I was looking for mindless good horror fun with this trio of films, but none of them quite lived up to the low bar I set.
NIGHT OF THE NAKED DEAD (2012)
Night of the Naked Dead has a shot-on-video look and feel, which could have been a good thing if it lived up to its schlocky name. However, this isn’t an all-nude Night of the Living Dead – you’ll have to stick with horror musical Nudist Colony of the Dead for that. Instead, this film comes across as some sort of paranormal erotic thriller that really doesn’t deliver much in the way of scares, sex, or suspense.
An author is staying at an isolated house to write her manuscript. When a storm hits and the lights go out, a cute, flirtatious handyman is there to keep her company.
In the film’s one creepy moment, a naked blonde woman suddenly appears, looking like a mega eerie zombie for a moment. Turns out she’s just some mysterious naked blonde that needs to come out of the rain.
Meanwhile, sexual tension builds between the writer and the handyman, and she has a sex dream about a threesome with him and the blonde.
When a sexy cop shows up with blood on his uniform and gets naked so the writer can wash it—the film still fails to get sexy or scary!
The writer and handyman soon learn their visitors are a supernatural part of the house’s past, looking to accomplish something they failed to the first time around. Whether they’re ghosts or the undead is never explained, although the blonde does eat a leech in one of the film’s random, inexplicable moments, and the cop isn’t really a cop, but killed an actual cop to steal the uniform, so they seem to be some sort of physical manifestation.
The touch of eroticism is really all Night of the Naked Dead has going for it, and even that is sorely lacking considering the title.
CRYING WOLF (2015)
Based on the trailer, I thought Crying Wolf was going to be my kind of hokey, campy CGI werewolf bloodfest. Instead, I was bamboozled by one of the guiltiest cases ever of a trailer for a film showing all the good parts.
An intro scene featuring horror icon Caroline Munro (Maniac, The Last Horror Film, Slaughter High) as a magic shop owner who sells a book to a detective is another moment of trickery, as it’s the only scene she’s in. The detective reads the book and launches into a narrative about a pack of werewolves descending on a town, but spending a majority of the time bickering and in-fighting while in human form.
Most of the film’s shtick consists of British humor that doesn’t quite charm as much as it should. There are even what seem to be attempts at Benny Hill sketches, complete with whimsical music and women running around with their tits hanging out. The film sort of reminds me of What We Do in the Shadows, another film that delivers endless vignettes of monster humor at the cost of a substantial plot.
So where is the horror? While camping in the woods, the werewolves entertain each other with personal stories of their lives as werewolves, creating a situation of flashbacks within a movie that already has a narrative flashback structure. These fun, cheesy horror scenes make up virtually the entire trailer, so you don’t get any more horror than you see in the trailer for a majority of the film.
Only in the third act does the werewolf action finally kick in during a major battle scene. From rubber masks to horrible CGI, it’s the good time I’d been hoping for the entire film. I just wish the whole film had delivered more of it. However, there is another plus side to Crying Wolf.
Leading werewolf man Kristofer Dayne is sexy as hell. Not gonna lie. I’m going to watch director Tony Jopia’s other horror films because Kristofer is in them…and I definitely think some good horror is going to come out of Jopia based on the moments of it in this film.
This one makes a wrong turn and dives off a cliff much like Rock of Ages sweetheart Julianne Hough does in the movie. While she’s driving a dusty, deserted road on the way across country for her wedding, her truck breaks down. Luckily, a shirtless stud shows up to help—hottie Teddy Sears, who played Zachary Quinto’s lover in the first season of American Horror Story.
Julianne offers him a ride and they hit it off…until their friendly conversation turns jarringly awkward when he makes a really dirty comment about his cock. Suddenly, Julianne is in a The Hitcher situation. If only the movie had stayed on that road. Instead, it veers off when Julianne decides to take a curve really hard in hopes of throwing Teddy out of the vehicle. Next thing you know, Julianne is stuck at the bottom of a hill, upside down in her car with her leg wedge in between seat and door so badly she can’t get it out…since she doesn’t use the knife she has to cut the seat apart….
Teddy leaves her to die. But he comes back to taunt her. Over and over, for days. In between his visits, Julianne just hangs upside down, swats away ants, kills rats, makes a fire right outside her car door, cooks rat meat for dinner, and nearly drowns in a flood. But she’s a survivor, so she tracks Teddy to a secluded house, where she plans to take him down once and for all while he’s busy torturing and killing the inhabitants.
Roxette’s 1989 pop hit “Listen to Your Heart” is heavily featured in the film, so along with Teddy’s shirtless bod, it’s the only other upside to watching this film about upside down Julianne Hough.