ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Vicious (2003)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Richard Wenk

Starring:
Tom Savini/Kane
Brian Bremer/Doug
Melanie Parker/Barbara
An awful CGI creature
PLOT-CRUNCH
A group of campers hit the woods and encounter psycho ex-military Kane (Savini) and his man-gobbling CGI pet monster. The creature snacks on the campers and Kane chews on a lot of cigars. Bartender!!! HELP!!!!
THE LOWDOWN
Once, a couple of friends and I hit a “Fetish/S&M” club out of curiosity. Ten minutes in the place, I saw a gentleman nail his scrotum to a wall with a hammer and a nail (no joke). Well, that was my cue to jump that ship and run to the nearest pub for a strong dose of Guinness and normalcy. Now, I just saw "Vicious" and in retrospect, the balls-to-the-walls act that marked me on that fateful night seems like a much better idea than ever having to watch this flick again. Here’s why:

This film actually interested me somewhat early on, with its decent set up (military + psycho Savini + creature + campers should equal fun times), but then quickly lost me as it lagged forward aimlessly and made all the very wrong moves along the way. First off, it introduced one hell of a boring lot in the guise of a group of “zero personality” campers aka victims. Not only were the characters "blah", but their dialogue and deliveries were also often off. That didn’t help warm me up to these numb-nuts, that’s for sure! To make matters worse, my sympathy factor and patience for the leads dropped even lower when a crime of nature, an atrocity against life itself as we know it went down. Let me share:

The Sin: In the movie, one of the dudes’ girlfriend cuts herself into the boys’ “men only” camping trip (she wasn’t invited). That in itself, was out of line. The gal then had the gall to tell the lads that they were not allowed to drink beer on their trip. MMMM…EXCUSE ME???? WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU? To add insult to insult, the guys (who are in their late 20’s- early 30’s) actually go along with it!! They resort to sneaking beers behind the gal's back like petulant children! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? That didn’t make an ounce of sense to me! Guys...you want to drink beer on YOUR camping trip? DRINK IT! It's called a set of balls! Go to K-Mart and acquire some, pronto! What’s with this hiding shite? All that to say, I wasn’t impressed by that bit of lousy and pussy-whipped characterization and from that point on, wanted all the leads to expire hard and fast! STRIKE ONE for this movie.

On the horror front, if a beyond-crappy looking CGI monster (it has to be seen to be believed as to how SHITTY this critter looked) scares the crotch-less panties out of ya, then you’ll be well served here. Me? I was either yawning to high heavens or dumbfounded as to how such a lousy effect could make it into a feature film. That CGI creature was simply an embarrassment. STRIKE 2 for this bitch! The last bad swing this one put out was that its narrative lacked a strong focus. It set up its plot and subplots and then dicked around for most of its first hour via boring filler scenes. The worst example of that trait was the endless “kill” buildup sequence involving a fisherman. We follow this fisherman for what seems like hours as he goes through his daily routine, set to an abysmal country-like tune, no less. The scene felt like it went on for days! I was losing my mind! That song, the scene’s lack of point, that song again…and then….the fisherman gets killed via a cut-away kill. FUCK YOU for that! All that tedious buildup for that??? Ever heard of the word “payoff”? STRIKE 3...YOU’RE OUT OF HERE!

On a very slight positive note, the film did slap some semi-enjoyable action our way in its last block and did pull off a couple of kool stunts in terms of staging (like the van in the water bit). Taking into account the film's obvious low budget, that was a feat. Then we had the horror personalities at hand who are always a treat to see. We got Brinke Stevens as the “opening scene victim” (don’t blink) and Bill Moseley as a corrupt government agent. But the cherry on top of it all was Mr. Tom Savini, of whom I’m a big fan. He was mostly absent for the first half of this flick, but we got to see him “Savini” a lot in the second half. Tom had a blast with the role, chomping that cigar like a man, playing quiet psychotic to a T, delivering those one liners with class and kicking some occasional ass. Savini’s crowd-pleasing presence was the only reason I didn’t stop this DVD dead in its tracks to hang myself.

So on the whole, "Vicious" was an insipid, boring, badly made mess with only Tom Savini coming through hardcore to bring us some genuine smiles. Am I the only one who thinks that it’s ironic that one of the genres top makeup effect artists starred in a ditty that showcased some of the more horrendous visual effects that I have ever seen? The only thing vicious about "Vicious" is its running time: it’s an hour and half too long! BLOW ME!
GORE
We get lots of blood being tossed around and apart from a quick glimpse of some after-the-fact dude chomped in half, that’s all we get…blood buckets being tossed around. ZZZZzzzz.
ACTING
Tom Savini (Kane) was the sole high point here with his bang-on delivery and potent charisma. God, he deserves better than to act in crap like this. Brian Bremer (Doug) did what he could with what he was given. Too bad he played such a pussy. I wanted to slap him around like a donkey. Melanie Parker (Barbara) did okay as the castrating beer hater. Her sweet ass out-acted her at times though. As for Brinke Stevens and Bill Moseley, she screamed and he did well considering the material he had to play with.
T & A
If there’s one movie that needed female melons to liven things up, it was this one. Sadly, it couldn’t even do that! No nudity here except for a nude CGI beast and Savini’s pumped biceps. BOOOOOOO!
DIRECTING
We get lots of shaky cam and tacky monster POV shots. Although some of the action sequences were well shot, the whole of the affair failed to leave an impression on me.
SOUNDTRACK
I dug the opening theme song, but it would’ve been more comfortable in a “The Omen” type flick. As for the rest of the score, it was either average or overly dramatic (which made me laugh at times). We also got a couple of decent rock songs.
BOTTOM LINE
Tom Savini is too good for crud like this and with that other stinker “Children of the Living Dead” under his belt, I’m starting to wonder if he knows it. We love you, Tom! Be more selective in the future please!!!! "Vicious" will appeal to you if you like a snooze-inducing storyline filled with useless padding, awful visual effects, cop out off-screen kills, zero tit shots and build up scenes that insult your IQ. If that’s your type of gig, be my guest, compadres! As for me? I’m using the disc as a beer coaster and nailing my sack to the wall as we speak. Much more fun!
BULL'S EYE
Brian Bremer (Doug) actually played the precocious hick kid that helps Ed Harley (Henriksen) find the witch in "Pumpkinhead".
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