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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Creep Van (2012)

Other critics have panned this movie as simply a Troma-type ripoff in that it's cheap, light on the story and heavy on the gore and really unnecessary. I agree with a lot of that so I decided to review this movie on the effects and ignore the story that's not really a story anyway. I really hate movies that have a synopsis that's not accurate or even close. This was SUPPOSED to be about a guy named Campbell who buys a van not knowing it's been used by a serial killer and is booby trapped with all kinds of nasty fatal tricks. Oh no my children. Campbell does NOT buy the van. He wants to, has answered an ad the guy put out for it (as a trap for anyone stupid enough to see it, he's not picky who he kills) but HE NEVER BUYS THE DAMN THING.

Campbell is your general loser. He lives with a roommate who has a girlfriend who's not shy about parading around the house mostly naked. He's had a string of dead-end jobs, but with no car, a lot of the jobs ended mostly because he misses the bus. A lot. As a last resort he works for a car wash whose employees are portrayed as nothing but pot smoking degenerates. That's his story and it sucks which is why I'm ignoring all the stuff that pertains to this part of the movie.

And what year of Ford Fear is it?
Let's concentrate on the man with a van. He's never clearly shown. One young boy who almost becomes a victim is yanked away by his mother who says 'Only bad people own vans'. Oh really? Another girl who answers his ad says 'How many girls have disappeared after riding in this?' Okay we get it. Van bad, convertible good. Forget the working class and those who need them for hauling equipment and other essentials. I guess they're all scum.

So on to the gore: First, two teens try to steal the damn thing (it's a real piece of junk) - one finds the passenger window open and climbs half in. Bad move. The passenger window is not a window, it's a guillotine. Nice half-body gore action there. Not great, but good. The other is just run over. That's no fun. He picks up a hitchhiker who soon finds his seat has a spike on a spring load that goes right through him. Meh. 

One has her seatbelt tighten until it cuts into her flesh and a large meat tenderizer pushes spikes in the back of her head. Um okay, nice bloody mess but no way did those spikes hit hard enough or were long enough to cause death. Points taken off for that one. Another dummy sticks her head in the sliding door which promptly slams shut, squishing her head. Uh, you'd have to slam that thing awful hard and... sorry, more points taken off for that one too.

The next one was the best. I had to watch it several times to figure out how they did it and with the hubby's help we did. If you're thinking eww, how sick actually no. It's like watching an illusionist and then trying to figure out how he/she did the trick. The van targets a girl and smashes her against a brick wall. Now there were pluses and minuses to this little stunt. 

Plus: The act splits the girl in two and as the van backs up the top half of the girl stays, her entrails coming with her as they pull out of the lower half until the lower half finally collapses. It took a couple of times but we figured it out because it did not look like a dummy was used for the upper half on the van.

From what we could see, the camera angle made it look like the upper half of her was on the van - more likely she was besides the van, head and arms anyway, with a prosthetic torso at the appropriate angle attached behind her. So that was a big plus for inventive effects. Or, given the picture you see above, we're giving them way too much credit and they just used a damn dummy. The fact that the legs were not crushed in any way and the wall and van suffered no damage took away from the slice and dice so that was a definite minus.

We have another guy run over - rather a patch job to make it look that way since the van cast a shadow but the man didn't. Whoops. Points off for that one. The van also manages to crush Campbell's two roomates while they're in the living room of his house with perfect precision (like the driver could tell exactly where the two were going to be) but again, no damage to the front of the van took away from the stunt. More points gone. Sorry.

The next he sets up a hapless valet by rigging the van to have a deadly driver's side air bag. A push of the button stops the van with enough force to set it off. Um, sorry, no. One, a vehicle usually has to experience a collision to a certain part of the car, like say the front bumper, for an airbag to deploy, but this varies from car to car. Two, this was a 70's van - the steering wheel would have to be super thick to attempt to put in an airbag and this one was clearly a 70's type thin one. 

I would also say that since the driver's side air bag is smaller than the passenger side one (usually) it wouldn't work but this would have to be a do-it-yourself type thing anyway. Three, those suckers are under a ton of pressure and having anything sharp poked into them is going to blow them to kingdom come. So having one go off in the valet's face covered in spikes was just silly and still probably not lethal anyway. Sorry, major points off for that one.

Am I being overly critical of a silly gore movie? Yes. Why? Because I can. <evil laugh, cough cough>

How does this sucker finally end? Campbell finally found a girl to be interested in him so of course she is the final victim in this mess. Well second to last. Campbell grabs a tire iron to go after the monster who we still haven't really seen clearly (looked like a large dude with a beard) and accidentally impales his girlfriend with it through the mouth. That kind of puts a damper on their relationship. A friend he brought along gets it in the ear with an antenna. To quote an old and terrible joke, I guess he caught a van aerial disease. Thank you hubby for remembering that moldy oldie.

Sobbing, Campbell now does a series of movie-stupid things so we can go home. He picks up his girlfriend's body, puts it in the back of the van, gets in and is ready to start the engine when he notices a title transfer form. It has his name on it. The monster (just a plain looking guy after all) appears at the passenger window and tells Campbell he's won after all. Campbell goes to roll up the window and whoopsy... there's that guillotine again and the monster's head is sliced in half. 

Despite that the body keeps moving on the ground even as the cops finally arrive. Um, even zombies know to keep still when their brains are destroyed. More points off. The cops of course, see everyone is dead except Campbell, and since the van is in his name, they arrest him for all the mayhem. Our last view is of him in jail and you know what? He's probably better off in there, after all, he was a major loser.

Troma may be synonymous with sick humor, lots of gore and exploitative films, but these effects were a bit better done, even with the flaws. The story, acting, soundtrack and progression were just terrible. Not even Troma-worthy.