Friday, December 26, 2008

Plan 9

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

Ranking: Fuck Yeah
Extremely Trashy


Okay okay okay. I know there's nothing to really say about this movie which hasn't been said already... but... well... I liked it.

The plot involves an old man (Bela Lugosi) grieving over his dead wife (Vampira I guess?). Then he dies. Then some UFOs show up and aliens start bringing people back from the dead for some reason. Kind of like Half Life.

Yeah, this movie was kind of lousy, but it was way better than Bride of the Monster, the Friday the 13th series, Across the Universe or anything directed by Uwe Boll. And it has a good message, I guess. The aliens come to earth and start resurrecting corpses because they want to show us that we are a bunch of violent savages. How do the people of Earth retaliate? By denying it, and then burning the alien ships. Real mature there...

Despite the general crapiness of the movie, it really does try very hard and has a certain childlike innocence, as well as one or two very well done scenes. Some of the stuff with Lugosi right at the beginning is actually touching in a weird way. He's kinda good in the eighty seconds he's in the movie. Although maybe that's just compared to the other actors, if you rally can call them actors.

There's also one scene in which Tor Johnson (who played Lobo in Bride of the Monster and got way too much dialogue in this movie) rises from the grave and walks around with his dead fish eyes. It's pretty fucking creepy.

So if it weren't for everything else in the movie, it might have been kind of good. Ah well, it's heart was in the right place at least.

Still, I'd take a good H.G. Lewis movie any day...

END

Written and Directed by: Ed Wood. Starring: Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Duke Moore, Tom Keene, Tor Johnson, John Breckinridge, Lyle Talbot, Vampira, Tom Mason, Bela Lugosi

Mr. Brooks

Mr. Brooks (2007)

Rating: No
Moderately Trashy


'Smart' serial killer movie about a successful business man (Kevin Costner) with a psychopathic alter ego (William Hurt. Of course.) who makes him murder people. When one of his murders is photographed by a peeping tom (Dane Cook), Mr. Brooks is blackmailed into teaching him how to kill people or whatever. Meanwhile, he suspects that his daughter (Danielle Panabaker) may also be a serial killer. Meanwhile he is being tracked by recent divorcee Demi Moore who is in turn being stalked by another recently escaped serial killer she helped put away years earlier.

Individually, any one of these plot elements may have made an interesting movie. Putting all three together just detracts from the significance of each.

Although the fact that the movie was sleazy, completely full of shit and had the feel of something made for television (okay, it was a little better than Someone's Watching Me!) didn't really help either. I mean, honest to God. Demi Moore was the best they could do? Where the hell's Naomi Watts when you need her? (I love Naomi Watts)

This movie was dumb, and it was just an inferior rehash of all those serial killer movies for smart people. And I know, I know, I watched all of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, but they were way more intelligently written than this. This just tried way harder.

I still think this movie could have been half good if it wasn't so pulpy and vulgar. No taste whatsoever. Also, it could have had better characters.

And holy crap is Kevin Costner old. Just had to throw that in. I always had sort of mixed feelings about Kevin Costner. Sometimes I love him, sometimes I hate him. Really, though, what the fuck was he doing in this movie? Taking shit from friggin William Hurt, apparently.

Ech. This flick is definitely not worth the two hours I spent watching it. It wasn't even fun to whine about.


END

Directed by: Bruce A. Evans. Written by: Bruce A. Evans & Raynold Gideon. Starring: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt, Marg Helgenberger, Danielle Panabaker.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Someone's Watching Me!

Someone's Watching Me! (1978)

Rating: God No
Extremely Trashy


Forgot that it's a made for television thriller for the late '70s. Forget that it's a John Carpenter movie. The title of this film alone is enough to push it into a king sized vat of sleaze. The you can add the made-for-tv/thriller/'78/John Carpenter combination. What comes out is one hell of a movie. Don't get me wrong, I liked Prince of Darkness and They Live way more than one person should, but still.

About an attractive, professional young woman (Lauren Hutton) who comes to L.A., moves into an apartment with huge windows and insists on walking around in her unmentionables. She gets some slutty job directing commercials or something and hooks up with some slutty guy she meets in a bar (David Birney). Everything seems perfect but... SOMEONE'S WATCHING HER!!!!!!!.

Who could it be? Who the fuck cares? Okay, the dude does threaten to kill her. So what? Just move you fucking whore. Go live with your skanky boyfriend, or, better yet, just die. I don't give a shit. I was actually more concerned about the safety of Adrienne Barbeau, and for good reason as she is I think the only person in the movie who actually does get killed, apart from the stalker himself.

Poor gal got stuck with suck ass dialogue like "rape is when a man knowingly keeps a woman in fear". Really? That was not my understanding of the meaning of the word. To be fair, everyone in this movie got suck ass dialogue, but that was the worst.

What else can I say about this movie? It was a pile o crap. Why would anyone bother making it? It's not exactly a new and original idea - in fact, it feels like a really weak episode of Tales from the Crypt.

Blech. Whoever thought it was a good idea to release this on DVD deserves to be shot, or maybe just poked in the eye, or shaken rreally hard until s/he cries. That would probably be more appropriate.

END

Written and Directed by: John Carpenter. Starring: Lauren Hutton, David Birney, Adrienne Barbeau, Charles Cyphers, Grainger Hines.

Day Watch

Dnevnoy Dozor (2006)

Rating: Yeah
Moderately Trashy


Sequel to Nightwatch picks up sort of around where the last one left off I guess. I watched this movie more than a month ago and there's an assload of stuff going on, so I forget the finer points of the plot.

As far as I recall the dude, Anton (Konstantin Khabensky), who is a Light Other, is framed for the murder of a Dark Other. Meanwhile, he is trying to find a way to spend time with his son (Dima Martynov), the Great Dark Other and his girlfriend (Mariya Poroshina), the Great Light Other. And then there's all this other stuff...

Okay, there's way too much shit going on in this movie, and it tends to devolve into a high calibre car commercial every twenty minutes or so, but it is strangely mesmerizing.

I quite like the mythology of the films (I should probably read the books - I hear they're good) and am willing to am willing to ignore the fact that some aspects of the plot and much of the cultural stuff is completely beyond me for the sake of interesting characters.

Granted, some parts of the film are a little extraneous, other parts a little broad. The film runs a little over two hours which is a really long time to watch one movie (ha, coming from the person who sat around in her pajamas all day to watch the extended version of Lord of the Rings. To be fair, I did not enjoy myself), and I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying, but hey whatever.

I dunno, I just really like the characters for some reason. They're so... normal, and unsexy in a sexy sort of way. I mean, they're all really good looking, but Mariya Poroshina doesn't have to run around in a leather bustier nor does Konstantin Khabensky have to wear a wife beater and constantly show off his pecks to keep the viewer interested.

And there's a lot of action and violence to keep me from getting too bored, so there we go.

END

Written and Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov based on the novel by Sergei Lukyanenko and Vladimir Vasiliev. Starring: Konstantin Khabensky, Mariya Poroshina, Vladimir Menshov, Viktor Verzhbitsky, Galina Tyunina, Dima Martynov, Zhanna Friske, Aleksei Chadov.

Psycho

Psycho (1998)

Rating: Unneccessary
Extremely Trashy

What can one say about this movie? Well.... it was better than Psychos 2, 3 & 4. That's not really saying all that much, though.

I doubt there are very many people who do not know the plot of Psycho regardless of whether or not they've seen it (making the twist ending probably the least surprising twist ending in a film). I also doubt there are two many people who don't know about the notorious shot-for-shot remake.

The only difference (apart from the completely different cast) is that the film is in colour, detracting significantly from the atmosphere and creepiness of the film. However, instead of just slapping colour in there, they did make an effort to make everything look coordinated and cool. There's a lot of pastel green and orange for some reason...

The biggest problem I had with this movie was Vince Vaughn. He sucked as Norman. I sometimes like Vince Vaughn. He can be funny. But in this movie, no. Anthony Perkins was strangely endearing, in a frigging creepy sort of way. Vince Vaughn was just wrong on every level. And hey kept wondering when the hell Ben Stiller was going to show up... (that would have been an interesting direction for the movie, actually).

I found all the casting to be kind of off in this movie. William H. Macy was about the only person I thought did a really good job, and even then.

Ugh. It's just totally pointless. They should have done something else with it. Mr. Red and I were discussing the film afterwards and she suggested perhaps they should have reversed all the genders. And change the twist to something else, coz everyone knows what it is.

And they didn't even cut the shitty wrap up scene, where buddy explains Norman's condition. The lamest scene in the original movie, and they didn't even bother to ditch it, only accentuating the pointlessness of this movie.

Fuckers.

END

Directed by:
Gus Van Sant. Written by: Joseph Stefano, based on the novel by Robert Bloch. Starring: Vince Vaughn, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Anne Heche, William H. Macy, Robert Forster, Phillip Baker Hall.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Food of the Gods

Food of the Gods (1976)

Rating: Not really
Moderately Trashy


Watched this after getting home from Empire of the Ants - it's directed by the same guy (Bert Gordon who, according to the IMDb is also responsible for The Amazing Colossal Man, Beginning of the End (giant grasshoppers), Earth vs. the Spider, and Village of the Giants) and is also supposedly based on an H.G. Wells novel, though I doubt it is a particularly faithful adaptation.

In this movie, a bunch of people including the smart-but-beautiful-whateverologist (Pamela Franklin), the money grubbing corporation guy (???) and Marjoe Gortner become trapped in a cabin in the woods when a small Canadian island is overrun with giant rats, wasps, maggots and (I shit you not) chickens.

These creatures apparently ingested a mysterious substance bubbling out of the ground in Ida Lupino's backyard, which made them grow to monstrous proportions! Dear God, how could such a thing happen? Well, as it turns out, when these farmer found this mystery shit bubbling out of the ground they took the only rational course of action and force fed it to their chickens. Okay...

The special effects in this movie, though entertaining, were mediocre. The acting was mediocre. The script was mediocre. Everything about the film was kind of mediocre.

For instance - it seems to me the only reason to add a pregnant woman to the motley crew of stereotypical b-movie characters would be to imply that, perhaps, the mother accidentally ingested some of the Food of the Gods and that the child would, like, become the 50 Foot Woman or something.

No, actually, it was just so that she could squeeze the little whelp out while rats were attacking the cabin and The Men were doing something vastly more important. This is why you should never bring women into a situation like this. All they do is fuckin scream and have babies and shit...

So though Empire of the Ants was stupid and perhaps even less competent than this film, it was way more entertaining than this.

END

Written and Directed by: Bert I. Gordon based on the novel by H.G. Wells. Starring: Marjoe Gortner, Pamela Franklin, Ida Lupino, Ralph Meeker, Jon Cypher, Belinda Balaski, John McLiam.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Empire of the Ants

Empire of the Ants (1977)

Rating: Yeah
Moderately Trashy


This was the viewers' choice film at Al Fresco, Halifax's out door fillm festival (it was screened August 30th, I just took my time writing this review). The theme this year was environmental disaster movies (or EnvironMental movies as I like to call them) and the other films on the ballot included Soylent Green (which I voted for on account of Mr. Heston dying earlier this year), Creature from the Black Lagoon, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster and Toxic Avenger (Night of the Lepus was conspicuously absent).

It's about what happens when a sleazy real estate agent (Joan Collins) takes a bunch of people down to Florida with the intention of selling them shitty swamp land. When they get there, they find the place overrun by giant, mutant ants who are intent on taking over then entire state, sugar refinery by sugar refinery. And they're welcome to it! Really, who gives a shit about Florida...

Though this movie is undeniably lousy, it had a certain charm which surfaced every now and then in lines like "we just wanted to enjoy the last years of our lives! Is that so wrong?" and "it's none of your business what I do with my sugar".

The characters never seemed to behave in a rational way. I mean, after just barely escaping the jungle full of ants with their lives, they head straight for the nearest sugar refinery. Coz, you know, ants would never go there.

Christ. Forget the plot, characters and dialogue, the way the movie was shot and edited is completely incoherent. In one scene, the motley crew is headed down the river in a small rowboat when, holy shit! They are attacked by ants! In one shot, we see some asshole wrestling with an ant. He falls into the water. In the next shot, everyone is in the water and the boat is sinking. Did I miss something?

But despite that, the movie was actually really awesome. It was even better than Frogs if such a thing is possible. I really liked looking at the ant effects which, though primitive, were fairly effective and more interesting to look at than crappy ass CGI.

Yeah, this movie was well worth watching.

END

Directed by: Bert I. Gordon. Written by: Jack Turley based on the short story by H.G. Wells. Starring: Joan Collins, Robert Lansing, John David Carson, Albert Salmi, Jacqueline Scott, Pamela Shoop.

Next, another Bert I. Gordon masterpiece about giant stuff: Food of the Gods

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday the 13th 9

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Rating: Uch
Beyond the Planet of Trash


Ninth film in the Friday the 13th series (I believe it is the second bearing the title of 'Final') and the one I had the most trouble getting my stubby little hands on. Every place I tried to get hold of a copy seemed to have just lost theirs. Strange phenomenon.

Well, whatever. Now I've seen it. A sadder but a wiser man I woke the morrow morn. Or whatever. At the end of part eight, I believe Jason (Kane Hodder) got melted in the sewers of New York. Somehow, he manages to return to New Jersey or wherever the fuck he came from in the first place ("like the salmon!" Mr. Blue suggested), only to be sploded by army guys. Apparently, though melting him didn't work, they thought maybe blowing him up would...

Only then does it turn out that he can in fact occupy the body of whomsoever he wishes. Even you. Interesting concept. What follows is the typical pointless slaughter of immoral youngsters.

After eight other films, the plot is even thinner than when it started and yet the production has not improved at all. Much like a band I know (I'll avoid names to protect the guilty), they keep practicing and practicing but they never get any better. Just louder.

Anyway. This movie sucked major ass (I'm not even going to try to figure out how much ass it sucked compared to the other films in the series. It sucked, we'll leave it there). However, there are lots of little references to other movies to make people like me feel smug, such as buddy finding the book from Evil Dead. Nothing whatsoever to do with the plot. It's just to reward those of us who were paying attention.

I'm pretty sure I saw references to The Thing and Creepshow also, but I'm not sure.

Freddy Kruger makes a brief appearance at the end of the film, which does make one wonder they made Jason X before getting around to the only marginally superior Freddy versus Jason?

Ech, no matter. I can now officially say I have seen the Friday the 13th series. I feel kind of hollow and empty, though...

STATS
Body Count: 20, making a grand total of 181 for the entire series.
Request Death: I don't remember. It was all stabbing and slashing and impaling... it kinda ran together.
How the Kill Him: Urm... I think they use the power of God or some shit

END


Directed by: Adam Marcus. Written by: Dean Lorey and Jay Huguely. Starring: Kane Hodder, John D. LeMay, Kari Keegan, Steven Williams.

Next: Giant ants take over Florida in Empire of the Ants.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vampire's Kiss

Vampire's Kiss (1989)

Rating: Sure
Moderately Trashy


Somewhat interesting film about a sleazy, obnoxious editor (Nicholas Cage) who believes he has become a vampire. He takes to wearing dark glasses and fake plastic fangs, and terrorizing his secretary (Maria Conchita Alonso). He also runs down the street screaming "I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire!" (a scene which whatsername should use in the next Twilight novel).

But is he really a vampire, or is he just completely insane? The film manages to handle this question without trying to be 'deep' or 'reinvent the vampire myth' or be remotely serious. The goofiness, however, works rather than turn the film into a joke which takes an hour and a half to reach the punchline.

The character is bizarrely interesting, the plot borderline plausible (I wouldn't be surprised if that happened).

Ordinarily I can't stand Nicholas Cage. I liked him in Raising Arizona and, for some weird reason, The Weather Man but other than that he bugs the hell out of me. However, I enjoyed his performance in this, irritating though he was - he seems to be very good at playing an obnoxious, self obsessed asshole. I wonder why?

Unfortunately, this movie happened to be made at the tail end of the 80s, which means that everything is permeated by the sleaze of that god forsaken time period - the music is actually not unbearably atrocious (a fact which probably saves the movie), but still. There's just something about the 80s...

It's about what the vampire genre needs right now. Something in that vein anyway (don't. Just don't). Most of the vampire movies I've seen lately have been waaay too serious and depressing (i.e., that Alaska one, the Underworld movies et cetera. Blade had a fair sense of humour which was cool). Or, you know, really sexy and shit. Or REALLY unsexy. There has to be something in the middle, an intermediate amount of sexiness.

Well, whatever. This movie was fun to watch. It made me laugh. It's not hard to make me laugh, but it still made me laugh. Yay.

END


Directed by:
Robert Bierman. Written by: Joseph Minion. Starring: Nicholas Cage, Maria Conchita Alonso, Jennifer Beals, Elizabeth Ashley, Kasi Lemmons, Bob Lujan.

Next:
The ninth installment of the Friday the 13th series.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight (2008)
Rating: Meh
Not Trashy Enough


Okay... for starters, I have mixed feelings about this movie. I still haven't really made up my mind about it despite having seen it twice, thought about it for two months and watched Batman Begins again to refresh my memory as to why exactly Cillian Murphy was still running around the city.

On one hand, it is fairly entertaining and technically very skilled. On the other hand, they pack way too much action and plot into it and fill it with sappy, melodramatic bullshit.

The plot involves Batman's continuing battle against the forces of chaos as he keeps Gotham safe from crime and the Joker. Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend (Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing whatserface) is going out with Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart)... and then all this shit happens, I don't really remember.

Did I mention that way too much stuff happens in this movie? It's about eight hours long, too and didn't really seem to have one central focus.

They really should have saved Two Face for the next movie. They definitely should have set him up in this movie, but they should have exercised some self control and saved him.

And he looked really dumb. After checking out the really cool make up job they did on Heath Ledger, showing us some crappy ass CGI on Aaron Eckhart is just weak.

And come on, that wouldn't even work. How does he keep his lidless eyeball from drying out? And you'd think the fact that he has no lips or nose on one side of his face would affect his speech in some way. Besides, they don't even get him rolling until, like, two hours into the movie.

Up until that point, the plot has to do with the Joker, some gangstas and Maggie Gyllenhaal trying to chose between Harvey Dent or Batman. Fuck! The answer is simple! Harvey Dent is like the most amazing guy in the world! Not only is he devoted to doing really great stuff like fighting crime and shit, he's also really nice and he doesn't wear a bat suit. Okay, he's got some emotional problems but who cares, he's awesome.

He also doesn't speak in a ridiculously low and gravelly Batman voice. Bruce Wayne speaks with Christian Bale's normal voice (actually, I think Mr. Bale is British, so that's not his normal accent at all, but whatever). Batman speak with this really stupid, low and gravelly voice. I burst into laughter whenever he said anything. I have no idea why that was necessary (perhaps it was to hide his identity. I don't know).

Well, anyway. Moving on to Heath Ledger, may he rest in peace. He was about the best thing in the movie and deserved way more screen time and more to do (I did like that we were given no background on him whatsoever - that was nifty and makes his motives unknown or, more likely, non existant). I dunno about Oscar worthy, but pretty good. And his make-up was really cool.

But generally, the movie was way too mature for me. I'm mean, it's frigging Batman for god's sake. There was way too much drama but no emotional investment in the characters. All that crap with Gary Oldman towards the end there ("god dammit, stop pointing that gun at my family!"), though amusing in that Mr. Oldman is usually the guy pointing the gun, made me want to barf what with it's overwrought dramatic gooeyness. Fuck. It needed to lighten up (why so serious? I feel like an asshole).

Granted, some of those batman pics (e.g., the one with Arnold Schwarzenegger) are a little too goofy, but the Tim Burton ones seemed to manage to be both fun and spooky at the same time.

Still, I'm curious to see where they're going to go with the next one. Mostly I wonder what they're going to do with the Joker character. Will they quietly kill him off, or cast someone else in the role. Or just ignore him completely? How unscrupulous are these people?

END

Directed by:
Christopher Nolan. Written by: Christopher and Jonathan Nolan. Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pick Me Up

Pick Me Up (2006)
Masters of Horror, episode 11

Rating: Meh
Moderately Trashy


Masters of Horror episode from Larry Cohen (Q) involving two serial killers on the open road: a hitchhiker (Warren Kole) and a truck driver (Michael Moriarty). Both of them go after Fairuza Balk and get into a fight over who gets to kill her.

Ordinarily I am a big fan of lightening up a little and poking a bit of fun at the genre, but honestly, one can go too far.

Okay, television is a problem seeing as they have to fit everything into 58 minutes, which leaves little room for delving, but they also have to give the viewer incentive to not change the channel and watch whatever else is on (I watched this on DVD so it wasn't a problem - besides, once I start watching a show, I kind of owe it to the TV people not to change the channel, but I'm a little weird).

Anyway, I thought this was actually a really cool idea for a movie, but it just didn't seem to realize its full potential (which is kind of the same way I feel about this show in general - great idea, but so far I haven't seen anything really that interesting). They could have further explored the relationships between the characters but instead made it into a joke with a really bad punchline.

The two guys in the movie were okay. They weren't great, but they were better than Fairuza Balk, which I know isn't really saying that much...

Also they made sure to throw in lots of references to such films as Psycho and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (both the original and the remake), and many more films I am no doubt neglecting to mention because a) I didn't catch them, b) I'm lazy and I don't give a shit or c) someone's talking to me and I can't focus. Also, I watched this movie on August 16th so I can't really remember that much about it.

It was okay, I guess. It's fairly well done considering that it's made for television, there was some pretty clever dialogue in there and stuff. It just wasn't especially interesting. I dunno, it was completely undermined by its own goofiness. And despite that, it wasn't really that funny...

END


Directed by:
Larry Cohen. Written by: David J. Schow based on his short story. Starring: Fairuza Balk, Michael Moriarty, Warren Kole.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Killer Klowns

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

Rating: Yes
Extremely Trashy


Honestly, even though you know, you just know, the movie is going to be incredibly stupid, how can a person resist a title like that?

As the title would imply, the film is what happens when Killer Clowns (I can't spell it with a 'k', I just can't) descend from space and go totally Body Snatchers all over a little town, cocooning its inhabitants in cotton candy and... eating them, I guess?

It's up to a young couple (Grant Cramer & Suzanne Snyder) who I think are supposed to be high school students but whjo actually look like they're in their late twenties, to save the day or whatever.

Granted the movie was stupid, and bad. The acting is bad (particularly from the younger cop guy there, who seemed to think he was captain sexy. On the other hand, the cranky other cop guy (John Vernon?) was the best thing in the movie). The characters suck. The premise is stupid. However, as opposed to many unbelievably tedious films (an overwhelming number of them being sf-esque pictures), it revels in its stupidity and crapiness.

And it's about killer fucking clowns from outer space! One of them eats a crowd of people with a fucking shadow puppet. The wrap their victims in cotton candy and use popcorn as a weapon. Oh. My. God.

And of course, there is the obligatory scene of assloads of clowns getting out of a really tiny car. I waited almost the whole movie for them to do that, and it was extremely satisfying.

Strangely, though I have many fears, I do not fear clowns. In fact, my good friend is a mime (I know, I know. He's not a clown! He's a mime! But, you know, close enough).

But anyway. Some elements of the movie were really obnoxious and unfunny and broad, however, generally speaking, the film was retarded enough to make it worth watching. And the title song was totally awesome. I want to cover it live... then I'd be really cool.

END

Directed by: Stephen Chiodo. Written by: Charles, Edward and Stephen Chiodo. Starring: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi, John Vernon, Royal Dano.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In the Name of the King

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)

Rating: NO
Trash-o-rama


This film was such a grueling, soul crushing experience that not even making fun of it holds any light for me. About fifteen minutes in, I asked myself and my loved ones, "who is responsible for this piece of shit?". Uwe Boll. Naturally. I don't want to hate Uwe Boll. I would happily be the one person in the world who thinks he's an unappreciated genius. But it's just not possible.

This particular waste of time, energy and money concerns a humble farmer named Farmer (honest to God! His wife fucking calls him that) who ekes out a living growing mud or something. When evil 'Krugs' invade his village, killing Son (Colin Ford) and kidnapping Mrs. Farmer (Claire Forlani), he goes on a vengeance fueled rampage across the countryside or some damn thing.

Turns out the orcs are being controlled by an evil wizard (Ray Liotta - ew) who wishes to usurp the noble old king (Burt Reynolds)... or something. There is also a princess who rides around dressed as a man despite her father's orders (Leelee Sobieski), an environmentally conscious elf-babe living in the enchanted forest (Kristanna Loken of Blood Rayne and Terminator 3 fame) and a wise, helpful old wizard (John Rhys Davies). All that's missing is the talking trees.

To say this film is a blatant rip off of Lord of the Rings (with inferior FX) would be stating the obvious. What is really worrisome is that it's based on a video game which is a blatant rip off of Lord of the Rings but which apparently made enough money that they could justify adapting it into a film.

It saddens me that poor sods such as myself would waste two hours and seven minutes of their life watching this movie. It saddens me that decent (or, if not decent, at least likable) actors such as Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Burt Reynolds, Matthew Lillard, John Rhys Davies and Ron Perlman wasted probably weeks of their time making this movie.

It saddens me that, despite the otherwise solid cast, they could not find one person to play the Saruman role and had to cast Ray Liotta, with his obnoxious American accent which stood out something terrible.

It saddens me that, though the film is subtitled A Dungeon Siege Tale, no dungeons are besieged in the course of the tale.

But what saddens me the most is that this movie was not made in New Zealand, nor the Ukraine, nor Slovenia, nor any other country. This movie was made in British Columbia, and got funding from the Government of Canada. That's right, our fucking tax dollars went into this steaming pile of fucking shit. That saddens me more than a truck full of sad ass puppies being driven to the slaughterhouse. That is a fucking travesty.

Bastards.

END

Directed by: Uwe Boll. Written by: Doug Taylor based on the video game Dungeon Siege created by Chris Taylor. Starring: Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Leelee Sobieski, John-Rhys Davies, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, Matthew Lillard, Brian White, Kristanna Loken, Burt Reynolds.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Funny Games

Funny Games U.S. (2007)

Rating: No
Moderately Trashy?


Michael Haneke's remake of his own 1997 film of the same title (which I haven't seen, but have on hold at the library), this movie is almost too intellectual to be tackled on this blog. But here goes.

A happy, über rich family (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Devon Gearhart) is held hostage by a couple of psychotic preps (Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet) who torture them both physically and emotionally for ninety minutes, give or take.

I did not like this movie. I did not enjoy watching it. It goes at great length to point out just how sick American viewers (myself included) are for watching and enjoying films about violence. The psycho preps often turn to the camera and encourage audience participation.

For better or worse, the film was completely cold, clinical and detached when dealing with the subject matter. There was not one shred of sentimentality in the entire film (which saves it from being a run of the mill anti-violence message movie - it is an exceptional anti-violence message movie).

The film is very reminiscent of Man Bites Dog, A Clockwork Orange or The Vanishing (review to come maybe), although it feels even more like it was designed just to make me squirm.

And even though I appreciated the film on an intellectual and artistic level, I really didn't like it. You're not supposed to like it. I'm a fairly desensitized child of the internet generation, but this film really grossed me out. And I can can tell how much the filmmakers wanted to piss me off. It presses every button in the button factory. Naturally, I did my best not to be pissed off by it.

But it's just so nasty. Poor Tim Roth spends almost the entire movie convincingly in pain (hey! Just like in Reservoir Dogs. I didn't like that movie either). And Naomi Watts... well, despite my other feelings about this movie, it made me like Naomi Watts a whole lot. I always thought she was a second rate Nicole Kidman, but really she's quite good. The fact, too, that they didn't make her really sexy in this (as they might've done in an American picture) adds to the disgusting hyper-realism of the film.

Anyway, though I did not like this film (and why should I? The film hates me), it's a good thing to watch and will give you something to talk about for up to a month.

END

Written and Directed by:
Michael Haneke. Starring: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearhart.

Dr. Giggles

Dr. Giggles (1992)

Rating: No
Extremely Trashy


I'm not going to degrade myself by making any weak, medical puns about this movie. I will not sink to that level.

This is a slasher film about a deranged doctor (Larry Drake) who escapes from the mental hospital to wreak bloody vengeance on the townsfolk who lynched his crazy father years before. He dispatches horny teenagers and even a few grown-ups in vaguely entertaining ways, all the while cracking stupid one-liners and giggling maniacally.

I watched this movie in early August and can't really remember that much about it. There wasn't really anything memorable about it. There were a bunch of people running around a haunted house and a carnival, and a girl with a heart condition (Holly Marie Combs).

I remember laughing at some of the modes of death, but cannot now recall what they were. The movie wasn't even exceptionally trashy. It was really just Halloween with a few other clichés thrown in there.

And Larry Drake doesn't really have anything going for him. Sure, he can giggle maniacally, but he wasn't very creepy and he has no cred (okay, he played Durant in Darkman and Darkman 2: Return of Durant. He also played evil Santa in that episode of Tales From the Crypt). Surely they could've hired Jeffrey Combs. He couldn't have been that busy.

There were a few gross out bits (i.e., the little kid cutting his way out of the dead mother) but nothing that'll keep me awake at night.

Unfortunately, though this movie is really dumb, boring and crappy (I'm surprised it's not listed on IMDb as direct to video), it didn't suck enough to really get me worked up. I'm just kind of indifferent towards it.

END

Directed by: Manny Coto. Written by: Manny Coto and Graeme Whifler. Starring: Larry Drake, Holly Marie Combs, Cliff De Young, Glenn Quinn, Keith Diamond, Richard Bradford, Michelle Johnson, John Vickery.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hills Have Eyes 2

The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)

Ranking: Hell no
Trash-o-rama


Oh my God. That pretty much sums it up...

The action picks up a year or so after the last movie left off (I guess). A group of army guys and gals are sent out to the place where the mutants are at on a routine training mission or whatever. Then the mutants attack them, killing them in nasty, inefficient ways (e.g., covering a guy in paper cuts and putting him in a septic tank. Why?). They also nab the girls and rape the shit out of them to increase their numbers. Charming.

This movie has everything you could possibly want. More gore! More rape! More macho pro-America bullshit. While I felt that Hills Have Eyes 1 was a little too tame, not really going the extra mile, I felt this one went way too far in the other direction.

I'm usually a fan of disgusting tastelessness, but as long as it's got some class, you know? If it's operating on some level other than just trying to gross me out. Take, for example, Dead/Alive. Simple, adorable love story. With pus dripping, flesh eating zombie freaks.

This is just pointlessly revolting. And there's just something about the so called 'mutants' which seems so impractical. I mean, they eat people right? Okay. So, why exactly do they play around so much with their food, chopping off inedible parts and chucking the meaty delicious bits off of cliffs (okay, maybe that's a way of tenderizing it - after all, army guys are probably mostly gristle).

But then why do they leave their meat lying around for so long. This is set down South somewhere. Leaving raw meat lying out is not a great idea. Even though these people have a refrigerator, they keep it full of fingers. Yes, fingers may be a nice light snack, but not a great dietary staple.

The smart thing would be to smoke the meat but no, they care more about scaring the living hell out of visitors by butchering the meat in the sloppiest ways imaginable. Honest to God, don't they know anything? The folks in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, though also fairly inefficient (they do use a chainsaw, after all), are vastly better at what they do than these guys.

Christ. There are so many things wrong with this movie, and here I am wining about the impracticality of the 'mutants' food storage system. It's what I think about, though.

Well. All I can really say is that whoever made the trailer for this movie deserves an award. It made me want to see this movie so much. In fact, I used to sit around watching the trailer online. And it got me into Devendra Banhart (good work, promotion people!).

Movie had a damn good trailer...

END

Directed by: Martin Weisz. Written by: Wes Craven and Jonathan Craven (awww). Starring: Jessica Stroup, Michael McMillan, Reshad Strik, Daniella Alonso, Flex Alexander, Michael Bailey Smith, Derek Mears.

Shutter

Shutter (2008)

Ranking: Nope
Moderately Trashy


Another exercise in mediocre film making. A newlywed American couple (Rachael Taylor and Joshua Jackson) move to Japan and have their technology haunted by the vengeful spirit of a dead woman (Megumi Okina). What starts out as a blur on the lens quickly escalates to something which can kill people. Rachael Taylor investigates. Eventually, she learns that her womanizing husband who cares more about taking pictures of hot chicks than he cares about her is actually a total asshole. It took her the whole movie to figure this out! Honest to God.

Not only did this film fail to inspire any feelings in me whatsoever, I also watched it with camera obsessed Mr. Green who sat through the entire movie talking about the pros and cons of everybody's camera equipment. "Woo woo, that guy's got a Leica" or "Nobody in their right mind would use that lens". Most vexing to him was the fact that the main guy shot in film rather than digital.

Most interesting to me was what they said about Polaroids - it is impossible to fake a ghost film on a Polaroid, as there is no negative. That's cool. Unfortunately, Polaroid cameras are not going to be around much longer. No ghost pics for you.

Moving on. This movie didn't have too many scares (none that I can recall) and goes further towards proving my theory that once one has become accustomed to the Asian horror picture, the novelty wears off and one realizes just how derivative and predictable they all are. And most of these movies have no sense of humour. Hmmm.

As usual, I have not seen the film upon which this is based. I could be excellent (interestingly, it is Thai - I had assumed that the original film was Japanese, seeing as the remake is set in Japan. But no. The only reason I can see for the remake to be set in Japan is that maybe Thailand just isn't cool enough for these people). But with the exception of one or two innovative scenes, the film fails to add anything new to the cesspool of Americanized Asian ghost movies. Perhaps the genre is exhausting itself.

What we really need is for the original Asian films to have a wider release so we wouldn't have to waste our time with the American remakes. Not that I would go out of my way to see them in the theatre - I could make my money go a lot farther. Go to the Bulk Barn and buy a couple pounds of chocolate flavoured chips.

Urg.

END

Directed by:
Masayuki Ochiai. Written by: Luke Dawson based on the film written by Banjong Pisanthanakun, Sopon Sukdapisit and Parkpoom Wongpoom. Starring: Rachael Taylor, Joshua Jackson, Megumi Okina, David Denman, John Hensley, Maya Hazen, James Kyson Lee

Vacancy

Vacancy (2007)

Ranking: Meh
Slightly Trashy


Standard neo-slasher film about an unhappily married couple (Kate Beckinsale & Luke Wilson) who, while driving from point A to point B, end up staying at a creepy motel where they are attacked by snuff film making psychos.

Like many other films of its ilk, this movie is one big Psycho reference from beginning to end, right down to the title. However, compared to such films as Driver and, you know, all those other fucking movies, this was pretty decent.

Not that the movie was any good. It was just... better. It was a cheap thrill ride (I will admit one or two bits did freak me out) and only held my interest because I was looking forward to seeing Kate Beckinsale and/or Luke Wilson get totaled.

Imagine my disappointment when both of them make it out alive. Spoilers. I mean, come on. Both of them were such fucking whores. Unfortunately, the killers were also a bunch of greasy sleazebags with no redeeming features or anything to make me root for them.

And everybody in the movie was just so stupid. First of all, the killers have the keys to every room in the motel, PLUS a tunnel system which enables them to pop up in the bathroom at any time. It shouldn't be too hard to get in and slice the fuckers. Really.

Second of all, it wouldn't have been that hard for Kate and Luke to run straight out the front door and hide in the dark somewhere. It looked like there was some forest nearby, why not go there? It'd take all night for the bad guys to find them. Honestly.

They were all just a bunch of whiny little bitches anyway. I don't know why I'm so bitter today. I guess I just felt so cheated by this movie. Also, I lost two dollars betting against Kate Beckinsale. Stupid movie.

Anything involving snuff films pisses me off on some level. I just keep wondering if people sit in their homes being afraid of snuff films. I mean, really. Granted, every time I see an unmarked video for sale at Value Village, I assume it's a snuff film. I don't buy em though coz they might also be The Ring.

Moving on, I liked the credits music. That was pretty much the only thing about this movie which stood out to me.

END

Directed by:
Nimród Antal. Written by: Mark L. Smith. Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry.

Manhunter/Red Dragon

Manhunter (1986)
Red Dragon (2002)


Ranking: Yes
Slightly Trashy


Seeing as autumn's coming up, I don't feel quite so bad about sitting inside all the time, and am going to make an effort to start blogging again regularly. I have been writing stuff out on paper (totally old school) and am only now getting around to typing it up here.

Anyway, instead of taking the time to review each of these movies separately, I'm doing the lazy thing and killing both of them with one carefully planned shot to the head.

Both are based on the novel by Thomas Harris - Manhunter is done as a stand alone film. Red Dragon capitalizes on the Hannibal Lecter franchise.

The films are about a federal agent (William Peterson/Edward Norton, respectively) who is called out of early retirement to help capture a psychopathic serial killer (Tom Noonan/Ralph Fiennes). In order to do so, he must recruit the help of another psychopathic serial killer who almost killed him years before and who is now locked away in a dungeon (Brian Cox/Anthony Hopkins).

After watching the other related films, it's kind of interesting to see Brian Cox's interpretation of the role. He's not in it very much (as it should be), but he's effectively creepy and remarkably subdued.

Red Dragon has an overload of Hannibal Lecter stuff, a great deal of which doesn't really help the plot in any significant way. The movie isn't about that character at all and besides, the more they show of Anthony Hopkins, the more attention they draw to the fact that he's ten years older than he was in Silence of the Lambs which is set many years later. Apparently, prison was very good to him.

Moving on. I'm going to try to avoid rambling about Ralph Fiennes (I frigging love Ralph Fiennes). He was very creepy. Tom Noonan was equally scary and disturbing in Manhunter but they seemed to spend less time on his character in that one (maybe. Maybe not - the films are about the same length, give or take a few minutes. Where does it come from?).

But despite all this meaningless drivel, there are only two reasons why I enjoyed Red Dragon marginally more than Manhunter.

a) I like Edward Norton more than William Peterson. Edward Norton seems like such a loser. William Peterson is like Captain Amazing from the '80s, which brings me to my second point...

b) 1986/2002. Manhunter is totally saturated with the '80s. The pastel colour schemes, the ear rending music, the fucking hairstyles. Honest to Jesus. There's also the fact that Red Dragon is loaded with current stars, coz you know, that's important...

But both movies are quite interesting and probably deserve their own review but hey, I'm really lazy. What can I say? Plus I have an ass load of other stuff to review. Maybe I should start doing them two at a time...

END


Manhunter
Written and Directed by: Michael Mann, based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Starring: William Peterson, Tom Noonan, Joan Allen, Kim Greist, Dennis Farina, Brian Cox, Benjamin Hendrickson, Frankie Faison.

Red Dragon
Directed by: Brett Ratner. Written by: Ted Tally based on the novel by Thomas Harris. Starring: Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Heald, Frankie Faison.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Repulsion

Repulsion (1965)

Ranking: Yes

Feeling somewhat cheated after watching Wizard of Gore on Scream (well, I liked it...) Mr. White and I decided to watch this movie which came on afterwards. I'm glad we did.

The plot (for anyone unfamiliar with it) involves a disturbed young woman (Catherine Deneuve) who lives with her sister (Yvonne Furneaux) and manages to live her life. When her sister goes away on a trip with her boyfriend, things start to fall apart and she basically goes crazy. Thematically very similar to Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant.

And it scared the living shit out of me. In a subtle way (if such a thing is possible). It was just so intense and creepy. Whenever the commercials came on and violated the film I would jump and exclaim 'holy shit'. ("You keep doing that", Mr. White said.)

It was just a generally engaging film. I was quite concerned about Carole, particularly the fact that the only thing she seems to eat in the whole movie is a biscuit.

And that her descent into total craziness is so believable, almost rational. I could see that happening to me if I were left alone for long enough, and that worried me. Okay, I'm not quite that terrified of men, nor am I paranoid schizophrenic. That just means it might take a little longer...

And that thing about the crack in the wall! Frig, that was spooky. And the rabbit head. Weird. I dunno, the movie just freaked me out in a general sense (as did the other films in Polanski's little trilogy of creepiness). It was really well done.

Catherine Deneuve was really good in a cute/scary sort of way. I dug her, and sympathized with her character in a weird way. Felt bad for her boyfriend, though. He seemed like a nice enough guy.

Yeah, I spent a long time worrying about this movie afterwards, which is probably a good thing. Can't think of anything else to say about it (I only know how to trash movies...).

END


Directed by: Roman Polanski. Written by: Roman Polanski and Gérard Brach. Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Yvonne Furneaux, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Patrick Wymark.

Wizard of Gore

Wizard of Gore (1970)

Extremely Trashy
Ranking: YES


Somehow tricked Mr. White into watching this on Scream one night (also tricked her into watching Return of the Living Dead, which seemed a lot better the second time around).

About a magician (Ray Sager) whose act involves brutally killing women on stage... and... well, that's pretty much it. It's kind of a one note movie.

Okay, there's the usual amateur sleuth subplot (Judy Cler is the chick this time) and then there's something about hypnosis and blood on peoples hands and crap like that.

It took Mr. White and I more than half the movie to figure out what the fuck was supposed to be happening (which is much more thought than one really wants to spend on a cheap-o splatter pic), not that it really mattered. The plot was incomprehensible and barely nonexistent. The only function it really served was getting from one cheesy murder to the next.

And boy oh boy were them murders cheesy, and ridiculously graphic. I laughed my head off (again I wondered if there might be something really wrong with me). My favourite was perhaps the punch press.

As for the rest of this movie... the acting was terrible even by Lewis' standards (any scenes with dialogue were almost unwatchable) as was the script. The monologues by Montag the Magnificent were pretty dull, but seemed kinda funny if you pictured Gob Bluth reciting them. The sets were unimpressive. Even the camera work was stultifying.

All the way through, Mr. White was suggesting they remake it as a musical. This is a pretty good idea. They actually remade it last year (I don't think it was a musical though) with, like, Crispin Glover and Brad Dourif and Jeffrey Combs. Cool cool cool.

Terrible though this film may have been, it was still a must watch, at least for me, and cemented Herschell Gordon Lewis in my mind as the ultimate master of horror.

END


Directed by: Herschell Gordon Lewis. Written by: Allen Kahn. Starring: Ray Sager, Judy Cler, Wayne Ratay, Phil Laurenson, Jim Rau, Don Alexander, John Elliot.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Moderately Trashy


Second part of the Scream triple feature, following Pretty Poison and preceding something else... actually, I think it was Furious Wolfman. I couldn't sell Mr. White on that one.

Anyway, we wanted to watch it coz I thought it was Bring me the Head of Jerry Garcia and I was going 'alright, somebody finally takes that ice cream guy down'.

The film follows a sleazebag (Warren Oates) who is hired to retrieve the head of Alfredo Garcia, I'm not really sure why. I missed the first ten minutes whilst cleaning up cat barf and Mr. White wasn't very helpful filling me in.

That didn't matter all that much, though. It was really more about Warren Oates and his hooker girlfriend (Isela Vega) on some kind of sleazy roadtrip.

About halfway through the movie I started thinking 'this has got to be Sam Peckinpah'. I've only ever seen one other Peckinpah movie (Straw Dogs), but something about the slow motion gun fights really clued me in there. Also, the nearly overwhelming level of grime on every surface.

It was a total guy movie and unbelievably sleazy (not that those two things are in any way related) but in an good sort of way. I did kind of enjoy it (maybe that's my masculine side taking over? Wouldn't be surprised...). Warren Oates was pretty good.

I kept thinking about, like, Quentin Tarantino though. I mean, he 'homages' pretty much every film ever made, but this movie in particular jumped out at me as being like Kill Bill or something.

Well. You know. Whatever. I liked this movie. It was amusing in an unpleasant sort of way. It was horrible and disturbing, actually, but something about a guy carrying a head around in a bag tickles me... just goes to show you how fucked up the North American viewer is.

END

Directed by: Sam Peckinpah. Written by: Sam Peckinpah & Gordon Dawson. Starring: Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Robert Webber, Gig Young, Helmut Dantine, Emilio Fernandez, Kris Kristofferson.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pretty Poison

Pretty Poison (1968)

Slightly Trashy
Ranking: Incomplete


Caught only about the last forty minutes of this film on Scream last night, Mr. White and I were waiting for the head movie to come on and then we were all like, "Hey, it's Anthony Perkins". I find it unusual for movies to be even watchable when you start watching towards the end, but this is an exception.

The plot, as far as I can tell, is about a crazy guy (Anthony Perkins) who tells a teenage girl (Tuesday Weld) that he's a secret agent and then I guess they go on a killing spree or something.

I actually really enjoyed the little bit of this movie I saw, and kind of want to see it from the beginning now. It was strangely sweet and totally horrible at the same time. It was dark, man, you know?

That girl scared the shit out of me. She was fuckin evil man. And Anthony Perkins, though slightly gross was still kinda endearing. After having seen all the sequels to Psycho, it was sort of nice to see him not being totally repulsive, although his character in this film did seem like another riff on the Norman Bates-type.

I dunno if it was just me, but I kept noticing Hitchcock-esque stuff in there. Just the way some stuff was shot. Maybe?

Yeah, I thought it was pretty good, kinda sick and all that. There was some crappiness to it (the camera jostled when chickie's lifeless corpse hit it - that really stuck out to me), but I enjoyed it. I'm going to see if my library has it and then maybe I can do a review of the whole movie some time.

END


Directed by: Noel Black. Written by: Lorenzo Semple Jr., based on the novel She Let Him Continue by Stephen Geller. Starring: Anthony Perkins, Tuesday Weld, Beverley Garland, John Randolph, Dick O'Neill, Ken Kercheval

The Passion of Darkly Noon

The Passion of Darkly Noon (1995)

Extremely Trashy
Ranking: Maybe


Second part of the Scream Triple Feature which also included the boring fest that was Hush and Fatal Attraction. I didn't really care to watch this movie, but the description of it in the little TV guide said: "A cultist takes up residence with a scantily clad woman", and I figured I had to.

I had stuff to do, so I missed about the first twenty minutes of this movie whilst bumbling around outside in the dark (don't ask), but from what I gather it's about a guy (Brendan Fraser) whose weirdly religious parents (Mel Cobb & Kate Harper) are killed somehow. He gets picked up by some dude (Loren Dean) and ends up staying with aforementioned scantily clad lady (Ashley Judd) out in the woods.

He develops a pervy obsession with her which becomes a problem when her boyfriend shows up. Then there's this whole thing about a crazy lady living in a trailer out in the woods, and a silver shoe floating down the river which I didn't get at all. Eventually, the guy goes crazy, wraps barbed wire around his chest, paints himself red and goes to punish the sinners...

The film looked beautiful, it was artistically shot and chopped, but it was just kind of... ugh. The acting wasn't terribly good, not that the actors had a lot to work with and so much of the movie was just idiotic. "It's deep, witch" Mr. White kept saying to me in a sarcastic tone.

And Ashley Judd is so frigging annoying. I don't get why people like her. Maybe they think she's hot or something? We kept comparing her to Gwyneth Paltrow in Hush and decided Ashley was much more irritating.

As for Brendan Fraser, I usually like him, but I didn't think he was that great in this movie. He was okay. But we kept wondering how old exactly he was supposed to be? He acted like a little kid most of the time, but maybe it was just his upbringing? He was probably supposed to be homeschooled or some damn thing.

Anyway, the movie kind of reminded me of Tideland only the characters weren't as good and the situation wasn't as interesting. Jeliza Rose kicked infinite more ass than Darkly Noon. Or, like, Bug , but that's probably just the Ashley Judd thing. Friggin Ashley Judd.

Oh yeah, and Viggo Mortensen was in this movie... no comment.

I mean, I kinda liked it, I thought it sort of had potential and was a pretty well done little fairy tale. But I didn't really dig the characters all that much. I think we were meant to sympathize with Darkly maybe, but I didn't give a shit about him.

Ah well. Not a terribly engaging movie for me. I'm kinda torn over it. It was mostly just weird and slightly repulsive throughout, but I guess it sort of had its moments. I don't know. I'm still out on this one.

END


Written and Directed by:
Philip Ridley. Starring: Brendan Fraser, Ashley Judd, Viggo Mortensen, Grace Zabriskie, Loren Dean, Lou Myers, Kate Harper, Mel Cobb.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hush

Hush (1998)

Moderately Trashy
Ranking: No


Watched Persepolis the other day, but somehow I thought reviewing it on this blog would degrade it in some way, so instead I decided to do this crappy ass thriller instead. It's much more within my territory.

About a pregnant woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) who is harassed by her psychotic mother in law (Jessica Lange). I started wondering how come it's always the psychotic mother in law? How come there's never anything where the daughter in law goes apeshit? Apart from the obvious reasons...

Anyway, I was actually kind of offended that Gwyneth Paltrow was in this film. Yeah, she's in a lot of crap (Shallow Hal), but it bugs me every time. And dammit, she was annoying and whiny in this. Still, she did kick a little bit of ass towards the end.

I can't really think of anything in particular to write about this movie. There was absolutely nothing special about it. It was bad, but not unbearably bad. Stupid, but not memorably stupid.

It was just kind of... icky. I mean, it's about pregnant lady and all. That shit's just gross, man. Ultrasounds and crap like that. Fuck. And then there's all that whimpering and whining.

And mounds and mounds of sleaze. The guy she was married to, the son there, Johnathon Schaech or whatever the hell his name was, he was really sleazy. Grossed me out.

I dunno, it was just not particularly thrilling. The characters weren't interesting enough for there to be a sense of danger, the plot wasn't good enough for there to be any suspense. The only surprise from the whole movie was, as far as I remember, nobody gets killed. I kept going, oh, she's going to die, and then she didn't which was very confusing for me.

And Jessica Lange, man. She looked about five years older than the guy who was supposed to be her son (in realty, there are 20 years between them, but still). That really weirded me out.

Meh. Not worth going out of your way to watch, although I didn't feel particularly cheated by it. Perhaps because it was knocked out of my mind by The Passion of Darkly Noon (which I will get to, all in good time). I watched that on Scream right after this one... ah well, whatever.

END


Directed by: Jonathan Darby. Written by: Jonathan Darby & Jane Rusconi. Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, Johnathon Schaech, Nina Foch, Debi Mazar, Kaiulani Lee, Hal Holbrook

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Be Kind, Rewind

Be Kind, Rewind (2008)

Ranking: Meh


About a video store employee (Mos Def) whose crazy buddy (Jack Black) becomes magnetized and accidentally erases every tape in the store. Business is bad and, in order to save the store from demolition, they must remake the films in the store and rent them out.

And then there's all this other shit that happens. There are about six hundred plotlines in this movie, all of them ridiculously clichéd, but what are you gonna do?

I did kinda like this movie, I guess. It was a cute little bit of fluff, although I found the clips from the Sweded movies much more interesting than anything else.

I dunno... it was just too cute or something. It was even the least bit sick or twisted. It was cute straight through.

I didn't really find any of the characters that compelling, either. Jack Black was being an idiot, as usual. Mos Def was pretty good, but not especially interesting.

Yeah... it was just so clichéd. It meant well, but it could have been darker, maybe? I don't know. I didn't really like it all that much. I neither liked nor disliked it. It left me totally neutral.

I do kind of want to go on their website and watch the little movies. They were great. In fact, I would have much preferred to just watch a whole movie of those. Little movies, with Jack and Mos. Nice.

Okay, well, nothing really more to write about this....

END

Written and Directed by:
Michael Gondry. Starring: Mos Def, Jack Black, Melonie Diaz, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Irv Gooch, Sigourney Weaver.

The Assassination of Jesse James

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Ranking: Meh

Existential, paranoid Western about, as the title would imply, the events leading to and following the assassination by Jesse James (Brad Pitt) by the weeener Robert Ford (Casey Affleck).

I sort of liked this movie... I mean, it was beautifully photographed (shot in Canada's Texas), it had that based-on-a-novel goodness, complete with narration, and hells, it was a Western. Westerns are awesome.

But Casey Affleck was so annoying. He was weenie, but not quite weenie enough to be interesting. He was just slightly weenie, and really irritating.

Generally speaking, I don't like Brad Pitt unless he's playing some kind of unconventional weirdo or total maniac (i.e., 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, Snatch or True Romance), but I did like his performance in this. I never thought of him as Brad Pitt.

The biggest problem I really had with this movie was that, like the title, it was so unbelievably long. It could have been shaved by about an hour and made no difference whatsoever. I don't even remember what was taking up all that space. It seemed like a ninety minute, times two...

Two and a half hours of Casey Affleck being annoying. It was a killer. Apparently, the original cut was four hours long, so I should be thankful, really. Granted, I've watched the extended cut of Return of the King many times, but still, that pushes it. I have to get up and make a sandwich in the middle, and generally prefer the theatrical version. Although there is that one scene in there...

But I digress. This movie was good and not the mindless action-Western I am accustomed to (nothing wrong with action-Westerns...). It wasn't even a Western so much. I dunno, whatever. Still, it was too long for me to really pay attention to what was going on. There should be, like, a 90 minute loser-cut for those of us with short attention spans.

END

Written and Directed by:
Andrew Dominik, based on the novel by Ron Hansen. Starring: Casey Affleck, Brad Pitt, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, Sam Shepard, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Schneider, Mary-Louise Parker.

Hannibal

Hannibal (2001)

Slightly Trashy
Ranking: Meh


Watched Silence of the Lambs a little while ago, but decided not to review it. I dunno, I didn't really have anything new to say about it (nothing really new to say about this movie either, but what the hey) - it freaked the hell out of me and I spent a lot of time thinking about it afterwards.

Anyway, this is the sequel, which has Dr. Lecter doing his thing over in Italy, Clarice doing her thing for the FBI, and Gary Oldman doing whatever the fuck it is he does. I really wanted to see someone feed him cream of wheat in this movie. Go figure.

Now. I had very, very low expectations of this movie, so it actually did impress me by having some semblance of structure.

It wasn't very scary, or very interesting - the script was pretty amusing and bits of it were vaguely entertaining, but it wasn't really enough considering the creative team involved (although I'm told the book didn't give them all that much to work with).

And dammit, I missed Jodie Foster (again, nothing particularly new to that statement). I like Julianne Moore okay, but not as much. I have a lot of respect for Jodie Foster, and it was probably a good thing that she got out of this movie.

And you know, Anthony Hopkins got all... squidgy. He was friggin ripped in the first movie. In this one he looks like... well, like he's been living in Italy and eating pepperoni for ten years. Still kind of creepy and sort of endearing, but not so much.

But though the movie was totally skanky, the last... fifteen, twenty minutes were alright. You know, from about the bit with the pigs til the end, the movie gets into a groove. Up until that point nothing really interesting happens.

Okay, it was stupid as fuck, but it was at least really gross. So hells, why not. Overall, though, not particularly engaging.

END
Directed by:
Ridley Scott. Written by: David Mamet & Steve Zaillian based on the novel by Thomas Harris. Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta, Giancarlo Giannini, Francesca Neri.

Hitman

Hitman (2007)

Moderately Trashy
Ranking: No


Another great video game adaptation - when are people going to learn that it just doesn't work? Watching another person play a video game is really fucking boring, so why should watching an incomprehensible movie based on a VG be even remotely interesting?

I'm not entirely sure exactly what the plot of this movie was. There's this hitman (Timothy Olyphant) who works for a secret society of all male, all bald hitmen. He is hired to assassinate the Russian leader (Ulrich Thompson) and somehow gets framed or betrayed or something and must team up with a prostitute (Olga Kurylenko) and run around Russia being chased by Interpol, the Russian military and guys from his own organization. And he blows away a bunch of people for reasons known only to him.

I tried hard to understand what was going on, I really did. I kept asking Mr. Green if he had any idea, as he's played the VG, but he didn't know either. I'm sorry, maybe I was missing something, but I had no fucking idea what was going on in this movie at all.

I also really didn't like Timothy Olyphant. Especially his voice. Everybody else in the movie seemed to have some kind of foreign accent (either sort of Russian or sort of British), but he sounded just so frigging American.

If it had been, say, Jason Statham, the movie might have been bearable. I still would have been confused, but I find the Stath strangely comforting. I heard Vin Diesel was considered for that role. Vin! I love Vin. Dammit, he should've been in it.

All that being said, I thought the movie looked great, had some good performances (I did think Gary Oldman would've pwnd Henry Ian Cusick's role, like a Russian version of Drexl - I dunno, that kinda bugged me) and I dug the music. The action scenes were really well done and the movie had a certain degree of awesomeness.

So, as far as confusing/frustrating action VG adaptations go, this was was actually pretty good. It was entertaining, leastways.

END

Directed by: Xavier Gens. Written by: Skip Woods based on some video game. Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thompson, Michael Offei, Henry Ian Cusick, James Faulkner.

Psycho 4

Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)

Extremely Trashy
Ranking: No


Made for television sequel and the requisite 'Beginning' movie - in other words, a bullshit psychological explanation for how the guy got to be the way he is. This sequel was scripted by Joseph Stefano, who of course wrote the screenplay for the original film. Remember that boring ass scene at the end of the first movie where they explain Norman's condition? Oi.

After spending a few more years in a home, Norman (still played by Anthony Perkins, who died a couple years after this movie was made) is finally free of his mother, and living a fairly normal life. He's married (yeah right) and has a couple of living birds. He calls into a radio show to talk about matricide and through flashbacks, we learn what drove him to kill his mother.

Now, as far as bullshit psyche explanations go, this one does make sense, as opposed to, like, his mom was a stripper and his step dad was a drunk so he became a serial killer. His mother was pretty horrible in this. And Olivia Hussey is kind of scary. I guess.

This movie isn't really that interesting though. I mean, I don't care how the guy got to be crazy so this isn't particularly enlightening for me. And after seeing all those other Psycho pics, I stopped being the least bit interested in it.

Anthony Perkins is even older and creepier in this one (and not in a good way... it's just kind of weird), and the kid who played him in flashbacks (Henry Thomas) wasn't really that compelling. Mr. Blue suggested that perhaps Perkins should have played the teenage Norman which would have given the movie a really weird and creepy feeling.

I dunno, I guess as far as Psycho sequels go, this one is better (maybe coz I watched it more recently?), but it's still not that great.

So the greatest serial killer film ever made (I dunno if that's true, I'm just hopping on the train) ends up with a crappy made for TV flashback movie sequel. That's sad.

END


Directed by: Mick Garris. Written by: Joseph Stefano. Starring: Anthony Perkins, Henry Thomas, Olivia Hussey, CCH Pounder, Warren Frost, Donna Mitchell, Thomas Schuster, John Landis.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Psycho 3

Psycho III (1986)

Extremely Trashy
Ranking: No


I don't really remember what happened in this movie, but I think it had something to do with a nun (Diana Scarwid) who loses her faith in God or something and winds up at the motel. And then there's like, this reporter (Roberta Maxwell) who's doing a story on crazy people. Or something. And then there's this really sleazy guy (Jeff Fahey). I can't remember what the hell the point of him was.

Anyway, Norman Bates goes crazy and kills a bunch of skanky people. And falls in love with said nun, who reminds him of Marion Crane. Apparently, she falls for him too, even though he's totally weird.

This installment in the Psycho series was directed by Anthony Perkins, which means he doesn't have to act at all! Hey! Ugh. He was annoying in Psycho 2, but this was almost unbearable. The pauses in between every other word... and the twitching! Dear God! It was hard to watch.

I don't remember any of the other actors being very good, although I wasn't really paying attention to them.

Oh my God. It was so unbelievable. I mean, is chick chick really going to go for a guy who's that weird and creepy. And such a spaz. Jesus. I guess she was a nun and all. Being shut up in a convent for all those years... it's a wonder she didn't go for sleazy guy.

We also get a little more back story on Norman, although it's mostly along the lines of 'all the crap they told you in part two wasn't true', which is, you know, really enlightening. Like I care.

Blarg. Another pointless, sloppy and not particularly interesting sequel - according to IMDb, Anthony Perkins only directed one other film, something called Lucky Stiff which I've never heard of but apparently has something to do with cannibalism.

Watched Psycho 4, too, and I'll be putting a review up when I'm not doing anything else. Tomorrow maybe.

END

Directed by: Anthony Perkins. Written by: Charles Edward Pogue. Starring: Anthony Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell, Hugh Gillin, Gary Bayer

Psycho 2

Psycho II (1983)

Moderately Trashy
Ranking: No


After twenty-two years they let him out of the home, then he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones... basically. After being declared sane, Norman Bates returns to the motel (which seems like a bad idea, seeing as that's where he went crazy... also, they probably should have shut the place down after seven murders were committed there) and starts hanging out with Meg Tilley. Then a bunch of people get stabbed. Is it Norman committing the murders, or someone trying to frame him/drive him crazy? Who the fuck cares.

I don't even remember what happened at the end of this movie. There was some shocking revelation about something, but I don't think it really made sense.

I watched all the Psycho-sequels in rapid succession and am having a little bit of trouble telling them apart. They all have basically the same plot line.

This movie wasn't skull-numbingly bad. Compared to the other sequels, it was pretty good. It was just kind of dull and annoying. I was annoyed pretty much through the entire movie.

It kind of made me want to watch the original Psycho again. Which isn't a bad thing. I like that movie more every time I watch it.

This movie is just inferior all around, and every time it references or recreates a scene from the original film, it draws attention to its inferiority.

And you know, Anthony Perkins was really annoying. He was so cute in the first one (I'm sorry, I've always kind of had a thing for Norman Bates - if only he wasn't a serial killer, you know? He's just so dorky), but here, I dunno, he was just irritating.

Ugh. Unnecessary sequel. I guess this makes me a Psycho-snob, bitching and whining about how disgraceful this film was. It was disgraceful, dammit. I mean, what the hell was up with this movie?

Fuck man, I don't really care. Whatever.

END

Directed by: Richard Franklin. Written by: Tom Holland. Starring: Anthony Perkins, Meg Tilley, Vera Miles, Robert Loggia, Dennis Franz, Hugh Gillin, Claudia Bryar

Friday, July 4, 2008

Asylum

Asylum (1972)

Slightly Trashy
Ranking: Maybe


Anthology style horror pic about a young doctor who arrives at an asylum and is asked to interview four of the patients in order to get a job. Each one tells him the story of how they wound up in the asylum.

"Frozen Fear" is the tale of a man who murders his wife, chops her up and puts her bits in the freezer. The bits then come to life and get their revenge on him and his lover. "The Weird Tailor" is about a man who is asked to make a special suit for this weird ass guy. "Lucy Comes to Stay" is about a girl and her friend Lucy and "Mannikins of Horror" is about a guy who makes little dolls that kill people or something (it's as precious as it sounds).

The stories did seem to me to be even stupider than usual, if such a thing is possible. They were a little bit... lame, particularly the last one. Mr. Blue and I kept exclaiming "O! the horror!" as the cute little doll moved really slowly towards its victim.

Maybe they were supposed to be dumb. That would explain it. Well, anyway, it was well made and pretty fun, with some good performances.

And the theme (which is, I think, from 'Night on Bald Mountain'?) is appropriately (and at the same time ridiculously) intense. A lot of the time there's next to nothing happening and there's this epic frigging music. It's great.

Yeah. Um, fairly entertaining to watch... can't really think of anything else to write about it though... my jaw really hurts. I've been chewing this Stride gum for hours and hours, I finally spit it out, but damn, that stuff it long-lasting.

I'm kinda hungry now, though. I think, perhaps, I'm going to go for a slice of toast. Until that point, I will continue to chew this long lasting gum. Okay, that's quite enough.

END

Directed by: Roy Ward Baker. Written by: Robert Bloch. Starring: Robert Powell, Patrick Magee, John Franklyn-Robbins, Barbara Parkins, Barry Morse, Charlotte Rampling, Herbert Lom, Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Ann Firbank

Vampires

John Carpenter's Vampires (1998)

Very Trashy
Ranking: No


My my. Story of a couple of fearless vampire killers (James Woods & Daniel Baldwin) tracking some big papa vampire (Thomas Ian Griffith) across the southwest in order to stop him getting the Black Cross, an ancient artifact which will allow him to walk around in the daytime.

Almost a good companion piece to Near Dark, being about the white trash, scuzzy vampire hunters rather than the white trash vampires. Only this movie is a piece of crap.

I dunno, James Woods is just such a dork, and Daniel Baldwin is such a fatass. One of the other inferior Baldwins, I guess. Like if Alec really let himself go even further.

And all that stuff with that girl, the prostitute or whatever the hell she was, was really weird. For instance: why in the hell was she naked? I kept thinking fatass was gonna rape her or something. Right after he finished eating a hamburger. And why the hell did she end up with fatass anyway? Christ.

We also have the requisite anti-Catholic vibe (turns out the Catholic church somehow created vampire guy, something to do with a reversed exorcism. I don't remember, I was busy making fun of James Woods and Max Schell simultaneously), present in many a Carpenter flick.

I myself am down with the Catholics, for the most part. I can't say I care much for that screwing little kids business, but they're not all perverts. Male celibacy is a bad idea any way you look at it. Catholics are often lovely people, and they were the only kids who would play with me during the brief period I was in school.

Moving on. The one thing I did like in this movie was the music. Carpenter movies often do have good music even when the rest of the film belongs in the toilet.

Other than that, though, it was just so unbelievably stupid and obnoxious. There were a whole bunch of scenes where all these guys would just walk up to the camera and stand there, looking like some kind of photoshoot for an album cover.

God. Yeah, not only was the movie dumb, it was also really dorky. And sleazy. Most John Carpenter movies are sleazy, but usually there's something kind of endearing about them. They Live, for example. Big old pile of sleaze, but strangely fun to watch.

This movie was just pure, 100% unadulterated sleaze. Not very fun at all to watch.

END

Directed by: John Carpenter. Written by: Don Jakoby, based on the novel by John Steakley. Starring: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Tim Guinee, Maximilian Schell

Diary of the Dead

Diary of the Dead (2007)

Moderately Trashy
Ranking: No


Latest episode of Romero's Dead saga, following Land of the Dead, though chronologically, I'm not sure exactly where this fits in, or if it's even really part of the same timeline. I don't really care that much.

This is the first person account of what happens when a bunch of film students out filming a horror film in the woods learn that the dead are coming back to life and eating the living. They then drive around in a van for a really long time until everybody dies, pretty much.

I know this film was ever so slightly pre-Cloverfield, but I had a hard time not thinking of that one, and how it was considerably better than this.

Yeah, the characters in Cloverfield were two dimensional and the plot was simplistic. But the characters in this film were horrible (it wasn't just that I didn't like them particularly. I wanted the fucking assholes to die) and the plot didn't exactly have that much depth.

It's the same problem with all of Romero's zombie movies (I haven't seen any of his other movies - I don't think anyone has...), only Night and Dawn get away with it on account their well made and interesting to watch.

This one also comes with it's own little statement about the saturation of media images and desensitization of the population or something. Maybe it was about technology. Fuck, whatever. It was stating something, somehow.

Anyway, I found it kind of annoying (chickie's narration bugged me, as did the music) and somewhat... contrived maybe. I dunno. It had a lot of potential, although it was sort of unnecessary. There are enough damn zombie movies as it is.

Okay, Romero can make as many as he likes seeing as he basically invented the genre, and he probably did a better job with this than some other people would have, but still, it could have been much more interesting.

END

Written and Directed by: George Romero. Starring: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, Shawn Roberts, Amy Lalonde, Scott Wentworth, Philip Riccio, Chris Violette, Tatiana Maslany.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Girl who Knew Too Much

La Ragazza Che Sapeva Troppo (1963)

Ranking: Sort of
Trashiness: Slightly Trashy

Giallo about a tourist (Letícia Román) who thinks she witnesses a murder and, with the help of a local doctor (John Saxon), must find out the truth about the 'alphabet killer' before she becomes the next victim.

Comfortingly familiar plot (though apparently this is one of the first films to use the formula), and a well done film. It was moderately suspenseful with an underlying sense of humour. Mostly intentional. It was all borderline pervey, but hey, whatever.

The whole thing played more like a comedy send up of the murder mystery than a straight thriller, which was alright. It was pretty funny.

I kept thinking that the best thing about the movie was the lighting though. I dunno. It really drew my attention. It was very well lit, so atmospheric. Certain movies should only be in black and white.

Um, yeah, it was fairly well acted, though I kept wondering if John Saxon was actually speaking Italian or if he was dubbed. It was sort of hard to tell, but I got the impression he was speaking English.

The movie was alright. I don't know. It wasn't amazing but it wasn't bad. I don't really have any strong feelings towards it in any way. That's why I've been sitting here noting the technical skill of those involved. The film was well photographed. The sets well constructed. I don't remember anything about the sound editing, although I did like the music.

There was that one really sleazy song they played a couple of times in the movie. I liked that song. And there were enough little references to make obnoxious film buffs feel smug.

I dunno. Yeah, it was okay. I chuckled. It didn't kill me. I'm getting tired. I should probably take a break, have lunch or go to the bathroom or something, but hey, whatever.

END

Directed by: Mario Bava. Written by: Mario Bava, Enzo Corbucci, Ennio De Concini, Eliana De Sabata, Mino Guerrini, Franco Prosperi. Starring: Letícia Román, John Saxon, Valentia Cortese, Gianni De Benedetto, Dante Di Paulo.

Firewall

Firewall (2006)

Ranking: No
Trashiness: Slightly Trashy

Sigh. Once again, Harrison Ford plays a nice guy who must save his family from terrorists or bankrobbers or something. Having seen Patriot Games, The Fugitive and that other one where he plays that guy, I wasn't really expecting much of this film. I just kinda wanted to see it coz Paul Bettany was in it.

As with all these types of movies (usually starring either Mr. Ford or Bruce Willis), it's the villain which makes the movie. If someone interesting is playing the villain (i.e., Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman et cetera), the movie is immensely more enjoyable. Coz they're all basically the same.

Of course, in this one, not only is Harrison Ford's character just an average guy trying to save his family from Accent Man, he's also some kind of amazing computer hacker. Wait what?! Okay, okay, I'm sure there are probably some 64 year old dudes who are wiz computer hackers, but I didn't believe him for a second.

I mean, what the hell? He's frigging Harrison Ford, man. And he's supposed to know more about computer stuff from all these young, MIT grads he's got working for him? There's no way.

In Die Hardererererer, they didn't try to pass Bruce Willis off as a brilliant computer guy. They just teamed him up with Justin "I'm a Mac" Long. It worked. The rest of the movie didn't, but that part sort of made sense I guess.

Anyway, on the subject of people being way too old for this, Paul Bettany could whoop Harrison Ford's ass. I'm sorry.

Naturally, only a man could get away with this. When women get to be a certain age, all they become good for is playing the moms and other boring roles. If you think this is unfair, contact me in 30 years and we'll see if Kate Beckinsale is still playing the leather clad action-heroine.

All I can say is at least there wasn't some twenty five year old love interest. Although Virginia Madsen is about twenty years younger than Harrison Ford (apparently Anne Archer got a wrinkle and they had to drop her - I know, different movie, different character, but she was almost his age). Coz, you know, him having a 64 year old wife would just be disgusting.

Fuck. Well, there's my feminist bitching for today, just to counteract my review of 2000 Maniacs. I just get annoyed sometimes.

END

Directed by: Richard Loncraine. Written by: John Forte. Starring: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Carly Schroeder, Jimmy Bennet, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Robert Patrick, Robert Forster, Alan Arkin, Matthew Currie Holmes

2000 Maniacs

Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)

Ranking: Hells Yes!
Trashiness: Trashtastic

Oh man. Even more crazy antics from the Ultimate Master of Horror and my new hero, Herschell Gordon Lewis (see: Blood Feast & Gruesome Twosome).

This particular extravaganza, similar in sentiment to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other such films, involves a group of wayfaring yanks who wander into a seemingly friendly Southern town. Little do they know, the townspeople were really slaughtered 100 years ago by Yankee soldiers, and they're still pissed off about it.

What follows is the standard murderfest, depicting some of the stupidest modes of death ever conceived such as 'The Barbecue', 'The Horse Race' and my favourite 'The Rock Drop'. WTF.

Although this film is perhaps the best Lewis film I've seen so far (they nearly fill up 85 minutes with stuff happening), it's still chock full of crappy looking FX, terrible acting and script, babes babes babes and gratuitous gore. In fact, the only really good thing in the movie was the awesome music, in particular the song 'Rebel Yell (The South's Gonna Rise Again!)', written and performed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. "Surprising," quoth Mr. Blue, "seeing as the song shows some degree of competence".

The film does tend to drag a little bit towards the end, and there's probably about ten minutes worth of extra stuff which need not be there, but otherwise it's a real party throughout.

Okay, granted, it is idiotic and exploitive and it's probably true that no feminist in her (or his) right mind should enjoy it as much as I did, but I had a kind of odd upbringing.

Anywho, I thought it was a blast (although I kinda liked Bloodfeast a little bit more - maybe just coz I saw it first, I dunno). I digs.

END

Written and Directed by: Herschell Gordon Lewis. Starring: Thomas Wood, Connie Mason, Jeffrey Allen, Ben Moore, Gary Bakerman, Jerome Eden, Shebly Livingston, Michael Korb, Yvonne Gilbert, The Pleasant Valley Boys

Corridors of Blood

Corridors of Blood (1958)

Ranking: Yeah
Trashiness: N/A

About a friendly old doctor (Boris Karloff) who wants to invent anesthetics because he doesn't like amputating peoples limbs without. Instead, he ends up getting addicted to morphine and blackmailed into signing fake death certificates.

This was not at all what I expected. Corridors of Blood sounds like something out of The Shining. Corridors of Opium would have been more to the point, and no less intriguing. Mr. Green kept asking where the Corridors of Blood were at. I told him to hang in there. He didn't. His loss.

The movie was actually not bad - I mean, I felt like I was tricked into watching it, but that's okay. It was fairly engaging. Karloff gives a pretty good performance, kind of the exact opposite of his role in The Body Snatcher (Christopher Lee kind of takes over the role of the resurrection man. Resurrection Joe. I wish my name was Resurrection Joe. Maybe I'll start a band with that name - it sounds kind of metal, but really we'd be some kind of Victorian Nostalgia Band).

There's something nifty about seeing Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee together (I kinda want to see Curse of the Crimson Altar). In fact, Christopher Lee kills Boris Karloff in this movie, I think (spoilers). How appropriate.

I didn't particularly care for the 'young lovers' subplot. Specially coz they were cousins and all. Well, I guess that's not terribly weird. Frig, I'm from Nova Scotia, it's not weird at all. In fact, it's expected.

I shouldn't disrespect N.S., but dammit, I grew up here. I haver a right to talk trash about my home province. Besides, it's fun and easy.

Right, whatever, where was I? Yeah. This movie was sort of interesting. I kind of enjoyed it. You know, as long as you're not expecting literal Corridors of Blood. There were metaphorical Corridors of Blood. Corridors of the Mind of Blood (which would be the worst title for a film ever).

END

Directed by: Robert Day. Written by: Jean Scott Rogers. Starring: Boris Karloff, Francis De Wolff, Adrienne Corri, Christopher Lee, Betta St. John, Francis Matthews, Finlay Curran, Yvonne Warren

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

From Beyond

From Beyond (1986)

Ranking: Yes
Trashiness: Moderately Trashy

Granted, just about anything would seem like a real party and a half after Nightbreed (I watched these two back to back), especially at one in the morning jacked up on caffeine. Not that I'm a caffeine head. One cup of tea is enough to get me seriously hyper. But it did tickle me.

About a pervy scientist (Ted Sorel - character name Dr. Pretorious. Which I'm going to take as a Frankenstein reference) who invents a machine which activates some brain gland. This gland allows people to see all the unspeakable horrors of the next dimension (the horrors being somewhat reminiscent of The Thing. IOW, made of latex and covered in goo). Basically a haunted house type story, at least until Jeffrey Combs grows a third eyeball and starts running around eating peoples brains. His 'third eye' doohickey actually looked a lot like what Marilyn Chambers had growing out her armpit in Rabid.

Anyway, I haven't read the original text, though I assume they took a few liberties when adapting this film. The soft core bondage stuff is kind of a giveaway. Not that I really give a shit.

Um. It was pretty silly. Noy as goofy as Re-Animator, but still ridiculous. Jeffrey Combs is so frigging intense.

And, because it was bugging us so damn much, Mr. Blue looked up Ken Foree and he was the cool guy from Dawn of the Dead. I recognized him from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3. How lame is that? I guess it's a pretty good indication I need to watch Dawn of the Dead again.

So not a great film by any means, but a pretty entertaining way to spend an evening. Especially after sitting through Nightbreed.

I just liked the like "It bit his head off. Like a ginger bread man". That still amuses me even though it's been over a month since I watched that movie. Heh heh heh.

Wee hoo.

END

Directed by: Stuart Gordon. Written by: Dennis Paoli based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft. Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree, Ted Sorel, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Bunny Summers