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R

Red Christmas (2016)

Damien Ross

Craig Anderson

“Mommy, don’t kill me.”

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Since I usually like to know as little as possible about a movie I’ve never seen before, I was a little thrown off by the documentary style commentary on abortion at opening. At first I thought I clicked on the wrong film.

20 years later: Dee Wallace is a horror legend and has portrayed a mother for most of her career. At age 69, this film is no exception. Her kids, Jerry, Ginny, Suzy, and the adopted Hope, visit her and Uncle Joe for Christmas.

Uncle Joe Catches Suzy’s boyfriend, Peter, spying on Ginny and her husband, Scott, having sex in the laundry room. Maybe he was looking for pointers because he and Suzy have been trying to get pregnant for the past six years. Dee gives Suzy money for fertility treatment, but she and Peter are convinced that God is all they need. Peter is a man of the cloth. At what point do you listen to God and quit trying? Getting pregnant is not that hard, there are a lot of unwanted children in the world, so if you can’t make it happen, when do you tap out and admit that God doesn't want you to have a baby? God initially spoke to you six years ago and you’re still arguing? I believe in God's will, except when it opposes my desires.

Elsewhere, some dude gets his dick ripped off by a cloaked figure delivering presents, then gets his head split open by his own knife sharpener.

Back at the house, Ginny is mad that her parents are selling the house and putting Jerry in an assisted living facility. Jerry has Down-Syndrome, which I am only mentioning because it becomes essential to the plot later. Dee’s doorbell rings. It’s the creepy cloaked figure. She lets him inside the house. His name is Cletus. He has a card for “Mother.” Inside the card is a letter about an abortion clinic that blew up 20 years ago. Dee freaks out. She has a secret and her husband died 20 years ago.

Hope, Scott, and Dee go outside to watch the sunset. Hope wanders off and finds the jar of peanuts Dee gave to Cletus. Hope is allergic to peanuts. Dee and Scott go back inside because the girls are fighting over pie. Hope gets axed in half from head to crotch. They soon discover Hope’s body, or bodies at this point.

Uncle Joe tries to call the police, but the power is out in the house. Not sure what Uncle Joe’s relationship is to Dee. It seems like there’s a little too much going on for them to be brother and sister, but nothing actually happens between them.

The family is now trapped in the house with a killer on the loose. Now would probably be a good time for Dee to fess up and explain what this is all about. Scott gets axed in the head. They hide in the garage and Uncle Joe goes back into the house to get the car keys. After he gets the keys he gets choked to death from behind as he tries to start the car and then the car hits Peter.

Ginny falls down and is now about to go into labor. Peter is still alive and can deliver it, but she doesn’t want him near her. Dee finally comes clean to Peter: She didn’t have a miscarriage 20 years ago, she had an abortion. Her husband was dying in chemo and she didn’t want to deal with another baby with Down-Syndrome. She swears him to secrecy even though she should be telling everybody the truth.

The Sheriff arrives and gets death by bear-trap on head.

Cletus wants to know if Dee loves him as Peter hides behind Jerry with a shotgun and shoots. He may or may not have hit Cletus. Dee searches the cop car and Cletus is back. “Mommy.” She pulls a gun on him and starts shooting. Cletus grabs Peter and drags him through the house as Peter tries to grab weapons along the way until they pray together. For a guy battling Down-Syndrome and surviving abortion, he sure has a strong will-not to mention freakish strength. Peter stabs him, but then gets a blender blade to the back of the head.

Now Jerry is pissed. He thinks Dee wanted to abort him too and doesn’t love him because he has Down-Syndrome. It's a tough argument because even though she can reassure Jerry that if she could do it over she would do it the same, the evidence of her failed abortion proves she wouldn't. Granted, when she was pregnant with Jerry his father was healthy, and it would have been more of a hardship as as a single parent. Jerry and Cletus share a moment.

Cletus hides behind the couch wearing Jerry’s hat. Seeing Jerry's hat, Dee walks into the hallway and shoots Jerry thinking he is Cletus. She goes back to finish off Cletus, but is out of bullets then she sees his face for the first time. He kinda looks like Sloth from Goonies, only more fucked up. She calls him a son of a bitch, which I thought was funny since she’s his mom, then tackles him. He gets his ax and Dee runs outside.

Upstairs Ginny has her baby. Dee hears the cries so she lures Cletus to her. Suzy hears her so she runs outside and gets killed. Dee goes back inside. Ginny is hiding in a stuffed bear(?) and Cletus stabs her. Dee runs in and stabs him in the mid-section with some sort of sickle on a chain that's wrapped around her neck and she jumps out the window. She snaps her neck, but it also pulls Cletus out after her by his wound and now he is evidently dead too.

The baby is left on the bed alone. He’s fucked. Maybe he’ll come back in 20 years for a sequel?

The Gilligan/Badass Bitch Award goes to Dee Wallace for creating the situation in the first place, then stopping at nothing to end it.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don’t urinate on mysterious cloaked figures.

2) Don’t invite mysterious cloaked figures into your house.

3) Always check the backseat before just starting up the car when you know there’s a psycho on the prowl.

 

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Damien Ross

Roman Polanski

"What are you talking about? You look great. It's that haircut that looks awful."

Newlyweds, Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, have just moved into a new apartment. The previous tenant was an 89 year old woman who died. She grew a lot of herbs. Rosemary is an herb.

The walls are paper thin in the apartment and one night they hear satanic chanting. Shortly after, Terry, Rosemary's new laundry buddy, jumps out of a window to her death. This is when they meet their new neighbors, Minnie and Roman Castevet, who Terry was staying with. Soon the Castevet's are their new best friends, despite the huge age difference.

Before long, Guy's luck is changing for the better. He got an acting gig because the former lead suddenly went blind so he and Rosemary have decided to have a baby. But something is up with the Castevet's. Rosemary knew it, but no one else seemed too.

This is why I equate making friends with your neighbors to shitting next to your food bowl: They always know when you're home, they're eager to hang out despite the day you've had, and if you don't like them you basically have to move.

It's difficult to tell how long Guy was in on it. Had he met the Castevets before they moved in? Did the Castevets kill the old lady who previously lived there?

Rosemary had a friend, Hutch, who was planning to give her a book, but went into a coma before eventually dying. She got the book anyway, which exposed Roman as a witch.

It's when she tries to switch doctors that the movie gets scary. Was she living next to a witch's coven, or was she insane? The more she tries to explain her case, the crazier she appears. You suddenly feel the paranoia of everyone being against her. They pin her down in her apartment and sedate her.
When she awakens, she is no longer pregnant. Her baby is gone. Apparently there were complications, yet she can hear a baby crying through the walls.

One night, while home alone, she starts snooping around inside the mysterious closet. There is a door that leads to the Castevet's. She goes through and everyone is there and a huge painting of the picture from the book of Roman's father is hanging above the fireplace. She discovers that her baby is alive, but it's not Guy's, it is the son of Satan. It turns out, Guy will give anything to be a successful actor, including his first born! This sounds kinda stupid as I write it, but it was a really good movie.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't be close friends with your neighbors.

2) Trust no one.

3) Find a good barber. The last thing you need is to give your significant other reasons to side against you.

The Roommate (2011)

Damien Ross

Christian E. Christiansen

"You were never my friend."

Sarah Matthews has just started college to study fashion design. Within the first 10 minutes of this film she meets a new friend, Tracy, lands a job in a coffee house, goes to a frat party (which had kind of a date-rapy vibe to it), where she met her new love interest, Stephen, then meets her new roommate Rebecca, and finally manages to get into the design class that it was too late to sign up for. Deep breath. It seems to me that if your goal is to study design in college, you might wanna make that the first class you sign up for, but what do I know, I never went to college.

Sarah left behind a boyfriend back home in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sarah's roommate is an artist. She is quiet and doesn't party much so when Tracy ditches Sarah at the next party, she is available to come to the rescue.

Rebecca takes Sarah to an art exhibit and they begin to bond. Sarah tells her about her older sister who died when she was nine and shows her the tattoo of the name Emily she has on her breast.

Sarah finds a kitten on her way home and they decide to keep it and they name him Cuddles.

One night, Tracy wakes up in the middle of the night. She is thirsty, but there is nothing to drink in the dorm so she to goes down the hall. When she opens the front door Rebecca is sitting there. She stands up and stares at Tracy, then walks away without saying a word. Tracy tells Sarah about the incident so Sarah asks Rebecca about it. Rebecca makes up a lie to cover her tracks.

The next time Tracy takes a shower at the public bathroom the lights mysteriously go out. She's alone and wanders around, but after not finding anybody, she gets back in! Rebecca tackles her, bangs her head into the shower floor, threatens to kill her, then rips out her belly button ring.

Sarah comes home late from a date with Stephen. Rebecca has been blowing her phone up all night and when she finally greets her she bitches her out for being late.

The next night Sarah stays with Stephen. She forgets her phone and Jason, her ex in Des Moines, calls so Rebecca pretends to be Sarah and ends the relationship.

Sarah hangs out with her friend Irene and knowing nothing about the roommate situation offers to let Sarah move in with her. Sarah makes the mistake of telling Rebecca while she is looking at pictures of them together. Now she knows what Irene looks like.

Sarah has quickly become her professor's favorite student so he invites her to be his assistant at the annual fashion week in Paris then kisses her, which makes her uncomfortable so she walks out. Idiot. You wait till you get to Paris to make that move, now she's not gonna go.

Sarah tells Rebecca so Rebecca pays the professor a visit. She pretends to desperately need to get into his class and will do anything. She acts out him trying to rape her while recording the whole thing. The next day, Sarah has a new professor.

Thanksgiving is coming up, which means this has all been going on for about three weeks. Sarah doesn't want to go home for the holiday because this is the time of year her sister died so somehow ten years later, it's still awkward? Meanwhile, Rebecca is punching herself in the face trying to make it look like she got mugged because she wants Sarah to go home with her for the holiday.

Rebecca's home is a mansion. Her parents seem kind of afraid of her and had no idea she was coming home for the holiday. Her mom asks Sarah if Rebecca has been taking her medication and then leaves it at that, no warning, no explanation... I don't know why Rebecca decided to take Sarah to her home, then to her teenage hangout where Sarah meets the girl in all the pictures she drew. Seems like she would try to be a little more discreet.

When they get back home, Rebecca goes out to the club Irene hangs out at and picks her up in the women's bathroom. The plan worked, she's into chicks and has no idea who Rebecca is. Meanwhile, Sarah and Stephen are snooping around and find Rebecca's medication: Zyprexa, which is apparently an anti-psychotic for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Moving in with Irene is sounding better and better, but it's probably too late.

Rebecca and Sarah go to the tattoo shop so Rebecca can get a tattoo. She tells Sarah to wait and when she comes back she has a tattoo on her breast that reads, Emily, now they can be sisters and Sarah can call her Emily if she wants. This is the final red flag that sends Sarah packing and off to Stephen's dorm. But Rebecca's sketchbook somehow got mixed in with the small amount of things she grabbed and it was the same drawing of Sarah's face over and over, page after page like The Shining, "All work and no play..."

Jason has come to town. Sarah is not answering his calls so he finds her dorm and slips a note under the door telling what hotel and room number he's staying in. Well of course ol' Rebecca is sitting there not answering the door so she gets the note and heads over to his hotel later that night. The maid service is a few doors down so she snags his room key and enters his room pretending to be Sarah. All that trouble to put on Sarah's perfume, dye her hair, and wear her clothes just to say, "Sarah doesn't want you," and then kill him. I thought she would go all the way with the Single White Female shit and get down, but no, this is a PG-13 movie.

Next we have the finale, Irene's apartment. Sarah enters Irene's room to find Irene gagged and tied to the bed, and Rebecca has a gun. A scuffle ensues, but Sarah manages to lock her out of the room. She grabs the land-line, but the phone is dead. The fire escape is the only way out and they're several floors up. At this point she should have done one of two things: Use her cell phone, duh! Or untie Irene so it's two against one. Of course she does neither, she makes a break for the fire escape. At the same time, Rebecca finds her gun and shoots her way back in. Now Sarah is hanging out the window, Irene is still tied up, but Stephen is just in time to save the day! He knocks Rebecca out, ignores Irene, and runs to the window to save Sarah. He's almost pulled Sarah back in, but wait, Rebecca's not knocked out anymore and Stephen almost loses Sarah, but she's hanging onto the windowsill. He pulls her back in and somehow she gets the gun. Rebecca doesn't believe she'll shoot her so she taunts her and Sarah pulls the trigger, but the gun is empty. This pisses Rebecca off. After all she's done for her! They continue to struggle and Rebecca has her almost choked out till Sarah finds the knife and stabs her in the back. You can hear sirens faintly in the background, always once the action is over. Sarah is ready to live alone for awhile.

After writing this, I feel like they tried to jam pack too much into 90 minutes, but I'm glad it wasn't any longer. Everything was a little too convenient for Rebecca. She always knew where everybody was and when they were alone. I'm pretty sure that "Housekeeping" in hotels have a master key rather than a copy of every key in the hotel, and what hotel uses metal keys anymore? Nothing too original about this scenario, except that there was no clear motive or goal on the part of Rebecca. They didn't go into depth of something traumatizing in her past, just that she was on medication and had done this before. It should have been her who had lost her sister. There was no big wrap up at the end, you just got a glimpse of her home life and a couple of girls she used to hang out with, which took up less than 10 minutes of the movie. You never really got to feel empathy for Rebecca nor did you get a chance to hate her, she just seemed like some weird chick. And that knife she got stabbed with, it was a box knife, you can't stab somebody with that! You could slice their throat, but I have a hard time believing you could deliver a fatal blow to the body with that little blade. And where'd she get the gun? And how many days had Irene been tied to that bed? How did Rebecca happen to be there when Sarah showed up. How was Rebecca always in the right place? Did she have supernatural powers? For as much as they tried to stuff into this movie, they sure did leave a lot out.

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) If you're alone in a public shower and someone turns out the lights and starts fuckin with you, don't get back into the shower.

2) Don't leave your cell phone at home with your questionable roommate.

3) Don't tell your obsessive roommate that one benefit to moving out is that you'll get to keep your kitten.

The Ring (1-2)

Damien Ross

The Ring (2002)

Gore Verbinski

"You start to play it and it's like somebody's nightmare. And then this woman comes on, smiling at you, right? Seeing you... through the screen. Then when it's over, your phone rings, someone knows you watched the tape... and what they say is, 'You will die in seven days.'"

This movie starts out strong with two teenage girls talking about a tape that will kill you seven days after you watch it. The quick visual of the girl's corpse is probably the most horrific thing I've seen since Zelda in Pet Cemetery, I think mainly because it flashes so quick that you're not really sure what you saw.

Rachel is the dead girl's aunt. She is also a journalist and decides she is going to solve this case–coincidentally, her creepy son is having visions and drawing disturbing pictures. She watches the tape and then her baby daddy, Noah, watches the tape, then the kid watches it.

Rachel follows the clues, which lead her to an island where she meets Richard Morgan, the adopted father of the girl, Samara, who drowned in a well years earlier. Richard is no help. He doesn't want to tell her anything and it kind of sounds like he was against the adoption even before he knew she was evil. Before he can say anything useful he decides to kill himself in dramatic fashion, by putting every electrical item in his house into the bath tub, filling it up with water, then climbing in. I think just the toaster would have been sufficient.

Eventually, Noah's seven days are up, but somehow Rachel and the boy's are not. After destroying the original tape she finds the copy and realizes that since she made a copy, she is spreading Samara's word? Then her and her son watch the tape again. The ending didn't completely make sense to me. Do they have to watch the tape once a week for the rest of their lives to reset the curse? Is making a copy the cure? And what was the deal with the horse? Not sure....

What did we learn? Survival tips:

1) Don't adopt kids with dead parents, unless maybe you knew the parents.

2) Don't leave video tapes out that you don't want your kids to watch.

The Ring 2 (2005)

Hideo Nakata

This movie was worth watching based solely on the fact that within the first ten minutes it answered the question the first one left me with, which is something that Rest Stop II tried and failed miserably at. The question was: How did Rachel and son out live the tape? The answer was at the end of the first one if you watched close, which I didn't. She made him put the tape in and push play so he made her watch it, which is the secret to living through it: You have seven days to show the tape to someone else or you die, which sounds kind of stupid, and why the sequel? They move away to another town, but Samara is still haunting them. Somehow she is able to haunt Aidan and live through him? I just didn't see much point in a sequel.

Return to Horror High (1987)

Damien Ross

Bill Froehlich

"You're gonna have a great career ahead of you, you got great tits. They're fake, but who has to know... You like me?"

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Opening Scene, Crippen High Scool: Several dismembered corpses surround the scene and Marcia Brady is a cop? A wounded man grabs one of the cops, but it’s not the right cop and... Cut!

Cosmic Pictures has come to the town of Crippen to make a film about the brutal murders that took place at Crippen High School in 1982. But they are not alone.

Oliver (George Clooney) quits the project because he just landed a role in a new series. As he’s leaving, he can’t find his way out of the damn building! It’s a fucking school! I say that because my high school was very easy to get out of. It was harder to be inside the school than it was to be outside, and not just cuz the classes sucked, but because there were only about three hallways. Instead of an exit, he finds a door with what appears to be blood dripping down it so he investigates, alone. Bad move, he gets gotted. So much for that new role.

They replace Oliver with Steve, who was a cop on the original scene. Now Steve gets to play himself. The director, Josh, is not happy, but there’s already two other guys playing themselves. Amos, the janitor, is excited about playing himself because he thinks it will help launch his porno career.

Steve meets Callie, the girl playing his girlfriend, Cathy, who was a student at the time. A cop dating a student? Callie goes to Principle Kastleman to try and get some insight into her character. Why didn’t she just ask Steve? He’s the one who dated her. I’m sure he’d know a lot more than some principle who barely knew her five years ago. Principle Kastleman tells her about the day of the murders and leads her to a cabinet. She opens the doors and finds a human head inside. It’s fake, a prop for the movie, and now the FX guy is pissed because it wasn’t supposed to be triggered yet so now he has to make a new one.

While filming a rape scene Callie gets pissed when they want to show her tits. She doesn’t want to do the rape scene at all, she thinks it’s degrading to women, so now Harry (the producer?) wants to kill off her character. This is another example of how horror films have always empowered women, even though it doesn't always look that way cuz when two women are together they try to sabotage each other because even women don’t like women. I think it’s even bigger than that though. I think it's more like comedians in the 80’s and early 90’s: There were a limited amount of spots to fill. Your peers were your competition. The one person you could relate to becomes your enemy cuz the late show only has ten comedians on a year. Scarcity breeds enemies. Women spent a lot of time competing for a good man/good life. But life is more plentiful now. Women can kinda do whatever they want now. They don’t have to sabotage each other, just like Netflix doesn't say: We only have ten openings for specials this year, it's cut throat! No, there’s room for everyone, so get it together bitches! Cuz it never really balances. A guy wants to be successful so he can meet a good woman to breed with and make a family whereas a woman becomes successful, yet still expects her man to be more ambitious and successful than her? She wants to be able to take care of herself if shit goes down, but she also wants to be able to talk shit and break down bitch-ass boys who’s drive don’t pay as well or at all. It ain't about inequality, it’s about jealousy. There ain’t no new shoes in life, it's just different feet in the same ol’ shoes that everyone wants to put there feet in. The problem is, there's only one pair of shoes. No matter what race, ethnicity, or gender you are, it ain't about equality, everyone is chasing that same magical pair of shoes.

Anyway, Steve talks her into staying and shows him his locker where he wrote Steve+Cathy with a heart drawn around it from back in the day. Steve didn’t know about the arrow drawn through his name. It wasn’t there yesterday. From just that tiny little observation, Callie assesses that maybe the killer is back!

Harry, Josh, and Arthur (the writer), get into a fight. Harry wants way more blood, but Josh doesn’t wanna make a horror movie, he wants to make a psychological thriller. He wants to win an award. Fuck him.

Steve never saw Cathy again after losing his virginity to her on prom night. She went to her grandparents that summer and never came back. Probably cuz she was knocked up. Just then, Amos comes out of a classroom with his mop and bucket. Coincidentally, somebody mopped up Oliver’s blood earlier... Dun, dun, dun!

Callie is still bent on the idea that the killer is back so she and Steve make of list of possible suspects.

Steve goes into Principal Kastleman’s office and finds a framed picture of Cathy, his ex. It turns out Cathy Johnson was actually Cathy Kastleman. She used the last name Johnson so nobody would know her dad was the principal... Dun, dun, dun! Principle Kastleman says she’s in grad school now.

Arthur tells Callie that he used to go to this school and that writing this film was like coming back home... Dun, dun, dun! And the red herrings are flying!

Later that night, Steve and Callie go over their suspect lists and weird animal drawings then have sex. Afterward, Steve leaves the room then busts back in yelling, “They’re onto us, we know too much!!!” He then finds that his gun is missing and yells at Callie to lock the door even though he’s the one who closed it. She peeks out the window in the door and sees the masked killer looking in. She screams and Steve tells her there’s no use cuz everyone is already gone. The killer sticks his arm through the window around Steve’s neck and snaps it. He then proceeds to break down the door. Callie jumps out the window from the second floor. She fine. She runs to her car, which is like ten feet away, but it won’t start. Then Amos pops out from the backseat with a knife as Josh yells, “Cut!” But it’s a real knife and Amos effortlessly cuts off her head. She then wakes up lying next to Steve after just having sex. Great. Just what I need, a movie that yells, “Cut!” and has dream sequences. Also, another high school that has a bed in it? Apparently, they didn't care as much about teen pregnancies in the 80’s.

Callie opens the door for real this time. There’s a trail of blood that goes all the way down the hall. Luckily, Steve has his gun. They get all the way down the hallway to the bathroom and one of the stalls is covered in blood. Steve assumes a body was chopped up and flushed down the toilet... A what? A body? Have you ever tried to flush a chewed up piece of gum down the toilet? They find a necklace that belonged to Freddie, the assistant director, soaked in blood. The rest of him is outside.

The real corpses are mixed with the fake ones. Every time Marcia Brady walks near them she’s covered in fake blood and eating a chili dog or a sloppy Joe or anything you wouldn’t want to eat around mutilated corpses. Oh Marcia, Marcia, Marcia... Marcia has sealed off every room. The chief wants to check each of them, but Arthur advises against it cuz it didn’t work the last time.

Meanwhile, inside Callie and Steve are also planning to check every room. They go into the first room and find the severed heads of Harry and Josh. A trail of blood leads to a quicksand-like pit. Steve investigates and finds that it leads to a secret room. On the way over, Callie misses a step, and they both fall, losing their weapons along the way. She keeps screaming over stupid shit like a spider and a dead opossum. They find a secret door that leads to a another secret room. The room is full of old corpses sitting in chairs. Amos casually walks in, tells Steve that all the corpses look like Cathy Kastleman, and there’s one last chair available... For him! Then he attacks. After a long struggle, Steve pulls off Amos’s face, there is no Amos, it’s Principle Kastleman in a mask! He escapes Steve and now has a straight razor to Callie's throat. Kastleman wants Callie in exchange for his daughter, who died giving herself an abortion after Steve knocked her up (told ya). Now he’s planning a shotgun wedding as he reveals his daughter’s rotten corpse. If Steve doesn’t marry her he’ll kill Callie. Steve lures him away from Callie by acting like he doesn’t give a shit about her, which works! He’s gonna go home and watch football. Then, with one hand, he javelins a steel pole through Kastleman’s chest, which pins him to the concrete wall behind him. Apparently, Steve has super human strength or maybe it was just adrenalin for Callie, like when you can pick a car up off your kid in that moment (shit my grandma used to say).

Outside, the chief tells the Arthur to take them to the basement as he grabs his rifle. Arthur takes Chief and Marcia to the basement then goes back outside. He says, “All clear,” and all the corpses outside get up. It’s all the people we thought were dead, but are actually alive? They pack up their stuff and that’s a wrap.

Once Harry found out Steve and Callie thought Kastleman was behind it, he devised a plan to let Kastleman take the fall while he filmed it and now he’s gonna be rich! But Kastleman comes to, he’s not dead. He pulls the pole out of himself for one final scare and charges the room fulla police committing suicide-by-cop as they blow him away. They go back outside and everything is gone, the film crew, the bodies, now they don’t know what to do.

Arthur goes into a little room with a desk and feeds a sheet of paper into his typewriter. He then props up a framed picture of Principle Kastleman and says, “Hi dad,” for the final reveal. Then he starts typing the sequel. The End.

Afterthought: This was George Clooney’s movie debut. It’d be funny if when they began filming this flick, Clooney really did get a tv series gig so they just wrote it in. This isn’t a straight up comedy, but there are some very subtle parts, like when 11 guys walk out of one bathroom stall, just weird overlookable shit like that. It manages to tie the Kastleman’s together, for a father, son, and daughter reveal, but it’s not really much of a pay off. It's overly elaborate for no reason and the ending is just confusing.

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The Badass Award goes to Steve Blake. Even though he knocked up the principle’s daughter and probably caused this whole situation, he did javelin him. Props to the other cops for shooting and killing Kastleman. It’s not often cops are actually useful in horror films cuz horror films mirror real life. I kid.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) If you see blood dripping down the top of a door, get the fuck outta there! Especially if you’re in a known crime scene.

2) Don’t turn your back to a window that you literally just saw the killer through.

3) Break the window with a chair then jump through. Good job Callie, even if it was a dream.


Return Of The Living Dead (1-2)

Damien Ross

Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Dan O'Bannon

"Are you crazy? Are you on PCP?

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This film plays two angles: It's based on a true story and it's the sequel to Night of the Living Dead. Dawn of the Dead is the official sequel, but it turns out both of these are the sequel. I originally assumed this movie was just capitalizing off the name, but it is actually co-written by John A. Russo who co-wrote NOTLD and eventually got the rights for a sequel.

Freddy started a new job at Uneeda Medical Supply, which is basically a cadaver warehouse distribution located right next to a cemetery.

After Burt, the boss, went home, Frank explains that NOTLD really happened, but the government covered it up. Freddy buys it hook line and sinker.

Frank takes Freddy down to the basement to show him an old military canister with a corpse inside just in case there was any doubt, and in the process releases a gas. The two of them pass out from inhaling the gas.

Freddy's punk rock friends swing down to pick him up, but they're two hours early so they decide to hang out at the cemetery to kill time. This movie has a slight Repo Man feel to it. Like how Emilio didn't look punk, but all of his friends look like total punks, Freddy's friends look punk, but he doesn't. And Freddy got a job while all of his friend's continued to punk around.

Frank and Freddy finally come to. The half cadaver dog comes back to life then they hear the cadaver in the meat locker banging around.

Back at the cemetery, the punkers are hanging out. Trash strips off her clothes and starts dancing as the others watch.

Back at the warehouse, boss man Burt comes back. They brain the cadaver in the meat locker, which doesn't work so they chop off its head, which doesn't work either. They chop off all of its limbs, which still doesn't work so they take it to the mortuary to Ernie, where they plan to cremate it. Ernie wants to know what's in it for him if he cremates the "rabid weasels."

The gas from the canister was really only a problem in the immediate vicinity of the warehouse, but once they put the cadaver in the incinerator and the smoke comes out of the chimney, all bets are off! The burning chemicals somehow cause it to rain, the rain hits the cemetery, and the dead come back to life.

Inside, they have no idea what's going on outside and think they're off the hook, but Frank and Freddy start to feel sick. Ernie calls for an ambulance, they're at the Resurrection Funeral Home.

Freddy's girlfriend, Tina, who hangs with the punkers while also not looking punk at all, goes into Freddy's work to check on him. She wanders down to the basement and finds the canister zombie, Tarman.

As campy and cheesy as this movie is, don't get me wrong, I fuckin love this movie, but nobody takes these zombies seriously even though these would be the worst zombies to encounter. They talk, they're sentient, and they know they want brains. These are the zombies that originated the stereotypical zombie phrase, "Brains!" No other zombies have talked or specifically targeted brains. Zombies generally just feast on humans as a whole.

Eventually, the remaining survivors are holed up in the mortuary with trigger happy Ernie. Frank and Freddy no longer have a pulse, yet they're still alive, and hating it. The paramedics are confused.

A zombie outside gets on the CB and calls for more paramedics. When they arrive, the zombies eat them like ordering takeout. These zombies don't follow zombie rules. They seem impossible to kill and burning them just makes things worse.

They capture a zombie, tie it down, and proceed to interrogate it. It turns out, the zombies aren't evil, they eat brains to take away the pain, the pain of being dead. Done less campy, that could have been a really creepy moment: Zombies with feelings. We could have felt empathy for zombies for the first time.

They quarantine Frank and Freddy. Knowing his fate, Frank cremates himself.

Out of desperation, Burt calls the number on the canister and it turns out it's the missing tank the Army has been looking for the past 14 years. Colonel Glover makes a call, "The Easter eggs have hatched," and in my favorite zombie movie ending ever, he pushes a button that fires a missile that blows up the entire city, except that only makes things worse.

The Badass Award goes to Spider, for being the only one with a level head and the sense to know what's going on.

The Gilligan Award goes to Frank, for thinking he knows everything, and opening the canister, which was the cause of it all.

What did we learn, Survival Tips:

1) If your friends show up on your doorstep with a corpse, just say no. Get out of there anyway you can.

2) Don't burn chemicals.

3) If your significant other is turning into a zombie, just leave em.

4) In the event of a zombie apocalypse, hang with the nearest black guy.

 

Return Of The Living Dead 2 (1988)

Ken Wiederhorn

"I feel like we've been here before. You... Me... Them!"

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Cause: A soldier is driving a military truck, smoking a joint, and listening to headphones so he doesn't hear when a canister of Trioxin rolls out the back of his truck.

Three neighborhood kids are walking through the graveyard on their way to their clubhouse. They discover the canister and mess with it. Jesse is the smallest of the three and the other two are bullies so as a goof, they lock Jesse in the nearby mausoleum.

In the next scene, Frank and Freddy are back from the original only this this time they are Ed and Joey, which is pretty hilarious. Instead of working at a medical supply with cadavers, this time around they are grave robbers working with corpses. They find Jesse in the mausoleum and he runs home.

Jesse's two friends go back and fuck with the canister and open it. Something about the gas in the canister seems to make it rain.

Meanwhile, Ed is stealing heads and jewelry. Joey is morally opposed until he sees a bracelet he could give to his girlfriend Brenda, who is waiting outside in the van.

Jesse's sister is babysitting him. He tries to sneak out, but the cable guy, Tom, shows up. His sister and the cable guy went to school together, so there's a little bit of chemistry.

Jesse finally manages to escape and for some reason visits Billy, who is now sick. How hard up for friends is Jesse that he has to visit the guy who trapped him in a mausoleum just a couple of hours earlier? Billy tells Jesse that he can't have any visitors.

Jesse goes back to the original scene of the crime, the canister, where he sees a zombie, and now the dead are coming out of the ground and back to life.

On their way out of the mausoleum, Ed and Joey run into the horde, and Ed actually says, "Watch your tongue boy if you like this job," which is the same line Frank said to Freddy in the original. They run back to Brenda in the van.

When Jesse gets back home, he tells his sister and Tom about the zombie situation so she locks him in his room. Outside, Ed and Joey steal Tom's van. Ed begins to feel guilty. He thinks the dead coming back to life is bad karma.

The neighborhood seems small and underdeveloped, like a big circle as Ed, Brenda, and Joey wind up back at Jesse's house. Inside, the head in Ed's bag comes to life and now Jesse's sister is a believer.

Elsewhere, Billy has turned full zombie and eats his mom's brain.

The gang arrive at the doctor's house, who is hilarious. They want his car and as the dead start to break into his garage, he recognizes former patients.

Ed and Joey begin to feel sick. Joey feels deja vu, they are beginning to turn, again.

Ed, Joey, and Brenda leave the others behind and run into the military. The town has been quarantined and Ed starts eating brains. Joey convinces Brenda to let him eat her brain, and without even giving her the bracelet first!

I mentioned in the first one that despite the hilarity of these movies, these still would be the worst zombies to encounter, they can drive for fucks sake. That, and nothing seems to kill them, until Jesse, his sister, and Tom discover that electricity kills them. They go to the meat plant and pick up cow(?) brains to lure the undead to the power plant. At one point, Doc Mandel actually refers to them as "zombies," which is a rarity in zombie movies.

They conveniently go from meat plant to power plant and electrocute the zombies. A zombie with a Thriller jacket shows up and breakdances for a few seconds before being electrocuted.

This is a movie I used to always catch the end of at two in the morning while flipping through channels back in the day. Back when you had to have a copy of TV Guide handy to know what you were watching, which I never got out of bed to pursue. I always prepared to get freaked out, but found myself surprisingly laughing, there weren't a lot of horror spoof/comedies at that time. It took many years to figure out what this movie was actually called. I Initially bought the original because I thought it was this one. The original seemed like they at least attempted a serious horror movie then gave up whereas this time around all bets were deliberately off. The set up seemed serious, but by the halfway point they said fuck it.

The Badass Award goes to Tom, the cable guy. He became the man with the plan who figured out how to get things done.

What did we learn? Survival Tips:

1) Don't play with abandoned military canisters.

2) Don't stick your finger in a zombie's mouth.

3) Don't lock yourself in the back of a box truck.