse than Scarecrow Slayer, try Dark Harvest.

Blurbs-of-interest: Tim Young was in Camp Blood; Belinda Gavin was in Final Examination; Mark Irvingsen was in When a Killer Calls; low-end horror queen Tiffany Shepis has also been in Bloody Murder 2: Closing Camp, Dead Scared, Home SickVictor Crowley, and had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role in Detour. Tara Platt was in Back Slash. Tony Todd was also in Hatchet, it’s sequel, and three Final Destination films and also iMurdersJack the Reaper, Candy Corn and Hell Fest; Brian Katkin also directed Slaughter Studios.

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