Friday, July 27, 2007


Pulse (2006)

Directed by: Jim Sonzero

Written by: Wes Craven & Ray Wright, based on the film Kairo written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Starring: Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder, Christina Milian, Rick Gonzalez, Jonathan Tucker, Samm Levine, Ron Rifkin, Octavia L. Spencer, Kel O'Neill, Brad Dourif

Yet another American remake of a Japanese film (and no, I haven't seen the original of this one, either), and yet another movie about how evil cell phones are.

This one is about a young woman whose boyfriend kills himself for no apparent reason. Good thing, he was funny looking and geeky. So she teams up with Captain Sexy (who bought her boyfriend's computer), a rugged man who spends a lot of time fixing cars, to find out why everybody is committing suicide. They discover that it's because there are ghosts coming over the internet and sucking people's life juices or something (still, I wouldn't classify it as a science fiction movie. It was really more straight up horror with a technological twist).

I'm not entirely sure how that was supposed to work. But who cares. Ghosts are coming through cell phone channels or something. I just finished reading a novel where that exact thing happened (not Cell, another one). It was really bad.

Okay, first of all, this was so obviously a mush of all the other Americanized J-horror pics, I don't even have to mention it. It had stuff from The Grudge and The Ring and Dark Water and all of that stuff.

I can forgive it that. The other thing is that I find all this "cell phones are BAD" crap kind of irritating. It was a little too obvious in this one. The use of cell phones and computers didn't seem real - it seemed really forced. It's true that people use their cellphones and computers a hell of a lot more than they should. It's disturbing how much people do (I get bothered by people using them while they drive - the phoning part doesn't bother me, it's the texting. Especially when I'm in the car).

I don't have a cellphone. I live on a spaceship, and the coverage is pretty crappy. Besides, these aliens are pretty technologically retarded. They can travel huge distances in their space ship, but they don't have iPods, or Blackberries or even HDTV. We have a regular DVD player (no HD or Blue Ray), a CD player with a tape deck, a VCR, a computer of course (a clunky old PC, but we do have Ultra High Speed). And I have a pager. And a ray gun. But otherwise it's pretty depressing. You should see the GPS system we use. Fuck.

Moving on. Apart from the fact that this movie was exactly like all the other movies and it was annoying, it wasn't too very bad. It was a little dull - there were a couple of mild scares in there. Freaky looking things jumping out of dark places. But it looked really beautiful. Whoever the cinematographer was (Mark Plummer), he was really good.

There were some interesting images in the movie - the graphics were actually pretty good all considered - and there was some good atmosphere at times. It wasn't terribly frightening, but they maintained a feeling of impending doom throughout. I don't agree with the DVD box about the "astonishing surprise ending". I was neither astonished nor surprised.

Anyway, it was okay, I guess. It looked good, and I guess if you think that technology is evil and taking over the universe, then go for it. Although, if you think that then what are you doing reading this, and why do you have a DVD player (I'm reasonably sure this movie didn't get released on VHS, and if it did, you shouldn't have a VCR either). You dirty little hypocrite.



Tideland (2006)

Directed by: Terry Gilliam
Written by: Terry Gilliam & Tony Grisoni, based on the novel by Mitch Cullin
Starring: Jodelle Ferland, Brendan Fletcher, Janet McTeer, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Tilly, Wendy Anderson

At last, Terry Gilliam's latest movie has come to me on DVD. I have some pretty weird feelings about him - I like about half of his stuff. The other half is just... too... weird (I'm so bourgeois, I know). This one comes with a little warning at the beginning where Terry comes on and says a whole bunch of stuff about how weird the movie's going to be and apologizes to everybody in advance. Ass kisser.

I'd heard a lot of stuff about this movie before I saw it - about how it was really disturbing, and was too much like Pan's Labyrinth, but I tried not to think about that shite while watching it.

It's told through the eyes of a young girl whose junkie parents die, leaving her all alone in an old house in the middle of the prairie. She fends for herself, playing games with her doll heads like children do. She befriends the strange siblings living down the way a little bit - one of whom is a mad taxidermist who believes that dead people will come back to life if you leave them long enough, the other pretends he is the captain of the submarine and spends all of his time trying to destroy a train which he says is a giant monster shark.

And it's a beautiful movie. I can understand why a lot of people didn't like it - there are some pretty sexual themes running through there, and a lot of people probably can't deal with little girls having relationships with fully grown men. Mr. Gilliam does address this in his ass-kissing intro - he says something about people finding it disturbing because it is innocent. Quite so.

Having been a girl of that age fairly recently (and not having grown up a whole lot, I might add), I can really identify with the main character, and I find it truly incredible that Gilliam can too - she's completely, 100% real, and she was created by older men.

All of the characters are extremely believable, and strangely endearing in their own way - even the corpse of Jeff Bridges (I like Jeff Bridges) - and though they are exaggerated to a certain extent, they all feel real. Everything feels real, as opposed to some of Gilliam's other pics. Brazil, for example. You're never sure what the hell is going on in that movie, whether it's all just a dream or what. A lot of his movies are like that. In this one, pretty much everything is really going on, as bizarre as it all is.

I certainly liked it better than his last movie, Brothers Grimm or whatever it was - I liked Brothers Grimm okay, but I liked this better. It had that whole Canadian thing going on. And I like Jodelle Ferland (who was the creepy little girl in Silent Hill) a whole lot better than Heath Ledger/Matt Damon. She was really good.

And I liked it better than Pan's Labyrinth. I liked Labyrinth too, but there's something about it... it's horribly grisly and depressing for one thing, and even though the writing is good and the little girl is very believable, it's got that lingering feel of a guy movie plastered all over it. You can just tell it was made by the same guy what did Hellboy and Blade 2. It's violent.

Tideland is a much more interesting fantasy, and a better and more optimistic fairytale. It's beautiful all the way around.

It's really hard to describe - I guess I should just tell everybody to see it no matter what they think of stuff like that. And though Terry Gilliam's little intro is totally uncalled for, it's a good bit of advice. You must obey.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

House of Frankenstein

House of Frankenstein (1944)

Directed by: Erle C. Kenton
Written by: Edward T. Lowe Jr., based on some story by Curt Siodmak, the name of which I can't remember. The Devil's something or other
Starring: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., J. Carroll Naish, Elena Verdugo, John Carradine, Anne Gwynne, Peter Coe, Sig Ruman, Lionel Atwill, George Zucco, Glenn Strange

Sixth film in Universal's Frankenstein series, and third for The Wolf Man, following Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man. I guess it's also the third or fourth in the Dracula series, depending on whether or not you count Son, although I'm starting to think that it's not really connected (prepare yourself for extreme nerdiness - in this movie they mention that Drac's body was found in his castle in Transylvania with a stake through his heart. In Tod Browning's Dracula, the Count was staked in Carfax Abbey, and later his body was burned by the title character in Dracula's Daughter. In Son of Dracula, he was burned to death by the sun, down in Louisiana or someplace. So this really has more to do with the Dracula of the book (who wasn't staked either. He was stabbed by a Bowie knife or whatever those things are called))

I need a hobby. Anyway, this movie is about a mad contemporary of Frankenstein and his hunchbacked assistant who escape from prison in an earthquake (the same one from Da Vinci Code, me thinks), kill the owner of a traveling monster show and wake up the skeletal remains of Dracula. The Count seems to be a bit hard to control, and goes off to seduce a beautiful young lady, so they kill him again. Then they rescue an entirely different beautiful lady from being whipped to death by some guy, and the hunchback dude falls in love with her. Unfortunately, they then find the frozen bodies of Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolf Man, and the girl falls for him (the Wolf Man, not the Monster). While that weird love triangle is going on, the mad doctor is simultaneously trying to regenerate the Monster and kill off the people who put him in prison. And there's something to do with brain transplants in there

And then everybody ends up dead - the Wolf Man and the gypsy girl kill one another, the hunchback gets thrown out the window and the Monster accidentally drowns himself and takes the Doctor with him.

I should probably mention that this is a really dumb movie. There's way too much stuff going on, like the creators were just sort of reveling in the fact that they had all the monsters and didn't bother coming up with a solid plot (the same problem that plagued Van Helsing). But it is really cool seeing all those monsters together (they aren't all together at the same time, but it still counts). My only regret is that the Mummy and the Invisible Man couldn't have been worked in there somehow. The Creature from the Black Lagoon hadn't been invented yet, so there was no chance of him turning up.

The other groovey thing is all the people who are in it - Boris Karloff, John Carradine and Lon Chaney Jr. of course, J. Carroll Naish, Lionel Atwill (who played the same character in Son of Frankenstein, although in that movie he had a wooden arm), George Zucco. The little guys of the old timey horror scene.

It was fun watching all those people running around. I'm not hard to amuse. Boris Karloff though, eh (I'd best not start this again. I can't help myself. He had a little moustache. He can wear a moustache very well. There, I've stopped).

For people who like the old Universal monster movies and their stars, I'd recommend it. Everyone else would probably just think it was dumb. Oh well.



Zombie (1980)

Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Written by: Elisa Briganti
Starring: Ian McCulloch, Tisa Farrow, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver, Auretta Gay, Stefania D'Amario, Olga Karlatos, Ugo Bologna (!), Lucio Fulci

In Italy, this film was known as Zombi 2, being a sort of unofficial sequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead (released as Zombi in Italy), though it almost feels more like a prequel. I put the American title in there because I'm like that, but according to my favourite website, the official title is Zombi 2. It's also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters in Britain and Yüzde 99 ölüm in Turkey. That clears that up. I guess.

The movie is about a young woman (played by Mia Farrow's younger sister, Tisa) and some other people who are looking for her father. As it turns out, he died on this tropical island which is slowly being taking over by the walking dead (oh no!). All of this apparently has something to do with voodoo (which now has something to do with the Catholic church). I guess there's a voodoo guy on the other side of the island turning good people into flesh eating monsters. I don't know what the point of that was.

It was sort of trying to mix voodoo zombies with flesh eating, Romero style ghouls (they're called 'ghouls' in the original Night of the Living Dead. I think that's cool (you do realize I could have used a hideously bad joke there)). That doesn't really work too well, but who cares, there's plenty of gore.

It was not, strictly speaking, a good movie. It was not a good movie loosely speaking. It was frigging stupid and disgusting, but I liked it. I'm sorry, I like zombie movies (like the population at large - they're in this year. Probably because, in this television addicted age, they are the monster we can most identify with. They're us. We haven't changed at all since Dawn of the Dead. Hordes of the shuffling living, with their vacant expressions and slow movements, are crowding our streets. The military is turning video game drones into fighting zombies to send overseas. Doom! Doom! Doom!).

Yes, I enjoyed it. It was entertaining. And really disgusting. I mean really gross. That eyeball skewering scene was unbelievably nasty. And some of the people munching bits were pretty damn graphic. But I can't help but like that awful '80s feel, the spurting blood, the relentless synth soundtrack, the painfully mediocre acting, the pointless nudity and unrelated shark attack (the shark does battle with a sea zombie, thus saving the topless diver. Cool). It was great.

But seriously though. It was moronic. I'm pretty sure it was shot half in English and half in Italian and then dubbed over. It sounds as though the whole thing was dubbed in English, but some people are really obviously speaking Italian. I could see their lips move.

The end was remarkably like that of 28 Weeks Later, I thought - the two surviving characters are just escaping Zombie Island (which would be a cool idea for a reality show - it would be like Survivor except instead of being voted off the island, contested would be devoured by the walking dead, kept on the other side of the island by a big, industrial, Kong sized fence) via boat when they turn on the radio and hear news of the zombies invading New York. Cut to a shot of zombies walking down the Brooklyn Bridge. That might have been lifted from something else, but I haven't seen it yet. It's a good ending.

Oh yeah. Spoiler warning.



Targets (1968)

Written and Directed by: Peter Bogdanovich

Starring: Boris Karloff, Tim O'Kelly, Nancy Hsueh, Peter Bogdanovich, Arthur Peterson, Monty Landis, James Brown, Tanya Morgan, Mary Jackson

One of Peter Bogdanovich's first movies, back when he was working for Roger Corman. Also one of Boris Karloff's last (he was in several other movies which weren't released until after his death. He filmed them while he was still alive, though, obviously).

The story involves an aging horror star who is planning to retire because his kind of film isn't scary anymore. Meanwhile, a psychotic young man with an obsession with guns shoots up his family and goes on a killing spree. The sniper eventually ends up at the drive-in theatre where the horror star is making a final live appearance.

It's amazing what Bogdanovich does with some stock footage from The Terror (a Roger Corman special with Karloff and a young Jack Nicholson - I have it on DVD, but I haven't worked up the guts to watch it yet) and the few days Karloff owed on his contract. The movie is remarkably well done, all considered. He did a good job.

It was cheap, of course. It could have benefited from a higher budget, and it wasn't the greatest of movies - it had that Roger Corman feel stamped all over it (in other words, it looked as if they slapped it together in a few days), but it's an effective and slightly disturbing cross between the old Gothic style horror of the '30s-'60s - which was just going out of fashion at the time, Hammer studios just petering petering out and giving way to the gritty, realistic slasher flicks of the 'modern' era - and real life horror.

Nifty. I'd better watch myself, I'm starting to sound like I have a point. Anyway, I loved Karloff, who was basically playing himself, but did a very good job of it nonetheless. I always love him, but he was so very old in this movie. It cleft my heart in twain. He needed an oxygen mask and his legs were all shaky. It was awful. I mean, he died only about a year later.

But never mind that little quirk (there just aren't any living horror actors worthy of my obsessive love). It was a good movie. I gather that it has a cult following. I can understand that. It's very good. I loved it.


Halloween 3

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Written and Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy, Michael Currie, Ralph Strait, Jadeen Barbor, Bradley Schachter, Wendy Wessberg

So this is the Halloween movie which has nothing to do with Halloweens 1 or 2 (or indeed 4, 5, 6 et cetera). It is, of course, set at Halloween, which is about the only connection I can discern (and they watch Halloween on TV).

This movie is about a Halloween mask manufacturer who manufactures some Halloween masks which basically melt the faces off of whoever's wearing them. How? He uses chunks of one of the stones at Stonehenge. Why? Because he's running a big evil corporation. And he's a crazy fucking Irish pagan. That's hardly an acceptable reason, but apparently nobody else thought so.

That was the most bothersome thing about the movie (there were a lot of bothersome things about this movie, but that one bothered me more than anything). What the hell is the point? So you melt the faces off of a few people. Then what? It seemed like just a waste of time, really. The people who weren't wearing the masks wouldn't be effected. And because it only worked when the kids were watching a particular commercial (I forgot to mention that - there's a special TV commercial which triggers the face meltage), a lot of people wouldn't even be effected by it.

I guess the drama is supposed to be that the main character's kids are wearing the masks. Big fucking deal, that guy was a wanker. He didn't seem all that concerned about his children. He seemed much more worried about his girlfriend being a robot or whatever the deal was with that.

Oh yeah, there were these robots, too (why? Because nothing else was happening in the movie so they had to throw some killer robots in). They killed a whole bunch of people in really gruesome ways. One guy got his head ripped off, on one guy got his skull broken into pieces, and a woman got drilled in the head (I couldn't help but wonder why the robots would use a drill if they could rip a man's head off with their bare hands. It was just sort of unnecessary).

Anyway, I gather this didn't do terribly well at the box office, because they went right back to the Michael Myers plot afterwards, and stuck with it until the bitter end, I guess. If there is a bitter end. What with the new movie coming out (the remake or re-imagining or whatever the fuck they're calling it. What is a re-imagining? I guess it means they'll be writing a new script? Or just making it Rob Zombilicious? Who knows).

Yeah, this movie sucked serious ass. The acting was awful, and it made no sense in any context. The villain didn't seem to have any real motives. And it was agonizingly '80s. It was just stupid. I did like that Halloween commercial they had on there. I've been walking around singing it for a few days. It was obnoxious as hell, but it was pretty damn funny.

Happy happy Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, happy happy Halloween, Silver Shamrock...


House of 1'000 Corpses

House of 1'000 Corpses (2003)

Written and Directed by: Rob Zombie
Starring: Sheri Moon, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Karen Black, Erin Daniels, Chris Hardwick, Jennifer Jostyn, Rainn Wilson, Dennis Fimple, Walton Goggins, Tom Towles, Robert Mukes, Matthew McGrory, Harrison Young

Okay. I saw Devil's Rejects a while ago - I thought it was okay, but this movie really puts it into perspective.

A group of young people (Yankees, I might add) doing research for a book on back road attractions run afoul of a deranged family of murdering psychopaths who want to cut them up and maybe eat them. Sound familiar? That part wasn't too bad. Yes, it ripped off every other horror pic under the sun (a horror movie by somebody who watches too many horror movies. This is probably what my movie would feel like), but it had style, humour, the makings of a plot. Then one of the girls gets put in this well and finds these caves under the house full of lobotomized mental patients, weird fucking things in gas masks and this guy with robotic arms.

What the fuck it this? I asked myself. I'm not entirely sure what the point of all that was... it confused the hell out of me. None of that crap showed up in the sequel, and the sequel is a much better movie (still feels like a rip off of everything under the sun, but tolerable).

It was gory enough, and generally revolting (not quite as hideous as Devil's Rejects, but still pretty nasty). Still... I think that Rob Zombie has some sort of potential. I don't quite like him - he grosses me out way too much and he's not quite original - but I respect him, and I get him. I think he could do stuff.

One thing that bothers me about this movie is his beautiful wife, Sheri Moon. She bothers me on many levels. First of all, he's kind of gross and she's a sexy lady. Also, she's not a really great actor. She really, really bugged me in this movie. I didn't think she was that annoying in the sequel. I thought I liked her in the sequel. I don't remember.

I do like Sid Haig, though, for whatever reason. He's as disgusting as everything else in the movie, if not more so, but he's good. Actually, I kind of like the rest of the family. I was always fond of the late Matthew McGrory - he got cast in all kind of crap roles just because he was freakishly tall, but I liked him in Big Fish. And hey, they killed Rainn Wilson, just when he was beginning to really bother me. Good move.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Dreams in the Witch House

H.P. Lovecraft's "Dreams in the Witch House (2005)
Masters of Horror, episode 2

Directed by: Stuart Gordon
Written by: Stuart Gordon and Dennis Paoli, based on the story by H.P. Lovecraft (hence the title)
Starring: Ezra Godden, Chelah Horsdal, Campbell Lane, Jay Brazeau, Yevgen Voronin, Susanna Uchatius, David Racz, Nicholas Racz

Another episode of the television program Masters of Horror which I borrowed on DVD from my library. I think this is the last of the single episodes that they have, but I have Season One parts one and two on hold. Ha ha ha...

This one is about a student who rents a room in an old house so he can study and work on his thesis in peace. He notices that three walls in his room converge at a certain angle which he believes is the specific angle at which different universes intersect (or something. I think it had to do with String Theory, of which I know very little). I didn't explain that particularly well, but who cares. There's this evil witch who is living in another universe and wants him to kill his neighbor's baby. And there's a rat with a human face. Weird.

Extremely weird. Better than Cigarette Burns, though. Just about anything is better than Cigarette Burns. This was pretty good. Some of it was a little lame - the guy banging his head on the chair downstairs was freaky, but I mean, really.

The acting/writing/art direction was pretty good though. That house was beautiful. Most of the insides were sets, I'm sure, but they looked good. The SFX weren't especially great, but they were used very sparingly. The human-faced rat was mostly shot in close up, so it didn't look too bad.

An interesting point is that, in the end, they killed the baby. (Spoiler warning) Not too many people have the guts to kill the baby in a movie, or even the little kid. The baby never gets killed. The baby gets rescued in as cute a way as possible. They kill the main character, too, in a rather nasty way (I'll leave that for you. That's the piece of information I withhold). And the witch. And the head banging old man. They kill frigging everybody. Good ending. Lots of blood.

I have to pat them on the back for that. I find babies in movies, particularly these kinds of movies, are extremely obnoxious and I always hope they get killed. This one really paid off. They made me almost care about the baby, though, which is interesting.

Pretty good. I liked it. Even though it was weird as hell. I'm kind of liking this show. It's a good thing. I wonder if it's still running... I have no idea. I'm not even sure if it's on television. I heard they were just releasing it straight to DVD.


New Nightmare

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

Written and Directed by: Wes Craven

Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Miko Hughes, Tracy Middendorf, John Saxon, David Newsom, Fran Bennett, Wes Craven

Okay. I guess one could call this the seventh film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, though it's sort of something else. It's one of those life-imitating-art deals, which Wes Craven seems to be into. It comes up several times in the Scream trilogy.

Freddy Krueger, who was killed in Freddy's Dead (as the title would imply), comes out of the movie and begins stalking Heather Langenkamp (who plays herself) and her young son (who is played by somebody else). Also playing themselves are all the starts of the first film who weren't doing anything else important, namely Robert Englund (who owes his soul to the movie anyway) and John Saxon (Johnny Depp, Patricia Arquette and Laurence Fishburne appear to have been busy). Plus Wes Craven and Robert Shaye and apparently Sara Risher, Marianne Maddalena, Tuesday Knight, and Nick Corri, none of whom I noticed while watching it.

All of which is an really clever idea, kudos to whoever thought it up (Wes Craven, I suppose. Note: The title Wes Craven's New Nightmare is actually significant to the plot, as opposed to any of John Carpenter's movies (i.e., John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, John Carpenter's Escape from L.A., et cetera) - I'm not going to bore you to death with the details of it, though. Ha), it just isn't done very well. It feels almost as though Wes got jumbled towards the end. Everything gets tangled up in a big knot and it ceases to make any kind of sense in any possible context.

I'm really not sure what was happening at the end of the movie there. I guess Heather Langenkamp goes into the movie, but I'm not entirely sure. It was weird and bizarre.

Another problem I was having is that I really don't like her any more. I did appreciate her when she was cute and little and the best thing in the movie, but now she's really not. She was pretty awful, actually. I mean, she was playing herself for fuck's sake, how hard can it be? The little kid was terrible, too. And a lot of the dialogue was crappy, which didn't help a whole bunch.

I would have been happier if someone else had played the lead. Robert Englund, maybe - that would have made an interesting plot. Wes Craven, even. He wasn't all that great in this, not that he was in it a whole lot. He was just nerdy and kind of disgusting. Everybody was vaguely disgusting...

Anyway, there's some interesting stuff in there. That whole snakey thing at the end there was pretty cool. Still, it was kind of on the dull side. And sweet Lord, the music was bad. It was really, really loud, too, which bothered my brain.

It was just kind of irritating. I do appreciate the effort, though. It's just the wasted potential that bugs me. I guess I've got Freddy vs. Jason to look forward to now. Goodie.


Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th (1980)

Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham
Written by: Victor Miller
Starring: Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, Laurie Bartram, Jeannine Taylor, Kevin Bacon, Peter Brouwer, Mark Nelson, Betsy Palmer, Robbi Morgan, Walt Gorney

The first in a very long series of slasher movies. I think there are at least nine sequels, not counting Freddy vs. Jason. I, being weird like that, watched this on Friday the 13th - actually, I watched it at 1 in the morning on Saturday the 14th, but because I didn't sleep in between the two days, it doesn't count (this is why I often have no idea what day it is...).

It's the classic slasher plotline - a bunch of teenagers go to the old closed down campground to fix it up so they can open it again. While there, they are stalked by a psychopath who wants to avenge the death of her son by killing fornicating camp counselors. Oh yeah, this is the one without Jason - he's the kid who drowned in the lake, and it's his grieving mother who does all the hacking. He does show up right at the end, but he doesn't do a whole lot. Just basically ensures that there's a sequel.

People must've really liked this movie. I found it kind of dull to be quite honest. It felt like all the good bits of other horror pics patched together - it has the basic plot of Halloween, plus the killer's POV shots (which Halloween ripped from Black Christmas - God knows where they came from before that), the music from Psycho as well as the sort of backwards version of the killer (Norman Bates kills people because his dead mother is taking over his personality. Pamela Voorhees kills people because her dead son is taking over her personality), the ending is just like the end of Carrie. I would like to say that the scene in which the killer hacks the door down with a machete is an echo of the "Here's Johnny" scene in The Shining, but this movie was released two weeks before The Shining so one probably doesn't have too much effect on the other.

Anyway, all of those movies are better than this one. This was okay, I guess. The acting was pretty bad, the pacing was pretty bad, the script was pretty bad and loaded with enough Biblical references to choke a mongoose, but the gore effects (Tom Savini!) were pretty good, and there were some interesting modes of death. It was just so much like everything else. And it wasn't very frightening at all. There were no points where I was concerned for the safety of any of the characters. I knew they were all going to die, die, die, and I didn't care (I did worry about Jamie Lee Curtis, Sissy Spacek, Janet Leigh and Olivia Hussey in the aforementioned pictures). I hoped they died. Even Kevin Bacon (the Jamie Lee Curtis/Johnny Depp of this particular series). I mean, I know who is is and all but I wanted him to die. Actually, I don't like Kevin Bacon. I always want him to die. And he did die in a pretty cool way...

Another thing that's been bothering me is how the fuck did those people get so tanned all over? I'm sure the actors went to a tan salon or something, but the characters. They were tanned all over. I can't get a tan on my hands no matter how hard I try. Frig. It bothers me.

No matter. I do appreciate the extremely low budget. I mean, even the camera work was cheap. It looked like crap, but they did the best they could with what they had. Good for them.


Sunday, July 15, 2007


Bloodrayne (2005)

Directed by: Uwe Boll

Written by: Guinevere Turner

Starring: Kristanna Loken, Michael Madsen, Matt Davis, Ben Kingsley, Will Sanderson, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Paré, Billy Zane, Meat Loaf, Geraldine Chaplin, Udo Kier

I often look a movie up before I watch it, just so I can have an idea of whether it sucks or not. I didn't look this one up. I knew very little about it before I watched it. Fuck me.

It's about a half vampire chick with incredible fighting powers or some bullshit who has to band together with team of fearless vampire killers in order to defeat her evil vampire father. Played by Ben Kingsley. Poor Ben. Along the way, she has to do a whole bunch of shit betraying the film's video game roots.

Again, I have never played the game Bloodrayne. I didn't know that such a thing existed. I only realized it while watching the opening credits. Imagine how disturbed I was.

Okay. My first big issue here - It's got Ben frigging Kingsley in it. And Geraldine frigging Chaplin. What the fuck was that all about? The cast of this movie was quite impressive. I have to wonder how that happened. I mean, Kristanna Loken was terrible (she played a robot pretty well - not as good as Arnold, mind you, but she was better in T3 than she was in this).

Of course, the quality of the actors is pretty much canceled out by the script. I honestly can't think of anything good to say about this movie. No redeeming qualities...

The plot was... well, I won't say non-existent. Stupid, maybe. Boring as hell. I didn't give a fuck and a half about anything, really. The script, as I said, sucked major ass. The costumes were all over the damn place. The movie didn't seem to be set in any specific time or place. I hated the main character's costume especially - I'm sorry, those black pants with the red around the crotch really bothered me some fundamental level.

The gore effects were pretty impressive. Creative, but they hardly made the movie. They were just mildly disgusting. There's a little bit at the end when the main character, Rayne or whatever the fuck her name was, has a flashback of all the gory stuff in the movie, played in slow motion (there were a lot of slow motion shots, and a lot of flashbacks - I guess they didn't have enough footage to make a whole movie, or something. I don't know). I'm not sure what the point of it was.

It was just generally embarrassing. I sort of spaced out in the middle, I'm not really sure what happened in there. I don't care. Words can't express my disgust. This was a bit of a waste of time. I can't even think of how they could have improved it. Smaller budget, maybe.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Silent Hill

Silent Hill (2006)

Directed by: Christophe Gans
Written by: Roger Avary, based on the video game by Konami
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Jodelle Ferland, Alice Krige, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Roberto Campanella, Lorry Ayers, Emily Lineham

I kind of wanted to see this movie based on the commercials - I've never played the game. I don't do that really. I thought it was about a woman who comes to a mysterious town where she loses track of her daughter and then has to help the inhabitants fight a bunch of scary monsters living in the lake. And it looked really cool.

It is, in fact, about a woman who comes to a mysterious town and loses her adopted daughter who is actually the daughter of a child who was burned for witchcraft 30 years ago because the town was built by witch burners. When they tried to burn her, they accidentally burned down the town and killed everybody, except that apparently they're still living there, and the girl they tried to burn is living under the city and every so often everything goes into her nightmare world which is full of really lame monsters which don't seem to do a whole lot. That doesn't stop them from trying to burn the daughter. Fucking witch burners, never learn.

I have no frigging idea what that was about. It wasn't about anything, it was just a whole bunch of stuff in a movie. If you didn't know it was based on a video game, I'm sure you would be hopelessly lost (I did know it was, but the people I was watching it with didn't. Heh heh).

Anyway, it looked okay, I guess. Sometimes. A lot of the time it was so obviously computer generated it doesn't even count, but other times it looks dirty and gross enough to be okay looking. And the cast is actually quite good. I'm not entirely sure how they coerced some of those people into being in the movie - none of them are exactly A-list stars, I guess. They'll do anything for some peanuts. I love peanuts.

But, well... it also looked cheap. And like I said, I couldn't make sense of it. I think they were either all dead or all high on fumes, but I'm not sure. They might have been in a parallel universe. There's probably some gamer out there who can set me straight, but I'm not even sure I care. I didn't waste a whole lot of thought on this movie. It was just like something happened, and then something else happened, and then they had to face a monster, and then some plot happened and repeat. Like a video game.

It was so insubstantial, and really, really disappointing. I remember there being some really cool stuff in the trailer, and I waited the whole movie for it to happen - I kept going, come on, where's that really cool thing that was in the trailer, but I never saw it.

Actually, whoever made the trailer deserves a hug. They actually made this movie look pretty damn interesting.

I just feel bad for the people who were in it, though. I'm sorry, I really do. Radha Mitchell and Alice Krige and Sean Bean (who again sounded really weird. He was supposed to be an American, but his Northern accent just kept on shining through. He shouldn't even bother, really).

The writing, too, was terrible. I mean, all that crap about "Oh no, the darkness is coming. The darkness, the darkness! We're too far from refuge" (Silent Hill is, apparently, across the river from Darkness Falls) Fuck, man. It's like reject dialogue from The Village.

I did like the ending, for whatever reason. Maybe I was just glad it was over. I was a little pissed off, actually. The point where I realized that they hadn't explained jack and there were only about five minutes left. And the fact that the big gore fest at the end was kind of lame. It was just gross and insignificant.

Movies based on video games suck. This movie was completely insane. Resident Evil was better than this (and what was the other one I saw? Oh yeah, Final Fantasy. That was better than this, too). This felt more like Resident Evil Apocalypse in that it was just stuff happening because it did. Not that I recommend watching Resident Evil rather than this. I recommend not watching Resident Evil and not watching Silent Hill, particularly if you have to rent them. I recommend playing the video game. It looks more fun.


Sick Girl

Sick Girl (2005)
Masters of Horror episode 10

Directed by: Lucky McKee

Written by: Lucky McKee & Sean Hood

Starring: Angela Bettis, Erin Brown, Jesse Hlubik, Marcia Bennett, Chandra Berg, Mike McKee

Another episode of the television program Masters of Horror, which comes on the same DVD as Deer Woman (Lucky McKee, apparently, gets stuck in with John Landis because nobody's ever heard of him. To be fair, I have heard of Lucky McKee. I saw one of his movies, The Woods).

This one is about a lady entomologist (the last time I tried to write that - in a post on Mimic, I put etymologist, which is something completely different. I left it up there because I was curious to see if I'd get any nasty e-mails. I haven't. I guess either entomologists and etymologists are too polite to bother me, they don't care, or they don't read my blog) who finally meets another woman who isn't bothered by her pets. Unfortunately, one of her pets gets loose and fills her girlfriend with juices. Ew.

Needless to say, it went a few places I'm not entirely sure I wanted to go. A woman getting impregnated by a bug - really disgusting (I was already worried that bugs might be able to do that, and this just freaked me right the fuck out).

Anyway, it was kind of a weird movie - the bug stuff was not quite there enough to make it a straight gross out horror movie, but it was there a little too much to let it be a real drama about peoples relationships.

It was kind of good, though. I'm just not entirely sure what to make of it.

The acting was really good too - both Angela Bettis and Erin Brown (who is, oddly, a porn star under the name of Misty Mundae) are good enough for the dramatic parts to be kind of distressing. It's a little too real, or something.

And the effects were pretty good. Okay, they were a little weird. I mean, what the fuck was that? But they were kind of cool, in a totally disgusting sort of way. It was fun-disgusting.

I like fun disgusting. Anyway, it was pretty weird... I'm still not sure how I feel about it exactly. I liked it. I guess.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Deer Woman

Deer Woman (2005)
Masters of Horror, episode 7

Directed by: John Landis
Written by: John Landis and his son Max
Starring: Brian Benben, Anthony Griffith, Cinthia Moura, Sonja Bennett, Julian Christopher, Don Thompson, Alex Zahara, Maxine Miller, John R. Taylor

John Landis' contribution (obviously) to the television show Masters of Horror. I'm not sure what channel it's on exactly, or when, or even if it is on at all (maybe it isn't, maybe they're just pretending. That's what I would do).

Whatever. This 'story' (I'm pretending it's The Twilight Zone for some reason) is about a Native American monster (supposedly), a woman with deer legs - like The Glaistig, if anybody's heard of that. The Glaistig has goat legs. Anyway, this deer woman seduces men and then tramples them to death. Hey, I don't blame her. Actually, it's more like an episode of The Night Stalker than The Twilight Zone (another show I watch a whole lot). It's about a guy investigating something weird...

And, you know, it's funny. I laughed heartily. There's a scene where the main character is trying to figure out how the first victim died by imagining different scenarios (beaten to death with a deer leg, killed by a giant monster deer). Funny stuff.

The acting was pretty bad, probably because it was shot in Canada and many of the actors are Canadian. I wish that weren't so, but unfortunately it is. The main character, Benben or whoever was not bad, and the woman who played the coroner (the same lady who played Tammy in Fido, apparently) was pretty good. They manage to use the poor acting to their advantage (by Them I mean the giant ants living in the sewer), though. It comes off as being kind of amusing.

But the deer woman herself was awful. I don't know if she was just really bad or she was doing that on purpose. She didn't say anything. She just sat there looking dumb - she was supposed to be the sexiest woman alive or something, and no man could resist her charms. A brick has more sex appeal than she does. I mean that. I'd rather bang a brick. I'd like to see someone try to bang a brick. Actually, maybe not.

Anyway, the writing is funny - I'm fond of John Landis. There's a little reference to American Werewolf in there - some other stuff too, probably, but my receptors didn't pick it up.

The monster isn't too terrifying, though. A brick is scarier. No really, I'm more afraid of bricks than I am of deer people. But seriously. It's not exactly the best example of what a Master of Horror can do. It was pretty entertaining, though.


Bucket of Blood

A Bucket of Blood (1959)

Directed by: Roger Corman

Written by: Charles B. Griffith

Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone, Julian Burton, Ed Nelson, John Brinkley, John Shaner, Judy Bamber, Myrtel Damerel, Bert Convey

I watched this with some friends the other day - yesterday, to be quite accurate. I was feeling under the weather, so they brought some chicken gumbo in a can and we watched this. I have nice friends.

Anyway, this is about a guy who works at a coffee house and longs to be an sculptor so he can gain the respect of the beatniks he serves and the attentions of the girl he's got a pash on. Unfortunately for him, he can't sculpt for shit. Fortunately, he accidentally kills his landlady's cat and covers it in clay (he does that on purpose). Unfortunately, he's asked to make another statue. Fortunately, he accidentally kills an undercover cop who he believes is going to shoot him. And then covers him in clay. Unfortunately, they think he should do a female nude. Fortunately, the annoying model who is always very mean to him is back in town. Then he starts killing people on purpose.

Anyway, the whole thing feels very much like a cross between House of Wax and Psycho (which hadn't been made yet), with some very Poe-esque guilt thrown in there. I imagine it owes a lot to House of Wax, though, seeing as this was about the time Roger Corman started using Vincent Price in everything.

And the Psycho thing is really just because the main character is like a more sympathetic version of Norman. He's not as psycho, but he's still a little funny. And I do sympathize with Norman more than I probably should, but this Walter Paisley guy (who wore Paisley a few times during the movie) is just kind of sad. I mean, he lives alone and makes pancakes. It just rips my heart out and steps on it with it's stiletto heels. Yes, I'm very dramatic.

The two big problems I had with it were the poor sound quality (Roger Corman apparently saved money by not using mics in this), which may be due to the poor quality of the DVD (Killer Creature Double Features. It came with The Giant Gila Monster (which I am familiar with because of El Mundo only). We didn't watch that. I'll have to check on the sound quality of their other DVDs. I have a few - Anatomy of a Psycho/Hatchet of the Honeymoon and The Screaming Skull/Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman). Also, there wasn't a full bucket of blood in it. There was a bucket (more of a pail, actually) with some blood in it, but it could hardly be called a bucket of blood.

It was pretty stupid, too - I mean, why didn't the people recognize the statues? - but who cares about that. It was funny. I was sick with laughter. I really, truly was. Ha.


Friday, July 6, 2007

Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider (2007)

Written and Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson, based on a comic created by Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott, Wes Bentley, Donal Logue, Peter Fonda, Laurence Breuls, Daniel Frederiksen, Matthew Wilkinson

Okay, so there's this guy, and he's really cool, he's a motorcycle guy, and he sells his soul to Mephistopheles, and then his skull goes on fire, and his bike is really cool and he drives around and stuff.

Right. And the plot has something to do with the son of Satan and this town where the old Ghost Rider didn't take the souls of the wicked because they were just too wicked and he needs them. Or something. Who cares, the guy's skull is frigging on fire! How fucking cool is that?

Ah sarcasm, how I love you. I was vaguely interested at the beginning of the movie - I find all that religious stuff fascinating. I'm a bit of a mythology nut. And then by the end I was pretty much catatonic. I don't know what the fuck was going on there.

It just seemed like some bad computer FX and Nicholas fucking Cage being Nicholas fucking Cage. And can I say video game tie in?

First of all, I'm not really into movies based on superhero comics, with a few exceptions. I like Blade. Spiderman is okay, Batman is reasonably inoffensive and I'm partial to X-Men for some inexplicable reason, but other than that, I'm really not into it.

And of all the superhero comic adaptations I've seen thus far, this is one of the shittiest. In fact, of all the movies in general I've seen thus far, this one ranks among the shittiest.

It was total bullshit, and I do not use that term lightly. I usually try to restrain myself a little bit, and I really want to say something nice about this movie, if only for karmic reasons, but I really, honestly can't. I kept getting up and leaving throughout because I really did not give two shits.

The plot doesn't make any sense. I can't even begin to imagine what the fuck was going on there. Something about souls, I guess. It really just felt like Constantine for the imaginatively stifled. Like a version of Constantine that wouldn't offend anyone - you know, Ghost Rider sold his soul to Satan, but he still stands for justice, and American values. Constantine for rednecks who like motorcycle racing (no offense to motorcycle loving rednecks - I love you, I really do, I just think this movie sucked ass).

But really, think about it. It's a sort of semi-religious fantasy type superhero movie. It uses Christian mythology as a starting off point for it's own twisted mythology. It's got Nicholas Cage instead of Keanu Reeves, but really, what's the difference? It's got Eva Mendes rather than Rachel Weiss (big difference). And Constantine is cool where as this movie is boring as all fucking hell.

It made me want to watch Constantine again. The art direction alone is so much more impressive. And Tilda Swinton makes a much more intimidating force of evil than whoever the hell was in this.

This movie just made me mad. I really want my time back. I imagine in fifteen years, I'll be lying on my deathbed, all alone in some shabby house going, "Fuck me, why did I watch Ghost Rider", and then I'll be dead. Great. Thanks a lot.


Monday, July 2, 2007

The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man (1973)

Directed by: Robin Hardy

Written by: Anthony Shaffer, based on the novel Ritual by David Pinner

Starring: Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, Lindsay Kemp, Christopher Lee, Irene Sunters

The original Wicker Man, which is ridiculously better than the Nicholas Cage version.

It has the same plot as the remake, essentially. A man goes to an island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. When he gets there, he finds that everybody on the island belongs to some weird pagan cult. He, being an intolerant zealot-prick, goes around giving them a hard time about their religion. While investigating the girl's death.

The first big, important difference between this and the piece o' shite remake is that this one is set in Scotland and it full of British people. Sure, Ellen Burstyn and Ruth (I can't remember what that actresses name is at the moment...) are cool, but these little British people are cooler.

And it's not as... stupid. It is stupid, yes, but I'm sorry, an island belonging to a Californian cult of scary feminists who sacrifice people in this day and age isn't nearly as convincing as a Scottish island which has different religious beliefs than the rest of the country in the seventies. That didn't make a whole lot of sense, but dammit, it's true.

And Edward Woodward is better than Nicholas Cage. I can't stress that point more. Nicholas Cage is... a pile of fleshy dough, or something. I want to like him, I really do. I liked him in The Weather Man for some reason. But he's really, really repulsive. Edward Woodward is better (although the fact that his name is Edward Woodward hurts my brain a little bit. I have trouble saying his name. I usually say something that sounds like Edderd Wooderd).

Okay, the singing was a little alarming. Most of it didn't bother me too much - I mean, some guys singing in the bar, or Christopher Lee singing for no apparent reason (brief detour, what the fuck was wrong with that man's hair? He looked like seventies man come from seventies land. He sort of it, but I mean, usually he has the decency to slick it back or something, but in this is was all over the frigging place), but there's once scene where Britt Ekland does a naked butt-slapping dance, singing, around her room. It looks like some awful music video. And the music was really weird. That corn rigs song. Weird shit.

Anyway, I liked Christopher Lee in this movie (I like him in virtually any movie. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Broke my heart). He dressed in drag. And looked just like Cher. Woah.

Yeah, but the little clash between the super Christian psycho fuck and the pagan infidels wasn't really in the remake. At all. It wasn't even like there was a woman hater going to a feminist resort or whatever. That would have been offensive.

Of course the remake was a hell of a lot more offensive than this one anyway (speaking as not only a woman but also a dirty heathen). It's just better. In all possible ways.


Thirteen Ghosts

Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

Directed by: Steve Beck
Written by: Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D'Ovidio, based on 13 Ghosts, written by Robb White
Starring: Tony Shalhoub, Shannon Elizabeth, Alec Roberts, Rah Digga, Matthew Lillard, Embeth Davidtz, F. Murray Abraham, JR Bourne, Mikhail Speidel, Daniel Wesley, Laura Mennell, Kathryn Anderson, Craig Olejnik, Shawna Loyer, Xantha Radley, C. Ernst Harth, Laurie Soper, Herbert Duncanson, Shayne Wyler, John De Santis

Remake, I guess, of the old William Castle movie from the '60s. I couldn't help but notice that this movie was produced by somebody named Terry Castle who, as it turns out, is William Castle's daughter. The gimmick from the original film had something to do with 3D glasses - something like you (the audience) had to wear the glasses in order to see the ghosts. In this movie, the characters in the film had to wear special glasses for the same reason. Cool.

The plot involves a family which has recently lost the mother/wife in a fire and then inherits a house from a rich and dead uncle. Unfortunately for them, the rich and dead uncle was a collector of ghosts and the house is stacked with them. After being there for only about half an hour, the house is sealed (much like in House on Haunted Hill and the ghosts (all of which seem to be psychotic, except for the ghost of the wife) are released.

Then there's this thing about this machine that opens the eye of hell or something, and Tony Shaloub is destined to be the Thirteenth Ghost or whatever. I don't know.

The plot didn't make a hell of a lot of sense - it did and it didn't. Stuff kept happening that was just weird. Like, was Fmurray dead, or wasn't he? I couldn't tell.

The movie was all about scare value and gore anyway, it didn't matter. And I have to give them some credit for that. I mean, it wasn't very scary at all, but they did kill some people in some pretty interesting ways. For instance, a guy gets cut in half lengthwise, which is something I haven't seen in a movie before. And actually, the ghosts were pretty cool. They were all archetypes, which was kind of interesting.

And another thing I thought was cool: At the end of the day, when everything is coming to it's furious, explosive climax, it is not Tony Shaloub who disables the big old machine and saves the day (he does rescue his children and throw the bad guy into a bunch of rotating blades, however). It's Rah Digga who messes with the turnies and slidies on that big sound board thing. I can't remember why that worked, but it was cool cause Rah Digga did it. Go Digga.


Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Most Dangerous Game

The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Directed by: Irving Pichel & Ernest B. Shoedsack
Written by: James Ashmore Creelman, based on a short story by Richard Connell
Starring: Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks, Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Noble Johnson, Steve Clemento, Dutch Hendrian, William Davidson

King Kong's sister production, using many of the same actors (Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Noble Johnson) and sets (I think I recognized that tree chair thing, and I'm positive I saw that bridge in there).

This movie is about a big game hunter who shipwrecks on an island and gets taken in by the island's owner. The owner also happens to be a big game hunter, only he hunts people (who are, apparently, the most dangerous game) rather than tigers and elephants and shit like that. So he and the girl (the survivor of a different ship wreck) have to run away from the crazy count for the rest of the movie.

So not a whole lot happens in the movie, which makes it seem a little bit longer than it is (it's actually only about an hour long. You couldn't make a 90 minute movie with this story, I don't think. Well, maybe you could. I don't know). But most of it is pretty good.

Some of the writing is a little bit... not good (a lot of it was kind of obvious. I can't think of any examples at the moment, but there's a lot of 'as you know, Bob' kind of lines). Although a lot of the movie has no dialogue whatsoever.

It's pretty gruesome for the time, though. I mean, the guy has a room full of pickled heads and crap like that. Of course, Kong was also pretty nasty, what with all the squishing and twisting and munching.

I'm not all that crazy about the original Kong. I prefer either of the remakes for some reason (I know, the one with Jeff Bridges sucks major ass, whatever, but Jeff Bridges is cool), but I did kind of like this movie. It looked nice.

And it had cute dogs! I love dogs. Big dogs, Great Danes, they were (Great Danes aren't all that scary. They're sweeties, really). People who don't like dogs are half people.

Anyway, I like movies with dogs in them. Obviously. I think they could make a remake of this movie that would be pretty good. Mind you, they practically have already. I mean, there are lots of movies like this. Never mind that then.

Anyway, there's that whole moral question in there somewhere. Like, if it's okay to murder tigers and elephants and other good natured creatures of the forest, why not people? I try not to get into anything deep like that, but it's an interesting question. I think they should kill people.