Ah. The nostalgia of all the shitty horror that pretty much went straight to video or straight to cable in the 90s. But out of the six films I look at here, one actually breaks the mold and hints at what the 2000s would bring.
Amongst the endless overload of “monsters on a spaceship/boat” movies that helped make 90s horror suck, Proteus manages to be a little more entertaining despite being just as derivative. And as usual, those trapped with the creature are a band of people I couldn’t care less about. This time, they’re a bunch of drug dealers who get trapped in an oil rig with a slimy, shape-shifting monster that uses its victims as a host. Kill them, Mr. Monster! I don’t give a fuck.
Actually, I do care about one of them. Star Craig Fairbrass is scorching hot. And he gets shirtless.
There’s also creature POV, gory kills, slimy appendages, and a big boss battle at the end when the creature morphs into a giant tentacled monster. You just have to overlook the absurd moment when Craig finds a videotape in which a scientist conveniently explains everything.
DADDY’S GIRL (1996)
At a time when those we trusted were turning on us (The Good Son, The Stepfather, The Dentist, Ice Cream Man), apparently this film Daddy’s Girl was made. And it feels like a really bad made-for-TV clone. Poor William Katt would have been better off doing yet another House movie rather than play the dad to the evil little brat in this one.
There is nothing original here. Girl was adopted. She mindfucks other little kids with her sinister words. And anyone who tries to get between her and daddy dies. Naturally, one kill attempt fails so she’s going to need to finish the job in the hospital. She also spouts one-liners after each kill. YAWN.
LITTLE WITCHES (1996)
Whereas the classic The Craft succeeded as both a teen flick and a horror flick, Little Witches, released later the same year, fails miserably on both counts.
It tries to attract the adolescent male crowd with a schoolgirl strip tease and a naked coven of college girls dancing around a “cauldron.” It also tosses in a lean, shirtless construction worker boy for the girls and gays. But looks aren’t everything! There are no likeable or memorable characters, no scares, and no humor. You know. The essentials.
Even some familiar faces can’t save this borefest. Clea DuVall of The Faculty is background noise. Jennifer Rubin, the bad ass punk druggy of Elm Street 3, is ridiculous as a nun. And Poltergeist house cleanser Zelda Rubinstein is thrown in briefly for the novelty of it all.
Lame bad girl/good girl drama and absurd melodramatic occult music is about all we get until the finale, when they momentarily summon what looks like a demon Jar Jar Binks for the most anti-climactic ending imaginable.
EVENT HORIZON (1997)
Yet another “monsters on a spaceship” movie to remind me that I fucking hate “monsters on a spaceship” movies. I can’t relate. I’ve never been on a fucking spaceship in the future (the Dead Space games are the closest I’ve come).
Sam Neill, Laurence Fishburne, and Kathleen Quinlan star as part of a team that goes to investigate an abandoned spaceship. After an hour of total fucking boredom sprinkled with characters having scary visions once in a while, the team finally has to face the fact that the spaceship is alive, getting inside their heads, and linked to another dimension. Sam eventually turns into some sort of Hellraiser rip-off demon and hottie Richard T. Jones provides some ridiculously out of place comic relief.
Milo is a cheesy bad good time slasher if you’re looking for Sometimes They Come Back meets Alice, Sweet Alice.
A bunch of young girls follows creepy, hoarse voiced, raincoat-wearing, bicycle riding classmate Milo back to his house and something bloody happens, although we don’t quite see what transpired.
Years later, one of the girls, played by Jennifer Jostyn of House of 1000 Corpses and Vampire on Bikini Beach, becomes a substitute teacher. Pretty soon, she’s seeing Milo riding his bicycle all over town, even though he apparently died at some point. No one believes her. Milo starts to kill the girls one by one, spilling plenty of blood. The subway ghost from Ghost appears as his weird, grieving father. Eventually, Milo removes the raincoat and is actually creepier without it.
And after the final chase scene and final jump scare ending, you’ll have no idea what the fuck was going on.
Strangeland got a lot of hate when it was released back in 1998, possibly because Dee Snider of Twisted Sister wrote and starred in it. But this movie makes me queasier than any of the Saw or Hostel films that came after it.
Dee is freaky looking as “Captain Howdy” (name that movie reference), an online presence who hits people up in the chat rooms and then meets them in person…at which point he imprisons them in his dungeon, sews their mouths shut, and pierces the fuck out of unthinkable parts of their bodies.
Strangeland wasn’t only ahead of the torture porn curve, it was an early adopter of the dangers of the Internet plot. Plus, it has an appearance by Robert Englund, wearing only underwear in a scene that becomes the creepiest moment in the whole film when his lady friend does a “sexy” dance.