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Death House (2017)

Death_House_Poster

I’m not sure what I just watched but I do know that this movie has, like, almost every horror movie icon ever in it. And really, that’s its only redeeming feature.

During an exclusive tour, a power breakdown inside a secret prison known as the Death House sends two agents fighting through a labyrinth of horrors while being pursued by a ruthless army of roaming inmates. As they fight to escape, the agents push toward the lowest depths of the facility, where they learn a supernatural group of evil beings may be their only chance for survival.

Written by Gunnar Hansen, and apparently based on Dante’s Inferno, Death Houseinvolves a really weird-ass evil prison with 9 levels, immortal super-evil beings, skinless people, a helluva lot of cannibalism, plus Dee Wallace, Kane Hodder, Barbara Crampton, Bill Moseley, Richard Speight Jr., Felissa Rose, Sid Haig, and more. If it wasn’t for the fact that it makes not a lick of sense till you read the Wikipedia explanation of it, it’d actually be pretty awesome.

DeathHouseLeather

Not one of the Five Evils, just evil at its finest.

We start with 2 FBI agents (I think?) visiting the super-secret, evil prison to…uh…well…okay, so the prison uses virtual reality to…uh…help the prisoners re-live their crimes? Not very clear on that part, but they do kidnap homeless people off the streets and dress them up as prisoners’ former victims so they can kill them again. So, anyway, back to the 2 agents. They seem to be there to tour the prison but they also get to do virtual reality simulations in order to slay their demons (as it were). After they’re done fake-killing (I think?) their past, they go throughout the prison and see prisoners being experimented on and the aforementioned homeless people dosed outta their minds so they’re complacent enough to be slaughtered.

But, at the same time, there’s some random guy running around outside eviscerating a guard and planting a device in him. Then while Lloyd Kaufman (bless him) is operating on said guard, the device causes a power outage that shuts down the prison so the prisoners can escape? (Because, obvs, super-secret, evil prisons are really just that simple to take over. Apparently.)

This leads to the agents & Dee Wallace being trapped in an elevator and Dee’s all “We’re dead” and the agents are all “Nah, really?” and then there’s a bunch of skinless people who are also cannibals (this is in addition to the other cannibals elsewhere). The skinless people are apparently very sad (and are super gross).

DeathHouseDee

We’re gonna die, aren’t we?…Nah, it’s totes good.

There’s a group of prisoners headed to the basement to meet the Five Evils – when they became a thing, I have no idea, they were just suddenly there – who are supernatural, super-evil, super-villain baddies? Maybe? I don’t know. I just do not know. And then there’s an Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom moment. And…uh…a whole bunch of people end up dying and the agents aren’t who they think they are and maybe super-evil is released into the world??

DeathHouse5

Meet the Five Evils, the baddest of the baddies

It’s so chaotic. Like, lawless chaotic, not good chaotic. Parts of it were too dark to see (although considering those skinless peeps, that’s maybe a good thing) and the dialogue was all over the place and, just, what the fuck? Y’all, I had to write a paper in college comparing the architecture of a Gothic cathedral to the architecture of Dante’s Inferno and it made hella more sense than this.

This one is okay for the nostalgia factor but, otherwise, I suggest just visiting Hell itself – it’s bound to be more fun.

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Hansel & Gretel

H&G

Fuck yeah, Asylum!!  Hansel & Gretel is, I’m fairly certain, the best freaking movie you guys have ever put out and honestly, I’m so proud, it brought a tear to my eye, no lie.  I mean, sure you guys totally ripped off the Hansel & Gretel phase that was going on just last year (but hey, it’s a fairy tale so any movie version is ripping it off, right?) but this was…this was almost entirely coherent and had a couple of gross out moments that weren’t so fake that I was compelled to laugh.  Plus Dee Wallace was AMAZEBALLS in this.  I would NOT want to meet that woman in the middle of the woods, no way, no how.

No, for realz, we're teenagers.  Totes.

No, for realz, we’re teenagers. Totes.

So above we have Hansel & Gretel, who are like, totally teenagers, y’all.  Gretel works at the local bakery called “The Gingerbread House” (ha! get it??) where Lilith serves up the best meat pies around.  And we all know what happens when meat pies are involved, right, kiddies?  I mean, we all did see Sweeney Todd, yeah?  No?…. Anywho.  H&G’s mom died at some point and Hansel feels really guilty about that (although I couldn’t ever figure out WHY – like maybe there was a car wreck when she was coming to pick him up or something?) but she’s been gone long enough that Gretel mentions not being able to remember her as well as she should.  Well, good old Pops has been seeing this religious chick named Ruby for like a month or something and now they’re getting married.  Hansel, being the whiny little asshat he is, starts yelling and crying and runs off into the woods in anger.  Okay, I totally made that crying part up but still.  Gretel gives chase to try to talk some sense into her idiot twin brother when whoopsie, he steps into a conveniently placed bear trap.  Ouch.

Don't worry, hon. Lilith will fix that nasty little boo boo up right quick.

Don’t worry, hon. Lilith will fix that nasty little boo boo up right quick.

The only place around ends up being Lilith’s from “The Gingerbread House” and Lilith is totes a sweetie so of course she bandages that wound up and feeds Hansel all the pastries in the world and then some “special” candy that she takes for her glaucoma.  *giggles*  Next thing you know, Hansel’s fast asleep and Lilith’s all, “Oh just stay here tonight, kiddies.”  Then she gives Gretel some “magic” tea that knocks Gretel right the hell out.  This is the point where I started to be wary of Lilith’s intentions here, just sayin’.

Lalala, chores instead of leaving the house for the hospital for my brother, tralalala....

Lalala, chores instead of leaving the house for the hospital for my brother, tralalala….

The next morning Gretel wakes up to find her brother gone with an explanation of a neighbor having taken him to the hospital.  Why doesn’t she leave straightaway?  Well, the woods are dangerous, y’all, she might as well wait for that neighbor to come back for her.  In the meantime, might as well help Lilith out with a few chores, right?  Hansel wakes up to an entirely different scenario – one where he’s locked in a dungeon with three other teens who tell him that they’re being fattened up to be cooked later on.  Hansel isn’t the brightest crayola in the box so he kinda just goes, ‘Huh, what?  Oh pastries! Oh wait, don’t eat those!”  And this is about the time we meet these fellows…

 

Damn right, Mommie Dearest has kids!

Damn right, Mommie Dearest has kids!

Awww, just look at those adorable twinsies.  And after this comes some back story about Lilith losing a daughter and being 800 million years old and then everyone’s running around trying not to get cooked and those big dudes go all Leatherface on people and there’s a cop (and the killer exchange of: Gretel – “You shot the sheriff!!” Lilith – “Oh, I shot the deputy too.” Totes brills) and Pops and Ruby show up and there’s a lot of weird stuff that makes you think Ruby is actually Lilith’s daughter but no, that’s totes trickster and then well, ya know…it’s Hansel & Gretel – we kind of know where this is going.

I WANTED you to be my daughter, you bitch!  We're just alike, you know!

I WANTED you to be my daughter, you bitch! We’re just alike, you know!

Seriously, this is by far, the best Asylum flick I’ve seen.  Dee Wallace is KILLER with her witchy psychotic granny portrayal (and you know, that’s really what makes this movie cause the other actors I could take or leave).  There’s one scene where Hansel starts to eat himself because he is so delicious (insert raunchy jokes here) that was super fun and not as fake as the usual Asylum stuff is and another girl getting sliced and diced with this crazy wires also works out really well.  Of course we have our moments where Ruby is dead but moving, the cops are at the top of the idiot food chain and it’s ridiculous to think Lilith who has been doing this for years now just woke up and thought to herself, “Welll, gosh darnit, I’m gonna have me those twins even if I have to take the whole town down to do it.”  Seriously, WTF, Lilith?  *sighs*

If you love The Asylum, you definitely have to check this one out!

 

 

 

 

 

Voodoo Moon

I really, really love Voodoo Moon.  It’s absolutely a guilty pleasure and I’ve watched it, I don’t know how many times by this point.  I don’t know anybody else who has seen it though, unless it’s someone I made watch it, which is unfortunate because for a low-budget indie horror, it’s got a fabulous cast.

Starring Charisma Carpenter, Eric Mabius and featuring Dee Wallace and John Amos, this is the story of a brother (Cole) and sister (Heather) who survived a town massacre when they were kids.  Now, it’s years later and they must return to fight the evil (SPOILER:  It’s Satan!), which caused the massacre.  Since that day, the brother has dedicated his life to fighting evil in all it’s many forms and has garnered a rich knowledge of spiritual knowledge ranging from Christianity to msyticism to voodoo, and has acquired a motley crew of extremely loyal people including bikers, ex-cons, cops and his ex-girlfriend who all show up to help him prepare for what may be his final battle.

Btw, Satan is a total hottie!

Is there anything truly original here?  Nope.  And the story can get a bit convuluted at times since there are soooo many peripheral characters.  Plus the backstory is somewhat confusing because of various backflashes and vague references.  But overall the concept was, I thought, great.  It might just be that I’m partial to good vs. evil stories involving humans and Satan or one of the fallen ones.  I’ve always found that creepier than Leatherface chasing screaming teens.  (I can probably blame my Southern Baptist upbringing for that…)

Now don’t go losing your head!

Then there’s the fact that Cole could only defeat Satan (or Daniel as he’s called here) by using a mixture of religions.  There were some Christian aspects in there, the aforementioned voodoo, Catholicism, some Buddhism, and so on and so forth.

Religion’s not bad, it’s how you use it…And this guy is using it unwisely.

The final thing I loved so much is how some of his friends have these seemingly random supernatural powers themselves.  One woman heals him of injuries and one guy can hear his voice in his head (and then yells out to whomever is standing around, “I’m coming little brother!”)  Oh and Cordy’s all psychic (who saw that coming?).  This totally leads to fun!

Voodoo Moon has a little bit of everything and borders on just this side of cheesy – I highly recommend!