At this point, I cover any 1990s flix I haven’t yet touched on my blog simply so I can appear to be unbiased—not to mention, as a reminder that my bias is completely founded, because 1990s horror predominantly sux as much as mainstream music did during that decade. So here are my thoughts on another three slices of 90s torture.
SORORITY BABES IN THE DANCE-A-THON OF DEATH (1991)
Todd Sheets is still making low budget films with midnight movie titles these days, but I haven’t seen any, so I don’t know if his work has improved beyond looking like a bunch of friends with a camcorder played pretend and recorded it on tape. A sequel to Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama this is not.
If I had to guess, I would say that the cast of Sorority Babes in the Dance-A-Thon of Death was a bunch of college kids in 1989 that were approached to be in a movie…like right now. Like, skip your next class and let’s head over to that abandoned building down the block so you can run around acting like you’re scared because one of your friends got possessed. And you, you’ll play the possessed one, and we’ll know you’re possessed because you’ll spin in circles and slam your head repeatedly into a wall while giggling. You’ll also pretend you pulled your eyes from your head by keeping your eyes and fists closed, then pressing your fists back on your face before opening your eyes to show you’ve put them back in. That’s her doing it, right there in the dark. See it?
Really, it’s unwatchable. I should know. I watched it. Here’s what I could make out in this miserably lit (as in, there’s no movie-making lighting at all) movie. Sorority girls buy a cursed crystal ball from an antique store. They dance around their sorority house while boys watch through a window. They play pinball. They play twister. They watch a horror movie (I’m assuming it’s another Todd Sheets movie). They have a séance.
They stay in an empty building for the night. The goofy-acting possessed girl play fights with some of the kids before chasing them in circles around the building. They run out of the building and into an empty club. The old couple that owns the antique store comes to exorcise the possessed girl on the dance floor. Actually, the old couple is the funniest and most entertaining part of the film.
THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1996)
The year that Scream saved horror from the hopeless abyss that was the 90s, this one – based on the work of HG Wells of course, and from the director of the classic 1979 creature feature Prophecy – was a good demonstration of just of how bad the genre was at the time. Yes, it’s as bad I remembered—it’s also pretty damn gay.
The premise is classic. A castaway is rescued on the sea and taken to a remote island, where he soon discovers some seriously fucked up experiments are being done on humans…and animals. As in, the two are being crossbred to create an all-out carnival sideshow of freaks.
The only scene that mattered to me from a horror standpoint here is when the main guy first sneaks off on his own to explore, slips into a lab, and witnesses a bunch of man-beast doctors helping a woman-beast delivery her baby-beast. Fucked up. After that, this film becomes a disastrous farce of goofy talking creatures like something out of the Star Wars cantina, really bad CGI creatures leaping through the woods, and a Planet of the Apes overthrowing of the human controlled island.
Now for the good bad stuff. Marlon Brando plays the crazy scientist running the island, and in his first appearance, he’s dressed in some sort of nun drag. Thereafter, his drag ensembles just get worse.
He has no wife to speak of, but his “daughter” is a shy belly dancer played disastrously by favorite horror girl Fairuza Balk. I can’t believe this is the same chick who rocked The Craft the same year.
And finally, there’s young and beautiful Val Kilmer, Brando’s “assistant”…who appears to be more of his boy bitch, if you ask me. After nursing our main man back to health, Kilmer fondles a purple flower pinned to the main guy’s shirt while talking about how he “came out” to join Brando. Later, he runs around the jungle in nothing but tight army fatigue short shorts looking like he can’t find his way to the set of the gay military porn he’s about to star in.
And if I had to guess, I’d say he’s the one who convinced Brando to open the big dance club in which the man-beasts revolt at the end of the film. Fucking 90s horror.
THE GRAVE (1996)
Seriously, I’m barely going to talk about this film, which broke my ADHD-o-meter. It’s inexcusable that this film is categorized as a “comedy horror.” Trust me, there’s no horror here—unless it was happening during my ADHD-o-meter malfunction. Craig Sheffer is a convict who makes a prison break with his buddy so they can go hunt for some treasure they learn is buried in a crypt.
What we get is an unfunny, boring as fuck trip across country as the pair runs into the likes of Eric Roberts, Donal Logue, and Anthony Michael Hall, with everyone plotting against each other to nab the treasure.
With 18 minutes left, they enter the tomb and the door closes on them! Ooh scary. Turns out Sheffer’s girlfriend has locked them in. It doesn’t even matter what happens after that, but soon after, the credits roll.