• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Miner’s Massacre

TITLE: Miner’s Massacre

YEAR: 2003

GENRE: Horror

AKA: Curse Of The Forty-Niner

When dealing with a stale genre such as the slasher film, sometimes it takes as much creativity as possible to make the project work effectively. This can be done through some twists and turns in the storyline, creative production values such as special kills or inspired cinematography, or a unique setting or historical timeline. Even when some unique elements are included, when the writers refuse to change the classically cliché elements of the genre it will not make much of a difference in creating a film that is more than run-of-the-mill trash cinema. This is unfortunately the case with Miner’s Massacre, a slice and dice horror film that had a few creative elements but could not raise itself about the stereotypes associated with slasher films.

Six college students go out into the desert to rediscover an old mine that supposedly was still filled with gold for some unknown reason. The students discover that the rumors are true and they think they are about to become millionaires. However, the students hear about the legend of Jeremiah Stone (Vernon Wells), a 19th century claim jumper who sold his soul to Satan for wealth and placed a curse on the mine that if anybody touches his claim that he will come back from the dead to kill the trespassers. After the students remove what gold they have found Jeremiah reanimates and knocks off the now-wealthy students one by one. Will the students survive long enough to spend their money?

At least Miner’s Massacre gives us a unique setting in a gold mine, but other than that this is just another stereotypical stalk and slash horror flick. We get the standard horror rules that we all know from watching Scream: couples who have sex end up dying, people who leave the group to venture out on their own (in this case, to take a dump in the woods) end up eventually dead, and sexy strangers who appear later in the film (in this case, an ignorant hottie complete with Daisy Duke-inspired clothing) always end up being one of the first to die under some giant implement of destruction. Most of the kills by our killer (played by Brad H. Arden, not Wells) are either by pick axe or shovel (he is a miner, after all) and are neither inspired nor creative. Blood effects are minimal, and there is only one really good scary moment in the 90 minute “fright” fest. There is, however, a five minute scene where the students walk through the woods to find the claim complete with intolerable pop music that makes Brittany Spears sound like Mozart. Some of the cameo appearances are creative including Wells (Wez from The Road Warrior) as our pre-dead psychopath, Karen Black (The Pyx, Airport ’75, Trilogy Of Terror) as an eccentric local fruitcake, and John Phillip Law (Danger: Diabolik, Barbarella) as the local sheriff. However, none of their efforts can save this film from its own genre and a lack of creativity in the storyline.

Director John Carl Buechler had made his scratch in the film industry mostly for special effects on horror films such as Bride Of Re-Animator and A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master as well as directing Troll. None of Buechler’s work is exactly groundbreaking but most of his Hollywood work is fairly memorable, plus he travels to a fair amount of horror conventions so there is a cult following of his work. Miner’s Massacre may have a creative setting and some of the background story is interesting, but overall this is yet another entry in the hundreds and hundreds of films trying to be the next Halloween or Friday The 13th and is mostly only for fans of Buechler’s work and the slasher fan who has to see every kill.

* *

–Mark

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