21st Feb2015

Review Round-Up: ‘Throwback’ & Summer of Blood’

by Phil Wheat

THROWBACK

throwback

Stars: Shawn Brack, Anthony Ring, Melanie Serafin, Vernon Wells, Warren Clements, Andy Bramble | Written and Directed by Travis Bain

There’s seems to be a renaissance in Ozploitation for the bigfoot movie (more commonly known as the Yowie down under), a genre which had, until very recently, died a slow an painful death, becoming as extinct as the very creatures themselves. Of course, if you’ve been reading our reviews here on Nerdly, you’ll know all about There’s Something in the Pilliga – the brilliantly funny “drunk Aussie’s versus Yowie” flick that played last Novembers MonsterFest. Well now we have another example of the genre with Throwback.

The film sees two pest exterminators head into the bush to search for the legendary lost treasure of the bushranger, Thunderclap Newman . The pair find their bounty but what they didn’t count on was an encounter with Australia’s mythical Yowie, a giant ape-like killing machine, hungry for human flesh!

The big selling point (besides the bigfoot/yowie) for Throwback is it’s casting. Namely the appearance of Vernon Wells of Mad Max 2, Fortress and Commando fame, who “stars” in the movie as a suspended cop who HAPPENS to be out in the woods at the same time as our two pest exterminators and HAPPENS to have a run in with the Yowie. So essentially what I’m trying to say is that Wells is completely wasted in the [cameo] role – his performance doesn’t even lend the film the gravitas (he makes for one mean character usually) it sorely needs.

Besides the mythical monster, what all these recent Aussie movies have in common is the gorgeous outback scenery. From the beautiful open vistas to the imposing mountains, from the sun-drenched woodland to the stark darkness of the night, there really something inherently majestic about the Aussie outback. Yet at the same time the sheer size and barren nature of the outback can¬† provide films set there some truly natural fear. Yet, as it did with the appearance of Vernon Wells, Throwback fails to make anything of its setting. The outback of the aforementioned¬†There’s Something in the Pilliga was as terrifying as the creature held within but here we could be in any woods, in any country. The only effect the location has on the film is that old “no phone signal” chesnut!

The entire movie is something of a wasted opportunity… sadly coming across more unintentionally camp than scary. Throwback is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from Monster Pictures.

SUMMER OF BLOOD

Summer-of-Blood

Stars: Jonathan Caouette, Zach Clark, Dustin Guy Defa, Juliette Fairley, Dakota Goldhor, Max Heller, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Raquel Pelzel, Vanna Pilgrim | Written and Directed by Onur Tukel

Eric, an emotionally-stunted New Yorker, is having an early mid-life crisis. Stuck at a dead-end job with no allure to the opposite sex, Eric s life changes one fateful night when he is bitten by a vampire. The next day, Eric finds his sex appeal has rocketed but his stomach has an excruciating pain that can only be eased by one thing… Human blood.

Wow. Just wow. It’s been a long time since I felt such a hatred and loathing for a movie – hell, I didn’t even hate Frightfest dud Shockwave Darkside 3D as much as this!

Let’s just say that when they describe central character Eric as “emotionally-stunted New Yorker” what they really mean is an annoying, repulsive, ignorant hipster who, like many a hipster before and since, thinks he’s worthy of attention when in reality he’s more like a piece of dog sh*t on the bottom of someone’s shoe! Having a central character so repugnant is pretty much an instant way to alienate your audience. Especially considering we’re dropped straight into his obnoxious attitude from the first scene.

It’s downhill all the way for Summer of Blood. I don’t know if I don’t get the joke, or even if there is supposed to be one, but I certainly had no inclination to watch the entire of the film to find out. Relentlessly unsympathetic (as quoted on the front of the DVD/Blu) is TOTALLY correct. There’s no way anyone can feel anything but hatred for Eric and as such the film as a whole.

Avoid.

Summer of Blood is released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 23rd.

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