The inane ramblings presented here by Scott Foy (aka The Foywonder) are strictly his own opinions
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MY NAME IS SCOTT FOY AND I PAID TO SEE STEPHEN KING'S SLEEPWALKERS
I know I've been hyping up a Foyeurism about some ultra obscure films that I've vowed to YouTube clips of because they just have to be seen to be believed. What can I say other than you'll have to wait just a little longer for that - probably February or March's Foyeurism. I've already got January's set and with this being the last month of 2007 I've got some unfinished business to attend to. I really should stop hyping up future Foyeurisms since I inevitably find myself having to postpone things. One thing I won't postpone is the second annual Foybles that'll be part of January's Foyeurism. And speaking of annual traditions, it's that time again!
THE TOP 10 MOVIES I DID NOT PAY TO SEE IN 2007 AND, DAMMIT, I PLAN TO KEEP IT THAT WAY
LIONS FOR LAMBS
I know some of you might be flabbergasted to see a couple of films on the list that drew some critical acclaim, but, hey, this is my list and if the trailer for another overly pretentious Wes Anderson movie or some Oprah-riffic looking drama starring Halle Berry or a 90-minute Robert Redford lecture made my skin crawl enough to put it on the list, it's on the list. But I don't think anyone will argue with the three films sharing the top spot in an unprecedented three-way tie. Seems like unwatchable comedies keep coming in #1 each year; more than likely that's because I've always said the worst kind of bad movie is a painfully unfunny comedy. I'm willing to bet comedies don't come any less funny than Eddie Murphy's latest hate-filled fat suit flick or a sequel to another Eddie Murphy movie that itself was so rancid Murphy himself opted not to return and left it to Cuba Gooding Jr. to further sully his reputation or Larry the Cable Guy's latest failed cinematic attempt to become the new Ernest. Welcome to comedy hell! Not even if you paid me.
5 OUT OF 8 FILMS TO DIE FOR
For the final Foyeurism of 2007 I figured I postpone my previous plans in favor of wrapping up the year with one final bit of timely business and take a look at the film's of the 2007 Afterdark Horrorfest, the best damn horror film festival that always takes place several weeks after Halloween. "8 Films to Die For" but I was only willing to put my life on the line for five of them, driving an hour each way across state lines to a multiplex on the outskirts of Mobile, Alabama, the closest theater to the Mississippi Gulf Coast showing the Horrorfest line-up. Unlike last year when a local cinema on the coast carried the fest, this time I had go out of my way to see a selection of films that, based on the first year's crop, were probably not going to be worth paying full price to watch in a theater, let alone spend the time and money driving back and forth between states two days in a row. But I did because that's how I roll. Though I did vow that if I sat through anything as hate-inducing awful as last year's DARK RIDE, I'd turn my interstate drive home into my own personal DEATH RACE 2000.
I only took in five of the eight films: two on Friday, three on Saturday, and then I didn't even bother with Sunday's. I just had no interest whatsoever in watching CRAZY EIGHTS on Sunday (The trailer did nothing for me) and the only other new film that day was NIGHTMARE MAN, which I'd already reviewed months ago for Dread Central after the filmmaker sent me a screener. The NIGHTMARE MAN review is in the Archives section, or you can just be lazy and CLICK HERE. I enjoyed the film for what it was but not enough to drive back to Alabama - not even to see Tiffany Shepis naked on a big screen. So let's get started, shall we?
What an ominous start for the Afterdark Horrorfest. Only four other people joined me for the film kicking things off and two of those people walked out of the film with only about ten more minutes to go. Can't say I fully blame them though. There it was a Friday afternoon and here I was watching a Sci-Fi Channel original movie on the big screen.
I couldn't help but get the weird feeling that writer-director Matthew Leutwyler must have really loved Uwe Boll's ALONE IN THE DARK or at least thought it sucked but dug the film's monsters because the monster in his movie bares more than a passing resemblance to the ALONE IN THE DARK monsters. They've roughly the same body type, move and sometimes even attack in a similar fashion, and both films even claim their respective monsters to be responsible for the mysterious disappearance of the Anasazi Indians who vanished from the face of the earth some 900 years ago.
In this case, instead of a mad scientist resurrecting the monster to conquer the world, some old Indian guy has it dug up because he wants to close the book on his ancestors' disappearance by proving that some otherworldly creature was what wiped out almost every last one of his people so very long ago. If that reasoning seems rather dumb and short-sighted, well, welcome to UNEARTHED.
The monster here looks remarkably like H.R. Gigers ALIEN design after having been tricked out with some different appendages and a few detachable accessories, as if the UNEARTHED creature designers merely gave it a makeover on a TV show called "Pimp My Alien". In those scenes where you get a really clear look at it, to me, this would be the hybrid creature that would pop out of Pumpkinhead if it got impregnated by an Alien facehugger.
The unoriginal design is hardly the biggest beef I had with the monster. Leutwyler's script fails to capitalize on any aspects of the creature that might make it unique and, thus, prevent his film from just being a run-of-the-mill monster movie on every level. It can infect people and animals with these parasites yet nothing really ever comes of it. Its very reason for being is also barely speculated about. It even has this rather sizeable tick-like critter that can detach from its torso during the climax; why this happens and what little comes of it smells of a screenwriter tossing something out there without much thought as to why he's even doing so other than to include a short-lived surprise twist. Even the monster's very reason for being, a reason that could have made things intriguing had anything come of it, listening to certain characters offer up this explanation, I began to wonder after awhile if even Leutwyler didn't know what he could do with this set-up and so he decided to not even bother doing anything at all.
Instead he made about as routine a monster movie of this type as one can make; the sort where the monster always seems to know where to be and when to be there at just the right moment and when not to be there so that the characters will have time to do what they need to do before it does get there. Exactly where this there is, let's just call it Clichéville. The monster, the plot, the characters: nothing but clichés, clichés, clichés.
The stock characters consist of the drunkard sheriff with emotional baggage, the eager-to-please deputy, the wise old Indian, his scientist granddaughter, a pair of pretty blondes on their way to Hollywood, a fast-talking African American from the big city, a hunky young hitchhiker, the wealthy cattle baron who constantly barks demands at people, and an armed gunman skulking about who knows more about the monster than he's initially willing to tell or bother to warn anyone about.
Note to filmmakers: do not cast a way-too-attractive actress in the role of the sheriff of a tiny community in the middle of nowhere who is also supposed to be a psychologically scarred alcoholic prone to saying stuff like how her lifelong dream was to be the sheriff in a place just like this. Emmanuelle Vaugier (SAW II) is so miscast they even had to toss in a throwaway line or two about it.
Her characters a raging alcoholic haunted by memories of a tragic incident a year earlier in which she accidentally shot and killed a little girl. This whole backstory designed to add gravitas to her otherwise non-entity of a character has no emotional resonance whatsoever and feels tacky and tacked-on more than anything else. It really just seemed to be an excuse for various townsfolk to repeatedly mention the town would be holding a meeting the next week to vote her out of office. It's brought up so often you could almost make a drinking game out of it.
Speaking of improbable characters, Luke Goss (BLADE 2) plays this gun-toting mercenary-type with a mean-looking tribal face tattoo who ultimately turns out to be an anthropologist and, at one point, even begins whining about how the university he worked for cut his funding and his colleagues all thought he was crazy. Thought you were crazy, huh? Was this before or after you got the Mike Tyson fright tattoo on your face?
Professor of Anthropology at Mad Max University
And why does the only black character in the movie have to be a vulgar, jive-talking, obnoxious motormouth constantly bitching and moaning and displaying little concern for anyone except himself? Granted Charlie Murphy (brother of Eddie, apparent channeler of the Wayans) does have the best and most well deserved death scene of the movie, but still, what an obnoxious dickweed.
For that matter, is there some rule in Hollywood that all old Native Americans in movies today must talk like they're some sort of New Age guru? The old Indian can turn a simple conversation about making into a philosophical lecture on the metaphysical nature of the earth itself without skipping a beat. If he's so wise then how come he's the moron truly responsible for the unearthing of this virtually unstoppable monster capable of mass extermination? Yeah, answer me that, Deepak Chopra with Wolves?
His botanist granddaughter, who practically becomes the main character along the way, is there to play the role of Dana Scully. She'll make many a scientific observation, conduct experiments, and perpetually hypothesize about the nature of the beast. By merely looking at some monster DNA under the microscope and looking at some vague cave paintings, she'll somehow come to the conclusion that the monster was an initially docile alien probe sent to gather information about Earth lifeforms that the Anasazi worshipped as a god until a survival mechanism kicked in for whatever reason and it went berserk killing everyone. There is absolutely no way in hell she could have possibly come up with any of this given what few clues she had to work with unless she magically developed the power to read the screenwriter's mind, which I guess she sort of did.
Before it's all over, she'll get covered with uranium residue and at no point will she ever show any ill effects of having been so or even say something along the lines of, "Oh, crap! I'm covered in uranium! This cannot be good!" When the Geiger counter goes crazy as you wave it around your very being, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that a bad thing - a very bad thing?
That's not a glowstick; the uranium she's covered in is causing her tampon to light up.
It all boils down to Emmanuelle Vaugier's sheriff making a noble sacrifice by injecting herself with a poison composed of uranium and native herbs so that when the monster eats her it'll be rendered unconscious for centuries. Though the plan works, I have a hard time believing this poison could have permeated every aspect of her body less than thirty seconds after she injected herself and that the monster just taking one bite out of her would be enough to knock it out almost instantly after it did so.
I said it before and I'll say it again: the whole movie is just a great big bundle of clichés. And it's dumb too. This Afterdark Horrorfest entry was little more than a poorly lit Sci-Fi Channel original movie with slightly better production values yet still every bit as by-the-numbers. Sadly, imagination was not running wild when this monster got unearthed.
The second movie of the evening was THE DEATHS OF IAN STONE. Produced by Stan Winston pretty much guaranteed the special effects would be good and the story would not. That was more or less the case here yet I still rather enjoyed it despite all of its flaws. I'm not going to bother with a full review because I just don't feel like diving into this one in any detail. I got bigger fish to fry.
THE DEATHS OF IAN STONE starts out feeling like its going to be something of a JACOB'S LADDER meets GROUDHOG DAY. You got this young American named Ian Stone working in London who keeps getting killed and wakes up with no memory of what happened, seemingly living a different life. He begins remembering bits and pieces of his previous lives that never actually were in the current life he's living and then he comes to realize there are supernatural forces stalking him - monstrous creatures called Harvesters that can disguise themselves as people, manipulate reality, and feed off the fear of others. A mysterious old guy keeps popping up to warn him. This process repeats over and over until Ian Stone finally figures out what's going on and why. This turns into one of those movies like THE MATRIX RELOADED where entirely too much of the plot requires characters to sit around and explain spell it out for one another and even then it doesn't completely add up.
Like I said, I'm not going to go into too many details here. I will say its a fairly entertaining film so long as you never ever think about any of it. The whole thing boils down to these Harvesters being after him because he somehow managed to kill one of them. Ian doesn't remember how he did this and so the Harvesters have begun manipulating his life and reality until he does so. As plot unfolds the sheer number of logical questions that begin to arise are staggering. The biggest question I found myself asking when it was said and done was as to why if the whole point is for him to remember how he was able to kill one of these otherwise immortal beings then wouldn't unclogging his memory just lead to him remembering how to kill them and thus begin slaying the ones messing with him again? Another good one comes when the Harvesters in human form and dressed like cast members of a pretentious German remake of THE MATRIX finally begin trying to torture the information out of him. I just sat there wondering why they didn't just do that in the first place instead of resorting to all the mind-altering alternate reality shenanigans.
The scene where they torture Ian was especially amusing to me because of a guy sitting in the row in front of me. If seeing someone get stuck with needles makes you squeamish then THE DEATHS OF IAN STONE is probably not your movie. It certainly wasn't for the guy sitting in front of me who kept squirming in his seat and letting out half-laughter, half-groans during such scenes. One moment in particular caused him to turn away from the screen and look right at me with a big grin on his face like he didn't know if he wanted to laugh or scream. All I could do was smile back. Now that's entertainment.
For the record, there were only a whopping 8 people in the theater. By this point I was convinced this whole Horrorfest deal had to be a major bust all over. I remember sitting in a jam-packed theater twice the size of this one for the god awful DARK RIDE on opening night. The attendance for this year's was looking quite pathetic.
The way THE DEATHS OF IAN STONE ends, I could easily envision it having been the feature length pilot for a new CW Network supernatural drama along the lines of Buffy or Angel since it'll teeter into supernatural avenger territory before all is said and done. Maybe with a 22 episode run they could actually bother to answer all the questions the movie fails to, such as if all this had happened before to that mysterious old man than how come the Harvesters didn't get their answers then? No; I'm just going to let it go. A mildly entertaining movie that just doesn't make one iota of sense.
Thus ended Day 1 of the Afterdark Horrorfest for me. I just wasn't interested in watching BORDERLAND or "Cinco de Hostel" as I dubbed it. I've heard word of mouth that it was one of the better films at the fest. Oh, well.
My ride home would bring about the oddest moment of the weekend. Got just a few miles down the road when one of my car sensors went off alerting me that I had low tire pressure. The last thing I needed was to end up broken down with a flat tire across state lines late in the evening. I pulled into a gas station and used a gauge to check all my tires and it turned out they were all fine and that the real problem must have been a faulty sensor. This wasn't the weird part. The weird part came when I went to get back in my car and this pick-up truck pulled up next to me. The middle-aged redneck driving it hopped out and started asking me if I was from Alabama and if I was a fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. The dude pulled the Crimson Tide cap he wearing right off his head and offered to sell it to me. When I hastily declined, he then said, "I got a loaf of bread in the truck I could trade you." In situations like this I find it best to be polite yet abrupt and get into my vehicle as quickly as possible. As I drove off I saw the guy pull around to a gas pump. I realize that gasoline costs an arm and a leg now but is panhandling your baseball cap and loaf of bread really the best means to make a few extra bucks to pay for it? I'm assuming he wanted extra gas money. Who the hell knows? A very strange encounter.
Saturday, Day 2, this time let's go in reverse starting with the last film of the evening first. Even more fitting given gasoline plays a role in the next film's set-up.
TOOTH & NAIL has everything you could possibly want in a post-apocalyptic cannibal movie: you got people sitting around and bickering, walking around and bickering, standing around and bickering, and then the cannibals finally show up, but don't worry because in between cannibal attacks you'll still get more bickering.
This particular apocalypse came down simply to the planet running out of fossil fuels. No nukes, no super virus, and no global ecological catastrophe: we simply ran out of gas. Thusly, work stopped, food dried up, and society fell apart at the seams to the point of it becoming every man for himself survival of the fittest. For reasons explained better in the film, most of those that remain have fled down to the Deep South where there's said to still be some bastion of civilization holding on. So in other words, the South did rise again.
And because it's the end of the world as we know it, that's everyone's cue to start adopting new names like Neon, Viper, Mongrel, Jackal, Nova, Wolf, etc. No room for Bobby or Amy when life as we know it is no more. I've already decided that after the apocalypse I want to be known as Tyrotoxism. It's a real word; look it up.
I gotta say I also did not like the visual look of the film. Shot on digital with the glossy veneer of a BBC production, something about it just looked too crisp and sanitized for something that's supposed to be a gritty post-apocalyptic thriller. If you've seen any recent HD television productions from Japan, it's the same visual look. I don't know if I just don't like this particular look or if it's just something I just have to get used to, as I eventually did ordinary shot-on-digital, but right now I just don't like it.
The movie is set in New York, where Lewis from REVENGE OF THE NERDS has built his own commune of college age types inhabiting an abandoned hospital, determined to try and rebuild society from the ground up. Their little group really does come across less like people trying to survive the fall of civilization and more like a pointy-headed college professor (one who has no problem sleeping with one of his comely female students) conducting some sort of sociology experiment with his willing students. One thing is for certain: they'll spend an awful lot of time bickering amongst themselves.
Robert Carradine's character is named Darwin, just in case we didn't fully comprehend the metaphor being used as a blunt instrument by which to beat us over the head.
Professor Darwin must have also been some sort of anti-violence liberal elitist - or all the weapons got raptured up to heaven - because their only weaponry appears to be a bow & arrow and a baseball bat. I think they might have had a handgun. I've already blocked much of this film out of my mind. The cannibals, on the other hand, understand the whole survival of the fittest concept what with all their clubs and bladed weapons. I think the argument was that firearms pretty much became scarce because there was no one to make anymore bullets or something along those lines. Somehow the Chinese managed to invent gunpowder centuries ago without oil or gas and yet these knuckleheads don't have any real firepower in New York City during a time in which humanity collapsed and began waging war with itself. Yeah, right.
On a foraging mission they end up rescuing Macaulay Culkin's ex-wife from some unknown marauder and bring her back to their hospital compound. The introduction of this new young female into the group dynamic leads to more bickering.
Then Professor Robert Carradine gets killed in the dead of night, everyone panics, and Dakota, the girl he'd been laying the pipe to, suggests that new girl Neon (Rachel Miner, the ex-Mrs. Culkin) become the new leader of the group simply because she's proven herself quite adept at fixing a water purification system. This leads to even more bickering.
Now they've really got problems because the Rovers arrive. Rovers are post-apocalyptic cannibals that are all physically built like pro wrestlers and generally dress like Casey Jones from TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. Neon explains that they're nomadic savages who have taken to eating people and she believes they followed her after they killed her parents awhile back. The suggestion that the reason the Rovers found out where they were living due to Neon led to (Wait for it! Wait for it!) yet more bickering.
TOOTH & NAIL? More like PISS & MOAN!
Me, if I was stuck in this situation, if I had to choose between being part of a marauding band of cannibalistic chunkheads or this bunch of whiny crybabies who fancy themselves the last hope of mankind yet don't really do anything other than argue amongst themselves, I'd totally side with the Rovers. This film gives you little reason to not want to see the Rovers slaughter these annoying pissants.
Death's estranged brother comes to town in the new comedy FRED REAPER
Plenty of rudimentary stalking and killing action occurs next as everyone scatters throughout the darkened hospital in search of some place to hide while the Rovers slowly rove about the place looking for someone to kill. Vinny Jones and Michael Madsen are amongst the only recognizable Rovers and, for that matter, amongst the only Rovers that actually get lines of dialogue. Madsen gets to bark a few lines about how before the night is over he's going to be gnawing on so and so's bones. Jones, on the other hand, just channels the mohawked guy in the assless chaps from THE ROAD WARRIOR. Thankfully, Jones' attire is not assless. Though listed in the credits as an executive producer, Madsen is only in the film for mere minutes, the first of the Rovers to die.
The horn blows signaling the end of the first half and thus the Rovers collect their meat for the evening and return to the locker room in preparation for the second half of play. With some dead, some seriously injured, and everyone once again bickering, Neon turns out to be in league with the Rovers and everything up until them had been a set-up. Neon's not just a Rover herself; she's their leader.
Now look; I'm willing to buy that this tiny young woman might herself be a cannibalistic scavenger but I'm not willing to buy that she's actually the leader of a gang of such, especially these guys. Neon explains that the Rovers were a bunch of unorganized brutes until she dazzled them with her superior intelligence and became their supreme ruler. Sorry; not buying it, especially how needlessly convoluted her own scheme has been to get to these people. Besides, from what we'd seen of these large grunting maneaters, they'd have been passing this girl around and taking turns with her like a hooker at a frat party, not making her their club president. Surely this all-male group has other primal wants and needs beyond food.
Once this deception is revealed, the dialogue takes a major turn for the corny and the acting shifts from mediocre to laughably hammy. The actresses playing Dakota and Neon seemed to have been trying to out Susan Lucci overact the other.
But nothing took things more over the top than when Dakota puts her plan to kill the Rovers into motion and the director/screenwriter just couldn't show any restraint in visualizing Dakota's descent from mild-mannered girl to primal warrior. As if drugging some of the dead bodies so that when the Rovers eat'em they'll get knocked out so that she can just waltz into their lair and slit their throats, stab, bludgeon, and pummel them to death wasn't enough to show how a normal person can be driven to primitive behavior, first she has to take the time to rub shoe polish on her face in a manner that's supposed to look tribal but only succeeded in making her positively silly. This is a prime example of a filmmaker not knowing when to say when. This was totally unnecessary and the face paint had the total opposite effect of what it was supposed to.
CATS 2: THE REVENGE OF MACAVITY
Plus, as Dakota took her sweet time painting her face I couldn't help but think that 12-year old mute girl the Rovers also took and plan to eat would probably prefer you just skipped the make-up and got right to the rescuing.
The film ends with Dakota delivering a voiceover reiterating the film's very tired message as to how people can be pushed to extremes when it comes down to fighting for their very survival. Well, duh. Never heard that one before. Thanks. Are you sure the real message of the film wasn't that even after the apocalypse people are still going to be incredibly pissy?
So in conclusion, TOOTH & NAIL both sucks & blows.
Oh, and the head count: a whopping 7 people.
The middle movie of the evening was in terms of quality the standout of the 2007 Afterdark Horrorfest: MULBERRY STREET. I'm going to say very little about this one other than to tell you to rent it when it hits DVD. This is hardly a masterpiece; it has some issues and the ending was a little to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD for my tastes, but a solid piece of low budget genre filmmaking it was.
Long story short, on an average day in Manhattan, the local news begins to report of a multitude of rat attacks. The people bitten have been infected with something that's turned them into feral killers with a taste for flesh. Manhattan is quarantined by the government yet no help appears to be coming as the infected run amok and those not infected struggle to stay alive, particularly the residents of a seedy apartment building on Mulberry Street.
Though it sounds like a 28 DAYS LATER clone - to a certain extent it is - what makes MULBERRY STREET special is that these feral killers actually start turning physically feral. The infected are literally turning into rat people with pointy, hairy ears and rodent-like teeth and faces that continuously mutate into something vaguely ratty. They even like scurry around on the floor, claw at things with their fingernails, and God help you if one gets inside the walls. Very cool indeed, especially for such a low budget film.
MULBERRY STREET was also the only film I saw at the fest where I genuinely cared about the characters and was actually sad to see some of them perish. Watching the main character, an ex-boxer, tape up his fists and fight off rat people by throwing haymakers was a hoot. Easily my favorite horror movie protagonist to come along in quite awhile.
So, yeah, when MULBERRY STREET comes out on DVD, rent it! It probably won't set your world on fire but it's a cool little flick that deserves your support. I was quite surprised to walk into the theater for this one and see the biggest crowd of the fest at around 35 people. Don't know why this one had more attendees than just about all of the other four films I saw combined, I'm just glad they picked the right film to come out for.
Finally, I've saved the best for last, and by best I mean worst. Of all the films I saw at the fest, despite being moderately entertained by THE DEATHS OF IAN STONE and pleasantly surprised by MULBERRY STREET, the one film that continues to standout in my mind when I think of the 2007 Afterdark Horrorfest is...
The heartwarming tale of a group of twenty-something stoners that pile into an RV and head off to checkout the lakeside hotel retreat two of them have inherited from the just deceased grandfather they didn't know they had only to find themselves at the mercy of a murderous family of horny inbreeds looking to continue the bloodline...
Are you kidding me? Was this a rib? A joke? Were we all getting punk'd by the Afterdark Horrorfest organizers? Payback for everyone like myself who hated DARK RIDE last year? I cannot believe I actually paid money to watch LAKE DEAD in a theater. I cannot believe anyone involved with the Afterdark Horrorfest watched LAKE DEAD and came away believing it was deserving of being shown in theaters around the country.
If not for SARAH LANDON & THE PARANORMAL HOUR, LAKE DEAD would be the most unjustifiable theatrically released movie of the past twelve months. I don't care if it was 1/8th of a little seen horror film festival; this had no business ever sullying a silver screen.
LAKE DEAD is the sort of cheap, unimaginative, junky horror flick (not even good enough to be called trashy) that Lionsgate would usually slap some eye-catching artwork onto and dump straight-to-DVD. It's the sort of dreck when on Monday morning reporting that Tuesday's new DVD releases at Dread Central, Johnny Butane would start ripping on the unoriginal plot synopsis involving twenty-something's heading off into the woods to smoke dope and have sex before inbred psychopaths begin killing them off. I'd then rent the DVD on Tuesday, watch it that evening, and have my review ripping the film to shreds up on Dread Central Wednesday morning. But instead, thanks to the Afterdark Horrorfest, LAKE DEAD actually played on hundreds of movies screens all around the country.
For crying out loud...!
Just how bad is LAKE DEAD? There's a scene about an hour in when one of the girls in the movie freaks out over their situation and starts yelling, "This is so bad! This is awful!" Sitting in the theater I felt like that scene in THE TERMINATOR when the building super knocks on the door to ask The Terminator if everything is okay in there and multiple response choices began scrolling across the machine's field of sight. In this case, my options were:
The one the Terminator selected, "Fuck you, asshole!" might have fit here as well, if only out of sheer spite.
Screenwriters and filmmakers out there just need to know better than to ever include dialogue such as "This is so bad! This is awful!" when making a movie like this. You do realize you're just asking for it? Hell, you're begging for it. That line was even included in the film's trailer. Talk about setting yourself up for the fall.
There was this couple that brought their kid with them to this movie; I'd reckon he was maybe four-years old. What responsible parent brings their littlest children to a movie like this? I remember sitting in the theater for CAPTIVITY and a family had brought their small children to that one as well. Why not? What better entertainment for the kiddies than the film where two killers kidnap and systematically torture a beautiful woman into having sex with them, right? This couple in LAKE DEAD suddenly felt the need to try and cover their son's eyes during a naked sex scene, but these same parents didn't seem to have a problem with their wee one watching all the impalings, mutilations, and other assorted gruesome means of death.
I mean there's a scene where a guy and girl have sex in the woods and this kid's parents tried to shield his eyes because the girl was fully nude and getting banged from behind. Afterwards, the guy gets hung him from a tree by one killer and the other attempts to rape the girl by smacking her unconscious and propping her against a tree, but when she won't stay up against it due to being out cold, he holds her up against it with one hand and uses the other to smash a pickaxe through her face in order to pin her body up against the tree. She'll wake up impaled to this tree through the face just in time to see this mongoloid unzipping his pants. None of that made them want to shield their kid's eyes. Nudity, bad. Savage murder, not so bad.
Didn't the doctor tell you not to pick at the scab?
They didn't even try to shield the kid's eyes during the one rape scene in the film shortly thereafter where we actually saw the mongoloids double teaming another girl they'd pinned down over a tree. Of course, that might have been because this girl clearly still had her shorts on as one of the inbreds grinded away on her. I'd call this a continuity error but being that I'm not an expert on the sexual habits of hulking inbreeds, maybe he poked a whole through her shorts or considered the inclusion of fabric to be safe sex. I've gotten off topic.
So these parents, talk about having your priorities screwed up.
On top of that their kid was beginning to get on my nerves because he was clearly restless and I would constantly hear him making noise or not-so-whispering to his parents. However, I forgave him when a little over an hour in the sound of his voice filled the auditorium during a quiet moment in the movie.
"This ain't scary! Mommy, this ain't scary!"
Congratulations to the makers of LAKE DEAD; you've made a horror movie so terrible it couldn't even frighten a preschooler. Even this little kid knew this movie was utter crap. Heck, when I was this kid's age I was scared of The Count on Sesame Street yet no amount of mongoloid rape and murder could mortify this tyke. When your horror movie can't even scare a four-year old...
Speaking of four, add two more and that's how many people were in the theater.
Basically what you have here is semi-retarded version of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE combined with an even more lamebrained retread of WRONG TURN populated by victim characters from the worst FRIDAY THE 13TH knock-off ever made; all smushed together in the form of a motion picture that might as well have been titled HATCHET FOR DUMMIES. If you've not seen HATCHET yet (Great movie!), this is like The Asylum's retarded mockbuster version that missed everything that HATCHET did right.
Amazingly, LAKE DEAD does not appear to have been made as a parody even though so many moments feel rife with mockery. For goodness sake, there's an evil old lady in the movie and you know she's evil long before the movie ever reveals her to be so because every single time a scene with her in it would end the camera would stay on her after the other characters walked off camera, focusing in on her eyes that suddenly took on a hateful gleam, accompanied by ominous music. Subtle, huh? Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer kept pitching Mel Gibson movie ideas that always involved a dog with shifty eyes? This old lady is that shift-eyed dog come to life.
Still, I did not hate LAKE DEAD. As shocked as I am to say this, of all the films I saw at the 2007 Horrorfest, LAKE DEAD is the one that has stuck with me the most. This is due in part to the utter disbelief I still feel knowing I paid to see this film in a movie theater. Mostly I was laughing at it, not with it. I just could not believe how bad this movie was and that it made the Afterdark Horrorfest cut. The movie itself really isn't so bad it's good, but on that day under those circumstances it was so bad I couldn't believe I had paid full price to watch it on a big screen in a movie theater. I think I'd have to watch it a second time to determine if my reason for feeling so was more the movie or the circumstances. I just don't know if I want to see this film a second time.
Even whatever it was that tickled my funny bone began to lose steam began around the one-hour mark when the film's badness began multiplying by the minute. Plus, the obsession with raping women got really tasteless after awhile and not even in a trash cinema sort of way. They couldn't even get that aspect right.
And what a horrible title LAKE DEAD; sounds like it should be a zombie flick, but it's not. The last name of the inbred family is Lake; that covers the lake part. People die; that covers the dead part. That doesn't change the fact that LAKE DEAD is still a terrible title. I don't know what other alternate title they could have come up with but I can't imagine it being lamer than the one they did settle upon.
This is how I felt last year after watching DARK RIDE.
LAKE DEAD opens with an old man getting his head shotgunned off by someone in a policeman's uniform that we never see from the neck up. The old man was screaming something about how he wasn't going to let whoever it was with the gun "have them". I don't know why they didn't bother to show us the face of the person who blasted the old man since there will only be one other cop character in the entire movie and the moment that person shows up you know he's going to turn out to be evil. Hardly a surprise.
Turns out the old man was the grandfather to some blonde cuties; their father a drunk who none want anything to do with. Dad wakes one of his girls up in the dead of night to inform her that her grandfather has died. This comes as a surprise to her since all her life dad had told her grandfather died before she was born. She calls dad a drunk and hangs up on him. The next day she gets a letter informing her that she and her sisters have inherited a motel out in California woods owned by the grandfather who they didn't even know was living until he died for real.
Blondie and her boyfriend pay a visit to another sister: a drunken, drug addict, whorish brunette who uses the word "fuck" more than your average Tourette's sufferer. It reached the point that I was sitting there wondering if this girl could talk without using "fuck" in a sentence, and right after I thought that, the boyfriend asked her that vary question. This was the only time the movie and I would be on the same wavelength. The ultimate point of this scene will be the brunette sister hoping to make some money off the selling of this hotel.
If there's one thing I learned from this year's Horrorfest, if the movie featured a brunette with a nice ass in her undies waking up from a drunken slumber within the first ten minutes then the movie was guaranteed to suck. They did it in UNEARTHED and they did it in LAKE DEAD.
The brunette sister will head up to the motel the night before anyone else does and be the first to die. She'll get ambushed in her hotel room by a pair of long-haired killers who'll beat her semi-conscious and nail a spike through her ankles with a chain attached that is itself attached to a cinderblock. They then take her out onto the lake via rowboat and dump her in. Surely there are more convenient ways by which to dispose of a corpse out in the woods. This just seemed like entirely too much work for a movie slasher. That's one of the reasons why Jason is so iconic - even when he gets creative with a kill he still keeps things simple and efficient.
Music is another problem with this film; it bludgeons you. Intrusive music permeates virtually every scene, usually telegraphing what was going to happen seconds later. The music suddenly turns ominous whenever the old lady is on screen alone; don't suppose she's evil, do you?
Blondie, her equally blonde kid sister, blondie's boyfriend, his best friend, his best friend's girlfriend, and equally blonde sister's best friend all pile into the best friend's RV and head up to the lakeside motel to check out the property Blondie inherited. His best friend has a nasty habit of cheating on his girlfriend, a trend that will continue as he keeps flirting with equally blonde kid sister's best friend right in front of his own girlfriend. Let's just call him Cheater from here on out. Seeing as how the kid sister's best friend is a jiggly bimbo who provides the film's only nudity, let's just call her Funbags.
They were so excited to be on The Bachelor until they found out the bachelor was OJ Simpson
Funbags will ask if it's okay to smoke in the RV. When Cheater says yes she reaches into her bag and whips out what I honestly thought for a moment was a crack pipe. Crack smoking would have been completely unexpected, but given the genre, perhaps harder narcotics is the natural evolution of recreational drug use amongst slasher movie victims. Why must it always be pot? How about just once the potential victims take it up a notch with heroin?
Turns out what I initially thought was a crack pipe was just an oddly shaped bong, because, after all, dope smoking is legally required in movies like this. Everyone takes a hit to get them in the proper mood for going into the woods to cavort and die. I'd also recommend medicinal marijuana be used by viewers of LAKE DEAD to help lessen the pain.
They arrive at the hotel, meet up with the old lady who repeatedly gives them the evil eye when they're not looking, and then head off to enjoy the man-made lake, currently the resting place of the brunette sister they've all just written off as a drunken whore who couldn't even be bothered to drive up there to meet with them.
Blondie and her boyfriend will both bump into the corpse - suspended underwater sort of like Jason at the end of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 6: JASON LIVES - and think it's an underwater tree branch. The boyfriend went swimming with his waterproof wallet? Why would you take your wallet with you for a simple dip in the lake? No logical reason will be provided other than it gave him a reason to go underwater. The wallet will slip out of his pocket and sink to the bottom of the lake right next to the body. Surely this is the big reveal scene where they realize something is horribly wrong at this place, right? Wrong! Underwater for one second, he surfaces clutching his eyes complaining of them burning. Whaaa...? Too much chlorine in the lake or something? He goes down again, eyes closed, to feel around for his wallet. He'll manage to retrieve it without ever seeing or feeling the dead sister's corpse. This was the precise moment I officially deemed LAKE DEAD to be retarded.
So when do they discover her corpse down there? Never! In fact, the topic is never brought up again. RETARDED~!
After swimming, everyone gathers around to build a campfire. I fully realize they drove there in an RV but given that the whole point was for them to checkout this hotel, shouldn't they be... Forget it. RETARDED~!
Cheater and Funbags head off into the woods in search of firewood. This is when the sex scene, murder, face impaling, and implied rape occurs. This is when the chaos ensues, most of which involves victim characters running around and screaming while the horny mongoloids skulk about making grunting noises and swinging little hand axes, the sight of which made me ponder for a moment what a slasher movie version of THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF might be like.
Great, so now Michael Bay's remaking JOHNNY HANDSOME?
The horny hulking mongoloid twin brothers never speak outside of grunting noises. Their long hair covers usually obscures their faces. When we do see those faces they look like someone crossbred Rondo Hatton with Mickey Rourke. Dressed like gas station attendants, the lovechildren of Rocky Dennis and Solomon Grundy we'll come to learn are named Kane and Abel because you know with a crummy horror movie like this you gotta get all biblical at some point.
Once the cast has been thinned down to Blondie, her boyfriend, and her kid sister, it's time for the evil cop to show up; at first fooling them into thinking he's there to help them and then to take them hostage. The three of them will end up tied to chairs back at the motel where the evil old lady will start talking about how they'd been in dire need of more family members to continue the Lake family bloodline, and though the two girls blood wasn't 100% pure, it would have to do. The old lady is their grandmother, the evil cop is their uncle, and the homicidal inbred behemoths are their cousins. Evil granny plans to offer them up to Kane and Abel for impregnation, and we'll come to learn that Kane and Abel are the sons of the old lady and her son the evil cop.
The revelation that the old lady and the evil cop are mother and so as well as lovers will lead to one of the most inexplicable lines of dialogue of the year. She's sitting in a chair sipping something from a cup when the son walks in, pauses in the doorway, and lovingly says to her in a cornpone accent, "Why is that Marilyn Monroe sittin' over there drinkin' a cup of tea?" I totally lost it at that come-on line and have yet to get it out of my head. Heck, I still quote it to friends who have no clue what I'm on about until I explain it to them.
The scene will end with the two sucking face; that I also haven't been able to get out of my mind for entirely different reasons.
I suppose he might have though that was Marilyn Monroe's withered corpse drinking a cup of tea
In case you were wondering why they killed the brunette sister earlier, that's because she was adopted. The old lady gave an order to Kane and Abel to take the two blonde sisters unharmed and kill everyone else. That, of course, explains why they had yet bothered to kill the boyfriend. Good thing he didn't or else he wouldn't have been able to break his ropes, kill Abel, and untie the girls so they can all make a run for it.
By the way, if the orders were to kill everyone except the two blonde sisters then why had they even left the boyfriend alive at this point? RETARDED~!
When the uncle finds Abel dead on the bathroom floor, he just stood there silently in the doorway for so long I had to resist the urge to yell out, "Why is that Marilyn Monroe lying over there dead on the bathroom floor?"
The uncle tells Kane that they're going to "equalize this". He uses the phrase "equalize this" so many times in the next few minutes I halfway expected Edward Woodward to show up.
By "equalize this" I think he may have meant make sure you only fight the boyfriend in a fair battle, because when Kane has the guy in a position where he could easily kill him, the stupid mongoloid decides to forsake his weapon for some manual murder and nearly ends up getting his skull bashed in like his twin brother. Well, he was inbred; guess you can't fault him too much for not being terribly bright.
Blondie puts a bullet through granny's brain and drunken dad shows up just in the nick of time to kill his brother. Father and daughters make nice, the boyfriend is badly injured but alive, and they all live happily ever after. RETARDED~!
But before the closing credits could roll, night turns to day and a new carload of twenty-something's pull up to the motel. I resisted the urge to scream, "Oh, my god! It's starting over!" In a way it was; an injured and pissed off orphan Kane emerges from the woods to let out a primal scream. The film ends now that they've threatened us with the possibility of a sequel.
The very notion of a LAKE DEAD 2 is preposterous to even comprehend. This was a one-off if ever there way. Then again, since when has a horror movie being the drizzlin' shits ever stopped a sequel from getting made. You do realize the 13th installment in the WITCHCRAFT franchise comes out on DVD next month? Still, a LAKE DEAD sequel? I'd say I don't think so. Unfortunately, someone else does and a visit to the American Film Market website providing proof that LAKE DEAD 2: THE RAGE OF KANE is in development. Here's the synopsis:
"The Lake Dead property has been sold to a church group who plans to use it for retreats. What they don't know is that KANE, the monstrous inbreed and the only survivor of the previous bloodbath, still inhabits the land.
A group of troubled teens come up on the first retreat, guided by a pastor secretly troubled by his own faltering faith. It doesn't take long before blood thirsty Kane goes on a much awaited killing spree.
Kane picks off the teens one by one, instituting his now trademark cinderblock style of killing. In the end, the pastor must face Kane alone, a battle that will test his survival skills as well as his faith.
LAKE DEAD PART 2 taps into the animalistic rage of Kane, as he flies into explosive killing sprees almost by instinct. We also find that the family secret goes even deeper than we thought, when Kane reveals an even sicker twist than we expected. This ride is quicker and bumpier than we think, so hold on tight. And remember, in the Lake Family, blood is thicker than water."
First off, trademark cinderblock style of killing? Aside from using a cinderblock to weigh down a girl already nearly beaten to death when they dumped her in the lake, which was the only use of a cinderblock in the film. If anything, Kane and Abel's favorite method of trying to kill someone was (I kid you not on this!) suffocating victims by using their hands to cover the person's mouth and hold their nose closed. Now if this sequel has a large inbred killer skulking about the woods with a cinderblock that he uses to crush skulls and what not with, in that case and that case only, I'm okay with a LAKE DEAD 2 getting made. I want to see how one would pull off a "trademark cinderblock style of killing" in a slasher flick.
And this is pretty much the only way they'll coerce anyone to watch LAKE DEAD 2
But realistically speaking, forget the preacher, if this LAKE DEAD 2 actually gets made it'll try all out faiths. I plead with the filmmakers to just chalk LAKE DEAD up to being a learning experience and move on to, hopefully, better projects. Just let it go.
Speaking of letting it go, I have a feeling that's what Afterdark Films might be doing to the very concept of the Horrorfest after year two's dismal box office performance. Sure, it wasn't playing on quite as many screens as the first year, but this year's only made about a third of what last year's did. To put it in perspective, for its opening weekend the Afterdark Horrorfest made less money than a box office bomb like THE COMEBACKS that was in its fourth week. Ouch! Something tells me the dubious quality of last year's "8 Films to Die For" had something to do with the lack of enthusiasm for this year's. Something tells me this year's films won't help if they actually go forward with a 2008 Afterdark Horrorfest.
And thus concludes the final Foyeurism of 2007. Next month, I'm vowing to start 2008 off with something more positive, something that'll set a really upbeat tone for the New Year. Too many bad films this past year. Need some positive energy. But until then...
MY NAME IS SCOTT FOY AND I CANNOT BELIEVE I PAID TO SEE LAKE DEAD
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