Blair Jensen rode the highlife of drugs and partying until her arrest that separated her from Husband Roberto and her young daughter. Her release a year later thrusts her into a desperate state of self-effacement, swearing to not only to herself, but also to others a clean slate with a life of sobriety and future employment to better her odds at court ordered visitations with her daughter, but while incarcerated, Roberto left for another woman and her family is in the hands of Donna who is eager to do anything in order to stop Blair’s interposing unto her new life, including retaining a witch to invoke the Obsidian curse onto her. The curse attracts all nearby evil toward her. From flesh eating demons and zombies to murderous serial killers and powerful vampires, Blair is constantly on the run and with the help of a former archaeologic professor and his colleagues, she can better understand her dreadful predicament.
“Obsidian Curse” is the 2016 action-horror from schlock and knock-off B-horror director Rene Perez whose brought us such cinematic gems as “The Burning Dead” with Danny Trejo and the “Playing with Dolls” franchise that spawned two sequels, titled “Bloodlust” and “Havoc”. Perez, who also penned the script, has a slight obsession with Obsidian curses as he directed and co-wrote “Obsidian Hearts” in 2014 with nearly an identical premise that begs the question whether Perez just rebooted his own film to tweak and change here and there to gain redemption for initial mistakes? Having never viewed “Obsidian Hearts,” I personally can’t speak upon the film’s merits, but what can be commented about “Obsidian Curse’s” appeal is that the relentless action smothers any kind of insipid narrative traverse and is massively ambitious in wrangling a meshing of a monster mash. Perhaps too massive for it’s budget, Perez roams the locale landscapes as a flawed heroine flees from the flock of fearsome fiends following her like flies to a foul stench. How’s that for alliteration!
Party girl, Blair Jensen, is trying to regain her life after incarceration, but the convicted mother never had a chance. Stripped of her rights and left to fend for herself for the first time, Jensen is at the bottom, starting over, and attempting to claw her way back up the rank to mother of the year with young daughter, but Karin Brauns doesn’t fit the bill. The Swedish-born, blonde beauty is gifted with a paint brush and a canvas, but her talents don’t translate well as the downtrodden Jensen. Perez really over sexualizes her presence from scrip-to-screen that doesn’t seem necessary to the story and Brauns egregiously lacks capturing the struggles of her character’s life changing freedom and the struggles she must endure to survive an all-evil summons. The character is also written and visually portrayed poorly that follows a released felon fallen on hard times having a nice vehicle to drive around, a cell phone to use, and all the makeup applications and hairdo fashions bestowed to the character in every scene. Reggie Bannister should have been the lead, because the “Phantasm” actor really exhibits falling on hard times. Perhaps the most convincing actor on camera, Bannister’s archeological professor is diluted to just a mere paranormal researcher which resembles a shell of his former gun-toting Reggie role. The dimpled chinned Richard Tyson is no longer the seared image of Crisp from “Kindergarten Cop” in my memory bank. The aged actor also fills a professor role in Pere’z film, but, like Bannister, doesn’t register a pulse. Hard to swallow to very screen captivating actors being diminished in performance on a movie that’s engulfed in horror action. Rounding out the cast is former Playboy model Cody Renee Cameron (“The Neon Demon””), John Caraccioli, Julia Lehman (“Constantine” television series), Charlie Glackin (“Playing with Dolls”), and John Scuderi as the Vampire.
While “Obsidian Curse” has entertainment value, the value is rather low on the metric scale. What’s missing from Perez’s film is a rich, engrossing story that requires more than just peppered moments of indistinct human connections spread thin throughout the storyboard action sequences. Blair Jensen might have been the victim of a witch’s dastardly cursed as the bread crumb trail for monsters of countless configurations, but the mother was never tested as, well, a mother whose supposed to be fighting for her daughter and while a scene or two of malicious attacks and chases on Jensen is the rudimentary premise of her plight, the curse never truly agitates into a test of her maternal bond or her compassion for her friends. As far as the overall appearances of the creatures, they check the box as meeting expectations. The rubbery, latex look is conventional of horror creatures in the 1990s and you can see the awkward folds and the distinctive differences between makeup and skin as the two don’t move or mesh appropriately, but the creativity behind the general appearance offers a broad range of antagonists suited for carnage like an empty eye socketed demon with razor teeth who sees by holding up his detached eyeball with a bloody optic nerve dangling about and a vibrant blue vampire with medieval armor and has sexy, disposable women servants.
Breaking Glass Pictures distributes “Obsidian Curse,” in association with High Octane Pictures and iDiC Entertainment, onto DVD home video. The 79 minute feature runs on an single sided, double-layered DVD9 and is exhibited in an widescreen 1.79:1 aspect ratio. Picture quality maintains vibrancy without loosing the edgy details though a large percentage is filtered through a blueish tint. The drone sequences of Blair running through a field, whacking zombies with a basement ball, withstands the picturesque and lush backdrop and even with Blair makes a splash in a creek, the beads of spray really come out in the quality for a DVD. Though quick to edit, the gory scenes are visually tasty too. The digital dual channel audio track is par for the course, but there are some balance issues between score and dialogue that makes Karin Brauns’ accent difficult to interpret. The foley is all out of whack and could use tinkering to hone in or expand upon the range and depth; the repetitive chain rattle used in Blair’s ball and chain chase scene desperately needed to be mixed better. Bonus features include a sole photo gallery. “Obsidian Curse” subsequently cursed itself with a slew of monsters but displayed no character substance to bind the narrative together, leaving Blair’s character arch to flounder in a mindless and endless cycle of bashing in the hostile chromes of enticed evil.
With only 15 days into the new year, 2016 is shaping up to be ‘the year of celebrity deaths’ as a string of well-known, and some well-loved, celebrities have succumbed to the Grim Reaper.
Alan Rickman – 69 years old – Cancer took the life of “Die Hard’s” Hans Gruber, “Harry Potter” series’s Professor Snape, and other many, many more interesting characters on 1/14/16.
David Margulies – 78 years old – Most famously known as the mayor from the two Ghostbuster movies, Margulies died 1/11/16.
David Bowie – 69 years old – Cancer, once again, claims a life and the androgynous and iconic pop music star became the man who fell from earth on 1/10/16.
Dan Haggerty – 74 years old – Cancer, what a bitch, claims the life of Grizzly Adams who is no longer on the run since today 1/15/16.
Tera Wray Static – 33 year old – The widow of the late Static-X frontman Wayne Static and former adult star fell into the suicide pool as her body was discovered on 1/14/16.
Angus Scrimm – 89 years old – The unforgettable “Tall Man” from the Phatasm series departed our dimension 1/9/16
Who’s next? Who’s on the verge of 2016 being their last year alive? Its a scary thought, but that’s life, unfortunately.
I just came in my pants when I heard a Phantasm sequel was in the works and now a teaser trailer has been released. That was quick work, very quick work. Phantasm V: Ravager is written and directed by David Hartman along with series creator Don Coscarelli being a co-writer and having a lot of power when overseeing the production.
Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, and Kat Lester are all making their grand return making the fifth installment feel legit. Bannister plays the relentless hunter of the Tall Man to where he comes face-to-face in the finale agains’t his long-life foe.
If you did a retrospective analysis of Don Coscarelli’s film career and try to pinpoint Coscarelli’s area of specialty with in the realm of horror, you’ll wind up scattered all over the place unable to achieve an exact position of Coscarelli’s sub-genre schtick. His latest (and greatest) film endeavor John Dies at the End embarks on being Coscarelli’s next longevity cult hit. Unpredictable and captivating forces you to forget that this indie movie bares no no-named stardom and borders the edge of “crinchable” special effects, but the story grabs you, shakes you, chews you up, and spits you out wanting to know more while leaving you wondering what the hell just happened…in a good way.
Paranormal exorcists and best friends David and John are bound by the supernatural Soy Sauce, a jet black living drug that give David and John the outer body experience and is the source of their powers to fight evil. The Soy Sauce has a ying-yang affect and drive them down a path of sends them into another dimension to face off agains’t a monstrous being that wants to absorb their dimensions knowledge by digesting everything they know!
John Dies at the End won’t scare you. There are no thrills or chills. What it will do is give you a wicked acid trip. Where bits of meat conjure together to become a meat monster, where door handles morph into large veiny penises, and where eye balls burst out by soul devouring gnats! Only Coscarelli’s mind could be this warped and that warp sense mixture of humor and horror keeps our attention waiting to see what happens next. This mixture also drives the film which is a definite positive, but can also be a negative.
Coscarelli’s film feels all over the place that makes the concept hard to grasp. The non-linear plot places characters in our conscious in disorderly manner without any grounded statuses. By the end of the movie, I start to wonder if there are pieces missing from the story boards. The concept of time doesn’t seem to exist and that might be part of the film’s facade as the drug-fueled outer-body experience.
Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes are great as Dave and John. Dave’s a passive person with a sarcastic attitude but willing to stand John’s frantic personality. John, as I said before, is a bit spastic and has that carpe diem attitude. Their contrast draws them together to form a powerhouse team. Tack on Clancy Brown as a co-worker of their trade with a sleazy white hairdo and Paul Giamatti as a skeptic feature reporter and you have great talent supporting the the two leads who are already phenomenal as your slummy ghostbusters. Doug Jones (Hellboy) makes an appearance whose character doesn’t have enough time screen in my opinion as an other dimension mystic. Lets not forget the cameo of Angus Scrimm as a demon priest – fantastic.
John Dies at the End will smack you in the face and you’ll smile at the end. You’ll definitely get some laughs because this horror comedy is nearly in the same vein as the Bubba Ho-tep with the anal soul sucking mummy. Magnet Releasing brings you the next Don Coscarelli hit and you can purchase at Amazon.