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Charles Band Thread - 4/5/2012 5:37:01 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Dollman (1991)

There is something about this B-movie that I like, its hard to pinpoint as the film is so ridiculous and belongs in a cartoon realm, I guess its the quaint 'Twilight Zone' charm of the plot and the cheesy yet fun effects mixed with some great hammy acting.
Pyun regular Thomerson gives his best 'Dirty Harry' performance here as 'Brick Bardo' (great name ) complete with silly shades and a long trench coat, his gritty strong voice barking out silly dialog left right n centre to the wonderfully cliched baddies and gang members lead by a young over acting JE Haley.

This film does seem to have a cult following (nowadays, apon release no) and its easy to see why as its highly enjoyable through its highly nonsensical premise, classic lead character and brilliantly bad effects, Pyun's best film along side 'Cyborg' for sure which I'm sure came as a shock to him.



Demonic Toys (1991)

Yes its totally stupid and not in the least bit scary, I dunno why its referred to as a horror, but this cult is highly enjoyable with its basic charming effects. Of course its ridiculous and has a high trash content with strong levels of cheese but with a film about killer dolls what do you expect, its much more of a light hearted horror/comedy.

The main swing here is the dolls of course, a killer teddy bear, a baby doll, a robot and a jack in the box, all of which actually look kinda cool, not scary more eerie and bizarre, think killers Muppets haha. The sequences where the dolls attack are pretty amusing and the highlight of the film, with their limited movements and funny voice work its hard not to enjoy despite how silly it is watching a grown adult thrash around as he's being attacked by a psychotic Fozzie the Bear lol!

The whole concept is hard to pull off but its an interesting one with toys coming alive, much like 'Toy story' and 'The Twilight Zone' its a fun route to explore, plus the dolls are always well designed and made with obvious care and attention.



Demonic Toys 2 (2009)

Seeing as this was made recently it makes it hard to accept the crapness involved as these type of films tend to work better knowing they were made back in the 80/90's but despite that its still a reasonable horror with fun doll mania.
The plot is pretty much the same as all the killer doll films previously accept with a different setting but the effects are slightly better or alittle more technically advanced than the rest. The dolls still look good but we're missing 'Mr Static' and 'Grizzly' and instead have 'Divoletto' which is a devil looking doll, nice design and very 'Puppet Master' but he doesn't do too much.

Nice setting and the usual kills accompanied with some rather poor acting but we all know what we're getting here, not as good/classic as the first but its still solid if you have a doll fetish



Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (1993)

Suppose to have been the first 'vs.' film made so really this film is a groundbreaker if we are honest about it. Its a very silly premise of course and the back story behind it is muddled, basically this is the sequel to 'Bad Channels' 'Dollman' and 'Demonic Toys' all at once which in itself is pretty impressive and unique but alas they screwed up the continuity badly by making 'Nurse Ginger' as the sidekick from 'Bad Channels' when it should of been 'Bunny'.

That aside this is actually good fun and continues the cult craziness of the previous films with the added bonus of Thomerson back as Dollman. Most of the film is filled with flashbacks unfortunately which does take up time and seeing as the film is one hour!! you can tell they struggled to fill out the plot.

Effects wise its about on par with the other films accept this time we have lifesize Demonic Toys going up against 'Brick' which don't look too bad really, the fact they are real or stop motion makes all the difference which would be lost using cgi, almost modern day Harryhausen films...almost



Blood Dolls (1999)

Yes I can't believe it either but Band still somehow manages to make yet more killer doll flicks without anyone saying...'hey, haven't we done this before?'. This doll flick is pretty much the same as 'Puppet Master' accept the dolls are much more detailed, extreme looking, twisted and bizarre but also really decent looking too.
The whole film is kinda off the wall or more like a twisted fairytale as the dolls are controlled by a villain with a normal human body but he has a shrunken head (think 'Beetlejuice') that actually looks good I must admit. His main henchman is a human version of 'Jack Attack' from 'Demonic Toys'...basically a big guy with clown face paint on which was alittle disturbing I guess, all this and a sexy girl rock band imprisoned in a large cage for his amusement haha sweet.

The plot is..again..a bad guy using the dolls to kill for his own evil plans, afew different plot twists here and there buts its the usual thing really, not much else that can be done I guess, to be frank its just a chance to do a puppet film with a new fun set of killer dolls really, much like 'Doll Graveyard'.

Its competent and solid as a doll horror, doesn't look cheap n nasty and the characters are good fun.



Dolls (1987)

Yep found another doll film but this time from Bands Empire film company and not directed by the man himself. Surprisingly this doll flick is different from all the rest with its plot, this time its very much like a fairytale or even a Stephen King story. An old couple that make dolls in a big mansion in the middle of nowhere take in lost or stranded folk and shrink them down turning them into dolls depending on the persons character, if they're good or bad.

So a slightly different spin with this film which is nice and gives it a fresher feel, the dolls are not weird looking killers either they are just normal looking old fashioned toy dolls from various times, almost 'Pinocchio' in design, style and feel.
Cast is good in this too with the old couple being especially well performed, no one really well known but they all play their parts well enough too make the film seem better than it maybe should be, infact the whole film looks good with decent well lit sets, dark hallways, plenty of shadows and the classic thunder and lightning all giving the right atmospheric glow.
Not scary but more of a 'Scooby Doo' creepy feel to it which is just right as its obviously hard to make killer dolls come across as genuinely scary.



Doll Graveyard (2005)

This is probably one of Bands best films to date although not exactly an original concept but its pretty well made and directed coming across as a sensible thriller. Again we have killer dolls on the loose but much like 'Puppet Master' they do look really good and have been well designed and made, I especially liked the samurai and German dolls.

Its very very predictable with nothing new to bring to the forum but simply if you like these types of horrors then you will certainly enjoy, by now Band is pretty much an expert at shooting dolls so this is quite good and not just trashy cheap stuff, just don't expect top class acting or thrills. Nice film title



Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)

How about that for a film title huh, talk about getting you hyped for a sci-fi fantasy guns and swords type action flick with monsters, princesses and possibly even spaceships and landspeeder type vehicles, well yes that's what I was thinking after seeing the poster haha I was thinking along the lines of 'Krull'.

I must report that the film isn't quite how I thought it would be, yep its a sci-fi and yes it has laser guns, landspeeders and the odd monster but its terribly cheap looking in places with virtually no plot. Now I know I shouldn't expect anything amazing from an unknown film but you always hope there is a hidden gem don't you, on the plus side there is some nice imagination here mixed with allot of elements from other obvious sci-fi. The big one eyed humanoid aliens were made up quite well and did remind me of 'Klingons' whilst all the outfits were your typical 'Mad Max' affair, especially the vehicles and the heroes leather outfit, there was a touch of 'Krull' type magic involved and of course your regular mutant baddie warrior.

I shouldn't be too harsh really as it was made along time ago when certain big films were the rage and this was merely jumping on that bandwagon, in fairness its not too bad, not good but certainly one of the better cheapo fantasy sci-fi films from the depths of the B-movie abyss.



Zone Troopers (1985)

More B-movie fluff for Tim Thomerson to revel in haha this time hes behind enemy lines in WWII but his squad gets wiped out and on top of that he must content with an alien that has crashed its ship in the area.

Excellent film title which really gives you high hopes for a rockin flick and to a degree you do get a pretty decent action film with lots of gun action and Nazi blasting. The first half of the film isn't too bad and along the lines of the 'Dirty Dozen' minus the better acting skills and top cast of course, as the alien comes into the plot the film still manages to hold its own but towards the end of the story we meet more aliens which look suspiciously like humans with white hair in rather campy outfits.

This is where things start to get abit 'Flash Gordon' looking with crappy ray guns, bad outfits and a dodgy looking spacecraft, shame really as the first crashed spaceship looked quite good and the stranded alien actually had a decent mask and look not far from something you might see in the 'Mos Eisley space cantina' in Star Wars (the aliens we meet towards the end are male and different from the stranded alien which is female).

Very basic but fairly fun and amusing how no one ever seems to be that shocked to find visitors from outer space.



Robot Jox (1990)

Some epic robot/mecha fighting going on here with some epic stop motion effects hehe well sort of, its certainly very dated and looks more like an episode of 'Red Dwarf' than a film but its so gloriously tacky and fun.

A Band production (he does churn them out) which does seem to bare a small similarity to the recent 'Reel Steel' but admittedly is more of a mech film. Basically trained fighters combat in massive mechs for control of certain parts of the world which hold value but the fighters are part of a 'Formula 1' type team. Its chock full of silly sci-fi and wonderfully cheesy effects and bluescreen, some of which looks OK some of which looks nasty, but one things for sure the cast do their best to make it seem serious *chuckle*.

Its very easy going stuff and perfect for those sci-fi hounds out there that love a good B-movie and I'm sure we all know of Mr Band's work. Goodies wear white and are team America where as the baddies wear black and are naughty evil team Russia (boo! hiss!) 'crash n burn'.



Robot Jox 2: Robot Wars (1993)

Yes this is another big mech film which seems to be another second sequel, unofficial, to the original 'Robot Jox'. The Band brothers are at it again with their lovely tacky films but somehow manage to make them kinda good at the same time, this is normally down to the stop motion robot action which is great fun.

B-movie of course but lets be honest here, its just an excuse for more robot wars and not much else really, this time we have the original classic mech against a scorpion type mech. The whole film is again pointless with a thin plot but the over the top acting and shaky robot effects are just so fun to watch, love the constant multiple button/switch pushing by the robot pilots lol. This film is much better than the other sequel 'Crash and Burn', its like the original with plenty of robot hocus pocus.



Crash and Burn (1990)

Sequel of sorts to 'Robot Jox' with the same cover art yet the plot is nothing to do with the original, in fact the plot has nothing to do with anything much haha. Basically its about a group of folks stuck in a big warehouse/power plant because of a thermal storm outside, to make things worse one of them is a 'synth' out to kill everyone for the evil companies gain (Unicom).

So...you have a group of people stuck in a building being killed by a Terminator style robot and no one knows who the killer robot is, not too original huh. Its pretty pointless really with bad acting plus nothing happens! the only thing to mention is the gloriously cheesy stop motion mech action near the end. This franchise is all about the big mechs but amazingly this film lacks mech action despite the cover art depiction.



Bad Channels (1992)

Probably one of Bands cheapest looking and oddest flicks, if that's possible, and certainly in the B-movie realm. No real sense behind the plot other than aliens trying to capture human females for some reason, this all takes place in a radio station with allot of cheap looking effects and hammy alien suits. Its not too predictable as its pretty off the wall with at least two music/band sequences in the film which make the whole thing seem like something of MTV, its very dumb but it does have a certain charm to it plus its the prequel to 'Dollman Vs Demonic Toys' and has a very short sequence after the end credits with Tim Thomerson as 'Dollman'



Evil Bong (2007)

Charles Band continues with his Full Moon movies of which some are cult classics and quite good where as this is unfortunately not too good. I mean really....its about an evil haunted bong that kills people when they get high from puffing on it, but do they die? not overly sure if they do according to the end but does it really matter?

Unsure how Band got this made really haha nothing here to recommend unless you like a tiny show of soft porn in the form of boobies, not too much I might add. On another note its nice to see tiny cameos from other Full Moon movie characters such as 'Jack Deth' 'Gingerbread Man' 'Ooga Booga' 'Ivan Burroughs' and 'Jack Attack', totally pointless but I always liked how Band films are all linked together..sort of.



Post #: 1
RE: Charles Band Thread - 5/5/2012 3:48:47 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Trancers (1985)

Tim 'king of the sci-fi B-movie' Thomerson is again in yet another time travelling sci-fi flick and again he's a cop with a really good name...meet 'Jack Deth'.

Yep another cracker alright this film makes Pyun's films look megabudget and the acting top class, there really isn't much I can be positive about here, its not even enjoyable as a daft B-movie like 'dollman'. Terrible 'effects' with dreadful acting and some almost 'Ed Wood' style moments of corn and action, plus the plot is stupid and incomprehensible at times. Look out for Helen Hunt and Thomerson with dark hair! amazingly Thomerson acted in another four more of these with Helen Hunt.



Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth (1991)

Holy crapola Batman this is.....errr crapola! after the quite dreary first film we somehow got this quite dreadful sequel that pretty much scrapes the bottom of the barrel alright. Thomerson is back as 'Deth' again for some reason, obviously needing work and Helen Hunt is also back for a cameo as she's realised to get out.
The plot is totally muddled and all over the show, there is quite a nice sci-fi plot deep down in there somewhere (touch of 'Terminator' time jumping in the mix) but its being totally buried under a rotting B-movie. Laughable 'effects', terrible 'acting' really bad sets and props plus virtually no costumes what so ever haha looks like Thomerson wore his own clothes. I might add the exploding ham scene was so bad it was brilliant.

Only Thomerson gives any reason to watch a tall, he can't save the film but he does inject a tiny amount of fun with his dry harsh tough guy performance

'Don't worry, ladies. They're biodegradable'



Trancers III: Deth Lives (1992)

Getting alittle better after the dreadful second film yet still highly cheap and nasty with laughable everything hehe. This time 'Deth' does have a rather neat partner in the form of a large android called 'Shark' who actually looks pretty sweet with his fish/fin mask, not brilliant makeup effects but its nice looking and different. The special ops training and fighting camp are really bad in this haha some great fake looking fighting and bad stunts work a treat in making this hilarious when its not really suppose to be.

Still chasing Trancers all over time n space Thomerson is witty as ever and on top form with his tough guy persona which still manages to make me smile despite the utter crudness going on all around haha I dunno why Thomerson keeps doing these but he is the main attraction for sure. The first two films seemed to be semi serious but this third film definitely shows everyone is having a good time making it as it vies towards an 'Evil Dead' formula with plenty of wise cracks and visual tomfoolery.



Trancers 4: Jack of Swords (Trancers 4: Journeys Through the Darkzone, 1993)

Number four and back down we go, the roller coaster continues with Jack Deth and his adventures through time, this time its back to dreadful trashy B-movie without any amusing trashy charm hehe

Thomerson is still firing the wisecracks but the medieval setting for this is really bad looking, this kind of location can either work and look quite good or not work and look real bad, this is the latter. Everyone is running around what looks like some local woods (you expect to see them run into a car park half the time lol!) around a Romanian castle but you can tell which are sets or real, lots of really iffy looking fights and weapon usage and a really cheesy baddie at the top of the tree.

Plot wise its getting abit messy and horrendously corny and cliched...actually I kinda lost the plot to be honest, too many characters and little sub plots going on with rather messy direction and cutting, still it doesn't matter as you know Deth will win somehow



Trancers 5: Sudden Deth (1995)

Hmm this is just the same film as number four basically, they have made one long film and cut it in two but as this isn't too long they have filled about the first six/seven minutes with backstory from the last film! weak.
So its the same again with the same people and the same baddie leader who conveniently comes back from the dead to be the baddie leader in this film again lol! So if you read my review of number four you will get an idea for number five, identical stuff at a run time of 1hour 14min!!



Trancers 6: Life After Deth (2004)

With the loss of Thomerson this franchise dies and this final film shows it. A cast of nobodies in a D-Movie if not lower with home video style effects, action and acting coupled with the exact same run of the mill plot. They even crowbarred in footage of Thomerson as 'Deth' at the start making us believe hes in the film albeit for about three min, bad move as that always comes across as phoney eg. many Bruce Lee films after he died.
Gone are all the cool witty wise cracks from Deth with that classic tough guy flair which always gave these films a tiny edge.



< Message edited by Phubbs -- 5/5/2012 3:50:04 AM >

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Post #: 2
RE: Charles Band Thread - 5/5/2012 7:52:05 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Devil Dolls (2012)

What on earth was the point of this Mr Band!? I thought this was gonna be another dubious yet enjoyable killer puppet horror comedy yet it turns out to be a compilation of three of his older films!!

'Demonic Toys' 'Ragdoll' and 'Doll Graveyard' have all been cut down to short 30min stories which make no real sense now and mainly show the dolls killing. If you wanna make a compilation of kill sequences from your films fine but don't market it as a new film for chuffs sake!.

Complete waste of time and utter rip off Mr Band, for shame. What was the point anyway!? why watch this when you can watch the whole film properly, milking the shit out of your films is an understatement Mr Band.

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Post #: 3
RE: Charles Band Thread - 6/6/2012 7:20:45 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Dark Angel: The Ascent (1994)

Classic Charles Band stuff this, a real B-movie not that its terrible I might add, it not too bad really, the plot is rather odd and makes no real sense, something about a devil girl leaving hell and coming to earth to see what its like and falling in love whilst ridding the living of evil folk.

Pretty weird and pointless with many questions but we won't delve further into it as I'm sure it doesn't matter. Cast is unknown but not totally useless, Angela Featherstone is the only name here, effects are dodgy to say the least but some makeup isn't all that bad. Gotta love these Full Moon gems.



The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

Charles Band takes on the classic 'Poe' tale here with help from a surprisingly good cast including Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs and a small cameo from Oliver Reed!

This film is combination of three classic 'Poe' tales which aren't that bad but as you would expect pretty cheap n cheerful looking at times. There is an odd element of humour at times boarding on spoof yet despite this Henriksen does his best as the lunatic inquisitor 'Torquemada' and gives a brilliantly over the top ham fest with a bizarre monk hair cut and his cutting round eyes.

Rest of the cast are pretty useless and the effects and sets go from reasonable to down right awful haha. Plenty of fake blood and cheesy dialog but I saw this mainly for Henriksen really, his presence elevates the film to a guilty pleasure.

< Message edited by Phubbs -- 6/6/2012 7:30:16 AM >

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Post #: 4
RE: Charles Band Thread - 11/6/2012 4:39:07 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Ghoulies (1985)

One of Charles Bands best known cult creations which is curiously similar to the horror comedy released a year prior 'Gremlins'.

Clearly the best of the bunch this ghoulie romp see's a young couple inherit an old house with a dark secret in the grounds and the bowels of the house (as usual for old houses). The young man of the new house finds an old spell book (as you do) and is slowly possessed into conjuring up the ghoulie creatures to...well I'm not sure, something to do with devil worshipping blah blah blah.

The film is of course low budget and completely trashy but the small puppet creatures are actually pretty neat looking and fun to watch. Much like the puppets from 'Puppet Master' the creations do hold a nice appeal and do look cool, they are all hand workable so you mainly get faces shots and torso's. Not really any blood or gore but the odd decent makeup job and with some curious names in the cast (Sting lookalike Michael Des Barres).

Like many cheapo horror films the first isn't too bad but they just ruin any self respect by churning out terrible sequels.



Ghoulies II (1987)

OK lets just get one thing straight here, these films do not follow any continuity from one to another, the 'Ghoulies' turn up out of nowhere, captured by some guy who is trying to exterminate them for good.

From these rather abstract beginnings the naughty creatures turn up in a kooky crappy carnival where they rather predictably cause suspicious deaths and trouble. There is a bare minimum plot about the workers of the carnival not making enough money to keep their jobs and the evil company (company?) manager setting deadlines to hand in good receipts of business.

At first I thought the Ghoulies were gonna help the carnival folk make their ghost ride more scary so they could make more money and keep their jobs (sounds solid right?), but no. Nothing really happens throughout as you would have expected, some people get killed which are thought to be attractions but who cares? all you wanna see is Ghoulie gore. There is some gore here but not a massive amount, more than the first but this installment lacks the atmosphere of the first.

Very very cheap looking all round but the puppets still look pretty cool, you also get some stop motion animation of the creatures also. Expected better really as I prefer the original but the ending in this is quite amusing and very B-movie/trashy, so much so its good.

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Post #: 5
RE: Charles Band Thread - 23/6/2012 4:13:13 PM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Parasite (1982)

This early Charles Band horror sci-fi kinda reminded me of early John Carpenter films, it does have a charm about it that shines even today. Set in the far future of 1992 where the world has met an atomic disaster and is run by one corporation called 'The Merchants'. They seek to control the riff raff with a deadly parasite which they force one doctor to create, who then goes on the run with it to try and kill it.

Same factory line plot about the future and it does look pretty similar to other films with the same idea but the cast  sets it apart. The main role is played by Robert Glaudini who isn't your usual good looking type, he has a face of curiosity, he looks a bit odd, a bit regular and this helps you run with the nonsense. He is helped by Demi Moore in her second screen role before all the money and glitz, which provides a more grounded performance from her.

Its all still cheesy as hell by today's standards and it looks trashy of course (apart from the black Lamborghini) but back in the day I reckon it looked quite good...I'm guessing.

Another feather in Mr Bands cap is the fact he worked with Stan Winston in this film. Yep the mighty Winston created the parasite in question and probably had a hand in the gory effects also. Naturally this helps the film greatly as the effects and makeup are quite good, not outstanding but solid showing promise.

Actually quite a bloody film with some nice gore, plot is old and you can see the 'Alien' rip (which would of influenced allot at the time) a mile off. Overall its not bad and certainly a high point in Mr Band's rollercoaster career which seemed to move into killer doll territory as we all know...for some reason.

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Post #: 6
RE: Charles Band Thread - 24/6/2012 12:04:01 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3930
Joined: 19/10/2005
Excellent reviews, keep 'em coming!!!

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RE: Charles Band Thread - 25/6/2012 6:26:27 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Thanks , I'm running out of Band films though hehe not easy to get hold of.

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RE: Charles Band Thread - 25/6/2012 12:30:47 PM   
Vitamin F

 

Posts: 609
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: Norn Ireland, so it is

Subspecies and it's possibly many sequels, think they're Charles Band efforts..?
Only seen the first one. Got what I expected, really.

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Post #: 9
RE: Charles Band Thread - 26/6/2012 3:31:42 PM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
The man has made so much, most of it crapola haha but he does like killer dolls and the supernatural which is cool. He may of been the first person to do a 'Vs' movie and cross characters between franchises.

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Post #: 10
RE: Charles Band Thread - 5/7/2012 6:13:54 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Puppet Master (1989)

Probably Charles Band's best known film and franchise and probably his most lucrative. I remember seeing these old horror flicks on the top shelves at my local videoshop when I was a kid hehe the covers always looked really evil and intriguing, quite scary.

In reality this film is pretty dire to be honest, yes I know its a bit of a classic and cult horror but really...its pretty crappy. The first of Band's films and possibly the beginning of his killer doll obsession and I was surprised how bad it is.

Most of his later puppet films are much better looking than this of course but they are also much more spooky than this too. The cast are unknowns (to me) with pretty ropey acting skills, the way these people fall over and pretend to escape the psycho dolls is quite amusing really, but I guess its hard to make it look really threatening.

The location isn't particularly scary looking with zero atmosphere and there isn't too much blood n gore either really, what there is you don't see. The only two things going for the film are the cool looking puppets which have always looked good in all the killer doll films made by Band. There is some stop motion animation used throughout but to be fair it looks quite solid, I've seen worse. The other is the lovely kooky circus-like musical score which plays ominously in the background from time to time, a real funhouse of horror's type of tune, very effective.

Other than that its pretty poor and not in the least bit scary or sinister. Plot is simply an excuse for a group of people to be killed in a big empty hotel one by one by the puppets, that's all you need to know. I'm sure back in the day it was more eerie and impressive looking than now but I'm still hard pressed to believe any adult would find this scary.

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Post #: 11
RE: Charles Band Thread - 5/7/2012 6:14:13 PM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Why has this been moved to here?? these are film reviews not a list or top ten.

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Post #: 12
RE: Charles Band Thread - 5/7/2012 6:47:04 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14549
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From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
Probably because it's reviews of multiple films (in other words a list) rather than a review of one specific film.

I remember enjoying Trancers a lot and have a very, very vague memory of Ghoulies.

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RE: Charles Band Thread - 6/7/2012 12:15:57 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Puppet Master II: His Unholy Creations (1991)


Its hard to think how this franchise took off really as the first two films are so poor, the imagination and originality is there sure but they really aren't given the treatment they need.

This sequel is pretty much exactly the same as the first film, another group of young folk term up at the creepy old hotel and get killed off one by one by the killer dolls. The only difference is the dolls manage to resurrect 'Toulon' to add a touch of spice...if you can call it that.

That's pretty much the plot right there, 'Toulon' doesn't really don much accept walk around looking like Claude Rains from 'The Invisible Man'. That's the only intriguing part in the film really, you know the guy looks nasty underneath his bandages and your curious to see, but that's it.

There are plot holes throughout which hinders the story in places, the very ending for instance doesn't really make much sense unless you read up on it. Characters are unimportant and you don't care about them...hell lets face it its all about the dolls and how they kill people.

The dolls/puppets do look as good as ever and there is some nice makeup on 'Toulon' once he is exposed, apart from that its pretty poor stuff.

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Post #: 14
RE: Charles Band Thread - 6/7/2012 5:00:46 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991)


Third film and this time the puppets are up against the Nazi's as we go back into the past in what appears to be a prequel. There is one big problem though and that's the fact Mr Band has screwed up the franchises continuity already by setting this film in 1941 when 'Toulon' died in 1939 according to the original film, oh dear.

OK so we over look that little itchy problem and focus on the film. To be fair this film is much more enjoyable than the first two, we watch and learn how the puppets assist 'Toulon', how and why he creates his 'Leech Woman' puppet and we see what happens to his wife...ergo a prequel.

Again there isn't much blood n gore on show for a horror film but the puppets are quite active in this one which is good plus we get introduced to 'Six Shooter' who is by far one of the better puppets. 'Six Shooter' kills one Nazi trooper with his quick draw six shot fire and it actually looks pretty cool, some well done squib effects there.

Band also reuses some cast from his early films, as he always does, Richard Lynch of 'Trancers II' for this film.

Like the other two films you don't expect decent effects or acting or horror really but the quirky stop motion dolls accompanied by the ever present haunting score all add to the charm. This film also benefits from some reasonable production by the looks of things, a step up the ladder for location and atmosphere.

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 15
RE: Charles Band Thread - 7/7/2012 4:15:19 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Puppet Master 4 (1993)

Number four and this time the puppets are up against some demon and his little naughty spawn minions. The film continues with the idea that the evil puppets are fighting for good now, assisting the humans with each cause.

As we are back in the present day 'Toulon' is of course dead yet his spirit helps a duo of plucky young teens (once again inside the creepy old hotel) to fight 'Sutekh' the demon and his 'Totems' (minions).

As before you get what you expect with this franchise but this offering is a little more fantasy based. The demon 'Sutekh' seems to be a slight take on 'Darkness' from 'Legend' if you ask me. Not in terms of visual design but the way he struts around commanding his servants and spouting lots of fairytale-like ramblings about the downfall of good.

I must add that the design, makeup and prosthetic work for 'Sutekh' and his netherworld priest-like minions are all really good. You can tell its all people in rubber suits of course but they actually are quite effective, not scary or gross but more of a quirky halloween-ish villainous feel that could almost be out of a kids film like 'TMNT' or 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'.

The 'Totems' that run around and do battle with 'Toulon's' puppets are little hell spawns but made and animated in the same way the classic killer puppets have been. They don't look quite as cool as the classic puppets, more a cross of reptilian with alien, but its fun to watch them kill the dodgy actors haha.

There is some continuity here as Guy Rolfe reprises his role as 'Toulon' from the third film. Stacie Randall is another Band regular here that has been seen in 'Trancers 4' 'Trancers 5' and 'Ghoulies 4'.

There has never been any real continuity with the puppets in these film unfortunately. Some of them come and go without reason, only 'Blade' 'Tunneller' 'Pin Head' and 'Jester' seem to be regulars. 'Six Shooter' comes back for more in this one and we are introduced to 'Decapitron' whose name kinda gives the impression he's gonna cut folks heads off, that's not the case I'm afraid. He looks quite cool though.

One of the better sequels in the franchise which offers a lot more bang for your buck with plenty of doll action, some decent visuals and good imagination. Gotta give kudos to Band and his team for their continuous remote control puppetry skills and determination.




Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994)

This is a direct sequel to the fourth film and by the looks of things it may have been made back to back with the fourth film.

Obviously this film was a little short with its run time as we are given a rather long-ish prologue at the start to explain virtually the entire story from the previous film *groan*.

Basically there are suits and thugs after 'Toulon's' secret, 'Sutekh' is back and pissed off so he puts his own life essence into another 'Totem' and the plucky teen duo are back to try and save the day by stopping 'Sutekh' with the help of the puppets.

The plot takes it time to get moving with this one and you wonder if anything will actually happen. Sure enough we are back in the creepy old hotel with puppets and hell spawns running amok. The puppets are again on the friendly bandwagon as they again help their new master (plucky teen male) and fight 'Sutekh' the demon in 'Totem' form. Along the way are three thugs and a suit who want 'Toulon's' secret but we all know they are there for puppet/Totem fodder.

This film was suppose to be the last one and it does show as the idea is tiring fast. The whole film is almost the same as the fourth film to be honest, nothing new really. Action, puppet fighting and outcome are a bit too similar.

On the plus side the continuity stands firm with Gordon Currie reprising his main role from the third film as the puppets new master. Guy Rolfe is also still here as the spirit of 'Toulon' and the two female characters 'Suzie' and 'Lauren' are also played by the same actresses from the fourth film. This fifth film does also manage a few well known character actors in the form of Willard E. Pugh, Ian Ogilvy, Nicholas Guest and Duane Whitaker.

A fair crack at the whip but the whole idea, setting, atmosphere, tone etc...is becoming old hat now. The franchise had to either stop here or try another direction.


< Message edited by Phubbs -- 7/7/2012 4:52:38 AM >

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 16
RE: Charles Band Thread - 10/7/2012 4:53:00 PM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Curse of the Puppet Master (1998, aka Puppet Master 6)

Finally a new direction for the franchise, a new plot line which isn't stuck within the creepy old hotel. Lets not get too carried away here its still exactly what you come to expect from these films.

Its actually a neat little story involving a man who owns a weird carnival freak museum type place and our favourite killer puppets. He is trying to transform living people into puppets/dolls for some reason. He comes across this lonely boy who is great at carving wood (who isn't), hires him, gets him to carve the perfect puppet then tries to transform him into the puppet for some reason...as you do.

So despite some plot holes and no real explanations for his motives the plot is still a fresh departure from the last five films. The killer puppets are still on hand to help the museum owner guy and his new worker from bullies, the law and assist in his project but in the end he upsets them and....well you can guess.

So the puppets are friendly for the most part again in this film, the effects are just more of the same and as you would expect, nothing mind blowing. Not much blood n gore, maybe a touch at the end, some reasonable acting from the cast and a bleak ending which is a nice change.

Overall a better offering and again supersedes the first two films but not quite as fun as the fifth film. Think of this as a 'Twilight Zone' type installment.

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 17
RE: Charles Band Thread - 12/7/2012 4:09:07 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Retro Puppet Master (1999, aka Puppet Master 7)

Well here we go again as this franchise jumps around its own timeline, this film is a prequel to the third film (if you can remember that far back) and showcases a young 'Toulon' in Paris and how he acquires the secret of life.
Believe it or not but this film actually starts off as a sequel to the third film! yes that's right, this film carries on from where the third film left off...kind of.

There are more continuity issues here (again) as according to the original film 'Toulon' actually blows his brains out in 1939, yet this is set in 1944? I mentioned this in the review for the third film as this error seems to have been ignored, so what the hell eh, lets carry on past this fudge up and pretend it never happened.

This film again does seem to have slightly better production values than previous films. Supposedly set in Paris (obviously not) and they have done well to create an early 1902 feel merely with shadows and a lot of subtle hints, good use of props, mist and lighting I must say. The Cairo set attempts are less effective with the crude use of some archive footage hehe.
Again I must also give kudos to the costumes, I'm unsure how accurate they might be but to the average Joe they do the job and sell the effect.

Of course the plot is ludicrous with ancient mummies resurrected and marching about the place trying to be cool as if they just walked off 'The Matrix' set. Nice idea but the director has foolishly made them into something out of character for this type of flick. We do discover that the demon 'Sutkh' from 'Puppet Master IV/V' is or was an Egyptian God it seems so that's interesting I guess. Some fun acting from old 'Star Trek' actor Jack Donner and again Guy Rolfe briefly.

As usual its the nice work on the puppets that help the film along. The 'retro' designs are just as cool as the regular puppet designs but stop motion is a bit shaky in this one. No blood or gore what so ever, not much real tension or excitement but its an easy going adventure...can't really call this a horror franchise anymore.



Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003, aka Puppet Master 8)

Don't hold your breath here folks, this is what Mr Band does in his spare time, rip people off from time to time. This is basically a compilation of clips from all the previous Puppet Master films put together in a very loose plot and palmed off as a feature film.

The plot is simply about a mercenary searching the creepy old hotel for the secret of 'Toulon'. She finds a man in the basement (convenient) who seems to be working on the same search. This man turns out to be the little boy from 'Puppet Master III' all grown up and taking care of 'Toulon's' work. This is all played out with lots of segments from the previous films in flashbacks. It all ends with the puppets U-turning and becoming killers again I think, I'm not sure really as the ending is so bizarre and abrupt so I'm assuming.

What is really weak here is the fact they try to tie all the loose ends together with many characters of the previous films. They seem to try and fix the continuity error with 'Toulon's' death (I think) although I don't think they really can and we find out this merc has killed many previous characters for info on the secret. So that solves any loose ends now huh.

Pretty much a complete waste of your time and not a proper film. I dunno why Band does this as its the worst example of milking an idea and really gives him a bad name in my opinion (he has done this before a few times).

< Message edited by Phubbs -- 12/7/2012 5:04:19 AM >

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 18
RE: Charles Band Thread - 14/7/2012 2:15:08 PM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
This isn't a Band film but seeing as its almost part of the 'PM' franchise I thought I'd stick it in, completes the set in a way.

Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys (2004)

The first and only film which has nothing to do with Charles Band! thusly it has been said to not be canon within the franchise.

You can see the difference with this film straight away with the production values clearly a lot higher. There is an obvious glossy shine to this which is well above the usual low budget look. This doesn't mean its any good though, sure its not a bad film and it is better than some of the earlier Band films but there is nothing special here.

Corey Feldman is the great grand nephew of 'Toulon' ('Robert Toulon') in this which is a neat bit of casting but why on earth they dyed his hair greyish and introduced a daughter that's clearly the same age as him I don't know. I realise this isn't a serious film but but at least be somewhat sensible.

Vanessa Angel is the villain who is after the secret of 'Toulon' and the puppets which serve his great grand nephew. She also has to please a demon called 'Bael' who she has made a deal with to make all toys come to life and be evil in exchange for 'Robert Toulon's' life and soul. Oh and she has the Demonic Toys on her side also.

The plot is quite well thought out and does cover a lot more which I can't be bothered to mention here, but it does of course conflict with the Puppet Master franchise from Band I believe.

Its not bloody or gory and of course not very scary, more an off the wall 'Tales from the Crypt' type film. Some reasonable effects and makeup but nothing outstanding and some fun colourful puppet vs toys battles which look cheesy, all part of the charm. One thing I noticed and that was the puppets of 'Puppet Master' didn't look quite as good as usual. Clearly a minor difference in quality seeing as this wasn't anything to do with Band so the puppets weren't the originals or made by the same people. The Demonic Toys looked pretty good though.



Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010 aka Puppet Master 9)

So the canon franchise continues still with this new entry into a now completely overdone idea. Again this is yet another prequel and digs around with what happened right after 'Toulon' committed suicide. We still have the continuity problem as this film is set in 1939 yet previous films were set in the early 1940's and 'Toulon' was alive. So Band is still ignoring this it seems.

So this film has a young boy getting a hold of the puppets right after 'Toulon' killed himself. From there on the plot revolves around the war effort and how this young boy must stop some Nazi's and a Japanese woman from destroying a US bomb manufacturing plant, of course the puppets assist.

This is easily one of the dullest films in the series and has hardly any puppet action until the very final showdown and then its pretty poor really. The film looks quite good with decent costumes and some reasonable sets but its just boring, not scary and not very interesting.

I really can't understand how Band can continue making these films as he is just rehashing the same stuff over and over, how many prequels can you do?!. I'm not really sure what these films are now, certainly not horror. Nothing new here accept one ninja puppet.

< Message edited by Phubbs -- 14/7/2012 2:34:24 PM >

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 19
RE: Charles Band Thread - 19/7/2012 12:09:55 AM   
Spectator of Suicide


Posts: 619
Joined: 16/7/2007
No Gingerbread Man? Isn't that directed by Band?

_____________________________

http://letterboxd.com/nwarde/

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 20
RE: Charles Band Thread - 19/7/2012 5:46:04 AM   
Phubbs


Posts: 658
Joined: 3/4/2012
Haven't seen it hehe

(in reply to Spectator of Suicide)
Post #: 21
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