Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nightmare on Elm Street 6

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)

Directed by: Rachel Talalay
Written by:
Michael De Luca
Robert Englund, Lisa Zane, Lezlie Dean, Yaphet Kotto, Shon Greenblatt, Ricky Dean Logan, Breckin Meyer, Roseanne

Okay, part six in the series, followed by New Nightmare and Freddy vs. Jason. This one I liked for some reason. It doesn't take anything about itself seriously at all. It's called Freddy's Dead for God's sake. It's funny.

This is set ten years from now (or three years ago as the case may be). All the children and teenagers of the town (I can't remember what it's called. I keep thinking "Haddonfield", but that's not right) are dead, save one who Freddy sends out into the world to locate and retrieve his long lost daughter.

So that's interesting. Anyway, he basically then just kills a whole bunch of people because he feels like it. What a bitch. It's basically the same plot as all the other ones, but I don't know, it seems funnier for some reason.

It almost seemed somehow more... cartoonish or something. He's starting to remind me of the Coyote (or Roadrunner and Coyote) only more successful. I mean, he cuts a guy's parachute, but instead of just letting him plummet to his death, he has to wheel a wagon full of razor blades underneath him. Cruel.

There's another part where he messes with a deaf kid's hearing aid, and does some nasty things involving a chalkboard. That was pretty good.

Anyway, they use a lot of stuff from the other movies, of course. Like bringing him out of the dream. I mean, they tried that in the first one, too. It worked a little better this time around, though.

Of course, it looked like he was down in the last one, too. His mother appeared to have him under control (got to feel bad for his mother. She had a hard time. She had a worse time than he did - I mean, first she was a nun, then she got raped by 10'000 Maniacs, then she gave birth to a sado-masochistic freako baby, then she died and got stuck in purgatory. That poor woman. My heart goes out to her), but I guess not.

And there was that whole thing with 3D glasses. I wonder if this movie was originally in 3D? Probably. I don't feel like looking that up right now. You can do it yourself.

Robert Englund spends a lot of time without his makeup on, too, which is a little weird. He's really weird looking. He kind of remind me of one of that comedian. You know, that one who kind of looks like Bill Murray.

Anyway, other amusing elements involve a visit to the town. The lack of children seems to have had a bizarre effect on its inhabitants. And Johnny Depp has a cameo as the guy on TV in the wastoid's nightmare. He's credited as Oprah Noodlemantra. Isn't that funny? Yeah, I was sitting there going, "Hey, is that Johnny Depp?". It was amusing.

Yep. Funny movie. Completely lame and predictable, but funny. I'm tired of writing this.


Nightmare on Elm Street 5

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989)

Directed by:
Stephen Hopkins
Written by: Leslie Bohem
Starring: Lisa Wilcox, Robert Englund, Kelly Jo Minter, Joe Seely, Erika Anderson, Danny Hassel, Whitby Hertford, Nick Mele, Beatrice Boepple

The fifth flick in the Nightmare series (yes, I've come this far) that just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

This one is essentially the same as all the other ones in that it's about a bunch of teenagers getting killed in creative ways (and then Robert Englund says something achingly clever) except this time Fred accesses people's dreams through the dreams of the Dreem Mastor's unborn baby which I gather he's trying to possess.

So... that's weird. The same stuff happens in this one, it just happens for a different reason than usual. Interestingly, they managed to get most of the same people back for this one (unlike in, say Part Four where they replace Patricia Arquette with... I can't remember. Oh yeah, Tuesday Knight. I don't know who that is). But every one who survived Part Four gets to come back in this one. Lucky them (although I think the woman playing Fred's mom is different than the woman in Part 3 (I am such a fucking nerd. I have a social life. I just thought I'd mention it. I went out for lunch with some people just the other day (mind you, we talked about Dr. Who for most of the time. I can't help it, I like that funny man))).

Anyway, this one put a fairly interesting twist on the whole thing, although I think I'm getting tired of the style by now. It's all the same, artistically I mean. There is an interesting part in which the main character and her unborn baby (he appears in her dreams as a young boy. Why? I don't know) are running around in what looks like an Escher painting, and there's that comic book thing which is relatively interesting, but it's still all that... red stuff.

This one is better than part four, though. I can't really remember what happened in that one, but I seem to recall that it sucked.

Anyway, it's keeping some people in work, which is always good. People need to work. I have nothing else to say right now.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Man Who Laughs

The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Directed by: Paul Leni
Written by: J. Grubb Alexander, based on L'Homme Qui Rit by Victor Hugo
Starring: Conrad Veidt, Mary Philbin, Olga Baclanova, Brandon Hurst, Cesare Gravina, Josephine Crowell, George Siegmann, Zimbo

About a the young son of a rebellious noble who is disfigured by these gypsies because the king doesn't like him and then grows up to become a traveling sideshow freak, and a hit all across the land. He falls in love with a blind girl and she falls in love with him. And then, for whatever reason, he goes and hangs out with this duchess who is living on the land formerly owned by his father and the only way for her to keep it is to marry him.

So he gets used and abused throughout the movie but ends up with true love in the end (thank God. I don't think I could have handled it if he hadn't. I expected him to end up dead or something and was quite distraught for quite some time).

So actually the thing kind of got to me. His relationship with the blind girl was really touching. And both of them were so adorable (her hair was a little alarming, but that's okay). I mean, yeah, his face was really really distressing looking (a great makeup job, kudos to whoever did it (they're probably dead by now, though). I read somewhere that it was intended for Lon Chaney, but he backed out. Conrad Veidt does a pretty good job though. He's actually quite a good actor. I recognized him as the guy who played Cesare in Caligari (and Mary Philbin played whatever passes as Christine in the Lon Chaney Phantom and Olga Baclanova plays the evil bitch in Freaks (the same role she plays here). Wow, this can be fun)), but he was so... sad.

He managed to play a really sad character even with his face permanently twisted into a smile. Good work, kiddo (he's also dead and doesn't care what I think).

And it's got that great Victor Hugo feel to it. I haven't read to much Hugo (I haven't read this one) but I like him anyway. He's groovy.

Another disturbing thing about this movie, though, were the sound effects. Usually when I watch a silent movie I mute the volume because I can't stand the shitty music they put in there, but most of this was fairly inoffensive, except for the really weird sound effects, but they didn't start until half way through, after I was lulled into some false sense of security.

An odd point is the amount of sex in there for a movie from this particular time period. Olga does a nude scene, even (watch the nerdy young men run to the nearest Blockbuster). It's interesting.

Anyway, even though it was a bit slow getting going, and it sort of went crazy at the end, the middle was really good and it made me feel happy if only temporarily (and in a sad sort of way). I enjoyed it muchly. It was better than The Black Dahlia.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Epic Movie

Epic Movie (2007)

Written and Directed by: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Starring: Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jayma Mays, Faune A. Chambers, Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard, Héctor Jiménez, Crispin Glover, Darrell Hammond, Carmen Electra (what is it with them and frigging Carmen Electra?)

I had hoped that this movie would be marginally better than Scary Movie (God knows why) those hopes were dashed to pieces about... three and a half seconds into the movie. It was actually worse than the Scary Movies, if such a thing is possible.

This takes the plot from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and sticks a bunch of crap from Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Da Vinci Code, X-Men, Nacho Libre (WTF?), Pirates and God knows what else in there for no apparent reason.

Problem number one: A lot of the movies that they spoofed can hardly be classified as "Epic Movies". Take Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for example. Sure, it's a big chocolate factory, and there's lots of special effects, but come on.  

Snakes on a Plane is not an Epic Movie (the other problem with this is that they actually didn't do any work at all on this particular parody - the jokes basically involve snakes getting stuck on peoples tits and dicks, which happens in Snakes on a Plane anyway, so it really defeats the purpose. Same goes for their spoof of Borat. I mean, why bother, really).

Right, so that's cleared up. Problem number two: There's no interior logic whatsoever. No continuity. Scary Movie has the same problem, but they often use it to their advantage.

Problem number three: It really wasn't funny. That should probably be the first problem, but it's so obvious I thought I'd tuck it away down here. I mean, I'll laugh at anything, but really. There were a few funny bits, I'll give it that - for example, making fun of The Da Vinci Code is always funny. The stuff with Captain Jack was funny because Captain Jack is funny, regardless of who's playing him.

Also, it seems a little weird that they had two Johnny Depp roles in there - I mean, if the same guy had been in both roles, it would have been rather amusing, but it wasn't so...

Anyway, the writers on this one were just lazy. They didn't even bother to make up their own plot (yeah, Scary Movie is a sick combination of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, but all those movies have the same plot so it's basically just a generic slasher movie. Scary Movie 2 was a generic haunted house movie). And they basically just copy and pasted dialogue from the films they spoofed.

Sad and pathetic. And the acting was agonizingly bad in most places. I have a soft spot for Jennifer Coolidge somewhere in my heart (I have no idea why), but everything else just made me sad.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Return

The Return (2006)

Directed by: Asif Kapadia
Written by: Adam Sussman
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Peter O'Brien, J.C. McKenzie, Kate Beahan, Adam Scott, Erinn Allison, Frank Ertl, Sam Sheperd

See, I was really confused about this movie because I thought it was a sequel to something. I have to stop this, I really do. It can't go on.

In this particular little party, Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a woman who keeps having visions of another woman's murder and has to find out what happened before she gets killed by the murderer. Meanwhile, she has a thing with the dead woman's boyfriend/husband (!).

All shot in grey so that you almost think it's in black and white. It is secretly in colour however. It was kind of cool looking, though.

And man does Sarah Michelle look... old... er. I mean, she's only thirty, but I'll always think of her as a peppy, 20-year old blond (apparently she's really a brunette, but I don't believe it). She almost looked like a different person in this.

Anyway, back to the movie, which was kind of... mediocre. It wasn't terrible, but it didn't really do jack for me.

There were a couple of scenes which were pretty spooky (particularly one scene in which Sarah Michelle Gellar moves a sweater or something off of her mirror and sees another woman's reflection in it - would have been more interesting had I not seen it in The Eye), and it was generally atmospheric, but I kept thinking of Carnival of Souls (the one with the woman who survives a weird car crash and keeps hearing weird music on her radio and there's this guy who's following her around who may or may not be real, and there's a mysterious death...), which I liked better. It was scarier.

And God damnit, what is it with Texas? (You couldn't really tell it was Texas - it wasn't shot in that washed out, borderline-sepia tone, grainy, scratchy way that everything set in Texas is shot. Kind of original, really). It's either Texas or Japan, I guess.

This could easily have been set in Japan. I don't think it's even based on a Japanese film, but it might as well be (it's sort of got a ghost in it after all). Or maybe that's just the lingering residue of The Grudge hanging about Sarah Michelle Gellar and setting off my detectors.

But anyway, the final explanation of the whole thing wasn't very satisfactory. It was kind of stupid, actually - while the dying woman was being driven to the hospital by her boyfriend/husband, they hit the back of a station wagon containing the child version of Sarah Michelle Gellar and the dying woman's soul goes into the little girl. Good thing it didn't go into Sam Sheperd.


The Body Snatcher

The Body Snatcher (1945)

Directed by: Robert Wise

Written by: Philip MacDonald & Carlos Keith based on the short story by Robert Louis Stevenson

Starring: Henry Daniell, Boris Karloff, Russell Wade, Edith Atwater, Rita Corday, Sharyn Moffett, Bela Lugosi, Donna Lee

I saw this movie once during my youth, and, surprisingly, I remembered most of it. It just stuck with me for some reason.

It's the one about the doctor (and former student of Dr. Knox) who just can't get rid of the spooky resurrection man (resurrection men are, by definition, spooky. You don't get to be a resurrection man (or resurrection person as they like to be called these days) unless you're spooky). This one's not too bad, though. I mean, he's nice to his horse, and the little crippled girl, and he has a really cute cat.Mind you, he does kill people. But that kitten is just so damn cute.

Anyway, I was always rather fond of this movie. Seeing it now, it seems kind of funny, but in a good sort of way. It's just so... chirpy? Sure, why not. It's cute. I mean, yeah, it's spooky and all that too. Boris Karloff is always spooky. He can't help it. It's the accent.

He looked really old in this, though. Jeez. He didn't look quite as awful as Lugosi (actually, he managed to look reasonably okay well into his old age). Bela by this point was starting to get a little fat and saggy. I don't think he was doing too well. This was about the time the work started to peter out for him. He only did, like, eight movies after this.

But enough of me worrying about Bela Lugosi (the time has come and passed for that, I'm afraid).

So this is one of those Val Lewton flicks from the '40s. Yeah, they're pretty good. So dark. So spooky...

Captain America, the Preserver of Justice there kind of annoyed the hell out of me (that's a bit of an oxymoron, isn't it?). I mean, if they'd at least said he was a medical student from America I would have felt a little better, it's just that everyone else could do a competent British/Scottish accent. What the hell was his problem (actually, I'm not sure about one or two of the people - I wasn't really listening to them).

As did the singing chick, but that's just because I can't stand people who sing like that. She got horribly murdered though so no worries.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Teeth Beneath

The Teeth Beneath (2005)

Written and Directed by: Zach Tovey and Jason Eisener

Starring: John Swinamer, Tyler Knowlton, Jermaine Arsenault, Matt Bloun, Zach Tovey, Evan Elliot

This is a local indie horror flick that I'd heard about and seen posters for at various venues but hadn't yet had the opportunity to see. But now I have. Heh heh.

Anyway, it's about this skate shop (the Pro skate shop on Blowers Street. I love Halifax) that has this indestructible monster with a weird bunny mask (which was apparently killed by angry villagers in the time of Puritans. I guess) living in the basement. When a bunch of guys try to rob the store late one night, it wakes up and then makes life difficult for the store's employees.

Along the way, various... entities show up - a shaggy haired, wheelchair bound guy with a gas mask and a katana, for example, or a Russian gangster. It's about the weirdest movie ever.

But never mind that. I had fairly low expectations of this movie, but it was actually surprisingly good. It had a really low budget, but they managed to make a lot of it. A lot of the acting was kind of mediocre, but mostly it was okay, and it was written well enough.

And it had a pretty good sense of humour (the occasional shit joke aside). Which is always important. Yeah, so it was incredibly stupid, but that was sort of the point.

There were a couple of things in there that made no sense to me at all , but I managed to get over that.

It was really short, too. Probably under an hour. I think they could probably expand it, get a bigger budget... actually, it's fine as it is.

Yep. That was really weird. From what I can tell by delving into the depths of The Coast website (there's no listing on IMDb (stupid IMDb)), this Jason Eisener guy directed Hobo with a Shotgun (great title), one of the bits of Grindhouse. Cool.

Oh yeah, the music was pretty good, too (some of the '80s techno stuff was a little irritating, but the other stuff was okay).

The movie reminded me of Return of the Living Dead for some reason (but set in the beautiful (?) city of Halifax, full of places I recognize. I can't shake the feeling that I've met one of the guys in it at some point in my life).

I watched the other short films on the DVD - The Standing was pretty good. It's about these people who just... stand. Spooky.

All in all, it was way better than some other shite I've seen out there and it's made in my home town. Town pride!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Nightmare on Elm Street 4

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

Directed by:
Renny Harlin
Written by: Brian Helgeland, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Starring: Lisa Wilcox, Robert Englund, Danny Hassel, Andras Jones, Tuesday Knight, Brooke Theiss, Toy Newkirk, Nicholas Mele, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman

Okay. So. Part four. Great. This one has a really stupid title too.

Anyway, in this outing, the Fredmeister gets brought back to life by a dog so he can come kill the people he missed in Part 3. He accomplishes this. And then Patricia Arquette's character from the last movie (not Patricia Arquette this time - now it's Tuesday Night or whoever) transfers her mystical powers into this other chick (teh Dreem Mastor. Teh Dreem Mastor gets her own little rhyme (well, actually, it's a prayer with the word "Lord" taken out and "Dreem Mastor" put in)). The cycle starts again.

Um... this one isn't as good as the third one. Yes, there are some pretty imaginative dreams/deaths (one girl gets transformed into a giant cockroach after reading too much Kafka (sort of). Cool), but the series is just getting a little tiresome. I mean, they're kind of starting to stretch the whole thing. Like, after all the Elm Street kiddies are dead, wouldn't you think Fredster would just sort of knock it off? Nope! There's a whole excuse for why he doesn't quit, but I'm not going to go into that.

Okay, so maybe he likes killing people, but... well, he so often gets the shit kicked out of him. That's bound to get a little discouraging.

But then, what does he care? Not only is he dead, he's also fictional. More importantly, why do I care? Because I have no life. This is a sad realization for me.

Anyway, enough about my life or lack thereof. The most atrocious thing about this movie was the music. The music in the other ones was bad too, but it's starting to seep into my brain right about now. The acting was pretty bad, too.

And Wes Craven wasn't involved, so you know that can't be good (so far the ones with him have been better). This was a few steps up from Part 2, though.

And if I may just bring this up, the way Frederino gets it in this one is really, really cool - all these little people sort of pop out of his chest and rip him apart. Freeky shit, man. It was groovey.

Anyway, I have the fifth segment to look forward too. As far as I can tell, it's about a haunted fetus or something like that. Ew.


Friday, June 8, 2007

The Hitcher

The Hitcher (2007)

Directed by: Dave Meyers
Written by: Eric Red, Eric Bernt, Jake "Eric" Wade Wall, based on the 1986 flick written by Eric Red
Starring: Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, Neal McDonough

I guess I haven't written too much lately - between sleeping on my neighbours' lawn (don't ask) and working on my masterpiece, I haven't had the oodles of time and energy I usually do (yep, sleeping and sitting on my ass really take a lot out of me).

Anyway, I was under the impression that this movie was going to teach me how to date. No, I kid. I knew perfectly well what this was about. As you'll recall, I was hopping to see it a few months ago...

"[I]t looks stupid but I can't help it, I love Sean Bean. He's so cool. Yeah, he's in a lot of shitty movies, and he sucks in a lot of them, but he's still so cool. Maybe I'll watch the original and then make up my mind. I'll probably ... whine when none of my friends will go see it with me. That's what I usually do."

That's what I said then. And I was right on some levels. It was really stupid, and I did whine when no one would come see it with me. I didn't watch the original, though. I was like, hey, it's got Sean Bean (he's my favourite),what could go wrong?

Anyway, enough of that. The plot involves a couple of stupid, fornicating (!) college students who decide to go on a road trip. While driving through New Mexico, they run into a murderous psychopathic hitchhiker who sets them up for a bunch of murders, and tries to kill them. Why? Because... he must? I don't know.

So basically, it's like Duel meets The Terminator (with a little bit of Psycho thrown in there, God knows why).

Moving on, there are one or two "Oh Yeah!" moments. You know, cars getting exploded, flipped over, that kind of thing. Buddy getting ripped in half (sweet). That was in the first one, though, wasn't it? So what's the point? Some remakes change the modes of death a little bit (The Omen for example - yeah, buddy gets decapitated by a falling sign or something instead of a huge pane of glass (I liked the pane of glass better, actually)).

Anyway, it had that sort of gritty, grainy feel to it (which you see in just about every horror movie set in Texas/New Mexico/wherever (IOW, all of them)), but I've seen that so much it ceases to be interesting. It was like the music. Good, but it's the same music that's in all these frigging movies so I don't care.

And I'm sorry, but the Hitcher is just kind of lame. He has no motives, no reason to do anything except that he feels like it. The movie has no point.

And why couldn't Sean Bean be English? I'd like to say that his accent wasn't very good, but he didn't talk for long enough at any one time to really tell. It was just kind of startling. I like his Northern accent. He could have been British... I guess. Why the hell not?

I don't know. The ending was kind of anti-climactic. And it wasn't scary. At all. It wasn't anything a whole lot. It wasn't suspenseful (you know what's going to happen), scary, gory, anything. It was fluff.

And that CG rabbit at the beginning really bothered me. It was fucking CG. Stupid rabbit thing. And it was poorly written. And it was poorly acted. And... eh.

I was in a really hyper, gleeful mood, too. I couldn't stop laughing. It's a pretty funny movie, actually, if you look at it that way. I was thinking about Hitch through the whole thing, which accounts for some of it.


Friday, June 1, 2007

The Dark Half

The Dark Half (1993)

Directed by: George A. Romero

Written by: George A. Romero based on the novel by Stephen King

Starring: Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan, Michael Rooker, Julie Harris, Robert Joy, Kent Broadhurst, Rutanya Alda, Tom Mardirosian, Larry John Meyers

More warm, squishy, still beating (?) goodness from Steve and George. Or not.

This one's about a writer whose pseudonym manifests physically when he tries to ditch him. The alter ego (or Dark Half as the case may be) goes around killing people. Because he's so very bad ass.

I thought that seemed a little bit unnecessary. I mean, spending all that energy to make a physical body just so you can go around killing people? I personally would do something a little more constructive, but that's just me (actually, considering the amount of energy I would require, I'd probably do more sleeping than anything. But that's what I do normally, so....).

Anyway, if that didn't happen there wouldn't be a plot, and there always has to be a plot (coming out of the Wes Anderson fan).

The best scene in the movie is probably the scene in which they open up the guy's head and find an eyeball and some teeth in there (yes, this is that movie). It was the grossest, nastiest thing they did in the film, which left the bar rather high for the rest of it.

I was expecting a bit of a gross out, truth be told (Dawn of the Dead or something) and I was a little disappointed. I got a thriller instead (why must this be?!).

I don't have any problem with thrillers, if they're thrilling. And this one wasn't really. The brain tumour thing was cool, but it had very little to do with the rest of the movie (yeah, it was connected, but it didn't have to be).

I found myself not liking Timothy Hutton very much (he was in Secret Window!? Holy evil Jesus. This is like the same frigging movie. I kept asking myself, where's John Turturro? Where? (screw Johnny Depp, for now anyway. No doubt the Johnny Depp fan club is going to rally against me any minute)).

Yep. This movie was dull. And there were those frigging birds all the time. I liked the birds, but they were very... Hitchcock. And when they eat the guy at the end? What was up with that? I mean, the main guy's screwed! There's no evidence to prove that he didn't kill those other people. That bugged me.

Anyway, that was a waste of time.