I’ve put this blog post together to save you the anguish and time of sitting down and watching these ‘horror’ offerings. The Descent: Part 2, Zombie Strippers, and Exorcist II: The Heretic.
Also I'd like to remind you why not to revisit these, if you are slightly tempted, contemplating, I’ll give them another try they weren’t that bad. Trust me they don’t get better with repeat viewing.
Don't let the stills and posters tempt you.
Don’t get me wrong I’m no horror snob, it’s not all the Shining and Alien for me. I like Puppet Master and Blood Dolls and these nasty three are in no way the worst film ever to grace celluloid out there, but they are not the finest either. For me they were films that wasted the time, talent and budget, when that energy, or lack of it, could have been better spent.
Sadly, these nauseating presentations gave me painful burning sensation in my right thigh and here’s my brief thoughts on why…
The Descent: Part 2 (2009)
Even after the UK ending of The Descent, Sarah still manages to get out but is forced back to the uncharted underground to help locate her five missing companions. I'll try not reminisce over the amazing first film, there seem to be some mixed comments on The Decent: Part 2. If you did like The Descent, for the record the follow up is a huge disappointment.
Surprisingly the excellent editor Jon Harris gives a poor directorial debut. Even with some of the strong original cast including Shauna Macdonald and Natalie Mendoza, they simply can't save J Blakeson and James McCarthy poor screenplay. On board is Eden Lake's writer James Watkins and support from cinematographer Sam McCurdy (The Descent, Dog Soldiers, Doomsday to name a few).
It's a poor man's interpretation of the Descent, it not a straight to video production but its almost there, awful dialogue, little if any character development, no suspense and poorly executed scares, that's just touching the surface.
The film looks rushed, the lighting, sets, sound, direction, everything on screen looks cheap and nasty. It lacks the grittiness of the first and the Crawler's don't look as menacing or a realistic.
It shows how a film with such great talent can go so wrong.
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
Set four years after The Exorcist Regan MacNeil is still recovering from her previous demonic possession, but the evil may only be repressed. A priest and Exorcist is tasked with investigating his late teachers death.
As a stand alone film or sequel it's shocking and for all the wrong reasons. Maybe with another script the fantastic actors, Richard Burton and James Earl Jones to name a few wouldn't have been wasted. The music score by Ennio Morricone, dreamlike atmosphere and some effects are the films redeeming features.
With fancy locations, sets and lighting Boorman's direction is fine (who brought us the excellent Excalibur (1981)), but it seems the failing is in the script. It never seems to flow. Not even a good performance from Burton can save it nor another edit as it delves into unsatisfactory trance driven telepathic melodrama - sadly it is pale in comparison to it predecessor.
Watch it if only for curiosity or Burton's and Blair's performance. As Burton's Father Lamont states, "It was horrible, utterly horrible... and fascinating!"
Zombie Strippers! (2008)
Jenna Jameson and horror icon Nightmare on Elm Street's Robert Englund, star in Zombie Strippers! I'm a B horror fan and was really looking forward to this one, of course I was never expecting Oscar material. The positive, there is a good looking cast (some of who can act) the poster for the film is true Classic B horror style, great, thumbs up. The effects are outstanding (could be where the budget went?)some are very effective and hyper realistic. Unfortunately that's it sorry folks.
I don't think Zombie Strippers will ever have that 'cult' status. However, I am sure it'll have a fan base following by gore lovers, Jameson lovers and bust lovers.
Zombie strippers is not charming enough to be a Charles Band or Roger Corman B film and there really is nothing funny about zombie herpes, although I'm sure it looked hysterical to writer/Director Jay Lee when it was written.
Even with its Anti American Bush administration under tones and jibes at the superficial, the film just isn't clever enough to make a any serious subtle points. There's a little spoof to Resident Evil in there and other nods to zombie films but it's not really a 'meet the Spartans' spoof either.
It suffers from the that 'TV look', and is less entertaining than an episode of the A-team, season 2, episode 3. Oh did I mention there were boobs in it and decomposing strippers too?
What I'm trying to say is re-watch Show Girls and an Evil Dead, or a Living Dead film back to back, it's far more rewarding and fun!