This mess of movies from the 1990s makes me wonder how the hell the video store I worked in lasted through the decade. Oh…that’s right. People kept re-renting 80s horror movies…
CTHULHU MANSION (1992)
I had high hopes for this film from the director of Pieces based on the setup—after committing a crime at a carnival, a group of thugs in leather jackets hides out in the creepy old house of the carnival magician and his sidekick daughter, holding them hostage.
Naturally the lights go out, which is when we learn the magician and daughter are have secrets locked away in the basement.
And then…the kids just hang around, listen to music, play darts, dance, have sex…. There are a couple of horror moments, like giant monster hands coming from a refrigerator and a guy drowning in a blood shower and showing of a whole lot of bush in the process, but it’s not enough horror to keep the pace going.
I’m a huge fan of horror flicks in which a bunch of kids invades a creepy house and ends up experiencing all kinds of weird shit, but I can’t believe how boring this film is.
A few things happen in the last half hour, the most thrilling being that one of the leather boys starts mutating, which is the catalyst for the final, disappointing act.
NIGHT TERRORS (1993)
With Tobe Hooper directing Robert Englund as Marquis de Sade, I would expect the horror of my lifetime. What I got was another cheesy, 1990s direct-to-video erotic thriller.
A young woman comes to visit her religious father in Egypt, where he’s doing an archaeological dig. He warns her to stay away from an alluring vixen she meets, so…she goes and parties with her. Of course there are lesbian undertones, but there’s also fleeting attention paid to some gender fluid partygoers.
The main girl also hooks up with a sexy as hell rich dude and has dreamy sex with him. In fact, most of this film is carried by dreamy sequences.
Caption: gives a whole new meaning to the term bareback…oh..wait…
The main girl is basically drawn into a drug-induced world of erotic pleasures where snake symbolism abounds. The visually titillating sequences are quite reminiscent of The Lair of the White Worm…without the subversion. This film that combines de Sade with religion fails to push the boundaries into the realm of offensive as much as Lair of the White Worm does. What a letdown.
Robert Englund finally hogs the screen in the final act, when he just drones on and on telling the main girl the awful things he’s going to do to her. Really, it’s hard for me to even consider this a horror film. It’s mostly sex with very little sadism.
CRUEL JAWS (1995)
This film is infamous for inserting footage from Jaws, Jaws 2, and a couple of other shark films that followed, so part of the fun is watching the chaotic editing during attack scenes to see if you recognize any of the clips. The other part of the fun is how hilariously bad the main actors’ reactions are when faced with the shark…that’s not actually there because it’s in another movie.
In this film, Great Whites are out and a Tiger Shark is king. Other than that, the movie follows all the shark movie rules.
- opening scene with divers attacked
- Couple gets it when they take a dip at dusk
- There’s an aquarium and dolphins
- A gory discovery is made on the beach
- The mayor refuses to close the beach
- A major beach event turns into a blood bath (best scene)
- In a panic, a girl on a boat spills a gasoline can and someone else shoots a flare gun at the same time. Kaboom!
- A helicopter gets dragged down by the shark
- Helicopter pilot says “We need a bigger helicopter”
As bad as this damn movie is, I can’t deny it has its charms…particularly the fact that the spliced in footage from shark movies made up to 20 years before this one is totally different quality film. And if you’ve seen the 1981 film The Last Shark (which I just blogged about here), you’ll be shocked to see that not just fleeting clips, but full sequences are used, to the point that Cruel Jaws could just be considered a “different director’s cut” of The Last Shark. For this film, prolific horror director Bruno Mattei literally did shot for shot remakes of parts of The Last Shark with his own actors and edited the new scenes around all the original shark footage from The Last Shark.
NAKED FEAR (1999)
Hard to believe the director of icky 80s trash Slime City made this shot on video film, but one thing is clear—he failed to catch up with the nineties even with the whole decade behind him. This looks worse than an 80s direct-to-video movie, and all the actors look like burnouts from 1989 even though it’s a 1999 film.
The plot is about an agoraphobic dude named Camden who places an ad for a roommate and ends up with a weirdo named Randy. They get along well, but Camden eventually figures out Randy is a serial killer, and has to find the emotional strength to escape his own home.
The move is really awful, and feels like a home video. Endless montages of Camden doing nothing are set to power pop songs. There are a few random gay guys thrown in—one a queen that sends a videotaped interview in hopes of being Camden’s new roommate, the other a couple that walks in on a Randy in a public bathroom.
Camden watches a lot of phone sex commercials…that look exactly like the quality of the movie, which tells you just how low budget this movie looks. Meanwhile, Randy plays pimp to get Camden laid, and also targets various people who come to the apartment and do Camden wrong.
In a failed effort to introduce some suspense into the plot, Camden does get away and is tracked down by Randy. Chances are you will burst out laughing during the final battle to the death between them.