Day the Earth Stopped, The (2008) - Dread Central
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Day the Earth Stopped, The (2008)




The Day the Earth Stopped review!Reviewed by The Foywonder

Starring C. Thomas Howell, Sinead McCafferty, Bug Hall, Jeff Ellefson, Judd Nelson

Directed by C. Thomas Howell

The Day the Earth Stopped is the mockbuster that prompted Fox to send their lawyers after The Asylum. Nothing came of it though. In retrospect, The Asylum probably should have sued Fox instead for putting out a film so bad it could potentially hurt interest in their mockbuster. After sitting through the anger-inducing affront to human intelligence that was the remake of “>The Day the Earth Stood Still (review) this past weekend, I found myself thinking that this might be one of the rare instances where an Asylum mockbuster proves to be truly superior to its big screen counterpart. After watching Stopped, well, let’s just call it a tie.

666 colossal robots from outer space have begun landing all over the Earth. 666 is a good round number, no? Government authorities refer to them as “megaliths”, a word typically used to describe gigantic stone monuments of prehistoric times. This led me to suspect that the original script idea was not to make these megaliths look like Robotjox but since the movie its mockbustering boasts a giant robot… Why do I suspect this? Leave it to The Asylum to make a movie featuring gargantuan robots that just stand there and do nothing. If attacked they’ll fire laser beams at their attackers, but other than that …. nada. Might as well just been giant stone monoliths instead.

The impoverished nature of the budget shows quite often though the special effects work on the megaliths is fairly decent. Again, that’s probably because they just stand there almost completely motionless the entire film. Even when they fly off into space all we see are static shots of the robots lifting straight up without any kind of rocketry or visual trickery. Ever see the “Poochie” episode of “The Simpsons” when they animators killed Poochie by just having a single animation cell rise up out of the frame? Practically the same effect here.

At the same time, in some woods on the outskirts of Los Angeles, a naked alien woman struts about looking more like she just stepped out of the pages of Penthouse, not a spaceship. Now in this aspect I have to give the film credit for being vastly superior to the film it’s ripping off – both versions. Michael Rennie and Keanu Reeves vs. a perfectly sculptured naked redhead; guess which wins in my book?

Army guy C. Thomas Howell (who also directed, badly) brings her to a nearby army base where they put clothes on her but make sure she’s still wearing a very tight white top. She informs him the human race is to be wiped out because of our destructive ways. The megaliths are emitting a sonic wave that will cause the earth’s core to stop spinning; hence the movie’s title.

If you’re wondering how stopping the earth’s core from spinning could kill us, might I advise you go add The Core to your Netflix queue. Better yet, don’t. No need to add this one, either.

We are to be exterminated by the end of the day unless we, and by we I mean C. Thomas Howell (the fate of the world resting in the hands of Soul Man does not comfort me), can convince her of humanity’s humanity. Enter United States government agents looking to torture and interrogate her, scoffing mightily at the very notion of proving humanity’s essential goodness. What? No mustaches to twirl?

There’s also a second alien, a male, who upon getting captured sits in his jail cell explaining to other government scientists what’s going on and why for the rest of the movie. Pointless.

Howell’s fellow “Brat Pack” friend Judd Nelson also appears ever so briefly in a role so insignificant that it wouldn’t even be appropriate to call it a cameo. More like a favor.

Howell springs the stacked alien babe, and the two roam around the almost completely evacuated city playing gender reversal Starman while being hunted by the authorities. He’ll first try to prove our worth by taking her to church and introducing her to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. This does not convince her. Pat Robertson will be most displeased when he hears about this film.

What does eventually convince her of our humanity is something so mundane it makes what convinces Keanu to save us in the remake seem truly profound. I won’t spoil it but here’s a hint: what woman can resist a baby.

But you, you can resist this latest Asylum snoozefest. The Day the Earth Stopped never even gets started. The only thing that stopped was the pacing. Any attempt at thoughtful science fiction is undermined by the simpleminded mimicry of the script. Any attempt at being exciting is undermined by the almost complete lack of action. Any attempt at being a thriller is undermined by the overall tedium of the events. I can already hear most viewers of the film long before the elongated closing credits roll saying to themselves, “Stop the world, I want to get off.”


1 1/2 out of 5

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review



Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis

Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic


Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)



We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View



Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento

Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

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Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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