Monday, October 31, 2016

Ernest Scared Stupid Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Leading up to Halloween, Ernest unwittingly frees an evil troll that was captured by his ancestor.

Review: I used to really like this movie as a kid, but, unfortunately, it does not hold up well at all. This was the last entry in the Ernest franchise to make it to theaters...which is kind of shocking they even bothered after how horrific "Ernest Goes to Jail" was. Of course Jim Varney still carries the ridiculous story with utmost conviction, but the zany hijinks are a bit too moronic in this instance. Sure, the Halloween aspect cushions the fall slightly, but they don't spend nearly enough time dealing with the holiday. In fact, the original script probably just wanted to have Ernest fighting a troll, and someone in the marketing department wisely realized you could widen the appeal by including Halloween themes.

If you're wondering why is there never any continuity in this franchise...well...I have no clue. This time around Ernest is a garbageman, randomly, and, in typical fashion, is fucking everything up. We get some little kids for friends too which I'm okay with...I guess. We come to learn a troll was terrorizing the town sometime ago in which Ernest's ancestor managed to trap the fugly creature. After building the coolest treehouse ever with the kids, Ernest inadvertently awakens the troll that just so happens to be trapped under the tree they used. I do want to mention, that in fairness to Ernest's stupidity, a different idiot is the one that told him the exact way to awaken the troll so it's just as much their fault as Ernest's for freeing the beast. Anyway, the troll needs the souls of children to--here we go again--take over the world or some shit with the help of his children. No one believes Ernest other than the kids, because it's Halloween after all. The troll does manage to accomplish his goal due to no one believing Ernest, however, this little troll army is defeated laughably easy. Apparently they are weak against milk and love. Oh god. This is one of the worst take over the world schemes yet, and this isn't the first time I've made that statement! By the way, why the hell is one of those trolls a dead ringer for one of the Killer Klowns? Hmm. In the end, Ernest, with help of the townsfolk, manages to defeat the pathetic trolls and restore balance to the force I think. The movie ends abruptly with Ernest, seemingly, fucking his dog and a hag eyeing the camera because why not, right?

This may not be the worst Ernest movie, but it's probably the biggest waste of potential. How do you not utilize the holiday more than this? Worse, the comedic elements, intended to be the heart of the film, fall flat; a significant number of the jokes are embarrassingly lame, and the gags and setups aren't making out much better. If you liked other Ernest installments I'm sure this will entertain you since it's, more or less, the same shtick with a Halloween veneer. On the other hand, if you have no clue what the hell an Ernest is, or find even the better entries like "Ernest Goes to Camp" to be bad, then you will definitely want to avoid this. Objectively, this a mediocre film with little to offer and quickly forgotten once the credits roll.

Notable Moment: When those kids are using precious pizza as a weapon and wasting it! Granted, the pizza looked like shit but come on!

Final Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Garfield's Halloween Adventure Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Intrigued by the prospect of free candy, Garfield and Odie embark on a night of trick or treating.

Review: Typically I wouldn't cover a short, TV special such as this, but, screw it, I make up the rules around here. Anyway, this special is near and dear to my heart as I've been watching it annually since the '80s. You'd think subsequent viewings would grow tiresome over the decades yet it still invokes the same entertainment value now as it did originally; I still like the songs and enjoy the little jokes. It's tough to imagine modern audiences fully embracing this special, but you'd be missing out that's for sure. You don't even need to be a fan of Garfield to appreciate the humor styling either.

What we have is typical Garfield action with him being a sarcastic and lazy bastard who is only interested in Halloween for the candy. Tricking Odie into helping him for twice the candy, Garfield decides on a pirate theme which adds another layer of material to explore. The songs work surprisingly well and the jokes still hold long as you anticipate kid-friendly antics. The animation is acceptable, but I'll admit it's not exactly mind-blowing or anything. The best part is that the story kind of takes an unexpected turn once Garfield and Odie end up on a mysterious island. Here, an old man explains to them that ghostly pirates are returning for their long lost treasure that night. It might not sound like all of these elements will mix, but, I assure you, the plot points blend seamlessly. Not shocking whatsoever, Garfield and Odie escape from the ghosts and manage to make it back home in one piece. Garfield even splits the candy 50/50 which is difficult for him to not be selfish. The ending works too, because you get that same, creepy old man popping up on the TV for a final zinger almost.

Whether or not you have kids, are a kid, or are simply looking for good, clean Halloween fun, this is worth a holiday viewing. Sure, you might be looking for a more hardcore recommendation this time of year--which I've covered hundreds of films that fit that bill--however, this special can still serve as a cool down; think of it as a way to forget all about Natre at the end of your bed! Regardless of the situation, this is a fun short that hits all the right notes. The comedy is solid and nothing feels dated at all despite over thirty years passing by. Of course it helps if you are already a fan of Garfield, but it's not necessary as I've stated--the story works well enough without any context for the characters. Just watch this--you won't regret it!

Notable Moment: When Garfield and Odie run into, seemingly, real monsters...also trick or treating for some odd reason.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Nightmare Before Christmas Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: In a world where creatures only experience Halloween, the Pumpkin King wishes to celebrate Christmas.

Review: I planned to review this film some time ago, but I was never sure if I wanted to cover it during Halloween or Christmas. In the end, I decided that the majority of the film is Halloween-centric so here we are. Anyway...this is an undeniably unique and ambitious example of filmmaking, however, I've never understood the appeal. Sure, the songs are catchy and the visuals are imaginative, but I guess I just don't "get it." The story makes little sense and the pacing is an absolute fucking mess with an impromptu villain added in the third act since most conflict in the plot is contrived and forced. Not sure how this crack trip was created, but anything this weird is going to attract a specific crowd one way or another.

Starting with the positives I must acknowledge the animation efforts. The character designs and general aesthetics are impressive and wholeheartedly original. Although you clearly feel Tim Burton's hand in the production, the crew did a fantastic job worthy of high praise. Overall, from a production standpoint, the movie is quite the accomplishment. Since the film is, more or less, a musical, I did like many of the songs. The voice actors also turned in admirable performances since I wouldn't have even recognized them from their usual speaking voices without consulting a cast list. While the story may not fully dazzle my senses, there is a certain, whimsical tone that engages the viewer in the way a bizarre fairy tale would.

As for the negatives, it's hard for me to accept the situations when it feels like they're making things up as they go. Yeah, this is a fantastic world where monstrous creatures simply exist--I can come to terms with that--but random things keep happening on the spot as if you are supposed to roll with the punches. I can't. For example, the Frankenstein-wannabe can just create lifeforms because Jack shows him a picture? Or Jack is shown being blown up and falling out of the sky and just brushes this off. Yet...we are to believe he's in danger when fighting Oogie Boogie? Speaking of which, Oogie Boogie comes out of nowhere, like he was supposed to be this threat all film long, and is easily dispatched with. AND the only reason he's in the story at all is because Jack enlists the help of his minions for no discernible reason despite being told not to trust them! Then the romance element is completely shoehorned in as if it's of epic proportions. It ain't. The running time is incredibly short--70 minutes without credits--and you feel like every plot point is rushed as if they just wanted to be done with it already. I don't know, dude...there is definitely a reason those cowards at Disney wouldn't attach their brand name until AFTER the film had succeeded.

As a fan of film itself, I can respect "The Nightmare Before Christmas," but it is not my cup of tea. There are numerous elements I appreciate especially in regard to the production and art style. Maybe if they went darker with the material--presenting an adult fairy tale perhaps--I could be more invested. To turn this into some kind of holiday movie for the kiddies, on the other hand, makes it bland to me somehow as if they wasted the full potential. Had there been, maybe, another 15-20 minutes tacked on to the film--establishing Oogie Boogie, explaining how all these holiday worlds exist separate from reality, etc.--then I believe a truer vision would have been realized. This is probably another instance where you will simply adore the film through and through or awkwardly shrug once the credits roll.

Notable Moment: The scene used for the poster--when Jack is singing across the moonlight. It's a great image, and I can see why they played it up for the marketing.

Final Rating: 6/10

Saturday, October 22, 2016

When Good Ghouls Go Bad Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Shenanigans ensue in a town forbidden from celebrating Halloween.

Review: Well, this was a hot mess. There must have been some kind of heavy editing going on before release since far too many scenes occur with little to no explanation. In one respect I can appreciate the attempt at an offbeat, childrens tale, but, on the other hand, I can't ignore the general sense of idiocy at every turn. I mean, even the core plot about why Halloween is banned in this particular town is laughably moronic. Then when we factor in Christopher Lloyd hamming up every damn scene things begin to get out of hand. R.L. Stine what the ducky were you smokin', buddy boy?

Apparently a random, goth kid was burned alive while working on an art project, and he cursed the town in death, forbidding the people from ever celebrating Halloween. For no reason whatsoever, the stupid townspeople believe in this curse instantly and ban Halloween. In actuality, we come to learn the kid was accidentally killed, and this retarded story was made up to cover up...the guilt...I guess. Either way, it doesn't add up no matter how you rationalize it. While this simplified version of the story works well enough, it is boggled down with endless, dead end plot tangents. The town is named after the main kid and his family because of a chocolate factory they own. Hmm. We get antics regarding the reopening of the factory and German investors. Then we have Christopher Lloyd's character telling everyone to call him Uncle Fred for no discernible reason. The main dude also has a love interest with the most womanly-sounding voice ever for a tweeny. There are, of course, shenanigans with bullies and dumbass townspeople acting like assholes. Oh yeah, the main kid's dad tries to hook up with some chick who happens to be the love interest's mom...which would potentially make them brother and sister if their parents married. DAD...quit fucking shit up! A giant pile of pumpkins materializes out of thin air to kill Christopher Lloyd, zombies materialize too, and we randomly get a reunion with a zombie grandma as if her character was hyped beforehand or something. A forgotten flashback scene, perhaps? That goth kid is somehow controlling fireflies which, according to Christopher Lloyd, glow due to magic. Well, thanks for clearing that up for me. The film keeps going back and forth about whether or not they're going to celebrate Halloween or not and there is some bullshit about an election? I don't know. Seriously, there are too many meaningless plot threads, and I'm not even addressing that child molester birthday party where Christopher Lloyd throws a fake hand in his pants and promises a 100 bucks to the kid that finds his hand. Oh goodness gracious...gonna make me cry from laughter.

Needless to say, they tried to tackle too much, and it does not come together cohesively whatsoever. Beyond that, the effects are weak and the acting can range anywhere from adequate to school play level. The jokes are cornball, but that's okay with me I suppose. The pacing is uneven, however, it didn't drag as much as I imagined it would. There are good ideas scattered about and the revelation about the goth kid's art project was somewhat touching...though, there was no buildup to the realization that goth kid idolized Christopher Realistically, this is too dumb for any kid over 8 yet, ironically, probably too scary for any kid under that age. If this is on TV...give it a whirl...why not? But I definitely would not waste my time seeking this out as it's mostly bland and easily forgettable.

Notable Moment: When a zombie Christopher Lloyd dresses up as a clown. Now that's some scary shit right there!

Final Rating: 5/10

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fun Size Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Hijinks ensue after a high school girl loses her little brother while trick or treating.

Review: There is also another movie called "Fun Size Horror," but, unfortunately, you get this instead. I think this "Fun Size" originally wanted to be a teen sex comedy but remembered it was made by Nickelodeon. It also tried, and failed, to be a serious drama was made by Nickelodeon. A primary failure was the inability to properly utilize the good looking lead, Victoria Justice. I guess she is supposed to be a sexy Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" but the costume is not incorporated meaningfully and barely acknowledged. It's tough to explain why this movie was so dumb, because the production quality was adequate. I think what was annoying me so much was the junior high mentality of all the characters--which was probably the target demographic--yet the actors are supposed to be seniors in high school while also looking older than that to boot. Plus, I can't ignore the general sense of idiocy to the comedy as most jokes fall flat. Honestly, what the fuck am I doing watching this shit? Am I really scraping the bottom of the Halloween-themed movie barrel? Yes. Yes, I am.

So Ms. Justice plays some alleged geek, named Wren, suffering from "She's All That" syndrome. Her, seemingly, mentally retarded brother is one of the most painfully annoying characters to date, and he runs away from Wren while trick or treating. Of course zany antics commence shortly after as a consequence since Wren and her best friend just want to go to a cool kid's party. Her friend, by the way, has an ongoing gag about using Nair on her butt. Ugh...don't even ask. Another point that irked me was the nonsensical portrayal of Halloween with like a million people roaming the streets as if this is a fucking Tokyo crosswalk. Nice try. This is like how an alien would interpret Halloween. Don't I wish the pussified people of this country would embrace Halloween to that degree!

Things get significantly dumber as we are introduced to a bitch-boy that hangs out with the brother. Keep this in mind...the brother is like 10 years old while this guy is probably 30. Then there is Wren's super friend-zoned love interest who does manage to get the girl...somehow. The worst aspect for me was their mom, "played" by Chelsea Handler. I just got the feeling that she showed up on set unannounced, and they filmed around her in such a way to include her actions into the plot. There are plenty of eye-rolling moments as the adventure unfolds in, what appears to be, the longest night of all time. Shocking no one, Wren gets her brother back and the family becomes closer once they realize they all miss their dad who died. Oh, good lord...

Well, you know this is a fantastic film because it ends with that brother shitting, naked, and crank calling Chelsea Handler. I don't know, dude...if you like Victoria Justice I guess this is the movie for you. There really isn't much of a draw here since the tonal shifts are a mess. The filmmakers could not decide what genre they wanted this to settle within and the cliches are overly abundant. The Halloween plot element does make things slightly more interesting, but, with characters that are this annoying, we needed a cathartic death or ten. Instead, we are shown a giant chicken humping a car. Argh. Is it really any wonder why this bombed?

Notable Moment: When Wren and her friends are driving down the "cool" part of town listening to a blaring Josh Groban. Admittedly, this was somewhat amusing.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

Saturday, October 15, 2016

3: All Hallows Eve (aka Voices from the Grave) Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Well, it's not the worst anthology film I've there's that, right?

Review: You don't even want to know how many days it took me to slog through this ungodly mess. At a glance I thought this was supposed to be "All Hallows' Eve 3" or something, but this is an entirely different film. First off, that title is beyond misleading--as only the first segment involves Halloween--but, in fairness, the filmmakers did intend for the title to be "Voices from the Grave;" I guess you need to blame whoever marketed this trash (I'm looking at you Amazon!). However, the problems go far, far beyond misleading titles. This is amateur hour of a caliber that is nearly impossible to tolerate. We are talking home movie quality of shit here, people! The picture and sound quality alone are so disgraceful most casual viewers will immediately turn this off. The acting is what happens when you grab friends and neighbors, and the direction isn't even comparable to collegiate level, student films. The one positive I can actually say is that the camerawork was admirable. Meaning, the angles and shots used clearly demonstrated that someone on this crew knew something besides the basics; I guess technically the editor was decent too.

Wraparound: When you see that shit quality of film and acting you should have an understanding of what kind of movie you've, regretfully, gotten yourself into. With that said, this wasn't too bad as far as wraparounds go. Some random dude goes to a book store looking for something obscure and scary. A book magically falls off the shelf called "Voices from the Grave" and this guy decides to instantly settle in to read it. To this guy's credit, he was tasked with the hardest job on the set...pretending that the laughable events of this movie were actually scary. I especially love how, after each segment, he's all winded. Yeah, sure, okay, buddy. Anyway, after finishing the stories, the guy buys the book implying that there are more stories we didn't get to yet. Oh fuck, say it ain't so. When he gets in his car he finds signature items from each segment as he seemingly dies...I guess. Eh, it's really not too bad of a concept, but it's just so hard to ignore the inferior quality to every single facet of filmmaking.

All Hallows Eve: Obviously this segment was the ploy to get me to watch this. Grrr! Two brothers get into a minor argument one Halloween while at a party. Employing idiocy levels we've never seen before, the older brother actually gives his own car keys to his drunken younger brother. Shockingly, the younger brother crashes and dies. Trick or treat mother fucker! Despite three years passing, the older brother apparently still has braces. Whaaaaat?! How busted up were this guy's teeth?! Seriously people, you couldn't have used a different actor in this role? Ugh. So now the older brother hates Halloween and we get a ton of padding to demonstrate this. For some, inexplicable reason, the younger brother's ghost comes back this year for...revenge...I guess...except it was some punkass kid that actually caused the dumbass to crash in the first place! Whatever, dude. After much bullshit, the older brother runs from the ghost and crashes his car similarly to the younger brother. Wow, I never would have seen that one coming. Needless to say, this sucked. On the other hand, this was also the best, yeaaah...let that one sink in.

Invitation: Without question, this is not only the worst segment but could easily be one of the dumbest anthology tales I have ever had the misfortune to endure (and that's saying something)! Another random dude is hanging out at the bar talking about leaving town as if we should care why. In his car he finds an invitation to the worst party known to mankind. My sixth birthday at Micky-D's had more excitement going on than this shit! Just thinking about this segment is giving me another migraine. There is something about everyone knowing the dude at this party but he doesn't know them. Some woman appears in the windows, and she is apparently an axe-wielding maniac who kills people with cheap, plastic props. Everyone at the party was a previous victim, and they're adding the main dude to the collection or whatever. Honestly, I'm blocking out the details--this is significantly worse than I'm making it sound.

Re-Possessed: Finally closing us out is more of the same. This time around the guy here (all guys in this anthology) finds himself in a too good to be true situation when purchasing a Corvette for only $700. The previous owner had died and his spirit is seemingly possessing the car "Christine" style except nowhere remotely in the same ballpark of special effects. As the guy realizes something isn't right about his new car, the ghost kills the guy's girlfriend and friend in extremely cornball, yet amusing, ways. The ending is pathetic since magically the ghost possesses the main guy and is able to come back to life. Wait, what? How the fuck are you going to explain his miraculous resurrection? While this segment was as terrible as the others overall, the camerawork was especially commendable given the low-budget.

If IMDb is to be believed, this movie cost ten grand to make. Hmm, I'd believe it. I really hated this movie, but I will cut it some slack here and there due to that kind of budget limitation. Oh, don't get me wrong, the rating is still pitiful, but I could have went lower that's for sure. I mean, almost every important detail that goes into filmmaking is screwed up here. However, as I mentioned, the camerawork is above average and the editing to make that clear was good too. Believe me, I've seen countless instances of horrendous editing in the past and this surprisingly looked clean. Now, if you're looking for something to watch this Halloween, this sure as hell is not an option. In fact, no one should be wasting their precious time on this shit. End of story.

Notable Moment: In an ocean of shitacular scenes, I was surprisingly impressed by one failed attempt at a shot. In the "All Hallows Eve" segment, the camera is supposed to be above the ceiling fan and the ghost was intermittently appearing in between each blades rotation. They fucked it up, of course, but I respect the idea.

Final Rating: 3/10

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Halloween Tree Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: While trying to rescue the spirit of their friend, four children learn about the origin of Halloween.

Review: Based on a book by Ray Bradbury, "The Halloween Tree" is one of the most bizarre, holiday kids movies out there. I like that the story explores the history of Halloween's traditions through the lens of classic costumes, but the suspension of disbelief is a bit much for me. Sure, the story is a fantasy you must embrace from the perspective of a kid, but I saw this when it came out (in the early '90s) and I still feel that it is as nonsensical now as it was to me then. This isn't to say that the film is bad per se--you must simply accept things at face value with little explanation; likewise, the characters themselves do not question the events. Well...the film is unique that's for sure.

The story focuses on four young kids--dressed as a skeleton, monster, witch, and mummy--as they come to realize their best friend, Pip, may be dying one Halloween night. I thoroughly enjoy the sleepy, mid-Western town vibe going on and the fact that the kids don't even intend to trick or treat until dark. As I mention every Halloween, this country has become so pussified when it comes to the holiday it's depressing. Anyway, the kids believe they see Pip and chase after him. This pursuit leads them to a giant mansion with a massive...well...Halloween tree outside; essentially this is a tree covered with pumpkins hanging from the branches like they're apples. It is implied that each pumpkin represents someone who died that Halloween (or maybe all year if keeping with the "harvest" theme). Pip's spirit steals his pumpkin in defiance as if to prolong his life. At the same time, the tree is overseen by a Dracula/Grim Reaper hybrid named Moundshroud. Nothing about this character makes sense since he both helps the kids while also trying to secure Pip's apparent death. What...? Plus the kids are fighting against him one minute while bantering like friends the next.

For no explicable reason, Pip begins traveling through Halloween past like this is "A Christmas Carol" or something. Along with Moundshroud, the kids chase after on a kite made from animal parts. Yeah...okay. Conveniently enough, each point in time that Pip travels to corresponds to a costume one of the kids are wearing that helps to flesh out Halloween's traditions. In each era shenanigans ensue with no one the least bit shocked. If you're waiting for the "what the fucking is happening?!" line to be delivered, don't hold your breath. On the other hand, I liked this educational approach and the imagery is great at times. Eventually Moundshroud catches up with Pip--and will send him to hell probably--but the kids say they will trade years of their life for Pip to live longer. This sounds nice in theory but they each only offer up 1 year a piece. Oh gee, do you think you could spare it?! Plus, it's never clear if Pip will only live four years longer or whether Moundshroud was touched by the loyalty of friendship and gave up altogether on Pip; after all, the closing narration does make it sound like Pip lived happily ever after. Eh, you're guess is as good as mine. Regardless, I do appreciate the gesture of the friends and the sentiments of the story.

Overall, this is a pretty good movie all around, but it's hard for an adult to get into it when watching it solo. I imagine parents watching it with their kids would be the ideal situation. Granted, the movie is a little darker than very young kids would be able to tolerate, but a good age range should be 8-12ish unless you're raising your kids they way I was (not recommended!). The positives are the educational exploration of Halloween, its traditions, and why things are done the way they are. The friendship angle is handled decently, but they could have probably stepped up their game when trying to invoke an emotional response from the audience. But I did also like the style of the animation and general aesthetics. Unfortunately, it's hard to get yourself into the mental state where you accept random bullshit with no rhyme or reason like this is a dream coming to life. Then again...maybe that was the intention all along? Finally, this is a good alternative to the original "Halloween" if you aren't ready to see Michael Myers slicing and dicing his way through Haddonfield.

Notable Moment: When the kids ride on the giant kite seemingly made of various animal parts. I don't know why this is happening, but it was interesting to say the least.

Final Rating: 6/10

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Scare Zone Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Leading up to Halloween, the employees at a horror attraction are picked off by a masked killer.

Review: Despite the low-budget, shit camera, uneven tone, and sheer, amateurish nature...this was actually not bad. The moment "Scare Zone" began, I thought it would be absolutely horrendous judging by that film quality coupled with the laughable acting in the introductory scene. However, once I got over the initial shenanigans, the film picked up considerably. Now, don't misunderstand me, this is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it managed to be above average even with all the negatives going against it. The main draw for me was the sense of fun with the story. Clearly the cast and crew were just trying to make a movie horror fans could enjoy. But, more so, the filmmakers were able to escape many pitfalls of the inexperienced. This was particularly noticeable with the conceded effort to use practical effects that, while not great, were respectable. Another strong point was the decent reveal of the killer's identity. I really can't believe it, but there are a lot of positives going on with this little movie!

The story itself is nothing spectacular as it merely involves a crew of stereotypes working at a Halloween attraction. Each day, leading up to Halloween, a worker or two is killed off by a masked killer. Though this plot line is simplistic, they do try to work with it the best they can. I thought all the characters would be super annoying, but they calmed down as the film progressed. Surprisingly there is a romance subplot regarding this goth chick going through emotional problems. It sounds dumb but it's presentation was kind of interesting; in fact, I liked that she worked at some Christmas store. One thing that definitely hurts is that the tone of the film annoyingly switches multiple times out of the blue. This is moronic. For example, one minute things are serious as a worker dies, but then geeky characters are getting into zany antics in the next scene; I mostly chalked this up to amateurish mistakes, but, still, c'mon.

As the killer racks up the bodies they blend into the attraction, and there is usually an explanation for why no one notices the characters disappearing. And, as I mentioned, the deaths and effects are commendable when all things are considered. Yeah, there aren't any mind-blowing effects, but I've seen way, waaaaay worse that's for sure. I'll admit I was impressed a little with the film's attempt to make everyone look suspicious. I did not guess the killer's identity too which I liked. Sure, there are many contrivances you must accept, but they weren't as glaring as you'd imagine. It turns out the killer is obsessed with that goth chick and is one of the fans of the attraction--not one of the workers after all; I know it might sound cornball but it works. There was even a final scene where I think it's implied the killer was not working alone; he did keep saying "we" a lot.

Honestly, if the filmmakers had a higher budget and better cameras, this might have been worthy of the good category. I don't mean to hype "Scare Zone" up whatsoever, but you could feel the heart put into the production. Let me reiterate, this is simply above average at best, but it's hard to ignore the considerable amount of effort put in when the budget was peanuts. If you're just looking for something to watch on Halloween there are better alternatives without a doubt. However, if you have burnt out the typical Halloween movies, this could work if you have your expectations in check. For me, I examine this movie more from the perspective of accomplishing a lot with a little. This easily could have been shit, worthy of a 3/10, but they managed to squeeze out every bit of entertainment possible. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

Notable Moment: When goth chick is cutting herself. Did she orgasm from the pain? Well, regardless, this scene is so weird and random that it's yet another moment where the tone does not fit at all.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Funhouse Massacre Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Coworkers spend their Halloween at a horror-themed funhouse that is operated by actual serial killers.

Review: Well this was a pleasant surprise. I had virtually no expectation beyond the knowledge that we get a titty shot from Chasty Ballesteros (and that was almost enough for me). However, this little, cornball film delivered a lot of humor, a massive body count, and a few ballsy moves I wouldn't have anticipated like killing off almost all the main characters. Sure, there are jokes that fall flat or make no sense altogether, but successfully having fun with the material is what most filmmakers get wrong. They nailed it. Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of stupid aspects that drag down the score. Believe me, I'm not trying to hype this movie up by no means. With a movie called "The Funhouse Massacre," you need to simply sit back and relax.

The story here is that a Harley Quinn-wannabe busts out a group of serial killers locked away in some hidden asylum. The serial killers themselves are nothing to write home about unfortunately. I will say that the Jason-wannabe was annoying me though, because he was too strong and invincible without explanation other than he's a big guy. Don't ask me why Robert Englund is on the center of the cover though since he's not one of the killers, and he dies right away when the killers escape. Guess you gotta exploit that marketing, huh? What a waste though. Anyway, this Harley chick, referred to as Dollface, has manipulated some dupe into constructing a horror-themed funhouse based on the escaped serial killers' methods. The plan is to...I guess...just kill as many people as possible that show up? Well, clearly, they were not thinking long-term. Just roll with it. On a side note, I actually liked the douchebag that Dollface was manipulating; his insults were amusing and he was still talking shit as they were killing him!

As for our leads, they obviously wanted to go with cliched high school kids, but they opted for coworkers at a diner of some sort. It's at this point I wanted to see a sexy Chasty Ballesteros in action but her costume was--as she explained it--sexy Hillary. Bleehhh. Even if I ignore that revolting imagery for a second, the platinum blonde wig was annoying me. What I'm getting at here, people, is that they dropped the ball with utilizing that firecracker, Chasty! Plus, they killed her first--dafuq?! Moving along...the cast is further rounded out by the goofball police, a sheriff with a connection to one of the killers and her deputy. This might sound like a lot of characters to balance screen time for, but they pulled it off decently.

 Chasty, baby, what kind of costume is that? NO...just no.

Where the film truly shines is when all the patrons show up to see the funhouse only to end up as unsuspecting victims trapped in a gated area. The editing and pacing works well as we get constant kills accompanied by progress from the characters in figuring out what's happening. Also, keep in mind that these shenanigans are always in a lighthearted tone with plenty of gags added for good measure. Eventually it's up to only those two cops and the coworkers to fight the killers. As I mentioned, they kill off most of the main cast which surprised me. I mean, you expected, at the very least, the awkward geeks to get together rather than dying. You think all of the killers are also dead, but it's revealed that Dollface magically survived and a post-credit scene shows our Jason-wannabe has miraculously survived as well despite taking hundreds of bullets and a shotgun blast to the head.

If you go into this expecting a serious horror movie you will be sorely disappointed. Likewise, I'm not promising that everyone will enjoy the sense of humor the story employs. However, if you just want a splatterfest with a Halloween theme, this film has you covered and then some. Of course, there are things that impressed me that maybe others will be annoyed by--such as killing off the geeks--but with the ridiculously high body count, sexy Ms. Ballesteros, and general sense of fun from the filmmakers, I don't see why any horror fan won't get a kick out of this. Is this a great Halloween alternative? Probably not especially if showing it to casual viewers for the holiday. I'd probably recommend popping this in as the lead-in to your main feature or watch it earlier in October. Honestly, if it weren't for the costumes and a few strategically placed props, this hardly even qualifies as a Halloween-themed movie anyway.

Notable Moment: When the deputy is playing NES. Besides wielding the original zapper, the deputy's game also crashes and he tries blowing into the cartridge. Good times...good times.

Final Rating: 6/10