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Monday, July 29, 2013

The G-String Horror (2012) Horror Ghosts

The G-String Horror (2012) - Here we have a film set up like a ghost hunters cable show or a horror movie being filmed at a strip club, where the stories of some dead strippers are explored by the show crew. This super low budget film struggles with poor, poor acting, poor writing, middle of the road effects but certainly tries hard to create a new take on the structural gimmick it is using. The gimmick is to investigate stories about ghosts a strip club Housed in the old Market Street Cinema in San Francisco. This is a real place with a real strip club in it. It could be that the film and later this year, the episode of the Travel Channel's show Ghost Adventures is all designed to drum up business for an area of SF that appears to be down on its luck.  There is an accompanying website for the film that also takes the "We are Serious about this." attitude in presenting the ghost ideas. Through some staged recreations, interviews with club employees and clients as well as people around the neighborhood it tries to create the aura that a documentary filmmaker has found interest in and is now doing a film on the building and its stories. Still to say this is a good film is to be way too generous.
 It starts with a amateur video of some guys at the empty club watching the lone dancer. With keeping with the real life reputation of the club the stripper asks the guys if they want to go to a private room for a better show. It is reported that in the past the rear of the strip club called "sin city" was used basically as a brothel. This mix of real life reputation and fantasy film making is effective for a while. When the party with the stripper gets rough she wants out but the violent men end up killing her with a dagger through the skull, snapping us back into the fantasy story.
  It is just one of the deaths that is reported to have happened in the theater, and soon we have the documentary film maker explaining his project to look into the deaths and the spirits they left behind. If this was all there was to the film it would not be worth the watching. The production is really low budget with sketchy sound and only barely passable acting. The coolest take on this now cliche approach to the film is that as the film goes on we get this mix of the trope of the documentary mixing with the idea that the ghosts are interacting with the film and strip club employees during its filming. So instead of straight up interviews and set shots of dark corridors we also get some personalities distorted by the spirits of the dead and scenes of ghosts raising and performing as part of the film. It is a some what unique approach and the film maker Charles Webb should get some credit for the idea. He carries the ideas so far as to have no writer listed on the IMDb entry.
 Natasha Talonz, an interesting looking woman with overfilled implants who when dancing is tame with pasties and panties. This is miss Talonz's fifth role as she tries to keep her acting career going. This is by no means a porn or even soft porn film, it is strictly low budget horror. The other primary actress in the film is a character named Lady Zee (Debra Lamb) who plays a psychic who is working with the film crew. Lamb an accomplish small part actress during the late eighties and early nineties, and now making a comeback. She is fine in her role and the role itself adds the mystic aura that the film needs.
There is not quite enough T&A to keep the horn-dog crowd happy, which is strange since the movie centers around a strip club. The primary actress as far as strippers is
  In the end this is really not a good movie. It lacks the most basic polish, is weak in plot and not expert enough to interest special effects lovers. What it could be is a very nice way to entice the show Ghost Adventures to visit the theater this season. It could be a cool little advertisement for the more morbid strip club patrons to go get a lap dance in a place where there may be ghosts. It is not recommended by this blog.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Extinction:The G.M.O. Chronicles (2011) Horror Epidemic

Extinction:The G.M.O. Chronicles (2011) - In the beginning of this film we see a survivor or the human apocalypse, Tom Keller (Daniel Buder) as he speaks into his computer camera filling us in on the world as it stands. A genetic plant mutation experiment gone wrong has laid waste to the earth's population. It has mutated and infected humans making them in effect plant zombies of different kinds. Walkers, Runners, Climbers, Puffers, Screamers each type with there own traits but as they are introduced in the film they are further developments, evolution of the plant virus, as it tries to mutate itself into a more efficient way to spread. Ultimately this is a story of the survivors, starting with Tom and his struggle to want to survive in a world where human kind is close to wiped out and the plant mutants are developing in ways to finalize the death of all remaining people. A former special forces soldier Tom sets up camp in an old military base with tall fences and a watch tower. He wonders whether or not he should commit suicide but when he meets other people his attitude changes.
   I wanted this film to be better than it was, and really it had a neat little take on the zombie apocalypse. Problem is really a mess structurally with very little to make of a main story the film meanders through different characters. Each with new set of survivors have a set of goals but in the end it is all just a journey without a proper ending. The first act focuses on Tom and then a group he meets consisting of Lisa (Luise Bahr), her father Bill (Jerry Coyle) and her boyfriend Martin (Klaus Ebert). They all take up residence in the military base and go about life as it is. Lisa is looking at what life will be after the end. How to make the military base a home. She is written as a bit depressed and on the edge of holding it together. Martin the jealous boyfriend has an adolescent response to the more competent Tom. This plays out in a really clunky way and drives the pacing of the film to an almost halt. We also explore the secrets Bill holds, as a NSA operative. Using the satellite phone Tom has he makes contact with his government friends and learns of a bunker where they all can take shelter. At first he holds his cards close to the vest but when caught on the phone comes clean quickly. The arrival of a few more people Zara (Bina Milas), Luke (Lee Rychter), and brothers Max (Tobias Kay) and David (Christain Stock)  into the group sets the stage for the next act.
  The second part of the film is all the characters getting to know one another. Fighting with each other and the daily struggle to live in this new world filled with danger. Mostly though not tons happens except some very boring motions, The film really loses all its forward momentum that was gained in getting the world defined and the characters together.
  The third act has to do with motivating the characters into moving out of the safety of the military base. It starts with introducing new plant zombies that can climb the fences easily and move at night. Then attacks by these new zombies and the death of characters on the base force the hand of the group. They head out in two vehicles for the bunker beneath a damn nearby. We again have a character introduced with yet another new idea. Peter Bishop (Heinrich Baumgartner) is a scientist who think with the right equipment can come up with a solution for the zombies. He is instructed to meet the group at the bunker. Introduced at this time is the idea that the nuclear power plants are melting down. I said this story meanders and again we are not sure what the main story is. we are just following these people around and wondering if the scientist is now the main story and a cure or a herbicide will be invented. Still even though the film has some character development it is missing a clear protagonist, it should be Tom's struggle with the idea of being a leader. We get some background of how he failed in the military on a mission leaving him without the backbone to lead.
  Even this does not end up being the main push for the story as they get to the bunker but the people inside refuse to let them in. The learn from the radiation sickened Peter that no one is safe in this area because of the nuclear power plants. They decide to head south and again find a new place to rest. A castle with a religious minister and followers. Again the movie grinds to a halt with yet another story line. This time Zara a medical student is asked to learn everything she can from Peter about a cure prior to his death by radiation poisoning. Ugh!  Even though this down time comes in for the story line the group knows they still have to keep moving south away from civilization. The zombies again attack and the castle is over run leaving the final group of survivors, Lisa Bill, Tom, Zara, David and a couple others head off on the road. A voice over leaves the film in the "I don't know what is in front of us, but we will do it together" kind of message.
  Now I am sure there are those reading this thinking that it sounds like this film has something to offer. Let me assure you that the main thing it has for you is frustration. It just jumps from "this happens" to "Then that happens" with no clear story to follow other than these mostly boring characters are living together.The action scenes are not well done and the makeup although competent is supplemented with some horrible low budget CGI. The idea of super fast evolution of the zombie plant people is a weak idea since evolution does not work that way. The film implies that the need to spread the virus causes the mutations that create the new kinds of zombies. Problem is these changes are only geared towards getting humans and since the absence of humans to infect is not a pressure it does not make sense that the mutations would develop to seek out the uninfected. You would think the mutations would be to infect what is around the xombies not what is not. So in the end there are just too many problems to recommend this movie.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Blood Beast Terror (1968) Horror Monster

The Blood Beast Terror (1968) - I love a good old fashion monster movie, and certainly this was old fashioned, made in 1968 and starring one of the all time horror greats Peter Cushing as Detective Inspector Quennell an intuitive police inspector who solves the mystery of multiple deaths where the victims blood has been drained. Okay now I used Peter Cushing and victims with blood drained in the first paragraph, but don't jump to that conclusion. There are no two pronged wounds on the necks of the dead people. Instead there are multiple wounds, lacerations that appear to be the marks of someone attacked by a beast. So you just let that silly notion based on years of Peter Cushing experience go. No this is is not the avenging hunter, in a way it is more like the thought provoking genius of Sherlock Holmes, without the genius part that is. In Holmes films there is a mystery to be solved and only the name detective can see the clues that lead to the killer. unfortunately for the viewers of this film the mystery and the clues are in front of us and all too easy to decipher.
The synopsis is that men are being killed and each time they have slashes on their faces and their blood has been drained. The Inspector Quennell looks into it and because several of the young men have been associated with Dr. Carl Mallinger (Robert Flemyng) a local scientist and teacher he questions the good doctor. The behavior of the doctor immediately puts the inspector and anyone viewing the film on edge. He is rude and short tempered with a definite desire to not answer questions. The obvious anti investigation attitude by the doctor makes it clear he is somehow involved so the mystery just becomes the how. Since he is an entomologist we can already in the first twenty minutes of the film guess at a culprit. It is this kind of poorly executed foreshadowing that really brings this movie down. There is no revelation when the whole story comes out and that is disappointing.
  Even more disappointing is what comes next where again when trying to foreshadow the script reveals that  Dr Mallinger's daughter Claire (Wanda Ventham) is somehow involved in the murders, especially given away by her leering eyes and the films musical choices. When the Doctor and his daughter leave town the stupid decision of Quennell to follow them is highlighted by the decision to bring his daughter with him while he pretends to be under cover. I suppose needing a damsel in distress could be a reason for her being there but considering that the inspector is supposed to be the smartest guy in the room it is such a poor decision. It's not like he could not have gone alone. Then the final irritation really has to do with a script that felt the need to have comic relief through minor characters that although might have been endearing in 1968 was awful in today's age. This form of writing which can be seen in every summer action blockbuster out this year, where characters in the middle of a serious and darker story are put through some sort of comedic scenes that are there to release tension. Think most of Simon Pegg's Scotty in the latest Star Trek films, where really the majority of the role is to be the comedic buffoon. In this one they had a couple minor characters who whole purpose was comic release.
  When the plot finishes in the most horribly forced way the viewer is left wanting more, more solid plot more solid writing etc. So in the end this film can't be recommended but listen I am being hard on it because it has absolutely no subtext. The science fiction plot is telegraphed and the writing is less than stellar. It is a harmless film over all but just not enough to hold interest.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Erotic Nights of the Living Dead (1980) Zombie Porn

Erotic Nights of the Living Dead (1980) - Also entitled "Sexy Nights of the Living Dead", and in Italian "Le notti erotiche dei morti viventi" this is as much of a pornographic film as will make it onto this blog. Sometimes when you try to touch the edges of genre film you cross over and end up in a place you are so not ready for. Now granted the title of the film and the director Joe D'Amato should have given me an idea that the film would be a skin flick. I have seen some of D'Amato's more soft stuff but remarkably not seen the more hardcore films. This one really pushes the line of soft core with several penetration shots mixed in with a story of zombies. It is the strangest combination, a story where a businessman wants to build a resort on an island. He hires a boat and with his girlfriend heads to the place to check it out. Finding two inhabitants an old partially blind man and a beautiful native girl Luna (Laura Gemser) who seem a bit strange and distant. Pretty much the zombie story is without clear explanation, Luna is also a cat or a ghost or something and they use the dead of the island to protect it from dishonest people. So eventually we will have the boat captain, Larry O"Hara (George Eastman), businessman John Wilson (Mark Shannon) and girlfriend Fiona (Dirce Funari) are bound to be in peril.
Before we get into the multiple sexual acts portrayed on this film lets start with the remarkable bookends to the film. The film starts with an island insane asylum and a few characters crazy as my uncle Joe wandering around, who just happen to be our three main character. There is a late night rendezvous between a nurse and workman with stand up sex. The man is strong because I would have thrown my back out  holding that woman up like that.Followed by another patient who stands behind them masturbating while watching the two have sex. At this point we go back in time to see how these characters got to be in the mental hospital. We will later pop back to this for the closing bookend. There does not seem to be a need for the bookends but at least they break up what is a really boring story.
  So since there is a crappy bookends and a close to nonexistent zombie plot it only leave the porn to be the "meat" of the story. John Wilson starts with a couple of prostitutes who he strips down for ample shots of his prolific tongue performing cunnilingus and them taking turns performing fellatio on him. Then of course the couple money shots with John fucking one of the girls in such closeup.Then the cum shot as the second girl blows him. Like all porn movies they are really way to much in time duration but I suppose there is a ideal time for these scenes that have little to do with the actors and more to do with the audience.
  After the girls leave and John meets up with girlfriend Fiona there is more sex with her. Then there is some establishing sex for out boat captain Larry and so on. When I say so on I mean it, Larry gets with a young lady on his boat and later in one of the stranger scenes I have ever seen he is at a strip club where the dancer strips and also removes the cork from a bottle of champagne in the most unique way. At the island Larry gets to have sex with Luna in the shallow water of the bay. So really this film is a collection of sex encounters with some slow zombie scariness thrown in. The primary conflict is between the Old man and Luna, with John who they do not see as honest and don't want to build on their island. This is resolved in the film with zombies slow chasing and the such. The secondary conflict is "Will Fiona and Larry survive?" and although they run around a good deal they are in the end saved by a statue the old man gave to Larry.
  Now I watched what is called the "explicit uncut version" and really should have tried to stay away from that and instead went with the cut up version. So in the end this film was just too boring lacking any real conflict, zombies without real reason or menace. A porn movie yes, but with limited explicit material which is far from sexy. A horror movie yes but with poor horror villains and not enough story so in the end this film can not be recommended by this viewer. If you want to watch porn you can do better and if it is horror you are looking for this film is far from horror.