BARE BONES: THE BABYSITTER-KILLER QUEEN (2020)

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THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN (2020)

Netflix original movie sequel takes place two years after the events of The Babysitter with no one believing Cole (Judah Lewis) about his fight for life against his homicidal, cultist babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving). Cole’s trying to get past the trauma of that night, but his clueless parents (a returning Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino) want to send him away to a psychiatric academy and the only one who believes him, is his best friend/crush Melanie (Emily Alyn Lind). His gal pal suggests coming with her to a  party at a lake, where all hell breaks loose…again…as familiar faces return for blood.

Horror/comedy is again directed with an over-the-top style by McG from a script by he, Dan Lagana, Brad Morris and Jimmy Warden. Also returning, aside from most of the cast, is the hip sense of humor, pop culture references and gallons of blood, once things get restarted. In a way, it is a bit of a retread, with virginal Cole once again thrust into danger, as new enemies and ghosts from his past conspire to make him a sacrifice once more. There are some fun betrayals and reveals and at least, this time Cole has an ally in new bad girl Phoebe (Jenna Ortega). The dialogue is again snappy and once more the flick likes to have fun with the familiar tropes and traditions, with the outdoor setting opening things up a bit. It may be more of the same, but it’s still fun and the returning cast all seem to be having a blast, as are the new faces. The formula does start to wear a little thin by it’s last act and the flick could have been a bit tighter with maybe an additional ten minutes or so trimmed. It does end satisfyingly and with a few nice twists, that sort of wrap up the story. It may not quite be an equal, but it is a fun enough second go around and an entertaining watch on the couch. As for Samara Weaving’s Bee making an appearance…you’ll have to stream this on Netflix to find out. Watch through the entire credits.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: GUNS AKIMBO (2020)

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GUNS AKIMBO (2020)

Computer programmer Miles Lee Harris (Daniel Radcliffe) is having a very bad day. He’s broken up with his comic book artist girlfriend, Nova (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and picked a fight with the wrong website. Miles decides to have a little fun on the website for Skizm, a live action fight club where they pit various psychopaths against each other in real life battles to the death. When he trolls the site, he finds himself knocked out by a gang of thugs and wakes up the next morning with guns bolted to his hands. The man who runs Skizm, Riktor (Ned Dennehy) informs the mild-mannered Miles that he has 24 hours to kill Skizm’s leading psycho killer Nix (Samara Weaving) or he and the kidnapped Nova will die…all part of Skizm’s latest webisode!

Flick is written and directed by Jason Lei Howden (Deathgasm) and seems more attuned to today’s gaming and web-centric audience. They would probably appreciate more all the gaming nods and references, though it’s still fun as a humor-laced, action/comedy for the pre-Xbox, pre-Youtube set, too. It has plenty of violence, action and bloodshed, as poor wimpy Miles is trying just to stay alive, much less kill his overzealous opponent. He is both cheered and booed by the audience streaming it all, as the online veiwwership takes either the side of the hapless nerd, now nicknamed Guns Akimbo, or the blood-thirsty Nix. Radcliffe is well cast as the nerdy, terrified Miles, as is Samara Weaving who is delightfully over-the-top as the tattooed, weapons loving Nix. She’s become quite the fixture in bonkers flicks like this, Mayhem and Ready or Not that delight in mixing extreme violence with a twisted sense of humor. It’s no spoiler that at some point Nix and Miles will find common ground to take on the bad guys in an amusing blood bath of a finale. Not quite as consistently fun or funny as Howden’s Death Metalheads vs zombies flick Deathgasm, but colorful and blood-spattered enough to amuse for it’s economical 95 minute length.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: SNATCHERS (2019)

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SNATCHERS (2019)

Pretty high school girl Sara (Mary Nepi) finally loses her virginity to her ex-boyfriend Skyler (Austin Fryberger), who has just returned from a trip to Mexico. The next day she finds herself full-term pregnant and gives birth to a creature with another gestating inside her. Once that little monster is born, Sara tries desperately to find out what is going on. According to Aztec legend…don’t ask…the creatures she birthed will mate and multiply and it could spell doom for all mankind. Now Sara and nerdy friend Hayley (Gabrielle Elyse) have to hunt down the monsters and save the world…and Sara’s mom (J.J. Nolan), whom the creatures have taken to feed their impending brood.

Entertaining flick is directed by Stephen Cedars and Benji Kleiman from their script with Scott Yacyshyn. Sure the plot is a bit scatterbrained, with Skyler returning from Mexico with something both alien and out of Aztec mythology, in which he unknowingly impregnates the popularity seeking Sara. The result is a lot of bloody fun, so one can forgive any plot convolutions. The scenes of Sara dealing with her overnight pregnancy and then calmly putting the pieces together as to why she just birthed a pair of alien creatures is amusing enough, but it really cranks things up in the second act as she and her friend Hayley go on the monster hunt. There is some plentiful gore, including a gynecologist who hilariously gets his head exploded, and the cast are all charming and play their purposely stereotypical roles well. There is some commentary on teen pregnancy and the high school class system, and a few similarities to Night of the Creeps, but mostly this is just a blood-spattered good time with some well-rendered effects and creatures. A surprisingly amusing under the radar flick that deserves more attention.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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OZ PERKINS’ LATEST FLICK GETS A TRAILER AND POSTER!

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Director Oz Perkins (The Blackcoat’s Daughter, I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House) has a new flick coming out and it looks like a creepy spin on a familiar fairy tale. Gretel and Hansel stars Alice Krige and is set to open on 1/31/20. Looks spooky!

-MonsterZero NJ

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source: internet/youtube

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959)

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BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Walter Paisley (Dick Miller) is a busboy at The Yellow Door, a coffee shop for beatniks and bohemian artists…what we would call a Starbucks today…and wants to be revered like many of the artistic types that frequent there, especially in the eyes of pretty co-worker Carla (Barboura Morris). In a series of unfortunate events, Walter kills his landlady’s cat Frankie and hides the body in some clay that he intended to use in a sculpture. He brings the cat to the shop and everyone becomes infatuated with it, especially Carla. Now Walter has discovered a way into Carla’s heart and it will only take some clay and a few corpses to do it.

Horror/comedy is directed and produced by Roger Corman from a script by Charles B. Griffith, who also wrote the original Little Shop of Horrors. It’s not the first collaboration between Corman and leading man Miller, but it is one of their most famous and one of Miller’s few leading roles. It also unleashed a slew of cameos by Miller playing characters named Walter Paisley in the films of up and coming Corman alumni years later. The flick is a comedy of errors with Walter making his first kills by accident, but as his “sculptures”, are getting him the attention he wants, he soon starts killing his subjects to be immortalized in clay. Obviously, things will get out of hand for the bumbling Walter.The satire may not click today as it specifically targets the beatnik culture of the 50s, but one may still appreciate the dark humor of Walter’s newfound art and the art crowd’s overwhelming reaction to it. It’s not a long movie at only 66 minutes and the jazz infused score by Fred Katz is quite nostalgic. On a production level, the film was shot in true Corman style for AIP on a budget of only $50,000 and in 5 days on the sets from another movie.

There is a small cast. Miller is likable and sympathetic as Walter. He’s abused by his boss Leonard (Antony Carbone) and ignored by those he wants attention from. Even when he starts to kill for his newfound hobby, he remains more tragic than unlikable, only becoming downright creepy in the last act. Barboura Morris is pretty and charming as Carla. She’s sweet and seems to always like Walter, though he doesn’t see it. Carbone is slimy as Leonard, who is benefiting financially from the art community’s new prodigy. Even when he discovers Walter’s gruesome secret, he chooses to profit until guilt finally overcomes him. The film also has a small role from 70s game show host and TV icon Bert Convy as an ill-fated undercover cop.

This early Corman production may be dated at this point, but it is still fun and it made Dick Miller a movie fan household name. Miller rarely had lead roles and this one would earn him a long career of character parts and cameos that lasted for sixty years. A perfect example of early Corman thriftiness and one of Dick Miller’s most famous roles.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) sculptures surprisingly titled “dead cat”.

 

Farewell and RIP Dick Miller (1928-2019)

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BARE BONES: THE NIGHT WATCHMEN (2017)

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THE NIGHT WATCHMEN (2017)

When world famous Blimpo The Clown (Gary Peebles) dies of a mysterious illness in Romania, his body is shipped home and to the wrong building. When his coffin is opened, it’s discovered that he was bitten by a vampire and is now one of the undead himself. Unleashed in the building, he starts to turn the late-working employees into bloodsuckers. Now it’s up to three incompetent night watchmen (Kevin Jiggetts, Ken Arnold and Dan DeLuca), their new rookie (Max Gray Wilbur) and a cute and feisty employee (Kara Luiz) to stop the blood-craving clown and his minions.

Horror/comedy is directed by Mitchell Altieri (who directed The Hamiltons and The Thompsons with his “Butcher Brothers” collaborator Phil Flores) from a script by stars DeLuca and Arnold and Jamie Nash (Exists, Altered). It’s an amusing 80 minutes that may not always hit the mark, but is still goofy fun. There is a lot of blood spattered along with the occasional laughs and the cast do seem like they are having a good time. Sexy, girl-next-door Kara Luiz especially shows an endearing screen presence as the spunky, smart-ass turned vampire slayer, Karen. Would like to see her do more final girl work. Overall, it is an amusing and gory time on the couch and who can pass up vampire clowns? Also features veteran actor James Remar as a creepy boss and cult favorite scream queen Tiffany Shepis as an ill-fated employee.
-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: THE BABYSITTER (2017)

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THE BABYSITTER (2017)

Netflix original movie finds nerdy twelve year-old Cole (Judah Lewis) spending the weekend with his hot babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving from Ash vs Evil Dead season 1) when his parents go away. The much picked-on tween thinks his got it made, until he wakes up one night to find Bee and her friends murdering another teen for some satanic ceremony. Now Cole has to somehow survive the night as his once beloved babysitter and her friends find out he knows too much.

Horror/comedy is directed with an over-the-top style by McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator: Salvation) from a script by Brian Duffield and is a lot of fun. It’s got a hip sense of humor and has a good time with some of the clichés of the horror genre, while spilling quite a lot of blood in giddy fashion. Cole and Bee actually have a very sweet friendship, especially considering how Cole is treated by his peers and it makes it much more effective when she turns all “big bad” on the kid. It’s fun to watch Cole uses his cleverness to evade and sometimes unintentionally off Bee’s fellow cultists and even if it’s not the most original story, it has fun with it’s oft told premise. The cast are having a good time here and Weaving makes a solid femme fatale, as much as, Lewis a charming young hero. A fun 90 minutes of blood, pop culture references and playfully poking the horror genre in the ribs. Also stars Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino as Cole’s oblivious parents and Robbie Amell and Bella Thorne as two of Bee’s sinister group.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: MY BOYFRIEND’S BACK (1993)

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MY BOYFRIEND’S BACK (1993)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

High school misfit Johnny Dingle (Andrew Lowery) has been head over heels for Missy McCloud (Traci Lind) since grade school. He finally gets the courage to try to get her to go to the prom with him, but needs to get her attention. He decides to fake a robbery at the convenience store where she works and once he saves the day, he’ll be her hero for life. Unknown to Johnny, an actual robber enters the place instead of his bud, Eddie (Danny Zorn) and Johnny’s heroics turn tragic as he is shot and killed by the thief. That won’t stop Johnny, though, as he rises from the grave to continue to woo Missy and…it actually works. But can he make it to the prom before decomposing, or will he have to resort to the only thing that will slow his disintegration down…human flesh.

Back in the day, I had a huge crush on Traci Lind, but even her charms can’t save this terrible and predominantly unfunny comedy. Directed clumsily by Bob Balaban from an already bad script by Dean Lorey (who wrote the worst of the Friday The 13th films, Jason Goes To Hell), the film’s attempts at humor fall flat and it’s attempts at being titillating are more uncomfortable than sexy. There are also some really convoluted side plots, such as a doctor’s efforts to make a youth serum from Johnny’s zombie blood and the fact that there is little or no reaction to the fact that Johnny is a zombie by any of the living characters makes no sense and fumbles some prime laugh material in the process. No one seems to care he’s a zombie, until he snacks on a classmate and it is also the thing that finally gets Missy’s attention and attraction…what? It’s a badly written mess with substandard acting from some veteran performers and no chemistry between it’s leads. Lowery is pretty dull as our hero and even the pretty and spunky Lind has her appeal neutered by the dumb script and lame direction…and she can be very sexy as Fright Night II and some of her non-genre roles prove. It’s an all around failure that bombed at the box office at the time it was released in 1993.

So, despite the presence of an 80s cult classic cutie and even the amusement of watching the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing a redneck school bully, this film is practically unwatchable. The script is badly written and misuses a scenario that could have been very funny, while the director just didn’t know what to do with the material. It kills the charms of an actress that had girl next door sex appeal to spare and chose a zero, presence-wise, as it’s leading man. A flick that tried to be 80s at a time when the 80s were definitely over. An undead bore.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 eighties hotties that deserved a better movie.

 

 

 

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BARE BONES: DON’T KILL IT and DARK FOREST

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DON’T KILL IT (2016)

Horror/comedy follows the exploits of demon hunter Jebediah Woodley (Dolph Lundgren) as he hunts a nasty body hopping demon in a small town. The demon’s murderous activities attracts the attention of the FBI and now Woodley is forced to team with sexy FBI agent Evelyn Pierce (Kristina Klebe from RZ’s Halloween and Tales Of Halloween) to hunt it down…if he can convince her it really exists and he’s not crazy.

Goofy, fun and delightfully over-the-top gory, flick is directed in Sharknado style by Mike Mendez from a script by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. Sure it’s silly and never scary for a minute, but the cast seem to be having a good time and Mendez brings his energetic and humor filled style to the proceedings such as he did with Gravedancers and Big Ass Spider. Mendez can take the most ridiculous of premises and just run with it and this flick is no different. Lundgren plays it straight, as does Klebe who proves once again she can pull double duty as leading lady and action hero. Goofy, harmless and blood-spattered fun.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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DARK FOREST (2015)

Slasher homage finds four gal pals, Emily (Laurel McArthur), Michelle (Veronica Ternopolski), Francine (Jalin Desloges) and Jolene (Weronika Sokalska) all heading into the woods for a girls camping trip. Unknown to them, they are being followed by Peter (Dennis Scullard), Emily’s psychotic boyfriend who wants revenge for being defied and embarrassed by the four party girls. As our unsuspecting hotties enjoy their trip, Peter cuts a bloody path of pursuit into the woods leaving a trail of bodies behind him.

Flick written and directed in 80s slasher style by Roger Boyer may be a bit amateurish at times, but has it’s bloody heart in the right place. Boyer may not conjure any real scares, but the film does have a strong 80s slasher vibe, including 80s style soundtrack and gives us some abundant gore and an equally abundant cast of hotties, much like the horrors of that era did. Our four leading ladies are actually quite fine in their roles and are very likable characters to root/fear for while Scullard does make a creepy killer. Boyer’s slasher may be short on story, but at 75 minutes, the flick is kept short and sweet and doesn’t wear out it’s welcome. Sure there are some editing weaknesses and the film looks very low budget, but these are things a filmmaker can overcome with experience and low budget horror is where the heart and soul of the genre resides anyway. A nice effort that pays respectful tribute to it’s influences.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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