Time to blast through four more films made in the past ten years, from slashers to creature features.
JOHN CARPENTER’S THE WARD (2010)
It must suck to be John Carpenter. You just want to make a fun little slasher about a killer corpse in a mental institution but everyone is expecting you to top Halloween or The Thing.
Before Sucker Punch, there was another movie about young chicks trying to escape a crazy house: John Carpenter’s The Ward. Keeping the girls trapped is the spirit of a girl named Alice who simply disappeared from the mental hospital at some point. Well now she’s a freaky deaky rotting corpse. Whenever a girl tries to escape, Alice does some major surgery on her brain.
Skeletal, black-robed Alice is creepy, the kills are enjoyably violent, there’s a dance montage, and the truth of what happened to Alice adds a little mystery to the mix. Plus the twist at the end is unexpected. However, the bathroom mirror scare that punctuates the movie is just…this is the groundbreaking creator of Halloween and The Thing?
It’s the time P!nk! made a horror movie. Okay. She isn’t the main girl in Catacombs, but she is the main girl’s sister—and she’s pretty mellow at first but shows off some acting chops later in the movie.
The main girl comes to see her in Paris, they go to a rave in these underground tunnels that were supposedly a mass grave 200 years ago, the police raid the party, the main girl gets left behind, and she is then chased relentlessly by a killer wearing the head of a horned beast!
Of course, P!nk and her friends first tell the main girl terrifying stories of what went on down in the catacombs years ago, complete with some “flashback” imagery that is pretty freak-bloody-scary. And when the main girl first encounters the killer, it is one of the best chase scenes ever! It has to be at least fifteen minutes long and it is intense!
Things definitely chill out once she gets away and has to figure out how to get out of the tunnels. In fact, there’s only one more minor confrontation with the horned beast before the conclusion of the film, which is a bit of a letdown. But what transpires in the last few minutes is a total zinger! It might seem like the kind of twist you’ve seen before…but then it takes things one step further. Awesome.
BLOOD GLACIER (2013)
Speaking of horned beasts, Blood Glacier has one of those. From the director of the amazing zombie flick Rammbock, this is more of a creature feature that will easily be compared to John Carpenter’s The Thing!
A group of climate scientists are up in the snowy mountains. This part is kind of confusing because, well, not everyone is dressed for arctic temps, so I don’t know what the climate is like up there. One chick even shows up in Daisy Dukes and hot pink sneakers. WTF? Maybe that’s what they’re researching….
So anyway, these scientists find this, well, blood glacier, and inside is a tunnel with dead foxes that the group thinks had rabies…and bit one guy’s dog. This flick may be a little tough to watch if you’re sensitive about dogs. Man’s best friend is treated much more emotionally than in The Thing.
The movie is a little schizo because there are creatures coming from all ends. There’s a beetle/fox thing, mutant mosquitos, giant roly poly face sucker bugs, and a flying ram monster. And don’t expect the “blood glacier” to be explained, because it’s not. But it’s still loads of fun to watch.
The best part of the movie is by far the antics of an older scientist woman. She totally rules and has all the great lines, reactions, and responses to everything going on in the film. She is the backbone of the group! Plus, she actually barks, “Stop eating that banana while you’re crying!” Amazing.
The biggest disappointment of the film? The hottest guy dies way too early. Yeah. It was even more disappointing to me than the inconclusive ending, which was pretty disappointing.
DIE DIE DELTA PI (2013)
Not to be confused with the film Delta Delta Die! from 2003, Die Die Delta Pi is a slasher that tries to pay homage to 80s slashers. It even starts in 1986, so I was so ready to love it. I’ll give it this. The gore is pretty great, there are plenty of boobs and a va-jay-jay, and a couple of the actors (literally two) really stood out and deserve to be in more mainstream horror. The setup is classic slasher; a prank went horribly wrong back in 86, someone escapes from a mental institution, and now a new round of kids is about to get slaughtered.
This crazy bitch was awesome.
Unfortunately, the movie is painfully disjointed and plodding. Instead of fluidly weaving scares, gore, nudity, and humor into a flowing narrative, the movie takes things one piece at a time. The first part features loads of clunky dialogue between the kids to set up the premise of their party plans. Any hints of humor here fall pretty much flat because there’s no particular understanding of comic timing apparent (except for one actor, who, sadly, has no one as good to work off).
Then there’s an entire segment focusing solely on the girls at a campfire, talking, offering some background on the situation from 1986, and having a sorority ceremony. But the true purpose of this section of the movie is clearly to get in a good dose of pseudo lesbianism and half naked girls spanking each other, thereby satisfying the checklist of slasher criteria.
Finally and suddenly, in about the last ten minutes, there’s a frantic series of people getting hacked and slashed one after the other, the killer is revealed (and it’s no surprise to any of us), the killer is shot, there’s a flashback that’s supposed to clear things up but leaves more questions instead, and then some of the remaining girls are inexplicably in a car that appears to be filling with smoke. The end.
Like I said, other than a couple of cool gore scenes and a split second of excitement near the end (that should have been paced throughout the film instead), this one doesn’t deliver humor, scares, or tension. Hell, there’s not even a main girl to hold it together, which is a big part of the problem. I guess if you’re into naked sorority girls there’s something to be happy about here.
As for man candy, despite a toga party scene, there’s nothing much to see other than the jock sporting some impressive nipple action through his tank top. He also happens to be the best and funniest actor in the film—although the humor comes mostly at the expense of an Asian character. If anything good comes of Die Die Delta Pi, it will be that this dude gets cast in a bunch of cheesy, direct-to-DVD slashers.
And just be warned. If you order Die Die Delta Pi on DVD directly from the company that made the film (the only way to get it), it’s a DVD-R. And my copy actually had fingerprints all over the read surface!