Dave Wain’s essential breakdown of this week’s cavalcade of straight-to-disc treats. Step inside the DTV Junkyard…
Robert Rhine is the Founder, Publisher and Deaditor-In-Chief of the spectacular Girls and Corpses Magazine, which under their self-titled banner has unleashed such micro-budget fare as Blood Rites (2012), The Meat Puppet (2012) and Paramedics (2016) upon the world; the latter of which I called “A gleefully twisted little indie film.”
His latest production sees him team up with the legendary Jeff Leroy, who’s been a fixture of the low budget circuit for the past two decades. As well as directing, he also did time as a crew-member on such glorious post-Millennium quickies like Jay Woelfel’s Demonicus (2001) and Trancers 6 (2002) for Full Moon, while he’d also go on to work with Band alumni like John Lechago, undertaking camera operating duties on the superb Magus (2008).
Of late, time in the director’s chair for Leroy has been a little limited, but his new film ALIENS vs COLLEGE GIRLS, or ALIENS vs TITANIC to give it its untampered title, certainly quenches our thirst for a breed of poverty-row schlock that’s been frustratingly absent from UK retailers of late.
With a trailer first surfacing five years ago, it’s been a lengthy process to get this trash-spectacular seen, but now it’s here we find ourselves welcomed onto the Titan 1C, a space cruiser considered to be the most luxurious star-liner ever built. However, when a sudden meteor strike hits the ship, a deadly biological life-form is let loose which forces a crash landing. Now deserted on a remote planet, the remaining survivors must work together before this extra-terrestrial being has a chance to slaughter them all.
“We are now preparing to land on the dark side of Uranus” is a guffawing example of the cheeky puns at play here, but it’s the reason we bought the movie and such crowdpleasing one-liners flow freely from Keith Parker’s script. “Oh my God! They killed Kenny” comes the cry when that character meets his maker, while self-referential puns like “It’s Invasion of the Booty Snatchers!” land with gleeful delivery.
Although we’re treated to an impressively crafted space-set opening, action switches to budget-friendly exteriors early on, albeit with a filter to at least provide a degree of otherworldliness. Leroy though is a master of pacing such micro-budget ventures, so despite the simplicity of the monster-movie scenario, he ensures the picture never drags by punctuating it with enough gore and titillation to spice up any moments of stagnation.
Featuring a host of cameos that include the aforementioned Woelfel, Rolfe Kanefsky and YouTube’er Shawn C. Phillips, it’s a feast of meagre-means-mayhem. There’s even an appearance from Batty Boop herself, Victoria De Mare, who performs her track So Long – the epitome of earworm in its most satisfying form.
So, if you look back on the nineties SOV boom in misty-eyed reminiscence, and have a burning love for rubber-suited monster movies oozing with salacious behaviour and low-brow humour, then Aliens vs Titanic might just have your name on it.
Let’s have a show of hands for who likes The Ouija Experiment (2013) and its much maligned sequel! That many huh? I’ll admit, these conveniently titled movies which coincided with the Platinum Dunes / Blumhouse picture aren’t thought of in the most glowing of terms. However, I’m confident enough to put forward a motion that the ferocity of such disdain isn’t entirely warranted.
Israel Luna is the guy behind these first two movies, and his Production Company – La Luna Entertainment – props up the third, even if calling it a second sequel is perhaps a tenuous statement at best. Titled Charlie Charlie in America, albeit with Ouija 3 sneakily drafted in underneath, it arrives in ‘ol Blighty as OUIJA CHALLENGE which with the absence of a titular Ouija board it does seem that creative licence has been stretched to breaking point.
In the movie we meet Gene (Tom Zembrod), the owner of a haunted house, who with ticket sales flagging invites a group of hapless teens to play the terrifying game known as Charlie Charlie. However, as the assembled participants prepare themselves for a night of faux terror, it soon becomes apparent that something quite sinister has been awoken to ensure this trivial game morphs into a living nightmare.
Swerving from brilliantly funny to embarrassingly lame, Oujia Experiment is schizophrenic in tone, yet it’s a movie that’s saved from bargain bin obscurity by the magnificent performance of Zembrod. Channelling peak Bill Moseley while resplendent in top hat, eyeliner and cane in hand, he’s a delight to watch with his charisma dripping from your television set with every moment that he’s on screen. In his absence though the film suffers greatly, with scenes inserted that seem irrelevant and a cast of teenagers-cum-thirtysomethings that fade anonymously into the background.
Props to the make-up department with stellar work that makes a character like Jerry the Clown (Cliff McClelland) stick in the memory, while the location itself – the real Hangman’s House of Horrors – does its best to give an air of authenticity to what’s ultimately a disappointment, yet perversely a must-see.
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