Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cheap Horror Knock Offs!

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Have you ever walked into Blockbuster (or the rental chain of your choice) and seen a dvd cover and movie title that sounded shockingly similar to that of a recent hit horror film?

If the answer is yes, the company involved was most likely The Asylum. The Asylum, once a production company that produced original content, has for the past several years done anything but. I guess they just got fed up with no one seeing their films, so they decided to start completely ripping off new and successful horror films in an attempt to not only draw in viewers, but in some cases confuse the average cinema goer into thinking their film is actually the original Hollywood hit! And it's working! Seriously, I talked to a dude once who told me he just watched Hills Have Eyes and it was terrible. Upon further interrogation, I came to find out it was not the Hills Have Eyes which he had just seen, but an Asylum ripoff!

What's truly incredible is that many of these films have been released on dvd BEFORE the Hollywood versions have even come to theatres! Once they find out about a film being made, they immediately set out to rip it off in the fastest time imaginable and with about a 100th of the budget. Everyone must be aware of this trend so we can put an end to such confusion. Not that it takes the brighest bulb in the bulb store to discern between the two, but let's take a look at some of Asylum's more ballsy and blatant MockBusters.

Hillside Cannibals / The Hills Have Eyes

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Plot : A group of teenagers in the desert become the prey of cannibalistic inbreds who live in the nearby hillside.

You may not be able to make it out, but right on the dvd cover it proudly states "The terrifying true story that inspired THE HILLS HAVE EYES"!!! Of course, this is merely an even more drastic attempt to capitalize on Hills as there never was such a true story. It seems they just wanted the Hills Have Eyes title on the cover in hopes that people wouldn't read the the print and would think this was that film. How do they get away with this shit?! Hillside Cannibals was released a mere 2 weeks after Hills premiered in theatres.

666 : The Child / The Omen

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Plot : A jet liner plummets from the sky and crashes into the Earth. From the burning embers rise one, lone survivor - a small boy. The childless couple that adopts him will soon discover he is no helpless child, but rather something very powerful, and something very dark. This small boy is the beast and with him he carries the Beginning of the End.

Ok, so they changed up the plot a little bit. They turned the little boy into Superman rather than your average orphan child. Did you think no one would notice, Asylum? By the way, the Omen remake had a working title of The Omen 666 and is still referred to it by that name by many. Check out the poster for the remake, notice any similarities?

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The Child was released direct to dvd on the same day the remake hit theaters, both to capitalize on the 6/6/06 date.

SPECIAL TREAT! 666 : The Child trailer!



When a Killer Calls / When a Stranger Calls

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Plot: This modern adaptation of the classic babysitter campfire tale follows a young babysitter who receives a seemingly harmless phone call from an anonymous stranger. This annoyance turns to terror when she finally has the calls traced to inside the house!

Did they really need to make a movie even worse than the When a Stranger Calls remake? It's plastered all over the cover that this is a film based on the same legend that inspired Halloween, Scream, and Black Christmas. Again, this was not a true legend. They merely just took the names of a few films that had a similar stranger in the house motif in order to make it look as legit as those films. This movie couldn't have been inspired by When a Stranger Calls, could it have?! While obviously a capitalization on the remake, it's clear where the cover art came from...

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I couldn't find the exact date of release of this one, but it was in the same month, February of '06, that it came out.

Snakes on a Train / Snakes on a Plane

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Plot : Under a powerful Mayan curse, snakes are hatched inside a young woman, slowly devouring her from within. Her only chance for survival is a powerful shaman who lives across the border. With only hours to live, she jumps on a train headed for Los Angeles. Unfortunately for the passengers aboard, they are now trapped, soon to be victims of these flesh-eating vipers.

Well, there goes the brilliant idea for the Sam Jackson sequel. This is the first time I ever really noticed the phenomenon, as this is such a blatant rip off it's hard not to take note. Train came out August 15th, three days before Plane! The audacity!

SPECIAL TREAT! Snakes on a Motherfuckin' Train trailer!



AVH : Alien vs Hunter / AVP : Aliens vs Predator Requiem

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Plot : A galactic hunter chases the most dangerous alien creature in the universe to planet Earth, where humanity is caught between predator and prey.

I guess Asylum were too busy making other ripoffs in '04 to tackle AVP, but they certaintly made up for it when the sequel was released. Requiem sucked a big one, so I don't really care about this ripoff and I wouldn't be surprised if it's even better than its original. AVH came out an entire week before AVP2 hit screens.

SPECIAL TREAT! AVH trailer! There's giant spiders in this thing too?!



Monster / Cloverfield

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Plot : In 2005 it was reported that Tokyo, Japan had been devastated by a massive earthquake. It was reported that thousands were dead. In 2007, a camera belonging to two missing American filmmakers was found. The footage would reveal that it was not an earthquake. It was something else.

Pretty much the same film except the two American's are now filmmakers and the CGI is a heck of a lot worse. If Cloverfield were in the hands of a lesser filmmaker, it probably would have turned out something like this one. Again, this one pre-dated Abrams' film by two days.

SPECIAL TREAT! Monster trailer! So let me get this right. A devastating Earthquake hit Japan. But it wasn't an Earthquake? Hmm..



The Hitchhiker / The Hitcher

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Plot : Four girls on the way to Las Vegas pick up a hitchhiker with chilling consequences.

Asylum seems to love making rip-offs of remakes of horror films. As if a remake weren't bad enough, we now get ultra low budget knock offs of the remakes themselves! Gotta love our generation! We must at least give them credit for being so descriptive in their film titles, however. They really leave no room for mis-interpretation and probably get a heck of a lot of rentals because of it. They were a little late with this one as it came out almost two months after The Hitcher.

It's not just horror films that The Asylum makes cheap imitations of, however. There's also gems like The Da Vinci Treasure, Transmorphers, Pirates of Treasure Island, and 100 million BC. I'm not sure how these films continue to appear on Blockbusters shelves, with more copies available then their Hollywood counterparts, but someone must be watching them as they keep getting pumped out.

Check out Asylum's official website for more trailers and all the latest info on their upcoming releases. If ya ever need a shitty movie to rent and poke fun at, you know where to turn.

2 comments:

baby nightsoil said...

As ridiculous as they are, these kind of movies are amusing. In fact, we can agree that rip offs are an essential fruit of horror film popularity. Horror stories have always been ripped off- every culture has eerily similar urban legends, ghost stories, and superstitions. A good scare is like a good joke, retold several times until is goes from scary to funny and funny to dreadful respectively.

If you get any enjoyment out of bad and deceiving packaging, you got to check out bootleg DVD stalls here in China. The best is when they use reviews from the internet to serve as plot summaries on the back on the package. More often than not, these are bad reviews. I may have even seen one of yours on the back of some.

Cat said...

I know this is like a 2 year old post, but I noticed when I worked at a video store, those horror rip-offs would come out right as the movie was hitting theatres.

Do you know how many times I had to warn people that 666 the Child was NOT The Omen? Or the Hills Have Eyes one.. People seldom remember the full names of movies, so they don't know any better.

Except the guy that tried to argue that the cartoon Spiderman (that the jerks released just as the first movie came out) was NOT the movie that had JUST HIT THEATRES. Fine, rent it and get mad. I warned you!