It’s time again to look briefly at a bunch of movies that landed in my collection because I bought one of those 8-movie packs. These are mostly a mixture of slashers and creature features. I actually already blogged about Monsters in the Woods here, so in its place, I’m throwing in a bonus—I’m covering the sequel to one of the films in this set.
Yay! Pretty girls and asshole horny boys head into redneck hell, have a run-in with bikers at a bar, rag on a gas station attendant redneck, and then, naturally, get what city snobs deserve!
I was concerned going into Pelts because there’s a nasty episode of Masters of Horror with the same name, but this is actually totally my kind of cheeseball backwoods horror flick with a dose of humor. The only real disappointment was that the killer is a pretty lame looking hick! What the hell?
Other than that shortcoming, once the killer arrives on the scene, the action never stops.
There are funny moments (including gay panic quips), sexual situations, and kids that become more likable as the film progresses. These two in particular are adorable…
And even though the killer has a lair lined with cages, there’s no gruesome torture porn, just plenty of gruesome kills. Total popcorn movie.
Funnyman Larry Joe Campbell of 90s sitcom According to Jim stars in this odd little creature feature that should have come with the warning: Do not watch this film unless you are prepared to invest time in the sequel, because it ends with a cliffhanger and no payoff whatsoever.
That’s right. There’s a sequel that was released 2 years later, which is not included on this boxed set, but which I will cover as a bonus in this blog since you simply have to watch these two together as one movie to get the full picture.
In this one, Campbell starts to see signs of a large animal living in the woods surrounding his house. He sets up cameras to catch footage of it. Pets in town get attacked by it and die. When two young guys encounter it, one gets attacked and begins getting sick. This caused my mind to drift to a whole different kind of boys vs. hairy beasts movie for a moment…
We only see slight glimpses of the Dogman in the first film, in an old school 1970s creature feature way, and there’s some fun suspense and light humor as Larry Joe Campbell teams up with the sheriff and his neighbor to hunt down the beast and an antidote to save those who are sick.
But like I said, just as this charming little film feels like it’s about to reach its climax, it ends! Which is why I had to go and buy the second film on its own, since it’s not included in this boxed set.
So much for starting right where the first one left off, which is what I thought was going to happen with Dogman 2: The Wrath Of The Litter.
This sequel picks up a year later by showing us exactly why we never saw the Dogman first time around…they chose to show him in full daylight immediately here, and it looks like a store-bought, man-sized dog costume.
The mouth doesn’t even move…on any of the costumes, considering there’s a pack of Dogmen this time.
Campbell is back and bickering with his sister-in-law, while the sheriff returns to town just in time to witness police take down a Dogman at the scene of the first attack on a deserted road.
And the neighbor from the first movie is also back, and she’s all worried because it turns out she ended up adopting a Dogman as a pet and now it’s missing!
Between the goofy costumes and the goofy plot, this sequel fails to save the first film from its teetering position on the edge of terrible! If the budgets of both films had been combined along with the movies themselves, chances are we could have had one pretty darn good Dogman movie instead of 2 mediocre ones.
THE EVES (2012)
A year before he made the awesome horror comedy Buck Wild, director Tyler Glodt made this okay but pretty forgettable backwoods horror flick that deservedly ended up on an 8-in-1 collection.
The cast is horror-ready, and includes Matthew Albrecht (Bunnyman, Buck Wild, Detention…also the co-writer of this film and Buck Wild with Tyler Glodt!), Amelia Meyers (Office of the Dead, Buck Wild), Mark Leslie Ford (Buck Wild), and Cathy Baron (The Lights, covered below since it’s also on this disc).
They’re a group of kids on a road trip, their car breaks down, they end up crashing at an old farmhouse, we get the usual cheap scares galore (half the time it’s them scaring each other) as well as hints of something ominous going on at the farm, and some of the kids split up to have sex.
It might be totally wrong in this day and age of sexual assault accusations, but the funniest scene in this film has a couple fucking in the barn and getting off on slapping the shit out of each other. It only gets funnier when one dude later takes note of the marks all over their faces.
It also kicks off the best part of the film with the most traditional backwoods slasher segments as kids go missing and bodies start piling up.
Then the film turns “contemporary” for the final act, going the torture pornish route for a while, with the twist coming in and giving us the whole dark side of humanity messaging that’s played to death these days in horror.
It’s all very predictable when it comes down to it, but I do like that the final frame twists us out of the twist that has become so cliché it’s no longer a twist.
THE LIGHTS (2009)
Definitely a silly little low budget slasher, this one features horror king Joe Estevez, Cathy Baron (of The Eves, above), and Survivor judge Oscar Lusth. But the person who makes this one worth the watch is the guy playing the killer, just a crazy old dude who totally camps it up.
A group of friends hits the road to travel to a good location to see a meteor shower.
Meanwhile, a few poor suckers find reasons to ring the crazy dude’s doorbell, like a couple of young missionaries and a guy who had a biking accident and needs to use a phone. They all get hammered…
The kids eventually stumble upon the house, decide to crash in the barn at night and, well, you can guess the rest.
But you can’t guess what a kick the killer gets out of terrorizing, torturing, and hacking up these kids.
And the way in which the final two survivors get back at him is just so swift and satisfying you have to laugh.
NIGHT DRIVE (2010)
While I initially thought this film was about a South African native tribe that conjures some sort of monster to hunt down a tourist group invading its territory, I honestly think the film was about the tourist group being hunted and slaughtered by the tribe itself.
Two of the lead guys on the tour are muscle hotties (although one of them is an asshole).
The tribesmen are fricking vicious and brutal in their slaughtering techniques.
But this ends up feeling like an action film loaded with running and gunning.
Which would explain why I lost interest and have absolutely no idea what was going on with the plot at the end. I just know it has something to do with the muscle hottie who isn’t asshole and his ties to the tribe.
They really should have included Dogman 2 on this boxed set rather than this film.
THE RIDGE (2005)
It’s another movie about a bunch of friends that goes to a house in the woods, tells an urban legend about a crazed killer, and then gets hunted and hacked by a masked killer with an axe.
But first, they spend 40 minutes hanging out and bickering over relationships.
Yeah, it’s a major yawnfest, but as soon as the first body turns up, it’s nonstop stalking, slashing, and jump scares.
However, this is about as underdeveloped as a killer’s story gets, because killer comes, killer kills, killer is killed, credits role…no follow-up, no unmasking, no nothing. Just watch this one for the cheap thrills and kills.
THE CRAVING (2008)
Sometimes a sloppy horror flick reminds me of how ridiculous 1970s and 1980s horror was at times, so I have to overlook all the nonsense and let the sex and violence carry me through to the end.
Such is the case with The Craving. I have no fricking idea what’s going on when all is said and done. But who cares?
There are loads of cute guys with their shirts off, a creature shows its face a few times, kids run around screaming, and…nothing else, but I’m easy so that’s all I really need.
We see the creature right away when a dude spots it on his property in the desert, which seems to cause him to become possessed.
Along comes a group of kids having an orgy in a van on the way to a festival.
They end up stranded on the dude’s property for the night, and shit just gets weird thanks to a subplot about the creature releasing a scent that guys find gross, girls find delicious, and everyone finds intoxicating enough to keep them there despite the dangers. One dude even has a messed up sex dream that’s part straight, part gay, and part necro.
Then the creature starts attacking (we see very little of it), and all the screaming begins.
Chaos ensues, and the overall tone and atmosphere remind me of a mash-up of 1972’s Gargoyles and 1977’s The Hills Have Eyes.