Friday, 27 March 2009

The Cheap-Arse Film Review #25- "CAMP BLOOD 2."









I've seen alot of bad movies in my life. It's just the law oF averages, when you see as many as I do a year, you come to terms with the fact that not all of them are going to be masterpieces. Sometimes I'll even go to see a bad movie intentionally, such as last January when me and my regular cinema buddy (hello Dean)(why did I just say hello to you? You've told me point-blank that you never read these) went to see "AVP2: Requium." We were under no illusions, we knew we were about to see a bad movie, but as he put it, "Sometimes you have to see something bad to remind yourself what good is." As it turned out, that movie was even worse than either of us anticipated and inspired me to write up a quick review and send it to some of my friends in an attempt to keep them from even considering watching it.

The worst movie I've ever seen goes by the name "Feardotcom." Oh where to start when talking about this one? Well, firstly the plot is about as obvious a rip-off of the "Ringu" movies as you're ever going to see, with the killer video replaced by a kiler website. Then there's everything else. Literally. Everything else. There is nothing good to say about this film. The script is moronic, the acting is atrocious (and in the case of Stephen Rea, provided by somebody who should have known better)(YOU WERE IN "THE CRYING GAME!"). Set design and cinematography combined to give the whole thing a look I affectionately refer to as "Se7en: The Animated Series." And to top it all off, there's one massive medical inaccuracy in there that anybody who knows me knew was always going to get my goat. I don't feel like going into it here, just thinking about it is bringing my blood to a boil. I just wanted to put all that down so you could see what I judge all the bad movie against. If we're going to measure things on a percentage scale, I've probably seen more bad ones since I started this project than I have at any other time in my life. But in terms of actual quality, yeah, films like "Cheerleader Massacre" and "The Social Climber" were bad, but they're not in the same league "Feardotcom." They don't even play the same sport.

To date there has been only one movie that came in any way close to challenging that giant. It failed, but it at least found a home in my top five worst movies of all time, which even "The Social Climber" couldn't do. That movie was "Camp Blood," and the only reason it didn't take the number one spot is because it was clearly made with no money by people who didn't have a clue what they were doing, and I felt like showing a little mercy. Infact, I recently reread that review, and "merciful" is a good way to describe it, because even though I gave it a bad write-up, I could have gone on for hours savagely ripping it a new one. I think it's because I was still really new to this at that time and, I dunno, I felt bad about shitting on somebody else's work. I'm over that now, don't worry, and I'd actually like to go back and give it the going over it deserves. But it's too late, I've thrown it away, and I'm not buying it again. So I suppose it's sequel will have to pay for its sins.

Even before I'd put the bloody thing in my machine, my heart sank whilst reading the back of the box, seeing the running time listed at 90 minutes. "Oh sweet Jesus," I thought, "it's longer than the last one. Nearly twenty fucking minutes longer." Thankfully, when I finally fired it up, I noticed two things- 1) the main menu was far easier to navigate than it was on the first one (I COULD SEE WHAT I WAS SELECTING!), and 2) once the film started I was informed that it actually only lasted 73 minutes, which was a pleasent surprise if nothing else.

This installment begins almost identically to the last one, with two people, a male and a female, completely unrelated to the plot, walking through a forest. Sadly unlike the last time they're not birdwatchers, but rather just a boyfriend and girlfriend out on a stroll. The dude complains that he's hungry, so they sit down at the side of the trail. He has a drink ("Lemon and Lime! That's my favourite!") and before long he's telling her that where they are right now has a gory history, that it's known an Camp Blood, due to the fact that woman went crazy here last year and killed nine people and NO NO NO NO NO!!!! THAT IS NOT WHY IT'S CALLED CAMP BLOOD!!!! IT WAS CALLED CAMP BLOOD BEFORE THOSE MURDERS HAPPENED, BECAUSE OF A KILLING THAT TOOK PLACE YEARS PREVIOUSLY!!!! HOW CAN SOMEBODY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SCRIPTS TO BOTH MOVIES SCREW UP THE HISTORY OF HIS OWN FILMS SO BADLY?!?! Oh God, I'm less than a minute-and-a-half into this and already it's got me yelling at the screen.

Deep breath.

Okay, maybe I flew off the handle needlessly there, maybe the script only had him mention this at all so he could set the practical joke he was about to attempt (more on this in a minute) into some kind of context, but I'm less willing to cut this film any slack because the first one regularly made a complete hash of it's own continuity, and this just seems like more of the same. Anyway, after telling her about the horrors that occurred there, he excuses himself to take a leak. At least thats what he tells her, the truth being he has a clown mask in his bag and intends to put it on and scare the shit out of her. As jokes go, I can appreciate this one. Sadly, he doen't get the chance to extract any fun out of it, as when he gets back to where she's sitting somebody has already got to her and slashed her throat. He looks at her in horror, slowly removing his mask.He then touches her, as if to say, "Are you okay?" only to have her body slump to the side, which made me laugh. He's then killed when the unseen attacker runs him through from behind with his knife. This is worth talking about because they had this exact same effect in the last movie, and when I was talking about the very few things there that I thought deserved some praise, I singled that effect out as looking decent for what they could afford. Here though it looks silly, as they linger on the wound and him grabbing at the knife too long, so we get a good long look at just how fake the torso is in the close-up scenes. So yes, the filmmakers actually managed to screw up something they got right the first time around. The mask the guy was wearing gets trampled on by an unidentified pair of feet, the the camera pans slowly to the left and we see the original mask the killer wore lying on the ground. The Clown From Slipknot has returned!

Following the credits (which happen over footage filmed with the mask pulled over the lense in a lame attempt to make this look and feel all first-person), we're reunited from the sole returning, um, star from the first movie, that being Tricia (Jennifer Ritchkoff). She too is walking through the forest, as dry ice swirls around her. She looks confused and upset (get used to this, it's her default facial expression) and appears to be looking for something, eventually finding the Clown mask just lying in her path. She approaches it, reaches over to pick it up, only for A HAND TO COME OUT OF THE GROUND AND GRAB HER WRIST! She pulls away screaming (which she's really good at, it should be mentioned), and then... something comes out of the ground. I think it's supposed to be a zombie, but it doesn't look like one. It looks more the the Djinn from the "Wishmaster" movies. God what I wouldn't give to be watching one of those right now. Anyway, whatever this is, it picks up the mask, puts it on, and then runs after Tricia, knife in hand. She eventually comes to a dead end, that being a cliff, and turns around to see The Clown From Slipknot s nowhere to be found. Okay, killer popping up behind her in three, two, one... THERE HE IS! She gets grabbed, screames and...

... back in the room! Or rather the nut house. I didn't really go into much detail about the first film's ending, mostly because I was bloody sick of the thing by that point, but the gist of it is, Tricia was accused of performing the killing herself and locked up in the funny farm, which would seem to be where she still is. Her doctor hears the screaming and comes to check on her, before telling her she has a visitor. She thinks it's "another shrink," but as it turns out, it's a movie director. He goes by the name Worth Milligan (Garrett Clancy), and he's come to Tricia and the whole hospital with a very outlandish request- he wants her to come to Hollywood and help him make his movie in a Technical Advisor role, which he's basing on the tragedy the year before. Yes, this movie is going META OUTTA NOWHERE by having the main plot based around a group of people essentially remaking the first film. Which is exactly how it's presented, as the script we hear people reading from is word-for-word perfect with actual scenes from part one. It's never explained how Worth would know all of this in such fine detail without having been there himself, but to be honest I was just pleased the film didn't use this as an excuse to go down the sub-"Scream" road and be all knowing and wink-wink nudge-nudge.

Tricia is reluctant to go along with this plan, asking what's in it for her, his answer being that she could finally get her story out there and have people believe it. When she questions why anybody should believe what she says just because it's now a movie, Worth wheels out, "Two words- BLAIR. WITCH." (wow, this movie just time-stamped itself...). She still doesn't seem convinced, and he becomes more-and-more crazed in his attempts to convince her, at one point telling her she's bigger than Manson (I assume he meant Charlie and not Marilyn), and then telling her he can get her out of there under his supervision, prompting the doctor to step in and tell him he can't, and even if he tries he'll oppose him. THEN WHY DID YOU JUST SIT THERE AND LET HIM SAY ALL THAT THEN?! Surely there's something unethical and a bit dangerous in letting somebody get your patient's hopes up like that, especially when they're believed to have committed brutal crimes. Any doctor worth his salt would have heard the first few words of this pitch and told the guy to fuck off.

Tricia is then lead back to her room, where she has a flashback to the events of the last movie. This goes on forever as we're shown what feels like almost whole scenes from beginning to end, but interestingly there seems to be a theme to them, that they all end with somebody telling Tricia she's nuts for believing The Clown From Slipknot exists. It would seem from this that they were trying to plant the seed that maybe Tricia is crazy and that she did really kill all those people last year, which I would be fine with and might even have found an interesting twist... were it not for the fact that we've already seen The Clown From Slipknot kill two people whilst Tricia is still locked up, thus making it impossible for her to be the killer. This movie. Anyway, she has a change of heart and asks to speak to Worth again, and before you know it, we're in LA (as identified by a far-off shot of the HOLLYWOOD sign and some footage of LA traffic)!

Worth is going ahead with his movie, holding auditions with actresses in order to fill out his cast, an act he and his cameraman Shemp (the superbly-named Ken X) are carrying out when we catch up with them. The scene is an exact duplicate of one from the first movie, and it's acted terribly, but here's what baked my brain- the scene they're recreating was bad the first time around as well, but there it was supposed to be good, whereas here it's terrible on purpous, so does this mean that this scene is technically speaking an improvement on the first one, just because it's being carried out the way it was intended to be? Is anybody following me here?

Wow, Melenie Griffith just appeared on my television selling some kind of Pilates equipment. That was a nice little distraction. Anyway, back to the movie.

Finally, Tricia shows up with her doctor. I was pleased to see him there, because I was afraid she'd just show up on her own even though it's believed she's some kind of violent murderess. At least this way she has some supervision, I thought. Then Worth asks the doctor if he'd like something to drink, and he replies, "I won't be staying, I'm just dropping Tricia off." HE JUST DROPPING HER OFF! HE SAID ALL THAT STUFF ABOUT TRYING TO KEEP HER LOCKED UP, AND NOW HE'S JUST RELEASING HER BACK INTO THE WILD WITHOUT ANY SUPERVISION! Dear God, they're not even trying. So she's there, and already she gets freaked out by Shemp fooling around in the Clown mask. This dude, it should be mentioned, is a total charicature, an alcoholic who makes everybody feel uncomfortable from the first time they meet him until he... well, we'll get to that later. The film obviously wants us to think he's the killer, which is why I discounted him instantly. I had my money on Worth at this point, for what it's, um, worth. After the doc is gone (and not seen again), the first thing Worth has Tricia do is go through pictures of actors and choose who she thinks would be perfect for Steve. Of course, being asked to pick an actor that looks just like her dead boyfriend doesn't have a completely positive effect on Tricia's mental wellbeing, and as she's doing this she has another flashback, begins to freak out and says she needs some fresh air, practically running out of the room.

It outside on the balcony that she meets Adrienne (Missy Hansen), an actress who says she's come to audition for a role in the movie. They exchange some banal pleasentaries, and by the time this scene had finished I'd decided she's the killer. It all just felt so random and pointless that the only reason for it to exist was for it to later be revealed to have had more importance than anybody realised. So, she turns up to audition, only to be too late, as the last role has been handed out to a really old, haggard-looking woman in a zebra-print top. Don't worry sweetie, happens to us all. So of course the next thing that must happen in the Zebra Lady has to die, and sure enough the next scene starts in her kitchen, with her talking on the phone and chopping up a banana with a very big knife. I don't know wy she's doing this. Maybe she's going to make herself a banana sandwich. I could go for a banana sandwich right about now. We then cut to her bathroom, where she's getting ready to step into the shower, allowing the director to show us he's improved in how he shoots nude scenes by coaxing her out of the bottom half of her clothing, too (also, helloooooo obvious breast implant scars). In between these scenes, the camera work goes all first-person again, showing somebody sneaking into her house, getting as far as her kitchen, before seemingly being scared off by her phone ringing. She gets out of the shower, answers the phone to find nobody's on the other end of the line, drops her towel (of course), bends over to pick it up, and OH MY GOD THE CLOWN FROM SLIPKNOT IS STANDING RIGHT BEHIND HER! Even though she walked into the room in such a way that she'd be looking directly into the kitchen, and there didn't appear to be anywhere for him to hide. So he kills her, choking her a little bit, then stabbing her with the knife she was using to chop up that banana. I wish it wasn't so late, I really fancy that sandwich now.

It now the next day, and Tricia shows up at Worth's office to meet the rest of the cast- there's Lance (Mark Overholt), a cocky wannabe ladies man who's playing Steve, Vanessa (Jane Johnson), the initially prim-and-proper object of Lance's affections who's playing Tricia, and Todd (Timothy Patrick), the only person who seems a little bit put out at the thought of being around Tricia, playing Jay. They're one cast member missing due to the fact that she's dead, and Tricia uses this chance to try and get Adrienne in the picture. Worth says sure, and hands her a pile of actresses photos, saying if she can find her amongst those, call the attached number and get her down there that second. Tricia runds off to another room and starts going through the pictures, finding hers and calling her. All seems to be going well, until The Clown From Slipknot shows up and starts chasing Tricia around the building, drawing the attention of the others. This turns out to be a red herring, as it's really that weirdo Shemp behind the mask, who falls to the floor giggling when he's discovered. Somehow this gets smoothed out, and the next time we see Tricia she's in a car with Worth and Shemp, driving to the camp, where Worth mentions that they're really going to be staying at for the entire shoot. This is the straw that breaks the camel's back for her, and she puts her foot down, saying she's not staying there. Like the bastard that he is, Worth says that's and that he'll have Shemp drive Tricia back to the insitution if that's more to her liking, which is enough to bring her back onside. From here the movie grinds to a hault for a bit as the next few scenes consist of then filming a scene that ends with Shemp drunkenly assulting Vanessa during the filming (which I think is supposed to get a laugh, because y'know, alcohol-induced man-on-woman violence is a riot),and then a scene around a campfire where we get another fucking flashback scene, this one narrated by Tricia as she explains the events of the last film to everybody. How much more screen-time are we going to get dedicated to this? Did the people behind this really think there was a chance that they might have a few viewers out there that hadn't seen the first one?

There is one mild piece of liveliness in between all this when we're introduced to Patrick (Patrick Thomas, here working under the name Courtney Burr), who's supposed to be an assistant or something. He's a fat, annoying piece of shit, who I couldn't decide was supposed to be a stoner or just suffering from some kind of mental instability, as he yo-yo'd from being stupid-but-friendly one minute to threatening to punch out the entire cast and crew the next. His stay in this film is a short one though, as he's sent off to get food for everybody (where they want him to do this in the middle of a forest, I've no idea), and he decides to slack off and smoke a joint, where he's discovered by The Clown From Slipknot. Thinking this is Shemp, he offers him a toke and ends up GETTING HIS FUCKING HAND CUT OFF, WITH BLOOD SPRAYING EVERYWHERE AS IT NOW LAYS ONTHE FLOOR STILL CLUTCHING THE DOOBIE! Okay, that... that was great, there's no other word for it.

More deaths follow, and in traditional slasher fashion, the occur after a boinking, when Lance finds himself in a tent alone with Vanessa and she reveals herself to be something of a sex fiend when she starts peeling his shirt off. He's also not what he appears to be, as he ends up cumming within seconds of her climbing on top of him and being branded "all talk." So she kicks him out of her tent, where he's hacked to death, and she soon meets a sticky end when she has a knith thrusted into her muth and out the back of her head. Believe it or not, I'm going to offer the movie a little bit more praise here- when I covered the first one, I made note of the fact that, for a slasher, there wasn't much slashing going on, and we ended up with the hilariously lopsided situation where the movie had less the twenty minutes to kill off most of the main cast. Here, there have at least been killings, and they've not all happened at the same time, they've been scattered around a little bit. So, yeah, pacing. Seemingly the only thing Brad Sykes learnt in between his first movie and this one.

The remaining five wake up the next morning to find Lance and Vanessa gone without a trace, which I don't buy, because I refuse to believe there was no blood or anything to be found. There's some more freaking out, with Todd (not unreasonably) suggesting that Tricia might be behind this. She flies into a rage, and following this the project is abandonned, with Worth the only person remaining at the camp site, where he too meets his end at the hands of The Clown From Slipknot when he gets the top of his head carved open. Tricia returns, feeling bad about leaving him, only to find that he... gone without a trace. Okay, this is getting stupid now. Where's the fucking blood? I saw a large puddle of it collect around Worth's head. You're telling me that was dealt with in this amount of time? Bullshit. From here the kills come thick and fast, with Todd getting his throat slit in a stream, and Shemp, after drunkenly trying to rape Tricia, getting his eyes plucked out byhis own broken booze bottle. Tricia herself is the attacked, but rather than geting killed, she's just knocked out, waking up surrounded by the dead bodies of the people she was working with. Well, almost all of them.

Yep, as I expected, Adrienne turns out to be the killer, her reason being that she's the sister of Harris, the killer from the first movie, and refuses to believe Tricia's story. Show reveals her plan (which isn't worth going into here), and how she only originally planned to kill Tricia, but when she killed Zebra Girl, the thrill of the first kill proved addictive and she...

... wait... that was her first kill? The woman from the audition, she was the first person she killed? That's what she's saying? THEN WHO KILLED THE TWO FUCKING PEOPLE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVIE?! WHO?! WHO?! WHO?! WHO?! WHO?! WHOOOOOOOOOOOO?!?!?!




I'm done with it. Tricia kills her by setting fire to her then hacking her with her own knife. Adrienne then gives her the clown mask in the most casual manner possible under the circumstances, then the movie ends.

As much as I freaked out at the end there, to be fair, this is an improvement on the first "Camp Blood." But that's like saying, when the bomb isaboutto drop, blowing your own brains out would be an improvement on having to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. This is an appalling movie and the people behind it's making should be ashamed of themselves, frankly.


Thankfully there is no "Camp Blood 3." However, I recently (like, 30 seconds ago) discovered that Brad Sykes is still making movies, is most recent being "Plaguers" in 2008.

I think this could be the beginning of an absolutely horrendous friendship.

Until Wednesday, I'm The Cheap-Arse Film Critic, and I'm every nightmare you ever had, I'm your worst dream come true, I'm everything you were ever afraid of.

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