Just One of the Girls (1993)

A film from my birth year! Anyway, this is another one of those “boy or girl must dress as opposite sex for simple reason but ends up doing it more and getting in over their head.” It has been done in films like Just One of the Guys, and even She’s the Man. It is a simple concept that always causes at least a few chuckles. Just One of the Girls is no different. Corey Haim plays Chris, your average high school kid. He has transferred to a new high school and already has a couple of bullies to deal with. One day while in a department store he dresses up as a girl to evade them and it works. After this he decides to dress up as a girl one more time just to avoid the bullies outside of school. His plan is the minute he gets inside he will change, but of course he doesn’t get that chance and has to keep up the facade of being a girl. As the days goes on Chris deals with high-school as a girl, becoming close friends with a cheerleader played by Nicole Eggbert, and even dating her brother who it turns out is the lead bully Chris had to deal with. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues.

If you go into this movie expecting something more you will be greatly disappointed. It is a true product of the 90’s and overall a fun comedy. I am a huge Corey Haim fan so I may be a little biased, but I was able to just sit back and enjoy. Granted it was definitely flawed, and it had some nonsensical moments for sure. However, if you keep in mind what kind of film this is, you may just find yourself laughing and having a good time. I feel like the writers may have had a slight problem with transgendered people. When his guidance counselor finds out that Chris is dressing up as a girlshey blows her tops. Mrs. G, the guidance counselor, is ready to turn him in to the principal of the school as well as his parents. Maybe the 90’s just weren’t as accepting, but it seemed like she was angry to find this out. Don’t get me wrong, I know why he is doing it, but she doesn’t. I always thought your counselor was supposed to be one of the most accepting and supportive people in a child’s life. But anyway, the movie oozes cheese. Chris is also an aspiring musician playing some kind of electronic music.  His biggest hope is to get into the music program at his new school so he can impress record companies. This sub-plot is pushed to the back burner though and only makes another appearance in the last 10 minutes.

Chris gets closer to Marie, Nicole Eggbert’s character, by joining the cheer-leading squad. This causes complications as Chris realizes he likes her as more than just a friend. He also has to deal with her brother, who was one of his bullies. After a date with Chris, Kurt begins to fall in lover with her, or who he thinks is a her. He comes unrelenting in his pursuit of her. Things escalate even more when the it is time for Cheer Camp. In a really corny scene where Chris and Marie are dancing in their room, Chris catches a moment and kisses Marie. This of course freaks Marie out and causes her to leave the room. His parents then enter shortly after Marie exits, and demand to know what Chris is up to. After he explains that he only did it to escape the bullies he father is furious and calls him a coward. His parents then take him home and demand he never returns to his new school again. Try to guess what Chris does. Yep, he returns back to the school dressed as a girl one more time.

I found myself laughing a lot and really connecting with the characters. That is definitely the high point of the film: They may be goofy but the characters are real. The scene where Corey Haim’s character has an epiphany and realizes he has to come clean about dressing as a girl you really can understand how frightening that is. To make matters worse he decides to tell the truth in front of the whole school at a pep rally. I will say his fellow classmates take it pretty well considering how close minded kids can be. This confession of course leads to Kurt being humiliating for lusting after a guy dressed as a girl. Due to some false stories he told everyone about hooking up with Chris, he feels he now must beat him up to teach him a lesson. However, Chris decides to take the fall and say he got Kurt drunk and only told him they had sex. We then have a “suspenseful” moment where Kurt decides whether or not knock Chris out. Predictably he has a change of heart, and the two suddenly become best buds. Chris realizes there is still one person he has to make things right with: Marie. Unfortunately Marie is not as easy to pursuade. He doesn’t offer a worthwhile reason for deceiving her, instead just repeatedly says he is sorry. When he leave she is still angry and unforgiving, however right before he goes on stage to perform she basically forgives him. This scene had a pretty funny moment. Chris asks Marie if they can “hang out” that night and she says “No, not tonight.” The scene just ends on that, and we then see her at his show. As he does some 90’s electronic piano playing we then cut to Marie in the audience, then back to Chris where we freeze frame and the film ends.

As the end credits roll I realize this film was trying to be one simple thing: entertaining. At that it most certainly succeeds. It has sloppy writing, goofy acting, and cheesy music, but it is a good time to be had. Fans of Corey Haim will definitely have a ball with it. He does a good job and is shirtless a few times throughout the 90 minutes run-time. He still looks hot regardless of the horrid hairstyle he has, one I believe he also wore in 1991’s Fast Getaway. Nicole Eggbert turns in a fine performance as Marie. Nothing oscar worthy but she does the part justice. I don’t think this film has a huge fan-base, in fact I don’t even think more than a handful of people have seen it. I think anyone who enjoys a good comedy that you don’t have to think for can definitely enjoy this. One problem is the DVD is OOP so you may not wanna shell out the 16 bucks I did. I realize this is not from the Dark Recesses of Cinema so I am probably going to re-do my blog a little bit so I can review any genre of film.


Movie Pickups 2/16/2012

 I would like to introduce something to my blog I don’t really see anywhere else. Every two weeks or so I will post the movies I buy and say a little about each one. Feel free to comment with your thoughts and your pickups even.Without further adieu here are my pickups from the last 2 weeks, I will start with Blu-rays:

The Deadly Spawn (1983)

Synopsis: Two campers in the New Jersey woods have their outdoor fun interrupted by the arrival of a meteorite crashing nearby. They go to investigate the crater, but are suddenly attacked and devoured by alien parasites who have hitched a ride to Earth. After finishing off the campers, the hungry space monsters head for a nearby town, where they make their domain in the basement of an old house soon begin polishing off one hapless inhabitant after another. Four young teenagers, plus one pre-teen boy, try to find a way to stop the angry space monsters before they reproduce and literally eat humanity.

My Thoughts: So before anyone says it, I ordered this after all the reviews were posted on-line showing how shoddy of a transfer this received. I have yet to watch it to see just how bad it is, but the screen-caps I saw did not look good at all. This is unfortunate since this has been a long awaited release and was supposed to be Elite Entertainment’s “comeback.” About the film itself: I have actually seen this back when I had the Synapse DVD. There is a lot of fun to be had here and there are some great special effects on display. The acting is what you’d expect from a cheesy 80’s movie, as is the script. The main reason to watch this is for entertainment value, and it absolutely delivers on that!

In a Glass Cage (1987)

Synposis: In Spain, the former Nazi doctor Klaus tries to commit suicide jumping off the roof of his manor. However, he survives with the entire body paralyzed and dependable of an iron lung with glass sides. His wife Griselda decides to hire a nurse since she does not bear the situation. Klaus asks Griselda to hire Angelo, a mysterious teenager that appears in their house. Angelo befriends Klaus’ daughter Rena and sooner it is shown that Klaus was a pedophile that loved to feel the fear of death in young boys before abusing and killing them. Further, Angelo is a disturbed and totally insane victim of his experiments that intends to follow the insanities described in Klaus’ diary and incorporate his personality.

My Thoughts: This is a pretty notorious art-house/exploitation film. Combining the two taboos of Pedophilia and Nazis it was surely a shock when it debuted. I have yet to see it but have heard nothing but good things about it. I definitely will try to watch it soon and maybe even put a review up.

While She Was Out (2008)

Synopsis: Della Myers is an overwhelmed upper-middle-class housewife who lives in a large house in the suburbs with her twin children and her abusive husband, Kenneth. Kenneth lets Della know that he thinks she gives all her attention to the twins and neglects her house and her appearance. Late on Christmas Eve, Della drives to the local mall to buy gift-wrap. While searching for a parking space in the jam-packed lot, Della notices an old car taking up two spaces. Frustrated and annoyed, she decides to leave a paper message on the windshield of the old car, writing, “Hey, ‘Jack’. How selfish can you be?” After the mall closes, Della’s car is held by the driver of the old car and she is threatened by four punks — Chuckie, Huey, Vingh, and Tomás. When the security guard of the mall attempts to protect Della, he is shot and killed by Chuckie. Della then has to fight for her life.

My Thoughts: This one I have actually seen. It is a really good revenge film starring Kim Basinger and Luke Haas. I remember going into it not expecting much at all and at the end being extremely impressed. In some ways it is like a watered down version of Eden Lake but the film still works on it’s own merits. I must say that I am a huge fan of revenge films. It is nice to see the underdog fight back. The reason I am only getting this now is before I had it on DVD and got rid of it. Now I own the BD.

The Dead (2010)

Synopsis: When the last evacuation flight out of war-torn Africa crashes off the coast, American Air Force Engineer Lieutenant Brian Murphy (ROB FREEMAN) emerges as the sole survivor in a land where the dead are returning to life and attacking the living. On the run in a hostile and inhospitable parched landscape, where sudden death lurks around every sun-burnished corner, Murphy has to use his wits and ingenuity if he is to get home alive to his family. When Murphys path clashes with that of Sergeant Daniel Dembele , whose village has been torn apart by the reanimated dead, they join forces. The two desperate men from two very different cultures fight side by side to survive across the incredible vistas of Africa as the world succumbs to the deadliest of viruses.

My Thoughts: I saw this back in October of 2011 at Exhumed Film’s 24 hour Horrothon. By the time my friend and I had gotten back to the theater after dinner there was only about 30 minutes left of The Dead. What we saw of it we hated at first. But, as the days went on I could not get this movie out of my head and realized I actually really did like what I saw. What is so cool is how similar this film is to the voodoo zombie films more prevalent in the 1970’s, such as Lucio Fulci’s Zombie. I work at a movie store and anyone who had seen this told me how much they loved it. I have actually yet to hear a bad thing about it. I look forward to a revisit in the near future.

Two Girls and a Guy (1997)

Synopsis: Two girls, Carla and Lou meet on the street outside a loft waiting for their boyfriends. In a short time, they find out that they’re waiting for the same guy – young actor Blake, who said that he loves only her to both of them but was actually leading double life for a few months already. Angry, they break into his loft and when he returns, a round of accusations and explanations begins.

My Thoughts: I have only seen clips of the sex scenes back when I was attracted to Robert Downey Jr. I had actually forgotten about this film until I saw it at a record store one day. I remembered the title and gave it a look. I was interested enough to spend about 8 bucks on it, especially since I did not even know it had a Blu-ray release. Another one I need to watch ASAP and may even do a review for.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Synopsis: A raw, powerful story of two young men, a Wyoming ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy, who meet in the summer of 1963 sheepherding in the harsh, high grasslands of contemporary Wyoming and form an unorthodox yet life-long bond–by turns ecstatic, bitter and conflicted.

My Thoughts: I have seen most of this movie on TV and you-tube before but never the whole film in one sitting. I figured as a gay man I owed it to myself to finally own it so I can watch it in it’s entirety. Besides what gay man doesn’t wanna see Jake Gyllenhaal fornicate with another man?

And now on to the DVDs:

Busted (1997)

Synopsis: The sleepy summer resort of Amity houses the wildest and craziest officers on the entire Eastern Seaboard, particularly since they’re hookers! The town’s unique police station has taken crime off the street and into their jail (which now serves as a bordello). But when the town Mayor hires Captain Mary Mae to head up the station, she discovers a new meaning to the term “vice squad.”

My Thoughts: As of late I have become obsessed with Corey Haim. He was not the greatest actor but he definitely had a lot of charisma, and his good lucks definitely didn’t hurt. It is said that he passed on just as he was getting back into acting. However I can only have so much sympathy due to his drug use. I have been attempting to own all of his films and though this seems to be at the bottom of the barrel it only cost me about 5 bucks. Have yet to see it.

Night of the Dribbler (1990)

Synopsis: The Watergate Plumbers, a poorly-performing college basketball team, lose their best players one by one to death and dismemberment at the hands of a mysterious masked stalker.

My Thoughts: How can you see the cover for this movie and not right away purchase it? I also saw the trailer and knew right then and there I needed to see it. Hopefully I can watch it in the next week or so and put up a review.

Choke Canyon (1986)

Synopsis: Pilgrim Corporation has leased Choke Canyon to research physicist David Lowell for 99 years. Lowell has built an impressive research laboratory there. When Pilgrim suddenly needs Choke Canyon for toxic waste storage, they resort to violence to force out the retentive Lowell. However, Pilgrim Corporation vastly underestimates Lowell, who is a tenacious, principled, and ingenious man.

My Thoughts: I have seen the trailer for this on a couple different Code Red discs and figured with the way their movies have been going OOP I should snatch it up. Definitely does not hurt that Lance Henriksen is in it. Hoping it doesn’t end up being a dry action flick.

Dream a Little Dream (1989)

Synopsis: Bobby Kellar has a crush on Lainie Diamond, girlfriend of school jerk Joel. Coleman is working on an experiment which will help him move into a place where Dreams are reality. When an accident occurs Coleman finds himself in Bobby’s body and can only contact Bobby in his dreams. Part of his wife’s mind has also ended up in Lainie. To bring his and his wife’s body back to reality, Coleman must agree to fix Bobby’s messed up life.

My Thoughts: Another Haim film this time with his partner in crime Corey Feldman. For those who didn’t know they were the Two Coreys and were a force to be reckoned with in the 80’s.

Demolition University (1999)

Synopsis: A college student and his friends try to thwart a deranged war veteran’s plan to poison the city’s water supply.

My Thoughts: Not much to say. Again another Haim flick. I am not sure that picture of Haim on the cover is actually from the movie though. I could be wrong.

American Crime (2004)

Synopsis: A young small-town reporter, Jessie St. Claire, begins investigating a killer stalking his victims making video tapes. This might just be the career opportunity, which she has hoped for. When she herself becomes a target and suddenly disappears, the case attracts a colleague from the nationally syndicated television show “American Crime” as well. Together with Jessie’s camera-man and later joined by her producer he tries to solve the mysterious case.

My Thoughts: For some reason I had actually confused this with The Last Broadcast, and was excited to pick it up. Upon realizing my mistake I was interested enough in this one anyway. Plus it has Carey Elwes from Saw and Princess Bride.

Detour (2003)

Synopsis: While returning to Los Angeles in a trailer through the desert, the driver Neil convinces his friends Tara, Harmony, Loopz, Michelle, Lee and Cashie to take a detour to an isolated mine where it could have a plantation of peyote. The owner of a gas station advises the group to not go to the place, but the stubborn Neil does not pay attention to his words. While driving in a secondary road, Neil sees a girl and wrecks the car in a rock. He decides to walk back to the gas station to call a tow truck, while Michelle and Lee climb a hill trying to get signal to their cell phones. Sooner the teenagers find that they are under siege of a group of sadistic deformed cannibals and they have to fight to survive.

My Thoughts: I actually saw this movie a couple years back. It is nothing special but as a die hard slasher fan I found it to be a lot of film. I really can’t remember much about it except it being really gory and having a sassy gay character. Will re-watch it when I get a chance.

Backlot Murders (2002)

Synopsis: The cast and crew of a movie are being killed off by a masked killer.

My Thoughts: Not only is this another Haim pickup, but like Detour, this is another cheesy slasher film. This one I have yet to see however. I also gotta say the back of the DVD makes this sound like some huge hollywood Slasher. It is hilarious to read.

American Nightmare (2002)

Synopsis: On Halloween, seven friends call the American Nightmare pirate radio show to confess their fears. Unbeknownst to them, a serial killer is listening. Before the night is over, they will discover that their confessions have ignited a psychological game of cat-and-mouse with a killer intent on delivering their fears upon them.

My Thoughts: Once again another cheesy Slasher film. This one I have seen and is actually well done with a fresh concept. I remember one disturbing scene with someone buried alive. Definitely wanna revisit this one!

House on Sorority Row (1983)

Synopsis: A group of girls staying at a sorority house clash with the house’s owner, who wants them out. They decide to play a prank on her, but it goes awry and she winds up dead. Panicking, the girls try to hide the body, but someone (or something) witnessed the crime and begins to stalk them.

My Thoughts: This is a classic 80’s slasher that is actually as good as it’s trailer. I remember seeing the trailer on the documentary Going to Pieces and always being so enamored. Sadly at the time the film did not have a legitimate DVD release. In 2010, however, Liberation Entertainment gave the film an excellent treatment and also gave me the chance to finally watch it. It was everything I hoped it to be and more. I was even more pleased to learn Scorpion Releasing was putting out a 2 disc special edition. I just had to pick it up. I have yet to watch this release but hope to in the near future.

National Lampoon’s Last Resort (1994)

Synopsis: Sam and Dave are living the boring life until they are beckoned to Sam’s uncle’s Island. When they get there (still not quite sure how that worked) they are compelled by beautiful women and a dastardly enemy of the Island. After accidentally convincing Sam’s uncle to sign away rights to his island, they must somehow fix the problem.

My Thoughts: Regardless of how many bad things I heard about this film I just had to pick it up. Can you guess why? Hopefully Haim can make it worth my time.

Monster Man (2003)

Synopsis: While driving in a highway to the wedding of his beloved Betty-Ann, Adam is surprised by his former schoolmate Harley on the backseat of his car. Adam has broken off with the inconvenient and moron Harley because of Betty-Ann. Along their road trip, Harley makes fun of some rednecks in a bar and later their car is chased by a giant monster truck on the road. After some incidents, they give a lift to the hitchhiker Sarah and sooner the trio is terrorized by a scary monster driving the monster truck.

My Thoughts: I have noticed via this post how many Slashers from 2002 and 2003 I own. I saw this years ago when my father used to get screeners from his job. At the time I loved it and so did he. Then a year or saw ago I watched it again and disliked it. However, since then I have had a hankering to watch it again. So here we are.

Silent Scream (2005)

Synopsis: A group of college students travels to the cottage of their psychology professor Barren in an isolated island as a reward of their teamwork in the research of Barren. They expect to spend the weekend with lots of sex, but a serial-killer turns their party in a nightmare.

My Thoughts: One distinct thing I remember about this film is constantly seeing it in Blockbuster and thinking it was the 80’s slasher of the same name. Despite my slasher addiction I may have never rented it due to the trickery it had imposed and me. Now I have the chance to finally see it.

Snowboard Academy (1996)

Synopsis: A wacky free-for-all comedy about the riotous rivalry between snobby skiers and knuckle-dragging snowboarders.

My Thoughts: Corey Haim and Jim Varney in a snowboarding comedy. What more could you ask for in life?

Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996)

Synopsis: Defense attorney Jennifer Garrick acquires a Pinocchio puppet from a condemned serial killer. Her pre-teen daughter, Zoe, mistakes the puppet as a birthday present and grows really attached to her new doll friend. Suddenly, accidents begin to happen to those who cross Zoe. Zoe claims it’s her Pinocchio doll. Zoe’s therapist thinks otherwise. Soon Pinocchio and Zoe are conversing about his bad behavior. Pinnochio promises he’ll behave if Zoe will cut his strings. Zoe complies, and the mysterious murders begin.

My Thoughts: I probably don’t have to tell anyone by now that I love slashers, be they from the 1980’s, 2000’s, or the 1990’s. I will say a killer doll film from the 90’s sounds like a fun time for me. Hopefully this movie lives up to my expectations.

Big Bully (1996)

Synopsis: David Leary was bullied by Rosco when he was in elementary school. But he got even on the day his parents moved out of town. Now twenty years later, David, who is a successful writer, is invited back to his home town to teach. Everything is great until Rosco, who is still in town, recognizes him. Now suddenly someone is playing mean practical jokes on him. Isn’t David a little too old to be running to the Principal saying “Rosco’s picking on me.”?

My Thoughts: Funny how I have now talked about 3 1996 films in a row. Anyway this is a fun movie that I used to see on HBO all the time. It is a dark comedy at heart but does not show it’s true colors till like the last 30 minutes. I look forward to finally seeing it again.

Dead Man on Campus (1998)

Synopsis: Two college roommates go out and party, resulting in bad grades. They learn of the “if your roommate dies, you get an A” clause, and decide to find someone who is “on the verge” so to speak to move in with them.

My Thoughts: This is another film I saw on HBO a few times but never saw the whole thing. I had actually forgotten all about it until a few weeks ago and was saddened to find out it was OOP. Luckily, I did find a good price.

Summer School (1987)

Synopsis: A high-school gym teacher has big plans for the summer, but is forced to cancel them to teach a “bonehead” English class for misfit goof-off students. Fortunately, his unconventional brand of teaching fun field trips begins to connect with them, and even inspires ardor in some.

My Thoughts: I love Slasher films form just about any era, but when it comes to comedies I definitely prefer them to belong to the 80’s. No other era takes itself less serious than this one. And for that it has my love. Summer School was recommend to me on a forum I frequent and had to check it out. Stars a young Mark Harmon who went on to start in the crime show NCIS, as well as Kirstie Alley.

Unconventional (2004)

Synopsis: Halloween 2003 marked the 13th anniversary of the Chiller Theatre Horror Movie Convention … but there was nothing conventional about it. UnConventional is Revolution Earth’s second feature-length documentary. This film chronicles the insanity that ensued at the 13th annual Chiller-Con, held at the Meadowlands Sheraton Hotel in East Rutherford, NJ. The story of the weekend is told through the eyes of six different people, each a representative of the sorts that the Chiller-Con attracts: Gunnar Hansen, the original man behind the mask; Tiffany Shepis, a scream queen on the rise; Bob Gonzo, a “micro-budget” filmmaker; two rabid fans; and one of the key men who helps run the convention. Six different people, six different perspectives, one crazy weekend. It certainly promises to be UnConventional. Just keep telling yourself … it’s only a documentary …

My Thoughts: I actually saw Sean C Phillips talk about this film and had to pick it up. Not only am do I go to Monstermania twice a year but I have actually been to Chiller a few times as well. Not too mention the doc has a pretty cool cast. If anyone has seen this please let me know what you think.

The Statue (1971)

Synopsis: Bolt, a British linguist, develops a universal language, so he’s a sudden sensation and receives a Nobel prize. An ambitious diplomat, capitalizing on Bolt’s celebrity, arranges for the U.S. to commission a statue for a London square to honor Bolt’s achievement. Bolt’s Italian wife, a renowned artist, sculpts an 18-foot nude of Bolt. In a pique, because he’s neglected her for years to do his work, she gives the statue a spectacular phallus, telling Bolt that he wasn’t its model. Thinking he’s a cuckold, Bolt goes on a jealous search for a man matching the statue. The diplomat, too, wants changes in the statue to protect his conservative image. Can art and love reconcile?

My Thoughts: Not only am I a huge Exploitation fan, but I love 1970’s cinema. As soon as I saw the trailer for this film I knew I just had to see it. The plot alone was hilarious, the trailer even funnier. I also quite like the DVD cover.

Salem’s Lot (1979)

Synopsis: Young novelist returning home to Salem’s Lot after many years is disturbed by the strange behaviour of its people. He begins to believe that the source of the trouble may be the eerie old Marsten House that overlooks the town.

My Thoughts: Salem’s lot was actually a miniseries based off a Stephen King novel which was then squished together to make a feature length film. I have yet to see it but was lucky to score it at my work for cheap considering it is OOP.

Hellbent (2004)

Synopsis: Two gay men on a date are murdered the night before Halloween in West Hollywood, California. Eddie and his friends Joey, Chaz and Tobey are going out the following night to the West Hollywood Halloween festival when they encounter the psycho, who sets his eye on them. The killer stalks them through the festival as Chaz parties, Joey chases his jock crush, Tobey tries dressing in drag, and Eddie pursues Jake, the bad boy he wants to get to know better. Not until the very end do you find out who dies and who survives their night of terror.

My Thoughts: I have heard about this Gay slasher for years and am only just now getting around to picking it up. I will definitely have to watch it soon.

Timber Falls (2007)

Synopsis: Mike and his girlfriend Sheryl travel from Virginia to Lake Kimbrabow State Park in West Virginia to spend the weekend hiking and camping in the woods. They ask for directions to the local guard that advises them to follow the Donner Trail or the Willow Creek Bridge; however, Mike meets the local Ida Forester in the crossroad that tells them that Timber Falls has magnificent landscapes and a wonderful waterfall and the couple decide to go to the place. They stumble with the troublemakers Brody, Darryl and Lonnie and Sheryl convinces Mike to get rid of the bullets for his revolver. They camp and in the morning Sheryl is abducted while bathing in a nearby lake. The desperate Mike seeks her, and finds a deranged fanatic religious family that needs them to procreate an offspring.

My Thoughts: I remember when this came out it was extremely talked about in the horror community and when I finally saw it I was not disappointed. It was actually pretty brutal but I liked it. Plus, Beth Broderick, form Sabrina the Teenage Witch, makes an appearance.

That’s it for this week. See everyone in about 2 weeks!

Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2 (2011)

So you may or may not have been aware of a DTV slasher called Laid to Rest. I myself quite liked it and was pretty pleased to hear of a sequel in the works. Now let me first say that there is an unfair stigma against DTV film. People automatically assume that if the movie could not get a wide theatrical release then it must be awful. This is a huge misconception, especially in this day and age. Today Hollywood is very quick to write off anything that doesn’t have the hottest stars and a multimillion dollar budget. I understand that nothing in this world is free and that ya gotta have money to put food on the table, however art should never be compromised for a buck. The film industry of 2011 is set on making as much money as they can no matter the artistic cost. One huge reason that this is allowed to occur is the mainstream audience of today. They don’t want to see a well made, thoughtful film. They just want to see the latest blockbuster with hot stars and state of the art special effects. But I am getting off topic. Neither of the Laid to Rest films are thoughtful, well made films. They are just entertaining, gory slashers.

I am omitting the synopsis of the first film since I will review it at a later date. Not to mention this film pretty much picks up right where the last left off. Basically Chromeskull is back and now has a whole organization working with him including his right hand man, Preston, as well as Spann who is played by genre favorite Danielle Harris. The acting in this film is top notch, especially from Desperate Housewives’ Brian Austin Green, as well as Mimi Michaels who plays Jess. Jess is of course Chromeskull’s new obsession, he kills anything that gets in his way of her. We also have Thomas Dekker reprising his role from the first film. Dekker is a very talented actor that I enjoy seeing from the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, to the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Jess and Tommy (Thomas Dekker) are kidnapped by Chromeskull’s organization and must figure out a way to escape their impending doom. An interesting concept added to this film was the organization, and the character of Preston (Brian Austin Green) in general. Preston is constantly following in Chromeskull’s footsteps and it is obvious to see that as the film progresses he grows more and more bitter over not getting the recognition he thinks he deserves.  I won’t lie, I could definitely understand both sides of the coin. Preston really does assist Chromeskull in tying up loose ends, however he does it pretty sloppily. In the end the showdown is pretty fun to watch no matter who you side with. I actually clapped at one point.

Overall I liked the film, but it did have some issues. The kill scenes were so over the top and mean spirited. They just didn’t sit well with me. However, the more and more I think about it I might have judged to harshly. The whole point of these films is that Chromeskull is an unstoppable killing machine who just kills for no reason. The special effects were definitely top notch.  I did have a problem with a scene of him beating out a whole room of cops, especially because all 3 cops acted like total idiots. I did however approve of the ending, and am eagerly awaiting the 3rd. If you liked the first, or are just a Slasher fan I definitely recommend.

The Big Doll House (1971)

Ah yes. One of the most infamous Exploitation genres: Women in Prison, often just called WIP. An extremely controversial sub-genre due to it’s main focus being the torture of beautiful young woman, often naked. The plot would tend to concern a young girl who was wrongfully incarcerated and now has to deal with the cruel life of a prisoner. There would also usually be a torturous warden, most often a woman. The final climax would be the woman attempting to break out. These films became a huge hit with exploitation nuts everywhere. There were American made ones, Italian, and even Asia took a crack at the sub-genre. Some of the most prolific films being Big Doll House, its sequel Big Bird Cage, Women in Cages, 99 Women, and of course the Ilsa films. The ironic thing is how much the nazisploitation films like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS spill over into the WIP films. The difference is obviously a heavy reliance on the Nazi culture, as well as ghastly experiments there were actually performed during WWII. So what was the allure behind these films? Well probably the biggest thing is beautiful, young, naked women. What can I say? Men are pigs. I myself am a newcomer to the genre, having only seen the first Ilsa film before I sat down to watch Big Doll House. I had little idea what I was in for.

Big Doll House follows a group of imprisoned girls. The main focus being on the new girl: Collier. The cast also includes the great Pam Grier in her second role after Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Her character in this is actually a lesbian caring for her crackhead girlfriend. It is actually an interesting sub-plot that really adds some substance to what would otherwise be a routine WIP film. I could be wrong but I believe this may be one of the first Women In Prison films. It was directed by Jack Hill who Grier would go on to work with for a few more films including the Blaxploitation Classic, Coffy. In addition, the famed Roger Corman produced it. The film follows Collier as she adjusts to her new life as a prisoner of a Jail located in the Philippine’s jungle. Collier befriends her cell mates as well as two produce salesmen and together they plot their escape. Along the way she has to deal with the cruel and sadistic warden as well as the corrupt prison psychologist. Furthermore there is a new prison doctor who feels there is something fishy going on.

While the film does have a decent amount of torture scenes the focus really is on the girls. It is a much more character-driven WIP film and that probably lead to me liking it as much as I did. I found myself really engaged with the story and got a kick out of Grear, as well as Bodine. Bodine is the bad ass chick that “Even Grear wouldn’t fuck with.” She is played by Pat Woodell, who unfortunately didn’t do much else besides this film and the TV show Petticoat Junction. Sid Haig also has a role in this as one of the salesmen that helps break the girls out. He is also a bit of a pig demanding Grear pay him for a pack of smokes with a touch of her breasts. Scenes like this show why Grier has turned to women. The love story between Grear and the drug addict also has a tragic twist ending that really made my jaw drop. I think what really makes this film work is like I said it focuses much more on the characters than the actual torture. This was my second WIP film and I look forward to its sequel as well as more of the genre. I can only hope out of the 15 or so I own a few will be as good as this one.