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From the Desk of the Unimonster...

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07 May, 2012

Bobbie's Essays: Murder Most Fowl

Ahhh ... Spring!  A time when flowers awaken from their chilly slumber, butterflies dance in the warm breezes, when one’s heart turns lightly to dreams of love and when the swallows return to Capistrano.  And here at Bobbie’s Moldy-Oldies, it’s time for the chickens to come home to roost!

Our first taste in this Kentucky-fried film festival is ZOMBEAK!  (2006).  Melissa (Melissa K. Gilbert), a terrible waitress in a run-down diner, is about to get it on with her boyfriend, Bobby Ray (Jason Von Stein), when she’s suddenly abducted by Satanists named Vascara (Tracy Yarkoni), Levianthan (Daryl Wilcher) and Gideon (Adam Morris).  She’s taken by hearse to the Satanist’s hideout in order to be impregnated with Satan’s child on the one night he’s allowed to walk the Earth.  Bobby Ray, who’s not the brightest bulb in the marquee, along with the diner’s owner Max (JimmyLee Smith), who doesn’t particularly like Melissa but would love to kick some Satan butt, and Bobby Ray’s sadistic cop brother Fasmagger (Nathan Standridge), are in hot pursuit.  Bursting into the sacrificial room, they interrupt the ritual, giving Satan no other choice than to inhabit a sacrificial chicken.  You heard that right.  A chicken.  What ensues next is 70 minutes of pure cinematic joy, with the evil chicken turning this one night into Hell on Earth for both our bumbling heroes and the confused Satanists!

With a zero-budget look and feel, ZOMBEAK delivers the goods.  How?  Because you can feel the real love the actors and it’s director, Sam Drog, had for the story and their parts in it.  Despite it’s bad special effects and cheap, low quality 80’s CGI and it’s video camera look, it’s surprisingly entertaining.  With the exception of Daryl Wilcher in the one scene where he has a coming-to-Jesus moment while facing his imminent demise at the hands of the Satan-obsessed chicken, the acting is below-par, with our heroine Melissa emoting in one of the most annoying fingernails-on-the-blackboard voices ever preserved on video tape.  However, the script is filled with brilliant one-liners like “Take that, you Kentucky-fried piece of shit,” and “It’s our God-damned Christian duty!”  The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has no listing for ZOMBEAK’s budget or box office but I’m guessing it’s not much.  After all, what can you expect from a zero-budget movie about a Satan-possessed chicken who wants to turn everyone into zombies!  And one that, to my knowledge, wasn’t even released in America!  (I had to buy my copy from Amazon.com.UK.)  However, if you love bad movies, I recommend seeing ZOMBEAK.  Official trailer:

Next up is BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR (2010).  Now, don’t get your feathers ruffled and cluck, “but she already reviewed that back in April of 2011!”  No article about murderous fowl would be complete without re-examining James Nguyen’s contribution to the genre.  And, at the same time, comparing it to the above movie.  Let’s begin with the stars of both ... the birds.  Nguyen’s low-resolution, badly animated GIF attacking birds were without a doubt the worst I’d even seen ... until ZOMBEAK’s blood-spattered feathered-covered sock-puppet came into existence.  So, while Nguyen’s vicious birds were non-existent, ZOMBEAK’s gore-covered bird was an actual prop.  Well, sort of.
Next, let’s look at the human actors.  Both movies were on an even keel with one another and would do justice to any middle school play!  With few exceptions, each was the only screen credit to date for most of their casts.  The biggest difference is that in ZOMBEAK, the actors seemed to be having a great time, while the actors in BIRDEMIC seemed uncomfortable and awkward.  Now, on to the scripts.  ZOMBEAK wins this category claw’s-down!  While ZOMBEAK’s script was just as nonsensical as BIRDEMIC, at least we didn’t have to listen to Nguyen’s broken-English scripted lines.  I know I’ll never forget such BIRDEMIC-pearls as “I like you and because you’re so pretty to me.”  ZOMBEAK had a script fairly brimming over with intended and unintended humor!  The production values in BIRDEMIC were better, but Nguyen took three years to get his work in the can.  ZOMBEAK did it in 30 days.  So, they are birds of a feather.  BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR trailer:
BIRDEMIC 2: THE RESURRECTION coming soon!  (Or maybe not.)

Lastly, let’s examine POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD (2006).  Arbie (Jason Yachanin) and this girlfriend Wendy (Kate Graham) are getting it on in an ancient Indian burial graveyard.  On the night before she’s leaving for college.  Promising to be faithful to one another, they part.  One year later, Arbie returns to the scene of his first (and only) sexual encounter only to be startled by the sight of an American Chicken Bunker restaurant that has been built there.  Meanwhile, Wendy has become a “left-wing lipstick wearing lesbian.”  Disillusioned, Arbie take a slave-wage job at the restaurant.  Among his fellow workers are a gay Hispanic named Paco Bell (Khalid Rivera, who literally is turned into a Sloppy Jose!), an animal-loving redneck Carl Jr. (Caleb Emerson), and a burqa-wearing, bumbling Muslim (Rose Ghavami).  Unknown to all is that the long-dead Indian spirits lie uneasy and have begun to bring back dead chickens as zombie fowl!  Add to the mix copious gore, nudity, gratuitous sex, lesbians, fat people, slime, car crashes, political incorrectness and men’s hairy butts.  Toss in some musical tunes with such titles as “Green Eggs and Pam” and “S-U-I-C-I-D-E” and with lyrics like “my meat in your buns makes a special sauce” and you have the first Troma film to get a theatrical release in the past 25 years!

Gross, perverted, disgusting, crude and outrageous do not even begin to describe this latest product from the perpetually 8-year-old mind of Lloyd Kaufman.  POULTRYGEIST has something to offend anyone...and everyone!  But, that’s what Lloyd does best, a fact made clear by the at least 15 minutes of bragging, boasting and product selling Lloyd does before the movie even starts!  Touted by audiences to be the “best since Toxic Avenger,” it met with the highest acclaim of any film in Troma’s thirty-five year history.  However, that didn’t translate into box office receipts.  POULTRYGEIST had an estimated budget of $450,000 but only grossed $22,623 in ticket receipts and ranks a low #85 in the horror comedy genre.  In other words, it bombed.  Why?  Probably for the very same reasons it’s beloved by its fans.  Filled with “disgusting low-ball humor” and described by IMDB user reviews as “perverse and childish,” they still consider this to be, “a gross-out comedy/ musical/ horror film that is so much fun, it’s hard not to love.”  That said, when the roosters come home to roost, they will not have to fight for space in my Video Vault because POULTRYGEIST was sent winging its way back to Netflix.  IMHO, Troma laid an egg with POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD.  Trailer:

No article about fowl-based death would be complete without a shout-out to that granddad of feathered mayhem that is BLOOD FREAK (1972).  Billed as “the World’s only turkey-monster anti-drug pro-Jesus-Gore-Film” it stars Steve Hawkes, at one-time playing Tarzan in some Spanish movies until an accidental fire on a set left his right arm and cheek badly scarred, as Herschell, a biker who gives a lift to an ultra-religious young woman named Angel (Heather Hughes).  She takes Herschell back home where he meets her sister, Ann (Dana Cullivan), who’s a druggie.  Falling under Ann’s spell, Herschell allows himself to be talked into smoking pot and getting hot with Ann.  Then, while at work on a turkey farm, he’s given the task of eating an entire cooked turkey.  Unbeknownst by him, the turkey is laced with a powerful drug that turns Herschell into...A WERE-TURKEY!  Seeking blood, he kills several young women.  Then, he cuts a man’s leg off in a sawmill.  Finally, he goes back home, hanging his turkey waddle in shame where he has sex with Ann, who ponders throughout the act about what their children will look like.  Will God take pity on Herschell?  Will Herschell’s new appearance get him promoted at the turkey farm?  Will the narrator of this movie make it through all 86 minutes before hacking up a lung?

BLOOD FREAK was directed and narrated by Brad F. Grinter, a skinny chain-smoking cracker of a man with a hacking cough and a bad Elvis haircut.  His primary job in this movie, aside from smoking up all of the tobacco industry’s yearly crop, is to make rambling and nonsensical philosophical insights about the movie and God in general.  This movie typifies zero-budget films.  Bad acting, bouncy camera work, laughable script, indifferent directing, bizarre plot and possibly the only film to use the previously unknown “female Wilhelm Scream,” it has everything required to leave generations of audiences scratching their heads in wonder.  But, wait!  The Something Weird Video disc of BLOOD FREAK comes with bonus material titled “Brad Grinter, Nudist”!  Yep!  That walking, talking nicotine patch is a nudist!  And he lets it all hang out in this short.  And that, dear friends, is the scariest part of BLOOD FREAK!  Trailer:

Well, it’s time for this old bird to fly the coop.  I’d like to thank all of you for enduring this four-piece chicken-McNugget movie marathon with me.  And, I hope that, if you should decide to watch some (or all) of the above-mentioned movies, you have more Yuks than cluck’s!  Gobble-gobble!


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