Posts Tagged ‘Traci Lin’

If you know the name of Charles Band, you know what to expect when you see his name in the credits as the executive producer.  His studio, known as Empire Pictures ( which would later change to Full Moon Entertainment) made quite a few low budget schlock horror films in the 1980s, including such notable ones as Troll and Dungeonmaster.  The stories were anemic, but the special effects were good for such cheap productions, making them adequate fodder for video rentals and late night cable staples for the horror-loving junkies (such as we). This time we are taking a stab into his, several years too late, a “New Wave” horror film.

The premise of the film revolves around a contest put on by music station R-TV (Rock Television), whereby seven lucky winners are taken up to an old Italian castle in order to compete for a chance to win a million dollars, while also rubbing shoulders with stuck-up, alcoholic rock superstar, Cassandra Castle (played by Bunty Bailey). The only rules are that they can’t leave the castle for any reason or they will be disqualified, and they are discouraged from damaging anything on the property. For this momentous undertaking, R-TV sends their most popular VJ Rex (played by Richard Blade), but only one camera. At this point the movie seems to be nothing more than one long 80s music video. To add to this claim, contestants are consisted of 5 blonde girls, one ugly guy and one gay looking Italian. And they are all too anxious to start their search for the hidden check.

You rang?

The owner of this castle is certain person with appropriate name of Senor Diablo. Obviously evil servant welcomes contestants to the castle and takes them to a tour in which they can see a statue that will clearly come alive. Also someone is watching them through crystal ball. Anyway, they are accommodated each in their own room. Italian guy Tony (played by Marcello Modungo) starts hitting on everything that has two legs and tits. The ugly fat guy Harlan (played by Michael Zorek) started eating the moment after he unpacked his stuff. Myrna (played by Martha Demson) has brought rifle with herself (she is safari lunatic). Tom (played by Harold P Pruett) and Jackie (played by Gail O’Graidy) are making plans to search together for the check (naturally, they are brother and sister), while Teri (played by KIm Ulrich) just dances in front of sinister looking painting.

Now this is the art

Although the contest officially starts tomorrow all of the contestants decided to bend the rules and start their search for the check the very same night. All but Harlan who came down just because he got night munchies. Boy, he likes food. Yvette (played by Traci Linn), on the other hand, is much more hungry for a money. She seduces Rex into giving her a clue of where the check should be (she doesn’t know it is hidden between Cassandra’s tits). Slutty approach always gives some results. Hey, everything is allowed while cameras are off. And they will stay off since camera crew never got to castle. I don’t want to spoil your fun so check below for what happened to them.

Following the clue she got from Rex (the check is hidden somewhere on the first floor), Yvette started her search. But she has no clue about what is actually going on. She takes a break and sits on some antique chair. Which devours her! Meanwhile, always drunk Cassandra stumbles into basement where she finds a big pile of skeletons. Which also came alive. Everything in this castle is something. But, unlike Yvette, she lived to talk about that. Of course that no one would believe her. She is such an alcoholic that when Rex angrily spilled her liquor she started licking the floor.

The game has officially started. Everybody is looking everywhere. That’s good excuse for Tony to enter the rooms where girls are. He found the check but got distracted by Cassandra’s nudity. She took that opportunity to hide it once again while evil servant was kicking Tony’s ass out of the room. But the check has it’s own ways. It is controlled by Senor Diablo through a crystal ball. And Tony must pay for his rude behavior. The check flies out onto the top of the castle while Tony is pursuing it without paying much attention where he steps. How this scene ended I think all of you can presume.

While everybody is running around like insane Harlan takes this opportunity to do what he likes the most – to eat. He orders and gets entire pig for himself. Soon after he is convinced into validity of old saying “You are what you eat”. That’s right, my friends. With just one swift move of the hand above crystal ball Harlan was turned into a pig! I would say that he doesn’t look much different now in his new form. Teri sees him and runs away into her room where she gets devoured by creature from the picture. I believe it was Satyr. Anyway, she wasn’t the only one who ended her search in her own room. Camera girl Jamie (played by always charming Dale Wyatt) was strangled by electric snake her camera produced! She ain’t so pretty no more. Nor is Myrna, who became prey instead of hunter. At least she killed that fat guy who had turned into a pig.

The only remaining girl Jackie stumbles upon a secret Senor Diablo’s (played by Adam Ant) hideout. There he explains to her that he is a demon and that all those who had fallen to his vicious spell casting are down in hell. Meanwhile, Tom had finally managed to score something. And that person is Cassandra. Let’s see…drunk, scared, washed-up rock star, with low self-esteem. Easy target. She decides to burn the check in a fireplace but instead the check scorched her (?). So she appears at Senor Diablo. It turns out that Cassandra had traded her soul in exchange for becoming rock star. Also, she was bound to bring to Senor Diablo more fresh souls. Wanting to save her brother Tom, Jackie offers her souls in exchange for Tom’s safety and million dollars. A lot of dumb, unconvincing dialogs occur followed by awful acting. Eventually, Cassandra takes the gun and shoots crystal ball, thus forcing Diablo to reveal his true form. Every contestant is alive again and walks into the room. It seems that Cassandra has made a new contract, and Senor Diablo is now new VJ, Cyril St. Michael. What a stupid ending.

Conclusion: Spellcaster’s attractive cast, impressive effects and make-up, and relatively light delivery are about the only aspects of the film that make it watchable schlock for those who enjoy cheesy, b-movie horror. The plot of the film isn’t very well thought out at all.  It’s not quite clear how people could win the contest, but even if it were explained, the chance that a brother and sister could both win out of (presumably) millions of entries is ridiculous to believe. It’s amazing how many ideas were squandered in the making of this film.  For a movie centering around an MTV-like international music channel, it boasts almost no music whatsoever. I stayed through the closing credits and counted two generic-sounding songs used in the film, both sung by artists I’ve never heard of. They say you can’t have too much of a good thing, but apparently, Charles Band can’t get too much of a bad thing.  He would repeat the movie’s basic premise again in 1990 in Meridian (two American students go to Italy when one inherits a castle, and strange things occur), and in 1995 with Castle Freak (an American couple and their daughter inherit a castle in Italy, where strange things occur).  There may be others, but with hundreds of movies to his name, I don’t have the diligence to do the research.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that Band owns the castle in question.  A man’s home is his castle and his castle, his movie set.

People are talking about violence in schools problem since schools had been invented. Violence in schools, by my account, is as old as education itself. Over the years a lot of suggestions for solving this problem have been made. Many procedures have been implemented. And they all failed. School violence still exists and it will exist long after we are gone. But the crappiest attempt to subdue the violence has been made in this movie. To answer the violence with more violence!

On the beginning of this supposedly a sequel to the “class of 1884” we get an explanation about how far violence in school have gone until the year 1999. High school gangs are taking control over schools. Gang controlled areas are known as free fire zones. In the middle of one of these zones, in Seattle, Kennedy High is located. It is an area without law, where police do not enter and where only thing that rules is anarchy. Department of Educational Defense (created for the purpose of this movie) has decided to re-open the schools and control the gangs. With the help of Megatech (robot making guys) they send 3 new teachers to Kennedy High and it’s principal Dr Miles Longford (played by Malcolm McDowell). Well, not the teachers actually but 3 cyborgs programmed in history, chemistry, mathematics and physical education. Of course, they also come equipped with special hardware to deal with armed to the teeth gangs. To me this looks like a combination of Dolf Lundgren’s “Detention” and bad cyborgs movies. Or, to be more accurate, it looks like if someone tried to build a school and starts education system in “Mad Max”.

Tactical Education UnitTactical Education Unit

In order this experiment to work they will need some Guinea pigs. So they have released the most troubling students from jail. I wonder what makes them so sure that students will go back to school? Anyway, one of them is Cody Culp (played by Bradley Gregg, whom you might remember from the “Nightmare on Elm Street 3”). Cody wants to go straight despite objections of his friend and his younger brother Angel (played by Joshua Miller; “River’s Edge” and “Near Dark”). Well, at least they claim he is “brother” since I spent almost entire movie working out if he was really a boy! Cody arrives in school after making through free fire zone just to be there in time for chemistry class. The new chemistry teacher Ms. Connors (played by legendary Pam Grier) shows that there will be no fucking around with new members of school stuff by kicking asses of two students. Same goes with history teacher Mr. Hardin (played by John P. Ryan; “Runaway Train”), who gave a new meaning to corporal punishment term (and gave the reason why it should remain banned).

Corporal punishment

That something is wrong with robots we see when teachers started with killing undisciplined students (well thats a bit harsh). First, Mr. Hardin bashed the head of some unlucky stoner into his own locker. Then, gym teacher Mr. Bryles (played by Patrick Kilpatrick) started beating the hell out of Cody and then broke a neck of Cody’s friend Mohawk who came to the rescue. Need I to say that Mohawk was also stoned as a hell while he was attacking with gun? Anyway, creator of robots Dr. Bob Forrest (played by Stacy Keach; “The Ninth Configuration”) doesn’t find this not to be unusual and he shows no sympathy for students while he justifies actions of his creations. Not that he could do something about it since cyborgs have openly disliked the idea of being terminated.

Not the Jeffrey Combs but almost as mad as himNot the Jeffrey Combs but almost as mad as him

After teachers have killed Cody’s brother Angel (at which point I am still not sure if he is a boy, and I guess you might say he took that secret to grave) things go in an obvious and predictable direction from then on. With principal’s daughter Christie (played by Traci Lin; “Fright Night 2”) on his side Cody re-unites two gangs to wage a war against teachers. Somewhere along the way we learn that cyborgs used to work for military and that they went back on their original program hence the killing rampage they went on (shameless rip-off of “Westworld”). That’s what you get when you buy a second hand cyborgs from the US army. Mr. Hardin is even more psychotic, Pam Grier is even bigger bitch while Mr. Bryles is just plain strongman.

Rocky Balboa eat yourself!

It seems that teenage gangs were quite well-armed those days since they had automatic weapons and bazookas (?) No one bothered to explain where they did get them. Not that at that point we were keen to search for any logic in this silly and plain stupid sci-fi horror. War is taking place on post-apocalyptic battleground around the school. Don’t miss more senseless killing, explosions and bad rip-offs. Be sure to notice Pam Grier showing us her mechanical tits a moments before she is blown up by an axe. Enjoy the art of brain drilling performed by Mr. Hardin just before his head got shredded by uzi. Street war is the time when you can show your creativity in sadism.

Mechanical bitch

So the war seems to be over. Aren’t you forgetting someone? That’s right, a toughest guy has been left for the end. Mr. Bryles turned out to be quite persistent in performing discipline measures. The fight between him and Cody and Christie, despite the fact they ripped off “Terminator 2, is awfully staged with stop-motion so terrible that it makes “Nemesis” looks like an Oscar winner in special effects category. Yeah, and it ended with explosion of Mr. Bryles’ head. There is nothing more I can add here. Just plain nonsense.

For all you stop motion perfectionists out there!

Conclusion: This movie teaches us that we shouldn’t go to school unless it is the only choice. I am sure that director Mark Lester wanted to send a different message but he did everything wrong. You know, if a cast includes Malcolm McDowell, and if he is not a villain, he is not effective. The acting is bad even with a decent cast like this (I will never understand what made them to sign up for such rubbish), the soundtrack is poor (aside from the “Nine Inch Nails” track), and the plot is so unbelievably non-existent that you get the idea that the whole movie is just a cheap excuse to shoot people and blow things up. If free fire zones were out of reach even for police than what makes students go to school? A friendship? A desire for education? Ha! Obvious attempt of ripping off and mixing ‘The Warriors’, ‘Westworld’ and ‘Robocop’. And it even had failed at that! It is only good for metallers who want to recall the 1980’s battle between the glams (Blackhearts) and the goths (Razerheades).