Sunday, August 14, 2011

Miner's Massacre (Curse of the Forty-Niner) Review

Who to Know
John Carl Buechler.................Director

John Phillip Law.....................Sherrif Murphy - Remember John from Death Rides a Horse?
Martin Kove.............................Caleb

And the Story Goes....
In a nutshell, an evil miner places a curse on his beloved gold before he dies at the hands of angry villagers (one of which is the late Jeff Conaway) some time in the 1800s. Fast forward to the present, and we see a group of young-folk arriving to the town with the hopes of finding the legendary treasure. Little do they know that the 49er is willing to take any measures necessary to protect what's his.

My Thoughts
My love for all things miner, ghost town, out house, and old curmudgeon led me to Miner's Massacre, and I have to admit that I'm not upset that I took a chance. Sure, this is not a highly original attempt at redefining miner-sploitation, and it might not ever be a cult classic, but it's still an enjoyable enough movie for those who love the kids-in-the-woods style horror films.
Curmudgeons love tattered maps
At first I was frightened because Miner's Massacre is the only production of Wanted Entertainment LLC. That's right folks, the persons behind Wanted Entertainment had so little faith in this movie that they formed their production company as a Limited Liability Company...and bragged about it for some reason. The assumption that I got from this is that this movie was made for a quick profit in the straight to DVD market, which usually means we're about to see an extremely sub-par production. The unimpressive Wanted Entertainment CG logo was barely more detailed than the graphics from the 8-bit Nintendo system. That's scary considering that this was filmed in 2002.
The intro for Wanted Entertainment LLC's logo
The music is a little strange in Miner's Massacre, as it seems to range from heavy rock to adult contemporary styles of music. It's a little weird, but I didn't find it as messed up as Death Valley: The Revenge of Bloody Bill's constant barrage of crappy metal. I have a feeling that the producers just took whatever cheap unknown songs that they could afford, without regards to the type of movie that they were making. That's what the French call "keepin' it real."

Speaking of Death Valley...., do you know who the 49er reminds me of? That's right, he is the spitting image of Hillary Clinton!... or I mean, he is very similar looking to Bloody Bill. I guess I should say that Bloody Bill looks like the Niner since the latter came out first. I guess I can't be too mad at similar reincarnated zombie killers. As my dear old grandpa used to say, "if it ain't broke, don't break it." I too have been accused of copying the profile of a classic horror character for my original screenplay Teddy Schmruger and the Bad Dream on Schmelm Street. Don't worry about old Jack though, folks. I'm in it to win it, and won't let the negativity of others get me down.

"How's the acting," you ask? Not as bad as you would think, actually. There are no Oscar winning performances, but everybody seems to know what type of film that they are in, and they act accordingly. Though sometimes the actors do get a little too into it, and it is actually pretty funny in those moments. One instance that comes to mind is when the kids first arrive to the town, and one of the girls is screaming because pigeons are in the room with her. I don't know if she was just messing around, and they left the take in the movie, or if the actress actually believes that her reaction was appropriate. The look of sheer terror continues to bring a smile to my otherwise statuesque face.
The look of terror
A treat for those of us who grew up in the 80s is the presence of one Martin Kove, of The Karate Kid fame. I kept hoping that Billy Zabka would make a cameo so that him and Martin could discuss sweeping the legs of 49er, then they could formulate a foolproof plan to trick Ralph Macchio into entering another fight, thus creating an effective crossover for The Karate Kid 4: Annihilation/(or insert another word that denotes destruction here).  
I think that's Vermouth. Only hardasses drink Vermouth straight, son!
Anyways, one cool thing about Miner's Massacre is that they have not one, but two guys running around whilst on fire. In the age of computer graphics, it's rare to see movies where a person is doused in flammable fluid and set on fire, and I applaud the effort. Also, at about 1 hour into the movie we get to see a car flip, explode, and the occupant jumps out while on fire. It was a great Schwarzeneggerian moment.

Man on fire
Miner's Massacre is a decent kids-in-the-woods movie. I mean, it is a straight to video horror movie, so don't expect to be blown away. John Carl Buechler, who is credited with directing Troll, Ghoulies 3, and Friday the 13th Part 7, still knows how to keep things fun, and the stupidity of the characters is comical.

Miner's Massacre is a fun movie to watch with some friends, while enjoying some beer, pizza, and to pass the time while waiting for Teddy Schmruger to hit a theater near you.


P.S. There are no taters!

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