By: Justin Hopkins
Hello and welcome to this weeks B Movie Sunday. Got to get better at sticking to the schedule for these, but nethertheless. Here we are again. Sort of pushing the boundary of what is a B Movie. This time with Girl On The 3rd Floor. A movie I was waiting for quite a bit for a moment to sit down and watch. Mostly, because of one CM Punk, who goes by his real name of Phil Brooks in this. A guy with tons of charisma to add to a movie and wanted to see how well it turned out. Let’s jump right in and talk about it a bit shall we.
Movie starts out, with some gloss over shots of the dilapidated house, as Don and his dog Cooper come inside, and house has a creepy vibe, as he begins to start cleaning things up. Including a spot that has black gunk coming out of it. He doesn’t think much of it as he begins to go about cleaning up. Meeting his neighbor, Ellie, where we learn that his wife, Liz, is expecting his first child, and this is going to be a fresh start for them. We also learn the next morning that he is hiding his drinking from Liz. As we go through the second day, and more things start to happen, and more gross fluid comes out. Always accompanied by a marble. We find that he was in trouble by the Feds, and later we learn that the house has a way of torturing men, from the local creepy old man at the bar, in a Bowling Alley. Then, we meet Sarah. A woman Don ends up having an affair with, and won’t go away. Turning violent after he threatens her, by killing his friend Milo, and that is where I am actually going to leave the synopsis. Mostly, because of how slow burning of a story this is, and already find myself speeding through it as it is.
This story is a real slow burn of a story. Taking place over multiple days. By the time Don realizes something supernatural is happening, it’s already to late, and goes off in a wild direction after the first hour. The idea to go in the way they did was gutsy. Starting off a new, with not a lot of time left, but to me, it paid off. Leaving me in suspense because I had no idea how this was going to end. Which, seemed like a refreshing change of pace from the normal haunted house kind of deals.
Another Positive, was the gore. While Milo’s was a bit blah. They really upped the ante with Don and him trying to cut the marble out of him, till it plopped out of his eye socket and how he looked at the end. All of which was great stuff, and of course; poor Cooper. They set it up perfectly. Kind of making you feel it was a false jumpstart, but hitting you with poor pups head in the dryer. Probably more upsetting, but thumbs up for actually going there.
Cast wise was actually pretty good. No award winning performances, but entertaining all the same. Being Phil Brook’s first lead role, I felt he showed a lot of potential and was really enjoyable as Don. A rumor cropped up last week, of him potentially playing Ash in Evil Dead, while I don’t agree to that. Can see flares on Bruce Campbell in his performance, as Don. Slapstick comedic moments of getting sprayed in the face by something horrible, but able to turn the charm on in the very next moment. Showing a lot of depth with a man trying to start over and be a good Husband who is ultimately failing. Since most of the movie, revolved around just him. He did really well keeping the interest. On the back half, you has Trieste Kelly Dunn as Liz, who did a great job carrying the back part of this movie. Really coming in when the climax is well under way and made you care about her and wanting to make it through, and Sarah Brooks played an villainous foil to them both, in a good performance as well.
Negative wise, could see not a lot of people enjoying just how much of a slow burn it is. I enjoyed it, because it really ramped up how dangerous the ghosts are, but can see how some may think that it’s a bit to slow at the start.
Alright, big spoilers coming, so if you are going to watch it. Suggests skipping the paragraph… Okay, now I really enjoyed the fact they took out Don and Liz surviving to the end. Even liked the fact they were living in the house. As the rules of it goes. They would be fine, but my issue is seeing Don in the vent. Made no sense, and all it did was try for a cheap last moment jump that fails horribly and kind of a bad way to end things on.
With all of that said. Would have no problem suggesting Girl On The Third Floor to someone. It had some fun moments, gory ones, and a nice late change in direction that kept the suspense and mystery. The slow burn was handled nicely and enjoyable movie to watch.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Hello and welcome back to this weeks B Movie Sunday. Took a bit of a break from this series and when I saw this movie. Thought it was going to be a fun little ghost killer movie, and well, that couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Proving to be a wild and one of the more darker movies I have seen in quite some time. Lets jump and discuss shall we, and see if it was worth while and if I would suggest it shall we.
We open with a bit of a flashback to when the hotel was open, and we see a Mom in a lawn. Not paying attention to her Daughter, who chases a rabbit out into the road, and gets hit by a car. Then we get a fast track of the hotel becoming dilapidated and we jump to a group of college kids in an RV. Arguing over a shortcut that Kyle took. Off the bat, we find out that three of them are keeping some sort of secret, and coming out at the store. See one buying a pregnancy test, a pill popper, and one is cutting herself. After they leave, they run into a road closed sign, and in a fit to make up. Kyle ends up flipping the RV and after the quickest walk in the world. Corey and Spencer finds the abandoned hotel and they decide to hold up here till the morning and the store opens again. Right away, Megan takes the pregnancy test and discovers she is pregnant, and runs off crying. This was not a planned pregnancy and doesn’t understand how this happened. Telling all of this to her friend Rachael, who saw her buying the test, who opens up with a secret of her own. That she ran someone over when she was drunk and left the scene. Suppose to make it clear she wouldn’t tell anyone, but these two don’t really don’t even out, but more on that later. After she leaves, Rachael stays back for a moment. Broken up by her own memory, and the ghost girl appears. Leading her out into the road. Stunned by her injured and bloody face. Freezing Rachael up long enough to get hit by a car. Her friends find her dead and the driver is drunk and unconscious. Bringing him inside and Kori goes off to find something to fix him up with and that is where I will stop, not to refrain from spoiling anything, but because at this point, things start to run and nothing is ever as it seems.
The people who worked on this really didn’t want you to have any idea on what was happening next. Any time you thought you knew where this movie was going. It would immediately turn into and run into a vastly different direction. From the events after Angela’s death and what happened to her Parents. To your main cast of characters. Everyone having a horrible secret and the direction they went with them, and things just kept getting darker and darker. I can see some people looking at it as too much, but it worked well for me. It kept me curious and wondering exactly where this was going and how it was going to end. At some point, just had to give up and go along with it.
Casting wise, there wasn’t many who really stood out. They were alright. I did like Angel McCord’s Corey. Would have liked to see more of her. The fact that it seemed like she might play heavily into the ending later, but didn’t was a little frustrating. The one who did stand out for me, was Rileigh Chalmers. Creepy kids always freak me out, and she did a wonderful job as Angela. Especially, when she was just staring down Kyle while he was shooting up. Great job throughout.
I am kind of torn on the ending. Much like the rest of this movie, it is dark, and while I understand why. It kind of goes for how easily secrets can tear people apart and the grave consequences that their secrets have on one another, they may have gone a bit to far at the end. Not with Spencer, but with how Megan’s story ends. I already think she was the weaker of the three female characters, and could have used a slightly better ending.
Alright, got to talk about the little sharing moment between Rachel and Megan. Megan’s problem, while is a big one, is a far stretch away from hit and run. She is admitting to murder as a bonding moment. Megan’s secret is going to be outed in a few months, while the horrific thought of her friend killing someone is forever. Should have had this moment with Corey, so you can at least tell us what is going on in her life, and why she is hurting herself. Plus, her and Megan have that in common. Both are kind of suffering in silence and could have built them both up, and since you weren’t going anywhere with Corey’s Character anyways. Could have her run over and Rachel’s secret can come out with Spencer later.
With all of that said, would I suggest No Tell Motel. After thinking it over, I would, but with a bit of a warning. This movie, although short. Has more than its fair share of twists, and goes down a dark road, with an not so happy ending, and these movies are not for everyone. If you are, you may find some enjoyment in No Way Motel. I for one, did.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
This was a challenging. Made multiple changes and started at least four other movies only to change my mind and seek out another B Movie. None of which seemed right. Wanting to find one that was more fun, after the last two more serious toned movies, Jacob’s Ladder and 88. Than, I found it, Boa Vs. Python. I loved Boa and Python, and surely having the two together, would be just the type of movie I was looking for. Was it worth all of that, or should I have kept looking? Let’s dive in and see shall we.
The movie starts out with these two, clear villains of the movie, Broddick and girlfriend Eve, at some underground fighting ring. Excited, because the package he was expecting, was in it’s final leg of delivery. Of course, it doesn’t make it. Turns out to be the giant python, that escapes into axis tunnels of a water treatment plant. While a local reporter believes that the accident has to do with terrorists. FBI Agent Sharpe, puts together what happened and seeks out two experts. One, Monica Bonds, an underwater biologist, maybe.. who works with dolphins and the use of camera and gps on animals, and Emmet, Herpetologist who has grown a massive Boa Constrictor. Who was working with her, to create a universal snake venom toxin. Shape’s plan, use his Boa to track and take out the Python. Meanwhile, we learn that Broddick was planning on using the Python to hunt for himself and several rich investors and he has the hunt moved to where the snake escaped, and I will leave it there.
The story suffers massively on two fronts. One, a major pacing issue. It takes a long time for anything to really happen. We meet the go through meeting the characters, which is fine, but we spend so much time with them, with only a little bit of Python action sprinkled in, because they keep the other have of the fight, in surgery getting her equipment attached to her head. Than, when things are starting to look good. They stop for a setting change, and this is where the next problem rears its ugly face into play, and the characters show to be the dumbest of all time, and every bit of it, is centered around the Broddick character. They arrest him, in the services tunnels, but have him, in the main tent, without even being handcuffed, and he actually slips away while everyone is standing there, gets into a tank, and drives away, like it was nothing. Not one highly trained soldier, sees who is nothing more than a rich, big game hunter, get out of the tent, and into a tank. I don’t like to point out when characters make bad choices. A list movies do it all the time, and this is a B Movie, but no. This is one level to much. Everyone came across as dumb and just so bad. Can see they wanted Broddick to play into the climax, but could have just had him escape the tunnels and everyone saves face for it. I enjoyed some of what they had here, and could have done so much better if they would have tightened things up and sped things up, and brainstormed the Broddick side of things up.
I really liked the CGI for the snakes. Particularly when they were alone. The python looked really good, but the Boa looked beautiful. Nice shade of red, and with the camera and equipment on her head, made it look like a visor, and I know it sounds weird that I am fixing in on that, but having seen all these snake movies. It gave this Boa something special and added to her look. A big example for this was when she was staring down Eve when she was holding one of her eggs.
Cast wise was fine. No one really stood out, but don’t want to blame them for that. David Hewlett and Jaime Bergman had a lot of chemistry together. Him being more of a loner to her outgoing fun character playing well off one another. Angel Boris Reed owned every scene Eve was in, and Adamo Palladino did fine as Broddick, but the character was just so boring. Atanas Srebrev created a mysterious character in Foley. Thinking something fun was going to happen with him, but nothing ever did. It all just seemed like a missed opportunity.
So, it comes down to one question, would I suggest Boa Vs. Python; unfortunately, I can’t say I would. Boa and Python were much better movies, and many others are more enjoyable. While this one is alright and there are some fun moments to be had here. Just does not do nearly enough to make this something I could ever suggest to anyone, no matter how much they are into the genre.
And that is all I got. Hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
A Co-worker lent me the original and while I enjoyed it. Thought it would make a great remake. A great story, with psychologically disturbing element to it. Just knew if they came at it from a different approach, they could do something special. When I heard about that one was indeed being made, was excited, but as quickly as I heard, it kind of vanished. Read it was coming to theaters, but it turned out to select theaters and kind of slipped by me for a bit. Now, here we are. A little late to the party, but that is okay. The only question, is was it worth the wait? So, lets travel the ladder, and breakdown Jacob’s Ladder.
The movie starts out with a soldier, being triggered into a flashback, by the sound of a can crushing under his foot. Can became a bomb, and helicopters and flashing lights. All stopping when he took a drug. Only, to have what appeared to be choked out from behind in one moment, and overdosing the next. Two people dragging his body away after he died. We jump to a military base, where Jacob is talking. Feeling is slightly uneasy. He goes to make a call home, and find out he is going to be a Father, when he has to leave, cause a wounded soldier is brought in. Turning out to be his brother, and as the sound of a flatline comes in. We see Jacob in a surgery room, in a hospital. Lost a person and the sound triggered the previous flashback. We see he has a happy life, with his Wife Samantha and son Gabriel. Except, he is having nightmares of a firefight. After he arrives at the hospital, another Soldier has an Overdose, and like the first. He too, is taking the drug. On his way to the therapist, he runs into a homeless Vet, who claims that his Brother Isaac is not only alive, but in the city and is in danger. He doesn’t believe it, nor does his therapist. On the subway he experiences his first hallucination, and when he gets home. Is attacked by two men. One of which is horribly mutilated. He tried to take the second to the police station, but he is not in the trunk. Except the same vet is there, and this time, Jacob takes him seriously. Is going to take him to Isaac, and starts to explain what H.D.A is. A drug that targets traumatic memories in those with P.T.S.D. Except, it makes them crazy, and people are hunting them down. Before he can get finish. Is pushed in front of a train. When no one believes him. Jacob takes it on himself to investigate and after a few jumpscares. He finds Isaac, except the paranoia and as the line between truth and fantasy gets even wider. We find that nothing we have seen is how it is supposed to be and I will leave it there.
(I am putting this here as a secondary warning. If you are planning on watching this movie and checking this out first to see what others think. Would suggest not going further cause I am going to talk about the twist and can ruin the experience of watching it unfold.)
This movie.. tries to pull off a wild swerve, and I didn’t see it coming till the big reveal. Which is that Jacob was the lost brother, on The Ladder all this time, and Isaac was the V.A.Doctor the whole time and The Ladder not only was wiping out the traumatic memory, but making him believe that he was his brother the whole time. Now, I think it was creative, but the process of achievement was very sloppy. There wasn’t a gradual change in the characters, but a rough and rugged one, Samantha especially, cause she was coming off more unlikeable the more we saw her. They really could have used a bit more time to show a natural shift of Samantha and Jacob being the coupe to Samantha and Isaac, but that was not the only problem. An even bigger one, was what Jacob did immediately after, by going to the red head we saw earlier.
She turned out to be a dealer of sorts, working with Hoffman. This scene felt so tact on, because they wanted to bring in more from the original Jacob’s Ladder with her demonic angel wings. The problem is that they were telling a completely different story and it no longer fit the narrative. Would have been better to skip the scene all together and go to Hoffman, or the very least, show her with the wings earlier, and not have them here.
Now, this movie wasn’t all negative. There were some good things as well, and thing I loved was the message that this was telling. They really got the Flashback scene at the beginning of the movie right. The smallest surprise of a loud sound is all it takes to trigger a flashback. Showing how many soldiers suffer from PTSD. The lengths some will go to make the memories stop and how susceptible they are to people like Hoffman. Who is using them like lab rats. A pretty powerful message to have.
Acting wise, you have Michael Ealy playing Jacob and Jesse Williams playing Isaac. I did enjoy their chemistry when they were together. About to building up the brotherly bond between the two. Each had difficult roles, because they had to pretty much switch on the fly. While they pulled it off, Nicole Beharie didn’t. Don’t want to point the finger at her. Maybe if she had more time, would work better, or might be better if I watched it again, but first opinion; she wasn’t that good. Lastly, I did enjoy Guy Burnet’s Hoffman. He seemed like a throw away character till the end, but I did enjoy his speech at the end. As twisted as it was, legitimately believed that he was the only one doing anything for the vets.
Would I suggest this movie to someone? A question that has been floating back and forth since the movie ended, and even all the way through this blog. I enjoyed some of the acting and I liked the message with the P.T.S.D. In a way, it did keep the spirit of Jacob’s Ladder, but only as far as the drug is concerned. The demons were more tacked on to appease the fans of the original and used as nothing more than a jump scare than anything. And the swerve, while creative, wasn’t executed well and I am sure there are better movies that tackle the P.T.S.D. side of things. With that said, I would suggest checking it out. It’s not a movie for everyone, you can have a bit of fun with it, and I did enjoy watching it. And that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I decided to mix things up, just a little bit. Up until this point, have mostly kept this series to B movie horror, but the action genre has some gems just waiting to be stumbled upon. Checking through the list, 88 jumped out to me right away. Mostly, because I am a big fan of Katharine Isabelle. The synopsis sounded promising and was sure this would be perfect. Wow, this movie was really something else. Let’s jump right into this one and I will do my best to make heads and tails of this rather interesting film.
88, starts out by giving some information on what Fuge States are (In a very brief explanation, they are a mental disorder where one loses memory and self identity for periods of time. Mostly due to a traumatic event) and that is where Gwen is when the movie starts. In a trance like state when she is broken of it has no idea where she is, how she got there or anything. Her hand is bloody and wrapped up, and her bag is full of gumballs and a gun. When one of the waitresses sees it, screams and alerts the cops in the diner. After an old man taps her, and she flinches, causing her to shot another waitress, and she flees the scene, with the police right behind her. Then we jump to another version of Gwen, passed out on the side of the road in a red dress. This is not the Gwen we see at the diner, but one who almost runs off pure impulse. She attacks the man who pulls over to help her, and steals his car and cigarettes, and goes by the name Flamingo, and this is how the movie plays out. Hoping back and forth, with the Gwen version trying to find out what has happened to her and the Flamingo one, going about things almost randomly, till she learns that her boyfriend was killed by a man named Cyrus, and that is honestly, about as close to the story that I could easily describe in the way I normally would.
Have to give a round of applause to the Director April Mullen and writer Tim Doiron. The way they brought these two stories together was simply incredible. Nothing is ever just a wasted moment. Even a simple sentence in the Gwen half ends up being something massive in the Flamingo story and vice-versa. A little sentence about the situation between Vinnie and Cyrus becomes a big part of what set everything off. The milk and gumballs and the number 88. It’s a movie that makes you sit and pay attention to everything and can be a slight issue at times, cause it’s so easy to miss something. That said, they did a fantastic job at connecting all the dots though.
Between watching and doing this, did a bit of research on Fuge states. Out of curiosity, wanting to see how much of what we see from Gwen\Flamingo is coming from the real deal, and yeah they did a good job at that. Flamingo is a character who doesn’t really ever seem to be in reality. She just goes about her day from one thing to the next. Often experiencing hallucination and blackouts. Now, she may or may not be to an extreme exaggerated form. I don’t know that much about the condition, only read a few articles, but the fact they obvious took time to take the condition seriously is a nice touch.
Acting wise, Katharine Isabelle was fantastic. Playing the more sweet and caring Gwen, who didn’t want to hurt anyone and just wanted to know what happened and why her love was killed. Than turn it around to the mentally broken and violent prone Flamingo. Both roles were so important. Each of them had to carry the narrative and couldn’t imagine anyone other than Katharine Isabelle did. On the villain side, we have Cyrus, played by the extremely talented Christopher Lloyd. He plays such a great bad guy, because it always comes as such a surprise. It shouldn’t really at this point, but he was really sadistic in this, and I think they may have ruined it a bit with the ending. Which we will get into now.
I genuinely didn’t see the Gwen ending coming and still don’t know if I liked it. Felt like a shock that was right there for you to see, and that was how Aster died. All this time, was about avenging his death, and then you see what happens. That while Cyrus and his men were coming to kill them. It was Gwen who shot him by mistake, and that was what triggered the Fuge State, and she gets arrested after Cyrus kills himself. I liked the surprise. Did something different, and not so much the surprise swerve that causes my dislike, but the suicide. I cared about both Gwen and Flamingo and this just seemed to make everything the two have been through for nothing, but maybe that was the point and they want you to think about it long after it’s over, and ask me a week from now. May end up really liking this, but for now. Was such a depressing way for Gwen’s story to end, but not the final shot. Once, again we jump back to Flamingo, going into the Diner. She starts to hallucinate again, as she takes the spot in the diner, we start with, and her and Aster’s song begins to play, and we zoom in on her face. Recreating the exact shot that the movie begins on. While I don’t quite like where the story ends. I did like how the movie comes to an end, by circling back to where we start with.
This movie can be a chore to watch at times. At an hour and twenty eight minutes, it doesn’t seem like all that long, but with how much that is happening and how much you have to pay attention. It can fell much longer, but would absolutely suggest 88 to anyone who wants a mind bender of a movie to watch. It’s a fun movie that is well worth the watch. Hope you enjoyed the review and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
And here we are. The holiday season drawing closer to the end. Busy last minute Christmas shopping getting done (Or started if you are like me) While Jack Frost and Santa Slays were movies I were looking forward to watching and reviewing. This movie jumped ahead of the line at first glance. Seemed bizarre and strange and after watching; certainly lived up to that, and I may have just saved the weirdest one for last. Was it in a good or bad way though? Lets peel back the layers and take a look.
This movie starts out in complete chaos. With a Cop handcuffed in a chair, with three blood covered women and a Santa Claus standing around him. Demanding to know what was going on. At gunpoint, the story takes us back twelve hours earlier, to the woman, Alexi, Dahlia, and Sadie coming out of a store. Laughing and swearing up a storm about stiff they just shoplifted, except Alexi who chickened out and bought something. They are youtubers, known as Adventure Girls. Who basically film themselves breaking into abandoned places and film themselves running about and looking at stuff and taking stuff left behind, and this is Alexi’s first time out with them. Since it is Christmas Eve and all. They decide to go to a rundown place called Santa Land. Stopping off at a bar along the way. Everyone makes it clear how little they care for Christmas here, and they learn that bad things have been happening to the kids. Belief that a bear is responsible, and after a little conversation. Decide to push on. They show up to Santa Land, and they are shooting their Youtube show. Oblivious to the hidden camera around the trees. Being watched by an old, biker guy. About to leave, when they spot one more place they haven’t checked. While inside, a monster shows up. They watch as he loads these hairy things into christmas boxes. When one of their phones go off. Causing them to run and saved by the old man. Forced to hide in the cottage, due to their van being towed. Barricading the door as the old man comes through the chimney. Turns out, the old man is Santa Claus, and the monster outside, is Krampus. With people slowly forgetting or banning the old ways. Santa seeing a world quickly not needing him. He froze Krampus in the snow and opened Santa Land, which was around for a long while, but slowly went out of business. Now, somehow, Krampus escaped the ice, and has something dark planned, and it is up to Santa and the three woman to stop him. All the while, Krampus is taking out kids and people all around the world.
This was a rather interesting tale. On paper, it sounds crazy and out their, but they pull it off really well. To have Santa and Krampus, connected together, to the point where if one gets hurt the other feels it, and they have to use it to kill Krampus was a nice way to go and the ending was just crazy. I didn’t see the twist coming, with Mrs. Claus being Cherri the bartender, and she was behind letting Krampus out, because she is angry over how Santa has treated her, and how the world views her as a fat, old woman who only existed to be by his side and laughed so hard when it came out that they ate the reindeer.
The action throughout was a lot of fun and carnage candy was pretty decent. Especially the Brian kill, where Krampus gored him with his horn, and you see the flesh still hanging off his horn in the next scene. Using the decapitated head of one of the kids Mothers to taunt him was a nice addition. Although, some of the kills came with this weird vision blur. The gore was good, but don’t understand the blur, cause it wasn’t from his point of which, which maybe it should have been, because when it was his POV, it came with this red and green hue, which I thought would have made those kills in particular more interesting. Also, the prosthetics used to Krampus was spectacular. He looked scary and intimidating. Going practical on him was the smartest move they could have done.
On a small note, they had a scene that kind of threw me through a loop. We have all seen movies, where the police bring in a suspect they are all so sure could have committed the crimes. No matter how insane it seems. They had that here when the one cop brought in a drunk. Police Chief looked at him called him an idiot and how he couldn’t possible have done it and cut him loose. A smart decision you never really see and was surprised to see it in this movie of all things.
Casting wise, was so important for a movie like this, and they did a solid job at that. The three women especially. Could have been easy to just be eye candy. Standing around not doing much else, but Kristina Klebe, Susan Slaughter, and Hannah Minx made them a lot more than just that. Chemistry was good and they made this film so much more enjoyable. Barry Bostwick was a decent enough Santa. Kind of tell where they were going with him and Krampus being connected and still made you feel a bit, when he got his head cut off.
As much as I would like to say that this didn’t have any negatives. It most certainly did have a few. Starting with the musical montages throughout. They not only hit you with some cringe worthy song, which might just be me being around Christmas songs all the time, but wish they were over faster. They mix it with their Youtube footage, which is as worse as any found footage jerky cam motion. Would have been fun, if they were quick scenes, but they really drag them out. Than, there was the scene where Krampus has mounted Sadie, and when they knock him out and flip him over, they show everything going on with him, and did not ever need Krampus junk in my life. Just didn’t. A big negative for that.
With all of that said, Slay Belles was a crazy, bizarre, yet fun ride. Had a lot of fun watching this film and would gladly suggest this to anyone fans of the genre. With that, wish you all a happy holiday and…
Thanks for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Dashing rapidly through this holiday season and we come to our next holiday horror movie, in hopes of finding the elusive holiday spirit, in the form of a 1997 classic, Jack Frost. A festive thrill ride that gets talked about a lot this time a year. May have gotten panned by professional reviewers, but is a rather beloved B Movie Gem. The fan base alone managed to power it to a sequel. Does it deserve the accolations though? Let’s dive in and discuss shall we, and see where Jack Frost lays.
Story starts out with a bit of narration from an exaggeratedly sounded little girl and creepy old uncle. Telling her the story of Serial Killer Jack Frost, while the screen pans over a Christmas Tree and credits on ornaments. Finishing with him saying Jack is set to be executed at midnight and we just to him being transported to his execution. Showing off his lethality, by killing a guard while shackled, to get his cigarette. The truck collides with a GCC truck, allowing him to momentarily escape. Before he can kill the guard though. Gets doused in acid and melts, but the acid bonds him into the snow on a molecular level. As he disappears. The snow begins to bubbles, rises, and he escapes. We jump to Sheriff Sam Tiler, returning from a trip with his family. Haunted by the memory of Jack. He was the small town Sheriff who busted him and his threat to kill him, his family, and the town. Relieved to see the clock pass midnight and relieved by him thinking Jack was gone. He goes through the accident scene, but doesn’t think much on it. We see a bit going on, but not much. Jumping to the next day, we meet Sam’s family. His wife and idiot son (More on that later) and we go through the towns folks. Setting up Jack’s threat from earlier. Ending with him getting to the police station and finding out, Old Man Harper is dead. He call the FBI and gets Agent Manners, who lies about Jack being dead, and we see him talking to Stone. Learning more about the acid. Back in town, the townsfolk are already up in arms and ready to hunt the killer down. Fueled by the shopkeep. Slashing the price of ammo, in a scene that made me laugh. Back at Sam’s house though. His son is confronted by a group of bullies who want to use the drive to sled ride..on straight ground. When one gets to close, Jack, in the form of the snowman attacks, and lead bully gets his head cut off by one of the metal sleds. Of course, no one believes him, and later that night. Jack takes out the bullies parents and this is where the movie gets rolling and perfect place to stop for those who haven’t watched yet.
I gotta tip my hat to writer director Michael Cooney, the writer director, because he managed to do so much with so little to work with. As corny of a story this was, he really made it work quite well. As a horror comedy movie. Knew when it was time to laugh and when to be serious, wove it together perfectly. Snowman jack looked good and utilized him so well. The deaths were gory. Particularly when Jack was dissolved by acid and when Tommy was spiked by icicles. The bathroom scene was so over the top, circled right back to funny again. Good moments of foreshadowing, with the Oats and the woman’s conversation about being the star on the christmas tree. Michael Cooney knew exactly what kind of movie this was and brought them together the best he could, and think it would have suffered without him.
On the casting side, think there best was Scott MacDonald, was picture perfect. His voice work was awesome, and that was so needed for a killer snowman, but at the start, when he was human, he excelled. We didn’t get much, which was a shame, because he carried himself with sadistic poise and believed he was every bit as lethal as they feared him to be. Would almost been nice to see more of that version, but it did help carry over to the snowman version. Along with having the likes of Christopher Allport playing the protagonist Sam. Able to bring out the small town sheriff in a likeable way. Coming across as the guy who loves his town and knows every single person on a personal and friendly way. Such a pure good guy who is rocked and traumatized by his brief time around the pure evil Jack. Chris and Scott not only played well off one another and elevated one another in the process.
Even the support cast was pretty decent. Shannon Elizabeth played Jill and her death scene will probably be what will be one of the most remembered scenes, but her and Tommy’s undressing scene was hysterical. Rob LaBelle did a good job as the weasel Stone and the over the top agent was made special by Stephen Mendel. No one seemed out of place and played as people you would expect to find in a small, hick town.
Alright, on to the negatives. The biggest one, being Sam’s son, and this might very well be on me, but that kid seemed a little to old to not know he shouldn’t put Antifreeze in food. Feeling like the writing got a bit sloppy around him quite a bit. The food being the biggest one, and then again with the whole bully situation. I get that him saying the snowman did it was something no one would believe, but the Jack’s arm hangs out for a long while for everyone to see and why are they sledding on flat ground anyway. I don’t dislike the kid, but anytime he was present. Just knew something dumb was soon to follow.
Some of the jokes tend to fall flat from time to time. I don’t mind them. Not bashing them for making the jokes. Just weren’t that funny. Don’t read much into this complaint, cause it never ones breaks my immersion, but just something that I wish was a little better.
This movie has always been high up on my viewing list for this time of year. It is corny and over the top, but it is so much fun. The people in the town are relatable and Scott makes Jack a credible threat before the transformation which is such an underrated value. Would gladly suggest this film to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Perfect movie to watch this time of year.
Thank you for reading
By: Justin Hopkins
It is that time a year. Getting that much more colder out. Shopping is at a fever pitch. Christmas lights and holiday stress abound and nearly every movie is packed to the rim with feel good cheer, and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but from time to time. Want to kick back and watch those same holiday traditions be turned into murder weapons in some good gratuitous forms and luckily for us. December is teeming with some excellent shlocky B Movies for us to jump right into. Going through the list, 2005 Santa’s Slay jumped out like a beacon of hope. Going in hoping for a fun ride and got a blast in return. Let’s break down this holiday gem and discuss shall we.
Movie opens up with perhaps the worst family of all time. Wasting no time in declaring we will soon be killed and you will love it. Rich guy married to a young woman, who is having an affair with the Daughter’s Husband and everyone is spoiled rotten and racist to boot, with a yappy little dog who has it’s on bed. Enter Santa who starts his rampage by booting the dog into the ceiling fan and taking each family member out in brutal fashion. From using a star off the tree as a ninja star, to drowning another in a bowl of eggnog after catching her on fire, and my favorite, the husband jumps up, yells ” You want some” and after a series of bizarre hand motions and gets booted into a china hutch. It is all very silly but sets the stage perfectly for things to come. That it’s not taking itself seriously and Santa is a wrecking ball. From there, we go a a Deli in Hells Township. Where we meet our main characters Nicolas and Mary. Nicholas is being berated for his saracam by a rather mean old woman, who throws out insult after insult, and soon after she leaves, is run off the road by Santa’s Sleigh, being pulled by the angriest looking… Buffalo. They call it a reindeer, but looks like a buffalo to me. Anyways, back at the store, the Deli Owner gives them gifts, including a clock that plays toward the end. We go and meet the Grandfather that most people in town call crazy and being that he built a stocked bunker in the basement, and all seems to surround the fact that it is Christmas. He starts to explain, but is interrupted by a visit from Mary. An evening that goes bad when she gets into an argument with Nicolas. After she leaves, he picks back up the book and reads that Santa is the son of Satan, and after he lost a bet with an angel, had to turn the day of slaves, into the day of giving for one thousand years. A bet that had officially run its course this year and while this was going on. Santa was tearing his way through a strip club. A lot more gruesome kills mixed with some jokes. Some stuck, but some didn’t. Still fun though. Then, the next day, Christmas day we see two smart mouthed kids get their heads blown off by gifts brought by Santa. Then, his rampage takes a turn from sporadic to focused, on Nicolas and his Grandfather. As more is learned about what happened a thousand years ago and won’t spoil anymore, cause if you haven’t seen it, you really should.
This movie really embraced what it was, and that was a fun movie. It is not a ” Good ” movie by any definition, but it didn’t have to be. From the over the top kills to the stupid jokes that were very much, hit or miss. The strip club scene is a pretty good example of that. Was just a fun movie from start to finish. To the point where it is almost hard to put into words. The chemistry between the actors was evident from how well everyone seemed to work off the other. Cgi was comically bad, the head pops on the kids were a bit dumb, but we also got ones that looked great like the tree star kill and the deli clerk getting speared through the glass bar and then hung to the wall, by a Hanukkah Candle to the neck. Everything they did just seemed to work.
Casting Bill Goldberg as your main villain was a big risk. Wrestlers have made some good actors, but not very many, but he filled this role perfectly, by playing directly to his strengths. He owned every scene that he was in. Used his massive frame to intimidate and destroy everything in his path, with goofy one-liners. Some were more cringe worthy than others but since he either did something awesome or about to do something awesome. I am kind of inclined to give him a pass on it. Big props to whoever worked on his suit. I don’t know much about Nordic religion and Yule, but his Suit definitely seemed to come from their traditions and looked beautiful and worked perfectly for the Santa they were going for.
Then you had Robert Culp who did a good job as Grandpa. Then you had Douglas Smith as Nicolas, and was nearly a negative for me. His character was just so inept and everything he said was so dumb… then Santa smacked him in the face with A Christmas Carol, and it dawned on me; he is supposed to be the dumb character, and it was Mary, played by Emilie de Ravin was the one keeping him going, and she was a terrific character by herself, but they worked so much better. She was a more mature rounded character to his more naive teenager, and they kind of felt like two real teens in this sort of situation. Like when they were discussing going on the offense, but were so loud they never got out of the school, and when they were hiding in the shelves, but in front of a mirror. Which in itself, made them more adoring. They were just two kids in a dangerous situation who don’t know what they are doing.
I also really enjoyed what they did with the credits. Adding the naughty or nice list to everyone’s name. Not just actor wise, but stunt coordinators and animal handler. Helped bring attention to unsung people behind the camera and made you pay attention to who was naught and who was nice just to see where everyone ended up.
Negative wise, besides the bad jokes and spotty CGI that I already discussed. Was the end. They didn’t really seem to know how to end this. I am glad they didn’t kill him or lose another bet, but maybe should have just ended on the kids, after it was revealed that he set the pastor up to die in his place. Showing him in the airport, getting a Plane Ticket to the North Pole was a bit overkill. One bad joke to many. This does have a post credit scene that is a hundred percent fan service, with him looking at his list and saying, Who’s Next. As a wrestling fan, definitely enjoyed it but again. Really not needed though.
This was just a fun movie all the way around and in my opinion, the perfect way to start this month. A ton of Christmas themed deaths, with a terrifying Santa in an awesome suit. If you haven’t checked it out, would highly suggest it.
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
** SPOILER WARNING **
I think we have done it. Years of watching B Movies and months of reviewing them. Some that could rival any A list movie and some so bad they circled back to entertainment all of again. After all of that, think we may have just hit the bottom of the barrel. I don’t like talking badly on movies. Making a movie is a hard and difficult process and I am more then willing to go out of my way and meet them on whatever convoluted storyline they want to run. Hybrid animals? Sold. Remake a classic? I am there. Sequel to a movie franchise that ran out of steam a decade ago? Why not. So when I say this is bad. Can rest assured it has some merit. There is some good, don’t get me wrong, but far warning ahead of time. There is going to be a lot of negativity coming.
The movie opens up with a Rebecca getting attacked and left bleeding on the ground. Later two people, government agents, come up to her body bag and she is alive. Cut to a montage of them doing some experiment on her. Then we get two of of the most irritating agents. Present her two drinks, water and blood. We get flashes of her covered in blood and the woman agent yelling, what drink do you want over and over, and I started regretting my choice of film to review. Pushing forward to yet another montage of Rebecca training. Along with her learning that it is to risky to see her family, and that she can be killed with decapitation, stabbing the heart, and sunlight. Rule that was broken during her first mission when she takes out a vampire, with a stab to the stomach. She gets shot in the head, but rescued by her ally in the morgue, who pays her with intel on when she can see her family. They would be visiting her grave, and despite the sun out, she finds safety under a tree to view them ( Seriously, it doesn’t. Sun is coming through the branches. No reason this should work. Just keep the bike helmet on) While she is away. Her base is attacked and all of her colleagues are killed. A massive fight ensues, before she is knocked out, by a tranq dart. When she wakes up, finds that she was captured by another one of the Government Programs. Lead by Witch Madeline and.. Edward.. I think was his name. It was hard to hear. His audio was cranked up and was a genuine boring character. They inform Rebecca that a vampire used a page from the book called Witches Hammer to make himself immortal and they need the book to undo it. The book was written by a women whose baby was taken from her. She took vengeance. Killing the man who did so, and then the babies of everyone in the village. She sat down and just started writing the book till they killed her. They journey out, being chased by various vampires including; a dwarf named Oscar. His plus sized lover Charlotte. One with a pornstache whose name I did not catch. Cause I just wanted it to end and I will leave it there for the time being.
The only member of the cast that I didn’t mind, was Claudia Coulter. She was the only one who didn’t really just annoy me. She didn’t overdo anything and the action, while slow and a bit clunky was still nice. There was one thing she kept doing that did make me laugh, but not in the way they were expecting. On occasion, she would just randomly flash her teeth and hiss. For no apparent reason, and made me laugh, because if you look at the pic and see Fionna. The Sim from all of my thumbnails, does the exact same thing. So congrats on making me think about the Sims. In the same vein, I enjoyed the flashback to the Witch who wrote the book. When she was holding her baby, sounded like she was singing the Bayu Bayushki, and that is the Lullaby Hummed by The Huntress in Dead By Daylight. My favorite killer, and that is 2 positives that are based because they remind me of better things. That is not good.
Nothing about this landed. The jokes were so bad and just dumb. We get it, Oscar is small and Charlotte is big, ain’t it funny. The one good fight scene, with Rebecca going against the ninja, was ruined through multiple cuts to either see Oscar and Edward in some stupid Tom and Jerry esque game. Of tiny Oscar running in around the room and Edward being scared. With Charlotte commenting on the fight, while drinking from this guy with two straws in his neck. None of which was funny. Both of which stole drastically from the only worthwhile moment of the movie.
This movie was a drastic let down. The effects were bad. Far, far to many cuts and close-ups and slow motion for no other reason then to have slow motion. Don’t even go for slow motion when it can be used. Then fast zoom in on faces and all of it was cringeworthy to awful. Movie came out in 2006 and has aged so poorly and worse then movies twice it’s age, and I know what you are thinking. Cut it some slack, its a low budget, but no. I am not judging this based off big A list movies, with a budget. That’s the point of B Movie Sunday. To review them based off movies in their caliber and this one fails almost across the board.
Before we finish up, let’s gloss over the end, because that Surprise twist, actually did catch me by surprise. I didn’t see the Madeline turn coming, and having Hugo be nothing more than a spoiled brat was good. It was a smart idea to shake things up. Well done.
If you found enjoyment in this film, I am happy for you. I don’t get much enjoyment on trashing movies. People worked hard to make this movie, but got to call it like I see it, and Witches Hammer was a colossal waste of time. Don’t watch this movie. Skip it. Put on literally anything else. Hard pass for Witches Hammer.
Thank you for Reading.