Sunday, April 25, 2010

"The Collector" review

The Collector (2009)

Director: Marcus Dunstan
Writers: Patrick Melton Marcus Dunstan

Josh Stewart ... Arkin
Michael Reilly Burke ... Michael Chase
Andrea Roth ... Victoria Chase
Juan Fernández ... The Collector
Karley Scott Collins ... Hannah Chase
Daniella Alonso ... Lisa
Haley Pullos ... Cindy (as Haley Alexis Pullos)
Jayme Suzonne Riser ... Bar Dancer
Krystal Mayo ... Bar Dancer (as Krystal Dawn Mayo)

A thief needs to find a way to pay off a debt to his ex-wife. When his new employers go out of town, he jumps at the chance to break into their house. He thinks he's concocted the perfect crime. Unfortunately another criminal is already hard at work inside the house. The Collector has staked a claim on the house and anyone in it. The thief didn't count on a serial killer hanging out in the basement but these are the occupational hazards of burglary. The Collector has seen all of the "Saw" movies and lays out many nasty traps to keep anyone from escaping. The thief must decide whether or not to save his own skin or try to save the family, (that he just met and is stealing from), by matching wits with a vicious psychopath.

"The Collector" is a solid horror movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is mean, vicious and nasty. Just as any good horror movie should be. The filmmakers must have had a list of traps lying around that got rejected from the "Saw" movies and decided that they were too good for the world not to see. They were right. For what says entertainment more than leaving a pile of bear traps on the floor so that some poor body can get mangled by them?

Oh sure, you could make a lot of trivial criticisms against the amazing lack of logic on display here. Like, how could the Collector possibly find the time to set up all of these traps? Why would a burglar care about a family he's stealing from? And why in the world would he actually go back to the house after he has escaped? My friend, if these questions affect your enjoyment of this movie, you don't want to watch B-movies.

For "The Collector" is most assuredly a B-movie and a very good one at that. It manages to keep its heavy horror tone from beginning to end. This was a relief for me as I have become a little tired of seeing horror movies with teens acting obnoxious and then getting slaughtered. "The Collector" has a simple plot which quickly propels the story into the house of horrors.

And I love that it's told from the point of view of the thief. Normally you would expect a horror story to be told from the victim's point of view but here the story is really told from the voyeurs side. The thief could have easily listened to their screams and been on his way. But when the thief tries to stop all of the obscene torture he sees, he'll wish he had stayed true to his nature and continued being a reluctant voyeur.

"The Collector" is a ghoulish horror flick that delights in showing torture in graphic detail. It also enjoys not explaining any of the motivations of the Collector. But when you're watching a horror movie, do you really need to know the motivation of the monster? All you need to know is that they enjoy inflicting pain and suffering and must be destroyed. The Collector might just live on to torture again. That's fine with me. "The Collector" is definitely worth a look.

One last thought, I must mention how much I enjoyed the strip club scene. It's shot in dark red and blue mood lighting. I must have watched this scene a dozen times. It uses the Depeche Mode song "I Feel You" for the soundtrack as the thief makes his way through the club. There was something about the stripper arching her back while smoking under red lights that drove me insane. Not insane enough to collect her mind you, but it's these kinds of subtly sleazy scenes that I cherish.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 4 collectors

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever" review

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)

Director: Ti West
Writers: Joshua Malkin Randy Pearlstein

Rider Strong ... Paul
Noah Segan ... John
Alexander Isaiah Thomas ... Dane
Giuseppe Andrews ... Winston
Alexi Wasser ... Cassie
Regan Deal ... Liz
Michael Bowen ... Principal Sinclair
Amanda Jelks ... Frederica
Angela Oberer ... Ms. Hawker
Lindsey Axelsson ... Sandy
Lila Lucchetti ... Karen
Andrea Powell ... Lucille

Bottled water brings the plague to the high school prom. The deadly disease, (was it ever given a name?), returns from the first movie to wreck havoc during the most important night of these teenagers short lives. The teenage characters in this movie run the gauntlet of teenage character cliches. There's a horny fat guy, a nice guy who likes a nice girl who's dating a jerk, a promiscuous girl who spreads the disease faster than contaminated bottled water and a host of other forgettable characters. And then there's the only connection to the first movie, the whiney, gutless deputy who runs from any sort of law enforcement duty. They'll all have to deal with the moral dilemma of either trying to survive or attempting to save their disease-ridden friends.

Healthy teens consume tainted water and die. That pretty much sums up "Cabin Fever 2". There's not a cabin in sight in "Cabin Fever 2". There isn't even any kind of fever. The filmmakers clearly felt the tension created from your body slowly rotting away was too drawn out and dull for their tastes. Now the disease kills you right away so we don't have to wait long for the victims to cough up their guts. Their sequel plan was simple. Less cabins! More gore! Teens love watching other teens die horribly. If you love watching teenager puke out blood, this is the movie you've been waiting for.

I suppose you could choose to believe that there are characters in this movie but it would be more beneficial just to think of them as future skin disease victims. "Cabin Fever 2" starts off by introducing a couple of typical teens getting ready for their prom. That way it'll be helpful later on so we can identify their corpses. All of the cliches end up at the prom and die as any good prom cliches should die. They drink the spiked punch. Never drink the punch at the prom. Especially punch that has been used as a toilet by infected cretins.

But then again, the prom scene is the best part of "Cabin Fever 2". The government gets actively involved in preventing the disease from spreading and locks the high school down. This allows the filmmakers to showcase their skills in staging a prom massacre scene. Blood flies in all directions as teen after teen coughs up blood. A few manage to get away only to end up coughing up blood in other rooms. There is plenty of blood and guts spilled as the teens try to escape the wrath of a vengeful social disease.

"Cabin Fever 2" is a brainless sequel filled with carnage and mayhem. It actually poses an interesting question. What is the appeal of these movies? Is a cabin necessary to make a "Cabin Fever" sequel? Is watching people die of a skin disease enough of an enticement for entertainment? The filmmakers clearly believed that having victims march off to a remote cabin was superfluous to their plans as it would only delay the inevitable. They had gallons of blood to spill and didn't want to waste time doing it.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 bloody proms

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Hanger" review

Hanger (2009)

Director: Ryan Nicholson
Writers: Ryan Nicholson Patrick Coble

Debbie Rochon... Rose
Dan Ellis... The John
Nathan Dashwood... Hanger
Ronald Patrick Thompson... Leroy
Lloyd Kaufman... Melvina the Tranny
Wade Gibb... Russell
Alastair Gamble... Phil
Candice Lewald... Nicole (as Candice Le)
Nadia Grey... Smashy
Stephanie Walker... Trashy
Michelle Grady... Trixie the Mangled Whore

Debbie Rochon is pregnant and her pimp doesn't like it. He decides to be proactive with Debbie's due date and yanks her fetus right out of her womb. Debbie doesn't survive her motel room abortion but the baby does. He grows up to be Hanger, a hideously scarred freak with a penchant for extreme violence. Hanger's dad finds him and gets him a job working with some other freaks at the city dump. Hanger gets set up in a new apartment with a roommate who has a thing for beer, porn and used tampons. Life couldn't get any better for Hanger. Unfortunately Debbie's old pimp shows up and is looking for revenge. Hanger's dad will stand up for the freak so that Hanger can live to find some meaning to his almost aborted, violent life.

The filmmakers behind "Live Feed" and "Gutterballs" return for another nasty exploitation movie. I really liked "Live Feed" but thought "Gutterballs" was far too obnoxious too enjoy. Now along comes "Hanger". The director, (Ryan Nicholson), is turning into a sleaze auteur. First he tackles the sordid world of snuff films. Then comes his take on 80's slasher flicks. And now the aborted baby revenge flick "Hanger" crawls its way out of the uterus for our presumed enjoyment.

By all accounts, I should have liked "Hanger". It had all the elements I normally associate with fine cinema. Sex, violence, topless women, deranged psychos and female masturbation on top of a desk with a Hello Kitty product. Nothing says Oscar season like rubbing one out with your Hello Kitty doll.

But "Hanger" turns out to be a random assortment of sleaze moments that lead nowhere. It's a movie with no real purpose other than to delight its audience with bad acting, sporadic gore and aborted baby revenge. "Hanger" meanders through various sleaze scenarios but it turns into a chore to watch as the freaks slowly get around to beating and penetrating each other. The pacing of the freak show was a little sluggish and caused my mind to wander. Mostly I was thinking why I was bothering to watch this movie.

Although "Hanger" does have some charming traits so it's not completely worthless. Candice Lewald deserves special mention for her brilliant rendition of a secretary in heat. Her scene masturbating on her desk is a fine B-movie moment. There are some other topless women in this movie and they are all appreciated. Ryan Nicholson also deserves some kudos for standing by his convictions and packing as much extreme sexual violence in his films as possible. He has shown a rare commitment to the art of exploitation and it is to be commended. Well, at least it is by me.

But "Hanger" turns out to be less than the sum of its parts. Random sleazebag scenes cannot hold the movie together until the end. The main problem with "Hanger" is Hanger. He doesn't do much. He was not as committed to his blood lust as I was hoping he would be. His dad does most of the killing for him. This leaves Hanger plenty of time to hang around his apartment with his bloody tampon loving roommate. Not exactly the kind of homicidal attitude you're looking for in your repressed psycho killers.

Overall, "Hanger" can be skipped. It has some nasty, sleazy moments but they're not enough to warrant a viewing. Unless you're in desperate need to see the horrors of a B-movie abortion up close, you can let this one go.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 no choice abortions

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Bitch Slap" review

Bitch Slap (2009)

Director: Rick Jacobson
Writers: Eric Gruendemann Rick Jacobson

Julia Voth ... Trixie
Erin Cummings ... Hel
America Olivo ... Camero
Michael Hurst ... Gage
Ron Melendez ... Deputy Fuchs
William Gregory Lee ... Hot Wire
Minae Noji ... Kinki
Kevin Sorbo ... Mr. Phoenix
Lucy Lawless ... Mother Superior

Three hot women hit the road to look for a stash of diamonds. They arrive at a decrepit trailer in the desert to look for the loot. Through a series of flashbacks we learn that the filmmakers enjoyed "Sin City" and want their movie to use the same special effects. Since they can't afford any more location shooting, almost all of the movie takes place in front of a run down, dilapidated, trailer. The ladies sweat, curse, yell, make out, and eventually start slapping each other as they come to grips with their B-movie situation. They need to figure out how to make an entertaining movie about three women and a trailer. Start slapping ladies.

"Bitch Slap" is a movie that I should have loved. I should be writing about how the three bitch slapping women in this movie drove me insane with lust with their cat fighting skills. I should be drooling over every curve of their voluptuous bodies. "Bitch Slap" looked like a fine piece of sleaze cinema and I was ready to make a love connection. But therein lies the tragedy behind "Bitch Slap". It is not sleaze cinema. It is not a throwback to sleaze cinema. It is nowhere close to sleaze cinema. While its lack of grimy exploitation may excite certain moviegoers, I was devastated.

There is one crucial element missing from "Bitch Slap" that prevents it from reaching the lofty heights of a true exploitation movie. Simply put, there is no exploitation in "Bitch Slap". When you advertise three sexy women slapping the sweat off of each other, you better make sure to include plenty of gratuitous nudity. After all, if the ladies are beating the snot out of each other, there must surely be a wardrobe malfunction (or two). It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that there is no nudity in this so-called exploitation movie. For shame.

"Bitch Slap" is a fake exploitation movie. It is another bait and switch B-movie that tries to trick you into renting it with false promises of sex, violence and hard bodied women. There aren't any sex scenes, nude scenes or any scenes of blood and guts. So someone explain to me why any sane person would consider this an exploitation movie. The only thing "Bitch Slap" delivers on is plenty of girl fights. There is more than one scene of girls slapping each other. But if you've ever seen hot women wrestling with each other, you've already seen the best parts of this movie.

Although the ladies were lovely to look at, (especially Julia Voth), "Bitch Slap" let me down. It did not deliver on the implicit agreement that exploitation films make to their audience. Show me the exploitation! The only thing that gets exploited are the fans of these movies. The desire for sleaze entertainment is strong and the bitch slapping women knew that. I have been slapped and I wish I could say I liked it.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 slapped bitches