Prey (Prooi) (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

As a lion wreaks havoc on the city of Amsterdam, a zoo veterinarian gets involved in its chase along with her boyfriend and ex.

Written and directed by Dick Maas, Prey is a horror comedy film with its comedy very dark and its horror a bit light.  The film takes the wild animal on the loose premise and moves it to the city of Amsterdam where the idea of a killer lion on the loose is particularly ludicrous.  The way the film develops this and adds hunters, both experienced and not so much, who once paired with the local police becomes a bit of a mess in terms of lion-chasing but a fun watch in terms of horror-comedy.  The film shows an ability to pit characters against each other in a way that is entertaining while they all face the lion threat.  The comedy is often situational and takes advantage of the characters’ flaws in a way that works well here.  The direction is rather on point for the comedy and fairly good on the horror.  However, as a horror film, it has just about no scare factor.

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Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (2016)

Sharknado4At this point you kind of have to accept the “Sharknado” movies will never be as good as the novels, so going in to “The 4th Awakens” means embracing it as a movie, and a media experience. It has a slew of appearances and cameos from notable internet personalities like Andre “The Black Nerd” Benjamin, to character actors like Gilbert Gottfried. Yes, even the Chippendales dancers appear to thrust against some sharks. “Sharknado” is a virtual side show of a genre offering that holds its tongue firmly in cheek, even when turning hero Fin in to a basic rip off of Ashley Williams from “Evil Dead.”

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Drive-In Mutants: Contamination .7 (1993)


Every month we discuss some of the best and worst cult films ever made, from the hits, classics, underground, grind house, and utterly obscure, from Full Moon, and Empire, to Cannon and American International, it’s all here, minus the popcorn, and car fumes.

the-crawlersCONTAMINATION .7 (1993)
Aliases: Troll 3, Creepers, The Crawlers, Troll III: Contamination Point 7
Epic Productions
Directed by: Joe D’Amato, Fabrizio Laurenti
Starring: Mary Sellers, Jason Saucier, Bubba Reeves, Chelsi Stahr, Vince O’Neil

The Plot is Afoot! What if “The China Syndrome” was remade but featuring the budget of the Craft Services, three writers amounting to a horrible script, and a cast with zero skill to deliver even the most fundamental dialogue? You ultimately get the utterly awful “Contamination .7” where in a small town named Smallsville, is being terrorized by a deadly outbreak of man killing tree roots that murder anyone and everyone for reasons unexplained. They reside in a contaminated forest covered in radioactive waste. Not a single troll rears its head at any point in the movie.

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Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2016) [Blu-Ray]

sharkansasblurayThe consistent utterance of Dominique Swain’s character to herself of “Crap on a Cracker,” just about sums up Jim Wynorski’s latest turkey that mixes “Con Air” and “Tremor.” No doubt tailor made for airing on late night cable television, “Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre” is a goofy PG-13 crime thriller with a bunch of land roving sharks that apparently make their victims explode upon contact. This is the kind of movie cable television dreams of. It stars a host of gorgeous women, many of who scamper around in conveniently handy bikinis, and whose prison garb are short shorts and clinging tank tops. They also never actually have sex or drop F bombs.

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Night of the Wild (2015)


“Night of the Wild” is a lot like those terrible seventies nature run amok movies. It’s badly directed, horribly edited, has terrible continuity issues, and garners some inadvertent camp. All that’s missing is an obligatory nude scene. “Night of the Wild” is brimming with potential, beginning with a premise that could have amounted to a great movie. A mysterious green meteor crash lands on a small farm town spreading its meteorites. Suddenly the local animal population begin turning on their masters, becoming violent murderous monsters. Without explanation or warning, now the humans must fight to survive and figure out a way to make it out of their town. “Night of the Wild” pretty much dips in quality after the first ten minutes, creating a story that the budget and resources couldn’t possibly afford.

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Into the Grizzly Maze (2015) (DVD)


It’s a shame that “Into the Grizzly Maze” didn’t get a wider release, because while the cast is strong, director David Hackl delivers a very strong survival thriller. I’m not going to claim it a masterpiece, but for what it promises, it’s a damn solid action adventure that’s set against the backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness. Much like “The Edge,” it’s mainly a movie about men confronting their personal demons while battling a giant ferocious and cunning bear that has decided it’s had enough with humanity. After illegally poaching a bunch of bears, a rogue bear has decided to strike down any and all intruders, and begins slaughtering conniving hunters and officers alike.

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Lake Placid vs. Anaconda (2015) (DVD)


If you wanted Lake Placid vs. Anaconda, damn it all it’s what you get with this new crossover. Like most films of this ilk, you’re mainly tuning in to watch a lot of really obnoxious characters die brutal deaths, it’s just a shame a lot of it is off screen. Perhaps that’s because this is primarily a TV movie, but I was disappointed to see a lot of the deaths were cut aways and mostly kept sanitary; when you have a giant crocodile and giant snake chomping down on gorgeous sorority girls, that’s just downright criminal. With a movie like this you can’t expect a masterpiece, and oddly enough I went in to it with rock bottom expectations. Did that mean it pleased me proficiently? Not really.

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Arachnophobia (1990)

arachnophobiaIf you’re going to name your movie “Arachnophobia,” your movie should embrace its title wholesale, and surely enough Frank Marshall‘s film does a hundred times over. “Arachnophobia” garners a creepy story, interesting characters, a very scary dilemma, but mostly it’s an endurance test on how much you can stand to watch poisonous spiders creep in and out of every nook and cranny without keeling over in fright. “Arachnophobia,” in any other decade, would be a B monster movie focusing on the frights of the lurking arachnids that are dominating this small town, and director Frank Marshall plays them up well, closing in on the predators as they steam roll through innocent individuals.

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