Who can explain why studios like Troma and Full Moon have been able to turn out crap for decades? Not me. I also can’t explain why I continue to watch their films. Although, people with the same dilemma as me are obviously the reason films keep getting made. Anyway, here are three more oldies from Troma.
CURSE OF THE CANNIBAL CONFEDERATES (aka: Curse of the Screaming Dead) (1982)
As bad as it is, Curse of the Cannibal Confederates could have been a cult favorite zombie flick. What brings it down more than anything is the horrible soundtrack that destroys the creepy atmosphere created by default thanks to a low budget. The film is grainy and dark with cool zombies, some major gore, and most importantly, ghoulish footage of zombies crawling from the graves. Honestly, the film nearly delivers a Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things vibe.
But the hokey “down south” kind of music is unbearable. Of course, the acting is awful as well, but that’s to be expected. Six hunters—3 guys and 3 girls—stumble upon a Civil War graveyard and take some items from the place, including a Confederate flag. As we all well know, southerners can’t live without their flag. And apparently, they can’t die without it either. And they’re also mad because they lost the war, which we learn when the hunters read from a diary they find in a church.
There’s one major scene of gut munching. It goes on forever and for a change, that shitty music goes away completely, leaving us with just chewing noises. It may be trying to replicate the feel of the feasting scene in Night of the Living Dead, but it doesn’t succeed. And I kid you not when I tell you the movie just ends with no conclusion—right in the middle of the final zombie siege of the church. WTF?
BLOOD HOOK (1986)
Blood Hook could have been a classic 80s slasher or a funny slasher parody, but it doesn’t take itself seriously or lightly enough to be either.
The synth score that opens the film is creepy awesome and offers so much promise. And in the opening scene, a kid sees his grandad pulled off the dock and into the water….
Seventeen years later, that same kid is grown up. He and his friends come back to his grandad’s place to join in a fishing contest called “Muskie Madness.” Soon, people begin dying by getting snagged with a big piece of fishing tackle and dragged into the water.
The kills are all played as spoofs despite the pretty good horror feel of each death. In between, there is a whole lot of boring dialogue and indistinct characters. There’s simply nothing funny here, despite some attempts at backwoods stereotypes. My favorite character is the new wave kid, and mostly because he at one point notes that “This is the 80s.” YES!
At the hour mark, we learn who is manning the killer fishing rod and the movie actually starts to feel more like a real slasher. A cicada sound is used as a cue to signify impending doom—and it’s awesome. Plus, there’s suddenly a whole lot of old school 80s gore and gruesomeness, including a line of dead bodies strung together in a garland under the dock.
In the end, the kid who lost his grandfather hatches a plot to “bait” the killer. If only the first part of the film had been as good as the last half hour.
STUFF STEPHANIE IN THE INCINERATOR (1989)
The title of a Troma film doesn’t get any better than Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator. However, while the film is definitely bizarre, it’s not crazy enough to live up to its name. And I’ll start with a spoiler for the big question in everyone’s mind – no, Stephanie never does get stuffed in the incinerator.
The first part of the film is wickedly intriguing. A guy is kidnapped and wakes up in a tuxedo in a big mansion—with some old lady demanding he marry a girl named Stephanie then fuck her as the old lady watches. But this insane scenario ends abruptly…because it turns out this is all part of a weird role-playing game that a group of rich people likes to play. Bummer.
After that one game, the movie turns into a backstabbing plot; “Stephanie” is sick of playing her husband’s games and plans to off him with the help of one of the other players. It is a rather intriguing and watchable dark, low budget film, but it’s not much of a horror film. I guess you’d call it a “who’s gonna do it” film, because someone is going to get the upper hand as one devious plan is outdone by another.
The devilish twists keep this one going, and there’s even a gay twist! And I’m not talking about the guy in drag in the first part of the film. You pretty much have to wait until the very end of the film to see the big gay twist….