25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS – A SOLSTICE CAROL

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A SOLSTICE CAROL

MAIN CAST
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Renee O’Conner (Boogeyman 2)
GUEST CAST
Joe Berryman (Paul)
Peter Vere-Jones (The Hobbit)
Xena and Gabrielle arrive in the kingdom of King Silvas full of festive Winter Solstice spirit, but quickly fall prey to the cunning young pickpocket Lynal, who steals Xena’s chakram when he thinks she’s not looking. Curious about the boy, the warrior princess and Gabrielle follow him to an orphanage where they find a group of clean but threadbare children in the care of a wonderful matronly woman, Melana. There, perched on top of a partially decorated pine tree, is Xena’s chakram, adorned with colorful ribbons. All are shocked by the sudden arrival of the King’s clerk Senticles, who bursts into the orphanage to proclaim that its residents will be evicted at midnight for failure to pay the huge taxes demanded by the King. Seeing the holiday decorations in the room, one of Senticles’ guards calls for the immediate arrest of Melana and her charges for violating the King’s ban on celebrating the Winter Solstice.
Grabbing her chakram, Xena leaps into action and manages to tie the guards up to prevent the arrest. Upon questioning Senticles, Xena is amazed to learn that the notoriously hardhearted King Silvas outlawed the annual celebrations some 30 years before, after losing his wife, Queen Analia, one Solstice Eve. She and Gabrielle also discover that Senticles, a fundamentally timid and good-hearted soul, was formerly a toymaker of some renown, who was stripped of his profession by the embittered King. Gabrielle becomes determined to show the King the error of his ways and comes up with an elaborate plan, enlisting the help of Xena, Senticles and a donkey named Tobias, whom she rescues from the tannery. That night, Xena steals into the King’s bedchamber and gives the startled ruler an ominous warning about shutting down the orphanage. Fleeing just ahead of the guards, she discovers a secret chamber exquisitely decked out to celebrate the Winter Soltice, but covered with 30 years of dust and cobwebs. On one wall hangs a wedding portrait of the King and his young bride, Queen Analia, wearing a beautiful pendant. Later that night, Xena steals into the King’s room again, disguised as Clotho, the first of the Fates whose province is the past. She frightens Silvas into following her to the secret Solstice room where Gabrielle, veiled and costumed to look like the young Queen Analia, is suspended by a rope and appears to be a ghost floating in mid-air. Her disguise is almost blown when the donkey Tobias, who is holding her aloft, hears a distant whistle and lets the rope go slack. Xena, however, manages to distract the King by giving him a goblet of drugged wine, allowing Gabrielle time to recover her disguise and warn Silvas that he must reject his narrow and greedy path before it’s too late. The King soon succumbs to the sleeping potion in the wine and passes out. Xena and Gabrielle express confusion over Silvas’s assertion that Analia walked out on him, as opposed to having died years before. Some time later, Xena revisits the King, this time disguised as Lachesis, the second of the Fates whose province is the present. She wakes Silvas, forces him to dress as a commoner and takes him to the orphanage so he can see the results of his cruelty. Posing as weary travelers, the two are warmly welcomed by Lynal and the other children and invited to share in their Solstice celebration.
Meanwhile, Gabrielle and Senticles are on their way to the orphanage to deliver a bag full of toys Senticles has kept hidden for years when they spot a group of soldiers about to kick in the orphanage door. Xena springs into action when the soldiers threaten her and their king-in-disguise with arrest, but the strain is too much for Silvas and he soon passes out. As Xena and Melana tend to him, Xena notices that Melana is wearing the distinctive jeweled pendant she saw on Queen Analia in the castle wedding portrait. The warrior princess returns to the thick of battle and together with Gabrielle, Senticles, Lynal and the children, uses Senticles’ many toys as makeshift weapons to defeat the guards. When King Silvas awakens and sees the hooded figure of Melana, he assumes she is Atropos, the Fate of the future. Terrified that he is facing imminent death, the King vows that he can and will change his ways and joins the battle on the side of the children. When the guards are finally vanquished, Silvas is shocked to discover that the hooded figure is, in fact, his precious wife Analia, who has been running the orphanage since she walked out on him 30 years before. Leaving the king and queen happy for the first time in decades, Xena and Gabrielle depart and later on the road they meet a man and woman traveling, with a baby. Gabrielle gives them the donkey. The woman tells her, “May God smile on you always for your kindness.” Xena then gives Gabrielle a Solstice present: it is the carved sheep like the one Gabrielle had as a child. “I don’t have a gift for you,” Gabrielle says as she thanks Xena. “Gabrielle, you are a gift to me,” Xena tells her.
A strange but classic Xena, it has that Christmas feel without mentioning the word, plus little nod to baby Jesus at the end of the episode is great. It’s good to watch this back to back with the Hercules Xmas Special as it has a few tiny  threads that can connect.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: BOOGEYMAN 2 (2007)

 

CAST

Danielle Savre (Heroes)
Matt Cohen (South of Nowhere)
Chrissy Calhoun (Open Road)
Michael Graziadei (Into The Blue 2)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Renee O’ Connor (Xena)
Tobin Bell (Saw)
Johnny Simmons (Jennifer’s Body)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Lesli Margherita (The Number 23)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Sammi Hanratty (A Christmas Carol)

Boogeyman 2The film focuses on Laura Porter (Danielle Savre), who as a child witnessed both her parents being brutally murdered by a hooded man, along with her brother Henry (Matt Cohen). Henry, who was in the same therapy group, seems to be doing fine and is seemingly cured. Henry goes off to a job interview. Laura gets comfortable with the group which consists of scotophobic Mark (David Gallagher), germaphobic Paul (Johnny Simmons), masochistic Alison (Mae Whitman), agoraphobic Darren (Michael Graziadei) who is scared of commitment and relationships, and Nicky (Chrissy Griffith), a bulimic girl who fears extreme weight gain. Laura struggles in facing her fear of the Boogeyman, the entity that Laura believes killed her parents.Boogeyman 2Soon, the therapy group begins to get murdered, one by one. All of their deaths relate to their fears. Mark falls down the elevator shaft, trying to escape from the darkness when the lights go out, and is torn in half. The next is Paul, who accidentally eats a cockroach after finding them in his bag of chips. The killer, a mysterious man wearing a Boogeyman mask and cloak, then hands him a bottle of cleaning solution, which Paul drinks and burns a hole in his throat. Laura begins to suspect these were not accidents. The lights go out at the hospital and all that’s left is Laura, Alison, Darren, Nicky, Dr. Ryan and Gloria, the receptionist. Gloria (Lesli Margherita) goes to the basement to check the lights. Alison is killed when the Boogeyman ties her to the bed and places maggots on her arms, which crawl into Alison’s skin using the cuts, forcing her to cut them out, killing herself in the process.Boogeyman 2Dr. Ryan goes to the basement to check on Gloria and is electrocuted when the Boogeyman throws an electrical cord into a puddle of water she is standing in. Laura finds a file on her brother and ones on other patients with Bogyphobia (what Laura has). She finds out that all Bogyphobia patients including Tim Jensen (the protagonist from the first film) have committed suicide after being treated by Dr. Allen. Darren and Nicky have sexual intercourse in the locker room as Laura finds Alison. She gets Darren and Nicky to where Alison was, but the blood and the maggots have been cleaned up. Darren and Nicky think she’s crazy. Darren and Nicky go to Darren’s room, where they have an argument. Darren thinks they shouldn’t have a relationship. Darren forces Nicky out of the room and is killed when the Boogeyman painfully cuts him open and takes out his heart.Boogeyman 2Laura goes to the basement when she hears Nicky scream and finds her on a table. Nicky has hoses attached to her, filling her with bile until she explodes. Laura runs away in shock, and the Boogeyman attacks her. He chases her through the hospital, where she finds Gloria dead and Dr. Ryan barely alive and mumbling, in some sort of trance. Laura begins a cat and mouse game with the Boogeyman, who chases her through the underground storage area, finally running into Dr. Allen, who thinks Laura committed the killings. He tries to sedate her, but the Boogeyman stabs Dr. Allen and shoves two needles in his eyes. The Boogeyman is revealed to be Henry, Laura’s brother. Dr. Allen abused Henry, locking him in a closet.MV5BMTU1MDQ0MDAyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjEwNTU3._V1_Henry was beginning to doubt the Boogeyman’s existence, until the Boogeyman himself appeared in the closet and entered into him. Whist possessing Henry, the Boogeyman decided to take revenge on those who didn’t believe in him, and this way he would make himself known to the world. Henry then chases Laura. She hides in a room, but Henry finds her and she decapitates him with garden shears. The police arrive and discover that under the Boogeyman mask was Dr. Ryan. Between killing Dr. Allen and Laura running and hiding, Henry put a delusional Dr. Ryan in the Boogeyman mask and Laura decapitated Dr. Ryan. Laura knows that Henry is running free as she is about to be arrested after blood is found on her hands. Laura then has a breakdown, which prompts a paramedic to send in back up and she is dragged away by the police.Image result for boogeyman 2 (2007)In a post-credits scene, the Boogeyman looks at a picture before it disappears.Image result for boogeyman 2 (2007)The acting was great, the direction surprisingly well done & the film manages to stay at a quick pace with plenty of stalk scenes a few suspenseful moments & lots of neat kills. Tobin Bell is also in this playing the head doctor & fares well in the role. Worth a look for slasher fans, just don’t expect anything to spectacular & you should have fun. Neat twist ending too.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS – GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN

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MAIN CAST

Lucy Lawless Spartacus)
Renee O’Connor (Boogeyman 2)

GUEST CAST

Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Matthew Chamberlain (King Kong)
Anthony Ray Parker (The Matrix)

 The episode opens with Xena and Gabrielle running into Joxer, who has a package for Xena. It contains the talking head of Orpheus. Orpheus’s head informs Xena that Bacchus has decapitated him, and that he must be stopped. They arrive at a nearby town, and Gabrielle goes to a party and dances with a group of Bacchus’s bacchae: female vampires created by Bacchus. Meanwhile, Xena defeats two bacchae. Elsewhere, Bacchus plots to turn Xena into an eternal Bacchae.
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The next day the protagonists go to the cemetery next to Bacchus’s catacombs to collect dryad bones. These bones are the only thing capable of piercing a bacchae’s heart and killing them. Xena kills one of the skeletal, winged dryads and procures a sharp bone. Gabrielle then turns into a bacchae; she had been bitten the previous day at the party. Gabrielle escapes into the catacombs and the group gives chase. They find Gabrielle, Bacchus, and a large group of bacchae in the middle of a ceremony. Gabrielle is about to drink Bacchus’s blood from a cup and become a permanent bacchae, but Xena knocks the cup to the ground with her chakram. A fight ensues and Xena attempts to kill Bacchus, but he informs her that only a bacchae can kill him. Xena lets Gabrielle bite her, becoming a bacchae, and then kills Bacchus, after which all of Bacchus’ bacchae servants, as well as Xena and Gabrielle regain their humanity.
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I felt that the episode was innovative and strange and that several aspects were notable including: Orpheus’s head being paraded around on a scarecrows body; the use of a techno soundtrack; and Gabrielle being seduced by the Bacchae. An all around classic.

REVIEW: ALIEN APOCALYPSE

CAST

Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Renee O’Connor (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Remington Franklin (Supercross)
Michael Cory Davis (The Call)
Peter Jason (They Live)
Neda Sokolovska (Man With The Screaming Brain)

imageAstronaut and Osteopath, Dr. Ivan Hood (Bruce Campbell) and his companion Kelly (Renee O’Connor) return to Earth after a 40-year space mission with two other astronauts. They are soon captured by other humans and one of their team is killed after sustaining a sprain; Dr. Hood pointed out that it would have healed in a few days. They are taken to a work camp, to their surprise, is run by locust-like aliens. These aliens had arrived 20 years ago to feast on the trees and used E.M.P. bombs to cripple earth before their invasion. The other member of their team is eaten alive by one of the aliens after refusing to work. The camp is supervised by human bounty hunters; they are treated better. After seeing how illiterate and savage humans have become due to the aliens, Dr. Hood and Kelly plan to make an escape the next day after hearing rumors that the President has survived and has an army waiting to strike back.59929_7b3b8a815aefThe escape plan goes off without a hitch, but Kelly is recaptured by one of the guards. Dr. Hood travels to find the president and meets other humans who believe the President has survived. Dr. Hood and his convoy reach a secret headquarters to discover remnants of the American government and the President, who is now a shell of his former self. Extremely ticked off, Dr. Hood decides to rally the escaped slaves himself and plan an attack on the bug camp that Kelly is still being held at. The attack begins successfully and Kelly (who has lost one of her fingers as punishment for trying to escape) joins in. Things seem hopeless when the bugs bring in heavy artillery, but the President’s group arrives and pulls off a sneak attack that blows up the bug’s tanks. The other slaves join in and defeat the bugs. Dr. Hood and his rebels then went on a quest to continue killing the bugs and gather more followers from the camps. “In time he (Dr. Hood) became known as The Great Exterminator”.

As usual Bruce Campbell has managed to make a film that if anyone else was playing the part would be intolerable but turns it into light hearted silly and good fun. if you’re a Bruce fan you wont be disappointed.

REVIEW: BITCH SLAP

CAST

Julia Voth (Lilith)
Erin Cummings (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)
America Olivo (Mission Impossible 5)
Michael Hurst (Death Warmed Over)
Ron Melendez (Children of The Corn 3)
William Gregory Lee (Dark Angel)
Minae Noji (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Renee O’ Connor (Boogeyman 2)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
Zoe Bell (Death Proof)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)

920x920Bitch Slap is everything you think it is. Girls. Guns. Catfights. Explosions. Lesbian romances. A story of bad guys, booty, alliances, betrayals, and secrets. It’s being billed as, “a post-modern, thinking man’s throwback to the B movie/exploitation films of the 1950s – 70s.This movie is irredeemably enjoyable, preposterous in both its story and its characters yet magnetic as a satire disguised as a schlocky male fantasy. It tells the story of three bad girls, all smoking hot, who find themselves in a plot to extort diamonds and weapons from an underworld kingpin, whose identity is a secret. The redhead is Hel, presumably short for Helen (Erin Cummings); she seems to be the leader of the group, tough but levelheaded, able to see the big picture and plan accordingly. The blonde is Camero (America Olivo), an oversexed hothead who’s on medication. She’s one of those people that hates everyone and is mad about everything, and has the dialogue to prove it. The brunette is a stripper named Trixie (Julia Voth), always upset, always overwhelmed, always wanting to play by the rules.1Every opportunity is taken to flaunt their feminine assets, and boy, do they have them – a basic shot is a slow-motion close-up of heaving breasts and deep cleavage, although some time is set aside for bare legs. There’s never a moment when they aren’t wearing high heels or don’t have makeup painted on their faces. And then there are times when they pause to do a little manual labor, such as digging in the middle of the desert. My, but it’s burning hot, and … is that a bucket of water sitting there? Maybe they should splash each other playfully in order to stay cool. Things will heat back up later on, when Trixie and Hel discover that their feelings for one another are deeper than they first imagined. That’s about when the situation goes completely out of control. Loyalties change. Identities are revealed. People get shot. Things blow up. And catfights.Intertwined with this is a ridiculous but somehow appropriate subplot about a notorious criminal known only as Pinky, never dealt with directly and never seen but fabled to be the most dangerous criminal mastermind who ever lived. When Trixie innocently brings up the subject, Hel and Camero speak in the same tones as someone telling a ghost story around a campfire. “Many believe Pinky’s a phantom,” says Camero. “Others think he sold his soul to the devil. I think he IS the devil.” Maybe so; a flashback sequence shows a silhouetted figure going nuts with what appear to be samurai swords, used to decapitate people left and right. Do we ever discover what Pinky looks like? With such gorgeous women displayed on the big screen, can you honestly say that you care?
When this movie is not going out of its way to be sexy, then it’s being incredibly goofy. Take Olivo, for example; the angrier she gets, the funnier she becomes, not only because she spews unbelievably inane profanity, but also because her character is the most aggressive. Bitch Slap is  indeed a great film, projected up on the screen in all its violent, foulmouthed, double-D glory. also Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless, and Renée O’Connor all have cameos in Bitch Slap.