Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Mustang Sally's Horror House | Shockwave

By Steve Anderson
August 1st , 2005

Mustang Sally's Horror HouseMustang Sally's Horror House
**
DVD
Directed by Iren Koster
Written by Iren Koster
Starring Elizabeth E.G. Daily, Mark Parrish, Lindsey Labrum
Produced by Iren Koster
85 mins
R
2007

First, you're not hallucinating. That name listed first in the credits, Elizabeth "E.G." Daily?

She WAS a Powerpuff Girl.

And that's the start of the uncomfortable fun brought to us by "Mustang Sally's Horror House".

Basically, in a move that won't surprise anyone, six twenty-year-old guys decide to go to a whorehouse. But not just ANY whorehouse--Mustang Sally's. Where the girls are just to die for! And since the movie can be found on the main shelves and not in a back room somewhere, you know that they mean that literally. From there, we'll get a few killings, some mild cat-and-mouse games, and a couple warmed-over twists.

It takes almost half the movie, however, for a body to hit the floor. This is way too long for any decent horror flick, proving Mustang Sally's is entirely too focused on the screwing aspect of things. They will even go so far as to put up split-screen action--four couples going at it all at once. Which is lovely and all, but I didn't come here to watch guys get off.

Worse yet, characters will just sort of appear out of nowhere, with no kind of buildup or exposition to suggest they were even in the area. Which, I confess, is a rather small quibble against my biggest problem with this movie.

Which is, plain and simple...E.G. Daily. She's playing the madam of Mustang Sally's, namely, Mustang Sally. But all I can ask is, what the hell was she doing in here? Is this some kind of desperate scheme to keep from getting typecast? Did she just need a paycheck? Something to keep from getting bored whilst counting her fat Powerpuff cash? Because frankly, I really, REALLY, don't like the fact that if I close my eyes, I've got BUTTERCUP shrieking back at me. I don't like the thought of Buttercup running a whorehouse. I REALLY don't like the part where Buttercup's screaming about getting gang-raped.

This is extremely uncomfortable, folks. Don't believe me--try it yourself. Get a copy of this, and when you get to that part, just close your eyes and listen. Then tell me you can separate the two out. No. You inevitably find yourself thinking "Buttercup" and it's spectacularly uncomfortable, isn't it?

At least, on the plus side, the ending manages to tie things up fairly well, and follows its chosen path of moderate twistiness well.

The special features will feature audio options, Spanish subtitles, and trailers for "Mustang Sally's Horror House", "Movin' Too Fast", "Afghan Knights", and "Confess".

All in all, "Mustang Sally's Horror House" isn't what you'd call bad, but it isn't what you'd call good, either. The unlikely appearance of E.G. Daily drags on the overall fit of the piece, but in the end, it works out at least marginally well.

 

ShockwaveShockwave
**
DVD
Directed by Jay Andrews

Written by Jay Andrews, Bill Monroe
Starring Joe Lando, Josh Coxx, Michael Dorn, Bill Mumy
Produced by Paul Hertzberg
R
94 mins
2006

Another Sci-Fi Channel Original Picture comes at our video store shelves via "Shockwave", the story of automated defensive droids gone horribly wrong on a deserted island. A pack of Navy SEALS is dispatched to shut off the robots, and you almost certainly saw it coming long before you put the DVD in the case that it wasn't going to be easy to do just that.

Never mind that "Shockwave" is heavier on the Star Trek alumni than James Doohan's funeral procession, containing Worf, Sulu, and the Emergency Medical Hologram from "Voyager". Never mind that these super-destructive robots both look and behave, almost verbatim, like the tripods from "War of the Worlds" right down to the heat rays they mount on their fronts. Never mind that the concept of Original Picture in the title Sci-Fi Channel Original Picture means less and less by the movie. Never mind that the effects in "Shockwave" are so monstrously cheesy that they have to resort to lousy CG to take off a human's head, and that somehow, all firearms seem to contain limitless supplies of ammo because I never so much as saw anybody changing a clip on camera.

You know what? I changed my mind. Mind it. Mind ALL of it. This kind of godawful filmmaking is ruining the video stores.

I've got a whole laundry list of objections to this ninety-minute misery, but I have to be fair. If you're okay with a pretty derivative sci-fi action movie then you're going to be all right with "Shockwave". That's what it is, basically...from the seen-it-before supervillains to the valiant and woefully outgunning United States Military team sent to stop them, everything about this cookie-cutter actioner is so familiar that you've practically seen it already.

I will say this for "Shockwave", though...I like that the machines are learning machines. It's a new and somewhat unexpected wrinkle that the machines are out to get off the island, even as the SEALs try to get off the island themselves, and leave the machines behind.

The ending features at least one interesting surprise, and one pretty derivative twist, so it all averages out to blah in the end.

The special features include audio options, Spanish and English subtitles, and trailers for "See No Evil", "Jekyll and Hyde", and "Komodo Vs. Cobra".

All in all, "Shockwave" is barely a ripple, a low-grade and highly derivative yawnfest that'll make you wonder why you even bothered. Though there's little specifically wrong with it, there's also very little specifically right with it, and this kind of cookie-cutter, formulaic drivel just is not worth your time.

 

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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