Ouija Shark 2 (2022)

Ouija Shark 2It’s Shark Week and all, and since I’ve already talked about the modern classic that is Ouija Shark four years ago, now it’s time to take a look at the sequel.

 

Ouija Shark 2 opens with a quick summary of the first one where Anthony (John Migliore) sacrificed himself to save his daughter from getting eaten by a ghost shark. Anthony (John Migliore again) has since gotten stuck in a cheap green-screened Hell as a twisted parody of Dr. Strange where he’s getting chased and fighting against… gorillas. Of course, what else did you expect.

 

Anthony’s supposedly grieving wife (played by Deborah Jayne Reilly Smith) gives an emotionless speech with some crocodile tears, standing by his gravestone and swears that she will bring him back. She visits the fortune-teller who helped Anthony crossing over to the other side, in order to whack the shark and get some answers. The crystal ball tells us what we already know: that he’s in Hell. We can’t leave him THERE. We have to SAVE him, Anthony’s wife says with the emotion of a flat google voice. It’s not gonna be easy, the fortune-teller replies. It’s gonna be a barefoot trip to the park, don’t you worry.

 

Because after a quick meeting with The Grim Reaper (played by a dude with some cheap white paint on his face), Anthony gets some assistance from a ghost alligator which will help him finishing the evil shark. And just out of the blue, as expected, we have a musical number here where a goofy Satan and his TikTok brides show Taylor Swift how you make a catchy song (and that was not irony). Meanwhile, in the land of the living, Anthony’s wife is in the local woods to ask the mom of the fortune-teller for help. She’s a hermit and not interested. Shove off, she says. Can’t blame her. She changes her mind, though. But who cares. Now we want some shark mayhem, as the poster teases us with.

 

And the poster didn’t lie. If the film wasn’t amateur-hour already, just wait for the last thirty minutes – or as Satan himself says: You’ve seen nothing yet, folks! Here we have a series of random nightly cityscape shots where the ghost shark and the gator boss fight each other. Both creatures are, just like in the first film, ultra-cheap looking cute puppets that toddlers would have in their bed, and it looks as epic and cinematic as you’d expect. The gator spits out yellow-glowing puffy CGI balls while Satan controls the shark with a ouija board as he’s laughing and having a blast. The military chimes in and fires some missiles. The shark zaps them by shooting force-lighting through its eyes. Lots of buildings get destroyed, even a nuclear power plant (!) Oh, the mayhem, carnage and destruction! Roland Emmerich would eat his heart out. Really intense stuff, in other words. We see a handful of extras who run left and right in front a black, foggy background, all of which I would bet is super proud to be a part of Ouija Shark 2. And don’t blink if you wanna catch the two-second cameo by Lloyd Kaufman.

 

Ouija Shark 2 (2022)

 

Ouija Shark 2 is written and directed by the main protagonist himself, John Migliore. And he goes all in for a crazier tone than the first one with a script that must have been co-written by a group of eight-year olds who just made it up as they went along. While the first had a whopping budget of 300 (yes, three hundred) Canadian dollars, I’d guess this one is slightly higher (50 dollars extra maybe), which gives us a few more green screen backgrounds rather than just the local woods and the director’s backyard. The acting is, of course, a big factor here, which is as strong and solid as you’d see in an elementary school play. But the one who takes the golden raspberry here, is Deborah Jayne Reilly Smith. She’s so stiff, lifeless and ridiculously robotic that she makes Mark Zuckerberg actually look like a normal human being. That in itself quite impressive.

 

So, whats next for this epic franchise, we may wonder? How about Ouija Shark 3: The Harpoon Made Me Do it, just to spitball an idea.

 

Ouija Shark 2 (2022) Ouija Shark 2 (2022) Ouija Shark 2 (2022)

 

Writer and director: John Migliore
Country & year: Canada, 2022
Actors: John Migliore, Deborah Jayne Reilly Smith, Kylie Gough, Simon Wheeldon, Lena Montecalvo, Jay MacAulay, Sabrina Migliore, Emmalene Pruden, Nicholas Migliore
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt21409958/

 

Prequel: Ouija Shark (2020)

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Nazis at the Center of the Earth (2012)

Nazis at the Center of the EarthNazis at the Center of the Earth. How can you go wrong with a title like that which sounds more like a drive-in flick from the 1970s, or something that Robert Rodriguez, once upon a time, could have made under his Grindhouse banner? Well, first off – this is from the cheap film company The Asylum which is, in the most recent decade, most known for its own original Sharknado franchise. Besides that, we can mention a neverending list of shitty low-to-non budget mockbusters such as Titanic II, Transmorphers, Atlantic Rim, AVH: Alien vs. Hunter, Invasion of the Pod People, Independents’ Day (yes, really), Battle Star Wars … And the list goes on like a non-stop diarrhea of the most shameless clickbait titles to fool people with one brain cell to trick them into watching something familiar to a mainstream Hollywood film. Their Paranormal Activity Entity wasn’t the worst as far as I remember, although it’s ages since I saw it.

 

The one we’re talking about here is their own warped version of Iron Sky, only here the Nazis aren’t coming from the moon but from the depths. And mockbuster or not, the title is enough to get my attention as I eat fat turkeys like this for breakfast, and it turned out to be as fun and crazy as the title would suggest, with even more surprises. In other words; the best way to experience this loony ride is to go in blind as this review will contain some spoilers.

 

We are at the research center Niflheim in Antarctica where two scientists are out on the snowy fields, ready to sample the surface for their research. When they unfold something metallic under the snow with a swastika painted on it, they get captured by a group of Nazis wearing gas masks, and they take them to a bunker somewhere deep underground. The leader of the research team, Dr. Adrian Reinstad (Jake Busey, the son of madman Gary Busey) heads out with his crew to find them.

 

One of the crew members, named Silje, is supposed to be Norwegian, by the way. And she speaks the language just as clearly and fluently as Brad Pitt speaking Italian – or like these two guys from an episode of The X-Files.

 

Anyway – they descend into a huge, dark pit that takes them to something that at first looks like an alternative Narnia dimension. But with a further look, it’s a huge underground world with trees, plants, and a forest where a fortress can be seen in the distance. Here they meet the evil Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele (Christopher Karl Johnson), with the infamous badass nickname The Angel of Death, who performed torturous experiments on victims at the Auschwitz II concentration camp during WW2.

 

Nazis at the Center of the Earth

 

So, the big question is: why is he still alive, and what’s his agenda?

 

Wikipedia can tell us that Mengele died by drowning after he suffered a stroke while swimming in 1979. That’s of course BS and pure falsification of history as we here learn that he actually kept himself alive all these years by taking organs from victims and replacing his bones with mechanical skeletons. And with his army of Nazi zombies, he’s still experimenting, so he finally can reanimate none other than der Führer himself. The plan here is to rise up to the surface with a war spaceship, so they can finally take over the world and create the perfect Arian race. Of course.

 

The film has apparently one of the highest visual effects shot counts in an Asylum production with a budget of $200,000. And still, it looks like a Lada trying to be a Plymouth Fury flooded with empty bottles of Vodka, Smirnoff and Jägermeister. Not a single outdoor scene looks realistic with its cheap digital backgrounds. The snow vehicle we see at the beginning looks like something from PlayStation 2. We see people who are supposed to be in the distance in the fake-looking Antarctica when they’re clearly copied and pasted with lousy use of green screen. It’s also made in a serious way with actors who really try to act professionally, which just makes it more amusing. A great recipe for a funny-bad movie, for sure, and in my judgment, not made bad on purpose like the Sharknado films. There’s some decent gore here, which is the only legit quality to point out.

 

But what’s takes the cake here, or the big Golden Raspberry, if you will, is the true star of the film: Please kneel and give your salute to –  Robo-Hitler (James Maxwell Young), where Hitler’s head is attached to a cyborg machine. Yes, you heard that right. This actually took me off guard, I did nazi that coming, and my eyes teared up from laughing. Everything here is just perfect; the way he stomps with his cyborg body like a mecha boss from a Sonic the Hedgehog game, the amateur acting, the goofy faces, the whole naive, enthusiastic energy. What more is there really to say? Nazis at the Center of the Earth is an epic schlockfest and a true gem in its category which is available on Blu-ray at Amazon.com, and last time I checked, on Tubi.

 

Nazis at the Center of the Earth Nazis at the Center of the Earth Nazis at the Center of the Earth

 

Director: Joseph J. Lawson
Writer: Paul Bales
Country & year: USA, 2012
Actors: Dominique Swain, Jake Busey, Joshua Michael Allen, Christopher Karl Johnson, James Maxwell Young, Lilan Bowden, Marlene Okner, Adam Burch, Maria Pallas, Abderrahim Halaimia, Trevor Kuhn
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2130142/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

The Amazing Bulk (2012)

The Amazing BulkBy looking at the poster, you’d expect this to be one of the numerous mockbusters from The Asylum. But The Amazing Bulk is so much, much worse and not something you can fully be prepared for witnessing, even with your own eyes. Imagine if Sin City was written by Tommy Wiseau and directed by Neil Breen with the cheapest-looking green screen background effects from some Nintendo 64 games. There you have it. So yeah, this is a doozy one.

 

The plot goes like this: The young scientist, Henry Howard, is developing some kind of amazing purple serum for the government. The plan is that this serum will cure the world of famine and turn anyone who injects it into superhumans. Henry is also a grumpy-pants who mostly wears a frown which I honestly thought James Rolfe had trade marked. Anyway, Henry is in love with Hannah and wants to marry her. The problem is that Hannah also happens to be the daughter of General Darwin, who refuses Henry to marry her until after he has the serum ready.

 

All odds seem to be against poor Henry, and after being robbed on his way home after a date with Hannah, he’s had enough and decides to try the serum. Since there’s no budget here, don’t expect much of a transformation scene. Some dark CGI clouds covers the screen until it fades away and in front of us we have The Not So Amazing Bulk: a purple, retarded, babyface-looking, dickless stock cartoon monster with only one or two animations. He stomps at thugs and bad guys, but when he’s confronted by the only two lousy police officers in the city, he runs like a soy-filled bitch as if he’s crapped his pants.

 

And in a castle somewhere where it’s dark and gloomy and bats are flying everywhere, we meet Dr. Werner von Kantlove and his braindead cute-as-a-poodle wife Lolita. Dr. Kantlove is a wobbling super villain who looks like a cross of Javier Milei’s wig and a shady Nickelodeon producer who likes to sniff the bare feet of little girls. So, what’s his agenda? Just to blow up the moon. The Bulk now has a nemesis to take care of, but there’s more. Much more. The Amazing Bulk is a treasure chamber of ineptitude awesomeness, and when you think you’ve seen the worst, you’ll be surprised.

 

The Amazing Bulk

 

The film is directed by Lewis Schoenbrun and the only post on his trivia section says that he’s a fan of Stanley Kubrick. Who isn’t. His short Wikipedia page can tell us that he was born in 1958, has worked in the film industry since the 1970s and made his magnum opus The Amazing Bulk at the age of 52. Having that in mind, it’s almost impossible to even suggest that this was made with even the smallest nugget of seriousness. Well…

 

There’s a rare interview of the man where one can already tell by his picture that he’s certainly that kind of guy who’d make a film like this bad on purpose. The intention was to make a film in the same spirit as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Speed Racer, and clearly Sin City with some elements of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He bought a whole package of digital stock effects of figures, backgrounds, foregrounds, everything for 2,000 dollars, while a group of amateur actors used a treadmill to give us the illusion that they are walking in the environment as the background scrolls behind them. The whole thing took only five days to shoot in a garage in California with a complete budget of 14.000 dollars. 14.000 spent on what? God knows. Every single scene here is green screen filled with the shittiest cartoon backgrounds you can imagine. It looks worse than a YouTube skit from 2006.

 

After the film got the reaction it clearly deserved, with people almost dying from laughing, director Shoenburn decided to pull a Tommy Wiseau to say that the film was actually meant to be a comedy, you dummy. I would believe him, if it wasn’t for his Jupiter-sized ego getting in the way of commenting about the negative reviews. Because, in his mind, people are just jealous of not being a film director like him. Uhm, okay. Someone please pull his head out of his ass before he suffocates. During the past twelve years, he’s been retired from directing and has since worked at the International Academy of Film and Television as a teacher in the Philippines. Good for him.

 

The film gets better worse and more batshit as it goes on with scenes and logic that could only come from the brain of a six-year-old. So we thought. Two grown-ups actually wrote the script. One of my favorite moments is the chase scene between the Bulk and the two police officers as they run through a completely empty and lifeless city. I can’t describe how mindbogglingly horrendous the effects are, but we have a classic moment where the Bulk makes a car swirl in the air and lands on one of the officers. And the size of the car is the same, if not smaller, than the person. Top tier filmmaking, where everyone should take notes. Some of the effects looks like they were made in MS Paint while others are in such low resolution that the only thing we see is a blurry mess. The Amazing Bulk is a demented trainwreck of a shitshow that I can’t recommend enough if you like funny-bad movies. Truly a masterpiece in its category.

 

The film is available on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing and can be streamed on Tubi.

 

The Amazing Bulk The Amazing Bulk The Amazing Bulk

 

 

Director: Lewis Schoenbrun
Writers: Keith Schaffner, Jeremiah Campbell
Country & year: US, 2012
Actors: Terence Lording, Shevaun Kastl, Randal Malone, Juliette Angeli, Jed Rowen, Deirdre V. Lyons, Mark E. Fletcher, Mike Toto, Meghan Falcone
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1788453/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Troll 2 (1990)

TrollTroll 2 is a film that examines many serious and important issues. Like eating, living and dying. – Director Claudio Fragasso

 

And speaking of dying, dear grandpa Seth is dead. RIP. Even though it’s been six months after his funeral, the ten-year-old kid Joshua has regular meetings with his ghost in his room before bedtime. Grandpa Seth sits in a rocking chair as he tells goodnight stories about goblins and witches who turn people into trees, bushes and everything green.

 

Because you see, once upon a time there were goblins who were vegetarians, and the only way for them to eat was to turn people into everything green. But this is actually not any fairytale. Oh no, these goblins actually exist. So beware. Now, sleep tight and have a good night.

 

The brilliant idea of vegetarian goblins came from Rossella Drudi, the wife of Claudio Fragasso, who co-wrote the script. Here’s a quote from Best Worst Movie, a documentary from 2009 about the making of Troll 2:

I didn’t want to write your typical horror movie. So, I came up with a story about troll (goblins) who were vegetarians. Because at that point in my life, I had many friends who’d all become vegetarians, and it pissed me off. So I had the idea of replacing the vampires in the vampire story with vegetarians (like Duckula).

 

Only Joshua can see grandpa Seth (of course) and no one believes him. His mother has grown tired of him talking to his ghost and has a quick, serious conversation with him:

 

Troll 2

 

Banish him, you hear, boy? And yes, this is the actual piece of dialogue that was written which Josh’s mom says to him with the most dead and soulless eyes ever, as if she was straight from The Westboro Baptist Church. Good night and sweet dreams. Brrr! I prefer the ghost of grandpa Seth, thank you very much. With a script written like this, also by two Italians with very little to no knowledge of the English language, one would assume that the whole script was written in Italian and roughly Google-translated with no corrections. In reality, the script was written in such broken English that even the actors suggested to director Claudio Fragasso that they should at least ad-lib the lines to prevent the dialogues from sounding as retarded as it did on paper. Fragasso, the maestro that he is with an ego bigger than Jupiter, flat-out refused as his script was set in stone and perfect as it was.

 

But this little flavor of absurdity we just saw here is only the very top of the iceberg of this incompetent circus of a horror movie. It gets really batshit, to say the least, and it’s the reason why Troll 2 is praised by the same audiences who almost died from laughing at modern so-bad-it’s-good-classics like The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror and all the films of Neil Breen.

 

Back to the film: Josh’ parents are taking him and their teen daughter Holly on a summer vacation trip to a small country, hillbilly town in the state of Utah, called … Nilbog. And the place looks like a complete ghost town which has seen better days. Grandpa Seth is still here, though, watching over Josh’s shoulders. They swap houses with a family that welcomes them with a ready dinner table. Talk about hospitality. But that’s not real food, Grandpa Seth tells Josh. It’s Goblin food which will turn anyone who eats it into vegetables – the favorite food of the goblins! Grandpa Seth displays some of his magic ghost force to stop the time for a brief moment, so Josh can prevent them eating the food. He has only ten seconds. The tension and suspense is unbearable. Josh stands on the table while the rest of the family is frozen-out, opens his zipper and – you guessed it – pisses on the food.

 

Or in Claudio Fragasso’s own frustrating words while trying to explain to a confused ten-year-old who didn’t understand the context of the scene, and who the hell could blame him:  – You don’t worry, you jump on table, you unzip zipper, we cut, piss on table!

 

Aha, okey then…

 

His dad, Michael (played by Aaron Eckhart’s doppelganger, George Hardy), gets furious and carries Josh up to his room where he delivers his famous line:

 

Troll 2

 

And yes, this is the actual dialogue. This is also the line that George Hardy used in his audition for the film. In full seriousness, he shouted You can’t piss on hospitality in front of nine cigar-smoking Italian casting agents. And they didn’t understand a word he was saying. The only reason he got the part was because they liked his energy.

 

Like in the original film, we get introduced to a witch by the name Creedence Leonore Gielgud. And this one is from the west and as evil as a Saturday Morning Cartoon character. She lives in a small church where she brews a green, magic, toxic potion that turns people into vegetables, so she can feed her goblins.

 

Alice Cooper was apparently busy feeding his Frankenstein, so the role of the witch went to Deborah Reed. And ‘boy, her performance is a trip. I have not before or after Troll 2 seen overacting on such an absurd animated level, as we see here. It’s all up to eleven and beyond, and I bet she must have burned some calories after reading her goofy lines the way she did. I’d love to se her audition reel and the reactions of the nine cigar-smoking Italians. Reed died last year due to cancer at age 73, but she will always be remembered in her iconic role. RIP.

 

Troll 2

 

The Oh My God clip is the most flawless piece of cinema put together. The way that the music is synchronized with his delayed scream is just perfection, not to mention the fly on the guy’s forehead. That’s Stanley Kubrick-level of perfectionism right there when it comes to subtle details with hidden meanings.

 

Then we have the creature designs, or the goblin costumes, the pure definition of schlock that even makes the creatures from the original film look like something from Stan Winston.

 

Troll 2

 

Troll 2 was filmed during thirty chaotic hot summer days in Utah where all the cast and crew were Italians who, of course, didn’t speak English. The actors were local amateurs, the one worse than the other, and all of whom auditioned to star as extras, but somehow instead ended up in the main roles. That also explains one thing or two. Michael Paul Stephenson, who plays the annoying kid Josh, already had the (un)pleasure of starring in another film by Claudio Fragasso, with Beyond the Darknes (a.k.a La Casa 5), released the same year as Troll 2. He also made the documentary Best Worst Movie.

 

The original title was Goblin, but was released as Troll 2, because that’s what Italian distributors always do to shamelessly cash in on the success of other films.

 

Troll 2 was one of the lost gems, also called The Holy Grail of bad movies, that were rediscovered many years after its release. It wasn’t until the comedy theatre group Upright Citizens Brigade started to screen the film at their base in Los Angeles that the phenomena that was Troll 2 spread throughout the United States like a turkey on fire, and soon after globally. Then the now legendary Oh My God clip was shared on YouTube and the rest is movie history.

 

Director Claudio Fragasso was also curious about the buzz and how the Americans had finally rediscovered his masterpiece, and flew to the states with his wife to get a sense of the phenomenon. Too bad he seems to have zero sense of irony. I’d earlier had an assumption that the guy was a first-class troll (no pun intended), like Birdemic director James Nguyen, but after re-watching some clips from the documentary Best Worst Movie, I’m not so sure. The clown really believes deep down that he made a genuine solid piece of cinema with Troll 2, and during an awkward Q&A after a screening of the film he looks completely lost, confused and irritated, and is about to implode. People were laughing too much at his film, even at parts that weren’t meant to be funny. Uh-oh! And he didn’t like that. His spicy narcissism and true colors really shine at the end of the documentary where he gets jealous of the actors’ popularity, giving them the death stare and even calling them dogs and liars. Classy.

 

Troll 2

 

There are many factors why Troll 2 ended up like it did for all the wrong hilarious reasons, but the main one is on none other than Claudio Fragasso, or the pseudonym of Drake Floyd he was credited as here. It’s the typical Ed Wood syndrome, just with an even more bloated ego, pompous arrogance, insanity and a head stuffed so far in one’s own delusional fantasy-butthole while refusing to hear a single input than your own bubbling farts. And to be fair, Fragasso hardly directed the film, costume designer Laura Gemser did, the one and only on the crew that spoke English fluently and translated the director’s directions to the actors. He also looked down on having any assistance from any English-speaking crew or cast because he was too lazy to learn some of the language himself. Mamma mia. Working on the set of Troll 2 must have been such a pleasant experience. I would like to see a biopic about the making of this turkey, like The Disaster Artist. Leonardo DiCaprio would be a great fit to play Fragasso.

 

There’s far worse movies than Troll 2, surprisingly enough, and at the end of the day, Claudio Fragasso has unintentionally managed to put together one of the best unhinged horror comedies of all time (if not the best) with not a single boring moment followed by a whole notebook of quote worthy lines. That’s a great skill and an achievement in itself. And that the guy to this day seems to be ultra-bitter about the films’ cult status and never seems to come to peace with it, is a bit sad. But that’s what happens when your ego becomes your own worst enemy.

 

There wasn’t made a Troll 3… or maybe it kinda was if we use our imagination a bit. We actually have two titles that were released with a.k.a Troll 3. The first one is Quest for the Mighty Sword (1990), an Italian fantasy film by Joe D’Amato. If the alternative titles wasn’t head-scratching already, this one is also known as The Hobgoblin and Ator III: The Hobgoblin. The other one is The Crawlers (1993), also a Joe D’Amato production about killing plants and was also filmed in the same area in Utah where Troll 2 was filmed.

 

Troll 2 Troll 2 Troll 2

 

 

Director: Claudio Fragasso
Writers: Rossella Drudi, Claudio Fragasso
Country & year: US, Nilbog, 1990
Actors: Michael Paul Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie Young, Robert Ormsby, Deborah Reed, Jason Wright, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman, David McConnell, Gary Carlston, Mike Hamil
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0105643/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Night of the Demon (1980)

Night of the DemonNight of the Demon Bigfoot is an amateur monster schlock from 1980, which starts off with a wounded dude, Bill Nugent, lying in a hospital bed surrounded by doctors and a police inspector. He’s an anthropology professor, you see, and here’s his fascinating story you wouldn’t believe, which is about his adventure with a group of his students to track down Bigfoot in the woods of Northern California. And he has to convince the doctors that he’s not insane and that he was the only one who survived Bigfoot after the monster killed all of the students.

 

And good-fucking luck with that, my dude. Mr. Kallen from Slapped Ham would have loved to have you on his first podcast.

 

Bill starts with the first story, the first series of flashback scenes where we see Bigfoot killing random people. The first victim is some guy in the forest who’s getting ready to fish by a river. In order to have some suspense here, the monster is shown through POV and off-screen and, just like in the great classic Blackenstein, we have a moment where we see the monster rip his arm off with zero force in silhouette. Someone has clearly taken notes from the very best. While he bleeds to death with the use of the thinnest cranberry juice streaming from his ripped arm, the blood streams down to fill one of Bigfoot’s footprints, following the opening credits.

 

As Bill and his group of students head into the forest to find our mythic creature, they hear about this lady Wanda. She’s a mysterious outcast who lives as a hermit in a cabin deep in the woods, and the legend says that she knows where Bigfoot is. Okay, then. In the meanwhile, as they’re heading for Wanda’s cabin, we get some more flashback scenes told by Bill as they sit around the campfire to remind us how dangerous this Bigfoot is. All these campfire scenes were shot and added during the post production because the producer wanted to amp up the gore. We see Bigfoot killing people in different ways, but don’t get too excited. In one scene, he even uses an axe and the effect is the cheapest-looking rubber wound sticker they could afford.

 

The most memorable scene is the biker dude who gets his dick ripped off when he’s about to take a piss. Because this is no laughing matter. This is serious. Dead serious. Just look at the deadpan seriousness on Bill’s face when he tells the story. Don’t you dare to even chuckle or roll your eyes in disbelief. Show some respect for the poor guy.

 

We also have a campfire story about this random couple who’s about to have sex in a van. This is also the only body count flashback scene (as far as I remember) that was not shot in broad daylight. This is one of the more what-the-fuck-moments where the guy gets dragged by Bigfoot up to the top of the car while the lady can’t decide how to react as she makes orgasms sounds and looks confused rather than terrified. It’s noteworthy to mention that director James C. Wasson mainly produced porn films, so maybe there are some connections there.

 

Then there’s the star of the film, the man, myth and the legend himself: Bigfoot… and I have to be honest and say that the face-makeup is not the worst I’ve seen. Some effort went in here for sure, and I would assume the make-up artists took some inspiration from the creation of Michael Myer’s mask in Halloween, only here based on the face of Mick Jagger. And I don’t think anything can really top that.

 

Night of the Demon is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Severin Films, restored and uncut. A fun time for all lovers of schlock and funny-bad movies.

 

Night of the Demon Night of the Demon Night of the Demon

 

Director: James C. Wasson
Writers: Mike Williams, Jim L. Ball
Country & year: US, 1980
Actors: Michael Cutt, Joy Allen, Bob Collins, Jody Lazarus, Rick Fields, Michael Lang, Melanie Graham, Shannon Cooper, Paul Kelleher, Ray Jarris
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0081229/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Seytan (1974)

Seytan The Turkish ExorcistThere was actually a time when films like this were called plagiarism. Today we call them remakes. And call this specimen of celluloid what you will, Pazuzu, however, has already left the building and dived straight back to hell to suck Saddam Hussein’s big hairy toes rather than being near this eyesoaring madhouse.

 

There’s little to zero trivia info to find about this Turkish obscurity other than it’s more or less a shot-for-shot remake of The Exorcist – a movie from 1973 you may have heard of. The film was apparently shot on a low budget, resulting in a grainy and poor image quality. You don’t say. To call the image quality grainy and poor is the biggest understatement since the beginning of human existence. I would first assume the film was shot on used toilet paper with a dirty lens covered in fresh urine and projected straight out of Belphegor’s asshole.

 

And you couldn’t ask for a more honest plot summary to add on the backside of the DVD cover:

 

After the worldwide success of William Friedkin’s 1973 classic film The Exorcist, those wacky Turks decided that maybe they should steal the script and make their own homegrown version of the film. The result is Seytan, a one of a kind viewing experience. If you’ve seen the 1973 original you’ll feel you’re experiencing déjà Vu as this version is almost an identical scene by scene remake of The Exorcist, albeit with a Turkish soundtrack, music recorded directly off a record player, editing most likely done by a blind monkey and special effects more fitting for an elementary school play. Combine this with really grainy film stock, some out of work (possibly homeless) unknown Turkish actors, horrible direction and a budget of about $1.95 and you’ve got yourself an instant classic.

 

There are some story changes here though. Instead of Father Damien Karras, we have the young author Tugrul Bilge, who’s just written a book about black magic titled Seytan. And one of the readers of that book is the twelve-year-old girl Gül, while she also plays with a spirit board. And instead of Captain Howdy we have Captain… Lersen. Gül gets possessed by Lersen and her mother contacts Bilge after she discovers his book. Although Bilge is a non-believer (u-oh), he gets invited to have a look at Gül as she’s bedridden and wearing some cheap make-up, a big Tina Turner wig and mumbles with a comical demon voice that sounds more like a drunk, old Japanese samurai. And yes, of course, The Exorcist himself, an old gentleman with a white-trimmed santa beard, eventually pops up to conjure holy forces in the big climax.

 

The funny thing is that both Gül and Tugrul sound like some sinister stage names from a black metal band, while Lersen sounds more like a regular Joe.

 

And forget about any obscene cussing like “your mother sucks cocks in hell” and  “let Jesus fuck you!” The most edgy written piece of dialogue we get is “I will kill you”. In other words: I highly doubt that anyone who saw this back in 1974 in the Turkish cinemas went out of the movie shaking with trauma, and had problems sleeping the following night. The masturbation scene is still here though, in its own unique way, along with the head spinning sequences, the possessed furniture, the medical examinationsKarra’s Bilge’s sideplot with his mommy issues – but with the momentum like a quick fart in the wind, and the emotional depth as deep as a puddle on the sidewalk. It’s amateur-hour all the way and like a piss-drunk karaoke version of something very familiar performed by Eilert Pilarm with the tunes from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells constantly on repeat throughout the first half of the movie, ripped from a tired cassette tape, to remind us that this is… The Turkish Exorcist. Burp.

 

The acting is as laughable as you’d expect, but I have to give the girl who plays the Turkish Regan some cred as she tries her best and seemed to have a jolly fun time during the making of this looney tune. She also got the pleasure of spitting some green-something in the old man’s face.

 

Seytan never got any official physical release, or not that I know of, other than a DVD bootleg in 2007 by Substance, ripped from a VHS added with subtitles which even Google seemed to struggle to translate. Fun shit. It’s of course also on YouTube with a more cleaned up image quality but without the subtitles.

 

Seytan The Turkish Exorcist

 

 

Director: Metin Erksan
Writer: Yilmaz Tümtürk
Also known as: Seytan – The Turkish Exorcist
Country & year: Turkey, 1974
Actors: Canan Perver, Cihan Ünal, Meral Taygun, Agah Hün, Erol Amaç, Ismail Hakki Sen, Ekrem Gökkaya
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0072148/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Hobgoblins (1988)

HobgoblinsWriter, producer, editor and director Rick Sloane is a true independent auteur, no one can at least take that away from him. He’s made 16 movies over the course of the decades since the early 80’s, and we all should know about his Vice Academy films, a spoof of Police Academy which spawned five whole sequels. Yet he’s known for one movie and one movie only: Hobgoblins – one of the most, if not the most, sour fart-smelling and cringe-inducing cheese fests from the 1980s that got its place on the Worst Films Ever Made list and became a cult-classic of so-bad-it’s-good-movies.

 

The film starts in some old movie studio where the young nightguard, Dennis, have been strictly told by his older co-worker McCreedy to stay far away from the vault. Of course he won’t. And when he enters it, he’s suddenly on a stage in his own fantasy land where he’s a rock star. Shortly after he grabs the mike and does some silly movements, and ends up getting killed, off screen. A new young guy gets hired with the same warnings to stay away from the vault. Pffft, yeah right. One night when he opens it, a group of fluffy Mogwai/Critter hybrid creatures escape from the vault and drive away in a golf cart.

 

To quote the back of the Blu-ray; as bodycounts starts to rise, Kevin, with help of his friends, decide to track down the deadly creatures before they wreak havok on the city.

 

There’s only one (yes 1) bodycount in the entire film though, and that’s the guy we saw in the beginning, and the film is as tame as a newborn kitten. We learn that the creatures came from space in the 1950s in a small shuttle that crashlanded near the movie studio where McCreedy was a nightguard. He has since then kept them trapped in the vault, since anyone who encounters them will have their fantasy wishes come true, only until they get killed by the creatures. And guess what: they also get attracted to very bright lights. Rick Sloane claims that he wrote the script for Hobgoblins several years before Gremlins, by the way, so don’t you even dare to think otherwise.

 

There’s no more plot to break down from here ’cause there isn’t any. We have a string of nonsensical scenes where our group of protagonists keeps bullshitting around Kevin’s house. We have some rivalry between Mike and some Rambo wannabe who fights with rakes, because…just because. Later that night, they have a party where the creatures finally stop by to get the plot going forward. We eventually end up in some sleazy nightclub where it just gets more crazy and weird.

 

Hobgoblins

 

Hobgoblins is a real stink bomb in every aspect with the production value of an episode of ALF. The direction, the acting, the story (if there is any), the characters, the pacing, the effects, everything falls completely on its face. The attempt to be a comedy is like … I can’t even put a word on it. It’s something else. Holy moly macaroni. Even though the actors are a group of young and fresh graduates from the prestigious Troll 2 School of Acting, Troll 2 is Citizen Kane compared to this one, and you have to lower your bar to the lowest to sit through Hobgoblins.

 

There are no effects here. No blood, nothing. The only kill we get happens offscreen because its budget of $15,000 obviously couldn’t afford a single effect artist. What we have left is actors who do an impossible job to make us believe they are in danger while they wiggle around with lifeless puppets in the purest Ed Wood style. Picture Bela Lugosi with the octopus and there you have it. When we see the puppets moving around, they’re being operated by a woman who has just been released from a mental hospital. No shame in that. Sometimes crazy people need a job too.

 

The film is also sprinkled with goofs, but the one who caught my eye was the sequence with the car during where a hand visibly rocks the stationary car, and you can see it as clear as day. Then we have the grenades of the Rambo-wannabe-dude which he throws around the nightclub that does zero damage. A grenade gets thrown in one direction but explodes in a completely different direction. Like Ed Wood famously said: Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture.

 

Some trivia: The film was shot without permits and in a single week. The film studio was in a parking lot that was deserted at night, next to a crackhouse. McCreedy’s gun was actually a cap pistol, purchased from a toy store for five dollars. Only the eyes for the hobgoblins were going to be seen in an earlier draft of the script. A pit bull’s growl was used for the voice of the hobgoblins. Rick Sloane initially planned on making a sequel in 1990 and had even written a screenplay for it, but it wasn’t made until 2009 as Hobgoblins 2.

 

Hobgoblins was also mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000, an episode which Rick Sloane got shocked by when he himself was mercilessly mocked over the film’s end credits. In an interview with Dead Central in 2009, he was asked about the movie’s position on the IMDb Bottom 100. He said he was “surprised it slipped down to #25 as it at sometime was the 2nd spot, right behind Gigli. As for now, it’s on #35. It’s also on a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack from Vinegar Syndrome.

 

Hobgoblins Hobgoblins Hobgoblins

 

Writer and director: Rick Sloane
Country & year: US, 1988
Actors: Tom Bartlett, Paige Sullivan, Steven Boggs, Kelley Palmer, Billy Frank, Tamara Clatterbuck, Duane Whitaker, James R. Sweeney, Kevin Kildow, Daran Norris, James Mayberry
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0089280/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Ed Gein: The Musical (2010)

Ed Gein: The Musical  Somebody Framed Meeeeeee ♪ …

– Shut up and quit singing!

 

Welcome to amateur hour. Today we take a look at Ed Gein: The Musical, a homemade micro-budget horror comedy made for shits n’giggles that was probably a fun time for all those involved. The rest of the world had to wait for ten whole years to finally witness a singing Ed Gein to be released on DVD.

 

The film starts straight to the point where Ed Gein enters Mary Hagan’s store and then shoots her with a shotgun. After the sinful act, we hear the first notes of Eddie as he sings (with the voice-over of Will Keizer, who wrote most of the songs).

Oooooooooh no, I Did A Bad Thing … And Now They Are Coming For Meeee … There’s Nowhere To Hide … Ooooh Mama, I Did A Bad Thing  …

 

Eddie takes the corpse to his shed with the second musical number while he chops up some limbs,  titled Lonely Feeling, Lonely Reeling, and the energy is as electric as a Sunday evening at the local Bingo hall.

 

Ed gets arrested by the sheriff, suspected of the murder of Miss Hagan, and brought into the interrogation room. From here on, Ed tells his life story, filled with nothing but delusional fantasies as we dive into more zero-budget, amateur movie madness and two-notes of honky-tonk song numbers mixed with mainly acoustic guitar and not much of the basic understanding of how a musical works. The songs are completely forgettable and performed in the most bland, lifeless karaoke style with a static camera.

 

We see a quick flashback scene where a young Ed gets abused by his dad for having a picture of a half-naked lady. After getting whipped with the belt, Ed says: When I’m grown I won’t take this crap. When I’m grown I will be a handsome chap. Yeah, you heard that right. We then cut to the current Ed, dressed like a sleazy car-salesman as he sings… a rap-song. The cringe meter is already at its maximum, but it still manages to get worse. Because we haven’t seen the scene with Ed and his mom yet.

 

We see Ed in various scenarios. In one scene he’s in some hall with elderly people, he’s in the fakest-looking cemetery ever put on film, he sits in a bar, sings some duets with random chicks and more nonsensical buffoonery follows. We also see him in a sitcom setting where they forgot to add the laugh track. All filmed in blurry and out-of-focus images with the sense of filming in general as a blind, drunk sailor man who’s way past his bedtime. As for the comedy goes we laugh more at the film than with it, which is completely fine by me.

 

The only legit quality to point out is the eye-catching artwork on the DVD cover. For more Ed Gein, check out Deranged (1974), Ed Gein (2000) and the graphic novel Did You Hear What Ed Gein Done? (2021).

 

Ed Gein: The Musical Ed Gein: The Musical Ed Gein: The Musical

 

Director: Steve Russell
Writer: Dan Davies
Country & year: USA, 2010
Actors: Dan Davies, Clifford Henry, Laurie Friedman-Fannin, Lucia Stevenson, M.J. Marsh, Cindy Yungwirth, James Fairchild, Barbra Alloy, Edie Amundsen, Charlie Bitter, Jason Buss
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt1562295/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Blackenstein (1973)

BlackensteinAh HELL Nah, It’s BLACKENSTEIN ya’ll, starring … Lori Lightfoot? Bruh..!

 

The most intriguing aspect about this hopeless misfire of a motion picture is that the writer and producer, Frank R. Saletri, was a Criminal defense lawyer who woke up one day and decided he wanted to work in the movie business and become a monster movie mogul. Yeah, we all have to start somewhere – but: he had big hopes that Blackenstein would latch on the success of Blacula (1972) and already had the scripts for two sequels ready to shoot: The Fall of the House of Blackenstein and Blackenstein III. One of the sequels would have the alternative title The Black Frankenstein Meets the White Werewolf. Sounds fun, but that never happened as Blackenstein ended up like something Ed Wood would make during his drunken feverdreams after binge drinking all cocktail bars in Hollywood. And no, that’s not the former mayor of Chicago we see on the cover, it’s none other than the legendary Joe De Sue. Joe De who? He was a client of Saletri and a perfect definition of a non-actor. But both Frank R. Saletri and first-time director William A. Levey seemed optimistic.

 

Eddie Turner is a war vet who got his feet blown off after stepping on a mine in Vietnam. The more optimistic wife, Winifred, knocks on the door to Dr. Stein’s villa and private hospital in Hollywood Hills to ask for him to fix Eddie. And just for clearance, Dr. Stein is a white dude, so don’t get further confused by the full title Blackenstein The Black Frankenstein. After Eddie get transported to Dr. Stein’s lab, the shady assistant Malcomb falls in love with Winifred, and in jealousy tries to make sure that Eddie dies by messing with Dr. Stein’s lab equipment. Well, that doesn’t go as planned as Eddie wakes up, looking like a cheap cosplay version of a familiar monster.

 

Blackenstein wakes up in some random dungeon we’ve never seen before and shuffles his way through the lab as he makes some weird snoring sound where the term sleepwalk through gets its fullest meaning. We see him walking through some empty hospital corridor in the slowest pace possible to drag out some extra screentime, until he approaches a patient we see gets killed by the monster behind the bed curtain in silhouette. And the effects are probably more lousy than you’d expect.

 

There’s absolutely nothing that works in this turkey, other than Blackenstein being a perfect study in inept filmmaking while having some cheap laughs. Sunny days suddenly transform to thunderclapping nights and actors who perform the stiffest and driest dialogues in the style of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. No colorful and offensive ghetto talk here, unfortunately. The editing is a trip in itself which makes Blackenstein teleport himself back and forth to his dungeon cell between his murder sprees, completely unnoticed. And why would he go back to his cell? I guess the script just said so.

 

We also have a brief shot of some bare breasts and a complete random scene in a bar with some comedian.

 

Blackenstein didn’t hit the pulse on the blaxploitation market and writer Saletri wouldn’t work on a film again, nor his client Joe De Sue got any phonecalls from Tinseltown. Saletri still wrote several scripts which included two Sherlock Holmes films titled Sherlock Holmes in the Adventures of the Werewolf of the Baskervilles and Sherlock Holmes in the Adventures of the Golden Vampire where he had Alice Cooper in mind to star as Dracula. Sounds completely batshit and epic. And speaking of Sherlock, Saletri was later a victim of an unsolved murder mystery when he was found dead in his mansion (formerly owned by Bela Lugosi) in 1982. The police described it as gangland style. So maybe it’s fair to ask what some of his former clients have been up to lately. Let’s start with the guy he failed to make a movie star of, Joe Dee… what’s his name again?

 

Blackenstein

 

Director: William A. Levey
Writer: Frank R. Saletri
Original title: Blackenstein The Black Frankenstein
Country & year: USA, 1973
Actors: John Hart, Ivory Stone, Joe De Sue, Roosevelt Jackson, Andrea King, Nick Bolin
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0069795/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

Monster Dog (1984)

Monster DogAlice Cooper was already at the peak of his musical career in the late 1970s with fifteen studio albums in his discography, having sold several Platinums, lived a wild rock’n roll life and outlived his first drinking buddy Jim Morrison. Alice Cooper has been quite transparent about his alcoholism and the bumpy journey on the yellow brick road to sobriety throughout the last four decades, and how he was just few drops away to join his former drinking-buddies six feet under. After he got caught up in the cocaine blizzard, which has wiped all his memories of the recording of his three final albums (also called the blackout albums), he got into rehab for one last time before he’d risk ending up as a corpse looking like a combination of an emaciated Auschwitz victim and a horrifying drag-show version of Bette Davis. While it all just sounds like a cliché synopsis for a biopic, he was far from ready to tour again and just the thought of performing on stage in full sobriety seemed to be the most frightening thing ever. He was now in his mid 30’s without any record label, and thus back to square one. So, now what …

 

Well, why not kill some time by starring in an Italian low-budget horror film? Seems fun enough, right? Alice wanted the film to be cheap and sleazy, and that’s what he got. He also got to play a musician, not so different from himself and even record a music video for the film. However the film ended up, if it was released to cinemas or straight to VHS, wasn’t important to him. The one and only thing that mattered was if he was able to work while being sober which he hadn’t been for fifteen years. And with that being said, he couldn’t have picked a better director than Claudio Troll 2 Fragasso. Monster Dog became his rehab movie, so to speak, and the segway to his next life-chapter with his comeback tour The Nightmare Returns. And as I’m writing this, the guy is 75 years old, still active and let’s hope he’s kicking it for five more years so he can celebrate with the song I’m Eighty.

 

Monster Dog starts off with a music video of a rather catchy song Identity Crisis by the new age rocker Vince Raven (Cooper) who is heading for his childhood home with his wife and crew to shoot a new music video. And to be honest, I don’t see much point in trying to explain the plot here, because there isn’t much. People get attacked by dogs, people having nightmares, we have several foggy night scenes, more dogs appear before the film slides into more obscurity as a gunslinging western. Claudio Fragasso also co-wrote this with his wife Rossella Drudi, just to mention it.

 

Given that we’re talking about a Claudio Fragasso film it has to at least be entertaining, right? Yeah, most of the known trademarks are here with bad acting, cheesy effects that goes from half-decent to absolute pure dung that has no business being on screen, and overall filled with 80s schlock all across the board. And except for Alice Cooper, who walks through the film with a stone cold face, the rest of the cast  acts like silly cartoon characters, all of which are Spanish with laughable English dubbing. The dubbing of Alice Cooper done by Ted Rusoff is the only convincing thing here. Yeah, he actually fooled me big time. Applause.

 

All us ghouls love Alice Cooper and I really wish I could say that he is worth the film alone. But that isn’t much of the case here. Although he appears in most of the scenes, the guy seems bored, withdrawn and apathetic. And yeah, fifteen years of daily alcohol abuse does that to you. He says his lines and couldn’t be bothered with the rest. It’s quite the opposite of what we’re used to see when he’s on a stage feeding his Frankenstein, to put it that way. It isn’t before the final act when Alice seems to loosen up and having fun when he gets to shoot some badguys straight in the skull with a shotgun. Even though this is his only major role in a feature, he later appeared in other films with minor appearances and cameos, such as a creepy mute hobo in John Carpenter’s The Prince of Darkness (1987), Freddy Krueger’s dad in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), and as himself in Wayne’s World (1992) and Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows (2012).

 

And with all this said, I’m not so sure that the director is fully to blame for the incoherent final cut here though, as the film was completely cut to pieces in post-production by the producer Eduard Sarlui. He cut out as much as 20 minutes, reconstructed the scenes, assumingly with blindfolds or in pure resentful spite towards the director, and the whole thing was a mess that got Fragasso heartbroken when he saw it. It was at least a big triumph for Alice who got through the whole filming process clean and sober with Coca-Cola.

 

Monster Dog did never get an official DVD release expect a couple of cheap bootlegs with shitty VHS quality which explains the muddy screenshots below. For a far more watchable viewing, look for the 2016 Blu-ray release from Diabolik DVD.

 

Monster Dog

 

Director: Claudio Fragasso
Writers: Claudio Fragasso, Rossella Drudi
Original title: Leviatán
Country & year: Spain, USA, Puerto Rico, 1984
Actors: Alice Cooper, Victoria Vera, Carlos Santurio, Pepa Sarsa, Carole James, Emilio Linder, Ricardo Palacios, Luis Maluenda, Barta Barri, Charly Bravo, Fernando Conde, Fernando Baeza, Nino Bastida
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0087616/

 

Tom Ghoul