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The Blood Stream: Half-Caste

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The Blood Stream: Half-CasteThe Blood Stream mines the Internet for horror gold so you don’t have to, delivering streamable horror titles never before featured on Dread Central. Occasionally I’ll dredge up something good, maybe even great. To find those gems, I’ll have to sift through a lot of breathtakingly bad cinema. Enjoy!

Half-Caste is a relatively novel lycanthropy yarn. It hits the ground running with an excellent shock moment at the beginning, leading into a great first act. Alas, somewhere toward the midway point the wheels fly off and the whole thing implodes under the weight of nonsensical plot points and baffling chronologies.

I fully admit it’s possible that even the appearance of a strong beginning was just the result of exceeding the abyssal expectations set by the movie’s poster, which makes the monster look like an ad for a hooker at a furry convention:

Half-Caste is — at least according to the movie — a term used in South Africa to refer to the orphaned offspring of Dutch settlers and native South Africans. Through a combination of feral neglect, drugs and religious fervor, some such individuals were supposedly cursed with the power to transform into bloodthirsty half-man, half-leopard hybrids.

Go ahead and add Half-Caste to your Netflix queue, if you really must.

Half-Caste

The movie starts with a framing scene in which a cop interrogates a blood spattered L.A. filmmaker named Bobby Cortez. Most of Bobby’s tale of woe is shown from the point of view of the cameras he and his crew set up to record evidence of the Half-Caste. It’s not exactly found footage though. Bobby’s webcam flashbacks are intercut with plenty of third-person shots. While that makes one wonder why so much mockumentary footage was used in the first place, it at least eliminates the need for the magically fortuitous shots pure found footage movies rely on to capture climactic action.

Half-Caste

Since the movie is set in South Africa, it really helps that it was actually filmed there (or near enough). Unlike Beneath Loch Ness, which was filmed in an above ground swimming pool painted to look like Scotland, Half-Caste was shot almost entirely on location. In addition to the gorgeous natural backdrop of rural Africa, that means safari scenes and real life megafauna encounters were easy to come by. There’s even one part where they film a (hopefully trained) lion mauling a guy to death in a truck. Apparently another bonus of filming in Africa is there is zero regard for the safety of local stuntmen.

What really sets Half-Caste apart – at least before it falls apart – is a delightful sense of humor and solid comic timing. Half-Caste features both an American film crew and a secondary local crew. All six of these people are genuinely endearing and they routinely engage in fun, charming banter. Their unrehearsed wisecracks and natural laughter give the impression they were really having fun, as young folks on vacation are wont to do. Occasionally, however, the merriment gets out of hand, like when screwball antics are enhanced with silly sound effects. A lack of awareness of the irony in juxtaposing naïve playfulness and the horrors that follow is a nagging problem even in the better parts of this movie.

Half-Caste

The first real sign of trouble is the Half-Caste monster itself, which looks like it escaped from Zoobilee Zoo. The under-designed beastie is shown far too often, far too early, and in light that’s far too revealing.

Then there’s the plot, which springs minor leaks here and there until the dam finally bursts all at once. One minute everything is fine, then something unseen starts chasing Bobby through the bush. He escapes, only to stumble on a central character who has transformed into a Half-Caste and is calmly devouring a dead body. Bobby blacks out and wakes up covered in blood, holding a human heart. He decides not to mention this to anyone, even the person he now knows is a cannibalistic monster. Everything just goes back to normal for another half hour or so. That has to be an attempt to spackle over missing footage, right? Like maybe the lion ate a few cans of film?

Half-Caste

The final nail in Half-Caste‘s coffin is, fittingly, the climax, which plays out like an extended run-off from “Benny Hill”. When the monster attacks, the remaining characters begin a drawn out cycle of fleeing into a bedroom, freaking out, running back outside, freaking out some more, and repeating. Instead of grabbing someone’s tush every time the action stops like Benny, however, the Half-Caste (which hops around like the monkey-style fighter in Bloodsport) rips out somebody’s throat. I demand to see this scene set to Yakety Sax.

Driving all this useless repetition is a superfluous element of the Half-Caste mythos. The creature influences your psyche before it physically attacks you, making you turn on those around you. Sadly that requires amiable but mediocre actors to channel Jack Nicholson and lose their minds for no damn reason. All they had to do was calmly walk to their truck and drive away. Instead they pick fights with each other and scream about “getting my gat” or how things are done “in the hood”, before charging outside in a huff, one by one, into the waiting jaws of a pissed off were-leopard.

Half-Caste

I don’t recommend watching this movie, but if you want to do your good deed for the year and you’re good with Final Cut, maybe chop this thing down to a streamlined 45 minutes or so and post it on YouTube for me. If not, just watch TrollHunter again. It’s still funny and damn those trolls look good.

Half-Caste

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I Already Have a Dog But Now I Want a Baby Dinosaur

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The first trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World, is rumored to be attached to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Since that film is going to be coming out in less than a month, it’s no surprise that the marketing campaign for the dino-filled trailer is already starting and today it kicks off with a six-second teaser that is as adorable as you can get!

In the teaser, Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady is petting a baby velociraptor, which coos and twitters in the cutest of fashions. Is there anything else going on? Nah. Does something else need to happen? Nope. The movie already has me sold.

Directed by J.A. Bayona (When a Monster Calls), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong, and Toby Jones. However, the biggest and most important star of the film will be the return of Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, who is, in my humble opinion, the best character in the franchise, besting even the T-rex that seemingly cannot die.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will evolve into theaters on June 22, 2018.

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John Landis’ Rejected Pitch for American Werewolf 2 Was Brilliant

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If you’re anything like us then you consider writer-director John Landis’ horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London to be one of the best f*cking movies of all-time.

Horror (or comedy), or not.

But did you know that Landis was asked back in 1991 to make a sequel to his original classic? Neither did I. But he was, and his pitch for the sequel was amazing.

“I was asked to do a sequel by PolyGram in 1991,” Landis told Digital Spy. “I entertained the idea for a little bit and then came up with something that I liked and wrote a first draft of the script.

“The movie was about the girl that the boys talk about at the beginning of the movie, Debbie Klein. She gets a job in London as a literary agent and while she’s there, starts privately investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Jack and David.

“The conceit was that during the time in the first film where Jenny goes to work and David is pacing around the apartment, he actually wrote Debbie Klein a letter. It was all to do with this big secret that David had never told Jack that he had a thing with her.

“She tracks down Dr. Hirsch, who tells her that Alex now lives in Paris because she was so traumatized by what happened. She went back to the Slaughtered Lamb and everyone is still there! I think the only changes were a portrait of Charles and Diana where the five-pointed star used to be and darts arcade game instead of a board.

“It’s then when she speaks to Sgt McManus, the cop from the first movie who didn’t die, that she finds out that Jenny is still in London. She calls her and leaves an answer phone message, which we then reveal is being listened to by the skeletal corpses of Jack and David, watching TV in Alex’s apartment!

“The big surprise at the end was that Alex was the werewolf. It was pretty wild. The script had everybody in it from the first movie – including all the dead people!”

But then Landis adds:

“I gave the script to Michael Kuhn and he loathed it! He absolutely hated it and was actually pretty insulting about it. Clearly, he would have hated the script for the first movie because, like that, it was funny and scary – and if anything, a little wackier.”

Is it just me or does this sound like a perfect sequel to An American Werewolf in London? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think below!

Synopsis:

David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks them. David survives with a bite, but Jack is brutally killed. As David heals in the hospital, he’s plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf. When David discovers the horrible truth, he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man to murderous beast.

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Such Sights to Show You – 11/22/17

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Each week, we’ve been bringing you a new, original one-off comic from artist Kevin D. Clark. This week, Clark skewers not only Black Friday but also Cyber Monday in one fell swoop, commenting on the predatory and mob-like nature of consumers at public stores while also addressing the glut of online sales that slam workers during the holidays. You can read the comic for yourself below.

About the Artist:
Kevin D. Clark is a cartoonist from Scotland who grew up watching classic monster movies, cartoons and wrestling, as well as reading comics. He started drawing at an early age and hasn’t stopped since. His sense of humor is a veritable cornucopia of the wacky and weird inspired by the likes of Monty Python, Mel Brooks, “MST3K,” Rab C. Nesbitt, as well as his older brother.

Kevin was diagnosed with Aspergers and because of that, he tries to push himself to work as hard as possible. Kevin also has a self-published comic book and helps run a film club for autistic people. He has recently earned a degree in cartooning from the London Art College and he’s pretty sure that he could take an octopus in a fight.

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