Well I've had a great time with May Monster Madness this year! I WAS planning on reviewing a random bunch of horror flicks, but after I reviewed the DVD Aussie-horror double feature of Inn of the Damned and Night of Fear, I realized that I owned quite a few more Australian horror movies, so that theme totally overtook everything else!
So, after ploughing through giant killer pigs, a murderous outback couple, a postal cop slasher film, one hell of a weird oddity of a film, and a nature strike back film that featured nowhere near as much wombats and koalas murdering people, I'm now done with May Monster Madness for this year! I would have also reviewed Bad Boy Bubby, but didn't because-1: I'm really not sure if it'd count; and 2: I was too busy watching Eurovision 2013 tonight to write the review.
Last year I did twelve posts, but I only did five this year. That's because I was a lot busier with other stuff this May! Hence, I've only read a few posts from other May Monster Madness entrees. Well it's time to change that! I have a lot of reading ahead of me!...
Same time next year!...
Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
So, here I am to continue my Aussie horror-athon with 1987's Dangerous Game, which I found on Youtube (By the way, good luck if you ever try and search for this film online on eBay, or something of the like! You'll be totally swamped by hundreds, if not thousands of results for The Most Dangerous Game (any damn version!), and the Harvey Keitel-Madonna film of the same same). The film is about a psycho cop hellbent on revenge against a group of university students.
Dangerous Game opens at univresity, where students and friends Jack (Marcus Graham), David (Miles Buchanan) and Tony (John Polson) are talking.
By the way, as if the guy's hilariously old computer wasn't funny enough, look at how this guy is dressed and done-up!
Yehp, it's the 80's alright!
As the day goes on, the three guys make friends with two women-Ziggy (Sandie Lillingston) and Kathryn (Kathryn* Walker), both of whom have a crush on David and Jack, respectively
*Really, movie? Well that must've been a stretch!
Jack, however, is continuously victimised by Murphy (Stephen Grives), a cop who hates Jack's guts, due to issues he had with Jack's (now deceased) Police Superintendant father.
After Murphy moves Jack's car into a No Parking zone, then tickets him for it, Jack has had enough, and he goes to the police station to report him. Just as he arrives, a crazed Murphy, speeding faster than the Millenium Falcon, crashes his squad bike into several others, trashing them.
Holy shit, Murphy is fucking postal! He's one insane cunt-stable!
Murphy is dragged out of the wreckage and brought to his boss. Murphy is suspended (yaheah!), and is told that he'll have to have appointments with a psychiatrist. After an outburst in the locker room, a disturbed Murphy leaves the station.
While Murphy has a breakdown at home, the group go to David's house, where he's trying to prove that he can hack into any security system. David hacks into the nearby Markwell's Department Store, and the disbelieving group want to see for themselves what David's hacking has done to the store. In order to win the bet, David opens the back security door, and the gang head off to look.
They drive to the department store, and unbeknownst to them, they are followed by Murphy. The security door does open, and they go inside. They traipse around the dark, empty store for a few minutes, and are about to leave when Murphy covertly shuts the security door with the nearby manual override switch, then steals the key.
Now that the gang are trapped in the store, they decide to entertain themselves until morning, then pretend to be customers when the store opens. Soon enough, a few weird things happen ('courtesy' of Murphy), like the lift moving up and down, or the lift phone ringing, and no-one being on the line when the group answer it.
Unluckily, Murphy doesn't wait long before getting the full attention of the group, and the psycho cop begins his insane rampage!...
Dangerous Game is like a slasher film without a body count. While not all of the group make it out alive, most of them survive. The film isn't about Murphy sneaking around, picking the gang off one by one, but rather about the gang trying their best to survive against Murphy's onslaught. And it definitely works!
The acting is all very good, with the standout being Stephen Grives as psycho cop Murphy.
The film does a great job in setting up the character of Murphy. Just twenty minutes in, and we already know more about Murphy that we ever find out about, say, Jason Voorhees, or Michael Myers in a dozen films! That's why I will always prefer these kinds of movie slasher killers!
However, it does get a little silly at times how much damage Murphy can handle, and how tough he is! Not to the extent of Roy the Paramedic in Friday the 13th Part V (who could crush people's skulls with only a belt, and break down doors like they were made of plywood, even though he wasn't really Jason and didn't share his somewhat supernatural prowess), but still pretty ridiculous!
The film's main characters were likeable enought that I was kinda bummed out to see one of them die. Here's how I see it-If I like a slasher film's characters enough that I wish there was a comedy TV show about them, then I'll preferably want them to live* (and if I don't, well then bring on the carnage!).
*The only other slasher film that I feel this way about thus-far is April Fool's Day.
Onto Kathryn, specifically. She did barely anything during the film, but I was pleased with her character by the end, considering her hulking out at Murphy!
As well as Murphy's durability, the other ridiculous thing about the movie is how impossible it is for the characters to get out of a department store! It's just a department store, not a fucking fortress! This place is just as stupidly tough as the apartment building from Demons 2!...Ok, not THAT tough! That was, after all, by far one of the stupidest things from that movie...
Also, I may be wrong, but what the hell kind of department store stocks crossbows and guns?! Either they do, they did (this was the 80's, after all), or this film is just stupid.
The film had one big holy shit moment, and that was during Murphy's breakdown. His tv was on, and playing was...Strike of the Panther! You know, the Aussie Commando-type movie? About Perth-bound karate spy Jason Blade? No?...
So, to finish, I had a lot of fun with Dangerous Game! I have no idea why it was called Dangerous Game, but it's the first Aussie horror I've reviewed for May Monster Madness that I can wholeheartedly recommend, and didn't piss me off in any way! That's gotta count for something good now, doesn't it!...
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Razorback, one of the first films directed by former music video director Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Blue Ice), and is about a giant razorback pig roaming in the outback, destroying whatever, or whoever's in its way...
The movie opens at a homestead nearby the town of Gamulla, where Jake Cullen (Bill Kerr), a local, is looking after his baby grandson. They're having a good night, but things take a turn for the worse when the house is totally demolished by a freakishly large feral boar, which carries the baby away to its death.
Cullen is put on trial, and, refusing to believe his story of a giant pig, most people assume that Cullen murdered his grandson. The trial starts, and naturally, this is small town Australia, so the town's courtroom is single-storey, smaller than my house, and besieged by flies!
Cullen's story is laughed at, but he's released anyway, due to lack of evidence that he killed his grandson.
Two years later, American journalist Beth Winters (Judy Morris), who specializes in cases about animal cruelty, goes from New York to Australia. She goes to Gamulla to ask around about the illegal slaughtering of kangaroos, which doesn't please the locals one bit, namely Benny (Chris Haywood) and Dicko (David Argue), two brothers who run a meat-packing factory-abattoir together, who toss darts near Beth's head.
In most countries, that'd be considered a threat, but here, that's just a traditionial Aussie greeting*!
*I may or may not be slightly embellishing that.
Soon after, Beth follows the brothers to the meat-packing factory and snatches several photos of them doing their gory job. They see what she's doing and chase her, but she escapes. She's not so lucky later that night, however, as when she's in a secluded location, the brothers drive up and ram her car up, and are about to rape her when the razorback shows up. They make a fast getaway, and Beth is...Well fuck you too, movie, for wasting my goddamn time with this Beth character!
Yep, the film establishes Beth's character, follows her for close to half-an-hour, and then suddenly kills her! Movie, that worked for Psycho, it doesn't for you! *seethe*
A short time later, Beth's husband Carl (Gregory Harrison) arives in Gamulla, intent on finding out what happened to Beth. Carl locates Jake Cullen, and the two have a talk. Cullen recommends that Carl start his search at the meat packaging, so Carl heads there, pretending to be an opal miner, and talks with Benny and Dicko.
The three go out for a kangaroo hunt come nightfall, and once the injure a kangaroo, the disgusted Carl puts the animal out of its misery. The brothers, who wanted to take the kangaroo back to the factory alive, so it wouldn't be as stiff as a board while they processed it, are annoyed with Carl, and leave him behind with the animal and some carving implements, so he can skin and gut the animal.
Carl instead goes to sleep, and once he comes too, a boar stampede starts up, forcing Carl up a windmill, then into the outback.
Carl stumbles around the outback, and then suddenly WHAT THE HELL!
Huh?! Has Carl phased into the universe of Robot Unicorn Attack?! Or the Jawa-minions' planet from Phantasm?! WHY ARE HORSE SKELETONS BREAKING OUT OF THE EARTH AND ATTACKING CARL?!
Carl comes to, and continues walking until he comes across a house. He approaches it and stumbles in on a woman (Arkie Whiteley) who's having a shower...outside! Lady, what the hell?! Who showers outside, and in broad daylight?! He collapses, and when he comes to, the woman, Sarah, an associate of Jake Cullen's, who talks with him. Once Carl mentions vaguely seeing a giant boar, Sarah quickly calls Jake over. Now having a rough idea of where the beast that kiled his grandson and ruined his life is, Jake goes on the hunt...
So, what did I think of Razorback? Well, for a start, the killing of Beth was just pointless! For one, we could have spent those 25 minutes following the real main character, and also, the film already had an Ahab-type, it didn't need two! As opposed to Psycho, where the killing of Marion Crane really jumpstarted the plot, Beth's fake main character seemed very unneeded. I did become accustomed to the protagonist switch eventually, thanks to Gregory Harrison's acting. I still find it really annoying though.
The acting is all good, the highlights being Gregory Harrison, Arkie Whiteley, and Bill Kerr. Chris Haywood and David Argue are good as the psycho brothers, but when it comes to laughing, they're weirdly terrible.
One of the best things about Razorback is the soundtrack, composed by Icehouse's Iva Davies (all my readers outside of Australia, you're scratching your head right now aren't you. It's to be expected. Just like I didn't expect anyone outside of Australia would get the Eskimo Joe joke in Django Unchained!). The scoring is plain fantastic at times!
One of the bigger problems I had with Razorback is that it's WAY too over-stylised! No more-so is this apparent than in Benny and Dicko's factory (which appears pretty frequently)-it's always really dark, there's smoke and blue lighting everywhere, and there's even an industrial fan with red light pouring up from under it! This is what happens when a music video director forgets he's directing a damn movie! The effects and visuals during the halucination seuence are great though!
The biggest problem is that the killer pig is barely in the damn film! That wouldn't be too bad, considering the killer shark was barely in Jaws, but Jaws was at least about a shark! Razorback is mostly about Carl either doing random stuff, walking through the outback, and asking about his wife. And when the film's nearing its climax, he's going after Benny and Dicko for revenge, not the pig!
A couple of little things about Razorback are the really weird segues it uses from time to time, and at one point, there's a jaws-style zoom-in!
Onto the monstrous razorback himself, the effects for it look very good!...From what can be seen of them! The razorback is almost never onscreen for longer than a split second. The effects whenever houses are attacked and torn apart are also very good!
So, while it did annoy the living hell out of me at times, this is the first movie of my May Monster Madness Aussie horror run that I can wholeheartedly recommend! It's got great effects, greater scoring, fine acting, and some kickass action! What more could you want?!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Ah, it only took three movies before I got to an Australian nature-strikes-back movie! Unfortunately, 1978's Long Weekend contains no scenes of wombats punching people in the shin, or koalas dropkicking tourists and violently removing their necks. It's a very different kind of beast than stuff like, say, Food of the Gods, Frogs, Day of the Animals, Slugs, etc. The killer wildlife is largely in the background in Long Weekend, which is almost a good thing, but more of a bad thing...
Also, who wouldn't rather watch a film about killer koalas?! They're already vicious bastards-think how they'll act if exposed to sinister chemicals, or something of that ilk! It'd be awesome! And the movie could also contain the sinister, rarely-seen species-Drop Bears! A terrifying breed of animals that already have a taste for human flesh in real life! What? Why are you staring at me like that?! Drop Bears do exist! We Aussies didn't just make them up to scare tourists! That's ridiculous!
So, Long Weekend starts off with near-estranged and very unhappy couple Peter (Peter Hargreaves) and Marcia (Briony Behets) heading off to a beach to go on a camping.
Soon after carelessly tossing a still-lit cigarette out his car window and into some bush, Peter gets freaked out when he accidentally runs down a kangaroo
The locals strangely tell Peter that they've never heard of any beach nearby, and he leaves with what he bought-a huge box of beer! THAT'S how you can tell that this movie is Australian! Look at how much beer Peter bought for a weekend camping trip! haha!
The couple continue driving through the night, but when Marcia sees a familiar landmark (a directional arrow engraved into a tree), she angrily assumes that they've been driving in circles. Peter disagrees though, claiming to have been driving straight ahead the whole drive since the previous arrow. They stop the car and decide to find the beach during the day.
Come morning, the couple arrive at the beach, and set up camp.
Despite their hostility to each-other during the previous night, the couple seem very loving. That doesn't last long, however. Soon strange things start happening. After Marcia sprays a mass of ants in her way with pesticide, she nearly gets skewered when Peter's spear-gun goes off on its own, despite being on safety, then the frozen chicken they have thawing for lunch goes off way faster than it should've, and later, after Marcia has grown more and more impatient about what she sees as a boring camping trip, a strange wailing is heard on and off, and Peter is attacked by an eagle, which causes Marcia to cruelly break an eagle egg they found..
Peter also spots another van a short distance away, but he leaves, and when he comes back to investigate, the van's gone. After a night of being bitten by a possum, Peter now wants to leave as badly as Marcia, but he wants to go to the van on the beach first (severely angering Marcia). When he investigates nearby, all he finds is an abandoned camp. Then, after seeing a wave breaking, Peter sees the top of the van in the ocean. He swims in, and find bodies in the van.
Soon, things gradually get worse and worse for the hostile couple as nature strikes back!...
...Or not, since this movie's climax isn't very good at all!
The crux of Long Weekend is the couple, especially since other than a few minor characters in a bar for a few minutes, the only people in the film at all are Marcia and Peter. So, luckily the acting by John Hargreaves and Briony Behets is very good! The two characters are very toxic to each-other, and also don't give much of a shit about nature. Peter shows enough compassion towards animals to be shaken when he runs one down, and to love his dog, but he doesn't give a damn about tossing lit cigarettes out the car window and into some bush, or about shooting glass bottles up in the ocean. Plus, as well as having a bad habit of using a loaded rifle as a telescope, he likes shooting randomly all around him (sometimes quoting westerns!) like freakin' crazy! Did he bring enough fucking ammo?! He must have brought close to a hundred rounds with him! Dude, you're having a long weekend camping trip with your wife, not liberating a predator camp in Val Verde!
The film's musical scoring is mostly good, but some of it sounds like the composers were torturing guitar strings!
Long Weekend isn't very atmospheric to begin with (in my opinion) as nothing's wrong, minus some locals trying to divert the couple away, and the strange repetition of a directional arrow carved into a tree. As the film goes on, not much happens at all really. I did think the movie dragged at first, but after a while, I got over that, and once it got to the last half-hour, the film really started being eerie! But then the ending came and retroactively ruined everything! There's not much animal action over the course of the film, but since there's not much in the final ten minutes, the movie as a whole started to piss me off! Especially thanks to the finale's other problems!
The biggest problem with Long Weekend is that it focuses too much on Marcia and Peter's relationship, and not enough on nature and animals. Animals are barely focused on for a long while, and do almost nothing to the couple for well over an hour! And even then, they don't do much at all!
The movie's ending is also really poorly handled...
We never see Marcie die! We see her running away from the car and into the night after a chase with birds, then BAM, we see her body in the scrub come morning! And as if having a character die offscreen wasn't bad enough, Peter's death is way too abrupt! He's mildy pestered by nature, and before anything can happen to him at all, he's hit by a truck. CUE END CREDITS.
I guess I recommend Long Weekend, because, while it has issues, it does have good qualities too.
So, as this movie teaches, I think I will pay more respect to nature and all the lovely animals in this country!......Nah, if I see a Huntsman spider in my house, it's deader than Dillinger!...
Monday, May 13, 2013
Now THIS is a weird little film! Night of Fear is probably the very first Aussie horror film, and it has no dialogue, and is only fifty minutes long!
Night of Fear is about a woman who crashes her car in a forest where a mentally deranged serial killer is on the loose...
As some people say, this film is partly like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The plots aren't similar at all, other than both involving a manchild serial killer, but just like TCM, Night of Fear has a grittily realism to it. This film, however, is lacking a certain something, and it's nowhere near as creepy as TCM. Probably because The Texas Chainsaw Massacre wasn't just forty minutes of Sally Hardesty running from Leatherface. Night of Fear does have one really creepy part though, involving a skull, and what it used to look like before rats got involved.
As there's no dialogue (minus a few words on a radio) beside grunts and screams, the soundtrack does all the talking, which is a good thing sometimes, and an awful thing at other times, as the soundtrack can get pretty goofy in how over the top it is. Also, just when I thought that the movie was lacking opening credits (which would have made the film creepier), some really over the top opening credits started up, seven minutes in.
There's little to no gore/violence, but what there is is very good!
Norman Yemm is good as the deranged killer, and Carla Hoogeveen is good at acting scared, albeit a bit over the top.
There's one REALLY stupid moment at the start of the film, when Briony Behets' character, who's lost in the woods, arrives at the killer's house. She knocks on the door, and doesn't hear the killer clomping up behind her in thick boots with huge metal straps on them!
Also, the ending is pretty stupid. Carla Hoogeveen's character faints when she just sees a load of rats. Considering what that leads to, she was a very dumb character. There's also a stupid moment at the end, when the police look over the killer's huse, see mops soaked in blood, and leave, thinking that nothing's wrong! MORONS!
There's also one nonsensical bit when Carla Hoogeveen's character crashes her car. When she gets out, she sees the killer approaching, and she's scared as hell and bolts back into her car...even though she has zero reason to believe the guy is a killer! Lucky for her that he was!
There is one scene that made me laugh. Carla Hoogeveen's character is in her car being attacked by the killer, who's got his arm through the open window. She's having trouble with him because windows needed to be wound up back then! Thinking of the very convenient buttons we use for car windows nowadays, the scene amused me.
Another goofy scene is when the car crash breaks through a dead end sign, and the camera 'subtly' cuts to the the broken part of the sign now reading 'dead'!
So, to finish, this is a fun little oddity short film. It's not perfect at all, and probably would have worked better if it was a proper movie, but I still recommend it.
As an Australian, I always find Aussie horror fun! It's not often that I see it at all, because it's a VERY small genre, and it's always fun to see a horror film from my own country, and seeing the characters talk with my accent!
Today I'll be looking at Inn of the Damned. This movie comes on a double feature DVD with another Aussie horror film, that I'll be looking at later today
Inn of the Damned starts off with a businessman, Cummings (John Morris), who's being led to an inn to stay for the night by Biscayne (Robert Quilter), who is, unbeknownst to Cummings, is a murderous outlaw. Despite Biscayne's objections, Cummings also brings along a prostitute to spend the night with him. Later, at the inn, which is run by a German couple-Caroline (Judith Anderson) and Lazar Straulle (Joseph Furst) when Cummings and the hooker fall asleep, they are both brutally murdered...
The next day, after having a discussion with Caroline about a deal they have going, Biscayne and his cowardly cohort Parr (John Meilon) plan a robbery. They pull it off (in a strangely comic scene) and get away. On their trail, however, is Cincaid (Alex Cord), an American bounty hunter.
The duo split up and agree to meet elsewhere. A little later, Parr is discovered by Cincaid and Moore (Tony Bonner), a trooper. Parr spills the beans and tells Cincaid that Biscayne is at a nearby waterfall. The two lawmen head there (and are told to steer clear of the nearby inn by both Parr, and a random guy).
They find Biscayne, and after a fight, Biscayne is captured, and later killed by Cincaid when he tries to escape.
A short while later, Moore goes to the inn to ask about the missing Cummings, and while he plans on leaving, the couple convince him to stay. NNNNOOOOO! You moron, Moore! You're gonna die! And when he falls asleep, the murderous couple kill Moore...Not that you'd know, since his death is offscreen! *grrr*.
Elsewhere, the trooper colonel goes to confront Cincaid, who he thinks has gone too far. Cincaid is with a hooker in a hotel room, eating peaches off her chest (Um...yeah...), when the colonely busts in. And then, after the colonel sees Biscayne's corpse propped up in a chair, we get a hilarious line courtesy of the hotel manager-"This is a respectable hotel! We never allow corpses in here!".
The next day, three people go to the inn, and once they're all dispatched, Cincaid gets suspicious and goes to the inn, ready to find out what sinister things are going on there...
So, was Inn of the Damned any good? Partly.
While the movie isn't mute, there isn't a huge amount of dialogue. In many scenes, there's no talking at all, and it's the music that does the talking. A lot. Too much! There is too much goddamn scoring in this film! It's especially annoying because the same tune is played almost half a dozen times during the film's run! While it is overused, the film's soundtrack is good. As for the movie's pace, it's very slow, but never boring, thankfully.
The film has no gore (minus one Sam Peckinpah-syle gunshot killing), and is only slighly violent. This isn't a big problem by any means, but the lack of many death scenes is! Three characters who go to the inn die offscreen! It somewhat works for the two female characters due to a reveal in a scene with the insane Caroline, but it's still disappointing.
Inn of the Damned is really only partly horror. It's more of a western mixed with some horror elements. So, for those who were wondering, no, this western/horror hybrid is NOT creepier than Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter. Also, there's one really out of place comedy scene!
The acting is all decent. Alex Cord makes for a fun leading man, and Robert Quilter is good as Biscayne. Joseph Furst, however, is wasted, and as someone who has seen the only surviving episode of Doctor Who-The Underwater Menace, I know first-hand just how much Joseph Furst can overact!
The biggest problem of Inn of the Damned is the plot. For the first half-hour of the film, it follows the murderous outlaw Bindayne, then when he's taken down by Cincaid, the plot stops to a dead halt. We follow Cincaid doing random stuff for a while, then some more people finally arrive at the inn, then, a long while later, we FINALLY get to the climax with Cincaid vs the couple. At two hours, Inn of the Damned is too long, especially considering the bare bones plot-There's a couple who run an inn, and kill anyone who stays. That's it! And it's never explained why the couple kill people. Not in the well-done, mysterious kind of way, but in the 'this movie feels like a skeleton script' way.
So, in closing, while it feels like a skeleton script, I do recommend Inn of the Damned to anyone interested in Aussie horror! Later today I'll be looking at Night of Fear, a very strange little Aussie film!...