Posts Tagged ‘Tobe Hooper’

Well, well, well, if it isn’t our old friend Tobe Hooper. After watching Invaders From Mars I thought his directing couldn’t go any lower. Boy I was wrong. Sure there are many people who claim Tobe is capable director but we can’t take their opinion for serious because they most probably had suffered brain damage or are having any other mental disability. So trust my words: He ain’t good.

As you already can see Tobe Hooper’s latest fiasco is a work of nonsense called Spontaneous Combustion. As the film opens, a typical 50s couple is being used in government experiments involving a serum that may or may not immunize the human body against the effects of radiation. The couple is exposed to an hydrogen bomb explosion (which is displayed with archive footage), then monitored to observe the effects of the drug. It seems to have worked, and – except for one complication (the woman has become pregnant) – the experiment is called a success. The child is born bearing a odd birthmark on his hand. Something like stigmata. Nevertheless, parents are as happy as a clam. That will change soon when they burn to death after nurse took their baby (named David). The deaths – in which a mysterious man named Orlander (played by William Prince) seems to be involved – are declared the result of spontaneous human combustion.Furthermore Orlander seems to be happy about poor people’s fate and doesn’t hesitates to show everyone how much he is thrilled with it.

Could it ever been the more evil scientist than this man?

Now we are shifted to the present day (whichever that might be). We see young drama teacher Sam (played by Brad Dourif) who bears the same birthmark as a baby. Sam has been divorced for 2 years and now he found new love Lisa (played by Cynthia Bain). All is going relatively normal until he receives an
anonymous package in which he finds an old watch. After that, things are starting getting strange. Sam’s finger lights like a match, things around start to burn with no apparent reason and he even shoots poorly drawn lighting from his palm. Also, while looking at fire, he gets flashbacks to his childhood and parents. By now, even the dumbest among you could realize that Sam is actually baby David.

Firm handshake

Sam realizes that something is very wrong when two of the people he recently had contact with burned to death while they were alone at home. He decides to call parapsychologist who is holding his regular radio show. Parapsychologist sensed something and hung up the phone in fear. Sam really went mad about this so he engaged in debate with one of the radio station workers (played by John Landis). As you can guess, debate ended up with young John Landis burned to death while eating a sandwich. Keep in mind that they are talking over the phone. No physical contact whatsoever. Also, we found out that mark on Sam’s hand is used to produce fire. Pretty handy when you want to light a cigarette.

 

It turns out that Lisa was sent by Orlander to get closer to Sam on purpose. Her parents burned to death as well and Orlander was one who raised her. To get to the bottom of this Sam visits nurse Nina (played by Melinda Dillon) from atomic shelter who was holding him when he burned his parents to death. There she explains to him that the point of the experiment never was testing atomic shelter but anti-radiation drugs instead. Sam finally is starting to see connection between mysterious Lew Orlander with everything that is happening. Orlander also presented himself as a grandfather of Sam’s ex-wife Rachel (played by. It seems that experiment never was over so Orlander wanted to keep his eyes on events. Anyway, the moment after Sam had departed, Orlander’s errand boy Dr. Marsh (played by John Cypher) came in and killed Nina. I understand that tracks need to be covered, but why now after so many years?

There are sparkles between them

Sam now suspects everyone to be a part of project “Samson”. He raged at Lisa over the phone which had a flaming arm coming out of mirror for result. Also Lisa started to burn people around. Sam confronts Orlander (a government contractor for nuclear shelters) who explained to him that every moment of his life was planned by Orlander himself in order to create the cleanest killing system on the Earth (it doesn’t look like that to me keeping in mind in what state is Sam now). OF course, Sam wasn’t satisfied with explanation so he burned Orlander to death.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the hottest of them all

Rachel is after Lisa to finish the job. Lisa ignites herself after killing Dr. Marsh while Rachel tries to finish her off with fire extinguisher (?!). But Sam comes to the rescue and that’s when all the hell breaks loose. Awful special effects are coming one after another until Sam disintegrates in a manner of alien abduction. Since picture speaks 1000 words (and video even more) I’ll leave it up to you to make any sense out of ending scene.

 

Conclusion: Spontaneous Combustion is a very sad horror effort. The whole thing is just ludicrous, from the awful acting to the laughable FX to the stupid plot. Brad Dourif absolutely sucked as the lead and all the supporting cast were only marginally worse. Scenes of death are repetitive. It would seem that Hooper wanted to make his own version of films such as Scanners and Firestarter and so we end up with a film with a couple of good ideas and a whole load more that are borrowed from other films. Put it all together and you get a messy, boring film that most people would do well to miss!

Trivia: Recently the world was shaken by the news that Tobe Hooper had been beaten up by his 38 years younger girlfriend Rebecca. Now, I don’t know the exact reason for it, but if, by any chance, movies such as this one or The Mangler were the reason for Rebecca to punch his old face, then you girl have our full
support!

This movie is remembered as a beloved classic of the genre by people who grew up in the 80es but the truth is much different, this is a prime example of horrible remaking culture that runs rampant even these days (you might even say now more than ever). Here is a short guide to Tobe Hooper’s desecrating of a great 50es SF film.

You are impressed already, aren’t you?

First thing first- aliens arrive in what resembles a GIANT DISCO BALL!!! Didn’t see that one coming. Kid (scientist 80es kid, you know the kind) follows it with a expression that seems lifted straight from Troll 2. He tries to convince his parents of the phenomena and after display of mind- numbingly horrible acting by all three people he finally goes back to bed. In the morning everything is strangely different, his father starts acting out of character and the boy notices strange carving on his neck. It doesn’t take long for the strange behavior to spread on his mother too and David seeks refuge in the last place anyone would look- school! Unfortunately he catches one of his old teachers eating a frog- normally used for dissecting and it becomes painfully clear that she is infected too. Scared for his life he finds a shelter in the offices of the school nurse, confuse looking blond woman.

The old lady just doing her thing!

After some back and forth the kid successfully convinces the nurse of his UFO experience and strange effects it had on people. Now alien teacher tries to catch David again but he uses oportunity and runs away- unfortunately he hides himself in her car, so he didn’t realy make it easy on himself. He fallows the teacher into new-found holes in the Copper Hill and then firsthandedly sees bizarre alien creatures and their master, creature that looks like a cross between of Krang of TMNT and human penis. After a bit more horrible acting by the kid aliens finally notice he’s there and he is forced to run for his life.

He menages to find the the Nurse who starts panicking even more than he does. They decide that there’s only one place they can hide- the school!? Anyway police (also alien controled) finds them in something like 5 minutes and the go in hiding in the basement/ boiling room. That doesn’t actually work so they hug echother waiting for death or even worse- assimilation! But just as they were about to say goodbye cruel world the alien digging machine Spears out of nowhere and they use the ruskus to escape. Nurse finally freaks out almost Nick Cage style but boy starts yelling irritatingly “General Wilson” and they head straight for local army base. It turns out David’s father worked for the military and that’s enough to grant them entrance (a bit imbecilyc but at least it gets as to the third act and thus closer to the end of the movie).

Invaders.From.Mars.(1986).XviD.AC3._LoaD.avi_003124746Still a better love story than Twilight!

David spills the beans on whole alien invasion thing and after some convincing General accepts a little boy’s claims (yes, just that!) Military disposes of the aliens that infiltrated their base andt he ugly truth comes to light – Aliens decided to invade us to stop the launching on the rocket to Mars that would prove their existence- o boy, o boy, those as some stupid ass Martians! In an epic scene we see military cleaning up the town including their destruction of the Elementary School (which is hilarious as it gets). Bunch of soldiers end up sucked into the Copper Hill and General seems surprisingly emotive about it. Anyway the unit confronts the alien in their tunnels but scientist insists on interacting with them- then he gets disintegrated! They kill the first two aliens, then go ahead- an soon enough kill another two that look just the same as the first one… I’m starting to doubt that they made only two costumes for the whole movie- that’s retarded but you have to take into the consideration that this is Cannon film and that goes with the territory.

But I just want to talk!

Faced with possible anihilation the boy does only thing he can (after pleading with the creatures)- he knocks down Krang who then runs away! Then he focuses all his attention not on his parents (that could possobly still be saved) but on the Nurse who somehow ended up captured and almost brainwashed. Finally everything blows up, Krang escapes in the disco ball and David’s parents keep chasing him until the aliend influence is finaly broken. And then… it turns out everything was just a dream. Or was it?  IT WASN’T! THE END

Invaders.From.Mars.(1986).XviD.AC3._LoaD.avi_002349930Somewhere on Mars, right this moment Krang is plotting his return…

Verdict: The whole movie lays squerly on the sholder of the young man playing David (because the whole story is seen basically from his perspective and his performance should give gravitas to the whole fantastic scenario) and his acting is so far beyond fail, that he invented new levels of failure just for this movie. The only thing that could be even remotely seen as areedeming quality of this movies are it’s creature effect by always great Stan Winstone and his studio, even thou design is a bit more cartoony and absurdist than regular it still oozes  with originality and technical prowess.

STAN WINSTON, the only good thing about this movie!

Advice: If you really want to watch a quality ( a quite psychedelic) movie with a ludicrous plot like this, just find the original from the 50’s- hell, let me help you, here it is! It will help you forget the 80’s version in no time.