Tag Archives: who finances this crap!?

APPOINTMENT WITH FEAR

appt1 Stars  1986/15/91m

“Trapped in a world where death is not the end!”

Director: Ramzi Thomas (as Alan Smithee) / Writers: Ramzi Thomas & Bruce Meade / Cast: Michele Little, Michael Wyle, Kerry Remsen, Douglas Rowe, Garrick Dowhen, Debisue Voorhees, Pamela Bach, Vincent Barbour, Danny Dayton.

Body Count: 5


Abject weirdness and boredom collide in your common-or-garden mid-80’s cosmic-slasher flick featuring chick from random Friday the 13th sequel. That’s Appointment with Fear in a sentence.

A woman is fatally stabbed – after putting up as much of a fight as grass does against a lawnmower – and, before she dies, gives her baby son to autistic freakshow Heather, who paints a blue visor around her own eyes and pretends she’s in a jar. Yes, really. Heather and her friends have a party at a deluxe post-modern arty house in the middle of nowhere that is, of course, crashed by the killer.

The twist here is that said killer is actually in a coma at a state mental hospital and only his spirit roams free to kill because he has been possessed by an ancient Egyptian tree-god. Again: yes, really. Tree-god demands he kills his infant in order to gain another year as a god. This must be the only slasher film I’ve ever seen where the final girl (Little) uses one of those portable listening device satellite-thingies to evade the killer’s advances. She’s an annoying, slightly evil looking girl for a heroine. This factor, accompanied by crud production values, the director choosing to credit himself as Alan Smithee, and the enigma that is Heather and her invisible jar, make this an appointment to skip.

Blurbs-of-interest: Debisue Voorhees played Tina in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning and was also in Innocent Prey; it was produced by the late Moustapha Akkad who, of course, oversaw most of the Halloween franchise.

Chuck vs. Chucky

silentrageSILENT RAGE

1.5 Stars  1982/18/95m

“Science created him. Now Chuck Norris must destroy him.”

Director: Michael Miller / Writer: Joseph Fraley / Cast: Chuck Norris, Ron Silver, Stephen Keats, Toni Kalem, Stephen Furst, Brian Libby, William Finley.

Body Count: 10


Even with a body count that reaches double figures, this attempt to fuse martial arts with a slasher opus flatlines through boredom and is desperately predictable for its running length. A man wakes up in his rented room, calls his doctor and says he can’t take it anymore before donning an axe and chopping up his landlady and some other poor schmuck. After a scuffle, he’s subdued and shot dead – or is he?

No.

Meddling doctors feed him a formula they’ve been working on, which rapidly speeds up the regeneration of damaged cells blah, blah, blah. In short, dead guy goes Mighty Mouse and decides to go on a killing spree until the inevitable showdown with Chuck. Considering the film spends a spare reel on Chuck whipping some biker gang ass, it would’ve been nice for said bikers to have provided extra victims for the psycho, but they leave forgotten as soon as their bar brawl scene wraps.

Meanwhile, things shift from aping Halloween to a Halloween II deserted hospital killfest, which sees Kalem’s hysterical heroine chased along empty corridors for an eternity and Stephen Furst as a comic bumbling deputy who is heartlessly killed off in the only unexpected twist on offer. The final smackdown is good for laughs but the horror audience will feel short-changed by everything else, except maybe the cheese that oozes from the poster!

Blurbs-of-interest: Michael Miller also directed National Lampoon’s Class Reunion, which co-starred Furst, who was also in The Unseen. Ron Silver was later in The Wisher.

If you’re not bored by midnight…

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PROM NIGHT

2 Stars  2008/15/86m

“A night to die for.”

Director: Nelson McCormick / Writer: J.S. Cardone / Cast: Brittany Snow, Johnathon Schaech, Idris Elba, Scott Porter, Jessica Stroup, Dana Davis, Collins Pennie, Kelly Blatz, James Ransone, Brianne Davis.

Body Count: 14


After it was name-checked by loveable horror geek Randy in Scream, rumours of a Prom Night remake circulated for a while before the film finally materialised in 2008. However, the phrase “PG-13” had already reared its unwelcome head, a total no-no for any worthwhile slasher flick.

In spite of the name, this is hardly a remake at all and should have been called Prom Night V if not something totally different altogether. There’s more common ground with the hit and miss remake of When A Stranger Calls from 2006, in that both films are heavily geared towards an audience comprised of teenage girls who talk all the way through the film, punctuating screams with “oh my God, look at her dress!” and “she’s such a bitch, just like Stacey…you know Stacey? Oh wait, I’ve got a text!”

prom1Prom Night redux isn’t an entirely awful experience, more of a forgetable one. It’s a visit to a theme park that has no good rollercoasters or a zoo with only domestic animals. It’s a day out – just a really bland one you can’t be arsed to tell anyone about. The story is as simplistic as they come: teenager Donna comes home from a night out to find her ex-teacher murdering her family. She gets away and, three years later, her prom looms. Alas, Mr Fenton – who had an unexplained obsession with Donna – has broken out of his asylum and is on his way to claim her as his own.

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No disco fabness in Prom Night ’08…except maybe Urkel there

Donna and her pals are already at the dance by the time the local cops learn of Fenton’s escape and he, seemingly dressed as Forrest Gump, is already on scene at the Pacific Grand Hotel where the prom is being held. Well…is it a prom? Why is there a red carpet and paparazzi outside for a school dance? Why is everyone from Bridgeport High so uniformally beautiful and in their 20s? Amidst the girl characters bitching about who should be prom queen, during which the characters prove themselves incapable of exclaiming little more effective than “totally” and “oh my God” and wondering if they’ll ever see each other again (mwa-ha-haaaa), people keep going up to their suite and not coming back, or, in one case, Donna’s friend Lisa realises she saw Mr Fenton and runs off to tell her friend, not bothering to tell her boyfriend where she’s going or taking him with her… Guess what happens to her.

prom3Eventually, stalker and stalkee come face to face before she is saved by Elba’s one-note detective and they all go back for a dull finale back at Donna’s house and I wondered to myself why Fenton was ever so transfixed with her in the first place… Brittany Snow may be a pretty actress, no more so than bouncy gal-pals Davis and Stroup but essentially she’s a bit…boring. Even her jockstrap boyfriend Bobby is a cardboard cut out. This is one of many scripting errors made here, although it’s nothing compared to the casting faux pas of placing hunky Schaech to play the psycho. Mr Fenton, once shaven headed and faced, is probably the best looking maniac in horror history. Screw Donna, I’ll run away with the guy!

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Johnathon – you’re too hot for her

The fact that we know who the killer is from five minutes in also sucks. The paperthin mystery of the original Prom Night made for a fun diversion that’s entirely absent here. In fact there are no twists anywhere in sight. The producers have gone for the most inoffensive garb they can get away with calling a horror flick, although it’s hardly that, with victims who, when stabbed a dozen or so times, bleed approximately enough to fill a shot glass and then cease. Considering the bodycount skyrockets to almost thrice as many as the original, save for a blood spatter or two, the film is as dry as a piece of sandpaper stuck to a cactus in the desert.

prom6

Uhh… Disregard

An inexplicable box office success, Prom Night is so commercially crass that it could well be included in a box set of ‘Essential Sleepover Movies’ featuring a free hairbrush and a Zac Efron poster. Worse still, its cash-catching mits assured the writer/director duo took on a remake of The Stepfather next and then, quite possibly, a PG-13 remake of Hell Night. Dark times.

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Blurbs-of-interest: scribe J.S. Cardone directed 1981 quasi-nasty The Slayer; Brittany Snow was later in X, Jessica Stroup was in The Hills Have Eyes II and Pray for Morning. Schaech had a small role in Laid to Rest and its sequel.

KNOCK KNOCK

knockknock
1.5 Stars  2006/18/90m

“Answering the door will never be the same again!”

Director/Writer: Joe Ariola / Cast: Kim Taggart, Antonio Mastrantonio, Joli Julianna, Sal Sirchia, Lou Savarese, Anthony Palidino, Matt Fraley, Misty Meeler, Jim Ford, Chris Bashinelli, Kat Casteneda, Matt Lish.

Body Count: 9


Another cheap DVD flick with nothing we haven’t seen a thousand times before and a thousand times better… The teens of a small New York township are being punk’d by a masked killer who crafts each kill on their father’s occupation in revenge for the prank that maimed him X number of years earlier…

Grizzled ex-NYPD cop Mike Soato (Mastrantonio, no relation to Mary Elizabeth it seems…) swaggers in with the intention of getting to know his estranged granddaughter and steps on the (female) lead detective’s feet when deciding to ‘help’ with the investigation until they learn to work together. Also known as, she shuts her mouth and becomes completely subservient to his ‘cop wisdom’, which includes such epiphanous insights as “I don’t believe in coincidence!” and a whole lunch tray full of similar cop movie cliches.

But then, that’s all Knock Knock is, a factory line of seen-it-all-befores with particulary horrendous acting from all involved, the usual teen exploits and exploitations (shower scene included), rubbery gore effects and a remarkably annoying character in Soato, who talks with an exaggerated Noo Yawk accent and needs a decent haircut. Cut n’ dried cheapness sinks this one from five minutes in.

Blurbs-of-interest: Jim Ford was in Frat House Massacre.

CrappyCrappy

killerkillerKILLERKILLER

1 Stars  2006/75m

“The public calls them murderers. The papers call them monsters. She calls them prey.”

Director/Writer: Pat Higgins / Cast: Cy Henty, Dutch Dore-Boize, Danielle Laws, Richard Collins, James Kavaz, Nick Page, Scott Denyer, Danny James, Rami Hilmi.

Body Count: 9


Bizarre no-budget indie project, which begins with the all-too familiar scenario of a babysitter being stalked around a London townhouse. Into the kitchen… up the stairs… into the bathroom as she disrobes for a shower, turns around to find a masked killer poised with a knife and…

…whips out twin blades and does him in! This witty intro aside, Killerkiller plays out like a stage-adaptation once we meet eight incarcerated murderers who wake up to find their prison-slash-institute has no guards, no locks, and somebody who is offing them one by one. How and why they are there – don’t bother asking.

Mucho testosterone-fuelled dialogue later, we discover that blondie babysitter is some sort of demon who is zapping them temporarily into relative nightmares (all about their past crimes) and passing ultimate judgment over them. It might’ve worked if the expenditure was in double figures – but it ain’t so it ends up as one of the longer 75 minute stints to experience.

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