Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Haunting at Some Rich Guy's House

Hidiest of Hos, Horror Nuts! Welcome to another WTFHM!

So, this week we’re traveling down the well visited road of bad movie theatre. Now, I might’ve mentioned it before that I actually enjoy bad movies a great deal. Particularly when they’re horror or action movies. Nothing makes my Saturday better than eating popcorn and watching a terrible movie.

I’ve figured out that most of the time the trick to a bad movie is that you understand that even the filmmakers aren’t taking it all that seriously. It’s great when that happens because then, you know, everybody’s having a blast.

Unfortunately, once again, this is not one of those times.

The Haunting of Alice D starring Kane Hodder, Juan Riedinger, Al Snow, Megan Hensley, Aaron Massey, Kristina Page, Jessica Sonneborn, Julianne Tura, Michael Reed, Eliza Swenson, Josh Hammond, Chanel Ryan and Kaylee Signore.

Now, you’re going to have to bear with me here because this movie wasn’t exactly an easy watch. I went back and forth as to whether or not a detailed synopsis was necessary here. I mean, the movie was only an hour and fifteen minutes long and an hour of it was mostly just things moving mysterious around on their own. It kind of took the whole idea of a slow burn to a whole nother level. Like, a no burn. No real action happens until, maybe the last ten minutes of the movie and I’m being generous. I’m pretty sure they cram all the dying in the last five minutes.

But, here it is, as synopsis-y as I can get with a movie like this.

So, once upon a time in 1898, two sisters got sold to a whore house after their parents died. One was ripped away and sold to somebody else and the littler sister spent the rest of her days chained to a bed getting raped by the whorehouse’s owner, Sr. Davenport (Hodder).

I’m getting a little ahead of myself as the very first scene we only see Sr. Davenport taking little Alice D. away, but...yeah, you get the picture.

Anyways, fast forward to hundred years later. Four buddies are hanging out at a strip club...I think.

I mean, they *say* it’s a strip club and they get lapdances, but...real talk, you guys, it’s just somebody’s house. I don’t know if they couldn’t get permission to film in an actual club or they ran out of Party City Supplies to decorate the living room to maybe try and fool us into think they were in a club, but…

It’s a living room. They’re sitting in a well lit living room.

So, the four buddies - We’ll call them Dopey, Sleepy, Wimpy, and Aggro - talk about how Aggro (Riedinger) is throwing a stripper party at his house and they should come. Wimpy (Hammond...I think) says he can’t come because he and his girlfriend have something to do and, plus, she hates Aggro, which, as it turns out is completely irrelevant information.

Before we go on, let me clue you in a little fun fact about me. I have mild facial blindness. Plainly put, all that means is that I have trouble recognizing facial features. Now, I’ve compensated over the course of my life and as a result, I don’t have a lot of trouble with most faces. In fact, most times, I’m pretty good at picking people out.

Except in a movie where almost everyone has the same build, hair color, and hair cut. You’ve got four or five guys (and girls, by the way) who, pretty much all look alike to me. Now, because of my weird wiring, I’m not going to go into any rants about this particular issue with the movie. Unfortunately, that means I’ve got to give them funny names since I barely know one from the other.

All right, so anyway, Wimpy goes home and tells his girl (Swenson) that he was the, um, club and his buddy, Aggro is throwing a party and he wants to go. She invites herself (even though she freely admits to her dislike of Aggro).

Okay, so, the party’s happening in this really well lit old house. Aggro and his friends are there and so are the strippers...who are kind of dressed like they’re going to the mall versus being the entertainment at a party. Wimpy and his girl (let’s call her Exposition Chick) show up and Aggro and Exposition Chick immediately trade barbs.

Aggro: “See you brought your own ho.”

Exposition Chick: “Up yours.”

It’s at that point that Exposition Chick goes into her only purpose in the entire movie. The strippers are all gathered around an old color picture of the house and tells them the story of how once upon a time two sisters were sold into sex slavery and one killed herself. This story freaks out one of the girls. We’ll call her the Shirley Temple (Hensley...I think).

Aggro comes in and starts stuff with Exposition Chick. Exposition Chick tells him that she’s leaving and we don’t see her or Wimpy again until the very end of the movie.

Now, Sleepy and his girl, um, Most Brunette Chick (No idea with this one) have already run off to have sex in one of the many rooms of the house. They find a room with chains on the bed and start making out. Then there’s a noise, they see something, cue animated shaking door, they’re dead.

Or, at least I *think* they’re dead. I mean, nobody bothers looking for them or asking about them, by the way. Their dismembered corpses don’t get discovered. They just disappear off the planet, apparently.

Okay, so Aggro also invited a friend to this shindig, let’s call him Hero (Massey) who gets to talking to Shirley Temple and finds out that her and all the other girls at the party are strippers. His reaction?

Yeah, he’s a real winner. Even when Shirley tells him she’s only doing this for one night to help her sister, he’s all like:

Okay, so, more things move around the house, Aggro sees a girl randomly on the staircase (though, how he could tell her from the other girls, I really don’t know).

There’s another flashback in there somewhere, too, that involves Sr. Davenport raping Alice D.(Page), but don’t worry, kids, they don’t show anything but about thirty seconds of him mashing his face against hers like:

And by the way, that’s not the ghost girl’s name. Sr. Davenport just decides to call her that. Don’t know why. Maybe there are five other Alices in the whorehouse? Who knows?

Anyway, at some point, Aggro decides that Shirley isn’t having fun being a ho. He gets on her handler - Natasha (Ha! I got one name. That one’s Sonneborne. Thanks, IMDB) and tells her to whip her girl into shape. Natasha takes Shirley to the side and tells her to loosen up.

This, too, is an irrelevant conversation, but, whatever.

Aggro takes her to one of the rooms and tries having sex with her, which, again, we see in about thirty seconds of face mashing. No body shots, no ripping off of clothes, just Aggro, manhandling her face like:

Hero comes in and convinces him to let him have a go at her, so he’ll leave. Once he’s gone he’s all:

They spend the rest of the movie talking and somewhere in there we find out why Shirley is desperate to get money for her family and what really happened to Alice D, which was that before she killed herself, she snapped and killed Sr. Davenport and his henchman (Snow).

Who, by the way, is only named as Henchman in the credits. It appears the filmmakers care about these characters about as much as I do.

While they’re talking, Aggro and Dopey are making time with the other two strippers by playing stripper pool, which, of course, the girls are losing at. Aggro and Dopey go their separate ways to do the sex with them

Dopey and Blonde Stripper (Um...Ryan...maybe?) go in a room and start making out. Blonde Stripper sees a desk move and freaks out just as Aggro and Natasha come to the room. She says she needs a bath, so Aggro takes the scared and suddenly sloppy drunk girl off Dopey’s hands and decides to give her a bath.

We’re about an hour into this hour and fifteen minute movie at this point, folks.
Finally, we get something moderately scary. Aggro’s in the bathtub with her, feeling her up, when suddenly:

And he freaks out and drowns her in the tub.

Dopey, in the meantime, ends up being the only one who has anything close to sex in the house. Good for him. I guess.

He finds Aggro, who’s upset that he just fulfilled what I imagine was probably his destiny anyway, in that he’d just murdered a hooker. Aggro is upset, then he sees the ghost girl and goes crazy, grabbing a fire poker and hitting her with it.

Dopey tries to stop him like:

He keeps on swinging and running every time he sees her and several shaky camera moments later, he eventually throws himself off the staircase and dies leaving a wake of dead and dying bodies behind him.

Including Exposition Girl and her boyfriend...who, as it turns out, didn’t leave after all.

So, what did I give The Haunting of Alice D?

Pretty much. Suffice it to say, I’d rather eat glass than watch this movie again.

Next week! We’re going to do A Haunting in Conneticut, which I’m pretty sure I’ve seen, but did you know there was a sequel? I sure didn’t know.

See you next week!


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Hammer Time

Hidey-ho, fellow horror nuts. Welcome to yet another WTFHM!

So, you might remember last week that the next bunch of movies in my line of sight within the Ferndale Area District Library’s illustrious collection had to do with the Hammer Films. On the off chance that there might be a Hammer film that I haven’t seen, I checked out the two disc collection so to review for this week. So, how did that work out, you ask?

Yeah, I’ve seen every one we have. Thanks Thriller Double Feature!

Now, normally, this is where I’d be moving on to the next movie in the series, but I thought, meh, why not do a Hammer Appreciation blog instead?

So, this week we’re going to cover the Hammer Movies, starring, like, all the best horror movie actors in the 60s and 70s. Hammer movies have a distinctive quality to them that you can pretty much spot at a glance. So, in honor of that, let’s do an At A Glance guide for all you newbies out there going “What’s a Hammer Movie?”. Welcome to today’s special segment entitled:

How Do I Know if I’m watching a Hammer Movie?

The Hammer Acting Crew

Here’s probably the best way to spot a Hammer Horror film from back in the day is whether or not the following actors are in it:

Christopher Lee

Peter Cushing

Oliver Reed

Bella Lugosi

Barbara Shelley

Veronica Carlson

David Prowse

Michael Ripper

Michael Ripper, by the way, is probably the one guy you’d see all the dang time. I’m pretty sure he was in all of them.

And those, of course, aren’t all the common actors, but those are the ones I recall seeing the most.


And before you get at me about forgetting Our Lord and Savior Vincent Price, contrary to popular belief, he never did any Hammer movies. He was a Roger Corman guy.

Moving on:

Everything is in British

Okay, so, you have to keep in mind that the majority of the old school Hammer horror movie productions jumped off around the time when most of the world was obsessed with the British. Like the Beatles and The Rolling Stones were hot and Twiggy was the big It Girl in Fashion and everything was in that weird high definition swirly tie-dyed color scheme.

All that was working out pretty good considering Hammer Productions was based out of, you guessed it, London. And at some point, somebody said, hey, you know what’d really be far out? Horror movies!

Yeah, I don’t really get the connection either, but it worked out for them. So, yeah, everything in a Hammer movie is in British, even if the movie takes place in Spain. I’m looking at you Oliver Reed.

 The Goth Look

So, I have no citations to back me up on this, but I’m pretty sure the Hammer films started this trend:

Or maybe even this trend:

However it started, Hammer Horror movies became synonymous with horror movies that took place back during the time of horse and carriages and floor-length black and red velvet gowns and dark paisley wallpaper and heavy curtains and canopy beds with drapes and so forth. It was commonplace in a Hammer movie to live in a castle in a high necked gown with lots of pearls.

Vampires are a Thing

All and all, the Hammer Horror movies ran for, like, a decade and you would think with that kind of run there would be about a billion new and interesting story ideas that came out of it.

Well...interesting, sure, but they were all pretty much vampire movies. I mean, there were werewolves and mummies and all the classic monster mash things happening, but really, Hammer Horror films were mostly vampire movies. Dracula, The Horror of Dracula, The Brides of Dracula, Kiss of the Vampire, the list just goes on and on and on.

In fact, Christopher Lee played Dracula, like, nine or ten times...which is a lot when you think about it. You know how when you think of Wolverine, you can only picture Hugh Jackman playing him? That’s what it was like for Lee in Hammer’s heyday.

But that vampire thing leads me to…

Bloodshot eyes are also a thing

Closeups of well-lit monster eyes are pretty commonplace and they’re always bloodshot. I never looked into it, but I’ve always wondered if actors had to stay awake for days at a time to achieve the bloodshot thing, but worked pretty well. No matter how handsome or rich he was when he was human when you saw this:

You knew you didn’t want those kinds of problems.

And lastly…

The Colors, The Colors!

Hammer horror (well, all the Hammer films) were known for their bright and vivid color scheme. Everything kind of looks like somebody turned the gamma up on the screen. All the blondes and REALLY golden blonde and the redheads all have red/orange hair. And blood looks more like candy apple red paint than blood.

In a way, though, that’s part of the fun of it. Most Hammer Horror movies, you can watch with Granny without a lecture about how violent movies are bad for you. Seriously, nothing’s all that gruesome when it’s colored like a Bugs Bunny Cartoon after all.

So, next week we’re getting right back in the game with The Haunting of Alice D, which I really hope I haven’t seen before. I’ve seen a lot of movies that started off with “The Haunting of Blah, Blah, Blah.”

See you next time!