Thursday, October 3, 2019



Bella Thorne, Richard Harmon, Amy-Price Francis, Shaun Benson, Thomas Elms, Sara Thompson, Louis Herthum, and Mermot Rondunny, um Motderm Delraimi, um Fertig von Domnrom, um Mermit Ex Vosdox, oh Dermot Mulroney!

More details here.



Ten years after a massive explosion at Hadron Collider-type government facility, ghosts are commonplace, appearing at regular intervals mimicking behavior from their former lives like holograms stuck in a looped recording.  

The apparitions are called remnants or "rems" and are now studied as a primary subject in schools. High schooler Veronica (Thorne) lost her father in the incident.  Veronica has grown understandably sad, despondent, and dark since the loss of her father and his ghostie appearing at breakfast every morning doesn't help her mourn. 

We learn that as scientists struggle to explain their existence, the rems do not interact with the real world and simply appear and disappear for no known reason.  So Veronica is especially alarmed when one morning, a rem appears in the shower with her and tries to communicate.  

But this is no ordinary spooky sexy rendezvous in the can.  The menacing rem is behaving weirdly and lunges for her.  Terrorized, Veronica seeks the advice of her teacher Mr. Bittner (Mulroney) who is not helpful as he indelicately explains that what she's experiencing is impossible.    

So Veronica seeks out the school's official creepy guy and resident rem expert Kirk (Harmon) to help, and of course they fall in awkward gothy love and stuff.

As the pair Scooby-Doo their way through increasingly dangerous interactions with the rem and evidence that its behavior is part of a wider conspiracy involving the accident that started this whole thing, a presumed rem-caused body count starts to rise.

Veronica and Kirk discover that the rem might not be as menacing as previously thought and their investigation turns to a more alive type of killer with sinister intentions beyond their understanding.  They discover that the rem is being manipulated to transfer another rem's spirit into a living person to bring that person back to life in a process called "spectral transference".  All the wacky paranormal science talks leads to a final confrontation, a lot of head-scratching...

...and a very soggy Dermot.


I Still See You, a perfectly fine soft-PG ghost movie, is based on the 2013 book Break My Heart a 1,000 Times, another perfectly fine Young Adult novel.  Directed by Scott Speer, a former music video director and producer of the Step-Up movies, with screenplay by Jason Fuchs, who worked on Wonder Woman, the movie is a completely fine paranormal romance that you can knock out in 90 OK-ish minutes.  Former Disney star, now porn director, and lead Thorne is super competent and present for her role as a mourning goth girl turned otherworldly target.  Gaunt and creepy Harmon, who looks destined for an X-men role as a morlock (that’s a compliment), is also totally decent and satisfactory as the sullen romantic interest.  Mulroney, who I haven’t seen in anything for a while, is sending out RDJ-like vibes in his capable performance as the cool teacher who knows what Snapchat is and may not be what he seems.  But the real star is the fantastic premise in which ghosts are real, are ordinary, and are trying to affect reality.  The idea is never truly fleshed out in the movie which forsakes an exploration of this world to tell a romantic whodunit that in the end had major implications for the world it's trying to build.  And that's totally fine.  I don't know how popular the book was, but it's evident by the last scene the producers have intentions to franchise with future installments.  The original novel was released by a publishing wing of Disney, so I wouldn't put past them.  I could see this work in a CW series as the movie mish-mashes hints of Riverdale, Stranger Things, and Twilight and could cash in on those still viable YA dollars.          

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

THE MAD (2007)


Maggie Castle, Shauna MacDonald, Evan Charles Flock, Jordan Madley, Rothaford Gray, Matthew D. Matteo, and my personal savior of bad cinema Billy Zane.

More details here.



Dr. Hunt (Zane), girlfriend Monica (MacDonald), daughter Amy (Castle), and Amy's boyfriend Blake (Flock), are out on a family road trip and decide to stop at a brutally bucolic tourist trap.

Behold the Griswold-esque misery
Amy hates her potential stepmom Monica.  Monica is self-absorbed and also hates Amy.  Blake is a clueless doof.  Dr. Hunt listens to 80s New Wave, ignores his bratty daughter, and aches for a handy from his girlfriend.  And there you have the psychological dynamics which will drive this meaty narrative.  

They lunch at a cafe known for its 100% organic burgers locally sourced by beef from Sutter Farms, a nearby slaughterhouse.  Unfortunately, the Sutters feed their cattle supplements bought from the "inner-net" which results in contaminated meat and pissed-off hop head cows. 

They're moo-ed as hell and aren't going to take it anymore!
So as fate would have it and because this is America, someone horks down the contaminated meat and all the townsfolk go koo-koo for blood and guts and attack our little traveling family, resulting in an untimely death for poor Monica.

"No one told me she wasn't gluten free!"
Dr. Hunt tries to figure out how to scientifically explain the epidemic by dissecting his former girlfriend.  Unfortunately, he's distracted by her constant chattering from the great beyond.

Several wacky hijinks later, the gang teams up with the cafe's chef and waitress in a showdown against the increasing number of burger-breathed undead. 

Reaction to "Hey, everyone here's your paycheck!"
But the zombie hordes are just too much and the survivors' number dwindles to just Dr. Hunt and Amy who decide to trek to the Sutter Farm and see if the epidemic can be stopped from the source.  There they meet Farmer Sutter (Matteo) who's gone already murderously madder than his burger-patty pets. 

"I wanted to be Five Guys, not Five Dies!"
With the farmers defeated (or were they?), the zombies destroyed (or were they?) and father and daughter reunited and stronger (or were they?) and the audience satisifed (we weren't), Dr. Hunt does the two-step with a dancing zombie for some reason.  

"Still better than being in Titanic."


The mid-2000s saw America struggling with economic near-collapse, political strife, domestic unrest, global terror, an increasingly fractured society alienated by technology, and seemingly endless warfare.  Oh, and Spider-Man 3.  And while all those terrible things were going on, something kind of wonderful emerged like a seedling finding daylight in a sunbaked Tempe parking lot.  America fell in love with zombie movies again.  

In this recent era of undead cinema resurgence, 2007’s The Mad chronologically lands comfortably between Shaun of the Dead, Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, and The Walking Dead.  And while it borrows the comedic spirit of Edgar Wright’s horror comedy classic, the movie possesses nowhere near the quality or competence of those cultural zombie hallmarks.  But like its similarly themed movie brother Black Sheep, it did try to weaponize the fear of Mad Cow Disease, another mid-2000s troubling thing, into a plot point for quick and dirty zombie chucklefest.  Despite this unique take, it's ultimately squandered for pot jokes and long unfunny stretches of family bickering.  One thing worthy of note though is the goofy homage to 80s New Wave soundtrack by Half Past Four who deliver Bud the Chud vibes with their title track.  But hey if quick is what you’re looking for, then you’re in for an 80-minute romp, mostly harmless, mildly amusing, totally just OK. 

Now while The Mad is not good, it does have its charms, mostly in the form of stalwart and dependable star Billy Zane.  He instantly classes up the joint onscreen despite the awful material he has to work with.  Oh, where do I start with Billy Zane?  Much like Halloween Hell’s Eric Roberts, Zane possesses all the tools for super stardom that sadly has evaded him.  A slithery but appealing swagger, the ability to play the heavy and hero interchangeably and with ease, disgusting handsomeness, and an otherworldly exotic look.  Is he Middle Eastern?  Eastern European?  Eastern Western?  Unfortunately, top-billing, eight-figure paydays, and hundred-dollar bills as snot rags did not happen for Zane and the reasons appear baffling, but probably not difficult to track down.  In The Mad, Zane is just not collecting a paycheck as his comedic timing was hundreds of notches above his well-meaning co-stars.  Goddamn it, Zane should be a bigger star, but we Zaniacs will have to settle for zombie cheapies, the occasional TV cameo, or the hidden camera I’ve sneaked into his house.  What? 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019



Eric Bittencourt, Olga Klimentyeva, Tyler Emerson Crim, Kriss Dozal, Sebastien Charmant, a warehouse somewhere in Van Nuys, Bautista Demon, and professional brother Eric Roberts.

More details here.



A cheeseball Dracula TV horror host guy dude (Roberts) presents a live online reality show in which random young contestants must survive 24 hours in a room where a mass murder of similar young people was committed by a demon that emerged from an ancient statue that looks particularly turdy.

Fresh from the Haunted Cursed Relic aisle at K-Mart.
Dracula will award $100,000 to the contestant who makes it through the night while a pay-per-view audience of millions watches on at $24.00 a pop.

"Velcome to Bad Movie Night."
The contestants range from bookish latina Rose (Dozal), nerdy tech entrepreneur Johnny (Bittencourt), wannabe country singer and lout Toby (Crim), sultry Euro model Gothia (Klimentyeva), aspiring pretentious filmmaker Mr. Jones (Charmant), and Central Casting final girl Judy (McIntyre).  While none of them truly believe the demon murder story, they decide not to tempt fate and just make it through the night as best they can.  Spoiling their strategy is the aggressively stupid Toby who decides to hump the cursed statue.

Behold the glorious set design by the Spirit Halloween Store clearance sale.
Despite objections from his fellow contestants, Toby decides to take his relationship with the statue to third base.

Halloweenie Hell
This despicable act somehow conjures the demon who takes revenge for Toby's Justice Kavanaugh-esque behavior. 

If you've ever been decapitated by demon in a shack, you might be a redneck.  Literally!
Meanwhile, Drac Roberts continues to age.

"I vant to suck your ... vhiskey."
The demon fully manifests and begins to off the contestants one by one, leaving only Johnny and Gothia to find a way to defeat it. 

"I once devoured a soul THIS BIG!"
Meanwhile, Dracula's aging finally slows down to a reasonable Eric Roberts facsimile.

"How you like me now, sis?!"

Tech wizard Johnny figures out that that glass tumbler-sized magnets kill demons.  Well of course they do!

Also serves to wipe memory of this movie as well.
After receiving mysterious messages from a ghostly voodoo lady who is never explained, Johnny and Gothia contain the demon, setting up a final showdown with their demonic tormentor.

The demon's final form is genie Sinbad from that alternative universe.
And with our heroes' valiant efforts, the demonic menace is flushed, much like Eric the Drac's paycheck. 

Proudly displaying the filmmaker's message to the audience


The 2019 #31DaysOfHalloween kicks off in traditional Tremendo Time fashion with an abjectly low budget, nearly unwatchable, logic defying, fiercely pointless, whatever is below butt dumb amateurish cheapo that looks like it was shot in a night – like last night.  

Ah, I love this time of year! 

Guys, let’s just cut to the chase: it’s bad.  Terrible acting that approaches grade school improv, poorly-lit discount production values, and dull stretches of nonsense and time filler.  Other than being set at Halloween (I guess?) there’s very little Halloweenyness going on.  But the movie does excel in the way it consistently resists explaining anything and vehemently denying any effort at telling a story.  You have to respect its defiant stance against entertainment.   

And oh, Mr. Eric Roberts.  Let’s talk about Eric Roberts.  Once a rising star of 80s cinema featured in classics like nail-biting thriller Runaway Train and gangster sleeper Pope of Greenwich Village, Roberts has been a movie and TV mainstay with over 500 credits appearing in everything from NBC’s Heroes, to The Expendables, to music videos, to The Dark Knight, to reality show fare Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.  Displaying rugged good looks and a hewn intensity, Roberts seemed like he was destined for mega movie stardom that sadly never fully materialized.  Despite his bouts with drugs, run-ins with the law, or living under the shadow of a mega movie star sibling, Roberts has amassed an amazingly varied range of work and is remains prolific today.  Although known for appearing in several low budget direct-to-video titles, I still ponder why the hell would he – in 2014 mind you - do some cheap, low rent tripe like Halloween Hell?  My fellow cinema nerds used to call these “phone bill roles”, as in the actor in question went way over their minutes and data and needed to take up some day-playing hack job in a skeevy skid row horror flick.  Sadly, Roberts in full Dracula gear slurs his way through a presumably drunken haze feebly grasping at a horrible Bela Lugosi impression.  I can only guess that Eric was either calling Mars or the afterlife to have to accept this job.   

Next, let’s talk about director Ed Hunt.  I first covered Mr. Hunt’s work in The Brain, also not good but features terrific creature effects, but it was his film Plague, a gripping disease epidemic movie, that I remember best and always seemed to be on HBO in the early 80s.  Ten-year-old me loved it, but I haven't seen it since so who knows if the man who directed Eric fucking Roberts as a high AF Dracula watching kids get scratched by a $.99 Store demon in a direct to Amazon fucking Prime streamer has matured as an artist. 

Finally, let’s talk about…well, I think that’s about all the highlights I could pull from this stinker.  If you’re planning to add this to your Halloween night movie marathon, I would put it dead last, perhaps just as your guests are either snoozing after a fun-sized Snickers crash or are clearing the fuck out for the night.

Friday, August 23, 2019


That gloriously spooky time of year is just around the corner.  Thirty-one days of candy corn, pumpkin spice, jack o'lanterns, creepy chills, moonlit nights, scary tunes, and empty wallets.  I'll be watching 31 horror movies for the month of October and posting my thoughts in El Tremendo's world-famous (?) format.  See right hand side of this blog if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about. 

Until then, stay tremendous!