It’s modern horror time! So which film from this eclectic trio was my favorite? Let’s take a look.
BANG BANG BABY (2014)
A sci-fi musical about 1960s rock ‘n’ roll and a chemical leak that turns people in a small town into mutants? Sounds like my kind of movie. Plus, it stars Jane Levy of the Evil Dead remake and Don’t Breathe.
Bang Bang Baby is a surreal musical to the max, with a trippy sci-fi look and feel that definitely captures your attention. Imagine mashing up John Waters films like Hairspray and Cry-Baby and bizarro sci-fi throwback films of the late 80s and early 90s like Naked Lunch and Not Of This Earth.
Levy plays a young woman who dreams of escaping her small town to become a famous singer. When her favorite, dreamy rock star passes through town and his car breaks down, she suddenly has a reason to stay home.
But as she snuggles up to her crush, a young admirer of hers warns that there’s a leak at the local chemical plant, and it’s turning everyone in town into mutants.
While the cast croons its way through tunes with a 60s style, there’s very little in the way of actual “mutants” that you see until we get a little freaky dose near the end. Bang Bang Baby is no uplifting, campy zombie musical, for the focus is on the main girl’s emotional distress as the relationships with the men in her life take some strange turns. It’s actually a surprisingly dark downer of a film!
BACHELOR GAMES (2016)
Well, that was a really frustrating experience. I can barely even talk about Bachelor Games without spoiling anything, which is even more frustrating.
5 buddies head off into pretty much the desert for a hiking bachelor party. Tick off every cliché: the sensitive groom, the hot asshole best man, the awkward geek, the chubby cutie, and the angry black man with a gun. Seriously.
After some sausage fest fun, like a roadside pee break and a visit to a strip club with a busted dancer, the boys head off to the great outdoors. They come upon a ghost town and a sacrificial altar, and the next thing you know, they’re being shot at with archer arrows and chased by a robed “thing” with horns.
The action and suspense pick up so fast that you suddenly wonder where this film could possibly go with 45 minutes remaining…which is when a wild twist puts the guys in an even worse predicament. Problem is, most of the remainder of this film focuses on the guys’ feelings! WTF? This is a DICK flick, not a chick flick! The kills are disappointingly limited and tame, plus, we only see the thing that’s chasing them for like five seconds at the end. It’s one super freaky foe, but its appearance is virtually an afterthought—hell, its existence in the plot is an afterthought. No sooner does the creature make its appearance before the movie ends, leaving you like, THAT’S IT? Bummer.
THE DEVIL’S DOLLS (2016)
The Devil’s Dolls comes to us from Padraig Reynolds, the director of Rites of Spring. It’s a totally derivative possession slasher, but that’s so my thing, so I was highly entertained.
At the end of an opening scene with a splatastic drill to the head kill, we meet the sizzling hot detective who takes down the killer.
This detective’s daughter is selling little stick figure doll necklaces at her mom’s curio shop.
Turns out, anyone who wears one of these necklaces suddenly goes all Regan MacNeil in the face and robotically slaughters any unlucky bystanders. Awesome.
As formulaic as it is – detective tries to stop the killings, detective’s family becomes personally affected, detective goes to voodoo lady who has all the answers, voodoo lady tells him he must track down the necklaces for a ritual to save family – The Devil’s Doll is loaded with good old cheap scare thrills and gore galore. And it’s pretty dang unapologetic about who falls victim to the necklaces. Plus, one cute, possessed killer dude is suddenly, inexplicably shirtless in the middle of an intense chase and terrorize scene.
As much as I enjoyed this little horror flick, one aspect really took away from the fear factor for me – generally, anyone possessed has a blank stare and doesn’t speak at all, but occasionally, one of them will start chatting up a storm in the middle of a suspense scene! WTF? The only other downside of the film is a not-so-pleasant scene involving a dog. It happens off screen, but it’s still unacceptable. Kill kids if you have to, but leave dogs out of it, dammit!