Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Late Night Double Feature (2014)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long 


Company: Saint Euphoria Pictures

Runtime: 90 mins

Format: DVD

Plot:
A double bill of 1950s-style B-movie shorts from writer/director Christopher R. Mihm, the king of "new old, good bad" movies! In "X: The Fiend from Beyond Space", on a decades-long mission to Alpha Centauri, the crew of the spaceship Endeavor are awakened from LD-sleep to find themselves in orbit around a rogue planet. Finding nothing but a seemingly dead alien on the planet's surface, the Captain decides to bring it aboard for further study. But, the crew quickly realize the creature is not dead... and it's very hungry. 

In "The Wall People", following the death of his wife, scientist Barney Collins finds solace in his new role as a single dad to his only son. However, when the boy disappears from his bed under mysterious circumstances, Barney loses his grip on reality and becomes a shut in. Eight years later, he resurfaces with a wild theory: his son has been taken by an otherworldly entity that steals sleeping children through inter-dimensional portals in their bedroom walls!

Review:
The Late Night Double Feature is the 9th movie in the ever-growing filmography of Christopher R. Mihm's micro-budget films done in black and white and as a loving and beautiful fun-filled throwback to the classic 1950s Drive-In B-Movies of yesteryear (Or 9th and 10th if you count the two Shorts as two separate movies). All of the films made by Mihm and his crew, films such as:

The Monster of Phantom Lake

It Came From Another World!

Cave Women on Mars

Terror From Beneath The Earth

Destination: Outer Space

Attack of the Moon Zombies

House of Ghosts

The Giant Spider

all take place in the same shared movie universe, but are also mostly stand-alone from one another other than recurring side characters and the occasional brief throwback to a previous movie here and there, so it's not important to watch them in order, however I find you get far more out of them if you do, not to mention you can see Mihm himself improve his movie-making skills as you go along watching each movie.

The Late Night Double Feature is, instead of one full-length movie like the rest of his projects, made up of two short 40-ish minute films, complete with an Intermission sandwiched in the middle of them. I loved that ideas as, technically, it allowed us Mihmiverse fans to get two new Christopher R.  Mihm movies in 2014 as opposed to the usual one! However, I really liked both of these stories so I would have actually been perfectly fine with each of these getting their own separate full-length release as well, especially The Wall People, which turned out to be one of my all-time top favorite Mihmiverse stories, and it creeped me out in ways that a Mihm film hasn't outside of House of Ghosts. Bit I'll get there. First I'll talk about the first of the mini-movies in this set, X: The Fiend From Beyond Space.


As you can probably guess, X: The Fiend From Beyond Space is a heavy homage to classic sci-fi horror flicks like Alien and it's predecessor, It! The Terror from Beyond Space, with an itty bitty bit of John Carptener's The Thing thrown in for good measure - all films that are pretty much included in my personal Top Classic Sci-Fi/Horror list so it goes without saying that I would love this entry. What really made me enjoy it even more though was having one of my favorite Mihmiverse actors, Daniel Sjerven, pop in to reprise my favorite character from Attack of the Moon Zombies, now promoted from cargo pilot to ship captain. Any time that actor appears in one of these movies I automatically like it even more as he's always a joy to watch on screen, especially as his Ace Frehley character, my personal favorite character that he portrays, and he is just as funny here as he was in Attack of the Moon Zombies.

Unfortunately, a lot of the other acting wasn't up to par with his, and was actually not up to par with most other recent Mihm movies. In addition, the final scene of this entry, where the survivors sit around a table drinking and toasting their fallen comrades, was pretty unneeded and was a bit tedious to sit through as a final scene. It went on way too long, really had nothing to do with anything, and mostly just consisted of overly-long toasting and shouting out 'more booze!' every few seconds. I kept expecting some kind of twist to happen, like the alien wasn't really dead and had instead taken on one of their forms and had evolved to better mimic human behavior, as I figured the only way this ending scene would be lasting this long was if it was leading up to a twist such as that, but alas it never happened. Personally, I thought the movie should have instead ended when it zoomed in on the dead alien's body several minutes before, and then this entry would have been a much tighter and solid entry.

If X: The Fiend From Beyond Space was it's own separate full-length entry I would probably give it a 7/10, however...


The Wall People, as stated above, is without a doubt, one of the best stories yet in the Mihmiverse and is totally unlike anything Christopher R. Mihm has made thus far. It picks up several years after a child goes missing from his room, and his grieving scientist father, played brilliantly by Douglas Sidney, reprising his character from Attack of the Moon Zombies, thinks he finally figured out what happened - An all-powerful inter-dimensional being residing on Pluto opened some form of portal and kidnapped his son. Now, with the help of two fellow scientists - Mike Cook as Dr. Edwards and James Norgard as Dr. Gabriel (making this entry specifically a fun Attack of the Moon Zombies prequel reunion), he must find a way to open his own portal, make contact with these other-dimensional beings, and get his son back.

This entry in the Mihmiverse is so mentally disorienting, mind-screwy, and downright genuinely creepy, that any fan of sci-fi horror should instantly love it. It's also filled with all sorts of twists and on more than one occasion you're left feeling as if what's happening is really real or just in the main character's head...until of course other stuff starts happening and other characters start witnessing it all too.

It's so mind-screwy and genuinely creepy, and it's one of those entries that I actually want to say as little as possible on it because the more blind you go in, the more fun you'll have, not knowing what to expect next. I will say though that this entry really gave me strong H. P. Lovecraft vibes, and fans of his works, especially those who love movies like The Beyond, are sure to find enjoyment with this one. I have no qualms in saying that while I was watching this entry I had to pause it because I was hearing a strange creepy noise in my apartment that I knew didn't belong there and had to go investigate - Never did figure out what caused it, but seeing as what this entry was about, I will not rule out inter dimensional Lovecraftian beings.

Of course I can't finish this portion of the review without mentioning the AMAZING stop motion monster effects for The Wall People, making these the most ambitious effects in a Mihm movie to date, and it very much paid off. Every time one of these putty-made beasties was onscreen I had to just pause for a minute and marvel at them. Christopher R. Mihm and his crew have certainly come a LONG way since the days of Monster of Phantom Lake when it comes to the effects work for the monsters.


This whole package was a great fun addition to the Mihmiverse. Sure, it still has the annoying faded edges that started with The Giant Spider that I dislike, however it didn't bother me nearly as much this go-around. I think partially because these two entries are much darker movies so it wasn't as noticeable, mixed with the fact that I might just be getting used to it by now.

I find the more horror-themed entries in this series are usually my favorites, so it's no wonder that The Late Night Double Feature ranks up there for me, probably second only to House of Ghosts. While X: The Fiend From Beyond Space I felt has a few issues, and I feel it could have been made much better with only a few small tweaks, I did still really enjoy it overall, and The Wall people is pretty much perfect in every way possible. This is a 2-for-1 movie package that fans of the Mihmiverse will not want to miss out on. I only regret that I slacked and took three years to finally watch it.

As with all movies in the Mihmiverse, this self-produced DVD is surprisingly stacked right up with tons of excellent bonus content, though perhaps a slight less amount that usual. There's the always-hilarious Blooper Reel, a trailer for the movie in addition to trailers for some previous movies in the Mihmiverse, a Photo Gallery of tons of Behind-the-Scenes photos that shows just how much hard work goes into these low budget movies, an introduction to the film by a new Horror Host, Dr. Bob Tesla, and the usual informative full length Audio Commentaries, one by just Christopher R. Mihm by himself and a second one where he's joined by many members of the Cast and Crew. I know some previous entries have the occasional Behind the Scenes video and I would have loved one for this movie on the designing and creation of the claymation stop motion monsters of The Wall People, but alas, I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Seeing as how most of the advertising for these movies come from simple word of mouth from the fans, if you do check his stuff out and enjoy it please help get the word out there on these movies and hopefully we can snag in a few other fans that may not even realize these exist. You can order these on DVD (and even BluRay for some of them!) over at his official site which is filled with all sorts of other goodies as well (including a monthly newsletter in addition to two separate very laid back, yet fun and informative, podcasts).

9/10 rooms in the Psych Ward


 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Giant Spider (2013)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long


Company: Saint Euphoria Pictures

Runtime: 71 mins

Format: DVD

Plot: When radiation left behind by atomic weapons testing creates a gigantic killer mutant arachnid, it's up to a trio of scientists, an Army general, and a newspaper reporter and his fiancée to figure out how to stop the hungry beast from devouring the entire county

Review:
The Giant Spider is the 8th movie in the ever-growing filmography of Christopher R. Mihm's micro-budget films done in black and white and as a loving and beautiful fun-filled throwback to the classic 1950s Drive-In B-Movies of yesteryear. All of the films made by Mihm and his crew, films such as:

The Monster of Phantom Lake

It Came From Another World!

Cave Women on Mars

Terror From Beneath The Earth

Destination: Outer Space

Attack of the Moon Zombies

House of Ghosts

all take place in the same shared movie universe, but are also mostly stand-alone from one another other than some recurring characters and the occasional brief throwback to a previous movie here and there, so it's not important to watch them in order, however I find you get far more out of them if you do, not to mention you can see Mihm himself improve his movie-making skills as you go along watching each movie.

I mostly fell off the Mihmiverse bandwagon for a few years after binging the previous seven movies back-to-back, mainly due to time and money, but I'm almost glad I did because it gave me the opportunity to binge another handful of Mihm movies back-to-back instead of only getting one new one to watch a year, so I think that worked out perfectly alright!


The Giant Spider is specifically a love letter to those great classic fun cheesy giant killer animal movies, complete with a catchy opening theme song, and in that regard it met what it set out to do wonderfully! Wherein all the previous Mihmiverse movies he used man-in-suit creatures, here he actually used a real spider (his own pet, I believe I read somewhere once, though don't quote me on that) and superimposed it over the scene he had filmed, which made for the most realistic-looking movie of his yet, though I'm sure it must have been difficult for the actors to interact with an object that wasn't really there (which in turn speaks volumes about how well they pulled it off).

Sure, you'd think that where he used such a difficult technique for this movie, that maybe there wouldn't really be all that much action, but ohhh boy, you'd be wrong to think that. This movie has, what I believe, is the fastest pace of all his movies! I don't even think much more than five minutes or so went by at any given time without cutting to some great giant killer spider action - An attack on a Drive-In Theater and a town dance are among my favorites, plus a couple scenes where he masterfully integrates stock footage of a WWII battle in order to cheaply include some scenes where the military squares off against the spider. It's always important to note that Christopher R. Mihm creates these movies on a minuscule budget (your payments from buying previous DVDs go towards making the next movie), and the guy has seemingly got 'getting the most out of spending little' down to an art form.


This movie also includes what I felt like was the most connections to previous movies in the Mihmiverse, I think finding ways to connect to each and every previous entry save for two (Cave Women on Mars and Destination: Outer Space I didn't see any connections for, however I may have just missed them if they were indeed in there), which may make it a bit confusing if this is your first Mihmiverse movie, but for those who have watched and loved all the previous seven entries, it was simply a fun and delightful little celebration of this film universe. For example, Phantom Lake from the original movie is said to now be off-limits to the public, we get to finally see Phantom Lake University after having it mentioned in several of the previous movies, we get introduced to the all-female Paddle Girls Corps, an off-shoot of the Canoe Cops from the first two films, the minor character of General Castle from House of Ghosts returns here as a much more main character, and Mike Cook reprises his role of Dr. Vincent Edwards from Terror Beneath the Earth and Attack of the Moon Zombies, and even gets some direct mentions in of the events from Terror Beneath the Earth, even going so far as to imply that the same atomic testing that created the bat monster from that movie also created this giant spider. In addition, the parents of a character from Attack of the Moon Zombies appear here, as does James Norgard, also reprising his scientist role from Attack of the Moon Zombies, and lastly the character of little Danny Johnson from Terror From Beneath the Earth makes a quick little appearance, and soon he'll be making a much bigger return to the series in a couple movies' time.

Joining those characters are also a round of new ones, though played by familiar faces from the Mihmiverse. Faces like Daniel Sjerven from Cave Women on Mars, Terror From Beneath the Earth, and Attack of the Moon Zombies playing a mild-manner news reporter not unlike Superman's alter-ego of Clark Kent, and I'm not 100% clear but I *think* he's the brother or cousin of his character from Terror From Beneath the Earth due to the fact that it's the same actor playing a different character but with the same last name (that's usually not a coincidence in this series). Joining him is also my personal favorite Mihmiverse regular, Shannon McDonough as his fiance', though here she puts on an distracting and annoying foreign accent. Props to her for giving it a try, and maybe I'm just being a bit harsh but personally I found it really distracting and would have much rather her character didn't call for that.

Actually, there's one other thing I wish Christopher R. Mihm had made a different call on with this movie. For the first time in the series he felt the need to fade the edges of the screen and black them out a bit. I understand what he was going for with that visual style but it's not a style I care for at all, and I found it was constantly taking me out of the movie and preventing me from fully enjoying it as much as I was wanting to because my eyes kept going to it and I was finding myself distracted by it.

Luckily though, that is really only a couple small issues in an otherwise great eighth outing. After a couple of doom and gloom movies in a row (Attack of the Moon Zombies and House of Ghosts), it was refreshing to get back to a lighthearted cheesy and funny entry. Don't get me wrong, those two doom and gloom entries are actually my top favorites in the series up to this point (horror is my personal favorite genre), but I'm always a fan of variety to keep things from getting stale or overdone, and he switched things back up at just the right point in the series.


As with all movies in the Mihmiverse, this self-produced DVD is surprisingly stacked right up with tons of excellent bonus content. There's a laugh-out-loud hilarious Blooper Reel (seriously, by this point I almost look forward to the side-splittingly funny outtakes almost more then I do the movie itself because they're always a great treat to watch directly after the movie), a handful of short In-Universe Radio Drama episodes for Commander Lambent: Space Explorer...In Space!, a trailer for the movie in addition to trailers for some previous movies in the Mihmiverse, a Photo Gallery of tons of Behind-the-Scenes photos, introductions to the film by Horror Host Dr. Ivan Cryptosis and Christopher R. Mihm himself, and the usual informative full length Audio Commentaries, one by just Christopher R. Mihm by himself and a second one where he's joined by his wife Stephanie Mihm, costume designer and SFX artist Mitch Gonzales, Behind the Scenes extraordinaire Cherie “Rhuby” Gallinati who anyone that listens to the Mihmiverse Bonfire Podcast will instantly recognize the voice of, and her husband and fellow Mihmiverse regular actor Mark Haider.

Seeing as how most of the advertising for these movies come from simple word of mouth from the fans, if you do check his stuff out and enjoy it please help get the word out there on these movies and hopefully we can snag in a few other fans that may not even realize these exist. You can order these on DVD (and even BluRay for some of them!) over at his official site which is filled with all sorts of other goodies as well (including a monthly newsletter in addition to two separate very laid back, yet fun and informative, podcasts).

8/10 rooms in the Psych Ward


 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Raaz 3: The Third Dimension (2012)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long 


COMPANY: Vishesh Films
 
RUNTIME: 139 minutes
  
FORMAT: BluRay
 
PLOT: When a new hot starlet's sudden popularity threatens to shove her out of the spotlight, a movie star uses black magic in an attempt to derail her career.

REVIEW:
The Raaz series out of India has turned into quite the interesting little Bollywood horror franchise. After having enjoyed the first Raaz movie and then absolutely loving Raaz 2: The Mystery Continues, I was beyond excited to check out Raaz 3: The Third Dimension, the third entry in this 'anthology' series. I call it an anthology series because, despite being sequels to one another in-name, they are totally separate, unrelated stories, connected only by the same basic idea of characters being haunted in some fashion, and it being related to some deep, dark secret or mystery connected to those characters that said characters have to unravel. They even include a lot of the same actors, just in different roles. For example, while the second movie included all-new actors from the first movie, this entry includes both the main female lead from the first movie as well as the main male lead from the second movie, together in this entry as a married couple at the center of the supernatural going-ons.


While the second movie was fairly close to the first movie in terms of the story and how everything unfolded, Raaz 3: The Third Dimension takes a big step away from that to deliver us something completely new to the franchise. In the first two movies, the girl at the center of the story was being haunted by an aggressive angry spirit tied to some deep dark secret from her past that she was, in a roundabout way, connected to. She then had to figure out what that connection was and make things right. However, in this outing, there is no haunting, per sey, nor is anything really connected to a deep dark secret from the past. Here, a rich Bollywood power couple, an in-demand director and a famous actress (the above-mentioned two lead actors from the previous movies fill these roles), are instead directly responsible for everything going in as the actress is viciously jealous of a younger up and comer new actress that is beginning to steal the spotlight from her, so she seeks out an ancient ritual that will allow her to commune to, and strike a deal with, a demon from the underworld, so that she can put a curse upon the young girl.

I'm personally all for changing up a formula after a couple movies, it helps keep things fresh, and while I appreciate the attempt to do such here, I don't really care so much for the direction they went in. In the first two movies we were following along with the main haunted character while she unraveled the mystery of what was going on, and we, the viewer, were discovering the twists and turns as she did. However because of the way they play this movie out, we already know the secret from the very beginning and we spend the entire movie watching the main character try to figure out for herself what we already know, and I always dislike it when a story does that because it makes it far less interesting to me. I like being on the same page as the lead and not two steps ahead, watching them flounder around trying to find out what we already know.


With that said though, I did love Bipasha Basu in her villainous role. I think it was an ingenuous move to bring her back into the franchise, only now instead of the innocent and tortured relatable main lead she plays a very dark, very disturbed, villain, and she played the switch in character type masterfully. Even Emraan Hashmi, returning from the second movie, plays his new type of role great, always second guessing his wife's decision to curse this young girl, and straddling that tortured line between staying faithful to his wife or doing the right thing and helping this young girl.

But enough about the characters and their stories (although there is quite a lot that can still be said on the matter; Out of all the movies in this franchise, this is the entry with the most interesting character stories), this is a review about a horror movie after all, so of course what people want to know about most is the horror aspects, and while this entry is indeed the most character-driven piece in the series, there is still plenty of awesome horror elements all throughout it. See, as the young girl becomes more and more cursed, she starts seeing and having more and more horrific supernatural things happen to her, driving her to the very edge of insanity. For instance, she has a paralyzing fear of clowns due to an incident from her childhood so of course there is a scene where she gets terrorized by a creepy-as-hell supernatural clown out to kill her, then there's also killer ghost bugs, demonically-possessed housekeepers, evil curse-controlled spirits, plus the original Demon that started all these events and Bipasha Basu's icky sex scene with this it, just to list a few things. Really, out of all three movies so far this is the one that I feel potentially had some of the strongest and creepiest horror moments in the franchise.


I used the word 'potentially' for a reason. Unfortunately, this entry is also the one that makes the most use out of really bad cheap CGI, especially when that laughably-bad god awful Demon is onscreen (which is a lot towards the end). The extreme low SyFy Channel-level quality of effects really puts a big hamper on some otherwise great intense creepy scenes, ruining the mood time after time, with the exception of a couple good scenes that thankfully never used CGI. That, more than anything, really brought this movie down for me.

Add to that the hilariously-bad supernatural Kung Fu fighting-filled climax and Raaz 3: The Third Dimension is, unfortunately, the weakest entry in the series. Which is a real shame because there really is quite a lot to love about this movie, and it was well on its way to being my favorite, despite my issues with the way the story was being told to us, up until all the bad CGI started appearing and then things ended off on that previously-mentioned weird Demon-Dimension martial arts fighting sequence, and as much as I loved a lot of aspects of this, it just ended off on a sour taste in my mouth.

5/10 Rooms in the Psych Ward





Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Terrordactyl (2016)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long


COMPANY: 3rd Films and MarVista Entertainment

RUNTIME: 96 minutes

FORMAT: DVD

PLOT: When ancient flying reptiles attack Los Angeles, it's up to two working-class landscapers to save the day.

REVIEW: I'm always on the lookout for new dinosaur B-Movies so it's a pretty safe bet that when a new one comes out, it doesn't take me long to track down a copy and have it up on my TV screen ready to go. What always makes the experience better though? When the movie is filled with cheesy goodness and the creators know exactly what the movie is and allows it to have fun - Yes, Terrordactyl is pretty much the dinosaur version of the fun-as-hell Big Ass Spider!


Suffice to say, if you were a fan of Big Ass Spider, you'll be just as big a fan of Terrordactyl. It's essentially the exact same type of movie, with the exact same type of cheesy tongue-in-cheek humor, with the exact same high level of effects, with the only main difference being that this one is about a flock of killer flying dinosaurs as opposed to a single killer giant spider. Actually, if I'm being honest, I thought the effects in this one were even better than in Big Ass Spider. This movie uses a combination of CGI and practical, and it all actually meshed together really well in a way that exceeds my expectations for a movie such as this.

Also like Big Ass Spider, the acting in this movie is phenomenal and everyone has perfect comedic timing, hitting all the right beats at all the right moments, in all the right in-on-the-joke ways. Unfortunately, the one area that Big Ass Spider excelled at that I feel this movie never came close to matching was with the chemistry of the characters. Up to this point I've loved pretty much everything about this movie, however when it comes to the chemistry, this movie fumbles the ball pretty heavily. I don't blame the actors for this, they just work with what they got, but it most definitely is a writing issue, as these characters' interactions with one another came across as more annoying than funny. Why exactly are any of these people friends with one another? The two male leads are supposed to be best friends but they do nothing but fight with each other and seem utterly sick of one another the entire way through the movie. The same for the two girls - they're supposed to be friends as well but it seems like both of them are just annoyed and fed up up with the other one during the entire movie and nobody at all seems to have any chemistry or true proper friendship with one another, save for the romance subplot. Those two had decent chemistry with one another, at least when compared to everybody else in the movie.


Like I mentioned above, the special effects in this movie are nothing short of fantastic, and way above the level of what you would expect from a Direct-to-Video killer animal movie, the likes of which will probably eventually find a home on the SyFy Channel as well. The Pterodactyls (Well that's what they are called in the movie but based off their designs they're probably technically more-so Pteranodons) are created using a combination of CGI and practical effects and both types are simply gorgeous to behold and mesh well with one another, switching back and forth, sometimes in the same scene, and very rarely is it obvious which type of effect it is. I also love how they include many different styles and colors of the dinosaurs, so it's not just the exact same model used over and over for dozens of creatures like in most movies like this, but instead giving a good many of them unique looks from one another, something that is highly appreciated by this B-Movie fan.

The attack scenes are also all a blast in this movie, always careful to never repeat the same type of death scene or chase sequence multiple times over like many of the movies in this genre tend to do. This movie does a great job with keeping each escalating attack sequence fresh and interesting, giving us viewers plenty of visual variety for our eyes to consume, and the filmmakers never shy away from unloading a CGI-fest onto us, sometimes with dozens or even hundreds of the Pterodactyls on screen at once, wrecking havoc across Los Angeles, and never once does the CGI effects suffer or seem to downgrade to lower quality during these fun attack scenes.

With that said, this version of Los Angeles has gotta be the emptiest city in the world. There's never any other people around, nor any other cars on the road, at any point in the movie other than our main cast and the occasional secondary character they have with them. I know having background extras in the movie ultimately costs more, but it still would have been nice to have even just a small handful here and there, running around in the background, just to help establish that it's not just these core people that are having to deal with this Pterodactyl Apocalypse.


Movies just like Terrordactyl, such as Big Ass Spider and Stung, are the exact type of B-Movies that make me fall in love with the genre all over again. Just when I feel like I'm starting to get B-Movie fatigue, or annoyed beyond repair at some of the red tape that B-Movie companies have to deal with that prevents their projects from being as good as I'd like, along will come a movie just like this one that rejuvenates my love of the genre.

Terrordactyl, specifically, may not be perfect, and I was sure to voice my issues with the movie above, as I'm never one to shy away from mentioning what I think could have been done better with a movie, but at the end of the day, when the credits start rolling, what really counts is the way the overall package of the movie made me feel, and this one made me feel very, very happy. I had a total blast with this creature feature and I just wish we had more being released of this caliber, instead of the occasional one every two or three years.

8/10 Rooms in the Psych Ward


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Top 10 B-Movies of 2015


Like with 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 this is my Annual list of my personal favorite B-Movie releases of 2015. I know it's SUPER late (Like, two years late), but I had actually given up on doing reviews for awhile and then when I got back into it I kind of forgot all about this list.

Now, there is still plenty of movies from that year that I haven't yet seen, plus it's been a couple years after the fact now, so it's possible I've potentially skipped over a few diamonds in the rough due to that, since this list is based off what I've actually watched myself and what I could dig up that came out that year. Also, this list is solely based off what has hit home video formats and Video On Demand services in 2015, so movies that aired on TV stations like Lifetime or the SyFy Channel that year, but never came out on DVD, BluRay, and VOD services until 2016 or later, does not count for this. I want this as a list of movies that you could potentially pick up yourself or have easy access to legally obtaining during that year. Likewise, some of these movies may have aired on TV in previous years, but didn't actually get released on home video formats or VOD until 2015, thus I count them as 2015 movies for that reason.

The following list won't be in any specific order, as I clearly love all of them for them to even be on the list to begin with, so putting them in any kind of ranking order beyond that is a bit moot.


 - [REC] 4: Apocalypse was a pretty action-packed finale for the [REC] series. Admittedly not quite as good as the first two movies, but way better than the third, this outing saw the return of lead character Angela Vidal in what can only be summed up as this generation's Ellen Ripley. We got Angela kicking all kinds of ass, zombie monkeys, tons of zombie carnage, and lots of mayhem on a giant boat in the middle of a storm in the ocean, plus likable new characters you can get attached to, complete with some decent twists, and we got a fun entry in the series and a nice close. 


 - Alien Outpost is a faux-documentary/Found Footage alien invasion war movie that I felt was tons of fun, with great effects and some intense action. Take Restrepo and mix it with the Halo game series and you get Alien Outpost. You can read my previously-posted full Review here.








- Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse was a pleasant surprise. I was a huge fan of the first two when I was a kid, and I'm happy to report that I loved this entry as well. Personally I think it's way better than the second, despite having a seemingly even smaller budget. Acting is a bit meh, but the characters are fun, the effects pretty good, and the musical score fantastic. Wrap it up in an engaging fantasy story that leaves it open for the upcoming Part 4 and I walked away a happy viewer.




- Extinction is a Found Footage dinosaur adventure movie that I initially hated when I first reviewed it. However, I've done a complete 180 on my opinion of it over the last couple years and after several rewatches, now I really enjoy it quite a lot. This movie includes practical effects abounds, a great sense of adventure, intense chase scenes, fun set pieces, and unique characters that all stand out from one another. I find myself going back to this movie more and more often when I'm in the mood for a fun Found Footage flick.



- A Christmas Horror Story is a horror anthology by some of the fine folks behind the werewolf trilogy Ginger Snaps, with four intersecting stories, all wrapped around by William Shatner as an increasingly-drunk radio host. In most anthology movies you'll always get at least a couple stories you hate, but with this one I found each and every short story fantastic, with some being hilariously funny and others genuinely scary. I really hope to see a sequel to this one, because this is one of the best horror anthology movies out there.



- Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No was a shoe-in for this list. The annual Sharknado movie is one of the few joys I can look forward to every year, knowing a new one is coming out each and every year. This entry is just as much fun as the previous one, and even more crazy and insane as the sharks not only attack the White House, but go intergalactic as they get flung out into Outer Space and the characters have to fend them off with...lightsaber chainsaws! If you're a fan of this wacky series than this third outing is not one you'll want to miss.



- Stung was one hell of a fun creature feature, the likes of which we don't really see much anymore. Giant mutant wasps attacking a fancy garden party at a summer home mansion might sound generic on paper, but what sets this apart from the SyFy-produced stuff that it sounds similar to is the fact that it's all done with oldschool practical effects, it's well-acted, purposefully-hilarious, and enough gooey gore to make any gorehound happy. I'm convinced that if this had come out in the early 2000s instead of now, around the time of Lake Placid, 8-Legged Freaks, etc, that this would have gotten a theatrical release.


- We Are Still Here is a fantastically-shot, moody, atmospheric, and gory-as-hell throwback to classic 1970s/1980s Italian zombie cinema, even though this is more of a haunted house type movie than full-on-zombie one. Fulci, Argento, Bava, Lenzi, you can see homages to each of them in the style and production of this movie, and as a fan of classic Italian horror, I loved every minute of it. Story-wise, it starts off kind of slow, I admit, but I love the moody atmosphere during those scenes quite a lot, and then when shit starts happening, it gets INSANE.



- 3-Headed Shark Attack is Asylum's quasi-sequel to their previous release, 2-Headed Shark Attack, even though this movie has nothing to do with that one other than having a shark with multiple heads. I liked this one just as much, if maybe not even slightly more. Includes a huge body count, a few different unique locations so the cheesy fun multi-headed shark action doesn't get boring all taking place in the same environment, and some genuinely surprising character deaths that made it hard to tell who would actually survive this outing.



- Tremors 5: Bloodlines is, without a doubt, one of my top favorite Direct-to-Video releases of 2015. I've always been a huge Tremors fan but this entry took me by surprise. After such a long wait between sequels, I was worried as to the quality of this one, but after watching it, it turned out to be my favorite sequel in the franchise! The CG effects for the new mutated forms of the classic creatures looked great, the characters (both old and new) have great chemistry with each other, and the movie balanced scary with funny in a way not perfected since the original two movies hit our screens.



All in all, 2015 was another great year for B-Movie fans. While these are just my personal favorite ten, there are still plenty of other good, fun, worthy B-Movies from that year that fans can sink their teeth into as well.

Usually I'll compile a list of up to three Honorable Mentions at this point, however since this list came out two years late, and I had a difficult enough time trying to go back through and figure out which ten movies I love were 2015 releases just to do a Top 10 for that year, I'm going to forgo the Honorable Mentions section for this year, but I'm hoping to add it back in when I do my Best Of 2016 list over the next few weeks.

Sinbad and the War of the Furies (2016)

REVIEW BY: Jeffrey Long  


COMPANY: The Asylum
 
RUNTIME: 90 minutes
  
FORMAT: iTunes
 
PLOT: On a treasure hunt gone wrong, modern-day adventurer Sinbad accidentally releases the Furies, three beautiful but terrible ancient beings powerful enough to threaten life on Earth.

REVIEW:
The Asylum has pretty much always been my favorite low budget B-Movie production company ever since I first really started getting into B-Movies back in the early 2000s. Since then, Asylum has consistently been putting out two (and on some occasions, even more) movies per month, so we always had a great B-Movie variety pack to choose from. However, these last couple years, with the SyFy Channel producing less and less Original Movies, and Asylum's own TV Show, Z Nation, taking flight as a force to be reckoned with, it seems Asylum has majorly cut back on the amount of movies they make, putting out usually only one a month now at most, and sometimes even entire months go by in between any new release.

I figured that would mean the few that they do release would be of the utmost highest quality (by low budget Asylum standards anyway), however time and time again I've been let down (Dead 7, Independent's Day, Jurassic School, Trolland, and Sinister Squad were all horribly disappointing for me, and even their annual Sharknado release last year, Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens was their weakest entry yet in that franchise), so it's no secret to those that know me that my undying love for all things Asylum has been quickly dwindling. No longer do I rush to instantly check out their newest release, instead just getting around to it whenever I feel like rolling those dice, sometimes months after its release. Now, don't get me wrong, there are still the occasional Asylum release I highly enjoy (Zoombies, Ghosthunters, Ice Sharks, and Planet of the Sharks being four from last year that I really loved), but it seems the ones I enjoy are in short supply these days, compared to what it used to be.

Sinbad and the War of the Furies, one of their more recent releases that took me a bit of time to get around to watching was, luckily, not among the ones that I hate, but unfortunately it's not really all that good either.


You would expect a movie with Sinbad in the title (as a character I mean, and not starring the actor) to be an adventure-filled romp through the high seas, vast sandy deserts, and perhaps even lush jungles, however Asylum's latest Sinbad-based film is sorely lacking in that fun sense of adventure. It starts off pretty great, with Sinbad and his sidekick hunting for a lost treasure in a cave system on a tropical island where they run afoul deadly arms dealers that plague them the rest of the movie, as well as accidentally unleash the ancient supernatural Furies of Greek lore, and I was really into it at this point, however it doesn't take long for the movie to leave this locale and head straight to the boring bustling city of Los Angeles, where the remainder of the movie takes place. Actually, it would be more accurate to say the remainder of the movie takes place in one house in Los Angeles, and it's here that the movie slows right down to a crawl until almost the very end. Now, I don't know if it's just me, but I don't expect the majority of a Sinbad movie to be characters standing around in a room talking, but unfortunately that's what this one is. Granted, it does get pretty fun again in the last twenty minutes of the movie as all the open plot threads converge on that house for an all-out brawl, but by that point it just feels like too little too late.

It certainly didn't help matters during that long lull that the acting in this one is pretty dreadful, even by Asylum standards. However, with that said, there were two actors that stood out above the rest as actually being quite good and genuinely funny that actually went a long way to somewhat saving the movie for me as they were always enjoyable to watch when they were on-screen, especially in the same scene as one another - John Morrison as the title character and Josh Fingerhut as Manta, the main human villain. These two stole the show during their time on-screen and seeing as how John Morrison is in almost every scene, he single-handily saved this movie for me with his charisma, perfect comedic timing and line delivery, and fun fight choreography. 


Now, I realize I've been pretty harsh on this movie up to this point, and while it's true that there's a lot that really annoyed me here, I also have to admit that there is quite a few things I did enjoy as well. As mentioned above, John Morrison and Josh Fingerhut were easily the highlight aspects of this movie, elevating even the most dragged out stale scenes just that little bit higher due to their comedic performances and laugh-out-loud line deliveries, but what enjoyment there is to be found here is not all solely on them either. For instance, the way that writer Scotty Mullen tied the lore of the Furies into Sinbad's family history was genius, and the way he implemented various aspects of the Furies' lore and their powers into the movie was consistently fun. There's also a few plot twists throughout, and while some are easy to see from a mile away, there are others that took me by surprise when they came up and I always have to applaud that.

Honestly, Sinbad and the War of the Furies is one of those entries in Asylum's filmography that I'll probably never revisit, however I also don't regret watching it as a One-Time View either. Granted there is quite a lot I dislike about this movie and felt many things could have been done much better, but the things I did enjoy helped elevate it a bit and make it easy to look past some of the shortcomings. With that said, if you're a B-Movie fan and in the mood for some random modern-day set Sinbad movie, Asylum's previous (and unrelated) Sinbad movie, the 7 Adventures of Sinbad, is a much better, more well-made, and all around more enjoyable attempt at telling a Sinbad adventure story.

5/10 Rooms in the Psych Ward