Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Pig Hunt" review

Pig Hunt (2008)

Director: James Isaac
Writers: Robert Mailer Anderson, Zack Anderson

Travis Aaron Wade ... John Hickman
Tina Huang ... Brooks
Howard Johnson Jr. ... Ben
Trevor Bullock ... Quincy
Rajiv Shah ... Wayne
Jason Foster ... Jake
Nick Tagas ... Ricky
Phillip K. Torretto ... Beer Belly Redneck

I was sitting next to a woman on an airplane when the conversation turned to pig hunting. She wanted to move back home to Washington D.C. but her husband really wanted to stay in Augusta, Georgia. I asked her what was in Augusta that her husband liked so much. "Well, he hunts wild pigs on the weekend." Really I said. I had no idea you could hunt pigs. They seemed very domesticated to me. "Oh, the pigs in the woods can kill you," she said. I asked her what kind of gun her husband used to hunt pigs. She looked at me like I was a complete idiot. "You don't use a gun to hunt pigs." Oh, so what does he use? "He uses a knife", she said. A knife? "Yes, a knife. He waits in the bushes until the pig gets real close. Then he jumps on their back and stabs them in the neck." OK, I said. This woman will never convince her husband to give up Augusta. When you're a man's man who slits pig's throats in the woods for fun, Washington DC just won't have the same appeal.

It was this story that was bouncing through my head while watching "Pig Hunt". A bunch of friends head up to a cabin to hunt pigs. While there, they learn about the legend of a giant boar that roams the woods. This mighty pig, (called the Ripper), may or may not have killed one of the guy's uncle. They go hunting through the woods, (with guns), and run into a lot of different things besides pigs. They cross paths with angry hillbillies, weird hippies and a cult of pig worshiping women. But the giant boar remains elusive until the bitter end in a movie that may or may not have been about pig hunting.

"Pig Hunt" seemed like a sure thing. A safe bet for an exploitation movie. When I saw the cover art showcasing a drooling pig standing on a pile of bones, I knew this movie was heading in the right direction. Then when I read the back of the DVD which promised a cult of lesbian women who worshiped the giant pig, I thought this movie was going to be pure sleaze genius. Just like most movies I watch, I went in with high hopes.

Alas, "Pig Hunt" did not deliver on it's grimy sleaze potential. The movie strains itself to show everything that could happen to some misguided hunters in the woods except for the most crucial aspect of pig hunting. They forgot to show the pig. Where's the pig? Why is he not ripping people to shreds every ten minutes? For that matter, where's the lesbian cult? Why aren't they kissing each other while riding wild pigs through the woods? Well, maybe that's asking too much. But there should have been a lot more pig hunting in "Pig Hunt".

Instead of scenes of monster pig carnage, we are treated to scene after scene of annoying rednecks taunting and attacking the hunters. Who cares about the stupid rednecks? This isn't "Deliverance with Pigs". This is "Pig Hunt". Bring on the lesbian pig cult! By the time they get around to showing the pig, the movie is almost over. The giant boar finally lumbers into view in the last fifteen minutes. The beast pants and wheezes his way through one last gory slaughter and then the hunt comes to an end.

"Pig Hunt" seemed like it would be an instant sleaze classic but instead it turned out to be another forgettable B-flick. It's an ambitious movie that tries to cram in a lot of different subjects but should have stuck to pig hunting. And real men don't hunt pigs with guns. That's what I've been told. "Pig Hunt" got that wrong too. Well, I guess these hunters were beginners so maybe they needed guns. Best to leave the real pig hunting to the experts.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 hogzillas

Monday, December 06, 2010

"Mega Snake" review

Mega Snake (2007)

Michael Shanks ... Les Daniels
Siri Baruc ... Erin
Michal Yannai ... Fay (as Michal Yanai)
Ben Cardinal ... Screaming Hawk
John T. Woods ... Duff Daniels
Todd Jensen ... Big Bo
Nick Harvey ... Cooley

The snake wrangling church needs a new snake to shake up their Sunday services. But why settle for a normal snake when you can have a mega snake? The pastor of the church heads over to a snake store run by a surly indian named Screaming Hawk. The mega snake is not for sale as it has many restrictions on ownership. Faster than you can say "Gremlins", Screaming Hawk lays out the three rules of proper mega snake handling. Don't let the snake out of the jar. Don't let it eat anything alive. And don't let it star in a B-movie. Naturally all of these rules are broken fairly quickly as the pastor steals the snake so that this movie can get started. Eventually the snake grows into a mystical beast that eats pretty much anything that gets in its path. So before the whole town gets digested as mega snake food, the bravest warriors band together to defeat this gluttonous CGI monster.

"Mega Snake" is a proud B-movie. An unashamed rip-off of worthier movies. "Gremlins" and "Anaconda" are the two main rip-offs. The mega snake has all the rules that a Mogwai has and its rules were meant to be broken. Actually, they have to be broken or there wouldn't be a movie. The snake can also move as quickly as the snake in "Anaconda". It's amazing that a snake that size can slither through the woods and still sneak up on people. There is also a lunkheaded mayor, (ripping off "Jaws"), who refuses to cancel the carnival even with a giant snake bearing down on it.

There are no surprises waiting for you in "Mega Snake". All of the cliches and B-movie moments that you would expect are here. Once the mega snake has found his way out of the jar, the rest of the movie becomes a seemingly never ending series of snake attacks. There are the two country bumpkins who decide to hunt the snake themselves leading to predictably disastrous results. There is a scene where the snake tears his way through the carnival leaving headless bodies in his wake. There are so many scenes of unrestrained snake violence that I'm having trouble remembering them all. It was a snake orgy of gore.

But even though "Mega Snake" played out exactly as I knew it would, I still find myself being mildly entertained by it all. "Mega Snake" didn't promise me the world and I wasn't expecting it. It promised me a mega snake and that's exactly what it gave me. So if you're an undemanding lover of giant snake movies, you'll find something to like in "Mega Snake". If not, you can leave this mega snake in his jar. And don't feed him after midnight. Or get him wet. Or am I thinking of a better movie?

SCORE: 2 out of 4 mega snake skins

Don't feed the mega snake.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

"30 Days of Night: Dark Days" review

30 Days of Night: Dark Days (2010)

Director: Ben Ketai
Writers: Steve Niles Ben Ketai

Kiele Sanchez ... Stella
Rhys Coiro ... Paul
Diora Baird ... Amber
Harold Perrineau ... Todd
Mia Kirshner ... Lilith

One of the survivors from the first "30 Days of Night" comes back for the sequel. She decides to leave the death and destruction of Alaska for the peaceful confines of Los Angeles. She is giving a series of lectures on how to spot a vampire when a few vampires show up. Luckily she has her ultraviolet lights handy so that she can fry any undead audience members. Her homicidal lecture catches the attention of a handful of L.A. vampire hunters who want her to join them on a quest to kill Lilith, (Mia Kirshner), the vampire queen. She is skeptical of their Lilith-killing abilities but decides to join anyway since she wasn't really all that busy. She was right to doubt their vampire hunting skills as this group seems pretty intent on committing suicide. Their strategy seems to be to attack the vampires in the darkest places imaginable. They're either charging into pitch black sewers or invading ships in the middle of the night in a quest to get their throats ripped open. It doesn't quite take 30 days of night to find Lilith but there are a few dark days along the way.
I saw "30 Days of Night" in the theater and I remember enjoying it. I don't remember too many details of the first movie but I do remember liking the gimmick of there not being any sunlight to save the vampire killers. Hence, 30 Days of Night. Now along comes the sequel that not only ditches the Alaska setting but uses the sunlight to waste many vampires.

"30 Days of Night: Dark Days" is a sequel in name only. It doesn't bring back anything that was cool or interesting about the first movie. Instead we are left with a run of the mill B-vampire flick with a lot of bullets flying and gushing neck wounds. I'm left to wonder why they bothered to make this movie if they weren't going to at least try to resemble a rough facsimile of a sequel. Well, I guess it might be considered a rough facsimile. There are vampires after all. That's about all it has in common with the first movie.

So the vampire hunters charge ahead and kill many vampires. That pretty much sums up the movie. The only thing interesting about "30 Days of Night: Dark Days" is Mia Kirchner. She has a great vampire queen look that makes me want to join her undead clan and bow to her commands. The rest of the cast goes through the B-movie motions and waits patiently for the movie to end so that they can get paid.

So if you liked the original "30 Days of Night", you might want to let this cheap knock-off go. It can only sully the memory. But if you're not picky about your vampire thrills, you might find something worth watching in "30 Days of Night: Dark Days". Some blood, some guts, some Mia Kirchner etc. A little Queen Mia may go a long way.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 Liliths
Queen Mia

Saturday, December 04, 2010

"Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl" review

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)

Directors: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Writers: Naoyuki Tomomatsu Shungiku Uchida

Yukie Kawamura ... Monami / Vampire Girl
Takumi Saitô ... Jyugon Mizushima
Eri Otoguro ... Keiko / Frankenstein Girl
Sayaka Kametani ... Midori

Vampire Girl needs love. She transfers to a new high school and immediately sets her sights on the most popular girl's boyfriend. She decides to seal their relationship by giving him a gift of tainted chocolate. Instead of a creamy filling, Vampire Girl puts a generous portion of her blood in the treat. Now Vampire Girl is bonded with her new boyfriend forever. But the popular girl will not stand for this insult. She attacks Vampire Girl only to end up having her entire body broken into pieces. But never fear for her mad scientist father has found a way to stitch her back together so that she can become Frankenstein Girl. It all ends in an orgy of gore as the two girls have it out for their blood splattered true love.

Love comes in many forms. Sometimes it's in the neck sucking embrace of a Vampire Girl. Other times, it's in the crushing bear hug of a Frankenstein Girl. And still other times, there is the love of watching limbs and body fluids fly through the air. This is the true love that manifests itself in "Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl".

You know what this movie needed? More blood! Oh sure, every other scene did have gallons of blood pouring out of various hacked arms and legs. And there were many decapitated heads with the usual amount of blood shooting out of necks like an oil geyser. Come to think of it, there was a clique of girls who got off on cutting their wrists which led to more blood spurting. OK. So maybe there was enough blood in "Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl".

While there is enough blood in the movie to create a raging river, it's missing the other key ingredient in the exploitation movie mix. There is no nudity in "Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl". I don't mind telling you I was expecting a little more action between the two monster girls. A monster mash if you will. Frankenstein Girl even had a hot entourage who followed her around in school and in their after life as zombies. As nutty as this movie is, it saddens me that it didn't return to sanity long enough to utilize their hot women for something other than massive blood loss. Oh well.

"Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl" is a kooky movie about blood, love, gore and the joys of dating blood lusting girls. It has more than enough bloodshed to make horror fans happy. But it's all done for demented laughs as true love rages in high school. Sometimes the movie gets a little too nutty. There are many scenes, (actually the whole movie), that you'll look at sideways, shrug your shoulders and wait patiently for the next severed head to fall on the floor. It won't take too long.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 flesh wounds

Blood gushing true love