Demon Possessed (1993)

Demon Possessed

Low-budget, early 90’s horror is a tough genre to get through, but this movie especially looks like it had a $12 budget. Also the cover? Has nothing to do with the movie, not too sure where that image came from. They probably figured it would be attention grabbing on Blockbuster shelves. This movie is terrible and while I did get a few laughs, for the most part it’s not even funny bad.

This movie follows a group of friends who are skiing and become trapped on the mountain, seeking shelter in a mysterious abandoned cabin. One of their friends is riding on his snowmobile and crashes into a tree. They bring him to the cabin while another friend looks for help. They discover what looks like occult materials and decide to use them to summon demons, which is always a good idea. A member of the group becomes possessed and they all begin to get picked off one by one.

This movie is incredibly low budget, so the acting and general film quality is definitely subpar. But I also feel like no level of budget really could have made this movie great, because even plot-wise there are just some baffling choices being made. Like there’s a brother-sister duo who are clearly having a sexual relationship and NO ONE MENTIONS HOW FUCKING WEIRD OR INAPPROPRIATE IT IS. Like the brother’s girlfriend is right there and says nothing when he grabs his sister’s butt. At first I thought I was misunderstanding something, but no. That’s his sister and there’s clear intentional sexual tension between them. And then at the end there is a straight up 15 minutes snowmobile chase scene with like generic electric guitar playing in the background. Some very weird choices were made in the filming of this movie and it’s just, it’s all bad.

So, the only way you’re seeing this movie is if you buy the VHS, which I got for only $5 on amazon, so it’s definitely doable. Is it worth $5? Probably not? I mean there are maybe 3 or 4 scenes that are so bad they’re good, but otherwise, it kind of drags and makes no sense. I think the reason this movie fails is because it is played so straight. If they had tried to make it campy or taken it less seriously it may have worked, but it’s not even bad enough to be enjoyable. This is probably one to skip.

Netflix available: No

Hulu available: No

Xfinity available: No

Rating: 1.5/5

 

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Subspecies (1991)

Subspecies

I’m surprised this series doesn’t have more of a cult following because it has the right amount of campiness and fun to warrant it. It could be due to the fact that this was released direct to video in the 90’s, when there was a plethora of cheap horror films to choose from on video store shelves, but I think this film warrants a watch. It is by no means great or overly original, but at the same time, I can’t really think of many films like it that were being released in the 90’s.┬áThis is a vampire film set in the 1990’s but featuring an old gothic vampire. It’s weird but it kind of works for some reason.

A group of three female college students, Mara, Michelle, and Lillian, arrive in Romania to do a study on culture, specifically surrounding superstition. As they arrive they begin to investigate ancient castle ruins, leading to its resident, Radu, a vampire to stalk them. Radu’s brother, Stefan, lives among people and aims to help the girls defeat Radu. He falls in love with Michelle, and when Mara and Lillian are captured and turned by Radu, the couple set out to save them. There’s also a story line about Radu wanting control of the bloodstone which is said to contain the blood of saints.

So the whole bloodstone thing isn’t that well explained, and I don’t really understand why he wants it, but it becomes more of a focus as the series continues so that could be why they were setting it up. But honestly, this movie is pretty enjoyable. The acting is great from most of the cast. Anders Hove kind of hams it up as Radu, but that adds to the campy fun. I like that all the girls seem like actual human beings instead of props. As I stated earlier, the movie about a straight up gothic vampire set in the 1990’s is unique and works pretty well. It’s simple but fun. The only big complaint I have is that it does drag at times, it kind of feels like nothing important is happening.

I definitely recommend checking this film, and the entire series, out. They definitely manage to be campy while still maintaining serious tones. If I had to describe the viewing experience in one word it would be “fun”. It’s a little dated, especially some of the effects on the creatures, but I don’t mind that. I think more people should give this underrated series a chance.

Netflix available: No

Hulu available: Yes

Xfinity available: No

Amazon Prime available: Yes

Rating: 3.5/5

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Deep Blue Sea

So, I love a good (and bad) shark movie. And even though I know logically this movie isn’t very good, I kind of love it? I don’t think it is all that bad either, but it’s no masterpiece. Compared to the shark movies that we have now, I just like that this movie at least takes sharks seriously and have them be an actual scary entity instead of a campy film like Sharknado. Not that there’s anything wrong with camp, but it’s just nice to have options.

This film follows a group of scientists at an ocean research base who have been genetically modifying sharks for Alzheimer’s research. Right as they have their breakthrough, they learn that the tests they have been running caused the sharks to become smarter and more aggressive. They are soon targeted and hunted by the sharks and they begin to get picked off as they search for a solution and signal for help.

So while I wouldn’t define this movie as “campy” there are definitely some funny moments, courtesy of LL Cool J and his pet bird. I like that the movie focuses on people with different abilities, a chef/minister, the shark caretakers, the scientists, the pharmaceutical reps. I like the differences of characters and watching them work together to try to solve the problem. The characters are believable and I am definitely interested in their survival. One of the biggest problems with this movie, especially now is that some of the effects don’t hold up great (although I’ve definitely seen movies made more recently with FAR worse special effects). Some of the movie is cheesy, the acting isn’t always the best, and obviously because it’s about genetically modified sharks some of the scenes are less than realistic.

I think this movie is definitely worth watching, not because it is all that great, but because it is a really fun movie to watch. If you like shark films, this will definitely be one of the better ones you’ll see (most shark movies leave a lot to be desired). Don’t expect perfection, but definitely expect to have a great time.

Netflix available: On DVD

Hulu available: No

Xfinity available: Yes, for a fee

Amazon Prime available: Yes, for a fee

Rating: 3/5

Race with the Devil (1975)

Race With The Devil

So, this movie has 57% on Rotten Tomatoes and I honestly think that’s about the perfect rating for it because it’s just… okay. Nothing about it is outright bad, per say, but nothing about it really stands out as being good either. The main cast gives adequate performances, and the plot is intriguing, I just feel like it could have been done better.

Roger and Frank are two business partners and friends who set out for an RV road trip with their wives, Kelly and Alice, and dog. While out exploring the wilderness, the men witness a cult sacrifice a woman. Unfortunately, the cult witnesses their witnessing and sets out to shut them up. While the men do manage to contact the authorities, they are not believed, as the police think they may have merely witnessed an animal sacrifice (which, even still, wouldn’t you be concerned about that?). The couples become the targets of the cult, who follows them across the country in attempts to kill them.

As I said before, there’s nothing I can straight up point to to blame for not liking this movie, it just doesn’t come together for some reason. Peter Fonda and Warren Oates play believable characters, as do Loretta Swit and Lara Parker. Lara Parker has one scene that honestly is so believable and heart-wrenching. The plot, the idea of a satanic cult hunting you down because you witnessed a sacrifice also is scary, and there are definitely some scary scenes, but for the most part the movie is kind of… boring? It’s very meandering, like they’re going place to place, they think they’re safe- oops they’re not, and that’s the movie.

I wouldn’t go out of your way to watch this film, but if you happen to catch it I don’t think you’ll be totally miserable. It’s probably a decent one to put on in the background and just keep on if you’re doing something else, as I don’t think it requires all that much attention. There’s definitely better “trying to escape a killer/villain” films out there, but there’s also worse.

Netflix available: No

Hulu available: No

Xfinity available: Yes, for a fee

Amazon Prime available: Yes, for a fee

Rating: 2.5/5

The Black Room (1982)

The Black Room

So, this is a pretty obscure film, in fact, I could only get ahold of it on a DVD off eBay. But in my opinion, it was worth tracking down. The film is very low quality, as it only had a $40,000 budget, which even adjusted for today’s inflation is only a little over $100,000. So while it definitely shows in the production, I think it is still a strong film.

This film follows a brother and sister duo, Bridget and Jason, who rent out a dark room in their Hollywood hills mansion for people to have their secret sexual affairs. After a while, the attack and kill their tenants and drain them of their blood. Jason has an illness that requires frequent transfusions so they use their tenants to help extend his life. Bored husband, Larry, rents the room in order to keep his affairs hidden. However this causes an unexpected improvement in his sex life with his wife, Robin, as she enjoys hearing about his “fantasies” in this black room. When she discovers that these fantasies are actually real, she goes to confront the siblings and is in for way more than she expected.

So as I said, this film definitely suffers due to having a minuscule budget and there are definitely some questionable acting and editing moments. One of my biggest complaints is that the lighting is terrible, which obviously is a quality issue, but it is honestly difficult to see the action at times. Another issue is the main drive for the siblings getting the blood… like they have a mansion, so do they not have insurance? Even still, they have to have money, can’t they pay for the doctor out of pocket? Also some of the sex scenes are unintentionally comical.

Overall, if you can get your hands on this film I think it is totally worth doing. It’s funny, it’s original, and it’s definitely creepy at times. I really would love to see what they could have done with a bigger budget. This is certainly an obscure horror film, but sometimes those are the most enjoyable ones.

Netflix available: no

Hulu available: no

Xfintiy available: no

Amazon Prime available: possibly for sale on DVD

Rating: 3.5/5

Blacula (1972)

Blacula

This is the first on-screen appearance of a black actor playing vampire and it was also unique at the time for having a black lead. I will say, that William Marshall, who plays the lead (Prince Mamuwalde) gives us an incredibly strong and imposing vampire in this film, better than many attempts at Dracula in my opinion. He’s strong and regal, and bone-chillingly calm. Obviously, there are cons to the blaxploitation genre, that being the reinforcement of certain black stereotypes, but William Marshall did get to have some input into his character, hoping to keep him dignified. I was honestly expecting this movie to be campier than it was, it’s actually a decently chilling vampire movie.

African Prince Mamuwalde is bitten by Dracula and imprisoned in a tomb as a punishment for seeking Dracula’s help to end the slave trade. Dracula also enslaves the Prince’s wife. He is finally freed years later in 1972 and is seeking revenge. As he is out exploring the world he sees a woman who resembles his long dead wife and is enamored with her. Initially scaring her, she soon becomes interested in him as well. However, detectives are on the hunt for him, as he is leaving quite a body count in his wake. As they close in on the prince, the stakes are raised and the tension rises.

This film has mixed reviews and I guess I can see why. Aside from a strong performance from the lead, and I think good reviews from most of the supporting cast, the plot is very basic and there isn’t a ton going on. However, as I said before, I think the performances are enough to carry the film. I wish there was a little more involved plot, but aside from that, I don’t have much to pick on with this film.

I definitely recommend checking this flick out. It’s a really fun, creepy vampire movie and it’s definitely fun to see black people given a lead role in a genre that they were never really seen in before. Not to mention the ending is absolutely heartbreaking. I think this movie is unique and a worthwhile watch for any horror fan.

Netflix available: DVD

Hulu available: no

Xfinity available: Yes, for a fee

Amazon Prime available: Yes, for a fee

Rating: 3.5/5

Orca (1977)

Orca

I don’t know if you guys are familiar with a little film called Jaws but… Kidding, everyone knows about the iconic shark movie. When Jaws came out it spawned an era of animal/natural horror films that were attempting to cash in on the popularity of the film. Most failed spectacularly, and Orca is no different. I feel bad because I know star Richard Harris had a wonderful time making this movie and it’s not exactly a copy of Jaws or anything, it’s just really bad, and reaaaaallly has not aged well.

The film follows a marine hunter, Captain Nolan, who is on a mission to capture a great white shark for an aquarium in order to get enough money to return to his home in Ireland. While attempting to capture a shark, one of his crew mates is thrown overboard and targeted by the shark, only to be saved by a female Orca whale. Instead of being thankful for the whale’s help Nolan decides to try to capture her for the aquarium. Bringing her aboard their ship causes her to miscarry and die. As Nolan’s crew released the corpses back into the sea, the heartbroken mate/father is watching and attempts to kill the crew. The whale begins sinking ships in the area and causing trouble for the town. This results in a battle between man and whale.

So as heartbreaking as the beginning is, and you really do feel for the whale and despise Captain Nolan, the rest of the film is so non-sensical and corny that it’s hard to take it seriously. It’s like how in Jaws: The Revenge the shark follows the family to the Bahamas, it’s so hard to believe that this animal is going to follow a specific person around and attempt to murder them. I know whales are extremely emotionally intelligent but there’s a limit. It’s so hard to believe that it really makes the whole movie just… not scary.

This movie isn’t even so bad it’s good worth watching, it’s just bad. I do know of people who enjoy this movie for its badness, but I am not one of them. If you’re into crappy animal horror movies maybe check it out, but I definitely think this one is a reasonable skip.

Netflix available: No

Hulu available: No

Xfinity available: Yes, for a fee

Amazon prime available: Yes, for a fee

Rating: 1.5/5