All posts tagged sequel

Stinkers I Have Known Vol. 1

Published May 7, 2014 by vfdpixie

I don’t usually like to trash films, as I have worked on a few film sets in my day, seeing the blood, sweat and tears that go into a production regardless of how bad the script, acting or sets were.  What is tragic is the hype associated with not-so-great films or a stellar performance in an otherwise terrible movie.  I have come across many in horror movie land, and can stay silent no longer, so pinch yer noses and hold yer breath because here are just a few to hold at arm’s length:


i am bad

I Am Bad (2012, 1 hr, 24 mins)

Well where do I start?  Taking a page from the brilliant and horrifically gruesome Maniac (2012), we are subjected to a shoddy version of the P.O.V. serial killer film.  This fella grew up with an abusive, nut job of a mother who only wanted him to be happy.  She is unfortunately hit by a car when she chases him out into traffic after an argument.  Her dying wish?  “You better be happy or mommy will hate you!”  With that to fuel him through his formative years, this guy (who remains nameless and virtually unseen throughout the film-and that’s probably for the best if he wants to work again) goes on a killing spree starting with his absentee father, a teenage girlfriend and countless other unsuspecting victims.  He finally decides to get help from a psychiatrist that his mother ironically recommended when he was a child, but the good doctor dies. This leaves his attractive assistant and PhD student, Anne, out of a job and apparently in need of a friend, which our serial killer is more than ready to be for her.  In fact, he falls in love with her and struggles with killing, which makes him happy, and not killing Anne, who makes him happy.

I was attracted to this film because the love interest was an African-American woman and hoped it would be an interesting take on the serial killer genre.  Boy was I wrong.  So what can I say about it? That it was a bad rip-off of an already classic slasher film?  That it was unsuccessful as a tongue-in-cheek comedy?  That the acting was substandard?  That the story had so many holes in it I expected moths to be flitting around?  And explain to me the cameo appearance from 80’s singer Taylor Dayne please, because I am puzzled by it.  The only redeeming aspect of this movie was Anne played by Caprice Crawford, a beautiful African-American actor based in Germany for some time.   Aside from Crawford’s engaging performance, and Jessica Makinson who played Tasha, a hilarious love interest for the killer, this movie was a stinker.  You have been warned.  As per the title, it is bad.


the quiet ones

The Quiet Ones (2014, 1 hr, 38 mins)

I went to see this movie with high hopes.  Some real life paranormal experiments, conducted in my home town Toronto circa 1972, was reworked into the story of a professor determined to prove Jane, a frail young woman, is suffering from mental illness instead of possession and to cure all occurrences of the supernatural.

Great premise.  Great actors, including a maniacal, riveting performance by Jared Harris as Professor Joseph Coupland, the ring leader of the whole gig.  Only problem was the story itself meandered through some salacious affairs and plodding scenes with Jane played by Bates Motel‘s  Olivia Cooke and the naive cameraman Brian played by The Hunger Games‘ Sam Claflin.  I really wanted to like this film too because I love me a Hammer film and I’m glad the studio is being revived.  There were some good jump scares that kept popping up until they started to become predictable, and some of the effects were good, but as a whole, it really put me off as I was expecting more scares, more plot and, well, just more.  If you read about the real story of the Canadian parapsychologists (which would have made a much better movie), this film is nowhere near the original experiments.  And if you miss the opening credits, you miss a good chunk of the story.  The Quiet Ones should just stay mum since this big budget stinker gets a mere “meh” from me.


nurse 3d

Nurse 3-D (2013, 1 hr, 24 mins)

This rambling film brings us a very enticing nurse Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta), who is bent on bloody, gory revenge on men who cheat.  She also wants to control young nurse Danni (Katrina Bowden), who she is mentoring/obsessing over and who also becomes a threat when she finds out what Abby is up to.  These two tasks collide in a crazy, murderous plot filled with camp, blood and lots of Abby sashaying around town in some really hot outfits or in the nude.

I loved that Paz de la Huerta  played the psychotic Abby.  She is a unique actor with interesting range, and was cast really well in this film.  Not to mention the fact that a lot straight men out there would keel over watching her in various states of undress.  I just got tired of her sleepy Betty Boop voice.  The rest of the cast was really interesting too, with Kathleen Turner in a cameo alongside B-movie king Judd Nelson, Boris Kodjoe, the always fun Niecy Nash and Michael Ekland whom I love.  The problem was the script which missed the mark trying to meld a pulp fiction/drive-in/campy slasher type storyline.  As a result, the film became too convoluted to gain any momentum and to keep a proper pace.  And that sucks, because I think Nurse 3-D had real potential as a sexy slasher flick.  To sum this stinker up, if you are a straight dude with a penchant for Playboy, this movie is definitely a work of art.  If you are a gal like me, who is pretty tolerant of weird stuff on film, this gets a resounding P.U.!  And there is a rumor that a sequel is in the works.  Guess the defibrillator is going to get a workout if it becomes a franchise!

You can breathe easy now, because my list is short and sweet.  I want to believe that at some point, these films will become a late night favourite, or part of some film festival honouring movies that are so bad that they are good (ugh!).  At any rate, someone somewhere is going to love one of the above stinkers, and I think that’s o.k because nobody’s perfect.  To each his own, but I got me some standards.  If you have seen some recent time wasters, please let me know.  I may check them out when I feel like punishing myself!  Until next time dear reader, until next time…

The Collector & The Collection: Have Mask, Will Torture

Published April 2, 2013 by vfdpixie

the collector                                  the collection

(2009, 1 hr, 30 mins)                                                               ( 2012, 1 hr, 22 mins)

So I though I’d treat myself to a double bill.  I had seen The Collector last year, and was blown away.  I loved this stylish and gruesome thriller, so when I heard there was a sequel, The Collection, I was cautiously excited.  Both films were co-written and directed by Marcus Dunstan, and since the first movie was so innovative, I thought for sure the second would be comparable, so I bought both movies for, um, my collection. (Beware: Spoilers to follow!)

The Collector brings us Arkin O’Brien (Josh Stewart), a handyman/ex-con who is on a reno site where the clients are filthy rich.  He has been casing this mansion because the owner, a jewel broker, has a giant gem in his safe, and Arkin needs to steal it to repay a jailhouse I.O.U.  He is also looking out to provide for his family, a wife and daughter, and deal with his wife’s loan shark debt which has a midnight deadline.  In desperation, Arkin decides to take the gem that night, since he believes the wealthy broker and his family to be away on vacation.  Little does he know that a masked psycho of epic proportions has also marked the home for his own twisted purposes.  We learn he is a collector of sorts, keeping his last victims as bait for new prey.  Arkin gets caught up in this collector’s vicious and gruesome web of booby traps and is horrified to know that the family has in fact been captured and tortured by the intruder. The youngest daughter, Hannah (Karley Scott Collins) has escaped the Collector, and hides somewhere in the house.  Being a father himself, Arkin puts his self-preservation instincts aside to help the child escape this deadly game.

josh stewart

Hmm…just notice how Arkin (Josh Stewart) looks like my prom date many moons ago. Minus the cuts and scratches. The handcuffs are probably a part of his daily wear these days though, along with an orange jumpsuit…and yeah, I’d date Arkin too..

The Collection begins where the first movie ends.  Arkin rescues Hannah, but is unfortunately recaptured by the Collector and taken away in a signature red steamer trunk as bait for his next victims.  We are also introduced to Elena Peters and her father in a flashback, survivors of a car crash and mourning the loss of her mother.  They were rescued by a man named Lucello (Lee Tergensen), and he becomes their loyal protector.  Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) is now a beautiful, pixie-haired young woman, whose overprotective and wealthy father (Christopher McDonald) is oblivious to her plans of partying well into the night at a secret club. Out to have a good time, Elena finds her boyfriend cheating, punches him out, and makes a tearful retreat.  She finds a red steam trunk and opens it after hearing a thump from within, releasing our anti-hero, Arkin, bloodied and beaten.  This sets off a series of deadly apparatus that turns the club into a death trap as the Collector makes his appearance.   Elena watches her friend get crushed, and is unfortunately captured by the Collector.  Arkin escapes by leaping out of a window using her now ex-boyfriend as a cushion and is rushed to the hospital where he is placed under arrest as he recuperates.  Arkin is the only known survivor to escape the Collector, who we learn has been very busy with other victims.  The nightclub massacre has been pegged as one of his kills, and Elena’s protector Lucello offers Arkin freedom for his help in finding her.  He agrees and takes Lucello and some mercenaries to the Collector’s den of insanity housed in an abandoned hotel, where they encounter more booby traps, mutilated drug-crazed victims and guard dogs.  Once again, it’s a battle of wits, survival and gore all at the Collector’s whim.


Elena in full freakout mode and still glam. A red lip is a must even when terrified!

I’m really surprised that these movies had the same director/writer.  The first movie had a gritty, indie, yet slick feel to it.  The camera work was interesting, and I loved the cool colour scheme of blues and acid greens that created a cold, calculating backdrop for the villain. The traps were crazy and gruesome with lo-tech sophisticated uses for knives, fish hooks, and bear traps.  The film was intimate and claustrophobic at the same time as we witnessed the thought processes of both Arkin and the Collector; intruders with very different goals.  I felt The Collector was truly innovative.  Josh Stewart was brilliant as Arkin, a bad guy with some humanity left, with a perpetually tortured look in his eye.  I really enjoyed the suspense as he outsmarted the villain again and again.

In the second film, Stewart reprises his role as Arkin, and is just as good, as his character continued his survival of the fittest behaviour, but I found the film not as visually appealing, overusing the colour red.  It reminded me of the Saw movies, a few of which Dunstan had a hand in writing.  The gallery of the Collector’s creations also reminded me of The Human Centipede, which is unfortunate since I still want my time back for watching that stinker (incidentally, the sequel to that movie was…well, I want my time back for that one too). I also found that the kills weren’t as artistically shot as the first film.  There were, however, some interesting moments, like seeing the Collector’s lab.  There was also potential to see into his back story, which never came to fruition.  Just a few tidbits here and there that lead us to believe the Collector had a traumatic experience in childhood that lead him down the psycho path.  I liked the mannequin hallway which was very creepy, as well as the grotesque paintings throughout the hotel.  I also loved the heroine, Elena because she was plucky (check out her MacGyver-esque escape from the steamer trunk), and yes, because she had a pixie cut.  Finally, a gal with short hair who isn’t typical looking but still beautiful!  Hats off to Marcus Dunstan for thinking outside the box for that.  I was also happy to see Lee Tergensen in this film, since I’ve been a fan of his from his days on OZ, but that still couldn’t redeem it for me.

I had a wish list for The Collection.  I wanted this movie to be about the Collector; about his process and what lead him to his morbid obsessions, because Dunstan created a fantastic villain.  I wanted to know why he chose the ambitious nightclub location where he was bound to be found out.  I wanted Arkin to face him in another battle of wits, not the forced mission that made our anti-hero look cowed and beaten.  It’s a shame too, because director Dunstan seemed to be well-loved by his actors, and he looks like a super nice guy as I watched the dvd extras.  Let’s hope that he makes The Collector his signature film and creates something just as great since he is clearly talented…because you know this pixie is waiting…

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