Husband has been working a lot lately so he took the day off and we’ve planned an ambitious date/day. We’re going to watch a lot of the crap on our Tivo. We have a lot of thematic triple & quadruple features saved up: dragon, dinosaurs, and werewolves, oh my!

But first, we’re easing in with some giant CGI crocodilians while we drink our morning coffee and contemplate hitting the gym and foraging for lunch.

And whiskey.

Lake Placid was a quirky hit that starred Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, Betty White, Meredith Salenger, and Mariska Hargitay.

Lake Placid 2 was forgettable. Or, at least, I forgot it.

Lake Placid 3, however, was a special present for SyFy channel watchers.

It’s not much of a present to alligators, but popular culture rarely is.


[embedded video: trailer for Lake Placid 3

Lake Placid 3 stars 5-season Eureka alum Colin Ferguson. And as a bonus, go-to character actor Michael Ironside as the sheriff.

CGI alligators of variable size depending on the camera angle eat nubile hikers and craptacular wackiness ensues. Colin Ferguson saves the day. Lake Placid 4, aka Lake Placid: The Final Chapter goes into production, starring Elisabeth Röhm and Robert Englund.

Everybody wins.

(Except possibly people who saw Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, which was released in 2012 and looked pretty stupid. Even we didn’t watch it).

After lunch, we’ve decided it’s going to be all dinosaurs all the time. I’ll probably post about those on Tuesday. See also: whiskey.

Are bike messengers still a thing in the United States? Not as in, do they still exist – of course they still exist! (How else would people get weed delivered to their office in the middle of the day?)

Let me start over: I’m sure there are still courier services – I wonder if their numbers have decreased.

With the exception of Premium Rush, they’ve almost vanished from pop culture. When was the last time the “hip friend” character on a show was a bike courier?

I was just wondering about bike messengers because I was wondering if someone made a Dark Angel reboot, would the main characters still be messengers? I don’t know why I was thinking about this. I’m not now, nor have I ever, watched Dark Angel.

Maybe I started thinking about Dark Angel because it’s indirectly connected to Stonehenge Apocalypse because Supernatural‘s Jensen Ackles was in the 2nd season of Dark Angel and then a few years later landed a lead role on Supernatural, which, in the 4th season, added Misha Collins to the cast as one of the best characters ever and Misha Collins is, of course, the star of Stonehenge Apocalypse, which we’ve just started watching.

Probably not, but it would be cool if that was why.

I can’t believe I’ve never mentioned Stonehenge Apocalypse. Not only have we seen it before, we’re re-watching it. On purpose. For pretty much no reason at all.

It’s got Misha Collins AND disaster movie physics AND adventure movie archaeology AND Stonehenge AND an apocalypse, all wrapped up in one big tortilla of terrible.

Goddamned movie archaeologists. Always doing their archaeology stuff with ancient powerful relics, trying to facilitate the apocalypse or raise an ancient god or get even more super-rich.

Luckily, movie physicists and movie astrophysicists are always standing by to save the day by preventing the power-mad, well-funded movie archaeologists from destroying the world.

For realism, these movies really ought to have a scene in realtime where the movie archaeologists spend 30 minutes arguing over which is the the cheapest happy hour in town and then spend the next 7 hours of storytime drinking beer and arguing about stable isotope analysis and critical theory and heritage management politics and how whoever takes the job managing Stonehenge is out of their ever-loving mind. After they slept off their hangovers, they’d spend the next 6 months of the story grant-writing and and then they’d take a series of moderately paying Cultural Resource Management temp jobs to make some cash during the field season.

Then they’d resume apocalypse facilitation in earnest in the Fall because it’s way more fun than cleaning, labeling, cataloging, and analyzing artifacts in the lab.

Plus, that’s the kind of work you leave for the grad students.

That would be significantly less dramatic and exciting than the “quest to find an ancient Egyptian temple in Maine and turn Stonehenge into an apocalyptic death ray” storyline we just saw in Stonehenge Apocalypse, which was also profoundly lacking in musical numbers, so I’ll leave you with this:


[embedded clip: This Is Spinal Tap]

Incidentally, FWIW, the Cycle Messenger World Championships continue to happen. Plus, everyone carries messenger bags now and wears skinny jeans, so although it seems like bike messengers are maybe less visible, bike messenger culture has it’s tentacles deep in fashion and is here to stay. For a while, anyway. At least until smaller portable devices reduce the amount of crap people carry around and messenger bags get smaller or become irrelevant. That seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

Crapfest has been postponed due to a family emergency so we’re just considering these random acts of viewing to be part of the warmup to The Real Crapfest. Just so you know.


[Embedded Trailer: House of Bones]

Today we embarked on our Two Days of Crap Filmfest (aka Crapfest). Between our Netflix queue and our Tivo, Overlord II, we have an abundance of possibilities because I’ve been hording the worst of the worst for months. I made a spreadsheet to track the themes, key elements, and featured stars.

Eliza Dusku! Barry Williams! Charisma Carpenter! Danny Bonaduce! Misha Collins!

We’ve also got Liam Neeson’s Battleship and, as incentive to keep pushing forward, we’ve got that all-time Bad classic, the Manitou, as the headliner.

Bad (watch immediately, repeatedly).
bad.
Boring Bad (see also: Badish, Badesque).
Not So Good.
Mediocre (neither bad nor good enough to bother with).
Pretty good (might even see it again).
Terminator 2.

We started with Open Graves – a 2009 epic I tivo’d off SyFy on a Saturday morning in February at 9:30 a.m. It opened with a montage of my least favorite things: screaming, bloody torture, fingernail ripping, and snakes. This was on at 9:30 on a Saturday morning? Even I find that inappropriate.

It’s 6:30 on Friday evening and I still find it inappropriate.

There could be spoilers here, but you shouldn’t care because you shouldn’t watch this movie.

Seriously: this movie sucks.

I am telling you this movie is not worth your time.

Think about that.

Since we watched it, I might as well tell you what you’re (not) missing:

After the random spasm of violence that comprised the opening credits, we cut to a bunch of annoying graduate students partying in Spain. After a few minutes of “character development” we’ve already started rooting for a return to torture. Fortunately, Eliza Dushku showed up to give us someone to cheer for.

One of the annoying grad students, played by Mike Vogel, who might possibly be the intended star of this movie, bought an antique boardgame from the Spanish inquisition so hopefully most of these people are about to start dying, violently.

The Spanish Inquisition was famous for it’s board games. Little-known fact.

In related news, this movie has too damned many snakes in it.

To summarize: the idiot grad students play the Spanish Inquisition Boardgame and then start dying violently, each in the manner predicted by the game. The game is the vehicle of revenge for the witch, Mamba, whose skin was used to make the game.

Got that? It was more convoluted than that but actually made sense when Eliza Dushku read it to another character after she looked it up on the internet, presumably on Witchipedia or the Spanish Inquisition Boardgames Wiki. It’s not worth recounting in this post because I don’t wish to make the movie sound clever or interesting.

Then some stuff happened. Then it ended.

At one point, Eliza Dushku’s character said, “Everyone could win, everyone could lose.”

This is also a good summary of what could happen to audiences of this movie.


[Embedded Trailer: Open Graves]

House of Bones, which was the Saturday morning double-feature with Open Graves, had a distinct advantage, in that Open Graves set the bar pretty low for the evening. House of Bones turned out to be a Ken Badish production, which was amusing at first. Later, as the movie teetered on the verge of “boring badness (aka badishness) we wondered if it hadn’t actually been an omen we’d failed to heed.

Corin Nemec (Mansquito, SS Doomtrooper) co-stars alongside Carpenter as TV ghost hunters that enter a reportedly haunted house that may prove to be the death of them.

Oh, dude! The star and the producer of SS Doomtrooper and Mansquito? Why didn’t you say so earlier? (Nemec was also one of the short-lived Campbell cousins on Supernatural).

I loved Mansquito. It’s not as good as Snakehead Terror, but what is?

The plot of House of Bones: Alleged haunted house. Reality TV show crew shooting a show with a psychic in the alleged haunted house. Ta-Da! What could possibly go wrong?

Fortunately, it turned out to be juuuust Bad enough to watch with minimal psychic damage, although it’s no Snakehead Terror or Hellbound. The important thing is that we’ve lived to watch another day.

“Where in the world,” I barked, indigent, “do meerkats and chupacabras co-exist in the same habitat?”

Husband, round clear vowels disguising any impatience he may have felt, intoned, “Noooowheeeeere.”

Even before the words were out of my mouth I knew this was a dumb question and that I should stop watching Tivo’d SyFy Saturday night craptaculars and get some real work done.

Right.

Then we un-paused Chupacabra: Dark Seas (aka Chupacabra Terror) and wallowed in the hilarity.

There will be spoilers in this post, but only for those not astute enough to figure out that a movie whose ads imply it might as well be titled “Chupacabra on the Love Boat with buckets of fake blood and a guy in a rubber monster suit” is going to involve a chupacabra getting loose on a cruise ship.


[embedded: Chupacabra: Dark Seas (aka Chupacabra Terror) trailer]

Giancarlo Esposito plays a cryptozoologist transporting an animal in the cargo hold of a cruise ship. It’s a chupacabra, but don’t tell anyone! It’s a chupacabra who lives on a caribbean island with meerkats! Silly meerkats, why do you think you should only live in Africa?

And the cruise? It’s a chupacabra-themed cruise!

No. Really.


chupacabra: dark seas


Chupacabra: Dark Seas

I don’t wish to ruin it for you, but when the chupacabra breaks out of the cargo hold and starts chowing down on all the tasty passengers and crew, he doesn’t look anything like the novelty chupacabra carved vegetable centerpiece shown in that photograph.

John Rhys-Davies, as the ship’s captain, seems to be imploring the viewer to use this movie as an opportunity to forget Dragonstorm.

Alien dragons? Fat chance we’ll forget that.

Esposito plays accent roulette, mumbling through awkward dialogue as his chupacabra gets loose on the ship and mayhem ensues.

“I have trapped it before. I can trap it again!”

He says that line more than once. In the same scene.

The captain’s daughter is also the ship’s Tae Bo instructor. I’d forgotten about Tae Bo. I found this fantastic New York Times article (March 21, 1999) about Tae Bo:

A friend of mine says that Tae-Bo is the macarena of exercise: irresistible moves with a beat that anyone can do and look sort of O.K. Men and women, young and old, all ”get” Tae-Bo, because a punch is an instinctive move.

Nothing about yoga, by contrast, is instinctive. (You remember yoga, don’t you? The ”inner” workout?) Yoga is weird and painful and elitist; it made you feel like you weren’t quite a member of the club. And that awful feeling of being left out meant that you weren’t primed to receive the mystical yummies that yoga was hawking. Besides, unless you were writhing around with all your pierced buddies down at Jivamukit on Lafayette Street in Manhattan, yoga was boring.

Perhaps oneness is out. In any case, the mild aggression of Tae-Bo feels like a welcome palate cleanser.

I just looked up at the screen and someone was on fire. I have no idea who or why. I don’t think it matters, it just looked cool. The Navy Seals (who up to this point I thought were supposed to be some sort of comedy-relief coast guard auxiliary) are ineffective at stopping the chupacabra. Luckily, the captain, his daughter and his old navy buddy who happens to be on the cruise, save the day.

The captain’s daughter defeats the chupacabra with – I am not making this up – Tae Bo.

Husband proclaims, “You can’t use yoga on a chupacabra!” Which would have made a great tagline for this movie.

Then we watched Chupacabra vs the Alamo, which stars Erik Estrada as a DEA agent who does battle with….chupacabra. At the Alamo. On Cinco de Mayo. Sure, why not? The Onion A/V Club hits all the highlights so I don’t have to, although I would like to state for the record that I think the chupacabras in Alamo would be more realistic than the one in Dark Seas, if chupacabras were real.

One last thing: one of the actors in Chupacabra: Dark Seas played Amy the gorilla in Congo.

Amy good gorilla.

Good night.

SyFy: Flying Monkeys

SyFy Channel: Flying Monkeys

Flying Monkeys is one of those movies that compels the viewer to ask the eternal question, “Sure, why not?”

It makes a fine double-feature with BloodMonkey, especially on the weekend that Oz The Great and Powerful hits theaters.

BloodMonkey is a 2007 classic in the “anthropology done (horribly and nonsensically wrong) on film” genre. It stars F. Murray Abraham as the anthropology professor. That dude was Amadeus!

That’s some quality programming!

Here’s a summary/viewing guide for Flying Monkeys that contains details that might be spoilers for people who a) care and b) have never seen a made for tv movie before, especially a SyFy movie.

In the opening scene, hilarity and bloodshed occur on an “airplane.”

Then, it’s a sunny day in Gale, Kansas, where a high school graduation is happening.

(Gale, Kansas. Flying monkeys. Go on, go make yourself a strong drink – I’ll wait)

It’s a sunny day in Gale, Kansas, which looks and sounds suspiciously like Louisiana. Sure, why not?

A guy who looks like Dr. Oz would look if he’d been punched in the face is late to his smart and responsible daughter Joan’s graduation. She expects him to be late because he’s been irresponsible ever since Mom died, which is totally clever and unique and in no way the relationship of every other father and daughter on television.

Face-punched Dr. Oz feels bad for being a terrible failure, so he goes to a pet store and buys Joan, who works as a vet tech, a monkey. A killer flying blood monkey disguised as a cute capuchin monkey! The capuchin who killed a smuggler in an airplane in the beginning of the movie!

What could go wrong?

We find out what could go wrong as the first act ends and the second act begins, after Joan and Face-Punched Dr Oz let the monkey live in their house. Loose. Without a diaper. For almost an hour of running-time which seems to be weeks of story-time.

That means you now have about 45 minutes to go forage for some dinner and make yourself another drink before the third act. You won’t miss much. At the sound of the screaming, there will be some badly rendered CG flying monkey action, so you might want to take a peak at those scenes because they’re pretty awesome. Or pretty awful. It will depend on how many drinks you’ve had, I suspect.

Monkeys. Possessed by demons. Sure, why not?

So a bunch of stuff happens but none of it really matters. I don’t think. I may have missed some stuff. (Those drinks don’t mix themselves).

Husband says you didn’t miss much if you weren’t paying attention. There was some gibberish exposition from some random secondary characters in the jungles of Louisiana/Hong Kong about how you need sacred weapons to kill the Flying Monkeys because if you just shoot them with a regular gun they multiply spontaneously and you suddenly have not one, but two, full-grown rubbery-looking hairless flying monkeys. More shooting, more monkeys. Like gremlins, only sillier.

Sure, why not?

This explains why there was only one winged demon-monkey left on Earth when I went into the kitchen and an army of them when I returned only moments later.

Robert Rodriguez’s niece-in-law, Electra Avellan gets top billing, presumably because she has a shower scene. She’s an otherwise infrequently-seen supporting character named Sonya who is Joan’s best friend. That seems to be the start of the third act, her shower scene. It’s normally wildly obvious when one act ends and the next begins in this movies, but to be honest I haven’t been paying a lot of attention.

(Niece-in-law? That sounds ridiculous. Just call her his niece).

I can only hope that monkey diaper authority Jungle Pete doesn’t see this movie (without me). All that un-diapered monkey action in that house would make him twitchy, despite the movie’s overall anti-exotic pets/animal smuggling “message.” And the demons.


[Video: Pegasus vs Chimera]

Pegasus vs Chimera, tonight’s SyFy Saturday Night Craptacular, is the single greatest movie I’ve seen in the last 6 minutes.

The movie, which we started about 5 minutes ago, is set in some hokey mythological past somewhere. The Kingdom of the Seven Realms, where I think they live, must be catty corner from Game of Thrones and adjacent to Conan the Barbarian. Several towns away from Lord of the Rings, though. Might have shared a beach house one summer with Reign of Fire. Can’t rule it out.

Pegasus vs Chimera co-stars That Guy Who’s in Everything, Sebastian Roche, and That Guy Who’s in A Lot of Stuff, Carlo Rota. And Rae Dawn Chong.

I know! Right?

I was so busy thinking about all of that, I spaced out and just returned 3 minutes later to a scene where That Guy Who’s in Everything is yakyakyakking about vengeance to a dewy young woman who I think might be a Princess.

At least Reign of Fire has Christian Bale and Matthew Matthew McConaughey. With the exception of That Guy Who’s in Everything, this is a movie about slightly doughy men delivering manly-man dialogue with what simply has to be an intentionally overwrought & stereotypically effeminate affectation.

As for wardrobe, many of the actors seem to be wearing their own bedsheets, held together by accessories purchased at a KMart in Central Florida sometime in late 1983.

I suppose you could argue this is the movie for people who always complain about the anachronistically tanned, toned and waxed characters on Game of Thrones. (See also: the King’s Landing Strip).

I have no idea what’s happening in this movie but apparently now there’s a Chimera. Apparently, it’s the Bad Creature That Must Be Stopped. Husband says that’s obvious because everyone loves Pegasuses. I ask how he knows that, because I thought everybody loved unicorns. Husband says people love them both.

We spend some time wondering if Pegasuses and Unicorns would be friends or enemies. We discuss this for a lot longer than we should admit, but to be fair, this is a (delightfully) terrible movie and this debate helps pass the time.

Husband asks me if I’m blogging this. I think he’s laughing at me. Hey, I have an excuse to be watching this, I’m blogging it. He’s just watching it. I’m not live-blogging it, though. It was on earlier tonight, but our Tivo, Overlord II is recording it so we could watch when we got home.

The movie is 2 hours long and we’re timeshifted by about 90 minutes…so that means that those of you who watched this movie on the east coast in real time tonight will probably be dead by the time I post this.

It’s really a pretty terrible movie.

The key is apparently to stop paying attention for a few minutes, because I just looked back up and Rae Dawn Chong is doing something hilarious and bizarre while Acting. Husband describes it as Greek Goddess Stick Dancing.

Husband can be charitable.

“But our only choice Is. To. FIGHT his monster!” The Princess just spat, with the same tone and delivery she’s used for every other line in every scene, no matter what the alleged emotional tone of the scene.

Holy crap, this whole movie has been totally worthwhile for the completely cheesetastic scenes of That Guy Who’s in Everything and the Princess pretending to fly around on the pegasus. Or on a mechanical bull. It’s unclear, really. Husband believes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was their point of reference for how to Act like you’re flying.

Hey, so get this: in Japan, Reign of Fire was released with the title, “Salamander.” Seriously?

That Guy Who’s in Everything plays George Washington in the official big-budget Hollywood biopic they show at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate. Henceforth, Pegasus vs Chimera shall be known in our household as “that movie where George Washington rides around on a pegasus.”

And well it should.

I think every “major” character in Pegasus vs Chimera has had a season-long role on 24. There must be some seriously messed up drinking game they play on the set of that show – it would explain a lot about this movie.

As the final dramatic scene of the movie unfolds, Husband yells at the screen in complete exasperation, “Fuck you, Pegasus! Why didn’t you do that over an hour ago?”

Thereby proving my point that probably not everyone loves Pegasuses.

(edited because this post was intended for next week, so by “tomorrow” I meant January 29th, not January 22nd).

Don’t forget to record Mega Python vs. Gatoroid tomorrow next Saturday night. It’s going to be awesome.

It’s okay to use the word “awesome” in this context because this movie has very special co-stars. I know, I know, you’re saying to yourself, “Duh, of course it does – MegaPython and her arch-nemesis Gatoroid!” You’re only half-right. MegaPython versus Gatoroid has two other co-stars: Tiffany (Mega Piranha!) and Debbie Gibson (Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus!)

Awe-some.

Scifipedia is off to a pretty good start.

Their SciFi Original Movies season, not so much. The best thing I can say about Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep was that they called it Kraken instead of Killimari. I was only half-watching it, and I was still bored.

SciFi had a contest to name the film and I thought Killimari was an absolutely awesome name for a giant killer squid movie. “Kraken: tentacles of the deep” is also clever and appropriate for a giant squid B movie of the deep, but Killimari was, just, well, Killimari. Just say it out loud a few times. Perfect, no?

Alas, as it turned out, Kraken was a bad movie and thus undeserving of such a cool name. Kraken was just bad, but not Bad. Not endlessly rewatchably Bad. Certainly not “Gratuitous Linda Blair tapdancing sequence” Bad or “James Earl Jones yakking up a leopard” Bad or “Chuck Norris kickboxing the devil in Israel” Bad or even “Bela Lugosi wrestling a giant rubber octopus stolen from the prop room of a John Wayne movie” Bad. It was simply small-b bad. Drowning in mediocrity bad. Boring bad.

To make it worse, they followed it with Snakehead Terror which stars the unholy tryptich of Bruce Boxleitner, Carol Alt, and animatronic stairclimbing snakehead fish. Snakehead Terror is no Empire of the Ants, but it’s lightyears more entertaining than Kraken. B-movies can, and probably should, be many things: badly directed, badly edited, badly acted, even badly written (maybe, especially, badly written) but they should never be boring.