Last Days on Mars.

The premise behind this one sounds like a cross between “Ghost of Mars” and a more traditional outbreak-style zombie film.  The potential is there, but given that I haven’t really heard much about this movie, I have a bad feeling maybe it doesn’t deliver.  However, I’ve been wrong before.


[Two astronauts drive around Mars and shoot the shit.]

Starkwell: Joyriding on Mars.  Seems fun.

Lovelock: Not a care in the world, apparently.


The cast seems very competent - Liev Schreiber, the girl from “Sixth Sense”, the guy who played Casey Jones in the first Turtles movie…  We are looking good right now.  I think this is not gonna be a stinker!  The astronauts are on their last day of their Mars mission, and they seem a bit anxious to get the Hell out.


[The Russian Dude on the team finds life on Mars, but doesn’t want to share with the team.  While out there, the ground beneath him crumbles and he falls into Mars’ core.]

Lovelock: See, that’s what greed brings.  Death.

Starkwell: Deep, guy.  Very deep.

Lovelock: NOICE!  I just noticed that Casey Jones is playing the captain and the captain is Canadian!


The team gets the go-ahead to try and retrieve the Russian.  While on their way back to the site, the Russian’s girlfriend goes totally insane and disappears.  Space… madness?


[Liev Schreiber goes down after him into the hole, he finds LIFE.]

Lovelock: So, he sees creepy fungus growth while having weird hallucinations and decides to CONTINUE DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE?

Starkwell: Can’t become an astronaut if you aren’t brave.

Lovelock: And a lot crazy.  Maybe a little dumb too.


The rest of the crew pulls him back up after he freaks out, and he’s all like “nothing happened down there, I’m fine, whatevs”.  Meanwhile, they notice two pairs of footsteps leading away from the hole… presumably the Russian and his girlfriend.


[Dude lets the Russian back into the ship, and takes off his mask to reveal HE’S A DEMON NOW.  Russian Demon drills through the guy’s stomach, with a drill that happened to be lying around.]

Lovelock: He looks like an alien. 

Starkwell: Well, he sounds like a velociraptor.

Lovelock:  Kills like a dream.


The crew is trying to figure out what they are.  Zombies?  Aliens?  Demons?  I’ll tell you what they are.  They’re amazing.  “Sixth Sense” woman witnessed it all and she is FREAKING OUT, trying to tell them all that they’re all fucked, basically.  Methinks she’s right.


[Casey Jones is hurt bad, man.]

Starkwell: Just a flesh wound?

Lovelock: The best ones always go too soon.  He was a true Canadian hero.

[Right before he dies, he goes a little bonkers and tries to choke a dude.]

Lovelock: KILL IT! KILL IT!

[So, now he dies, and “Sixth Sense” girl restrains him and straps his dead body down to the gurney.]

Starkwell: Smart.

Lovelock: No wonder Jason Schwartzman falls for her.

Starkwell: Wait... the character... ?

Lovelock: Bill Murray too.


Lovelock and Starkwell stayed quiet for the next while, on the edge of their seats, gripped by the SUSPENSE!  The surviving astronauts study blood samples from Casey Jones and realize he’s infected by the Mars life shit that they found earlier.  Liev Schreiber continues to have his bizarre hallucinations about being stuck in an airlock or something.  He goes to explore the ship where they locked in the other zombies.  It’s very “Event Horizon” meets “Aliens” meets something something.


[Liev fights a zombie and is unable to make him stop getting back up.]

Lovelock: They have the technology to on a mission to Mars, but when fighting a zombie, he resorts to beating him with a flashlight?

Starkwell: They probably didn’t expect to be fighting stuff on Mars.

Lovelock: Wait a minute, this is the future. Where are all the phaser guns?

[I hope I'm not the only one who caught that reference.]


The crew is down to only three members at this point.  Liev, Blondie and Coward Guy.  Coward Guy takes off with the only good range rover leaving Liev and a possibly infected Blondie in a range rover with not much juice left and dwindling oxygen to fend off the zombies who are closing in fast.


Lovelock: Why don’t they ever make a happy movie about Mars?

[He says this after Possibly Infected Blondie kills herself in front of Liev… she immediately comes back and goes full rabid, mumbling “KILL ME”.]

Starkwell: This makes “Total Recall” look kind of happy.

Lovelock: Nothing ever happens on Mars.

[I hope I'm not the only one who caught that one as well... Liev kills her, in the head with a rock.]

Lovelock: Works better than the flashlight, doesn’t it?


The cavalry shows up, but they let Coward Guy, who is now Coward Zombie, onto the ship and they all get deaded.  Liev FINALLY kills coward guy with a series of helmet head butts to the face.  Still no lasers, but it does the job.  Then he throws him into space and sails off into the sunset.  Except there is no sunset, and we never get to see if he makes it or not.  All in all a fun little picture from a first-time (full length) director.


BURT MALONE LETTERS: Kids' Shows with Zombies in Them.

Burt just sent me an email out of the blue, complaining about Kids' Shows with zombies in them.  This might have to do with  the fact that I recently heard Burt Malone is gonna be a father soon.  I think he’s frustratingly trying to find something he could watch with his kid other than the standard fare.


HOLY SHIT Kev, where to start?

First, I tried watching one episode of “My Babysitter’s a Vampire” and it made me throw up all over my own face.  The first episode starts and it’s as if I’m supposed to already know who these two fucking knobs are.  Saying shit like “newbs” and “spellcaster” and “vampire killing”.

Like all shows about teenagers, the plot revolves around a guy doing what he's gotta do to try to get into girls' pants.  He may not know that’s what he’s doing, but that’s what he’s doing.  In this case that means bringing her dog back to life.  And then one character was like “Harry Potter would be ashamed” and then I’m pretty sure there was a foghorn sound, and then this theme song starts that sounds like a terrible Sugar Ray B-Side, and I stopped watching.

I did however skip forward to the actual “zombie” episode, and it was even worse than I thought it would be.  Truth be told, I probably would have liked this show if it were on when I was a kid.  That’s not saying much though, because I used to look forward to watching TGIF.

Step by step.  Day by day.  Moving right along.  

I decided to give R.L. Stine’s “The Haunting Hour” a shot, and I must say, this one was much more delightful.  It helped that the zombie episode I watched had the kid from “Modern Family” in it.  Eventually the kid reanimates a corpse (?), and honestly, the makeup job is sweet, and it’s fairly scary.  If my TGIF watching self had seen this, I’d probably have shit my pants.

The story plays out like something in between “Re-Animator”, “Frankenstein” and, well, “Lassie”?  One lame thing though, “The Haunting Hour” is only a thirty minute show, which I think might be confusing for children.

Cheeky the zombie likes the Home Shopping Network!  And in the end we even get to meet his zombie mom!  It’s all fairly cool.

This R.L. Stine show got me thinking about that “Goosebumps” show from twenty years ago.  There was a two part ‘living dead’ type episode where all the townspeople are poisoned by some kind of chemical disaster.  Part one is slow moving and boring.  It picks up a little bit in part two but I can’t help but feel that most kids, if they aren’t too afraid to watch this kind of show, will not have the required attention span to sit through it.  Nice to see the Canadian landscapes though.  Like in the newer R.L. Stine show, the zombies look pretty sweet, although the “SPECIAL EFFECTS” when the zombies steam/dissolve/die in the sunlight are PISS POOR.

Apparently there’s a movie coming out called “Goosebumps” where Jack Black plays R.L. Stine.  So that’s something to… look forward to?

After “Goosebumps” I tried watching “Frankenweenie” but fell asleep eating a sandwich.  I mean the plot is like a combination of that FUCKING “Vampire Babysitter” episode I watched and the more enjoyable “Haunting Hour” (this may not be accurate though, I feel asleep very quickly).  Why is it that in kid-friendly horror stuff they always bring dogs back to life?

I would like to say, however, that what I saw of “Frankenweenie”, was actually quite good, and the animation kicked fucking ass.  I don’t blame the movie for my falling asleep, I blame the genoa salami.  Also I ended up having nightmares.  Again, not from the movie, probably from the genoa.  Stupid nightmare sandwich.

If I follow YOUR scoring style, I'd have to give the babysitter show a 1/4, "Haunting Hour" and "Frankenweenie" a 3/4 and the old "Goosebumps" a 2/4.  But since I don't follow YOUR scoring style, I will give the babysitter show a "FUCK YOU", the haunting hour gets a solid "MEH", "Goosebumps" gets the honorary award for "90's haircuts and mom jeans" and "Frankenweenie" gets a Tim Burton.

IN CONCLUSION.  I think I’m better off waiting until the kid is older, and just introduce him to real zombie movies right off the bat.  How old is old enough to watch Fulci movies?  Six?  Definitely by seven, right?  In the meantime, I’ll just show him Looney Tunes cartoons.

That’s it, I’m actually gonna go watch some cartoons now.


He should have also watched “Paranorman”, which was actually pretty awesome too.  Good luck with the baby Burt Malone.  Try and squeeze in some time to write me, from time to time.


Dead Creatures.

This is one of those zombie movies from the turn of the century that went entirely unnoticed, since, at that time, no one (present company excluded) gave a shit about zombie movies.  Especially not ones that were trying to do something a little different.  That being said, that it went unnoticed doesn’t necessarily make it bad.  So this might be an undiscovered gem.  Or it could be undiscovered for a reason.  We’ll know soon enough.


[British guy, acting like a cop takes a teenage punk hostage and seems to be getting ready to torture him.]

Starkwell: If he is a cop, his methods are quite unorthodox.

[Cut to a group of women getting stoned and talking about sex and wieners.]

Lovelock: Thems are some seriously British teeth.

Starkwell: And some pretty serious mom jeans... which seems like even in the early two thousands should have already been out of date.

[Then it cuts to one of the girls feeding some horrible looking bleeding face girl some kind of miscellaneous meat.]

Starkwell: WHAT in the FUCK.

Lovelock: Is any of this gonna be explained?

[Cut to one of the girls ripping off some meat from… HUMAN LIMBS.  Like hands and legs.]

Lovelock: I repeat.  EXPLANATION?

[So these ladies are all eating human.]


Then one of the girls mentions that it is starting to smell so she takes a sack filled with what’s left of the dude they were eating and throws it into someone’s backyard.  Lovelock and Starkwell are confused and feeling seriously unsettled.  Apparently the punk locked up in the cop’s basement has been there a whole week?  Insane.  There is no real explanation for what is going on, really.   Then there’s a guy who kills a girl and eats her, so I guess the cannibalism thing isn’t solely happening to the ladies.  I’m lost.  Starkwell and Lovelock are lost.  I think maybe the writer director was as well.


[One of the girls gives a guy a blowjob for twenty bucks, and then kills him and takes him back to eat him and share with the gang.]

Starkwell: Wait, why did she bother to give him the blowjob if she was just gonna kill him and eat him?

Lovelock: And a condomless one at that.

[I don't think these ladies are worried about catching anything, since they appear to be, zombies.]


Then there’s a scene where the guy that was eating people takes his shirt off and he has a huge cut on his stomach like he had been gutted.  He then duct taped it shut.  So… now it's much more clear... these people are all zombies.  Still so confused, though.


[Two girls saw (like saw as in CUT) a random dude into pieces and cry a whole bunch and then pray (as in to God).]

Starkwell: This is certainly very different than the norm.

Lovelock: Are there any heroes in this movie?  The whole thing seems centered around a bunch of decomposing cannibals.  Are we supposed to feel bad for these bitches?  I don't.


The gore is pretty great and very, as I've said, unsettling.  It cuts from a girl having tea and biscuits with her grandma to the cop guy sawing a guy’s head off, or girls picking guts out of a carcass.  The only complaint the guys have at this point is that not a whole lot is actually HAPPENING other than people eating people and turning all gross and decomposey.


[The virus clearly spreads by bite and/or scratch.]

Starkwell: They are EASILY the least rabid zombies ever.

Lovelock: Like slacker zombies or something.  “Come here, let me hit you on the head with a hammer gently, thanks darling, oh look you’re dead.”

Starkwell: Even the people that die don’t make a sound when they get killed.  “I’m dead.  Bummer dude.”

Lovelock: Also… EVERYONE in this movie mumbles.


All of a sudden, Lovelock and Starkwell realized that the cop guy was a zombie hunter.  Hence sawing off a dude’s head, or driving a rod through their brain, or asking the punk about eating people.


Starkwell: Oldest, most crotchety, zombie hunter ever.

Lovelock: Seriously, zombie hunting is supposed to be a young man’s game.

[It’s become clear now, also, that he isn’t a cop, but a guy looking for his daughter (?), killing zombies along the way.]


So, I GUESS the zombie hunter guy is the hero.  Anyways, the guys are getting a little bored, as it is quite slow moving, but they both agree that in a way this was a bit ahead of its time.  The writer/director’s previous film was essentially a mockumentary about one guy’s slow descent into zombieness after being bitten… so he clearly likes to try to present the subject in a more ‘real’ and different way than expected or previously done.  Kinda neat… but we all agree the pace sucks.


[Turns out the zombie hunter’s daughter was the decomposing zombie girl from the beginning.  He finds out when he tortures one of the main characters.]

Lovelock: Wow.  It all comes full circle and yet, BORES THE SHIT OUT OF ME AT THE SAME TIME UGH SO BORING.

Starkwell: Snoozefest.

[After zombie hunter gets his daughter’s history, he kills the girl.]

Lovelock: Well, at least he’s thorough.

[He throws his tools into a lake.]

Lovelock: Wait?  What? No? If you don’t keep killing them who will?  Ugh, this movie.


Then the new girl shows up at the hooker’s place and they eat a dude.  The end, immediately.  So… um… yeah.  Great on paper, but quite boringly executed.


Fistful of Brains.

It’s hard to imagine that this is one of THREE zombie films that this writer director has managed to put out.  Granted with the micro-budget that these are likely made on, I can’t imagine any one of them being particularly grand or wonderful.  I don’t know how long the dudes will hang on this time around.  The intro credits play over, what I assume are scenes taken directly from the movie, while THE WORST FUCKING WESTERN SONG EVER RECORDED plays.  It’s kind of like how at the beginning of a porno they show a small clip from each scene and flash the actors’ names.  Like Anita Hardcock or something.


[Intro credits go on seemingly forever. With the theme song dragging on endlessly.]

Starkwell: I mean, you’re fucking joking right?

Lovelock: Shot on a Nikon Coolpix camera.  From ten years ago.  Edited by a free program that came with Windows Millenium Edition.

Starkwell: I’m waiting for the starwipe.


[Characters are introduced in a western ‘town’.]

Lovelock: I think I said this last time we watched one like this, but I think this was filmed at the Great Escape in Lake George.

Starkwell: Judging by the buildings, they’re not trying very hard to look authentic.

Lovelock: Those are some fancy light fixtures for the WILD WEST.


So there’s a snake oil salesman who sells the townspeople stuff.  And the ‘saloon’ is some dive bar with stuff written in permanent marker all over the ceiling and the bar, stuff like “James and Mindy 4 evah”, which all looks and sounds very authentically western, of course.


[A bunch of zombies eat some cowboys in the woods.  The one survivor tells the sheriff and FLIPS OUT!]

Starkwell: I know this is terrible, but it’s reaching some seriously insanely, near funny, bad heights right now.

Lovelock: Seriously, I’m nearly entertained by just how much of a trainwreck this actually is.

Starkwell: That guy’s a good actor.


There isn’t much point in documenting this any further.  There were a lot of laughs.  A lot. I doubt this was meant to be a comedy.  Given how painfully bad this was, I can’t help but want to track down the sequel “Few Brains More”… Of course, Starkwell and Lovelock would need some time before they'd agree to watch it.  Don’t believe the IMDB user review claiming this is like 'Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” set in the 1800s'.  I mean I suppose it’s true if you change ‘Sam Raimi’ to ‘High School Drama Club', ‘Evil Dead’ to ‘total piece of shit’ and ‘set in the 1800s’ to ‘filmed in a small town using the local townies as the cast’.  I will say though, the film ends with a girl being thrown off a cliff and has a pretty sweet dummy shot.  A good dummy shot tends to make everything ok, and Starkwell and Lovelock ended up leaving feeling pretty good.


Lovelock: In a word, TRAINWRECK I CAN’T LOOK AWAY.

Starkwell: That’s more than one word.

Lovelock: This movie could never be described in one word.

Starkwell: Sure it can.  Terrible.

Lovelock: Fair enough.


This movie is bad in the way that old eighties or seventies movies were bad, which is kind of refreshing.  It looks like a lot of care was put into making it, a lot of time, a lot of effort.  It's kind of fun to see that, even when it is - especially when it is - a colossal failure.  When movies TRY to be 'so bad it's good', it never works.


The Roost.

I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about this movie other than that it is now a few years old and that the director has recently been involved in some of those anthology horror films.  None of what I just said leads me to believe it will be very good, but I’ve been wrong before.


[DVD Menu and intro has that grainy “faux” grindhouse look…]

Starkwell: So it’s to be one of those?

Lovelock: This was made for the Showtime network?

Starkwell: If it was ScyFy I’d be running for the hills.


Anyways, the intro is set up as if we are watching some old black and white horror television program.  The director does a decent job making fun of old fashioned black and white cheeseball TV horror.  Unfortunately it takes too long to get going.  Like, yeah, we get it, old horror.


[The “frightmare” tv show thingy goes on, as he introduces the story of people on a way to a wedding.]

Lovelock: The intro to Disney’s Tower of Terror is more gripping than this.

Starkwell: The movie is only eighty minutes, and he had to pad the beginning with this?

Lovelock:  Plus these credits are taking a good five minutes.

[This is the second round of intro/credits if you count the ones before the fake TV show thing.]

Starkwell: Long, unnecessary… even a bit confusing.


Around the seven or eight minute mark, now the movie starts.  It’s Halloween (?) and some college kids are on their way to a wedding?  Then a bat or something flies into their car.


[Old farmer guy goes to lock up his barn and is turned into a zombie by… bats?]

Lovelock: Wait what?

[His wife goes to find him and it cuts away before we see anything, so maybe he isn’t a zombie.  I don’t know.]

Starkwell: Is the movie just going to keep NOT SHOWING us something and then cutting away?


The film is really poorly lit.  There are a lot of dark shots of the actors holding flashlights and honestly, you can’t see anything.  So the college kids are stranded, and thankfully they are near the farmhouse, which hopefully means someone will get eaten soon.  Thirty minutes in and not much has happened except some college kids getting their car stuck in a ditch.


[Finally the “goofy” college kid goes to check out the barn.  Dies?  There’s a cop that goes in next, and he… also dies?  Actually we actually SEE the cop die, unlike everything else so far.]

Lovelock: Wait, he didn’t die by bats, he fell out a window?  That’s lame.

Starkwell: Is the cop Trent Reznor?

Lovelock: What?  No.  You’re an idiot.

Starkwell: I’m just trying to find something, anything, to be even just a touch excited about.

Lovelock: Maybe he jumped out the window to hurt himself, today.

Starkwell: Please don't.

Lovelock: To see if he still feels.


All of this is followed by a whole bunch more of the college kids being all “what should we do?  I don’t know.  What should we do?  Let’s talk about it forever”.  Honestly, JUST DO SOMETHING.  Also, why did they bother make it Halloween, and mention it explicitly... it's fully irrelevant.


[Finally, zombie cop pops out with a melty face and a rabid demeanor.]

Lovelock: There we go.  More of that, movie, and less of EVERYTHING ELSE YOU’VE DONE SO FAR.

[The college kids beat him to death with a shovel.]

Starkwell: They had him locked up in a barn… why would they just kill him when they don’t even know what’s wrong with him?  Crazy.

[That happens a lot in these movies.  I like to think in real life people wouldn’t go right from “Bill, is that you?” to “SHOVEL YOUR FACE TO A PULP”.]


Anyways, more running from bats, and hunkering down in a farmhouse, and then running from bats again, and eventually more zombies… but it’s all fairly slow moving.


[Guy with glasses shoots old lady zombie in the face.]

Lovelock: Wait, he had never even seen her before, and all she was doing was shuffling around in a room…  There was NOTHING about her that suggested zombie, or monster, or SHOOT ME.

[Zombie farmer pops out and bites glasses guy.]

Starkwell: Well that’s more clearly a zombie.

Lovelock: Maybe not.  I mean the dude just shot his wife in the face, maybe he’s just getting revenge.  In conclusion, this is some bullshit right here.

Starkwell: OLD LADY! KILL IT!  That's just bananas.


Then, as if to say “just when you thought this shit was ending soon” it cuts back to the fake tv show, and the “host” says some dumb shit and then it goes back to the movie.  WHY?!?!?!?!


[Everyone dies.]

Lovelock: Good.


The end.  But not before another shitty black and white tv show segment, which, for some reason, this time is in widescreen as opposed to being in full screen as it was earlier.  If you're gonna be lame, at least keep the lame consistent.  GIMMICKS EVERYWHERE! Hate.