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Super Hybrid (2011)

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Super Hybrid
Starring Oded Fehr, Shannon Beckner, Adrien Dorval, Ryan Kennedy, Melanie Papalia, John Reardon

Directed by Eric Valette


Neither a bad movie nor a particularly good movie, but if you find yourself in the mood for a ridiculous monster movie about mechanics trapped in an underground garage with a squid-like creature capable of disguising itself as an automobile, then Super Hybrid will keep you reasonably entertained for an hour and a half.

The only speculation we get as to the nature of this beast is a wild theory that it functions the same as a certain breed of squid does by disguising itself as part of its surroundings or other animals to avoid detection and better lure in prey, the idea being that this animal has been around for ages hiding in plain sight and evolved to the point of now having the ability to camouflage itself as an automobile. A fascinating notion unless you stop to think about the logistics of how a tentacle monster that looks like it would have been right at home in Deep Rising can create a physical facade complete with functioning wheels. Far-fetched to say the least, and like the rest of the film, played completely deadpan without a trace of self-awareness as to how campy this concept is.

The movie opens with the hungry monster car, which can morph into various vehicular designs and views the world via red-tinted Daredevil vision, turning itself into an exotic sports car to lure a pair of would-be car thieves into climbing in to their death. It then speeds off, gets hit by an oncoming vehicle, and ends up impounded in the City of Chicago’s underground garage. Still not clear if the monster was knocked unconscious by the traffic accident (yet still had the mental capacity to keep its disguise up) or merely felt the need to play along to avoid revealing itself in public.

Oded Fehr of The Mummy movies is the boss of the garage, less a hardass than just an ass. He’s ex-military, claims to have done some big game hunting, and lives in a perpetual state of dick swinging. Even as he and his crew find themselves on lockdown in their garage with a shapeshifting vehicular predator, his top concern appears to still be that the others might start taking their marching orders from someone other than himself. Priorities, people!

Okay, you’ve just discovered the existence of something so unbelievable your mind should be blown, something that has already killed some of your friends and coworkers and is now coming after you; would your very first thought really be the money you could make if you found a way to capture it alive? Would the first two steps in your plan be to ensure no outside authorities are contacted and you remain trapped in the same location with this lethal attacker?

The only one not succumbing to such idiocy is Tilda (the increasingly greasy Shannon Beckner). She has a deadbeat boyfriend wanting her to do free repairs on his sports car, a douchebag boss who looks down on her for being a pushover, and considers a sports bra to be proper workplace attire for a civil servant auto mechanic. Better believe she’s going to take charge, kick ass, and become the Ripley of this Alien.

Thereafter the movie consists of this small group of city auto mechanics in their multi-level underground garage going back and forth between playing hunter and hunted as the 2011 Pontiac Cthulu transforms into different models of cars and trucks to chase them around and chow down on them with its tentacles. I must say it was nice of the monster car to take a breather now and then to allow them time to build somewhat elaborate elevator shaft vehicular death traps.

As silly as the monster’s nature is, I kind of dug it – it’s different, that’s for darn sure. As Syfy-ish as the premise sounds, a higher budget allowed for production values quite slick for a flick about a morphing, man-eating squid-mobile. I just wished the movie had allowed the creature more freedom on the open road. If you’re going to cross-breed The Car with Jaws, don’t hinder it by setting nearly the entire film in the cramped quarters of a garage.

If you can overlook some of the annoyingly dumb decisions certain character make and don’t mind the outlandish nature of this beast, you probably won’t mind taking Super Hybrid out for a spin. You’ll definitely need a Class B driver’s license before operating this vehicle.

3 out of 5

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Review – A Haunting Mixture of Psychological Turmoil and Brutal Supernatural Horror

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Starring Brittany Anne Woodford, Jenny Curtis, Kanin Guntzelman, Brendan McGowan, Jake White

Directed by James S. Brown

We all like to think of ourselves as being surrounded by friends, but let’s face it, if we were to ever truly hit hard times, there are probably very few, if any, people we could truly rely on. So on some level, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film we can all relate too, as it deals with this very issue.

Stephanie is an emotionally unstable young woman who strangles her boyfriend to death after he insults and breaks up with her. She calls her friends to help her dispose the body out in the Joshua Tree National Part area, and instead of reporting her to the police, they reluctantly comply. As their car breaks down, the four friends find themselves alone at night in the Californian wilderness with the rotting corpse in need of disposal. Given their dire circumstances, they begin to become more and more aggressive towards each other, and this was where the film was really at its best. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how far the limits of their friendship could be stretched, and who would be the first to crack and turn on the others.

Anyway, their body disposal endeavor soon proves to be a mistake, as Stephanie’s ex rises from the grave as vengeful zombie demon thing with claws as long as knives. I’ll admit, I first I thought Friends Don’t Let Friends was going to be a movie purely about the limits of trust, so I was pretty surprised when the supernatural elements came into play. And when they did, the trust and friendship elements of the plot were somewhat downplayed in favor of a more traditional horror approach, and while it was still entertaining, I still would have preferred for the film not to have strayed from its initial path. At least the ending came as a shocker. I won’t go into spoilers, but let’s just say the even the most attentive viewers probably won’t see it coming.

As you can probably guess from a psychologically-driven film of this kind, the performances were top notch, with Brittany Anne Woodford being on particularly top form as the manipulative and unstable Stephanie, a character who revels in the revels in the power she felt when ending another human life.

With its mixture of psychological turmoil and brutal supernatural horror, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film I would certainly recommend, but keep in mind that it may make you think twice when confiding in people who you think of as being your friends.

8 out of 10.

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Coulrophobia Review – One of the Most Entertaining Killer Clown Films in Quite Some Time

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Starring Pete Bennett, Warren Speed, Daniella D’Ville, Roxy Bordeaux

Directed by Warren Speed


The word ‘Coulrophobia’ refers to the fear of clowns, and if you happen to suffer from it, you might want to avoid director Warren Speed’s film of the same name. However, if you can stand the sight of clowns with gaping wounds in their manly parts, then you’re in for one heck of a fun time.

An all-female hockey team get lost deep in the Scottish woods on their way to a match (don’t ask), and are captured and forced to participate in a series of horrific games by the Grock family of clowns. All of the members of said family are absolutely fucking insane, but the one that really stood out was Twitch (Pete Bennett), who wears jester cloths and it said to have a short attention span. He longs to be a violin player and wishes he could blend in with normal society like the other members of his family. And you almost feel sorry for him, even though he’s a mad killer with bells on his head.

Director Warren Speed also appeared as Milo, a grunting mute who had his tongue cut out when he was a boy. As mentioned above, we see a close-up shot of a open wound in his penis being stitched up, which is not an image that will be leaving your mind anytime soon. Speed is clearly fearless when it comes to his art.

Inter-spliced with all the torture and mayhem, we also see documentary-style telling the sad history of the family involved, and this was where the film unfortunately faltered, because these scenes seemed out of place and just didn’t flow with the rest of the plot.

Ultimately, however, Coulrophobia almost seems like a film Rob Zombie might have made before he lost his way and started churning out trash like 31. Comparisons to House of 1000 Corpses are inevitable, and I absolutely mean that as a compliment. This is one of the most entertaining killer clown films in quite some time.

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User Rating 2.94 (17 votes)
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The Gatehouse Review – What Is Found in the Woods Should Be Left in the Woods

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Starring Scarlett Rayner, Simeon Willis, Linal Haft

Directed by Martin Gooch


Now while no one will sneeze at the prospect of bringing up a bit of a rebellious child alone, it’s those damned kids that like to tempt fate by pissing off creatures in the woods…oh kids, they do the funniest things, don’t they?

In Martin Gooch’s moderately spooky presentation, The Gatehouse, a struggling writer named Jack (Willis) finds himself behind the 8-ball following the tragic drowning death of his beloved wife, and if that isn’t enough to torque your drawers, his young daughter, Eternity (Rayner) is becoming quite the salty soul herself. Unfortunately the little one has been finding herself bullied at school, and her recourse of sorts is to simply toss attitude around as if it was pleasantly acceptable. Her pastime has become lonely wanderings in the deep woods, digging for hopeful treasures…and we all know what problems reside in the woods, don’t we, horror fans? Well, Eternity’s father is attempting to re-start his writing career with a frightening backstory – taking the reigns on a novel that was abruptly ended when the author committed suicide, and supposedly the tome is quite the dark piece of literature.

Eternity’s never-ending quest for fortune and glory in the forest leads her to a most interesting (and ultimately) dangerous discovery (don’t sweat it – I won’t spill it for you). Bottom line here is this: the little girl has taken possession of something that should have been left in the friggin’ woods, and now someone (or something) wants it back PRONTO. What follows is a lackluster series of “spooky” events, and far be it from me to say, I’ve seen creepier stuff watching the evening news. Gooch then tries to bombard the audience with a plethora of instances and swerving plot direction – it’s fun at the beginning but can grow a bit tiresome over a duration.

Performance-wise, both Rayner and Willis play the perfect combination of mentally-shot dad and determined-to-be-independent daughter – their scenes are ripe with subtle contempt, and the right amount of indecision. Overall, the film is best suited for those fans of fantasy/fable-like horror, and while it might not scare the pants off of you, it definitely will give us all another reason to stay the hell out of the woods once and for all.

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Summary

Children in a forest-setting don’t always add up to cutesy-pie encounters with furry creatures – this one’s got a few scares to keep fans of coppice-horror appeased.

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User Rating 3.56 (18 votes)
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