WAKE UP <TAP TAP TAP> WAKE UP!!!
Nightmare Alley (2010)
Way way WAY back when I was a young chick if I ever got to stay up late at night, it was to watch local programming that Portland, Oregon was famous for directing toward the insomniac crowd. We had Portland Wrestling, bad movies, and of course, the wake-up call in case we got drowsy from our locally famous Tom Peterson (he's even got his own Wiki page, look him up) of Tom Peterson's Furniture and Electronics - a businessman who got quite popular by the 80's. He even gave away free Tom Peterson haircuts (a 50's style buzz cut) and Tom Peterson watches with purchases.
His knocking on your TV set was a regular part of your late night viewing pleasure. It was a cheap but effective ploy. It reminded me of this movie - it would have fit perfectly in the local channel's late night lineup (language removed of course).
This is an anthology of the most horrible, low budget, badly acted and poorly written stories you will ever encounter. The whole cast looks like someone went to a local bar/tattoo parlor and cleaned the place out. And Scarlet Fry - whose name alone is one of the few giggles you'll get here - claims them all. He even hosts his own abortion of horror.
Well Mr. Fry, you knew this movie was bad so I'll give you credit there. This is not supposed to be overly clever or good. In fact, it is supposed to be AWFUL. But there is a difference Mr. Fry between AWFUL and WORTHLESS. Plan 9 From Outer Space was AWFUL - the most celebrated awful movie there is. Not recognized as actually having some interesting aspects until years after Ed Wood's death, it is now even being remade - not necessarily a good thing, but it is being recognized as something to see.
You, Mr. Fry, also will not see that happen to your film in your lifetime, and unfortunately not even decades later because this is not AWFUL, it is WORTHLESS. Small giggles and puzzled looks will not get your movie recognized, just thrown in the trash. And claiming it's filmed in Grind-o-scope, like you're hoping it's somehow linked to the great Grindhouse films is criminal.
Speaking of trash: The beginning is two foul mouthed idiots approached by a guy offering a comic book in exchange for a cigarette. After giving it to him, the guy inexplicably stabs one of them, causing the second to abandon his buddy but hold on to the comic and run away... about half a block to lean against a dumpster.
The comic is the 'newest' edition of Nightmare Alley (costing a cold dime) and he opens it... to see himself in the comic with his head chopped off by someone in the dumpster behind him. Then... well I already told you. We then see:
Mr. Fry wearing the costume of... I would guess a ghoul to tell his stories. His mask is so tight, and the soundtrack so awful that all of his dialogue is muffled behind the mask and the lips barely move. If that is part of the inside joke, it's a very small one. And the stories begin with more attention to detail paid to the titles than to the stories themselves (And I'm not bothering with his inane banter in between.):
A Fistful Of Innards: Three outlaws are walking in a desert (horses are too expensive). Sweating in their J Crew clothes, they look up to see a horribly fake meteor crash right in front of them, making almost no noise, no hole and being perfectly cool. To them it looks like gold but they get nauseous. The fattest of the three shoots the other two and tries to pick the damn thing up. The two shot get right back up - they are now zombies. They kill the third guy with the nugget, chew on what's supposed to be his brains then go into town - or rather towards two hastily built wooden shacks. You then 'hear' since seeing would cost money screams, shots, and munching sounds.
Rebellion: Ah yes, a story that's dumb AND racist. A man walks into a Mexican whatzawhozits shop for no apparent reason and picks up a box with a stuffed rat. He takes it to the counter and the Senora with a horrible accent and obviously no Latino or Mexican background whatsoever tells him in first year Spanish then English that's not much better that the rat is Satanic and contains a Pentagram necklace. She doesn't charge him for it, just tells him to get out. First thing he does... ah hell, you already know. The rat is now his 'master' and has him kill for him - until he finds a woman hitchhiker that I guess the rat likes better 'cause he has her kill the guy and take his car. The only thing interesting about this story was the car - a 60's or 70's Ford Galaxy 500, not a great car but this had obviously been restored, and it was funny that they put a blanket in the front seat so the actors wouldn't get it dirty.
Death Chat: After his girl catches him cheating a guy decides to set up a date via the internet. He finds one hot and ready and goes to the house - which is covered in plastic. What is the number one rule about places covered in plastic children? Get out, right? Not in this case. It means that whomever they rented this room from did not want anything getting dirty. Anywho, the guy gets axed by a woman whose mask they must have blown whatever budget they had on, it was decent - for a dime-store Halloween mask. The explanation is a year ago at that house a cheating husband was axed by a woman who then threw acid in her own face so... she's haunting the place? The internet? Uh huh.
Meat: If you're expecting these stories to get better, stop now and watch Twilight or something. A woman is flirting with a massive pig of a guy (his boobs were sooo much bigger than hers) who only wears 'Daisy Dukes' and if that doesn't give you a horrid picture, nothing will. Her husband arrives before she can do anything, so after the fatter guy leaves (her husband being only maybe 10 pounds lighter) she kills her husband and we see her baking. She calls the guy with the Daisy Dukes shorts which apparently is the only piece of clothing he owns and he comes back. She drugs him and, to save money, we get a title card that explains that she 'incompacitated' him (Yes, yes I know it's incapacitated, just let me finish this okay?) and fed him her dead husband's flesh for six weeks before the smell brought the police.
Closet Case: A homophobe is propositioned by a the type of gay guy you see absolutely never, and is enraged and kills him but steals his homo mag and reads it. There, I did it all in one sentence.
The Great Damone: Is another self-absorbed idiot who thinks he's an artist but nothing sells. His wife screams at him, he cuts her throat, uses her blood as paint and sells it for way too much. Wanting more he saws her head off (the saw clearly has air between it and the body) and covers it in clay to sell... which it doesn't. Despondent he commits suicide - his wife laughs and he cries in Hell.
Slash Of The Blade: They make a great deal about a radio announcement of a Jack The Ripper display opening featuring 'authentic' pieces from the 1880's crimes. Then they show people we don't give a rip about (Get it?) being slashed one by one by some idiot in a cape, top hat and bad mask with a kitchen knife. That's it. That's the story.
And Mr. Fry ends it. As you've noticed if you've actually read this far, these stories, if you can call them that, often have no clear beginning, plot or ending. They just... stop. Unfortunately for whoever watches it, they stop 88 minutes too late.
Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.