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Boardinghouse 1982 Review

Boardinghouse 1982

aka La Casa Del Terror

Directed by: John Wintergate

Starring: John Wintergate, Kalassu Kay, Lindsay Freeman

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Review by Luisito Joaquín González

Move over Nail Gun Massacre, make way Last Slumber Party and step aside Night Ripper

It begins with a prologue showing us murders that have plagued ‘The Hoffman House’. A guy is pushed into a swimming pool, which bizarrely kills him. Another stranger is seen pulling out his intestines and an unseen someone with a black glove forces a woman (that really doesn’t seem too concerned) to hang herself. These are all intercut with a computer screen that shows us in text that every person that has ever so much as entered this abode has ended up either hung, drawn, quartered or has suffered some other gruesome fate. So can you guess who will be the next occupants to move in to the mansion and meet their doom? Why of course you can – it’s a randy telekinetic guy and a troupe of beaming ‘hotties’ with a tonne of mascara but not a trace of common sense between them.

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Did I once date a Boardinghouse bunny??

This was the first horror movie to be shot on video, which is a big up yours to Christopher Lewis who made the belated claim that Blood Cult, his semi-slasher effort from three years after, was the first entry of that kind. Funnily enough, this one actually had a theatre run, but I have no idea about its box office successes. I can only guess that it was hardly a massive hit.

Surprisingly, to all intents and purposes, Boarding House is not your typical hack and slasher. Director John Wintergate has chucked in a neat dose of outer-body mayhem, 87467487438739833which means that the killer can eliminate the useless thespians without being anywhere near them at the time. This gives us the chance to see the drama school dropouts attempting to look as if they’ve suddenly been possessed by a mysterious hellish agony, without knowing where the hell it’s come from. Cue plenty of unconvincing facial expressions and stilted cries as the cast choke and pull off their faces whilst trying to act like they’re completely unaware why they’re doing it. In one particular scene, our heroine screams consistently for about two minutes while she suffers (yet) another of her ‘terrifying’ nightmares, which I think reached double figures before the final credits rolled. I am not sure what was more effected, my eardrums or her throat after that yelling marathon.

The ‘star’ of the movie, Hank Adly (a guy who looks like Rod Stewart might after 12 grams of coke), provided bucket loads of inadvertent humour. I loved the bit where he 123456made a bar of soap fly around his bathtub to show off his telekinetic abilities and impress the on looking bunnies. There’s certainly plenty of nonsensical activity to bring a 78367437487487498744smile to the lips to those who cherish those classic bad movie moments. The final scene is particularly hilarious, as the killer and two survivors stand off for a telekinetic battle. Staged like a showdown from a Sergio Leone movie, the three gather in a circle and simultaneously gurn as they each try to inflict psychic pain on one another. It’s hard to give you a description that would do justice to the extent of the silliness, but trust me – it’s worth it’s weight in comedy gold. All of the female cast members manage to whip off their underwear at one point or another and there’s just enough exploitation to satisfy eighties trash fans.

Interestingly enough, Boarding House was something of a first, because it included a warning for viewers of a weaker disposition that would let us know when something horrific was about to Nice view...!!happen. Suddenly, the screen comes alive in a maze of colours and that’s when we the audience know that someone is going to get dismembered. I must admit that this was a novel idea if we were about to sit down and watch a Lucio Fulci marathon. I’m not exaggerating my claim however when I state that my four-year-old daughter can create more realistic body parts with her Play Doh kit. This is especially evident in the ‘intestine ripping’ scene, which is clearly an actor pulling corn-syrup coated sausages from the gap in his shirt. Maybe they could have featured a warning before every bad movie moment? In fact they could have just placed an ‘amateur morons at work’ notice before the first credit sequence? Imagine the savings on budget!

Boarding House IS as mind numbingly atrocious as you had probably expected it to be. Even the back cover blurb has NO relevance whatsoever to the movie and I can’t forget to mention the wonderful tagline that promises intrigue, suspicion and a sinister environment (yeah right!). Oh and before I go, I’ll leave you with a quote from the female lead singer of ’33 and a third’ – The heavy metal band that ‘entertain’ the party at the film’s climax. “You say you want a rock romance, you’ve been begging just to get in my pants!” And with that I shall leave you to explore for yourselves…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:

Gore √√

Final Girl √

RATING:

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Splatter Farm 1987 Review

Splatter Farm 1987

Directed by: P.Alan

Starring: Todd Michael Smith, John Polonia, Mark Polonia

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Review by Luis Joaquín González

One of the strangest rules of film collecting is that extremely rare and impossible to locate movies immediately become cult classics. People seem to forget that the reason that most of these flicks have 7645764764873873983983vanished is because they were so rubbish that they didn’t shift first time around. It would take a pretty stupid distributor to recall and stop producing any feature that was flying off the shelves, wouldn’t it? Titles like Savage Water, Night Ripper and Don’t go in the woods (especially Don’t go in the Woods) are without a doubt ‘challenging’ pictures to sit through. Original copies still sell on ebay for prices that range from $50 – to as much as a staggering $120 a pop. Judging by the posts and wanted lists that I’ve noticed scattered around on websites, Splatter Farm in its original format is among that number of missing obscurities that has inexplicably gained a similar undeserved following. I already own a copy of 6476476387387383983this on VHS and even if it can be picked up fairly cheaply nowadays on budget DVD, I wanted to post an honest opinion in case it ever disappears again.

The story concerns two nameless and identically goofy-looking brothers who head out to the sticks for a vacation at their Auntie’s secluded farm. Mrs. Lacy is an old coot who keeps telling herself that’s she’s incredibly lonely since her old man was the victim of an unfortunate ‘accident’ (an axe to the head!). Her only company on the green grass of home is Jeremy, the handyman who lives in a barn. Unbeknownst to pinkie and perky (the two numbskull siblings), Jeremy is a raving cannibalistic maniac with a taste for necrophilia too. In the first scene alone he’s shown dismembering a patently unrealistic corpse, which looks to be made from paper mache. Before long the two nerds are stranded on the farm and have to fight off their auntie’s sexual advances and Jeremy’s murderous habits…

Wow. The fact that this one can even be considered a ‘cult classic’ is a mystery that rivals the identity of 5465437637632873873983the assassin on the Grassy Knoll. Ollie Kendall’s Houseboat Horror achieved a similar feat when that too took a one-way vacation into obscurity, but on the subject of the Grassy Knoll, Kendall’s flick looks comparable to Oliver Stone’s JFK in comparison with this.  I know it’s nothing to boast about, but as you can see from my A-Z review list I know more than most about cruddy slasher movies. I’ve seen them all, from the obscure (Cards of Death/Early Frost) to the ridiculous (New York Centre Fold Massacre/Fever Lake). Well P.Alan’s addition ticks both of those boxes, – but in honesty, it’s ugly to boot.4545657676879898

The first thing that potential viewers should understand is that it was not even shot on a reasonable format. It’s an average camcorder recording, which makes the poorest SOV flick look like an IMAX print. There’s no boom mike available, so the tinny microphone picks up everything other than what you want it to properly and Ray Charles must have edited the whole thing whilst counting sheep. Yes there is a fair bit of el cheapo gore and ‘sexual’ scenes that could get the movie banned even in Amsterdam, but it’s so damn fake and poorly handled that it makes Violent Shit look like Tom Savini’s finest hour in 76476476487387389833comparison. I won’t mention the performances, because there are none; and I’m running out of witty ways to describe rancid dramatics on a SLASH above.

I want to say that I’m not trying to slander P. Alan for the effort he took to make his first movie. I think it’s great that anyone with a camcorder can grab a few mates and try to do something creative with their spare time. In fact, the film is quite funny in an ‘oh deary me’ type way. Perhaps Splatter Farm caught me in an unfortunate mood, but all I’m trying to do is stop the numerous fans paying rip-off prices for a film that just won’t deliver what you expect it to. It’s certainly a twisted beast with hilarious necrophilia sex scenes that you won’t see anywhere else. But like I said, chances are that 100% you could pick up an iPhone and make a movie of similar quality with just a couple of your mates and a gallon of corn syrup. I decided to post this review after seeing the video for sale on eBay for $200 and the seller stating it was a, ‘gross-out classic that every true horror fan must see’. You can feed a family for a whole week on that budget…

As I said, there are some laughs to be had here and it despite being amongst the most poorly put-together films that I have ever seen, it does have moments of a disturbing atmosphere. Still though, I reckon that the most fun to be had is hunting down a copy. In a way, Splatter Farm could have been one of a number of similar entries that you will get milked for on auction websites. The moral of the story is, times are tough; – be wise with what you spend your money on 🙂

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:

Gore √√√

Final Girl: 

RATING:a-slash-above-logo11

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Deadly Little Christmas 2009 Review

Deadly Little Christmas 2009

Directed by: Novin Shakiba

Starring: Felissa Rose, Monique La Barr, Noa Geller

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

I used to think when I was watching all these slasher features that the directors must have been massive genre fans like me. 8754747838939839843984895895985In the foolishness of my youth, I really believed that they had been as much inspired by John Carpenter’s Halloween as I had been and were paying homage through their own attempt at creating a stalk and slasher. The reality is nowhere near as romantic though and the truth is that money was the domineering factor behind the production of most entries during the cycle’s heyday. Studios were impressed by the minimal spend that was poured into the creation of teenie kill films and the revenue that they generated, so they would pick up cheap scripts and any director that was willing to work at an agreeable rate. It’s a shame that nowadays I see clearly that there are so few pictures that were developed out of a true love or respect for the sub-genre, which somewhat destroys the romance that I fostered whilst growing up.7478438398398390834984898575 Like most avenues of life, money was the key source of motivation behind the slasher boom :(.

In fairness, when I picked up the cover of Deadly Little Christmas, I immediately thought that it may be slightly different. There’s been a bit of a lull in the popularity of slashers for the past couple of years, mainly because there now exists other cinematic avenues that generate equal amounts of quick cash. Taglines such as, ‘First there was Halloween, then Friday the 13th. Now the scariest day of them all’ though generally hint at a movie that has been made to satisfy a fanboy’s dream of emulating the pictures of old. It was shot in 2009 and I couldn’t help thinking that Novin Shakiba could be a lover of our favourite category. He may have grown up watching and loving these pictures and now he finally got the chance to make his own tribute to them.

It kicks off fifteen years ago in familiar territory with the murder of an adulterous father and his mistress with a blade 746747823838929820923on Christmas day. A kid walks outside with the knife in his hand and we are treated to a very similar shot to the one from the opening of Halloween and an almost identical score (just played in a slightly different key). Go to modern day and we learn that he has been in an asylum for the past fifteen years and has become mute. You know what’s coming next, right? He breaks out the day before Xmas and heads back to the town where his family reside…

There have been so many DTV quickies released since 1996 that even most true category 87r478387389398398098444enthusiasts don’t bother with them and focus more of their attention on the rarities from the eighties. I must admit that even I have trouble sitting through entries like Doll Killer and its numerous bottom shelf sharing counterparts, but every now and then you can come across one that makes the hunt worthwhile.

Deadly Little Christmas certainly looks cheap and shows obvious signs of being rolled out on the lowest imaginable budget. This is most evident in its choice of location for the majority of the action, which is a community hall; probably the one most local to producer David Sterling’s house. Now Sterling has a bigger list of B-movie titles under his belt than Ron Jeremy has porn appearances, but some of them are so obscure that they’re not listed on most film sites. I have spoken to directors that have worked with him and been told that he sticks to the tightest of budgets, once not fronting a measly $20 for a prop that was essential to the story. I was also informed that he had managed a shoot that had finished some five minutes under the required runtime, so he decided to chuck 746743783893983983093in a lesbian sex scene that had no coherence to the story whatsoever. There is of course a market for this kind of thing, but it’s not one that particularly interests me.

As you can imagine and being that slasher movies are relatively simple to manufacture, he has been involved in quite a few and many of them are the worst kind. Deadly Little Christmas is another of that ilk, which only separates itself by having the right ideas, but nowhere near enough of what’s needed to realise them. Shakiba is ambitious with his method of allowing his plot to dictate the flow of the movie, but it is hampered by awful performances and a notably weak script. There’s a 67456747387383983983twist that was hinted at a number of times and therefore given away far too early, which means that it is everything but a shock when finally revealed.

Between all the lame drawn out dialogue there are a handful of lamer murders. One of them is hilarious as the actor shakes for about fifteen seconds after being stabbed in the ear (you can see it above). As if you’d shake that way after having a knife stuck in the brain. The weapon of choice seems to be a toy retractable blade and the effects amount to a few litres of red stuff and little else. The lack of budget is reflected in the killer’s guise and there’s nothing intimidating about a hooded top and dime store mask. They went for the age old slasher chestnut of8487487383893983983 lining up all the corpses around a table for the conclusion, but any atmosphere that could have been built soon vanishes when it results in a shouting match between the remaining cast members, which plays more like a let’s see who can be the least convincing competition. Felissa Rose has been in numerous budget flicks (including Sleepaway Camp), but is really bad and unconvincing here. All of the characters lack allure and most scenes are over 874675478348938938939830933written, which means that they lead to flat angles that fail to maintain intrigue.

I think that Novin Shakiba is a fan of the category and it can be seen by the amount that he borrows from Halloween that he wasn’t just in this one for the pay-cheque. But his good ideas don’t stand out because they have been surrounded by poor production values and rancid dramatics. How much of this is the fault of the director himself is questionable. Still, there is nothing to raise this one above the rest of Sterling’s back catalogue and it is sadly yet another DTV throwaway; albeit one with a Christmas theme.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√

Gore √

Final Girl √

RATING:

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Killer Instinct 2000 Review

Killer Instinct 2000

Directed by: Ken Barbet

Starring: Corbin Bernsen, Dee Wallace, Paige Moss

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

Killer Instinct opens with a horde of vigilantes chasing a bloodied someone through some smartly lighted woodland. After stopping to stab an unfortunate fellow that has his back turned, the assailant is eventually caught and overpowered. He must’ve really upset these 87651townsfolk because out comes the noose and the unidentified man is hung by the neck until the screen fades.

Clichés abound when the words 15 years later pop up on the screen and we’re introduced to a troupe of banal teens that discuss a massacre that occurred that many years earlier, which it seems was all the work of the aforementioned guy that we saw strung up in the pre-credits.873783783892892982982 (Explanation is not the film’s strong point) Meanwhile, we are given a sub-plot concerning a businesswoman (Dee Wallace Stone) who wants – or is trying to purchase – some property from a ‘desperate for the pay-cheque’ Corbin Bernsen. Anyway back to the teens, who are now talking about spending the night in the abandoned asylum where the slayings took place a decade and a half earlier. Their posse consists of the all the typical ingredients that are now solidly encrypted into the slasher movie guidebook: annoying guy, slut, randy couple, token (and first to be killed) black dude and girl that can sense the danger that lies ahead. Come on, by now you know the drill!

They finally make their way into the desolate building, which really looks a lot more like a normal house. It’s also worth noting that for a place that has been left to rot for fifteen years, it’s extremely well preserved. There are no light bulbs, so an unusually large amount of candles give us our illumination, but we don’t know where they got them from, because I didn’t see any of the gang with so much as a rucksack. Meanwhile unbeknownst to the youngsters, their chances of leaving have just taken a knock, due to the doors and windows being mysteriously locked.

After a while, it’s decided that a game is in order, preferably one that’ll split the group up so they can wander off to their doom. They choose to take off their underwear and put it in a bag so one of their number can hide them around the location before they all head off to find it. Imagine an Easter Egg hunt, but without the eggs… just grubby undies…hmmm. Ok… But before they leave, Wendy (Paige Moss) digs through the briefs and shows them to 78378378389239829822everyone so that they can all have a jolly good giggle. (I am not kidding, this actually happened). That makes these guys the first slasher victims that I’ve seen with underwear fetishes.

It’s hardly shocking when we learn that a masked killer seems to think that their numbers need trimming and sets up some death traps around the place so that they have to fight for survival

Killer Instinct boasts some competent photography and the darkened set locations look fairly spooky. The methods of murder are authentic and also a bit more creative than I was expecting. My favourite was when a guy lying on a bed was showered with broken glass from a trap door above him. One piece slices straight through his stomach and is next seen sticking to the floor below the mattress. There was also a smart decapitation and the use of a venomous snake, which is at least, a new one on me.

When the killer is unmasked at the end, you’ll be fairly surprised at the conclusion. I must admit that it wasn’t one that I’d have immediately guessed. Keeping that in mind though, it has to be said that it was rather impossible for him to commit the murders before changing clothes inexplicably quickly so as to keep up the appearance of innocence. Credit should be given to the director for taking out the most annoying character first. If we’d have had to suffer his painful gurning any longer, I’m sure pressing the eject switch would’ve become a more burning temptation.

‘Every cliché has a grain of truth in it’ mouths one dim-witted character, which could only have been included in the script as an attempt to excuse the director’s blatant thefts from previous genre pieces. Here it looks like he’s been watching the housebound slashers of yesteryear like House of Death and House on Sorority row, using them as subject matter for this obvious imitation.

The cast are just what you’ve come to expect from this grade of movie. You know, lame, untalented and completely uninspired. Paige Moss was probably the most convincing, but she was still weak, which left no one that we could really root for. Bernsen and Stone were equally mundane and were both really slumming it and adding yet another nail to their rapidly sinking career coffins.

Generally, I can live with average dramatics, but the film’s most unforgivable flaw is its horrendously slow pacing. The two separate plot lines seem as if they have very little in common with one another and I found it hard to keep track of the names of any of the characters, because they were so instantly forgettable. I really couldn’t find anything to be excited about in either the failed attempts at suspense or the leisurely paced showdown. At one point the house caught fire, which sparked some amusing shots of a scaled model burning that was so obviously fake, it was painful. All this adds up to a picture that will bore you to tears before the final credits have rolled and therefore, it’s not really worth checking out

I can’t really think of many pluses, except to say that at least this movie was more an out and 873487348738939823982982982out slasher than yet another ‘I know the rules’ semi-parody. I believe that director Ken Barbet was actually aware of the titles of the boom years and really wanted to make his own inclusion to sit alongside the old-skool heavyweights. With that said, it’s offerings as mediocre as Killer Instinct that are killing off the stalk and slash genre. Although famous for its staggering repetition, the loveable sub-category needs ambition and reinvention if it’s going to survive many more years. I bought this because I read somewhere that it was gory with a healthy production budget. Neither of those comments are true though and it’s pretty forgettable. 

Oh and don’t trust the cover picture. There are no skeletons here…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:√√

Gore √√

Final Girl √√

RATING:

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Into the Darkness 1986 Review

Into The Darkness 1986

Directed by: David Kent-Watson

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Polly Jo Pleasence, John Saint Ryan

Review by Luisjo González

When discussing icons of cinematic genres, none can be more recognised than Donald Pleasence’s involvement with the slasher cycle. His portrayal of Sam Loomis in Halloween became an iconic ingredient to slasher cinema and perhaps one of the actor’s most recognised performances. His contribution to the category continued and Pleasence donated his unique screen persona to various entries prior to his demise in 1995. Alongside starring roles in four sequels to Halloween, he also featured in Ten Little Indians, Alone in the Dark and the rancid Buried Alive. Another obscurity on his long and illustrious CV was this mid-eighties mishap, which has been pretty much extinct since it’s release in 1986.

UK produced slashers have never been able to rival their American peers when it comes to popularity or creativity. Whilst blockbusters such as Friday the 13th and Halloween dominated the box offices, British offerings such as Goodnight Godbless struggled to exert themselves to any recognition in the annals of horror history. That’s why I had set my expectations extremely low for Into the Darkness.

The movie was shot in Malta and credit to the producers for picking a Mediterranean location to create this addition to the stalk and slash group. It all opens with that old slasher chestnut of a young child witnessing the wrongdoing of his less than respectable parents. A sure-fire excuse to turn a youngster into a homicidal maniac. In this case, it ‘s a young boy who looks on as his flirtatious mother sells her body on the streets of Malta to all that can afford her hefty price. We see through Michael Myers-style POV shots as the parent tells her son, “You’re loving mother’s a whore!” That is of course the psychological landslide that will click into action a forthcoming massacre.

Skip forward a few years and now we’re in sunny London. An unseen assailant follows a prostitute into a rural abode and whilst watching her undress, he draws a huge blade from within his coat. The hooker screams at the recognition of her demise and the screen fades to black. Next up we meet a seedy agent that is looking to cast models for a ‘big-bucks’ photo shoot on location in Malta. After convincing Jeff Conty – an unemployed actor, played by prolific UK TV star John Saint Ryan – that his dire financial status requires him to accept the opportunity, Jeff reluctantly agrees. Early the next morning the gang of beaming big haired models and the photographic crew meet at the airport for their pre-briefing. One of the hopefuls won’t be making the trip overseas, due to the fact that she has been brutally strangled Michael Myers style by the murderer. Almost as soon as the crew touchdown on the Mediterranean island, the killer gets to work, slaughtering the models one by one with his trusty blade. Who is behind the vicious murders?

Despite being somewhat sluggish in places, Into the Darkness is undeserving of it’s AWOL status. Brit-director Kent-Watson builds some impressive suspense scenarios and despite the heavy Halloween homage, the film offers a few credible set pieces. Suspects are developed conceivably and the numerous red herrings add spice to the final pay off. Slasher movies are not overly renowned for their huge dramatic performances and Watson’s effort is no exception to the rule. Pleasence is incredibly hammy in his brief cameo, whilst his daughter Polly failed to inherit any of his unmistakable screen presence. To be fair, Ryan carries the movie fairly well and the killer has a ball playing ‘off his rocker’ insanity towards the conclusion.

The climax also warrants a mention, as it’s by far the film’s grisly highlight. Once the diversionary tactics have been crossed off and the assassin’s identity has been revealed, the final battle heralds a few decent twists. The abandoned location sets the mood adequately and the likable final girl (an early performance from Jeanette Driver) does quite a good job against the killer. She lacks the courage and grit 876756566787878989of Jamie Lee Curtis and Amy Steel; in fact she cowers away at every opportunity, but as an approachable heroine, she ticks the right boxes. It’s also worth noting that Chris Rea provided the majority of the songs for the soundtrack, which must have cost the producers a small fortune.

Although we are still waiting for a valuable contribution to the slasher cycle from British cinema, Into the Darkness is not as bad as its ‘missing list’ status would have you believe. The IMDb lists that the feature has a title for a DVD release, so maybe in the near future it will achieve a second outing and a stab at recognition.

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Gore √

Final Girl √√√

RATING:securedownload-14securedownload-14

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