Code Red // 1988 // 92 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // September 6th, 2013
...and the dead shall inherit the earth.
If you like your horror as corny as it could possibly be, then do I have a movie for you. It's the sort of thing you would likely only have found on VHS at a garage sale or maybe in a box at the second hand store. It had the kind of cover that any self-respecting cult movie fan, if they happened to see it on a shelf, would almost certainly want to watch. It's called Curse of the Blue Lights and I did, for sure, but not until much later. Just now, in fact, on a new DVD from Code Red and, as all of us who have been burned by a video cover can attest, you can't win 'em all.
When a pair of young cuties moves from the big city to the small town, they instantly find boyfriends who want to take them out to Makeout Point, or Blue Lights if you live where they do. This isn't just any ol' place to put the moves on your girl. No, this place has a backstory. Whether it's a ghost train or the undead, everybody has a story about the mysterious blue lights that hover over the river. But when they discover the truth, that a group of freaked-out CHUDs living under the local cemetery are planning to use human blood to raise a long-dead demon and rain death and destruction down upon mankind, they become the only ones who can stop it.
Curse of the Blue Lights plays more like an episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! than it does a horror movie. No dog, of course, though it probably would have been better with one involved, but a gaggle of teens who meddle with the bad guys' plans and bumble around until they win. Now, these aren't jerks in masks (though, really, that's exactly what they are), they're true-blue CHUDs, but their stupid antics and bad jokes don't make them a bit scarier than their cartoon counterparts.
Of course, it's not scary on purpose, but that just makes it worse. It's a cheap movie by necessity, but a corny one on purpose, and that always irritates me. It's silly and stupid, filled with some truly awful costumes and special effects, one of which I swear is a stream of baked beans passed off as some kind of gore.
The acting is awful and the direction is awkward, making the movie terribly boring on top of it. It's certainly not the worst movie I've seen, but it's right up there. I try to say something nice about the movies I review, just as a point of principle, but this is one of the rare cases in which I come up empty. There's absolutely nothing that I appreciate about this movie. If you want to try it for yourself, more power to you, but consider yourself warned.
We received a screener from Code Red for review, but the performance seems close to what the release version will look like. Given its utter obscurity, the 1.85:1 image looks reasonably good. There's an overall softness to the image and black levels really aren't as deep as they should be, but it's colorful and the grain structure is pretty good. The sound is average at best, with a bit of a hiss throughout in the background and little dynamic range in the stereo mix.
There are more extras than I expected, though it's not anything special. There's an audio commentary with John Johnson and Brent Ritter, who plays Loath, one of the CHUDs. It's an average discussion about the production, probably more detailed than anyone would have asked for, but good for them for taking the time. A pair of photo galleries and a trailer close out the disc.
Curse of Blue Lights is plain terrible, though I can see plenty in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crowd getting a kick out of it. Actually, with a Rifftrax or Cinematic Titanic rendering of the movie, I could probably get a kick out of it, too. That doesn't exist, though, which means I don't have to watch this garbage again. Thank goodness.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Code Red
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Rated R