Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

The Boxer’s Omen (1983)

The Boxer’s Omen [魔] (1983)

Starring Phillip Ko Fei, Lam Hiu Yin, Wai Ga Man, Bolo Yeung-Tze, Wang Lung-Wei, Elvis Tsui Kam Kong, Cheung Chok Chow, Leung Hak Shun, David Lam Wai, Wan Seung Lam, Lai Yau Hing, Lam Chi Tai

Directed by Kuei Chi-Hung

Expectations: High, it’s a Kuei Chi-Hung black magic movie.


Regular visitors will be familiar with the extreme exploits of director Kuei Chi-Hung, the Shaw Brothers’ resident weirdo. Films such as The Killer Snakes and Virgins of the Seven Seas show his range, but for my money his witchcraft movies are the main event. The Boxer’s Omen is a slight sequel to his previous film Bewitched, and it should open with a serious warning to anyone that could possibly be pregnant and/or have a heart condition. Kuei pulls no punches during the nearly non-stop parade of filth that constitutes The Boxer’s Omen, so fans of Hong Kong witchcraft films ready your snake gallbladders and alligator carcasses and we’ll get down to business.

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December 17, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Foreign, Good Trash, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust (2008)

The Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust (2008)

Starring K-von Moezzi, Kelsey Sanders, Joseph Porter, Frank Nicotero, Jon Southwell, Jacob Witkin, Michelle Bauer, John Carl Buechler, David DeCoteau, Greg Nicotero, John Vulich, Adam Green

Directed by Silvia St. Croix

Expectations: Low. The first one was abysmal.


The Gingerdead Man 2, despite featuring a storybook opening detailing the events of the first film, disregards everything from its predecessor except the titular character and chooses to forge ahead into unknown territory. Well, maybe unknown is a bit extreme, but you get the point. The Gingerdead Man 2 instead goes for the Full Moon jugular, aiming itself squarely at Charles Band and the Full Moon filmmaking mentality, as well as the overarching genre of low-budget horror pictures. Surprisingly, it actually succeeds a lot more than it fails at this and winds up being an okay movie.

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December 14, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Comedy, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Gingerdead Man (2005)

The Gingerdead Man (2005)

Starring Robin Sydney, Ryan Locke, Alexia Aleman, Jonathan Chase, Maggie Blye, Daniela Melgoza, Newell Alexander, James Snyder, Larry Cedar, Gary Busey

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate. Killer cookie, sounds good enough.


Sorry Charlie, this movie sucks. I don’t even know where to begin, but when I started having flashbacks to Thankskilling, I knew I wasn’t in friendly waters. The Gingerdead Man isn’t quite as bad as that awful killer turkey movie, but it does share a lot of qualities. The Gingerdead Man himself is a puppet that’s killing people while unleashing mildly amusing profanity-laden quips, and while they’re better written than Thankskilling‘s, they are just as facepalm-inducing. You would think that the man who literally created the killer puppet genre could wrench out a better film than this, but I suppose when you’ve made about forty in the genre you’re allowed a dud once in a while.

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December 7, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1/2 Star, Trash | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Chopping Mall (1986)

Chopping Mall (1986)

Starring Kelli Maroney, Tony O’Dell, John Terlesky, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Suzee Slater, Dick Miller

Directed by Jim Wynorski


As much as I’d like to tell you that Chopping Mall contains some great subtext about rabid consumerism, it really doesn’t. Search deep and you may drag out a few sketchy hints at social commentary, but apart from a short opening credit montage featuring fast food trays, bikini clad models, and other rudimentary symbols of American tawdriness and convenience-worship, it’s really just a fantastic little movie about a bunch of (mostly) unlikable young store workers being hunted down by killer robots. And by golly, that’s all you really need. A lot of potentially great films have been ruined by ambition. Chopping Mall takes ambition and shoots it in the back of the fucking neck with a mini harpoon claw.

Whereas some films come off as slaves to convention, Chopping Mall seems to revel in it. This is a veritable masterpiece of contrived cinema right here folks, and because of this it soars. Who gives a fuck if the plot is more or less directly ripped off from Dawn of the Dead? Who cares if the mall’s sporting goods store seems to only be stocked with high-powered assault rifles and tactical-edge 12 gauge shotguns? The lesson here is a simple one, people trapped in shopping malls fighting shit that wants to kill them is awesome. No need to shy away from that fact. There really is no end to the zany fun to be had here. Testosterone-addled characters spit out goofy one-liners like “Let’s go send those fuckers a Rambogram” while posturing all macho and shit. A pursued heroine has nowhere to hide except for an ill-lighted pet shop… Trying hard to remain silent, escaped snakes and hairy tarantulas climb all over her. About two-thirds of the way through, with the odds stacked against our survivors and no escape in sight, one of them conveniently gets an idea about shutting down “the main computer”. Oh man, THE MAIN COMPUTER! …of course!! Why didn’t we think about that sooner?!

Why the hell not? Allow yourself to be whisked away by convention here. This is the world of Chopping Mall. A world where a few gallons of spilled paint and a road flare can level an entire hardware store. A world where antiquated security drones vaporize a screaming woman’s head into red watermelon spray, raw hamburger, and bone splinters within the blink of an eye. I don’t even think they mention why the robots go apeshit and begin indiscriminately killing people in the first place. I don’t care. I love this movie.

December 6, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Horror, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Science Fiction, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mini-Review: Splice (2010)

Splice (2010)

Starring Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac, Brandon McGibbon, Simona Maicanescu, David Hewlett, Abigail Chu

Directed by Vincenzo Natali

Expectations: Low.


Splice starts off rather well, peaks about forty minutes in, and then slowly declines until the last fifteen minutes or so. At this point it reaches the cliff of the Grand Canyon and jumps off into oblivion. Despite this bullshit final reel, Splice is actually pretty enjoyable for the most part and is surprisingly shocking at times, even to my depraved mind. Throughout the film the story hinted and teased that it might go down a certain path, but being a studio picture I thought it wouldn’t dare actually do it. They do go there and it’s shocking both visually and morally when they do. When you really think about what you’re witnessing, it’s some twisted shit and I wouldn’t have expected a major Hollywood picture to be this fucked up. It’s a shame that the script wasn’t as good as it could have been, because Splice isn’t too far away from being great, at least in the idea department. The elements are clearly here but the weak, plodding script lacks tension and genuine narrative flow. Even still, Splice is a lot better than I expected it to be.

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are both adequate as the genetic research couple, but the star of the show is really Delphine Chanéac as their creation. Without revealing too much, she manages to encompass the questioning nature of her character and the mannerisms associated with her unique situation. The FX are great as well, as director Vincenzo Natali wisely has the masters at KNB providing killer practical FX that get as much screen time as their CG counterparts. The integration between the two is very well done and helps to sell the over-the-top plot to even the most jaded viewer. KNB’s work dominates the majority of close-up FX shots, allowing the intense details of the physical models to inform your mind when the less detailed CG versions take the reigns for the medium-range shots. Natali’s shot selection and framing is also excellent and adds quite a bit of intrigue and interest to the film through clever camerawork and beautiful cinematography.

The final reel is pretty piss-poor though, as it’s pretty clear that they had run out of ideas half an hour earlier. Any goodwill built up over the course of the film is quickly dissipated and the film ends with a telegraphed, bullshit moment that was only inserted so a sequel could be churned out if the film proved successful. Oh well, it was pretty fun while it lasted.

November 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010s, Horror, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 & 1/2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: ThanksKilling (2009)

ThanksKilling (2009)

Starring Lindsey Anderson, General Bastard, Natasha Cordova, Ryan Francis, Chuck Lamb, Lance Predmore, Aaron Ringhiser-Carlson

Directed By Jordan Downey


WOO HOO!! LOOK AT ME, I’M A KILLER TURKEY WITH A ‘TUDE!!!!! AW FUCK BITCH!! NICE TITS BITCH!! YOU JUST GOT STUFFED BITCH!!! GOBBLE GOBBLE MOTHERFUCKER!!!

Watching a film like Thankskilling is about as subtle as being mercilessly kicked in the balls by a screaming dwarf amped up on amphetamines with laserbeam eyes and rusty carpenter nails for teeth. We get it, we get it!! It’s a fucking killer turkey… and he curses!! I’m no dunce, and I know what this film is trying to be, but it fails… over and over and over again. This is the cinematic equivalent to watching a screaming lobster boiled alive, what should be a quick and painless process seems to drag on for an eternity until the sheer agony of it all becomes unbearable.

After opening on an almost Troma-worthy high note, this movie goes to pieces faster than a thanksgiving turkey stuffed with napalm. When you hear the same joke uttered three times within 30 minutes you can’t help but feel like these guys are just desperately grabbing for straws here. It’s embarrassing. From top to bottom this unfunny pile of shit literally had me cringing at moments. You can’t help but feel physical discomfort at the sheer awkwardness of it all. At one point a college student is fooled by the killer turkey wearing her dad’s skin as a mask, ala Leatherface. Not only is it stupid but the scene drags on about three minutes longer than is necessary. That awkward and uncouth spirit runs itself through the course of the entire film. What you essentially have is a silly joke run into the ground until it’s almost begging you to put it out of its misery. It’s almost as if the “Jeez you got a big pussy, Jeez you got a big pussy” guy from Predator made his own feature-length film.

Anybody can come up with an amusing concept, but not just anybody should take said concept and turn it into a 70 minute long motion picture. I can say that a kung fu priest would be funny (and it is, in the right hands), but that doesn’t mean that I’m gonna go out and make a feature-length film about it. Save that shtick for those who are capable, the Lloyd Kaufmans or Peter Jacksons of the world.

Maybe this shit would be funny if I was sparking a massive doobie or suffering from catatonic schizophrenia or something. I just don’t know. Whatever you do this Thanksgiving, enjoy yourself and be thankful that you didn’t have the heinous task of sitting through Thankskilling for review.

November 25, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, Comedy, Horror, Mini-Reviews, Movie Reviews, Trash, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Witchboard (1986)

Witchboard (1986)

Starring Todd Allen, Tawny Kitaen, Stephen Nichols, Clare Bristol, Burke Byrnes, Kathleen Wilhoite

Directed By Kevin S. Tenny


Before Kevin Tenny brought us Night of the Demons he gave us Witchboard, the first film of the semi-famed second-tier horror franchise. Witchboard is a surprisingly solid horror film (and unexpected homoerotic soap opera) that succeeds without resorting to much gore. I usually carry pretty high expectations in terms of gratuitous blood and guts in horror films of the era. The fact that Witchboard gets a pass in spite of its splatter deficit says a lot I think.

I think one of the most amazing things however, is that the film manages to carry itself with enough dignity and well crafted scares despite being completely riddled from top to bottom with unlikable characters. Honestly, I don’t think anybody in this film is exempt from being a front-runner for 1986’s Asshole of the Year™ award (which ultimately went to Oliver North). You have the moody drunk carpenter, the-know-it-all elitist douche, the hormonal junkie sexpot, and the obnoxious hermaphrodite psychic. I suppose the film wants you to identify with one of these characters, but to me the only one worth rooting for was the axe murdering spirit, who at least had the common decency to put the business end of a giant hatchet in a few of these miserable bastards.

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November 22, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hideous! (1997)

Hideous! (1997)

Starring Michael Citriniti, Rhonda Griffin, Mel Johnson Jr., Jacqueline Lovell, Tracie May, Jerry O’Donnell, Andrew Johnston, Mircea Constantinescu, Alexandru Agarici

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: High, the trailer on Video Zone was pretty awesome looking.


 

Hideous! falls into that strange category of films that succeed in being entertaining, despite an overwhelming amount of stupid moves that would otherwise equal a film abomination. I suppose one could argue that Charles Band is a master of such feats. Apparently, it didn’t do as well as they would have liked though, as there was never a sequel when it’s obvious they could have gone on a tirade of these kinds of movies if the market supported it. It’s kind of a shame because I’d love to see what other types of fucked up, half-grown human fetuses the team at Full moon could have conjured up.

The plot of Hideous! is played completely for laughs. Right from the get-go the light tone is established with three hard-working dudes working at a sewage treatment plant, fishing out random things from the sludge. With all this talk of sewage I almost thought I was watching a Troma movie for a second! The guys pull out a grotesque blob of flesh and one of the men recognizes it as something special. He quickly whisks it away and puts it in the hands of Belinda Yost (Tracie May), a dealer in all things deformed. This begins a struggle between two of the biggest collectors of rare mutations that eventually lands everyone involved stuck inside a castle, hunted down by the little nasties. Yeah, pretty much the Full Moon go-to plot, but the film is designed strictly to entertain and it does just that, as long as you have your expectations set properly.

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November 16, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Comedy, Good Trash, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Vamp (1986)

Vamp (1986)

Starring Chris Makepeace, Sandy Baron, Robert Rusler, Dedee Pfeiffer, Gedde Watanabe, Grace Jones, Billy Drago

Directed By Richard Wenk


 

Let me get this out of the way. Vamp is a fucking hoot. It’s a genuinely superb horror comedy in the same vein as Fright Night and Night of the Creeps, but it oozes enough style and a quirky tongue-in-cheek swagger to really set itself apart from the pack. There are a lot of vampire films out there, and a lot of those were made in the 80s, but only one of them features the 9 foot tall, Manute Bol lookalike Grace Jones as a freaky vampire stripper who partakes in jugular snacks from young frat boys and rips the hearts out from insolent servants.

Indeed, Vamp strikes its campy tone right off the bat and runs with it. From the clever first scene you know exactly what you’re getting into. The action follows Keith and AJ, a couple of college dregs doing what they can to enter some freaky, high-brow fraternity. With their hope almost lost, they pledge to bring in booze and strippers in a last ditch attempt to gain acceptance. With the help of uber-prep Duncan (played by Gedde Watanabe of Sixteen Candles fame) the trio embark on a trip to the big city in search of the alluring “After Hours Club”. Yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinking… this is no different from the goofy college boy antics I’ve seen before in Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. Can’t argue with that, but it’s during Vamp’s second act that things take a turn for the better.

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November 15, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Comedy, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Uninvited (1988)

Uninvited (1988)

Starring Toni Hudson, Eric Larson, Alex Cord, George Kennedy, Clu Gulager, Clare Carey, Rob Estes, Shari Shattuck

Directed by Greydon Clark

Expectations: Low. I don’t know anything about this except it has a killer mutated cat.


 

Well, I gotta give this movie credit. I’ve never seen a horror movie about an escaped lab cat that has a mutated version of itself living inside it that crawls out of its mouth to kill those that do it wrong. That’s about where the imagination ends in Uninvited, but with such a killer setup, it would be a shame if they wasted it. Thankfully they don’t, and the killer cat mutation stuff is fantastic, it’s just everything else surrounding it that’s kind of lame. As a low-budget horror film from the late 80s though, it should be expected that “the other stuff” is gonna be fairly sub-par.

Uninvited is yet another entry into the “stuck in a location being hunted down by an unseen killer” subgenre of horror that I mentioned in my Crash and Burn review yesterday. The subgenre is brilliant in its simplicity and absolute flexibility. It’s like Madlibs for the movies, where if you can think up a good location for the people to be stuck in, along with a creative type of killer, you’ve pretty much got yourself a winner. Films within the subgenre become instantly recognizable by these two traits alone, and simply by mentioning them you should be able to jog your friend’s memory to recall what film you’re talking about. Horror fans will forever remember Uninvited as “the one where the mutated cat kills people on a yacht.”

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November 10, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments