August 31st, 2014

TERROR TOONS (2002) *

A hot chick (porn star Lizzie Borden) finds a DVD in her mailbox and watches it in her bedroom. Two evil cartoon characters (two jackasses in dumb Halloween masks) pop out of the screen and kill her. The two homicidal toons then turn their attention on the babe’s sexy sister (Beverly Lynne) and her friends.

I’ve sat through a lot of painful low budget horror movies in my time and Terror Toons is pretty damned awful. A lot of that has to do with the “animation”. The bulk of the animation is done via a mix of crappy CGI effects and poorly drawn sets. The fact that we’re talking about early 2000’s era crappy CGI effects should let you know the level of pain to expect.

The music is atrocious too. Imagine if someone taped a five second snippet of Danny Elfman’s worst score and played it in a loop into infinity. Seriously, it will drive you batshit insane after about five minutes.

The cartoon killers are both annoying as fuck too. It also doesn’t help that the gore scenes get repetitive after a while. (I think they reused the same set of guts for multiple victims.) The finale where Beverly Lynne turns into a superhero and fights the Devil is mind-numbingly stupid as well.

It’s not all bad news though. Lizzie Borden and Beverly Lynne were both looking fine and turn in OK performances. There is also one potentially great scene that has to be at least mentioned. You’ve seen Strip Poker scenes in horror movies before. You’ve seen Ouija Board scenes in horror movies before. Terror Toons has what has to be the first Strip Ouija scene in horror history. Of course, it’s played out mostly in montage, and the rules are kind of sketchy, but I do give them an A for effort. Other than that, the rest of the movie pretty much sucks though.

SORCERESS (1982) ***

Of the many sword and sorcery flicks Roger Corman released in the wake of the success of Conan the Barbarian, Sorceress is one of the good ones. It may lack the awesomeness of something like Deathstalker or Barbarian Queen, but it has plenty of jaw-dropping WTF moments to keep any fan of the genre entertained. Is it uneven and patchy in places? Sure. However, it features the definitive Lion-Bat vs. Snake Woman battle of all time, so it’s pretty kick-ass in my book.

This sorcerer wants to gain a bunch of power by killing his first born child. Since his wife gave birth to twins, he’s unsure which kid came first, so he gives her a hysterectomy with a medieval garden trowel. A wizard sends the kids away from the sorcerer and they grow up to be a set of Playboy Playmates, played by Lynette and Leigh Harris. Since they were raised as boys, they go around shirtless and skinny dip and stuff and think nothing of it. That is to say they immediately endear themselves to the audience. When the sorcerer kills their adopted parents, the twins join up with a Goat Man, a Viking, and a thief to get revenge.

Sorceress had a tumultuous post-production history. The flick was directed by Jack Hill, produced by Roger Corman, and written by Jim Wynorski. That’s a trifecta of awesome if you ask me. Unfortunately, Hill and Corman disagreed about the picture, which led to Corman re-editing and re-shooting much of the movie. If you go into Sorceress with that in the back of your mind, you’re bound to enjoy it a bit more.

Because of the behind the scenes rejiggering, the narrative is a bit choppy; but since there is plenty of cool stuff happening, it’s easy to forgive some of the less cohesive transitions. I mean this flick features Monkey Men with libidos, leering Goat Men, Kung Fu Magic Playboy Playmate Warrior Women, horny Zombie Soldiers, and Lion-Bats fighting Snake Women. YOU try stringing all that stuff together in a coherent manner.

There are several Wynorski touches that I just love. I especially liked how the twins open their shirts at the drop of a hat. The best scene though (that doesn’t involve a Lion-Bat fighting a Snake Woman) is when the one sister experiences the other’s orgasms. That scene alone almost makes up for the movie’s shortcomings.

Sorceress gets off to a great start. There’s probably a laugh a minute (intentional and otherwise) during the first reel and a half. From then on, it’s a bit hit-and-miss. I have to tell you that there is so much goofy stuff here that it almost doesn’t matter if there are some slow stretches and a few puzzling story devices. In a word, Sorceress is fun; and if you’re already predisposed to love a sword and sorcery flick from the ‘80s, I guarantee it will leave you with a silly grin on your face.

AKA: The Devil’s Advocate.