November 4th, 2008

KILLER PAD (2008) * ½

In 1988, Robert Englund directed 976-EVIL.  That flick was so bad that no one let him behind a camera for two whole decades.  His new directorial effort, Killer Pad is better than 976-EVIL, but that’s not saying a whole heck of a lot.  Maybe in another twenty years we’ll let you try again Robert.


Three obnoxious as all get out teenagers buy a house in the Hollywood Hills from a horny Asian transvestite (Are you sold on this flick yet?) and the trio quickly turn the pad into a primo joint to bang chicks.  The only catch is that there’s a portal to Hell located in the basement.  Satan takes the form of a hot chick (the appropriately named Emily FOXler) and she tries to seduce the boys into her ranks during a wild party where more than one rowdy guest loses their heads… LITERALLY! 


As Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, Englund was always way over the top, and that was fine because the films were fun and scary entertainment.  Englund is equally over the top behind the camera.  Unfortunately the man is no Wes Craven, Jack Sholder, Chuck Russell, Renny Harlin, Stephen Hopkins, Rachael Talalay or Ronny Yu.  


Englund apparently has never heard of the word “subtlety” and in turn, everything about this movie is completely gratuitous.  There’s the gratuitous Joey Lawrence cameo (complete with gratuitous Bruce Willis impersonation).  The gratuitous idiot “heroes” that are clearly closeted homosexuals.  The gratuitous hot chicks who dress up like sluts and REFUSE to show their tits.  The gratuitous Lin Shaye cameo. The gratuitous use of Andy Milonakis in a supporting role.  Then there are the gratuitous plugs for excellent Mexican beers, Sol and Tecate.  (Which actually makes me kinda thirsty now that I think about it.)  The list goes on and on.  And don’t even get me started on the inexplicable use of KISS’ Rock n’ Roll All Night as a deus ex machina to slay the slutty Hell beasts.


If Englund knows one thing, it’s make-up effects.  The man has spent so much time behind tons of latex rubber so he knows to film that shit like there’s no tomorrow.  The gore is copious as there are multiple severed heads and throat slashings.  The best scene though is when a butch lesbian gets pulled down inside a toilet and gets shit on to death.  That’s something you don’t see every day, so I gave the flick an extra half star for that.

CHANGELING (2008) **

Angelina Jolie stars in this Clint Eastwood directed Oscar baiting drama as a single mother living in Depression era LA whose son mysteriously disappears.  Since the cops are more crooked than a stick of Nerds Rope, they find some other kid and try to pass it off as Jolie’s lost son so they can get some good publicity.  When Jolie speaks up and says, “Uh, that’s not my son” they throw her ass in the nut house.  That means that a preacher with a popular radio show (an extremely bored looking John Malkovich) has to come to her rescue and advocate for her release. 


You get three movies in one with this flick.  The problem is that only one of them is any good.  Changeling starts out like a corny ass Lifetime Original Movie; then it turns into a pretty spectacular Women in Prison picture, before becoming a waterlogged courtroom drama.  After that shit dies down, Eastwood starts jerking the audience around again, throwing in more false endings than Return of the King and epilogues inside of epilogues to further pad out the running time so it can qualify for more Oscars. 


This movie is like a juicy cheesesteak sandwich served on moldy bread.  What’s on the ends is hard to stomach, but the stuff on the inside is totally yummy.  Seriously, the scenes where Jolie is trapped in the psych ward are some of the best Women in Prison stuff I’ve seen since the immortal Catherine Oxenberg classic, Time Served.  In this section of the movie, the tubby female guards strip her down, turn the fire hose on her and give her a thorough body cavity search.  There are also the requisite Chow Time scenes where Jolie is forced to eat slop and a hardened lifer tells her “The Rules” on how to survive.  Angelina of course mouths off to the asshole doctor once too often and he’s about THIS close to giving her some good old fashioned shock treatment.  Sadly, the stuffed shirt Malkovich comes in and ruins all the fun.  Things quickly go down the tubes from there. 


Jolie (who cries in just about every damn scene) wears more make-up than the Joker and ironically only looks hot when she’s locked up in the funny farm.  (Maybe it’s just me; I’ve always been known to have a soft spot for crazy chicks.)  Malkovich is strictly on cruise control, but at least Jeffrey (Burn Notice) Donovan is good as the slimy, ass-covering detective.


Memo to Clint:  If you ever decide to do a Changeling 2:  Electric Bugaloo, take my advice.  Quit all the Lifetime Channel/period piece/courtroom drama shenanigans and focus more on the Women in Prison shit.  You’re great at it.  In fact, fuck that noise and just do a remake of The Big Bird Cage with Angelina as your next feature and my ass will be there.