Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Boa vs. Python (2004)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD cover for Boa vs. Python (2004)Boa vs. Python (2004) by #DavidFlores

w/#DavidHewlett #JaimeBergman

An FBI agent and a biologist release a specially bred serpent to hunt the gigantic snake that has been putting the squeeze on unwary humans.

Two Reptilian Killing Machines Face Off To Fight To The Death-With Humanity As The Prize.

#Horror #SciFi

#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

I don’t buy a lot of giant snake movies, so how did I get this one? I’m not sure… I also can’t remember a damn thing about it.

So, I guess I’ll put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

With a current rating of 2.8 on the IMDb, it’s no surprise that Boa vs. Python (2004) is a bad movie. It’s almost “so bad it’s good” – but not quite. It moves along at a fast pace, so it’s fairly easy to watch. But it does so at the expense of developing any interesting characters or logical plot lines. 

Before watching it, I noticed that the keywords displayed on the front of Boa vs. Python‘s IMDb page were: “oral sex in car”, “oral sex”, “panties”, “thong”, and “sex”. I wondered, briefly, if I was about to watch a soft core porno film…

The two main actresses, Jaime Bergman and Angel Boris Reed are both former Playboy playmates, but only one of them gets naked in Boa vs. Python, which is a little strange. Still, there is a little bit of trashy fun in this movie. Unfortunately, it’s all in the first ten minutes, or so. 

The “oral sex in car” happens between two characters we’ve never met before, and it’s sadly tame. No nudity, no graphic miming of any kind. One character simply slips below the frame while the other one makes a brief face of pleasure – and then the giant snake eats them both. I think the filmmaker might have been going for humour here, as the woman seems to confuse the snake for the man when it begins to eat her. Huh?! Don’t ask.

So what’s the verdict?

Boa vs. Python (2004) is Trash. It has a few moments of inadvertent humour – perhaps even a few moments of intentional humour. And like I said before, it’s fairly fast and easy. Many of the characters are annoying, and they make illogical decisions. Nothing is very believable. There’s a little bit of gore and action, but it’s not enough to carry the movie. A better story would have done it, but we’re stuck with what feels like two different B-movies fused together – one about rich asshole hunters tracking a giant python, the other about scientists and FBI agents using a giant Boa to track the giant python – neither one of which is developed enough to make us care. 

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Progeny (1998)

t’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD box for Progeny (1998)Progeny (1998) by #BrianYuzna

w/#ArnoldVosloo #JillianMcWhirter #BradDourif #LindsayCrouse #WilfordBrimley

An unsuspecting woman is impregnated by aliens who are experimenting on the human population.

There Are Some Things In The Universe That We Can’t Understand

“Evil in a bottle”

#Horror #SciFi
#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

I bought a DVD copy of Progeny (1998) a long time ago, undoubtedly because of the names Brian Yuzna and Stuart Gordon. Every horror fan on the planet knows that these two guys were behind the certified classic Re-Animator (1985), as well as From Beyond (1986), Yuzna went on to direct Bride of Re-Animator (1990) and Society (1989), which I wrote about a while back. Gordon directed Dolls (1986) and The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), both of which are personal favourites of mine.

Looking at the box for Progeny, which credits Yuzna as director and Gordon as a producer and co-creator of the story, it’s not hard to imagine why I immediately snapped it up from the bargain bin where I had found it.

In the years since I first watched Progeny, I have become aware that many people hate it. Why? I have no idea. Some blame the acting, others the direction – many of the opinions are wildly contradictory. After almost 20 years, I couldn’t remember many specific details from the movie – just that I had enjoyed it. Could I have been wrong about it? Could Yuzna and Gordon have made a movie as bad as some people say it is?

To find out, I decided to put Progeny to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

Progeny is based on the (what to call it?) urban legend, or mythology, or belief, that people are being abducted by aliens who conduct experiments on them. We’ve all heard the stories. Someone sees a bright light and then the next thing they know it’s two hours later – even though it only feels like two seconds to them. 

The experiments are often of a sexual nature – the term “anal probe” has almost become synonymous with alien abduction experiences – and Progeny does not do a lot to change that. Jillian McWhirter plays a wife who, in the midst of making love to her husband (played by Arnold Vosloo), is taken up to a spacecraft and probed and poked (in the nose among other places) and later discovers that she is pregnant. She believes it is her husbands doing, but he knows that something is wrong, as his sperm count is ridiculously low. 

Eventually they both come to realize that this thing growing inside of her may not be a human baby.

So, what’s the verdict?

Progeny (1998) is a moderate to full blown Terror. It’s legitimately suspenseful and tense – and you feel a real sense of panic, as the characters both do in their own ways. I don’t know what some of the IMDb reviews are talking about, the acting is good. Arnold Vosloo has been in over 80 things and is perhaps best known for playing Imhotep in The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001). Jillian McWhirter only has 26 credits, but they include such cool, #NotQuiteClassicCinema as Violated (1984), Nowhere to Run (1989), After Midnight (1989), Rage (1995), a couple of Bloodfist movies, The Dentist 2 (1998) and Dee Snider‘s Strangeland (1998).

Brad Dourif is excellent as a doctor who is studying the alien abduction phenomenon.

And it’s always a pleasure to see my late Twitter buddy Wilford Brimley in anything.

Progeny (1998) even delivers on the #Trash side of things, with some full frontal nudity and moderately kinky alien probing. This is in line with the kind of kinky madness that can be found in films like Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Society

In fact, one can’t help by compare Brad Dourif’s character to Herbert West, and Arnold Vosloo’s character (who is also a doctor) to Dan Cain. Together they do some questionable things to try to save the blonde love interest (Jillian McWhirter) – who isn’t unlike Barbara Crampton, in a way. 

Don’t get me wrong. Progeny is not as good as Re-Animator. But it’s good enough for this Re-Animator fan to keep it in his personal collection. 

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Werewolf Hunter (2004)

t’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD cover for Werewolf Hunter (2004)Werewolf Hunter / Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt (2004) by #PacoPlaza

w/ #JulianSands #ElsaPataky

A traveling vendor seeks the affections of a woman who has lost several family members to an unknown serial killer.

“Based On A True Story”

#Werewolf #Horror

#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

The DVD of Werewolf Hunter (2004) has been sitting on my shelf for years. Whenever I see it there, I get a vague feeling of having watched it and liked it some time in the past. Other than that, no details come to mind. So, I decided to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

The first thing I noticed was that the movie is actually called  Romasanta (2004), or Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt (2004), or  Werewolf Hunter: The Legend of Romasanta or Werewolf Hunter: Romo Santa – why does my DVD box only say Werewolf Hunter?

The next thing I noticed was that the movie stars Julian Sands, Elsa Pataky, and a bunch of other classy (dare I say, serious) actors. No scream queens, B-movie stars, or Ron Jeremy (or other porn stars) are found in this cast list. It quickly becomes apparent that the movie is a co-production between Spain and the United Kingdom.

Werewolf Hunter (2004) is not a typical werewolf movie. It’s based on the true story of serial killer Manuel Blanco Romasanta, who murdered 13 people in Spain in the 1850s and claimed that a curse caused him to turn into a wolf and kill people. The movie treads that line of “is he, or isn’t he?” We see a wolf in action,  we see transformations, we see blood and gore – but is it all in the character’s head?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. The story is gripping, the actors are all top notch, and the action is extremely well done. The only weird part is that I didn’t remember one second of it from a previous viewing. And there are some very memorable moments – including one where a werewolf hunter (or is he a fellow werewolf?) runs like hell through the woods stark naked, penis visibly swinging to the left and the right (to paraphrase the AC/DC song). I wouldn’t exactly call this a highlight, but it’s a fairly unique sight in mainstream movies and I think I would have remembered it.

This, and many other moments, lead me to wonder if it’s possible that I somehow DIDN’T watch this movie fifteen years ago. Could I have accidentally put it on my shelf and forgotten about it? I’ll never know for sure.

So, what’s the verdict?

Werewolf Hunter (2004) is a moderate to full blown Terror. It’s legitimately suspenseful and tense – and you really don’t know what’s going to happen from moment to moment. It has scenes of horror (and gore) that work, and manages to generate an atmosphere of horror and unease throughout. It’s also a convincing recreation of a medieval world.

The ending of Werewolf Hunter might not feel completely satisfying, as it adheres to the true story of it’s source inspiration (although many of the details have been fictionalized). I won’t say any more about it, except that I thought the ending worked. Part of what I like about it, is that it’s different from what one might come to expect from a typical werewolf movie.

Needless to say, Werewolf Hunter (2004) will be staying in my permanent collection  – at least until the next time I look at it on the shelf and say “What the hell is that?!”

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Andre the Butcher (2005)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD art for Andre The Butcher (2005)

Andre the Butcher (2005) by #PhilipCruz

w/ #AprilBillingsley #HeatherJoyBudner #RonJeremy #ElizabethMullins #MaurySterling,

A group of cheerleaders wreck their car and run afoul of a slaughterhouse worker turned supernatural killer.

“No matter how you slice it, he’s pure terror.”

#Horror #Comedy
#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

 

I somehow wound up with two DVD copies of Andre the Butcher (2005). I bought one (at a video store blowout, I believe), and I guess somebody gave me one. I must’ve watched the one I bought fifteen years ago, or so, but I really couldn’t remember anything about it. So, I decided that it was time to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

I did not remember that porn star/legend Ron Jeremy was in this, playing the former slaughterhouse worker turned supernatural killer, no less. Depending on your feelings about him, that could be either a plus or minus, I suppose.

The cheerleaders are largely unknown actors. April Billingsley, who played Jasmine, has gone on to appear in about 40 things since Andre the ButcherHeather Joy Budner, who played Cookie, has only been in five things. Elizabeth Mullins, who played Kristy (the “fat” cheerleader who wasn’t all that fat), has no other acting credits in movies. She has apparently done a lot of theatre. 

Maury Sterling, who played Hoss (an escaped convict), is a successful character actor with over a hundred credits. 

Andre the Butcher is much more of a campy comedy than a scary horror film. I think that it aspired to being something like a Troma movie, or even a John Waters movie. It has sleazy intentions, but doesn’t really deliver much actual sleaze. There’s a lot of sleazy talk and implied sleaze, but not much that we actually see.

The viewer is robbed of seeing nudity in this moment of Andre The ButcherAndre the Butcher declares itself quite early on, when a cheerleader lifts her top to flash someone. Director Philip Cruz makes a joke out of the moment by having the words “NO NUDITY CLAUSE” appear over her breasts. So, they kind of have the moment, without letting us see it.

I was quite surprised when much later in the film, there were a couple of brief glimpses of naked breasts. They were, however, the breasts of a body double. So as far as I’m concerned, that’s almost the same as having no breasts at all.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of fine movies – some of them personal favourites of mine – that don’t include any nudity. Andre the Butcher, however, presents itself as an over-the-top, sleazy, sexy, deliberately-in-poor-taste B-movie. And it does have its moments of pure campy fun. It just doesn’t quite commit to being what it seems to want to be.

So, what’s the verdict?

Andre the Butcher (2005) is Trash. It doesn’t have a scary bone in its body, so it can’t qualify as Terror. It’s almost the good kind of trash – and a person could certainly do a lot worse when looking for a few campy laughs, and a bit of implied sleaze. It’s no Trashterpiece, however, like The Vineyard (which I talked about in this very category not too long ago). It distracted me for an hour and half – for the second time in my life apparently – but I don’t think I will need to be visiting Andre the Butcher again anytime soon.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Deadly Scavengers (2001)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD cover for Deadly Scavengers (2001)Deadly Scavengers (2001) by #RonFord

w/#JohnFallon #HeatherBranch #VinnieBilancio

After a scientist is killed and his daughter disappears from their secret lab in the desert, it’s up to an elite mercenary team to find her–and what they discover is a giant man-sized cockroach that’s been hunting humans in the area.

#Horror #Comedy
#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

 

I bought the DVD of Deadly Scavengers (2001) at a pawn shop in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It jumped off the shelf at me because I’d never seen or heard of it before – and it looked like it could be very cheap, and very bad.

It was.

But apparently I enjoyed it enough to put it in my permanent collection. Looking at the box 15 years later, I had no idea what it was really like. So, I decided that it was time to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

The director, Ron Ford, has apparently made 36 movies (so far), He has also acted in 76 movies, including Addicted to Murder (1995), which I wrote about in this very category just a few months ago. He wrote and directed Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood (2000). I’ve been slowly working my way through all of those Witchcraft movies, but I haven’t made it that far yet. In fact, I think the last one I saw was part six, so I have a long way to go…

One doesn’t have to study Ron Ford’s list of movies very closely to see that he is an auteur of bad movies. This is no criticism, as I am a connoisseur of bad movies. I’m trying to watch the entire Witchcraft series, for crap’s sake! That’s a series that started off bad, got marginally better, then a whole lot worse. And yet, for some reason, I can’t resist looking at the next one, and the next one, and the next one…

I bought Deadly Scavengers knowing, nay, wanting it to be bad. And the first time I watched it I was convinced that it was the good kind of bad – with plenty of over-the-top cheapass gore and gratuitous nudity. Watching it again now, I found there to be more gratuitous conversations, ridiculous character conflicts, and obligatory plot twists than anything else.

Yes, there is some gore and violence – and there are even a couple of scenes of gratuitous nudity. But not really enough to carry the film for almost 90 minutes. Some critics have declared Deadly Scavengers to be the worst movie ever made. If it was, I would have enjoyed it more. It’s not really bad enough to be a camp classic (although it has a few moments). Needless to say, it’s not good enough to be another Aliens (1986) or Predator (1987) – which Ron Ford may have been going for. Or maybe he was thinking of Tremors (1990), with its sense of humour. Or maybe he was paying homage to classic monster movies from the 1950s. Alas, Deadly Scavengers is none of those things.

So, what’s the verdict?

Deadly Scavengers is Trash. It feels sort of like a very late entry into the 1980’s shot-on-video horror boom. And most of those movies were Trash. The best of them were good Trash. A few may have even been trashterpieces of bad cinema. Deadly Scavengers doesn’t quite make it that far. It’s neither the best, nor the worst, of it’s kind. It’s simply an acceptable time waster for those who have a high tolerance for bad movies. If a connoisseur is in just the right mood, it might even be an acceptable addition to a marathon of bad movies. Having watched it twice in less than twenty years, I think I’ve seen it enough. But it certainly doesn’t dissuade me from seeking out and watching other movies by Ron Ford.

I may have a problem…

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Miner’s Massacre (2002)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD box art for Miner's Massacre (2002)Miner’s Massacre AKA  Curse of the Forty-Niner (2002) by #JohnCarlBuechler

w/#KarenBlack #JohnPhillipLaw #RichardLynch #VernonWells #MartinKove #JeffConaway

A group of friends take gold from an old mine and awaken a long dead miner Hell Bent on protecting his treasure.

“They Axed For It!”

#Horror #Slasher
#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

A friend of mine worked for a website reviewing DVDs. Apparently, he did it to get a bunch of free DVDs mailed out to him on a regular basis. He told me I should get in on it, but somehow I never did. One of the movies he received and reviewed was Miner’s Massacre (2002). – and he told me about it one day.

“Is it worth watching?” I asked him.

“Oh, yeah!” he said with a glint in his eye.

I got the impression that he thought it was a bad movie, but a “so-bad-it’s-good” bad movie. He knew I liked that sort of thing, so I guess he figured that he was giving me a hot tip. He didn’t lend me his DVD, oddly enough. But I guess at that point we were only seeing each other once in while – if we happened to bump into each other at a party or event. He may not have wanted to risk losing his precious copy (for which he’d paid nothing).

A couple of years later I found a copy of Miner’s Massacre in a bargain bin somewhere and, recalling my friend’s ringing endorsement, I bought it. I guess I must have enjoyed it enough to put it onto my movie shelf – where it has remained collecting dust ever since. Honestly, I couldn’t remember a thing about it. So, I decided that it was time to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

It’s basically an old school slasher film directed by John Carl Buechler, who made Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) and about 17 other movies. He is more known for his special effects work. Miner’s Massacre is inferior in every way to any Friday the 13th movie. It tries to create a supernatural killer, like Jason, but doesn’t do as good a job setting him up and making him scary. He seems more campy and ridiculous most of the time. We also see him right away, so we know he’s the killer. There’s no mystery, like even the original Friday the 13th had. That would be okay if he was scary like Michael Myers, but he’s not. 

There’s an amazing cast of well known supporting actors in Miner’s Massacre. Unfortunately, they are all wasted. It’s pretty evident that they are there just to provide some names that can be used to promote the movie. many of them just have one scene – some of which are completely unnecessary and do nothing to move the story forward. 

So what’s the verdict?

Miner’s Massacre (2002) is Trash. It doesn’t work as a serious slasher film. It’s not scary or suspenseful. It also isn’t quite bad enough to be “so-bad-it’s-good”. The ridiculous misuse of the famous actors could almost qualify it, but not quite. It does have a tiny bit of sleaze in it, but not enough to make it worth sitting through. Perhaps those who’ve seen fewer bad movies than I have may be amused enough to declare it “so-bad-it’s-good”. Maybe I even did myself when I first saw it almost 20 years ago. But now, it just seems bad.

For a much, much better miner’s massacre, stick to My Bloody Valentine (1981) – or even My Bloody Valentine (2009), which has a much higher sleaze factor and is in 3D! They are both well worth repeat viewings – and are much better slasher films than Miner’s Massacre (2002). 

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Zombie Island Massacre (1984)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

Poster for Zombie Island Massacre (1984)Zombie Island Massacre (1984) by #JohnCarter

w/#RitaJenrette

Music by #HarryManfredini

Tourists watch a voodoo ritual then find themselves stranded & under attack by unseen foes. One by one they meet violent ends.

“HAVE A FUN-FILLED VACATION!…”

#Horror #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

 

Zombie Island Massacre (1984) rated poorly in all my horror review books. For some reason, I bought a VHS copy anyway – and I liked it. Or rather, I liked it well enough to put the tape in my permanent collection. I watched it a couple of times over the years, when I was working on a zombie project of some sort (like my play The Inner City Dead for instance) and was in need of inspiration.

The truth is, however, that Zombie Island Massacre (1984) isn’t actually much of a zombie film. In spite of that fact, I always chose to hang onto the tape. Now it’s been quite a few years since I worked on a zombie project – or watched the movie – so I decided to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

A bunch of tourists take a boat to a strange Caribbean island, and then a bus to remote location where they watch an actual voodoo ritual. In fact, they watch a corpse being turned into a zombie. Later, their bus driver vanishes and their bus refuses to start. They have to try to walk to safety, while seemingly being attacked by zombies, or some other unseen foe.

I don’t like spoilers, so I’ll stop right there. Suffice it to say that a zombie apocalypse never quite occurs. In some ways, Zombie Island Massacre has more in common with a slasher film than a zombie film – but even that isn’t quite the right label for it.

So what’s the verdict?

I actually like Zombie Island Massacre. It feels like a made for TV movie of the 1970s, or maybe an episode of The Love Boat (1977-1987) gone very wrong. Several couples on a romantic vacation (at least part of which is on a boat), actors that seem like they could be guest stars on an old ensemble show, and a plot that actually moves along and goes somewhere – it feels more like TV than, say, an Italian zombie movie. 

Having said that, Zombie Island Massacre does feature a descent amount of nudity, most of which is care of Rita Jenrette, who was a Playboy playmate. She was also married to a U.S. Congressman, and was involved in some sort of sex scandal. So, she was a person of interest when producers cast her in this movie – and she gave them a darn good performance, too. Incidentally, she once appeared on Fantasy Island (1977-1984), which was kind of like the companion show of The Love Boat.

There is some violence in Zombie Island Massacre, and people do die. There are even some beheadings, but it’s all fairly tame compared to the average Fulci or Romero film. 

Still, I like the TV movie feel – and I used to watch The Love Boat and Fantasy Island every Saturday night – so I enjoy spending 90 odd minutes at this non-zombie Zombie Island Massacre. I would say it’s a mild to moderate Terror (for some actual suspense and shocks). I would also say it is mildly but pleasantly Trash-y (for providing some quality gratuitous nudity, and a bit of gore).  It currently only rates a 3.1 on the IMDb, but I would rate it at least a 5.3. 

It’s no trashterpiece, but it’s a more than acceptable time passer on a rainy afternoon, and I will be keeping the VHS tape on my shelf…

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Zombie High (1987)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

VHS box for Zombie High (1987)Zombie High (1987) by #RonLink

w/ #VirginiaMadsen #RichardCox #SherilynFenn

A coed uncovers a plot of secret surgeries on students’ brains.

“The incredible story of a hard-working student and the warped way of life that made her go wacky.”

#Horror #Comedy

#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

 

I first saw Zombie High (1987) back in the ’80s. It’s reputation, thanks to critics, was not good – but I enjoyed it anyway. It was kind of a throwback to old 1950s movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), or maybe Invaders from Mars (1953). Unfortunately, it was called Zombie High at a time when audiences had just been thrilled by The Return of the Living Dead (1985). In terms of horror comedy, that pays homage to an older movie (or two), it simply doesn’t get any better than that. Not to mention the insane, over-the-top zombie action (and gore) that was as hilarious as it was impressive in The Return of the Living Dead

Zombie High has none of that. No zombies, no over-the-top gore – nothing. You could say that Zombie High is very understated. I’m not even sure if I knew it was a comedy the first time I saw it. Looking at it now, it’s obvious that there is a sense of humour at work just below the surface – but it’s incredibly subtle. It’s not the kind of movie with clear jokes that pay off with big laughs. I smiled and chuckled a few times, but Zombie High is so straight-faced that some scenes actually work as serious drama (or 1950s horror/sci-fi).

This was director Ron Link’s only feature film. He was apparently more of a theatre director (and actor), and worked on several plays by Tom Eyen, who was known for campy parodies like Women Behind Bars (1975) – which Link directed. This may give us some clue as to where Link was coming from when he made Zombie High. Unfortunately, that campy style didn’t totally come through in the movie.

The cast includes Sherilyn Fenn, before she became a star on Twin Peaks (1989-1991), and Virginia Madsen, who was, at the time, almost a superstar. She had been in some high profile movies with a lot of potential, some of which failed to pan out, like Dune (1984). Zombie High would have done nothing to help her, I’m sure. She did eventually achieve some of the success she deserved with Candyman (1992), and has since done a lot of other good stuff. 

I bought a VHS copy of Zombie High sometime in the ’90s, and watched it at least a couple of times. When I wrote my own high school zombie comedy musical  I Was A Teenage Zombie, I looked at Zombie High as something that might inspire me. As much as I enjoyed it, I was always left with the feeling that it wasn’t quite all that it needed to be. Still, I hung onto to it, as if one day it might finally age just enough to be truly great. So, after not seeing it for a good fifteen years, I decided to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

So what’s the verdict?

Zombie High (1987) is a very, very mild terror. And what I mean by that, is that it has moments that work, and is oddly likeable in a very understated way – but it’s not really scary. it’s not serious enough to ever be scary. it’s also not funny enough to work as a comedy, although it might occasionally elicit a smile. I can’t call it trash, because it’s not trashy enough to be trash. It’s so tasteful it’s almost strange. It has none of the campy blood, gore and nudity of movies like The Return of the Living Dead and Return to Horror High (1987). It’s also just a little too good (at least in terms of its cast and production values) to be called trash in a Garden of the Dead sort of way. It’s actually a decent little movie, that could be an acceptable time passer for the right person (such as teenage and twenty-something me). Having now seen it about four times over the years, I can probably retire it from my collection. But someone who’s never seen it may find enough ’80s amusements within its reasonable 93 minute running time to warrant adding it to theirs. As long as they don’t let the title fool them into expecting a spectacle of zombie carnage – and they manage keep their expectations reasonably low. 

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Paranoid (2000)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

Poster art for Paranoid (2000)Paranoid (2000) by #JohnDuigan

w/ #JessicaAlba #IainGlen #JeanneTripplehorn

A fashion model is abandoned at a party in the country, where she’s drugged, abused on video and chained to a bed.

“Forbidden Passions Can Be Deadly”

#Crime #Horror #Thriller

#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

 

It sounds like a good time, but Paranoid (2000) is an odd movie. It starts off by generating some genuine suspense and a general feeling of dread. I certainly felt afraid for the main character, Chloe, played by Jessica Alba, as she seemed to be getting herself deeper and deeper into a very creepy situation. But at some point in the middle of the film, it flatlines and becomes a strange waiting game. Chloe (and the audience) is left waiting for the bad guys to make up their mind about what they’re going to do with her. The movie almost becomes more of a quirky crime comedy, featuring oddball characters that could almost be sympathetic – if they didn’t all seem to be doing something a little bit shifty.

So what’s the verdict?

Paranoid (2000) is a mild Terror (primarily for the first half hour) that suddenly suffers a strange tonal shift into indie-movie Trash. There is some nudity (although not featuring Jessica Alba), almost no violence – and no gore. So while it might be trash, it’s not the fun kind. It does have a few entertaining moments, so it’s not a total write-off – but having sat through it twice in twenty years (or so), I think I can now pass Paranoid on to some other sucker who thinks it looks intriguing.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: The Forsaken (2001)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

DVD cover for The Forsaken (2001)

The Forsaken (2001) by #JSCardone

w/ #KerrSmith #BrendanFehr #IzabellaMiko #JohnathonSchaech #PhinaOruche #CarrieSnodgress
 
A young man hired to drive a car cross-country picks up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a vampire hunter.
 
“The night… has an appetite.”
 
#Horror #Vampires
#TrashOrTerrorTuesday

 

Somewhere along the way I picked up a DVD copy of The Forsaken (2001), knowing nothing about it. I recall being pleasantly surprised by it, so I added it to my personal library. Fast forward a few years, and I couldn’t remember anything about it. So, I figured I might as well put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by it. The review on the front of the box compares it to The Lost Boys (1987), and that’s not a completely ridiculous thing to say, as it involves a gang of vampires and a relatively cool soundtrack. It even features a couple of songs by Nickelback before they took the world by storm (I know that some will say this is a minus, not a plus, but I will make no such judgment).

The cast features Brendan Fehr, who is from Winnipeg (my home town), where he appeared is a movie called Hand (1998). I should probably be featuring that one on #TrashOrTerrorTuesday, as it is undeniably trash (and not the good kind) – but unfortunately (I mean very, very fortunately) I do not own a copy. But seriously, if I did own a copy (and I might actually buy it for a decent price – what’s wrong with me?) I would probably have to feature it on #MadeInManitobaMonday. But I digress…

The Forsaken is a much better movie than Hand. It’s not as good as The Lost Boys, but who would expect it to be? The cast is solid – and that includes former Winnipegger Brendan Fehr. I should mention that Fehr has appeared in other movies I like, including Disturbing Behavior (1998), Christina’s House (2000), and Silent Night (2012). Most would probably know him from Final Destination (2000) and Roswell (1999-2002).

In The Forsaken, Fehr plays a vampire hunter who is searching for the vampire who once bit him (to stop himself from turning). He believes it might be one of the gang that he encounters with Kerr Smith’s character, Sean – who is trying to deliver an expensive car across the country and attend his sister’s wedding. Much violent action ensues…

So what’s the verdict?

The Forsaken (2001) is a moderate Terror. It has great action, some legitimate suspense, and a few moments that could be described as scary. There is fair bit of nudity – and some sexy vampire antics – as well, which perhaps adds a touch of Trash to the mix (but this is the good kind of Trash). All in all, I enjoyed The Forsaken quite a bit (for the second time), and I will be keeping the DVD in my collection.