BLDNG – 1 gnome

BLDNG (2015), 1hr 27 min, Horror

BLDNG“Max makes movies like the other 99% of the douche bags in Los Angeles. After accessing a dilapidated building for his first animated film shoot, he is locked in after losing his keys inside the highly secure building. Once trapped inside, the bratty kid ghost of Little Leah begins her games with Max, driving him to the brink of insanity with annoying requests to play, torture and crying.”

I watched this movie because it sounded like it would be fun. It was not.

If it had been shorter, it would have been better. As it was it took FOREVER for him to get locked in, then the haunting was just unwatchable.  Cheap visual effects, Halloween make-up. It went on, and on, and on. Self-indulgent, and uninteresting. The description makes it sound like they were making fun of the genre, but I didn’t get the sense of that in the movie. They were serious, it was just bad. Save yourself!

Necromancy – 5 gnomes

Necromancy (1972), 1hr 24 min, Horror

“Orson Welles plays the head of a witches’ coven in the town of Lilith, where he needs the powers of Pamela Franklin to raise his son from the dead.”

There’s something about horror movies from the 70’s – they were earnest little things. This is no different. It’s campy, and over the top, but what really makes the movie is Orson Welles. On the face of it, it’s a dumb little movie, but he plays Mr. Cato with the full conviction that you’d expect from an actor of his caliber. Like Christopher Lee, Donald Pleasance, and Vincent Price – he knows the movie is not destined for an Oscar, but that doesn’t stop him from showing up and doing the work with all the seriousness of a professional.

The storyline is freaky. Lori Brandon has a bit of magic in her – she was born with a caul. Her husband tells Mr. Cato this at a business meeting and the occult-obsessed toy factory owner not only gives him a job but invites them to move to his company town – Lilith. There she finds an odd hedonistic group of youngsters. They’re all witches, all members of Mr. Cato’s coven. All lured with promises, and none can leave.  There are no children in the town – Mr. Cato has forbidden it since the death of his son. But that’s all going to change now that his son is coming back.

Everyone in the town is so nice, and creepy. They all expect Lori to fall in line because she has no choice. Merely driving into town became her acceptance of her place in the scheme of things. For the magic to work, there must be balance. For every life returned, a life must be given.

Orson Welles makes this movie. He’s present in every scene, even if he’s not onscreen. See it and bask in his greatness – must see!

The full movie is available on YouTube, and on Amazon here: Necromancy

The Rezort – 4 gnomes

The Rezort (2015), 1hr 33min, Horror

The Rezort“The ReZort, a safari park, offers paying guests the opportunity to kill as many zombies as they please following an outbreak.”

The zombie outbreak was safely squashed and life gets back to normal. But what if the most excitement you’ve ever had was killing zombies? You can relive that thrill as long as you can pay for it! What if you were so traumatized that you can’t function? You can start the healing process with a zombie safari!

What could go wrong?

If Jurassic Park is any indication, you will be trapped on an island full of zombies.

I liked this silly movie. Normally I’m not a huge fan of zombie movies – if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But every once in a while, one pops up that’s just fun. I’m not saying it’s without its problems, but overall it was pretty good.

The thing that makes it for me is the various storylines, there’s a lot going on here. How does the world deal with the millions upon millions of people that were displaced during the outbreak? It’s a political disaster, of course. Then there’s our main character who’s suffering from PTSD and is thrown into another outbreak situation. Once again she has to make hard choices to survive. And something that is a first for me is the Zombies are People Too activist! Yes, I made up the name because I couldn’t remember what they were called, but as the name suggests, it is a group that questions the morality of canned zombie killing. The movie does a good job of giving a pretty well-rounded experience. Questions I had during, were answered by the end, and those ended up being satisfying and disturbing.

I admit I had problems with the zombies. They were way too smart, too cunning to be convincing as zombies. The zombies in The Walking Dead and Night of the Living Dead franchises work because they’re just hungry bags of flesh. The zombies in 28 Days Later and World War Z work because of the mindless rage. Both examples work through the idea that there is no higher brain function, only the impulse to kill.

The zombies in The Rezort are a combination of mindless and aware. Mostly they’re mindless, but if the set-up is there, like an ambush for instance, they manage to lie in wait and jump out at the appropriate moment. The movie would have been much better without these contrived instances. We know everything is going to go tits up, it’s a horror movie! Giving the zombies the ability to think (and recognize people) when it was convenient, tarnished the experience. With a little more imagination, the zombies could have been zombies without these forced instances.

I still like the movie, and it’s still fun, despite my zombie disappointment. I can definitely see myself watching it again. It’s available on Netflix, so go for it!

Respire – 4 gnomes

Respire (2010), 1 hr 31 min, Horror/Thriller

Respire

“The Ancient Romans believed that the soul escaped one’s body with the last breath. It was believed that last breath held the power to cure disease and prolong life. In 1930’s, Dr. Robert Kaminsky devoted his life to finding out how to harness the power in the last breath. Susan Jordan owns a local novelty shop. One item in her shop, an antique box once owned by Doctor Kaminsky, draws the interest of two men: Raif Collins who hopes its contents can save his dying sister, and Alex Poe whose motives are more mysterious. Susan quickly finds herself in a perilous struggle to protect the box and the secrets that it holds.”

I was surprised at how much I liked this movie. The acting was spotty in places – a little too over the top, but the story was interesting. Shop owner Susan Jordan who is dying from cancer stumbles upon a possible cure. Why not try it, right? What’s the worse that could happen? And what do you know, this weird little cure works! Of course, there’s a catch, there always is. Susan finds herself caught between two men, both of which want that cure and will do anything to take it from her.

I’m giving Respire 4 gnomes because it held my attention. It’s an interesting concept, and the execution was decent. The set up for both male leads was a little trope-y, but it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment. I would watch it again. If you’ve got some time, get some popcorn and put your feet up.

Go for it!

You can find it on Amazon here: Respire

Fireside Tales – 2 gnomes

Fireside Tales (2016), 1hr 10min, Horror

“A low-budget anthology film focuses on a young group of friends, gathered for a night of fun and drinks around a campfire. Every year they try to outdo themselves telling scary stories. Will they survive another round? One story showcasing 5 unique macabre tales to frighten audiences everywhere.”

The key word here is “low-budget”. All of the stories are of the “slasher/psycho-killer” variety and so I’m not going to summarize. There is nothing new or fun here – although after each tale the listeners rag on the teller which makes it mildly amusing.

The acting was spotty even though many of the actors played more than one part. There’s an extra tale after the credits, but I don’t think it enhanced or detracted from what was already a mediocre movie.

View at your own risk!
Fireside Tales Trailer from Ian Messenger on Vimeo.

You can watch it here: Fireside Tales

8989 Redstone – 4.5 gnomes

8989 Redstone (2016), 1hr 20min, Horror

“Darryl Masters is the host of his own house flipping show, “Mastering Disaster”, along with his daughter and presumptive heir to his business, Rebecca. As soon as they begin work on their latest project, things start to go wrong, and Darryl is starting to believe that the house is responsible…”

There is so much that I love about this movie. It’s a pretty classic haunted house movie set during a taping of a reality show. So it has a “found footage” feel to it. But what sets this movie apart is the acting and the characters. The main character Darryl Masters is a perfect “bull in a china shop with anger issues” – he blusters his way through the entire thing and it’s just so perfect. Even with the obvious evidence of supernatural happenings, he stalwartly refuses to accept or acknowledge it – and it’s beautiful. Not many actors can pull that kind of intensity off for so long, and Eric Allan Kramer manages effortlessly.

Another thing that I love about this is that although the haunting was the point of the movie, to the characters, shooting the tv series was always their goal, and as such their lives went on despite the craziness. Only at the very end, did the haunting derail everything.

I can’t say that it’s scary, because it’s not. There are some really freaky happenings and some gruesomeness, but it’s very character focused and that’s what made it for me.

Two things kept this movie from being perfect:
1. Darryl’s daughter and co-host walked around in skimpy outfits – around the construction site – for pretty much the entire show. Who does that? I’ve seen flipping shows on tv – not one of those women, no matter how attractive they are, walk around those sites looking like she did. There’s no way she could have worked if she’s worrying about a boob popping out of her top every 5 minutes. It annoyed me and took me out of the story because it was so unnecessary. They got in their obligatory sex scene, so why she had to dress like a safety hazard beacon was beyond me.

2. The ending and the shots around the credits. They just couldn’t leave a good thing alone, could they? I can just hear a producer now “It’s good, but it needs a little something. A twist.” And so another good movie gets fucked up.

Despite the nonsense at the end, I really enjoyed this movie. Go for it!

You can watch it on Amazon here: 8989 Redstone