Sunday, November 24, 2013

Project Terrible: Evil Behind You (2006)

Wait, what? A Christian pseudo-horror movie? Really? Oh, this is not going to be fun. My second-to-last Project Terrible assignment is Evil Behind You and it comes courtesy of Mr. Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff. The most pathetic thing about this movie is probably the fact that I watched it alone on a Saturday night before going to bed at around 8:30.

In Evil Behind You, two couples - Debra and Tony, and Lisa and David - have been drugged and abducted and taken to a locked room. The men are lying on gurneys with bandages over their ears and electrodes on their temples so that their brains can be monitored. As the two girls argue about how to get out, the guys start to go crazy from whatever they were given, claiming that there is an evil presence in the room with them. Is it just the drugs or something real? Dun dun dun.

I've read a few things online about this movie and some people are being way too nice, claiming that it has a "nice premise" and all. No, no it doesn't. There is hardly a story to the movie, and what little premise it does have - to me - is only there to serve the tiniest little message about God and demons and fighting evil. The people behind the kidnappings are Middle Eastern and they've also kidnapped a doctor to help them with the experiment they are doing on David and Tony on meningitis. Did I get that right? There's some kind of meningitis problem with them so they're experimenting on these guys to get a serum to stop it? It's something stupid like that.

You're supposed to think that the meningitis is what is making David and Tony crazy because throughout most of the movie they are constantly yelling and freaking out something they can feel in the room - an evil something! And of course, they always seem to feel that it is "behind" them. If there's more meaning in that, I didn't get it. Lisa is the sensitive, empathetic one who tries to help the guys, while the other chick, Debra, quickly turns into a bitch about it. Anyway, they FINALLY reveal what the things are - and they're just these skeletal demon things that take souls to hell. Goddamnit. That's lame.

The Christian stuff I can deal with, but there is such a strange dichotomy happening in this movie. Our two main girls are of course hotties with bodies, and their wardrobe is cleavage-revealing tank tops with low rise jeans, all topped off with their perfect, shiny, straight "come-fuck-me" long hair. Sure, I was jealous but I was also so annoyed that even this movie would use sex appeal where it is not needed AT ALL. There was no reason for them to be sexy. I was also a little offended that the captors were Middle Eastern - really bad, fake Middle Eastern, but Middle Eastern nonetheless. Just because they're easy targets for bad guys in movies? And where are they? And why are they there? And how did they pick these people? You see? Not a good premise. Too many unanswered questions.

If you were expecting any action in this movie, you are going to be sorely disappointed. There is one hilarious part where one of the other patients in the room suddenly gets up all roid-ragey and attacks. Lisa somehow manages to get him down and then kills him by hitting him about three times... with a folding chair. Sure. There was also the funny flashback where the kidnappers kill the doctor's wife by shooting her about three times near the head region as far as I could tell, but I don't really know for sure because there was not a single wound or drop of blood. A few other people also get shot and the best they can do is put a little spot of red on one dude's coat. I'm sure they were trying to keep things clean - morally and physically, probably - but a little bit goes a long way in terms of believability, ya know?

There's lots of background about the character Lisa and her journey through forgiveness and redemption, blah blah BLAH, but it's just annoying. The movie is not good, not exciting, and not nearly as "inspiring" as they try to make it. And now that I've run out of pictures to break up the text, I've also run out of interest in berating Evil Behind You. I watched it, then moved on with my life and forgot about it. Back to lazy Sunday!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Project Terrible: Battledogs (2013)

Oh, right. Because I really needed to watch another bad werewolf movie. There are some things that I can give Battledogs props for - making "Battledogs" one word is not one of them - but it's still not that good, and the fact that it is a SyFy Original Movie should help you believe that. Battledogs comes courtesy of Bob from Gaming Creatively.

A wildlife photographer traveling to JFK is carrying the dangerous "lupine virus" and soon spreads it to hundreds of other people at the airport. The infected are quarantined on a island in New York, and while some try to quickly work to find a cure for the virus, one Army general decides that these creatures would be perfect for combat situations and tries to stop anyone who gets in his way.

The lineup of actors for Battledogs is pretty good though there are only two well known names. Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson has a small role as the head of security at JFK and then freaking Dennis Haysbert plays the evil Army general. He's also got some facial hair going on here, which I really didn't like. It was funny to me to see him in this because in one early scene they show the movie's bald, black President of the United States - and then the next scene is Dennis Haysbert, a.k.a. the greatest fake President EVER from "24." And now he's General Monning, the guy with the genius idea to have an army of werewolves to fight our enemies. Oh, Dennis, why???

Cute little Ariana Richards is also here as Donna Voorhees, the Patient Zero for the lupine virus because she got bitten by a wolf while photograhing them. The funniest part of the movie is when our other main character Major Hoffman (Craig Sheffer, a.k.a. David Boreanaz's long lost brother) actually asks Donna, "Why did that wolf bite you?" Why did a wolf bite somebody? Maybe because it's a wolf, just sayin'. There's not much to know or care about any of these people as the movie is all plot driven, and most of it is just a long chase sequence of Donna, Hoffman, and the doctor trying to save them all from Monning. It's pretty ridiculous how a high ranking Army general makes a decision in about 2.5 seconds to go against his entire moral code and kill innocent civilians and fellow Army buddies for the stupid idea of training werewolves to fight for the United States. Like, does he think that would actually turn out well?

Treating werewofism (I don't think that's the right word) as a virus is a good idea, I gotta say. The moon has nothing to do with when the infected transform. They get bitten and they change almost right afterward. They also change when their heartbeat rises above 150 beats per minute. Though the werewolves themselves are all CGI, I didn't hate the look at them as much as I thought I would. They look good, which is something I can't always give SyFy credit for - Piranhaconda, anyone?

I can't give the movie too much credit for the characters or the plot, but I was surprised to find that Battledogs was not as laughably ridiculous as every other original movie from SyFy. It's watchable, nothing groundbreaking or memorable, but definitely watchable. I've gotten worse movies so I'm pretty pleased with this one!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Project Terrible: The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure (2012)

Yes, it's a kid's movie. Yes, I watched it. I have Alec at Mondo Bizarro to thank for giving me this movie - ha, thank?! - for this Project Terrible round. Well I have to admit that at times I did get a strange childish pleasure out of watching something completely meaningless that didn't require any kind of thought. One thing that was pretty fun to watch was all the big name celebrities who had roles in this movie, the cinematic masterpiece that is The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure.

So the Oogieloves are Goobie, Toofie, and Zoozie and they are these Teletubby-like things I guess who are throwing a surprise birthday party for their friend Schluffy... who is a pillow. Their other friend J. Edgar - who is a vacuum cleaner (haha, like J. Edgar Hoover, geddit?) - gets Schluffy five magical golden balloons but loses them on the way home so the Oogieloves go out to recapture each one, while meeting some friends along the way.

Okay, really? I have to actually write a review of this? This is probably a really good movie for kids because it is supposedly the first interactive children's movie that was in theaters. There are prompts on the bottom of the screen for the kids to get up and dance and sing along. The problem is that there is nothing educational about this movie at all aside from a little counting and singing ridiculous songs that I now have stuck in my head. And apparently no one gave a crap about any of this because The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure has now gone down in history as being the movie with the worst box office opening weekend in history! Ouch. By the numbers, that makes it the worst movie ever... but I watched Howling 7. I love the Oogieloves compared to that movie.

Here's a rundown of the celebrities that showed up here: Cloris Leachman played Grandma Dottie, a woman who loves circles and lives in a "tree-pot" (a teapot in a tree); Chazz Palminteri is Milky Marvin, the beatboxing owner of a milkshake shop where you can get a milkshake made out of anything; Cary Elwes (!) plays Bobby Wobbly, a cowboy who owns a bubble truck and continuously bounces up and down; Toni Braxton is Rosalie Rosebud, a diva singer who loves roses but is allergic to them; and Christopher Lloyd and Jaime Pressly are Lero and Lola Sombrero, who live in a giant sombrero that can fly when powered by dancing tango. Oi. Should I think that it's kinda cute that these guys were in this movie or feel embarrassed for them? Okay, I admit. It was cute. Cary Elwes is possibly the best thing about this whole movie, even though I don't think I'll ever be able to look at him the same way again.

So, I don't have too much else to say about this. It's a kid's movie! And not really a horrible one either, just one that's really weird. I mean, most kid's movies are weird anyway but with stuff like Cars and Toy Story, I don't see this as being one that will become any kid's favorite movie to watch. The audience participation crap didn't even seem like it would all that fun for a child to join in on - and NO, I did not participate while watching it. The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure was a nice attempt at a new kind of movie for kids to go see in theaters, but things didn't turn out the way they thought. Show your children Toy Story. They'll like you a lot more for it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Project Terrible: Track of the Moon Beast (1976)

Is it that time already again?! Oh, you betcha. Some of us just can't seem to get enough of those terrible, terrible movies so here we are with Project Terrible Round... oh, I forgot... 14? Something crazy like that. Anywho, I decided to with Maynard Morrissey's movie choice for me since he always seems to torture me the most. This time from him I got another obscure sci-fi movie from the 70s called Track of the Moon Beast. Goody. Let's get started.

So this movie has one of the best plots I've ever heard. Seriously. This hunky young mineralogist named Paul falls in love with a really boring chick named Kathy on the same night that he gets hit in the head by a meteor from an asteroid that hit the moon. Herein comes the "moon beast" part of this fantastic story because apparently, having a little bit of meteor in your brain turns you into... a lizard monster. I know you're anxious to hear how this turns out.

As hilariously stupid as the plot of Track of the Moon Beast is, it's really a shame that the rest of the movie is rather boring. There's just not enough Paul-monster-moon-beast action, too much talky-talky with all the other characters, and not enough of those whacky 70s sci-fi effects that I was looking forward to. Though it almost kills me to admit it, overall the movie isn't that bad. The production value - albeit minimal - is workable for the plot and the characters are not nearly as annoying as expected. Hey, you even get some musical entertainment in the movie. What more do you want?

If you're like me, your main question with this oh-so-magnificent plot is the relationship between some meteor shit (yay Creepshow!) and transforming into a lizard beast. Like, how are those two things related in any way at all? How does having a piece of meteor imbedded in your brain cause you to turn into a lizard creature that is closely related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex (I didn't say it - the movie did, I swear)? Paul's good friend is Native American and professor Johnny Longbow, who not only has the recipe for awesome stew, but also can give you the most minimal explanation for all of this possible. It's a Native American legend. I think. I wasn't really paying attention. However, no explanation could make this plot point make sense enough for anybody to take it seriously.

Paul only changes into the moon beast about three times in the whole movie and it all takes up about five minutes of the movie's run time. There's one really crappy dissolve transformation scene - which I can forgive because they did their best - and just what Paul transforms into is not at all what you would expect. He doesn't look much like a lizard and is instead this dark, bumpy headed Creature from the Black Lagoon type thing. He goes a little rampagey by killing some random guy outside his house and then some more random people in a tent where he rips one of their arms off... and that's pretty much it. At the the end, he runs around the desert some more before he's killed. Eh, boring.

Fan art for Johnny Longbow's famous stew
Just need to interject here another plot point that begs repeating: The piece of meteor in Paul's head disintegrates after a while and some NASA guys who come to help out tell Johnny Longbow that Paul will basically explode when the moon comes out. Awesome. Just awesome. Bad part is that you never get to see him explode. Johnny Longbow decides to kill Paul before that happens by shooting him with an arrow made of the meteor that hit him. The screen goes red filter and Paul's just kinda gone after that. Oh, you're breaking my heart.

There's some questionable dialogue in Track of the Moon Beast, and the actress playing Kathy is basically a blonde two-by-four, but everybody else does a relatively good job for what they have to work with. The goofy plot warmed me up to the movie quite a bit more than it should have but seriously - when have you ever heard of something like this before? The bad part is the painfully slow pace and way too many boring scenes of people just standing around and talking. I actually say give this one a shot, if only for nostalgia's sake - they don't make 'em like this anymore. Thank goodness.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Franchise Review: The Howling: Reborn (2011)

Ah, we have reached the end, kiddies. I have made it through eight - count 'em, eight - Howling sequels and come out relatively clean on the other side. There have good times and there have been bad times throughout this little adventure, wherein we have traveled to Australia, Budapest, and little dumpy towns like Drago and Pioneer Town. But now we've come to the conclusion with a straight-to-video sequel that came out 16 years after the last sequel. The Howling: Reborn is definitely light-years ahead of all the other films in terms of production value, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's any better.

Will Kidman is your typical teenager who is about to graduate high school without a clue as to what he is supposed to be in his life. He only has one good friend, his father is distant, and he has trouble expressing his feelings to a girl he's liked for years. All that changes after an attack by a creature causes him to realize the unbelievable changes in himself - that he is, in fact, a werewolf. Now he has to decide what to do with his new life, as a pack of powerful werewolves have moved in to take over. The credits claim that this one is based on the book "The Howling II" but I seriously doubt that the book could have been more than just a basic inspiration for the story based on the outcome here.

The whole movie is really about as generic, formulaic, and cliched as they come, mostly when it comes to the characters. Will, although quite well-played by Landon Liboiron, is not nearly as sympathetic as they try to make him - he needed something more to his character to make him different than every other loser-turned-awesome-person-of-circumstance. His goofy friend Sachin has made his own horror movie, and therefore is Will's go-to person when he wants to know all about werewolves (and they always seem to be right about that particular movie's werewolf lore as opposed to the others, you know?). Eliana is the outgoing, wild, but still vulnerable girl that seduces Will through the whole movie even though they make it seem like the two have never talked until a couple of days ago.

The high school portrayed in this movie is just atrocious. The comparison of high school to a prison is entirely appropriate in this instance because this place is some kind of very high tech Fort Knox. It is ridiculously unbelievable. Maybe in 20 or 30 years high schools will be able to be this secure (why, though, is still my question) but it doesn't even seem necessary where these kids are. Get this: they are actually able to completely lock down the entire school - with like metal gates over all the windows and such. Seriously, they're a bunch of middle class, snotty white kids. I'm not seeing the immediate danger to make this worthwhile of the taxpayer's money. The lockdown thing does end up making for a good plot point when Will and Eliana get trapped inside with all the werewolves at the end, but still. Come on.

The werewolves? They're actually pretty good once they (again) finally show up at the end. They're super-strong with weird acrobatic abilities, and they're probably the best looking werewolves of the series. A lot like the Dog Soldiers werewolves. Will's mom is the alpha wolf of her little pack and there's lots of crap talk about her wanting Will to give into his animal side and join the family, blah blah blah. Then Will finds out that he "accidentally" made Eliana into a werewolf (which is actually good because she saves him) so then they have to do another kind of emotional scene where he, like, talks her back into being a human because they love each other so much. Ugh, too much emotional stuff going on. Will's voiceover by the end gets a mite cheesy when he's getting all philosophical about basically the whole meaning of life, as well. It's nice writing but it's the same kind of stuff you've always heard about the dual nature of man and what it means to be human, BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Despite any overall lack of ingenuity here, I must say that this movie is still a hell of a lot easier to watch than any of the previous Howling movies. It's updated and snazzy looking, with a younger cast and a lot more in the action department which is something this series was seriously lacking. Not a terrible movie, really. Just kinda... meh. The ending is similar to the original's - Will broadcasts his transformation to warn people of the werewolf threat - and I only hope that it is some kind of ambiguous ending and not the beginning of yet another Howling movie. This Howling adventure has been fun, friends, but there's only so much I can take.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Franchise Review: The Howling [7]: New Moon Rising (1995)

Given the general, overall suckiness of all these Howling movies, I wasn't in the least bit fazed when everybody tried to tell me that The Howling: New Moon Rising was the absolute worst of the series. They're all bad! Why should this one be any different, you know? Well, it turns out that this one is possibly a new kind of bad.

Long-haired Australian biker boy Ted Smith rides into tiny Pioneer Town and gets a job at the local bar. He's related in some way to three previous Howling movies, but I didn't really remember how until they told me. Anyway, the usual starts to happen - disappearances and murders start to occur and seems to be the work of a "large animal," and as the new kid in town, townspeople start to suspect Ted as the culprit. Meanwhile, a priest and an inspector are hot on the trail of missing werewolf Marylou (from Howling 5) and it leads them right into Pioneer Town.

The movie actually sets itself up for the audience quite nicely. The opening scene is three guys standing around a skeleton found in the desert, and they all say, respectively, the best-slash-worst first lines of any movie I've ever heard - "Jesus Christ!" "Holy shit!" "Mother of God!" So appropriate for the reactions everyone will probably have while watching this movie. It doesn't get any better after this first scene, it just gets more stupid and boring.

The bar that Ted gets a job at - Pappy and Harriet's Pioneer Town Palace - is where everybody in town hangs out all the time. And this where a good chunk of the movie takes place, with some very uninteresting, inane, and unfunny scenes that have no relevance or importance whatsoever. This includes the most unenthusiastic line dancing I have ever seen, lots of drinking by the menfolk at all times of the day, lots of bad joke-telling, and far too many musical interludes for me to be comfortable with. My goodness, all those shitty montages with that shitty country music playing over them? All the random scenes of Harriet and Pappy singing with the band at the bar? Singing around the campfire? Ugh, stop it! Stop it now! This movie is certainly a first because it seems to be the first werewolf country western musical movie. And that's a horrible thing to be. Also, fuck George Jones and the number of times they mention him.

New Moon Rising infamously strings together its own flimsy plot by saying that it's all connected to the three previous Howling films, and actually includes scenes from all of them. I never would have guessed that Ted was the same guy who survived the castle in Howling 5 but apparently he is. Shows how memorable that movie was. Ted was also a guy in Drago that Marie Adams (who actually has a few scenes in this movie, too) supposedly killed in Howling 4, and they totally made that shit up. Anyway, by the end, the plot gets twisted up so much that it gets really ridiculous. The priest and inspector are talking the situation out and they bring up things that the audience never saw happen so it's incredibly confusing. Three dead guys all lead to Ted, but apparently it was the work of Marylou the werewolf who was somehow able to assume the form of another person (not possible, by the way!) in the town, this chick named Cheryl. It's anybody's guess as to why she was trying to frame this guy in the first place or what her ultimate plan was. Whatever it was, she failed miserably.

Here we are with the seventh Howling movie, and while there is plenty of werewolf talk throughout, we again don't actually see any werewolves until the very end. Very briefly. Like about 15 seconds. The red filter werewolf POV shots were more exciting than Cheryl's lame transformation and her equally lame demise that occurs off screen when she's shot by the townspeople after bursting through the door. The end.

And not a moment too soon. The Howling: New Moon Rising is simply a pointless movie. It sucks, and it's pointless and irritating with how horrible it is. All the actors, including writer-producer-director-actor Clive Turner, are terribly lifeless and boring, much like the rest of the movie. It's not even funny though it tries very hard to be and those attempts just turn out to be really pathetic. Ugh, bad movie. Do yourself a big favor and avoid this one at all costs.