SLASHER MONTH: Victor Crowley (2017)

In a total surprise, the tenth anniversary of Hatchet ended up being the fourth film, bringing Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) back to Honey Island Swamp to take on a movie that is coming to be filmed in his home.

It all starts with Crowley massacre survivor Andrew Yong (Parry Shen) promoting his book on his ex-wife Sabrina’s TV show. During a book signing, a film crew tries to get him to hear their idea for a film based on the night he almost died before his agent Kathleen (Felissa Rose) takes him away. Yet before you can say sequel, a plane with everyone on it has crashed into the swamp, the agent’s phone plays Rev. Zombie’s (Tony Todd) voodoo curse and everyone ends up dying.

Everyone in this movie — even Tiffany Shepis and Brian Quinn from Practical Jokers — is cannon fodder for the nearly unstoppable Crowley. In fact, despite the grisly demise he endures by the end of the film, the credits tease that he’s coming back while answering the question of what happened to Marybeth Dunston (Danielle Harris).

Here’s a drink I mixed up that will make this movie ever better!

Honey Island Swamp Juice

  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. blue curacao
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake it up like you’re ripping a human being apart and then drink up.

Director Adam Green decided to return to this series because two of his heroes passed on. Wes Craven’s death had him thinking about coming back to another chapter in the Hatchet series, but it was George Romero who told him to make it for his fans. Green has said that Victor Crowley would not exist if not for Romero’s pep talk assuring him that what he did as a filmmaker mattered and that his work was important to the genre.

Even cooler, the band Igniter contributed the song “Hatchet (The Ballad of Victor Crowley).” Green’s favorite Craven movie is Shocker and he loves the song from the movie, “Demon Bell (The Ballad of Horace Pinker)” by Dangerous Toys. Jason McMaster, the singer for both Dangerous Toys and Ignitor, wrote this new song as a gift for Green. After Cravens’s death, Green had gone to a Dangerous Toys reunion show to escape his grief and met McMaster. They discussed what a big deal his band, the movie and the director all were to Green, so McMaster put together a new Shocker-style theme song. How cool is that?

You can watch this on Amazon Prime, Shudder with or without Joe Bob Briggs commentary and on Tubi.

REPOST: Lost Gully Road (2017)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally shared this movie on January 14, 2020. Wile Eye was kind enough to send us a DVD copy of the film, which gives us reason to bring it back to your notice.

Lost Gully Road tells the story of Lucy, a directionless young woman who travels to a secluded cottage in the forest to wait for her sister. However, time seems to drag on. Cut off from the outside world other than phone calls with her sibling, Lucy turns to drinking to pass the solitary days of waiting…until a potentially sinister presence joins her.

 

Director Donna McRae, on hero IMDB bio, cites the films of Val Lewton as an influence. I will say that this Australian horror film looks gorgeous and has a definite look and feel, which is a major plus in the streaming horror world, where nearly every movie and concept feels recycled.

This is pretty much a one woman acting show and Adele Perovic does quite well in it. While the story may be slow at times, the talent on display more than makes up for it.

Lost Gully Road is available on demand and on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing. You can learn more at the official site.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR company.

Vampire War (2017)

I love the guys at Wild Eye Releasing, not just because they often send us review copies of their films — thanks as always — but because they’re real fans of horror first. So they understand that if they released a movie called Montrak under its original title and kept it all in German, the only people that would pay for it would be maniacs like me who are obsessed with the strange corners of film.

A title like Vampire War? Now that seems like something that will get noticed on streaming services and the shelves at WalMart.

In Germany, humans are getting killed by wolves. Yes, even in our modern time this is happening, but of course, they aren’t wolves at all. Nope, this is the work of the vampire Montrak and his clan who have been transformed into the living undead by Lucifer himself! Now, however, there’s a new vampire lord, which means that the American title Vampire War is much more apt.

Writer/director Stefan Schwenk released another version of this tale, Montrak – Meister der Vampire, back in 2002. This time, he had more money and experience to, one assumes, fully deliver on his vision.

I’ve read some negative reviews on the dubbing of this film, but honestly, if bad dubbing ruins a movie for you, you’ve missed tons of films from around the world.

Thanks to Wild Eye for sending this our way.

Creature Cabin (2017)

This was originally called Tarnation, which may be a better title. That said, I really dug Oscar’s (Daisy Masterman, MurderDrome) story, as she must get over the loss of her man, her job and her cat by going to a cabin in the, well, woods to work out her life. Too bad there’s a demon unique out in them woods who needs her blood to bring Satan himself to Earth. Yeah, I wrote that.

Daniel Armstrong also made Fight Like a GirlSheBorg and Nova Star, all films that tick the many boxes — pro wrestling, pretty girls, blood, ridiculousness — that are what we look for around here. For more films from the director, check out Strong Arm Studio.

If you love Evil Dead half as much as these guys, you should check it out, if only for the fact that there’s also a demonic kangaroo and sex so hot that it melts through the carpet. I’ve never seen either of those things before.

There’s also a rap battle with the hordes of Hell, band practice and lots and lots of blood. I mean, a lot.

While the poster for the new title is nice, check out this old one and tell me, don’t you want to see a movie with art like this? It’s goofy fun and you could do worse with your time.

This has been released on DVD and on demand from the fine folks at Wild Eye. They even sent us a DVD, which was pretty nice and hey, the quality of their plastic cases is pretty solid, which is more than I can say for most modern releases.

Amityville Clownhouse (2017)

Yes, in 2017 more than one Amityville movie came out. There was Amityvllle Prison, Amityville: The Awakening, Amityville: The Final Chapter and this movie, which was originally called Amityville: Evil Never Dies and Amityville Toybox.

It’s a sequel to 2016’s The Amityville Legacy, a movie that features a haunted cymbal playing monkey causing all the terror. If you look close enough, you can also see Peter Sommers, the newscaster who also appears in Ouijageist, Ghoul and Meathook Massacre 4, so maybe there’s a shared universe of direct-to-streaming movies on its way.

If you’ve come this far into the world of Amityville, you know that this isn’t going to be a romcom. No, no matter what that house or whatever was in that house is going to change people and change them good. Or bad. You know what I mean.

The draw for this is probably seeing Mark Patton (the star of A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge whose story was the basis for Scream, Queen!) and Helene Udy (the original My Bloody Valentine and plenty of “The Wrong” cable movies, as well as the holiday film A Husband for Christmas).

Dustin Ferguson has been making and remaking horror movies since 2007, with titles like Nemesis 5: The New Model, Silent Night, Bloody Night 2: Revival, a remake of Die, Sister, Die!Camp Blood 4 and 5, plus the upcoming Amityville In the Hood (the time has come, right?) and a remake of Umberto Lenzi’s Ghosthouse.

Want to know way too much about Amityville? We got you covered with a deep dive into every single movie in the series. I’m still recovering. Check it out here.

This is out on DVD and on demand from the fine folks at Wild Eye, who were kind enough to send us a disk of this.

Jigsaw (2017)

The Spierig Brothers directed Winchester, a movie I really didn’t enjoy and now here they are to make the eighth film in a series that I really don’t enjoy. Man, I apologize for sounding so negative right off the bat. I’ve just watched every Saw movie in 24 hours amidst a global pandemic and the growing fascism of the country I love, so you’ll have to excuse me.

This movie takes place ten years after the death of John Kramer. It was written by Josh Stolberg (Piranha 3DSorority Row) and Peter Goldfinger, who had been trying to get their new version of Saw made for years.

This made $103 million on a $10 million investment, so obviously there was a desire for fans to get to see a new installment. It will lead to another sequel, Spiral, which will have Chris Rock and Samuel Jackson in it, which is way more star power than these movies have had for some time. A tenth film in the series is also on the way.

I do have to say for as much as I don’t really enjoy these movies, I do love that they do a blood drive with the release of each film. That’s a pretty cool thing and they’ve made some nice keepsakes for fans of this series, like posters with Tobin Bell’s blood.

I did it! I made it through every Saw film — for now — and I still have all my limbs and my head is still attached! Wait! What’s that puppet doing? Who are these pig people? OH NO! THEY’RE MAKING ME WATCH THEM AGAIN!

The Streets Run Red (2017)

Two cops just want to watch the big game, but when the Kubrick Killer ends up inside their station. Maybe. They think he’s Alex, a black suspect who they regale with racism as they try to break him down and get him to confess.

What follows is a non-linear narrative filled with no small amount of profanity, murder and mayhem. Whether you have the stomach for this or not is probably all part of the filmmaker’s intentions. I’ve seen comparisons to the Guinea Pig films, so know what you’re getting into here.

I mean, I’ve made it through some really rough giallo like Giallo In Venice, The New York RipperThe Killer Is Still Among Us and Arabella the Black Angel, which are all amongst the roughest and scummiest in the genre. So my mileage may vary from yours.

Or you may be someone who wants to see areolas sliced off and female sex organs destroyed. Is that you? Perhaps you’re on a watchlist or you have to introduce yourself to the neighbors and show your papers when you move in? Then you may have an interest in this, too.

Then again, I’m selling this to you.

That said, I liked the idea of juxtaposing moments in the killer’s life — often when he felt like he was playing a role — with what is probably his true self — when he’s actually killing people.

That said, you can probably sell that point to the audience without some of the anatomy lesson-level gore on display here. Look at me, telling a film it may have gone too far. Well, I wrote that sentence before the scene where the killer sliced a woman’s insides out, pulled out a fetus, put it back inside her, then sailed the seas of mayonnaise and used his manbatter to paint her internal organs. He even brought a bowl and a brush, which seems like a case for premeditated murder.

Tony Moran — yes, the very same Tony Moran from Halloween — is in this as Pike, newspaper photographer. Lloyd Kaufman also somehow ended up being the top credit on IMDB, thanks to his voiceover work as a football announcer.

This will be released by Ungovernable Films and Wild Eye Exteme. Thanks to Wild Eye for sending us the DVD. You can also visit the film’s official Facebook page.

DISCLAIMER: This was sent to us by its PR company. That has no bearing on our review.

Mansfield 66/67 (2017)

The title of this movie refers to the last two years of the turbulent life of Jayne Mansfield, as she careens through bad relationships, addictions, lowered career expectations and, perhaps, membership in the Church of Satan.

This movie somehow unites so many of my favorite people, including Kenneth Anger, John Waters, Mary Woronov, Mamie Van Doren, Tippi Hedren, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls star Dolly Read and 1980s pop star Marilyn, all uniting to tell the story of Jayne.

Writing/directing/producing team P. David Ebersole & Todd Hughes couldn’t get their movie The Devil Made Her Do It made, so they went back to the documentary format that they’d used to make Hit So Hard, Room 237 and Dear Mom, Love Cher.

It’s somewhat uneven and the music and dance numbers may get some cringe at times, but this is still a fun film. But get ready for some interpretive dance along the way.

Did Mansfield have a relationship with Lavey? Does it even matter? The legend is always better than the truth.

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Seeing as how this movie grossed $541.9 million worldwide during its opening weekend, we’re not going to see the last of these movies for some time. Interestingly enough, star Vin Diesel was also in the movie that broke that record, Avengers: Infinity War ($640.5 million) and the movie that broke that record, Avengers: Endgame ($1.481 billion).

Following the defeat of Deckard Shaw, Dom (Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honymoon when Charlize Theron appears. She’s Cipher, a cyberterrorist who coerces Dom into working against his team — and family — by holding his former lover Elena (Elsa Pataky) and their son hostage. Yes, welcome to the world of the fast and the furious and the people who don’t reveal that they’ve had a baby to the lovers they give up when the old girlfriend comes back with amnesia.

This is the first installment to be directed by F. Gary Gray, whose work on The Italian Job had to have helped. He also directed FridayStraight Outta Compton and some music videos that ruled 90’s and 00’s pop culture like “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube, “Natural Born Killaz” by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, “Keep Their Heads Ringin'” by Dr. Dre, “Waterfalls” by TLC, and “Ms. Jackson” by Outkast. He had worked with Diesel in A Man Apart, Johnson in Be Cool and Statham, Theron and Olek Krupa in aforemention The Italian Job.

For those that love controversy, this was also the movie that the feud between some of its actors began.

A week before filming ended, Johnson posted this missive: “This is my final week of shooting #FastAndFurious8. There’s no other franchise that gets my blood boiling more than this one. An incredible hard working crew. Universal has been great partners as well. My female co-stars are always amazing and I love ’em. My male co-stars however are a different story. Some conduct themselves as stand up men and true professionals, while others don’t. The ones that don’t are too chicken shit to do anything about it anyway. Candy asses. When you watch this movie next April and it seems like I’m not acting in some of these scenes and my blood is legit boiling – you’re right. Bottom line is it’ll play great for the movie and fits this Hobbs character that’s embedded in my DNA extremely well. The producer in me is happy about this part. Final week on Fast 8 and I’ll finish strong. ;/ #IcemanCometh #F8 #ZeroToleranceForCandyAsses”.

This post came about as co-star and Executive Producer Diesel supposedly cancelled some of Johnson’s planned scenes at the last minute. On several occasions, Diesel didn’t show up when scheduled, leaving hundreds of cast, crew, and extras waiting on-set for him for more than six hours.

The two had a secret meeting after this message and it turned out that Johnson’s spin-off, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, was the major bone of contention. Co-star Tyrese would also grow upset about this and tweet how that movie would delay F9 for an entire year (pre-COVID-19, of course; now it’s even later).

Johnson stated that he would probably pass on another film in this series and wished Diesel, “all the best and I harbor no ill will there, just because of the clarity we have. Actually, you can erase that last part about ‘no ill will.’ We’ll just keep it with the clarity.”

Let’s end on a more positive note: this movie features two Oscar winners. Beyond Theron, Dame Helen Mirren joined the cast as the Shaw brother’s mother. She told Graham Norton and numerous other interviewers that she had an ambition to be in one of these films and just have fun. Diesel heard this and got her added to the large cast.

Death Race 2050 (2017)

Anytime a film comes down the pipe that’s directed by an ex-rock video director or somehow connected to a musician, Sam passes that flick my way. (Grazie, amico mio.) And if it’s a forgotten, classic flick that I am reviewing for an “Exploring” or “Drive-In Friday” featurette, or a tribute week — such as, for example, reformed porn-turned-rock video director Gregory Dark giving us the radio romp Night Rhythms during our “Radio Week”* — rest assure that review will be music trivia top-heavy (or bottom heavy, as the case may be).

Such is this review for Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: This is a week dedicated to the films — and the rip-offs and the precursors (such as Corman’s own 1954 film, The Fast and the Furious) — to the 21st century Fast & Furious franchise. Death Race is a franchise unto itself. And what does this have to do with rock music? Is this another one of your reviews, R.D, rife with tangents and non-sequiturs that have nothing to do with reviewing the actual film itself?

Yep. Strap on your feedbag.

So, we all know the backstory on how we ended up with 1975’s Death Race 2000, right: How, long before Corman dreamed up the DR: 2050 version, the first “sequel” to Death Race 2000 was actually 1978’s Deathsport. And the reason Corman made either film was because he wanted a “futuristic action sports film”*+ in the drive-ins to take advantage of the publicity surrounding 1975’s Rollerball starring James Caan (oddly enough, of Red Line 7000). And that Corman optioned “The Racer,” a dark, short story by Ib Melchoir about the Transcontinental Road Race (The Angry Red Planet, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Journey to the Seventh Planet, Planet of Vampires**). And under the satirical thumb of Paul Bartel, stripped away all of the dread that made Rollerball great and, instead, gave us a live-action version of Hanna-Barbera’s ’60s cartoon, The Wacky Racers?

What you may not know: After working with Universal Studios on a deal to license The Fast & the Furious title for their burgeoning action franchise, Corman and Universal came together again as result of the studio also turning Corman’s Death Race 2000 into a theatrical reboot and profitable, direct to home-video franchise. (At one time the project was at Paramount with Tom Cruise producing and starring: we got Days of Thunder, instead.)

The idea for the 2050 sequel came to fruition when an Italian journalist interviewing Corman commented The Hunger Games shared a similar (camp) cinematic style, as well as the social and political themes explored in Death Race 2000. So Corman reached out to Universal, who produced Paul W. S. Anderson’s 2008 remake, with a plan to bring back the dark, sociopolitical satire of the original — and the killing of pedestrians. Universal was on board: the studio co-produced the film that became Death Race 2050 with Corman’s New World for the home video streaming market.

As is the case with most “sequels” (see Escape from New York vs. Escape from L.A., The Evil Dead vs. Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, and Phantasm vs. Phantasm II), Corman took no chances and stuck to the architecture of the 1975 film, albeit with higher quality, CGI-enhanced production values.

It’s the year 2050 and America is controlled by the United Corporations of America, a corporate government ruled by The Chairman (a pseudo-Donald Trump well-played by the always awesome Malcolm McDowell; it’s all about the hair). As with the world of Rollerball in the year 2018: the government has devised The Death Race: a violent, bloody road race that runs from Old New York to New Los Angeles as a form of brainwashing entertainment — and as a form of population control: drivers score points for killing pedestrians and any travels stupid enough to be on the road during the game. And the “Jonathan E.” of the game — the half-man half-machine Frankenstein (a very good Manu Bennett, who you know as Azog the Defiler in the Hobbit film trilogy) — is thrust into political intrigue by his rebel spy navigator.

Is it loud . . . but stupid? Is it uber cheesy (more so than the original) . . . but tasty? It is it campy and crazy? Do we get the delight of Yancy Butler instead of the brood of Jennifer Lawrence? Is it as frantically unhinged as anything Allan Arkush, Paul Bartel, and Joe Dante put together for Roger Coman? YES to all! It’s a pure ’70s drive-in exploitation homage to the movies that we love here at B&S About Movies. And we hope to see more from the director. . . .

Okay, now for the rock ‘n’ roll connection we teased earlier:

Who did Corman entrust this sequel-cum-reboot to? The step-son of a washed-up, one-hit wonder ’80s musician. A successful editor, cinematographer, and screenwriter with several shorts and documentaries to his credit, G.J. Echternkamp (who also co-starred on ABC-TV’s How to Get Away with Murder), walked away with several “Best Director” awards for his feature film debut, the 2007 documentary Frank & Cindy, that tells the story of his blonde bombshell of a mother and his step-dad, Frank Garcia, an alcoholic, ’80s one-hit wonder musician who, out of love-pity, Cindy lets live in her basement. Frank was the bassist in the band OXO, who scored a 1983 U.S Top 30 hit with “Whirly Girl.”

And based on the success of the documentary, and the successful airing of a documentary of its production on the Showtime docu-series This American Life (Season 1: Episode 4), the story became a 2015 comedy starring Oliver Platt as Frank Garcia and Rene Russo as Cindy.

What’s that? You say you don’t remember “Whirly Girl” or OXO? Well, good for you. You didn’t spend countless hours wasting away in front of MTV.

But perhaps these (embedded) clips from their American Bandstand appearance (Frank is the one in the green one-piece jumpsuit) or their appearance on Solid Gold will warm those analog cockles. And yes, we found a copy of their highly-rotated MTV video. . . .

Oh, and get this: Cynthia Brown and Frank Garcia got jobs — as well as their son, G.J. Echternkamp — working for Roger Corman after he was impressed with the 2007 film. Which leads us back to: Death Race 2050!

And so ends another rock ‘n’ roll celluloid adventure from the analog ethers. Send all of your complaints to Sam. For it was his dreaming up a “Rock ‘n’ Roll Films Week” (that ran Sunday, July 19 to Sunday, July 25) and a “Fast & Furious Week” (now running from Sunday, August 2 to Saturday, August 8) that blessed — or cursed — you with this review.

Sam, you’re an OCD-lovin’ movie packrat, brother. Love ya, man.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.


* Be sure to join us for our “Exploring: Radio Stations on Film” roundup overflowing with links to all of our reviews of movies set inside radio stations.

** Be sure to join us for our “Exploring (Before Star Wars): The Russian Antecendents of 2001: A Space Odyssey,” which runs downs the influences of numerous films from the ’50s through ’70s, including Ib Melchoir’s.

*+ There’s more “Deadly Game Shows” to be had with our review of Elio Petri’s granddaddy of ’em all: 1965’s The 10 Victim, which includes links to all of the deadly sports films you love.