March 1st, 2008

STIR OF ECHOES: THE HOMECOMING (2007) *

The original Stir of Echoes was one of the greatest overlooked horror movies of the 90’s.  It had the misfortune of coming out mere weeks after The Sixth Sense, so of course nobody saw it.  Echoes was about a jillion times better than that over praised bullshit, but this direct to Sci-Fi Channel sequel is the pits. 

 

While fighting in Iraq, Rob Lowe accidentally orders a van full of children to be shot up.  He feels kinda bad about it, but before he can say “Oops!”, he nearly gets blown up himself.  He returns home after the war (hence the subtitle) and his near death experience in Iraq leaves him a little shaken.  He has a hard enough time adjusting to life at home, but it gets even tougher when he starts seeing zombies in his refrigerator, imagines women blowing their heads off, and wakes up next to charred corpses.  Lowe learns from a creepy psychic that he’s a “receiver” of transmissions from restless souls and these gruesome images he’s seeing come from ghosts who want him to right the wrongs done to them.  Turns out that the crispy critter who is haunting Lowe belongs to an Arab student who was a victim of a hate crime perpetrated by his son.  Will Rob turn his son in?  Will he stop seeing visions of microwaved Arabs?  Will Lowe’s paycheck for this movie clear the bank since it’s apparent the studio spent all of $200 into the flick?

 

Stir of Echoes:  The Homecoming is nothing more than a pale retread of the original.  Every thing about this movie plays like a discounted version of the first film.  Instead of Kevin Bacon, we get Rob Lowe.  Instead of catching it in the theater, it’s a straight to Sci-Fi Channel deal.  Instead of the ghost playing “Paint it Black” as a harbinger of doom, it plays idiotic rap music. 

 

The sole new idea The Homecoming brings to the table is the whole Iraqi war subplot, but the “messages” the movie is trying to send the audience (racism is bad, war is bad, Rob Lowe’s acting is bad) are more muddled than the messages sent by the ghosts themselves.  The flick is also filled with extremely irritating slow motion flashbacks that are filmed so erratically that it’ll have you reaching for the Dramamine. 

 

The gore, which consists of mainly wartime atrocities, is fairly decent.  There are severed arms, torsos and one impressive bullet to the brain, but that’s not nearly enough to make it worth recommending to anyone with half an IQ point.  Lowe looks like he’d rather be filming another sex tape, but at least Eugene (Land of the Dead) Clarke has a small but memorable turn as a specter-like GI. 

 

Maybe in about eight more years Lionsgate will pony up another 200 bucks and make a third chapter in the series starring Judd Nelson as another telepathic has been.  Until that day, completely forget that this movie even exists and watch the original instead.   

BLACK EMANUELLE, WHITE EMANUELLE (1976) ½ *

Black Emanuelle, White Emanuelle is notable for being the first Black Emanuelle movie in which Laura Gemser actually received billing.  (In the first Black Emanuelle movie she was credited as simply “Emanuelle”.)  Other than that, it’s a complete waste of time.  

The film finds Emanuelle, “the world’s most famous model” running around the desert aimlessly with her asshole photographer (Gemser’s real life husband Gabriele Tinti).  He makes Emanuelle pose nude next to a dead dog and when she doesn’t do it sexy enough for his liking he yells at her.  Next he makes her pose naked next to a bunch of slaughtered villagers and when she doesn’t do it sexy enough for his liking, he yells at her and slaps her.  Then he makes her pose naked on top of a huge pile of shit and when she refuses, he yells at her, slaps her, then rapes her.  In the end, she gets hypnotized by a sex guru (Al Cliver from Zombie) who makes her sacrifice a goat, drink it’s blood then get naked and have a conniption. 

 

You know, a chick flick. 

 

I happen to think that Gemser is one of the sexiest women in the world, but even she can’t make borderline bestiality/necrophilia hot.  While the flick has an adequate amount of female skin on display, the bizarre scenes of Gemser popping her tit out and hunkering down next to a dead dog baking in the hot sun is enough to kill any erection you may have built up. 

 

The “normal” sex scenes aren’t erotic in the least and feature a couple of the butchest looking lesbians you’re likely ever to see.  In one scene, Cliver gets it on with two women at the same time, but for whatever reason he keeps his head in some old geezer’s lap the WHOLE TIME.  Who the heck thought this was sexy?  There is one great scene where Cliver busts a nut on some girl’s face, but other than that the movie is an utter disappointment. 

 

Even the weaker entries in Gemser’s Black Emanuelle series have their moments of zany inspiration or erotic tension, but this is the first one I’ve seen that is absolutely worthless.  I guess that’s to be expected when your movie is called Black Emanuelle, White Emanuelle and the girl playing “Black” Emanuelle is actually Indonesian.  Add that to the fact that there is NO WHITE WOMAN NAMED EMANUELLE in sight!  Argh. 

 

At least Tinti gets to overact like a madman and delivers the movie’s only memorable dialogue like “All this fuss over a few dead Arabs!” and “My camera is my eye, my nose, my penis!”

 

AKA:  Emanuelle, Black and White.  AKA:  Passion Plantation.