Sunday, January 30, 2011

I was A Teenage Zombie

I was A Teenage Zombie (1987)
Dir: John Elias Michaelakis
Starring: A bunch of unknowns and George Cominera (Splatter University)

Sometimes while looking for flicks to review a movie I was fond of as a child will pop up and that is the case with I was A Teenage Zombie. I remember the old VHS cover of this video sitting on shelves of the local video rental stores back before the days of Blockbuster when smaller mom and pop shops were chock filled with posters and cardboard cutouts of The latest Horror Icon and the shelves were overflowing with horror films. With that said sometimes these childhood favorites will stand the test of time and still be awesome upon viewing years later as an adult, in such cases as films like Neon Maniacs, Nail Gun Massacre, Maniac and The films of Frank Hennenlotter ( Basket Case/ Frankenhooker/Brain Damage), But in this case the film in question does not possess the same amount of enthusiasm as it did when I was a child. Now don't get me wrong, I was A Teenage Zombie is a fun movie and I can see why I liked it as a child but now after watching it as an adult it just does not have the same appeal.
     A group of students are preparing for a dance and Gordy is in charge of finding the gang some pot, He also needs to score this pot to keep a bully from kicking his ass for a debt owed . After coming to a bunch of dead ends Gordy comes across a local thug named Mussolini  and Gordy and his friends decide to test out the product. Upon finding that the pot is bogus and for fear of getting beaten by Bird the school bully , Gordy catches up with Moose to try and get a refund. This plan does not go too well as Gordy is quickly beaten to a pulp by the thug.

After being beaten Gordy returns to his friends and tells them and Bird of the incident , So the gang all gather together in order to get payback on the lowlife thug. During the altercation, Moose slips on a banana peel and dies upon impact from the fall. Freaking out the guys decide to throw his body in the lake to cover their tracks, but Moose wakes up and Dan the jock of the bunch is called upon to finish Moose off, Then he takes a bat to the gangsters head before throwing him in the lake.
Once the body is disposed of Bird realizes his money was in the guys pocket so he returns to the scene of the crime to find that Moose has risen from the dead and Bird gets his tongue ripped out killing him. It turns out that a nuclear plant nearby run by Lloyd Kaufman (Troma/Toxic Avenger/ etc.) had leaked into the river causing Moose to reanimate.
Later that night the gang is out on the waterfront with some girls enjoying a bonfire and drinks,when Moose arrives killing one of the guys girlfriends. Now realizing that Moose had been reanimated due to the radioactive waste , the gang comes up with a scheme to ambush moose to take him out. This plan unfortunately does not go as well as planned because The groups go to guy Dan is killed in the process.
After realizing that Moose has gained some strength in his reanimation so the kids come up with a scheme to Bring Dan back from the dead the same way in order to have him fight Moose for them, SO they steal his corpse from his funeral and throw it in the River.the following day Dan returns on campus as if nothing ever happened and the gang has to explain his new situation. While Dan adjusts to his new lifestyle and realizing he will never get the girl of his dreams Cindy now that he is dead , Moose roams the streets killing anyone in his way including some mobsters he owed money to.
The gang plans to set up a meeting to pit the two zombies against each other , while Cindy finds out Dan is back and insists that Dan still takes her to the dance. While the gang prepare for the dance and the ambush, one of the kids is killed while heading to the school. Afterwards the dance starts and everyone shows up just in time for the final showdown. During the final showdown Cindy is killed just before Moose is decapitated by Dan. After the brawl Dan carries Cindy off into the River and they both go into the water together to be with each other forever.
Final Thoughts:
As I said before I could see why I enjoyed this as a kid, When I was still a bit disturbed by films that were to graphic and scary this one is lighthearted and goofy enough to enjoy and it does have some decent gore that is not to explicit. But now as an adult that has been thoroughly descencitized to pretty much anything horror has to offer this one just comes off as pure cheese, and that is not always a bad thing . this one just does not have the same nostalgic feeling that a film like Neon Maniacs or Basket Case has when it comes to childhood favorites. This is a fun watch and would actually be a decent horror date movie if you find a girl who is trying to get into cult and B-Cinema in order to put up with it for the sake of a relationship. This is a pretty harmless Horror film that would not be a bad choice for a Horror film for kids that wanna seem cool by watching something they're friends have not seen as it has just enough gore to keep them paying attention, some silly gags , and no nudity. So a film like this does serve a purpose and this would be a nice movie to play with films like Teen Wolf and even Fright Night. Not really a classic but truly a fun watch for nostalgia's sake. I cannot stress how much I miss the days when the rental stored had huge selections of horror films and no just films from the past year or so , It makes it allot less fun to rent for a movie night these days.

Overall:5.5 out of 10

Saturday, January 29, 2011

555 (1988)

555 (1988)
Dir: Wally Koz

The Shot on video film or as Many film fanatics call it Shot on Shiteo film, is a truly strange genre in itself especially when it comes to horror. Usually this means the movie is going to be downright awful and that case is true for the most part. It definitely qualifies as the epitome of low budget, but once in awhile you will come around one that is pretty good. Now by good I don't mean it is something that will win any awards or anything but there is something truly endearing about a good shot on shiteo film, because normally what they lack in budget and acting they make up for in effort and love for the genre. This film falls into that special little category of film that is the fun shot on video gems.
    The film opens with a young couple getting busy on the beach during night when they are attacked by a knife wielding madman. The two are found by a passerby war vet who happens to be walking along the beach alone at 1  in the morning. After alerting the authorities he of course is called in for questioning due to the odd nature of his presence on the beach that late by himself.Detective Conner believes the man Wayne is the one responsible for the killings so he is staked out the following nights.
The next night once again a couple is killed while eloping on the waterfront, and much like the first couple the murderer decapitates the male then carves the female victim up before sexually assaulting the corpse. The detectives find that the murders are indeed connected as the semen matches the specimen found on the previous scene. The detectives continue to question Wayne and now a news reporter Susan takes interest in the case and decides to do some investigating of her own, Even trying to seduce the suspect into giving up information to write in her story.
The third night the detectives decide to sit and stakeout the waterfront and nothing goes down but a couple is killed inside a rundown factory in a brutal scene where once again the male victim is decapitated this time on screen and the female corpse is molested, also we get our first glance at the killer revealing that it is in fact not Wayne who the investigators suspect.
In the morning Detective Conner receives some news from the F.B.I. that these murders may be linked to string of several other murders that seem to occur every five years, where the killer slays two victims every night for five nights and then disappears to a different city five years later to start over again. The detective also finds that Wayne just so happened to be located in the cities where these murders took place around the same time as the slayings. So once again the investigation points at Wayne and they go looking for him. After another killing on the fourth night while investigating the scene of the crime, Conner leaves and captures Wayne to interrogate him,and keep him in custody over night to see if the killings stop

. Unfortunately Wayne's lawyer gets him released before the night is done and the cops once more go on the stakeout to find him. Before they head out News reporter Susan has some info proving that Wayne is in fact innocent and the killer may be closer than they think. Taking her advice the investigators head to the abandoned factory and do finsd the killer but not before he can kill and rape his last victims.

 The twist ending on this one is a nice touch as even with the low budget and crappy disguise the killer wears it still does not give up his identity even though the killer is on screen numerous times in and out of costume which is just a hippie shirt and a wig, So kudos to them for that. In all honesty it is a pretty decent twist ending to, given they don't try to hard to fool the viewer and it does come off as a genuine surprise when revealed who the killer actually is.
     555 is not the most original horror movie out there and it is about as low budget as you can get, but with that said , it does manage to be fun too watch and as far as shot on shiteo films go this is one of the better one's I have seen. the gore effects are pretty bad and so is the acting but you can tell the movie was ade by fans of the genre and they poured all their love of horror into this little project.There are quite a few funny scenes in the film some intentional but mostly not, like when one woman is being stabbed and you can hear Styrofoam noises as the knife is pulled from the wound, while she let's out some of the least convincing screams of pain ever recorded and another scene towards the end when the officers arrive on the scene and the killer continues to violate the victims corpse even though he can hear the cops approaching and he finishes and screams out "Noooooo!" as he climaxes, I know that sounds gross but while viewing it , it is truly hilarious. Also again I have to give the film makers props on the twist ending to this one because for the lack of costume design for the killer they managed to do a good job swerving the viewer even though the killer is shown on screen in and out of costume numerous times and still managed to be surprising . I was a little confused though while watching the film because prior to viewing it all the reviews I had read stated that the killer was a cross dresser but in reality he is a hippie with a long wig and a beard so I don't know what film these reviewers were watching but that is not the case wit this film, perhaps they are not watching close enough to know the difference ? I don't know but either way 555 is an entertaining little flick and a fun watch. they did a really god job with what they had and that is hard to say especially given the huge budgets some of the more recent films have and still manage to blow hard.
Overall: 6 out of 10