Bite-Sized Movie Reviews 11/29/2011

THE AMITYVILLE CURSE

In-name-only sequel from 1990, in which a group of bland, interchangeable yuppies (led by Kim Coates, displaying not an iota of his SONS OF ANARCHY charisma) take over the infamous Long Island house with predictable, budget-conscious results. The kind of franchise-minded pap that discards everything about the property but the name–it doesn’t even bother to use the iconic house, though given its cut-rate production value that’s probably moot.

DOOM ASYLUM

This 1987 slasherfest from PHANTOM OF THE MALL’s Richard Freidman pulls an unlikely double-cross. What first appears to be a gloriously awful film in the vein of TROLL 2 turns out to be, in fact, a half-assed intentional horror-comedy (both hyphenates used loosely). This tale of a disfigured lawyer wreaking havoc on teens in an abandoned mental hospital is notable for two things: the presence of a pre-SEX IN THE CITY Kristin Davis in huge ’80s glasses, and that roughly a third of its 77-minute running time is padded with footage from old Tod Slaughter films.

THE UNHOLY

When this slab of quasi-demonic pablum hit theaters in 1988 it immediately became a must-see for me–thanks to what I remember as a pretty aggressive ad campaign–yet I somehow managed to avoid actually watching it until recently. (Or maybe I saw it somewhere along the way and completely forgot it, which considering the wholly unremarkable enterprise in question is rather plausible.) Ben Cross plays a priest battling demonic forces in New Orleans, but it’s pretty weak sauce, riddled with bad acting, laughable dialogue (“I’m Theresa, the caretaker. I take care of things around here.”), and a plot that goes out of its way to not be scary. Nor does it help that the film resembles a third-rate late-night soap opera. Despite the presences of usually-reliable folk like Ned Beatty and Hal Holbrook and a cheesy rubber demon at its climax THE UNHOLY ends up being a waste of time.

ANIMAL PASSIONS

Christopher Spencer’s 2004 documentary ranks as one of the most queasily compelling films I’ve ever seen. Tackling the subject of bestiality, the film follows a handful of zoophiles as they explain what makes them tick, how they came to be, and (unfortunately) what turns them on. Disturbing as it is fascinating, especially when the subjects discuss past encounters (many of whom judiciously edit their anecdotes so that the animal in question sexually approaches them, sounding a lot like pedophiles who justify their actions by claiming the child instigated contact). ANIMAL PASSIONS is worth watching just for the description of a first date that transformed into a man-woman-horse threesome.

You can watch it for free here.

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