Category Archives: Horror

Z is for Zombie, that’s good enough for me!

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WORLD WAR Z (2013)

Director: Marc Forster

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marielle Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Fana Mokoena

Plot: In your head, In your head, Zombie! Zombie!

Rating: PG-13 for violent zombie rampages that aren’t gory enough to warrant an R rating.

 A zombie apocalypse? No thank you. Count me out compadre. No siree-bob.

Why? They’re noisy, frightening, and disgusting and nothing good ever comes from them. Basically  a zombie apocalypse is like the Coachella Music Festival minus the hippies.

But when a global pandemic turns everyone into bloodthirsty zombies, you’ll be glad Brad Pitt is on your side and not me.

Trust me. I don’t do well under pressure. I burst into tears when Starbucks is out of Cranberry Orange Scones.

On a beautiful morning in Philadelphia, retired United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is having breakfast with his beautiful wife and daughters, who are also by some amazing coincidence beautiful too!  Their perfect TV commercial family world is blown to heck when a mysterious viral outbreak rumbles through Philadelphia, turning normal citizens into violent bloodthirsty maniacs with a taste for human flesh. And no, I’m not talking about Phillies fans, I’m talking Zombies!

And these aren’t the usual shuffle along at one mile an hour zombies you see in the movies – these are the stampede at you full speed and climb up buildings to get to you zombies which is totally unfair for a guy like me who can barely break the 20 minute mile on the treadmill.  So I guess slowpokes like me are zombie food before the opening credits are over. Great, a zombie and I’m in Philadelphia. Not sure which is worse.

Anyhoo, Gerry and his family manage to escape Philly and head for the safety of Newark New Jersey, where the zombie outbreak has also taken place, but very few people notice. Luckily, Gerry puts a call to his best buddy, UN Deputy Secretary Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) who picks up the Lane family in a chopper and takes them to a Navy ship in the ocean where the remnants of the United Stated government are trying to figure out how to stop the zombies while voting on who is the next secretary of transportation.

And so Gerry begins a one man journey to find out where the zombie virus originated and how to stop it before the entire world is destroyed. He heads to South Korea, where there are zombies and some clues to the origin of the outbreak, then to Jerusalem where there are more zombies and more clues, then finally to a remote World Health Organization lab in Cardiff where he figures out a cure, but the ingredients to the cure are in a sealed off section of the compound which are surrounded by – wait for it – zombies!

World War Z moves along at a pretty urgent pace as Brad Pitt tries to stay one step ahead of the zombie hoards that are engulfing the planet. The movie hints of a possible sequel, but since this movie didn’t make a ton of money I’d say this is a one shot zombie apocalypse.

 I’ll say one thing about World War Z:  With the entire world in flames and society as we know it collapsing it’s good to know that the airplanes are still running frequent flights around the globe. Of course, you and I aren’t superstars like Brad Pitt, so if we had to fly across country to stop a zombie apocalypse there’s a really good chance we’d have to change planes in Denver and have at least a two hour layover in Atlanta.

Why is it always a layover in Atlanta?

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This Movie was in my Netflix Instant Queue: Zombie Hunter!

This month DVD Critics Corner takes a look at a few of the movies that have been collecting dust in the Netflix Queue. These “direct to DVD” gems never made it to your local cinema for some reason. Do we really need to know why? Of course we do.

This review contains lots of SPOLIERS, but let’s be honest, you are never going to watch this movie. Ever.

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Title: ZOMBIE HUNTER (2013)

Director: K. King

Cast: Danny Trejo, Martin Copping, Claire Neiderpreum, Terry Guthrie, Jade Reiger, Jason K. Wixom, Jake Suazo

GENRES: Action and Adventure, Horror, Action Thriller, B-Horror, Campy, Zombie Horror

This Movie is (According to Netflix) Violent and Campy

Rating: Not rated, but probably R.

Netflix Synopsis: When a street drug turns junkies into an army of zombies, Hunter finds himself with nothing but a beat-up car and a trunk full of guns and booze. Eventually, he stumbles across a small band of survivors.

The Dealy:

A TV newscast is running a story about the latest designer drug that is sweeping the country – NATAS: more addictive than marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, and caramel mocha latte combined. We see a pair of teens in a flop house shoot up the pepto bismol colored drug, then turn into zombies and eat each other.

This is your brain. This is your brain on NATAS being eaten by a zombie. Any questions?

The movie cuts to a year later, and like every zombie movie the United States is now a barren wasteland. Pockets of survivors run and hide from the zombie hoards now roaming the countryside. It is here we meet the star of Zombie Hunter, a rugged loner who travels the highways killing zombies one at a time and living each day one at a time. He is:

Not Danny Trejo!

This friggin guy!

Sorry fans of veteran bad ass character actor Danny Trejo, but”El Machete” isn’t really the star of this movie, even though his face is on the poster and his name is above the title.

Truth be told, he’s in the movie for about twenty minutes.

I know. I feel violated too.  But since the budget of Zombie Hunter was about the size of a Junior High School production of Annie, I guess they thought having a B-List action star Danny Trejo in the film for a few minutes is better than nothing, right?

Dear Lord, why must they fill my house with LIES!!!

The lead in Zombie Hunter is a known only known by one name: Hunter. A zombie killing drifter, Hunter (Martin Copping) is man who’s made up of so many different movie characters it’s a wonder he’s able to walk straight:

Like Mad Max, he drives a black muscle car, wields a double barreled shotgun, and wears black leather biker duds.

He speaks (and narrates the film) in a low growl like a spaghetti western era Clint Eastwood or Christian Bale when he’s in Batman mode.

Like the Ents in the Lord of the Rings movies, he is tall, stiff, and about as expressive as a tree.

While cruising through the wastelands of New Mexizona or wherever Zombie Hunters was filmed, Hunter hooks up with a small band of survivors hiding out from the zombie herds. They are an eclectic group of intellectuals you wouldn’t want to be on line with at Starbucks much less fighting for survival in a post zombie apocalyptic wasteland. Let’s do a roll call!

Alison (Claire Neiderpreum) – A pretty girl who cooks for the group and tries to keep morale high. Her turn ons include guns, trucks, and lunk-headed loners who dress like post apocalyptic Australian cops.

Father Jesus (Danny Trejo) – A priest who carries a bible in one hand and an axe in the other. Me thinks Jesus was a bit of a hellraiser before the zombies came calling, but I’m not going to question a man who can slice and dice a dozen zombies and still have time for Sunday service.

“Fast Lane” Debbie (Jade Reiger) – The zombie apocalypse was especially hard on Debbie. Most of the men in America are dead so it’s really difficult for a whore like her to find a drunken redneck with low standards to hook up with. Lucky for her the survival fortress they live in has a stripper pole for her to practice her job skills!

Jerry (Terry Guthrie) – A mechanic who can’t seem to get a car started when needed, Jerry says “I’m getting to old for this shit” so many times Danny Glover gets a cut of his salary.

Ricky (Jason Wixom) – Alison’s younger brother. He’s either 11 or 20, it’s hard to tell. Good thing his sister has his back or else Father Jesus is using him as a shield during the next zombie attack.

Lyle (Jake Suazo) – He’s a fat, slovenly, selfish douche nozzle. You will be glad when he dies.

Hunter learns the survivors want to travel to a nearby air base where they hope to find a plane to fly them to an island in the pacific with minimal zombies and no income tax laws. But before Hunter and his new pals can put their plans into action, the zombies attack again because this group of hardened survivors forgot rule #1 of surviving a zombie attack: Lock the front gate!

Oh, and to make things even more difficult for Hunter and crew, for reasons not explained some zombies have mutated into 9 foot tall monster zombies with giant claws and cloven hooves for feet. Look, they paid some computer guys a lot of money for CG blood splatter and decapitations, they might as well throw in a few Resident Evil style mutants! For as the late great Alfred Hitchcock famously said “Who needs plot exposition and character development when you’ve got cloven hooved mutants!” *

Zombie Hunters has everything you’d expect from a low budget direct to Netflix zombie apocalypse adventure, and for that you have my deepest condolences.  The problem is the movie rips off so many other zombie flicks and mainstream action movies it neglected to focus on the two things that would have made Zombie Hunter a totally awesome direct to DVD horror fest:

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Danny Trejo and a big axe.

Dump the Mad Max wannabe who mumbles his dialogue, get rid of the 5 people from different backgrounds trying to live together in harmony during an apocalypse, just give me 90 minutes of Danny Trejo slicing and dicing  zombie hoards.

That’s all I want. Is it too much to ask?

 

* – Alfred Hitchcock did not say that. It might have been David Lean.

A Leatherface Only A Mother Could Love!

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TEXAS CHAINSAW  3D (2013)

Director: John Luessenhop

Starring:  Alexandra Daddario, Trey Songz, Dan Yeager, Tania Raymonde, Keram Malicki-Sanchez 

Plot: A girl inherits a Texas home with 3 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, a full dining room, and a friggin loon with a chainsaw!

Rating: There’s a guy with a chainsaw hacking people to death. What do you think?

I’d like to kick things off with a little song I wrote just for this review, sung to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies theme song:

Let me tell you folks a story ‘bout a creepy kinda place,

Where some stupid teens got introduced to good ol’ Leatherface.

There was blood and guts and carnage, disembowelments – how bizarre!

It’s a hootenanny at the Texas Chainsaw Massa-car!

Okay, I haven’t gotten the rhyming part down yet. Maybe I’ll be a rapper!

In 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre introduced the innocent movie audiences to Leatherface, a unique fellow who wore masks made of human skin and enjoyed turning unsuspecting teenagers into Purina Dog Chow with his huge chainsaw.  Naturally people loved the guy.

TCM spawned three sequels, a remake, and a prequel to the remake. Among the highlights of those many movies:

In Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986) Leatherface has a climactic chainsaw battle with Dennis Hopper, who was probably on a ton of drugs at the time and thought he was actually having a fight to the death with a big guy with a chainsaw.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1997) was actually filmed in 1994 and featured two unknown actors named Matthew McConaughy and Renee Zellweger.  Renee and Matty were very pissed when the movie was released in a few theaters in 1997 to capitalize on their new fame, which is kind of silly when you think the guy who starred in Failure to Launch and the girl who gave us New in Town actually gave a crap about their reputations at one time.

The true star of the super grizzly 2003 remake surprisingly titled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the tiny tank top our heroine Jessica Beil wore throughout the movie.  That flimsy patch of transparent cotton clung tightly to Miss Biel’s svelt figure during all the running, jumping, bouncing and jiggling she had to do to avoid being shredded by Leather’s mighty chainsaw. Simply outstanding.

Now comes the latest chapter in the Leatherface saga, this one simply entitled Texas Chainsaw. Ignoring all the previous storylines, this movie picks up right after the events of the original.

A blood soaked teen escapes the Sawyer farmhouse and is rescued just before Leatherface can do his famous cut you in half with a chainsaw. The local Sherriff (Thom Barry) is about to arrest Leatherface and the Sawyer clan when a group of vigilantes led by King of the rednecks Burt Hartman (Paul Rae) attack the farmhouse and burn it to the ground. A baby is found and quickly adopted by one of the attackers because bloodthirsty vigilantes cannot be bothered with adoption agencies! Thinking that the Sawyer clan is wiped out, the townspeople go back to their peaceful non murdering lives.

Twentysomething years later, we meet Heather (Alexandra Daddario), a strong willed woman who believes her midriff should be exposed for the world to see at all times. Heather receives word from a lawyer that her Grandmother (who she never knew about) has passed on and left her a very nice estate in sunny Newt, Texas. Thinking this is a road leading to riches, Heather and her midriff head off to cash in on her dead Granny’s estate.

Accompanying Heather on her quest is the standard group of victims you find in any horror fest; poor misguided youths who make bad decisions and get picked off by a killer with a tricked out Garden Weasel. Let’s do a quick role call!

Ryan, Heather’s boyfriend (Trey Songz) – A likable doofus who is not nearly in the same league as his sexy galpal. Luckily he will be killed before he realizes their relationship needs some serious work.

Nikki, Heather’s best friend (Tania Raymonde) – Since movie rules dictate that she’s not allowed to be as hot as our heroine, Nikki differentiates herself by being easier than first grade math. She’s the girl who reflexively yells out “Woooooo!” when the word party is uttered.

Kenny, Nikki’s boyfriend (Keram Malicki Sanchez) – He’s the one who goes off to investigate the strange noise coming from the cellar, never to bee seen in solid form again. Poor Dope. Good thing he dies before he finds out his girlfriend is the Queen of Whore Island.

Naturally, things get a bit messy when Heather and her pals discover that (big surprise) Leatherface (Dan Yeager) is living in the basement of the house and is not very pleased with a bunch of stupid kids making a mess in his Grandma’s nice house. Heather escapes the carnage and finds the Sherriff who offers to help, but his plans are thwarted by Burt and the surviving vigilantes who want to finish what they started years ago.

When Heather learns the identity of her chainsaw wielding cousin and what happened to her real family on that fateful night (A note to movie cops – never leave a big box labeled “evidence” lying around so anybody can read through it!), who will she side with when Leatherface has his final showdown with Burt and his evil posse?

Despite the unique plot twist at the end, Texas Chainsaw does very little to differentiate itself from the previous entries to the franchise. There’s stupid young people, angry old people, lengthy conversations about the importance of family and the ties that bind us together.

It’s like Fried Green Tomatoes if Fried Green Tomatoes had a large man with a human skin mask wielding a chainsaw.

You know, something we all can relate to!

Horror Movie Villains I Want to Punch in the Face!

Hey kids, It’s Tom, your DVD Critics Corner bud.

As you know, it’s almost Halloween. Since this is a movie blog, WordPress rules state I must write a post about horror movies.

It’s true. It’s in that list of terms thing you didn’t read when you joined this blogging site. Look it up.

Anyhoo, Horror films have spawned some of the most iconic characters in movie history. But for every Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers, there are characters that are horrifying if your definition of horrifying is sad, pitiful, and friggin awful.

Here are some horror movie characters I would gladly feed a knuckle sandwich with a side of another knuckle sandwich, followed by a dessert tray loaded with (you guessed it) knuckle sandwiches.  It’s a very limited menu.

Let’s begin!

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JACK FROST, the killer snowman from JACK FROST (1997) and JACK FROST 2 (2000)

Snowmen are supposed to be jolly, happy souls. They dance and partake in spirited hi-jinks because that’s what the classic Christmas tune “Frosty the Snowman” says! Nowhere in the song does the snowmen kill the townspeople in horrible and gruesome ways!  Shame on you Jack Frost for breaking all of the snowman rules. Turn in our corncob pipe and eyes made out of coal.

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HORNY THE CLOWN from DRIVE THRU (2007)

Look, clowns are scary enough being..well, clowns. So they don’t need someone like Horny, a homicidal clown who disembowels annoying teenagers in the generic horror movie Drive Thru making them look even worse! Send in the clowns? I don’t think so!

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PAMELA VOORHEES from FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)

Okay, I’ll say it. Pam, you are a bad Mom.

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THE GINGERDEAD MAN from GINGERDEAD MAN 1, 2, and 3.

That’s right, the protagonist of this film is a killer cookie. Oh wait, did I say film? I meant films because they made three of these Gingerdead Man movies. THREE! The can’t get a  Justice League movie franchise off the ground, but they’re cranking out Gingerdead Man sequels like there’s no friggin tomorrow! So. Many. Punches.

And finally…

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THE MANGLER from The Mangler (1995)

A killer shirt folding machine. I see.

Hey, does anyone have Stephen King’s e-mail address? Also, can you punch someone in the face via e-mail?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from DVD Critic’s Corner!

I Got 99 Problems But The Witch Aint One!

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HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (2013) Director: Tommy Wirkola Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare Rating: R for Fantasy gore, horror gore, witch gore, gory language, and brief non gory nudity.  

Okay, forget everything you know about the Hansel and Gretel.

Now forget everything you know about geometry!

No, no, no, I’m just kidding. Don’t forget your geometry. You’ll probably need it some day. Honest.

But you have my permission to forget everything you know about the aforementioned fairy tale. Why? Because the horror-action extravaganza Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters has taken the tired old Brothers Grimm story and juiced it up with everything you want in a movie: guns, gore, gratuitous hand to hand combat, and guns!

Plus that witchcraft spell stuff for the Harry Potter crowd. They love spells. And that red haired girl. What’s her name… Henrietta? Yeah, her.

As the movie opens, young Hansel and Gretel are dropped off in the woods by their Dad because it’s important to the plot later in the movie. They wander around and find a gingerbread house, a witch captures them – yadda yadda yadda – the witch gets broiled as the kids high five.

Since Hansel and Gretel are now orphans and need to get jobs, they become professional witch killers and in a montage that plays during the opening credits we see newspaper clippings of their Witch hunting exploits because in early 19th century European newspapers witch killings were featured every day since sports hadn’t been invented yet.

Hansel and Gretel (now played by adult movie stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton respectively) are hired by the village or Augsburg to kill the crap out of some witches who are abducting the towns children.  Against the orders of the dickish Sheriff Berringer ( Peter Stormare at his most oily), the siblings begin their investigation and almost immediately run afoul of trio of powerful witches led by the evil Muriel (Famke Janssen) who is part superwitch and part Batman villain.  Turns out Muriel wants to use the kidnapped children as a sacrifice in a ceremony called Blood Moon that will make all witches invincible, their hats pointier, and their cauldrons bubblier.

With the help of local teen Ben (Thomas Mann), a village girl Hansel has the hots for named Mina (Pihla Viitala), and a cartload of anachronistic weaponry (we don’t have repeating crossbows in this century), Hansel and Gretel face off against Muriel and her black magic women, and in the process discover why their Mom and Dad abandoned them and why they must continue their quest to rid the world of witches even if it takes two more movies and a possible TV spinoff.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a highly watchable action packed flick that delivers just what the title promises. You got Hansel, Gretel, some witches, and hunting.

I like movies that do that.

Ever see Waiting for Guffman?

Spoiler alert: They waited for Guffman, and he didn’t show.

What a ripoff! I never forgave that movie, and I never will.

May The Schwarz Be With You!

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THE LAST STAND (2012) Director: Kim-Jee Wong  Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forrest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzman Rating: R for graphic violence, bad language, and Arnold kicking it old school!

Move over Avengers. Stand aside Statham. Park it, Fast and Furious guys. The first name in action movies is back from a long hiatus, and he’s ready to take back his seat at the top of the action movie heap. That’s right film fans, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back!

After years of bringing growth and prosperity to the untamed wilds of California, Arnold has returned to the world of cinema, and he’s going to show this new generation of action stars who the boss is. And it aint Tony freakin Danza!

Arnold’s first starring vehicle in over a decade is the High Noon inspired The Last Stand, and it’s got everything you’d expect from a classic Schwarzenegger action flick, plus car chases and the guy from Jackass!

It’s like the movie studio read my dream journal!

In The Last Stand, Arnold plays Ray Owens, easy going sheriff of a small boarder town in Arizona. Ray and his deputies have little to do in Summerton Junction, which is your typical sleepy desert movie town: dusty streets, rusty signs blowing in the wind, and colorful comic relief  locals like Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville) who has more guns than most third world armies.

 With most of the residents of Summerton Junction out of town for a high school football game, Ray hopes to have a quiet day off drinking tea and watching all of those Downton Abbey episodes clogging up the DVR. But this is a movie, so you know things are about to get mucho fugly.

Later that evening in Las Vegas, no nonsense FBI agent John Bannister (Forrest Whitaker) is transferring a vicious criminal to prison in a heavily armed convoy. Unfortunately, the prisoner is drug cartel kingpin Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), who is cunning, ruthless, and one hollowed out mountain fortress away from being a super villain.  Before Bannister knows what’s going on, Cortez is sprung thanks to his heavily armed crew and is off and running in a souped up Corvette hellbent for Mexico because airplanes and helicopters are for party poopers!

Bannister informs Ray that Cortez and his gunmen are heading straight through Summerton Junction toward the Mexican Border and the small town sheriff and his bumbling deputies should stay out of the way, but Bannister doesn’t know that Sheriff Ray Owens has the power of the Shwarz!

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Pictured: A gun. And the Schwarz!

It’s a showdown at dawn as Ray, his deputies, and Dinkum (with the help of his gun collection) take on Cortez and his army who are determined to tear southern Arizona a new one. Can Ray do it? Does he still have what it takes to get the job done? Will he live to see the Downton Abbey season 2 Christmas epsiode?

Fans of vintage action films will love The Last Stand because it’s always good to see Arnold back in the fray kicking butt and taking names. Fans of vintage handbags and purses will not love The Last Stand, because there’s not a single one in the movie. As I said before, it’s about Arnold kicking and taking.

Handbags and purses in an action movie? Not as long as I’m alive, fella!

This Was In My Netflix Instant Queue – Super Hybrid!

This month DVD Critics Corner shines the spotlight on movies that you may not have heard of. Cinematic gems that never made it to a theater near you. Films that have somehow slipped through the cracks, only to wind up in the mysterious phantom zone that is the instant queue of our Netflix account.

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Title: SUPER HYBRID (2010)

Director: Eric Valette

Cast: Oded Fehr, Shannon Beckner, Ryan Kennedy, Adrien Dorval, Melanie Papalia

Genres: Horror Movies, Sci Fi & Fantasy, Monster Movies, Supernatural Horror Movies, Sci-Fi Horror Movies, Sci-Fi Thrillers

This Movie is (according to Netflix): Dark

Rating: PG-13 for some mild scares and sci-fi gore.

Netflix Synopsis:  When a mysterious car rolls onto the premises at a police impound garage in Chicago, the unsuspecting mechanics — who are used to seeing some pretty hot wheels — come face-to-face with a killer specimen.

 The Dealy: A while back DVD Critics Corner! devoted a blog post to some of the greatest evil cars in movie history, which you can read by clicking here.

Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.

Are you back yet? Good. Wasn’t that insightful as well as entertaining? Not to toot my own horn, but I’m quite proud of that post myself.

Anyway, evil car movies are awesome because evil cars are awesome. They crash into things, crush stuff under their malevolent wheels, and despite their giant size and loudness have the amazing ability to pounce on dimwitted victims with ninja like stealth and expertise.

I mean lets face it, if you’re dumb enough to let a 3,600 pound bright red Plymouth sneak up on you, you don’t deserve to make it to the end of the movie.

So needless to say I was thrilled to discover a new evil car movie while I was cruising the Netflix listings: Super Hybrid. Granted, this straight to DVD flick is no Christine or The Car, or even Herbie Goes Bananas, but it does have a very evil car with some very unique powers and a mean streak a mile wide.

Speaking of evil cars, did I ever tell you about the time in high school my Datsun 210 ate my new Van Halen cassette? That car hated Van Halen.

As Super Hybrid opens, we are introduced to the title character, a mean looking black Chevy Nova that prowls the streets of Chicago looking for victims. The evil car doesn’t simply mow people down, it devours them when they get inside.  And how does it attract victims? By changing into more desirable vehicles, like a slick new Corvette! So the evil car is a shapeshifter, a creature that constantly changes its physical appearance to lure its victims closer so it can eat them, much like the Mimic Octopus or Madonna.

Unfortunately, even diabolical people eating cars must obey the rules of the road, and the super bad Chevy is banged up in a traffic accident. It’s towed to a multi level impound facility that’s about to be shut down for massive renovations, because big cities like Chicago have millions of dollars laying around to spruce up their shitty Police garages.

As the skeleton crew assembles for the night shift, they soon discover the strange black car that was brought in earlier is not like the other wrecked police cruisers and impounded sedans parked in the dark garage. And when the evil auto starts picking everyone off while morphing into different cars and trucks at will, Tilda (Shannon Beckner), Bobby (Ryan Kennedy), and their dick boss Ray (Oded Fehr) must figure out how to defeat the killer Chevy before it devours everyone in Chicago, much the same way the Cubs have devoured the hopes and dreams of baseball fans for over a century.

Sorry, Cubs fans. Your team is not good.

 Super Hybrid is a decent addition to the evil car horror movie genre, and the sci-fi inspired twist behind the car’s shape shifting abilities is pretty darn clever for a low budget direct-to-DVD film. So if you like your classic cars tricked out, souped up, and homicidal, feel free to add Super Hybrid to your Netflix queue.

And never get into strange cars no matter how awesome they look.

Yes, even if they offer you candy.

Or money.

My God, how were you able to survive this long?

This was in My Netflix Instant Queue – Werewolf: The Beast Among Us!

This month DVD Critics Corner turns the spotlight on movies that you may not have heard of. Cinematic gems that never made it to a theater near you. Films that have somehow slipped through the cracks, only to wind up in the mysterious phantom zone that is the instant queue of our Netflix account.

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Title:  Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012)

Rating: Unrated, but contains lots of gory dead body stuff and icky GG blood splattering everywhere.

Cast: Ed Quinn, Steven Bauer, Nia Peeples, Steven Rea, Guy Wilson, miscellaneous Romanians

Director: Louis Morneau

Genres: Horror, Werewolves, Pre-20th Century Period Pieces

This Movie is (according to Netflix): Violent, Exciting, Scary

Netflix Synopsis: “When a mysterious creature terrorizes a village by moonlight, a local young man joins a team of werewolf hunters to bring it down. But as the villagers are turned into vicious beasts, he suspects that his foe is someone closer than anyone thinks.”

The Dealy: The movie opens with a werewolf attacking a farmhouse and murdering a man, his wife, and his horse, which is pretty horrifying because in the 1800’s wives were everywhere, but a good horse was really hard to find. A little boy survives, and he grows up to be a man named Charles (Ed Quinn) who hunts werewolves and says movie cowboy things like “I reckon” a lot.

Charles has assembled a crack team of werewolf killers to aide him in his werewolf killing quest:

Hyde (Steven Bauer), the one eyed tough guy/comic relief who would have been played by Ron Perlman if this movie had a bigger budget.

Stefan (Adam Croasdell), an Englishman who throws knives at werewolves. Showoff.

Kazia (Ana Ularu), who fills out the “we need a hot girl on the team” prerequisite nicely.

Fang (Florin Piersic Jr.) He attacks werewolves with a set of silver teeth he puts in his mouth during battle. I wanna party with that dude.

Together, they roam around the Romanian/American countryside ridding the world of werewolves, who are nothing like the hip, smartly dressed werewolves that Warren Zevon has been singing about on classic rock radio all these years.

Charles and company arrive at a village that’s been under attack by a werewolf who is chowing down on the townspeople, leaving the local Doctor (Steven Rea) and his young apprentice Daniel (Guy Wilson) very little to do except pile up the corpses in a barn because burying dead bodies wasn’t invented yet or something.

Daniel wants to help the werewolf hunters kill the beast that’s been eating the towns drunks and ne’er do wells, but since he’s young and looks like he bathes on a regular basis, they want nothing to do with him. But when Charles notices this particular werewolf displays above average intelligence for a big dumb werewolf (running away from the guys with guns is apparently something werewolves don’t normally do), he decides to let young Daniel help them with the hunt. Daniel’s Mom Vadoma (Nia Peeples) hates that her son would rather hunt werewolves than go off to college to become a doctor, but she’s a Mom and you know how they worry.

Can Charles and his team learn the secret behind the werewolf before it kills more Romanian extras – I mean, 19th century Americans?

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us isn’t particularly scary or exciting, and the CG werewolf looks like every other CG werewolf we’ve seen in horror movies of late. But the movie answered an important question that’s been gnawing at my soul for quite some time: What has Nia Peeples been doing lately?

And now I know. My soul is at rest.

Murderous Space Aliens and Psychotic Androids Aside, How Was The Trip?

prometheus

PROMETHEUS (2012) Director: Ridley Scott Starring: Noomi Repace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba Rating: R for science fiction violence, icky weird space gore, and good old fashioned cussing. 

You have to admit, the Star Trek movie and TV franchise make outer space look pretty darn cool.

Infinite galaxies to explore, new planets to discover, and unique alien lifeforms to meet and get to know in the spirit of cosmic brotherhood. Plus the Star Trek crew had the best uniforms; and that’s very important because no matter what part of the universe you’re kicking around in, you should always look freshly pressed.

Ridley Scott sees outer space a bit differently. To Scott, who has directed such sci-fi classics as Alien and Blade Runner, space is a frightening hellhole where death is inevitable and horrors beyond your wildest imagination lurk around every dark and gloomy corner.

Scott’s latest sci-fi gorefest Prometheus continues this tradition, as the crew of the grand explorer ship Prometheus boldly go where no man has gone before only to get picked off one by one on some foreboding planet with no trees or flowers or green skinned slave girls for Captain Kirk to score with.

I really like Star Trek, okay?

In the year 2089, his and her archaeologists Elizabeth (Noomi Repace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) find a cave painting that proves the planet earth was invented by ancient space aliens, and they want us to visit them in a distant galaxy for a light lunch when we get a chance.

A few years later, Elizabeth and Charlie are on a long distance flight aboard the explorer ship Prometheus, which is commanded by the icy Vickers (Charlize Theron) and David (Michael Fassbender), an android who had that special chip installed that makes him extra creepy and homicidal.

There are other scientists and crew members aboard the ship, but there’s very little point getting to know them because this is a sci-fi horror movie and they’ll start dying in frightening ways very soon.

The Prometheus lands on a dark and foreboding  planet LV-223 near a gigantic building that is also dark and foreboding. As the science team explores the dark and foreboding corridors of  the structure, they find long dead alien corpses, cans of weird black slime, killer snake like creatures… you know, stuff that would make a sane person turn the big ass ship around and head back to planet earth at one zillion miles an hour.

But since it took them two years to reach the planet and some mysterious old guy (Guy Pearce) paid a lot of money to sponsor the trip, the super intelligent scientists decide the best course of action is to stay very close to the danger and ignore the homicidal android as he goes out of his way to ensure that even more people die horribly.

I’m not going to give away any more of the plot of Prometheus, but if you’ve seen Alien, which this movie is clearly a prequel to, you know what’s going to happen.

Wait, I shouldn’t say that, since Ridley Scott and everyone involved with Prometheus has said this movie is not a prequel to Alien.

Prometheus is it’s very own movie; even though there are a ton of references to the characters and situations from Alien and it’s many sequels, and the plot and characters (like the freaking homicidal android) are almost identical, it’s not a prequel.

Nope. Not a prequel.

Oh, I just decided something – X Men: First Class is not a prequel to any of the other X Men movies! The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has nothing to do with any of the Lord of the Rings movies! Smallville had nothing to do with Superman!

Actually, that last one was right.

Anyway, if you like special effects laden horror movies with creepy monsters in space that aren’t like another special effects laden horror movie with creepy monsters in space movie, Prometheus is for you.

I you don’t like being lied to by esteemed British directors, I suggest you take your business elsewhere. Don’t have your heart broken! It’s not too late!

Four Score and Seven Vampires Ago…

DF_35177 - Benjamin Walker stars as ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER (2012) Director: Timur Bekmambetov Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anthony Mackie Rating: R for gore, violence, ugly beards, and horrific stovepipe hats.

What’s not to like about Abraham Lincoln?

The speeches, the beard, the whole freeing the slaves thing;  Honest Abe was, as one historian I just made up put it – off the hizzle.

Hollywood released two big screen movies about Lincoln 2012: one a historical drama called Lincoln directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg which chronicles Lincoln’s struggles to end the bloody Civil War and rebuild a nation, and another one entitled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which features our 16th President beheading blood sucking vampires with an ax.

Sorry Mr. Spielberg, I’m going to go with the second movie here. It has vampires! And an ax! How can I say no? You don’t you know me at all, do you?

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opens with a young Lincoln reading his books and doing 19th century stuff with his Mom and Dad, who think their son is just awesome. Sadly, the awesomeness is shattered when Abe witnesses oily plantation owner Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) murder his mother in her sleep.

Years later, and adult Lincoln (Benjamin Walker, who looks more like Liam Neeson than Liam Neeson does) confronts Barts with a gun, only to find out that Barts is actually a blood sucking Vampire, a creature that can jump really high, vanish into thin air, and beat the crap out of future presidents with little effort. Before the battered Abe becomes a midnight snack, he is saved from Barts by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) who nurses him back to health, tells him all about vampires, and through the magic of a movie montage turns Abe Lincoln: gentleman scholar  into Abe Lincoln: ax wielding vampire chopper!

Please note: This didn’t actually happen to Lincoln. I looked it up on two websites and called my niece who reads a lot of history books and she verified it. Didn’t. Happen.

Anyhoo, Lincoln winds up in Springfield Illinois, studying law and wooing local beauty Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by day and beheading local vampires by night. Mary can’t understand why her boyfriend often shows up for their dates bruised and carrying a blood soaked ax, but Abe seems nice and since Match.com won’t be invented for another 150 years, she decides to stick with him.

Unfortunately Lincoln learns the vampire problem in the U.S. is too big him and his mentor Sturges to handle. It turns out the southern states are swarming with undead bloodsuckers under the command of Adam (Rufus Sewell), New Orleans plantation owner and unofficial president of the vampires. When he learns the slaves are being used as the vampires’ main food supply, Lincoln becomes something more dangerous and fearsome than 100 vampire slayers – A POLITICIAN!   

Years later Lincoln becomes President, which sets off the Civil War between the North and the vampire ridden South. When the Confederate Army turns vampire troops on the Union soldiers, Abe realizes it’s time to dust off the ax and give Adam and his vampire minions a Gettysburg Address they’ll never forget!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is loaded with everything you want in a biopic about a famous public figure: highly choreographed fight scenes, lots of CG blood spurting everywhere, and actors wearing period costumes and talking in old timey accents.

I hope other screenwriters and film makers are working on more of these “mashup” style movies featuring our nation’s presidents. Here are a few suggestions of my own:

Thomas Jefferson and The Pirates from Mars!

Millard Fillmore: Psychokinetic Spy!

Theodore Roosevelt: Mummy Puncher!

John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis with Dragons!

Bill Clinton Meets The Goonies!

Get cracking, Hollywood!