Starring Raquel Riskin, Cory Monteith, Paula Shaw, Graham Wardle
Directed by David DeCoteau
Ever notice that movies about ugly duckling women that undergo a makeover from plain Jane to hot babe are always either romantic comedies or horror flicks? You can pretty much figure out how it’s going to play out too. If its a romantic comedy, the girl in question will either end up with the hottest guy in school or ultimately learn an important life lesson that often concludes ending up with the friends and the dorky guy that liked her even before her makeover and who she will have spent much of her newfound popularity shunning. If it’s a horror movie, her makeover will be due to supernatural forces like demonic possession or some sort of Jeckyl & Hyde formula, and the evil nature of the havoc she wreaks is something she will either revel in or seek to put a stop to, usually with the assistance of the guy she has the hots for. The movie I’m about to review is entitled Killer Bash and the lead character is named Becky Jeckyl. Suffice it to say, this is not She’s All That… yet the formula is still every bit as predictable.
Young Becky Jeckyl is such a loser. All the guys ignore her, all the girls mock her, and even her parents would rather strand her at the college rather than let her come home and join them for a family vacation. Who can blame these people for shunning young Becky Jeckyl? She’s smart, shy, doesn’t wear make-up, wears glasses, and wears her hair back. My god, she’s a damn freak like the Elephant Man! Every moment she appears on the screen I threw up in my mouth just a little bit. The Nazis had it right when they took the physically deformed like this girl and euthanized them.
Seriously though, Not Another Teen Movie made fun of precisely the very thing that plays out here. Her transformation from ugly duckling to popular swan consists solely of her removing her glasses, letting her hair down, putting on a little make-up, and finally inserting a small nose ring into that obvious piercing in her nostril you could see whenever there was a close-up of her face. The way all the sorority girls and jocks that once shunned her now react to her makeover in disbelief you’d think she went from looking like Roger Ebert in drag to Lacey Chabert overnight. Her physical transformation is hardly a radical makeover and, frankly, I thought she looked prettier before when she was in bookworm form, at least she stood out from the other girls in the cast then.
Becky’s transformation comes about after she acquires some books that once belonged to a former student named Robert Hyde. Clearly, this film takes place in an alternate universe where Robert Louis Stevenson never wrote the classic tale of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde because she never seems to even recognize the novelty that her last name is Jeckyl and these textbooks once belonged to someone whose last name was Hyde. That should be a no brainer right there.
Inside one of the old books is a map leading to the subterranean area where he was killed in a prank gone wrong at the hands of the Delta Boys, the most elite fraternity clique on campus both then and now. Becky follows the map and finds Hyde’s class ring. Taking possession of it leads to Hyde taking possession of her in order to exact his revenge. One of the film’s biggest conceits is that you’re expected to believe that the Delta Boys involved in Robert Hyde’s demise all went on to have children at roughly the same age, all of whom grew up to be studly, arrogant jocks just like their fathers and opted to go to the same college in order to carry on the Delta Boys legacy. I find that even harder to believe than the whole girl getting possessed by a vengeful spirit aspect of the plot.
Am I wrong to wonder why getting possessed by the spirit of dorky guy that died back in the Seventies causes a woman to suddenly want to vamp herself up? Am I alone in finding that more than a little odd?
Getting possessed by this dead dork gives her perfect 20/20 vision and inspires her to change her look in order to be accepted by the popular clique, something that includes nearly getting gang raped in the bathroom by two overly aggressive Delta Boys, just so she can get close enough to kill them, at least I think that’s what the whole point of her transformation was supposed to be. Most of her transformation seems to be eye-centric as his spirit also gives her supernatural, glowy-eyed, death staring powers that she seemingly has no control over. One moment she’ll be eyeballing one of the shirtless hunks when suddenly she’ll be overcome with flashbacks to Hyde’s demise followed by her eyes glowing red. Psychic death ensues. For example, a weightlifter suffers a crushed throat from the weights he was bench pressing and a soccer player slips and splatters his skull on the sidewalk.
Many of these staring incidents give director David DeCoteau to sneak in some of that patented David DeCoteau style homoeroticism he’s known for. Yep, the studly jocks that are the Delta Boys just love stripping down to their shorts and engaging in all sorts of sweaty activities, whether it be weightlifting or just standing around and feeling the need to de-shirt themselves. DeCoteau isn’t as blatant this time out as he is many of his other films, but you can’t help but notice that the film spends far longer than necessary establishing that Becky is attracted to young, sweaty musclemen with perfect abs.
Hyde’s vengeance complicates Becky’s love life after she falls for one of the Delta Boys on Hyde’s hit list. Between the old student counselor that was at the college during the Robert Hyde incident and the janitor that knows all and sees all because that’s what janitors do in movies like this, hopefully she’ll be able to figure out exactly what is happening to her and how to put a stop to it before her #1 stud muffin ends up deader than the suspense-level of this film and she pulls a Carrie at the biggest party of the year.
By the time the film reaches the actual killer bash, the party had already long been over for me. Killer Bash is a killer bore. Between the unoriginality of the tale, the myriad of flat performances, and the lackadaisical direction by which the movie unfolds, by the time the Killer Bash came was I was feeling like I needed to amend my review of last year’s Jacqueline Hyde and bump it up an extra half a blood mug just for how much more effort was put into that production compared to this one. The whole production feels like something that should have been back in the late 1970’s when it would have at least seemed slightly less unimaginative.
The copy of Killer Bash I watched was a Region 2 disc from Asia. I suspect we’ll probably see the film on video store shelves in the US later this year. Believe me, there’s no need for them to rush or for you to anticipate it’s release unless you just have a thing for tepid horror films with little suspense, sex appeal (unless you’re into buff shirtless guys), or uninspired death scenes, and just enjoy being bored stupid.
There’s no life to this party.
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The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!
Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey
Directed by Alan Lougher
The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.
When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”
Ultimately chilling in nature!
DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!
Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon
Directed by Adrian Corona
I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.
Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.
Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.
Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.
If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.
Director Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended!
Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End Review – A Heavy Metal Massacre In Cartoon Form
Starring Alex House, Bill Turnbull, Maggie Castle, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins, Jason Mewes
Directed by Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace
“Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil” – Canadian television’s greatest blend of Evil Dead, Superbad and Deathgasm? Yes. That answer is yes. For two face-melting seasons, Todd “protected” Crowley High from episodic villains who were bested by metal riffs, stoner logic and hormonal companionship. Musical interruptions showcased stage theatrics like Sondheim meets pubescent Steel Panther and high school tropes manifested into vile, teen-hungry beasts. It was like a coming-of-age story got stuck between Fangoria pages – all the awkwardness with 100x more guts.
That – for worse – was until Todd fell to a premature cancellation after Season 2’s clone-club cliffhanger. Indiegogo became the show’s only way to deliver a feature-length finale, except to reduce costs and ensure completion, the project would have to be in cartoon form. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End suggests an animated curtain call for this otherwise live-action production, and from a fan’s perspective, familiar maturation follies befall our favorite bloodsoaked friend group. But for new viewers? Start with the far-superior original show – you’ll be lost, underwhelmed and baffled otherwise.
Alex House retains his characterization of Todd Smith (in voice only). At this point, Todd has thwarted the book’s apocalyptic plan, Hannah (Melanie Leishman) has died, longtime crush Jenny (Maggie Castle) isn’t as horny for Todd anymore, and best friend Curtis (Bill Turnbull) has sworn Todd’s name to Hell (since Hannah was his girlfriend). Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins) is now Janitor Atticus Murphy Jr. because Janitor Jimmy (Jason Mewes) is now Counselor Jimmy, yet Crowley High finds itself plagued by the same satanic uprisings despite these new changes. Why is evil still thriving! How is Hannah back in class! Who is the new “Pure Evil One” now that Todd has denied the book! Welcome to the end, friends – or is it a new beginning?
At just north of 80 minutes, structure runs a bit jagged. We’re used to Todd battling one baddie over a half-hour block – backstory given time to breathe – but in The End Of The End, two mini-boss cretins play
second fifth-fiddle to the film’s big-bad monster (well, monsters – but you’ll see). A double-dose of high school killers followed by a larger, more important battle with the gang’s fate hanging in the balance. Not a problem, it’s just that more length is spent singing songs about Todd’s non-functioning schlong and salvaging relationships from the S2 finale. Exposition (what little there is) chews into necessary aggression time – fans left ravenous for more versatile carnage, underwhelmed by the umpteenth cartoon erection gag. Did I mention there’s a lot of boner material, yet?
These two mini “chapters” – “No Vest For The Wicked” (yarn demon)/”Zits Alors” (acid acne) – never come close to rivaling Hannah Williams’ doppelganger bombshell (“Songs About Boners”/”This Is The End Of The End Of the End”). Hannah [X]. Williams waking up in a room full of other Hannahs, emerging from some sleep-pod chamber; Todd’s gang facing off against this new “chosen one” in a way that erases “Sack Boy” and “Pizza Face” from memory. The End Of The End dashes dildoes-swinging into the show’s biggest mystery while dropping call-backs and bodies with equal speed – maybe too hastily for some.
Now, about the whole pivot to animation – a smooth rendering of Crowley High and all its mayhem, but never representative of Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil‘s very Ash Vs. Evil Dead vibe. All the practical death effects (gigantic man-eating cakes, zombie rockstars) are lost to one-dimensional drawings, notable chemistry between cast members replaced by edited recordings lacking signature wits. This isn’t Metalocalypse, where dismemberment and bloodshed are gruesome on levels that outshine even live-action horror flicks. There’s no denying some of the magic is missing without Chris Leavins’ “creepy uncle” overacting (a Will Forte breed) or the book’s living incarnations of evil. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End plays hooded minion to Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil’s dark ruler – less powerful, a bit duncier, but still part of the coolest cult around. Just try not to think about how much radness is missing inside hand-traced Crowley High?
It’s hard not to strike comparisons between “reality” and ‘toon, because as noted above, live actors are sorely missed in a plethora of situations. Be they musical numbers, heretic slayings, Todd and Curtis’ constant references to wanking, wangs or other pelvic nods (no, for real, like every other sentence) – human reactions no longer temper such aggressive, self-gratifying cocksmanship. It doesn’t help that songs never reach the memorable level of “Horny Like The Devil,” but the likes of House, Leishman, Turnbull and Castle were masters of selling schlock, shock and Satan’s asshole of situations. Instead, lines now land flat like – for example – Leavins’ lessened ability to turn pervy, stalkerish quips into hilarious underage stranger-dangers. Again, it’s not Metalocalypse – and without that kind of designer depth, a wall prevents inter-dimensional immersion into Todd’s extracurricular madness.
If this review sounds over-negative, fret not – it’s merely wishes of what could have been. None of this is to say Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End should be skipped. When you’re already known for masterstrokes of ballbusting immaturity, metal-horned malevolence and vicious teen-angst creature vanquishing, expectations are going to be sky high. Directors Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace successfully service fans with a smile, ensuring that rivers of red scribbled blood spurt from decapitated school children just like we’re used to. It’s just, I mean – ugh, sorry, I just have to say it one more time. BY DIMEBAG’S BEARD, this would have been an epic live-action flick. As is? Still one fine-with-a-capital-F-YEAH return to Crowley High for the faithful who’ve been waiting some 5-or-so years in a Todd-less purgatory.
Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End brings closure to hungry fans in all the ways they’d hope – albeit turned down a notch through animation. Over-the-top kills and headbanging metal riffs still reign supreme, they’re just drawn by hand instead of oozing practical effects this time.
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