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Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Blood Theatre (1984)

This is one of those movies that I found while browsing the stuff available online. I passed it over a couple of times but eventually noticed Mary Woronov was in it. She did a lot of artsy stuff but was also in some real gems back in the seventies and eighties. Which one of these would Blood Theater turn out to be? Well Crap…

The story kicks off with a play being put on in an old theater. We find out that this is their last performance as it is going to start showing movies instead of live entertainment. That combined with his lady friend canoodling with another man makes the owner loose his mind and set a fire that I think kills a bunch of people. I don’t know for sure because it doesn’t appear they had the budget to show us much more than a smoke machine running for a few seconds. Years later the theater is opened again, and hauntings/murders start.

This movie is a mess. There is kind of a story about reopening the theater and the new crew sent to accomplish this but there isn’t much to it. Instead we get a plot that keeps shifting away from the ghost story to at various times show us random cheerleaders, the owner of the theater chain that purchased the place getting mugged, some random movie bootlegging, and comedy bits from Mary Woronov. All of these things eventually connect to the main plot of the theater reopening but barely. For example, we get an extended bit with cheerleaders so they can show up and get killed offscreen. This destroys any chance at a decent story.

The cast is okay, but not great. They manage to deliver their lines without too much difficulty, though it feels uninspired and falls a bit flat. The exception to this is of course Mary Woronov. She chews some scenery, has a couple funny bits, and is the highlight of the proceedings. Though it looks like most of her role was shot in an office over the course of a day or two. The movie is much better when she is on screen, but sadly that isn’t much.

Ghost or Serial Killer? Either way lame.
There aren’t any special effects to speak of. The kills are tame, and all take place off screen. There is a bit with a typewriter that was fun but that is about it. Our killer may or may not be a ghost. I mean do ghosts age? Live or dead it is just a guy sneaking around. The killer is just not that interesting.

This is a bad movie. Cheaply made with little effort put into having a script that was worth shooting. The story is muddled and filled with detours that never allows the ghost story to get rolling. Hell, I’m not even sure this is a ghost story. The story never explains anything as it just sort of ends, though not soon enough. Even at seventy-five minutes Blood Theater felt painfully long. I can’t recommend this one and hope that everyone takes my advice and avoids it.

edit: I just discovered this is from the director of Hobgoblins. Suddenly it all makes sense.

© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Crocodylus (2017)

This is terrible… not even in a fun way. This is just an awful low budget attempt at making a monster movie. I don’t even know where to start, but I will try. I have a feeling this might be a short review. If you don’t want to take the time to read it just let me tell you to avoid this flick.

We have two cute girls who make out and tell ghost stories near a pond in the state of Florida. One of them gets eaten… or at least as best I can tell from the shaky camera and lack of lighting. Then we meet a local sheriff who gets caught up in looking for a missing boy, who we know was eaten by something off screen. He asks for help from some science dudes who may be involved in the creation of the monster (spoiler… they are!). Though what that monster is I’m not quite sure. More on that later. Stuff happens including another guy being a dick in a bar and eventually spending a few minutes adding a backstory that we neither needed nor wanted. Seriously the character never shows up again! Then they shoot something, and the sheriff walks away.

If you have a terminal illness and are on your deathbed this is the movie to watch. Honestly, I’ve never had sixty-nine minutes of my life feel so damn long and I’ve watched Manos without the MST3K treatment. This movie has the feel of a project that either switched direction part way thru shooting or was in dire need of someone with the basic concepts of continuity and editing. Let me give a few examples.

The sheriff and his lady friend/deputy go to investigate the pond. She falls in and gets killed which admittedly the sheriff is bummed about. He goes to a bar and talks to the guy with the unnecessary backstory who convinces him to go get the body from the morgue to use as bait. He does this but at no point does he or anyone else mention the fact that we have already seen the coroner get killed earlier in the movie. Did nobody wonder where he went or check the supply closet?

There is also a pointless subplot with the assistants to the scientist guys who are in on the shenanigans. They go off and bang in a tent because… why not? Afterwards he gets killed and she gets gator raped? Or maybe just killed. But at least one or more days go by and the characters are never mentioned by their employers. I mean that tent had to be a mess so someone should have thought to question things, right? Did I mention the tent was in the backyard of the house where everyone else was staying? How did they miss that?

Both of the above could have been cleaned up with a line or two of dialogue. It wouldn’t have made the movie tolerable, but at least it would be less annoying. Throughout the duration people keep talking about the giant croc or croc alligator hybrid swimming around the lake. They continually use the words huge and giant in the dialogue. Turns out it is this mousy guy in torn up clothes with a Halloween mask of a dinosaur on his head. I mean it is supposed to be the son of one of the science guys who was given an experimental cancer treatment which is okay I suppose. I’m just describing how they executed it. It reminded me of the old Mego action figure of The Lizard. Check the picture to the right for an idea what I’m talking about (you youngsters probably have no idea what Mego Action figures were).

This is a total waste of time. I can forgive a bad creature due to small budget and even will give them a pass on the downright awful acting. But there is no excuse for a bad script and terrible editing. These are things that are within your control regardless of money. Plan ahead and shoot what you need to make things coherent. Crocodylus is a hard pass from me. Skip it.

© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer