Saturday, August 24, 2019

Launch Of My Shorts Project

Today I am launching an extra dimension to my "released on this day" repertoire. There are so many wonderful short horror films made every year, and yet they get very little recognition. I intend to feature 1 (or 2) per day, with information as to where they premiered. A few (precious few) are very famous; most are much more obscure. Some are much longer than others, though the average time for each is around 10 minutes (and I will not be including, for the most part, silent films in this-despite the Edison production still shown above). There are so many horror goodies lurking in these mini-films--it's time to start recognizing and enjoying them more. 

Today's inaugural posting comes from a film that debuted last year at London's FrightFest (which is going on right now and has a whole line up of shorts the lineup here and here). If you have stopped here before, you may have noticed my listing of Female Horror Directors in the margin (you can check that here or click the photo of the gorgeous Ida Lupino to your right). This short is special, it is a full on sound experience (so grab those headphone). It was written and directed by Roxanne Benjamin, who has served as a producer on some awesome horror projects (XX being amongst them!) and worked on the series "House." So without further adieu, I give you Final Stop

Friday, August 23, 2019

Random Keyword Horror

Keyword: Lumberjack

Keyword: Based On Video Game

Keyword: Female Frontal Nudity

Keyword: Manhattan New York City 

Keyword: Coma

Keyword: Boy

Keyword: Outer Space 

Keyword: Snow

Keyword: Killing

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Random Keyword Horror: Thursday Lead-In

Keyword: Haunted Hotel

Keyword: Paranormal Phenomena 

Keyword: Government Conspiracy 

Keyword: The Conjuring Universe

Keyword: Based On Book

Keyword: Vampire

Keyword: Based On Comic Book

Keyword: Graphic Violence

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Random Horror Movie Review: Boa vs. Python (2004)

Horror Sub-Genre: Monsters, Wildlife Gone Wrong

Year: 2004

Country: USA (um, it was filmed in Sofia, Bulgaria...
     yeah, Bulgaria as well)

Language: English

Runtime:  92 minutes

Tagline:  Two Reptilian Killing Machines Face Off To Fight To The Death--With Humanity As The Prize

Watched: via Amazon Prime

Bonus: There aren't any, sorry!

Recommendation: For David Hewlett fans only (maybe). Or for fans of cheesy CGI, you know who you are, and that's cool!

[There are spoilers...sort of, not sure this film could be "spoiled"]

To properly understand where this film fits into it's place in history, one needs to remember--even if some of us have tried to forget--that Hollywood made a number of giant snake films, starting with Anaconda in 1997, before the general sense that a silly film like this could be tossed off "for fun."  Those films "gifted" us giant snakes that do impossible things like defy their own weight and making lightening fast moves no big snake could ever pull off out of water; of course this film takes those "rules" and runs with them. To give it some credit, this was one of the first "versus" films in a LONG line of many others (at least for American markets, the Japanese, after all, invented them in the 1960's: here is one of the very first and the very best!). It is also director David Flores' freshman outing and it shows. The film is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek all out creature-feature monster mash up. Forget the snakes, it pretty much fails to even deliver a proper fight between humans. It stars Adamo Palladino billed here as Adam Kendrick (see "Friends"), Jaime (Mrs. David Boreanaz) Bergman and the above mentioned David Hewlett of Stargate series' fame (Hewlett has also appeared in other science fiction horrors of note--including: Cube and Splice, and most recently, Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water). He plays a good-hearted scientist who is trying to come up with a "universal anti-venom" for all venomous snake bites (a laudable concept itself more science fiction than the giant snakes). For some reason never explained, this endeavour involves working with a giant bioengineered boa constrictor. That's the general back-story. Before we get to actually meet Emmett the scientist however, we are first forced to endure Palladino's casino-owning/big game hunting character Broddrick and his cheeky girlfriend Eve (Angel Boris Reed)...who we really get to see a lot of! Next, we meet Bergman's Monica Bond, who is some sort of "dolphin scientist"--she apparently designs marine tracking implants for the water bound mammals. (The fact that I know her character's last name proves I actually watched this turkey...more than once!).  So there are our cast of characters....

Three more characters...the only one that matters is Agent Sharpe (Kirk B. R. Woller) seen just below on the right

Agent Sharpe with a cheeky-on-purpose reporter 😫 One of Sharpe's lines is...I kid you not..."This is big and big is nice!"

Then, there is this guy....who cares who he really is--his appearance is just 😧. Actually he is supposed to be an former Navy Seal or some such; he helps us viewers understand that Monica can hold her breath under water...for like A REALLY LONG TIME!

...on to the monsters. As already alluded to, Dr. Emmett works with a giant boa (who is female-by the way--and named Betty); but where does the python come from? Well, from the big game hunter of course. Broddrick has brought in a giant python for the purposes of a staged sport hunting event. Now, I have to stop here and point out just a few real world things...just two. 1) there are NO 100 foot pythons (!!); 2) I am a Floridian, I know what snake hunting in the everglades for the purposes of removing real invasion pythons from the wild looks like...almost NO ONE hunts them for sport...hell you can barely pay folks to do it! So the idea of bringing in some uber snake for sport hunting is just so ridiculous it's beyond laughter (the much more enjoyable Frankenfish, also a 2004 film, employs the same concept to better effect). Predictably, the python escapes before it even reaches it's destination, setting up the need for some sort of "official" government intervention to really "hunt" the thing. Said dolphin scientist helps snake scientist fit up the big boa with some tracking implants, and hey, presto--they are ready to hit the python trail. Meanwhile, Broddrick has decided to bring in his game hunters anyway... What could possibly go wrong? Actually, film-wise, a lot. We never get much human on human strife out this plot device, and since the film is short of decent special effects, this is pretty much the only chance the viewer has to expect a real fight. And about those hunters....

Betty getting her implants...

Anyone who has even glanced at this blog will know that I have a thing for horror vehicles, but even I nearly laughed my ass off (in an embarrassed kind of way) taking in the scene where the hunters make their appearances....oh so woofy!! It really does kind of have to seen to be believed! To make matters worse, these guys get a "hero walk." You know, The Right Stuff style (the Sharknado films do this SO much better to comic effect). And, please don't get me started on their accents....

There is not much else to really say about the film, other than it's laughably boring and incomprehensible in spots. Good example: the tossed-in scene of a couple "doing things" to each other in a car...the woman somehow mistakes a giant snake for her boyfriend's tongue--the most hard to understand part of this gratuity is that the snake apparently somehow leaves only parts of their bodies at the scene...snakes can't bite things in half...though I am quite sure, some wish they could! (See act 3 for more of this sort of WTF snake voodoo). Other plot elements are so useless, they don't bear mentioning. Owed to the bad CGI, there is actually precious little boa fighting python in any capacity; to spice this up a bit, the screenwriters decided to introduce a girl versus boy element as well. Female boa....I mean Betty, and male python. Needless to say, this does precious little to advance the plot and literally does nothing to add to the action. It just makes things more confusing...and painfully obvious that the authors of the script write like Liv from iZombie on frat boy brains. 

Snake versus DJ!!

Gratuitous rave torching!

Despite that this is shockingly a Columbia Tri-Star production--straight to video to be sure, but still a Columbia picture--it's obvious that it was made to be shown on the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy). That explains it's cheesy nature; I mean, amongst other things, it's listed as a "horror comedy;" and the film was made on a shoe-string FX budget. Still, films intending to be horror comedies are not supposed to be funny because they are actually so badly written that viewers are laughing in places where comedy is not intended and cringing at the parts that are. The full film as it was shot actually contains nudity, something I am certain was NEVER actually shown on the Syfy channel at any time (George W. Bush's FCC would have been ALL over them big time!!). So, while the film is cheesy, be aware that it's not intended as some "low budget family fun." It's obvious that it was actually intended mostly to be shown as a re-run on television cut to pieces (guess the general idea was to sell you the DVD copy if you wanted to see what they cut out). All of this to simply say...this isn't really Boa versus Python, it's hacks versus decent film making.