Monday, June 16, 2008


Nightbreed (1990)


Okay, where to start? Jeez. Movie about a man (Craig Sheffer) who is framed for a series of murders by his shrink (David Cronenberg). To escape the law, he must hide out in the secret world of the Night Breed, a clan of dorky monster-people living out in the middle of nowhere (i.e., right outside Calgary). The setting does seem a little unusual, and is a refreshing alternative to New York or London or wherever. And you really do believe that they would live out there, as it really is in the middle of nowhere (albeit closer to somewhere than where I am. I live in frigging Dartmouth).

Anyway, the guy has to save the monsters from the serial killer, fulfilling the prophecy or some fucking thing. And I think there may have been something to do with the Church, though I can't quite remember.

Much like the Cenobites in Hellraiser, the monsters in this film seemed so... precious. And it felt as though there was way more time spent on the monsters than coming up with a comprehensible plot or appealing characters.

Okay. To be fair. David Cronenberg was pretty creepy, as far as serial killers go. He's not that great of an actor, but that sort of made him seem creepier. The thought that he might actually be like that for real. Eeew.

However, apart from his character and the occasional cuss word or spurt of blood, this struck me as being like a kid's movie. It felt like a kid's movie. It was structured like a kid's movie. In fact, I have a feeling I may have seen something very similar...

Sort of like Peter Pan. Peter Pan is seriously fucked up, man.

Of course I couldn't resist making all kinds of Hellraiser jokes throughout the film. I can't help myself. Hellraiser is hilarious. In a totally serious way.

That's probably this movie's number one offense. It's totally devoid of fun. There's nothing funny about it at all. In the hands of a director with a sense of humour, it could've been really entertaining. Stupid, but still entertaining.

I still kind of want to see Midnight Mean Train, though. I'm sorry, the title totally cracks me up. It's probably real serious too, but still. I dunno. It sounds funny.


Directed by: Clive Barker
Written by: Clive Barker, based on the novel Cabal by Clive Barker
Starring: Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Doug Bradley


Quintet (1977)


Woo. Boring ass apocalyptic sci-fi movie I watched after A Boy and His Dog. In this dreary view of the future, the world has enetered another ice age. Awaiting extinction, the last of the human race sits around playing a game called Quintet (which I think is like some really complicated version of Yahtzee where I guess the players have to kill each other? That didn't make sense to me, I think I must have missed something).

In this strange future, every aspect of life seems to revolve around this one game, coz apparently nobody has anything else better to do. "It's gonna be nice days in the Ice Age".

The international cast spends the film wandering around in weird costumes, spurting incomprehensible dialogue about the Sixth Space and how five is really six (I kept thinking they're probably really bad at math. You know. What's 5+5? 12!? No!!) and offing each other for no apparent reason.

It all felt like a really long, crappy episode of Star Trek. I kept expecting Mr. Spock to show up and go, "That's highly illogical, Cap'n" or some other stupid Vulcan thing. Call me racist, but I really hate fucking Vulcans. I know people who think Mr. Spock is sexy. What's up with that? He's a frigging body snatcher (prejudiced against pod people, too). Cap'n Kirk, on the other hand, is totally hot. And Mr. Shatner's acting style is a trove of endless amusement.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, this movie was way to intellectual for me (SF for smart people) and didn't have any of that delicious Robert Altman goodness I crave. Or Paul Newman action. I like Paul Newman a lot, but he didn't overcome the annoyingness of this movie.

Jeez, I'm really down on this movie. I'm sorry (actually, I'm not. I love trashing stuff. It makes me ever so happy).


Directed by: Robert Altman
Written by:
Robert Altman, Frank Barhydt & Patricia Resnick
Starring: Paul Newman, Vittorio Gassman, Fernando Rey, Bibi Andersson, Nina Van Pallandt, David Langton, Brigitte Fossey

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Boy and His Dog

A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Written and Directed by: L.Q. Jones, based on a novella by Harlan Ellison
Starring: Don Johnson, Tiger, voice of Tim McIntyre, Susanne Benton, Jason Robards, Alvy Moore

Weird science fiction film friends of mine always spoke very highly of and which I always wanted to see. w00t, my dreams are finally realized (I actually had dreams about this movie after watching it for some reason. Even my dreams are movies! Dear lord).

The first half of the film is a sort of semi-western-style sci fi bit about (as the title would imply) a young man and his telepathic dog scrapping for food, shelter, sex et cetera in a post World War Four wasteland (the film was apparently inspiration for the Mad Max movies).

The second half of the movie has the Boy following a girl down into a super creepy subterranean mock-up of a southern town where every day is the 4th of July and every man has gone sterile from living underground so long.

Like I said, the film is totally weird, but really fun to watch. It's quirky and slightly deranged, possibly a little silly but really well written.

And holy shit, that dog was awesome. Of course all dogs are awesome, but this one was particularly awesome (I say 'was' as I think he's probably dead, unless he's, like, forty. Tim McInnerny's probably still alive though).

So, wacky little SF pic for weird people. A nerdy friend of mine (who I assume isn't reading this - even if he is, he probably doesn't know it's me... hopefully) once explained to me the difference between Sf for normal people and Sf for weird people. This film is not for him.

And high on my list of favourite Post-Apocalyptic pics (oh, this list does exist, somewhere in the back of my mind).

Fingerwitch says "YES". ((I've decided to create my own ranking scale going from YES (I liked it) all the way down to NO (I didn't like it) so people won't actually have to read the reviews. Then maybe, slowly, I'll stop writing them all together. In fact, I'm going to reformat my whole style for your reading pleasure, as of the next post. Woo hoo!))


Deep Red

Profondo Rosso (1975)

Directed by: Dario Argento
Written by: Dario Argento and Bernardino Zapponi
Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha Méril, Clara Calamai, Giuliana Calandra

Dario Argento thriller with pretty much the same plot as Bird With the Crystal Plumage (I guess that's the form. It's supposed to be that way). A musician living in Rome witnesses the bloody murder of a famous psychic. He begins to investigate the killing on his own, and becomes a target for the murderer.

As with the other two Argento movies I've seen, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on the visuals, the beautiful colours (the frigging movie is called Deep Red), the composition, the weird art. More emphasis on the visuals than anything else, actually.

Not that there's any problem with that. Everything in the movie looks amazing, in a sort of disgusting/disturbing way. And (unlike Suspiria), there is actually some semblance of structure.

I'm sorry, I'm still hooked on being mean and aggressive. It's just so fun when it gets in your system. I enjoyed the film. It was oh so suspenseful. And really nice to look at. Jeez.

And the music by Goblin was awesome (not quite as bizarre as the sounds in Suspiria, but still pretty funky). I spent a couple of afternoons working out the riffs on my guitar. Coz, you know, I have nothing better to do.

Moving on, the dub job was kind of alarming though. I dunno, it just seemed really odd. And a couple of times, it lapses into subtitled Italian (it says on the box that they lost the English language track for some of the scenes), which is fine, actually, it's kind of interesting, adds a whole other level of something (can't quite put my finger on it).

Although it did maybe think that the whole movie should just be in Italian. Really, why not? It seems to me that only weirdos such as myself are going to watch it anyway (probably a gross assumption on my part, but I'm prone to those).

Well, whatever. It didn't really bother me all that much. So yeah, pretty good. I dunno if it's better than Bird with the Crystal Plumage - I think I liked it more coz I watched it more recently. But sort of the same idea. I liked it alright.


Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007)

Written and Directed by: Zach Helm
: Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Zach Mills, Jason Bateman, Ted Ludzik

Alright. When this film came out in the theatres, Mr. Blue and I spent a great deal of time making fun of it, because Dustin Hoffman is funny. However, as it isn't really fair to make fun of a movie until you've actually seen it, we decided to go for it.

It's about a crazy old man who runs a magical toy shop (IOW, the toys 'come to life'). When he decides to off himself, he must convince his assistant to believe in the magic within all of us or some crap like that.

Oh boy. Where to begin with this movie? I feel like a hyperactive hipster in Freak Lunchbox. Lets start with Dustin Hoffman.

For a moment I found myself wondering what on earth is that man doing? Before I realized that he was doing the Willy Wonka thing.

The whole film plays like a rip off of a Roald Dahl story, except Roald Dahl stories are so sick and twisted (I found them disturbing as a child, which gives them cred. Scary kids stuff is at least interesting).

Ugh. Granted, I'm not so much of the age group this movie is aimed at, but I always felt the best children's films appealed to everybody regardless of age (like Finding Nemo or that one with the pig).

Anyway, the magic of this film washed over me in nauseating waves while I tried to figure what the hell it was supposed to be about. 'If you believe in the magic within yourself, anything is possible'? Or maybe, 'old people die, deal with it'.

It was good for a few laughs (Mr. Blue and I now feel like we're allowed to make as much fun of it as we like). "Oop, four a clock, time to go" KABLAM! Ha! That was great.

That made sense. Yeah, the sparkles were a nice touch. Whatever. I dunno if little kids would find this as enchanting as I did, but I would recommend going for something a little less commercial and shiny. As if my opinion counts. I doubt anyone who's reading this actually cares about kids movies. Did you notice, though, that I cut down my swearing when writing reviews of kids movies? It's a tremendous effort, I'm telling you.

Conclusion: Dustin Hoffman should be ashamed of himself.


(P.S. For some reason (and I just remembered this), I kept dreading a really raunchy sex scene between the Hoff and Natalie Portman. It never happened, thank God. I dunno why I expected that, probably just coz I'm an idiot. Oh well.)

In the Year 2889

In The Year 2889 (1967)

Directed by: Larry Buchanan
Written by: Harold Hoffman
Starring: Paul Peterson, Charla Doherty, Neil Fletcher, Hugh Feagin, Quinn O'Hara, Max W. Anderson, Billy Thurman, Byron Lord (OMG!)

Made for television science fiction film about the survivors of an atomic war hiding out in some valley which was not affected by the atomic stuff for some reason to do with Science.

The assholes, who were spared death for whatever reason, must do battle with the flesh eating mutants created by the radiation (again, something to do with Science) while dealing with their own personal problems. Mostly romantic. Oh yeah, and one guy's a drunk.

The film was not even remarkably bad. It was just kind of dismal. I kept waiting for it to get really fucking bad, but it never did. Just a little corny.

Bits of it, the walrus man for instance, were sort of funny but not all that funny. It was just sort of sad. I dunno. I didn't really feel anything towards it at all.

Um... oh yeah, and the title. In the Year 2889 (I actually only watched the movie because of the title. I was thinking of that annoying song 'In the Year 2525'). Apparently 800 years from now we will have reverted to the sixties. Super retro. Dangit, I was hoping for sliver space suits or something. Or the colour coded jumpsuits of Star Trek. Yay for colour coded jumpsuits.

Apparently there's a whole story behind the title of this movie, which I skimmed on IMDb, but I didn't really care all that much and didn't read it. Something to do with Jules Verne and The Day the World Ended. Whatevs.

Okay, I've still got a whole bunch of space I kind of want to fill up... jeez. Well, the weather is starting to look up a bit here. The sun is out, the sky is blue et cetera et cetera. It was actually pretty hot out today, which was nice for a change. The summer is nice enough, but autumn is where it's at.

Waiting for autumn. Between that, banging my head against the wall and filling a pool up with Jell-O (okay, haven't done that yet, but when I do it's gonna be awesome), I haven't really had much time to blog other than in concentrated bursts.

Okay, that's enough space filled with filler. I can stop now.


The Gruesome Twosome

The Gruesome Twosome (1967)

Directed by: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Written by: Allison Louise Downe
Starring: Elizabeth Davis, Gretchen Wells, Chris Martell, Rodney Bedell, Karl Stoeber

More outrageous zaniness in a film about a crazy old lady running a wig shop. How does she make such realistic looking wigs? It all has to do with her mentally retarded son and an electric turkey carver (yeah, sure, the killer is a retarded guy. How politically incorrect is that? Fuck).

I don't know about any of that. First of all, the hair would be all full of blood and you'd have to clean it out. Second of all, buddy there wasn't doing a very good job scalping those chicks. It would be all clumpy and patchy. Not a very nice wig at all.

Oh well. Variant on the Psycho/Sweeney Todd themes is pretty much just a bunch of pointless and often bizarre filler, leaving you waiting around for more bad shit to happen to sexy ladies.

Oh my God, the sexy ladies. There is so much sexy lady stuff that doesn't even remotely contribute to the plot. Actually, about eighty five percent of this movie doesn't contribute to the plot. Actually, about eighty five percent of the movie does nothing to contribute to this movie. The movie could have been cut down to fifteen minutes or less without losing anything important.

And then there's the really long intro featuring two wigs talking to each other for about nine minutes. What the fuck.

And the weird dialogue which doesn't really make all that much sense. Wow. It was amazing. The movie was pretty amazing overall. It blew my mind in a so-bad-it's-almost-good sort of way.

Yeah, I dunno. It was unbelievably stupid (seriously. I kept thinking to myself 'I can't believe how stupid this is'), but it was strangely entertaining. Not nearly as entertaining as Blood Feast (or LEGS CUT OFF!!! as I like to call it), in fact, it was kind of boring, but so boring it was fun, if you follow. It was just weird. Like something from another planet.

Ahhh, so beautiful.


Last House on the Left

Last House on the Left (1972)

Written and Directed by: Wes Craven
Starring: David A. Hess, Fred Lincoln, Richard Towers, Cynthia Carr, Jeramie Rain, Marc Sheffler, Sandra Cassell, Lucy Grantham

I'm still pretty tired and grumpy, which is probably too bad for this movie, although it does mean I'll be finished faster.

Wes Craven's infamous debut takes the plot of Virgin Spring (as we all know), removes all the interesting bits (and Max Von Sydow. Dammit!) and turns it into a festival of nastiness which makes The Hills Have Eyes look like a Sunday picnic.

Two teenage girls get abducted, tortured, raped and eventually killed by a couple of escaped convicts and their buddies. The convicts then make the mistake of hiding out in the house belonging to one of the girls' parents. Ha, losers. Meanwhile, two hapless police officers bumble around the countryside.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against movies depicting scenes of graphic torture for eighty minutes. This movie wasn't terribly well acted or written, but that's forgivable.

What is truly unforgivable, what totally ruined the movie (not that it had any chance of becoming my favourite movie anyway, but it might have been more meaningful) was that fucking music.

And that fucking comic relief. It was fucking annoying. But mostly the fucking music. It completely undermined the whole movie, making it seem so silly and pointless.

I'm sure that was the whole point, combining goofy music with horrible images, but for me it didn't really work right. It just seemed tacky and tasteless (again, nothing wrong with being tasteless. Tackiness, on the other hand, is a major offense, though not to be confused with cheesiness. Cheesy is good. Tacky is not).

Most of Wes Craven's movies are pretty tacky, but most of them maintain a certain degree of charm or something. I dunno. I don't have too big a beef with his work.

It didn't really help that I watched this right after Virgin Spring which was an unbelievably intense and shocking film, where as this one just seemed kind of... lame. A little bit.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Fury of the Wolf Man

La Furia del Hombre Lobo (1972)

Directed by: José María Zabalza
Written by: Paul Naschy
Starring: Paul Naschy, Perla Cristal, Verónica Luján, Javier Rivera, Pilar Zorrilla

Okay, I don't really remember very much about this fucking movie. First of all, I watched it more than two weeks ago. Second of all, I didn't get to sleep until around five last night (or this morning?) and somebody decided to call me at, like, ten. Frig.

Complain, complain, complain. This film follows one of the many exploits of Waldemar Daninsky, the furious werewolf played by Paul Naschy, AKA Jacinto Molina. I guess it's one in a series of eleven or so movies (the series also includes Werewolf vs. Vampire Women, which is of course an inspired bit of filmmaking). I'm sorry, I'm way too tired to cut this film any slack.

Okay, as far as I can remember, the plot has something to do with the Wolf Man being brainwashed by an evil scientist? I think? Oh yeah, she like kills him and brings him back to life or some damn thing and then he goes totally apeshit and causes thousands of dollars in property damage.

I seem to remember there being something about a crazy orgy in a castle and this guy walking around in a mask. The sound quality on my copy of this film was poor, and the dub job was shitty so I had a hard time telling what the hell was supposed to be going on. I often wondered whether it made more sense in Spanish.

Even more irritating than the shit sound was the misleading title. The werewolf isn't really all that furious. He's actually pretty mellow and not that much happens. On the other hand there is a big wolfman/wolfwoman battle at the end of the movie. On the other hand, wolfwoman looks really stupid. Long hair just doesn't go with the werewolf look (still, if I could pick any superpower, it would be werewolf. That or being, like, indestructible or something).

All that aside, Jacinto Molina is still Captain Sexy - I mean, come on. He was like a body builder or some damn thing. Woo hoo. Well, whatever. I'd still go for the other Captain Werewolf movies despite their overwhelming cheesiness. I like cheese.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Directed by: Marcus Nispel
Written by: Scott Kosar based on the screenplay by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel
Starring: Jessica Biel, R. Lee Ermey, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour, Andrew Bryniarksi, David Dorfman

This being the remake of the 1974 film about teenagers getting killed in nasty ways by psychotic, chainsaw wielding rednecks down in Texas.

Not that a remake was really necessary, but it seems that when it comes to horror pics they have to remake everything every thirty years (see The Invasion, Halloween, The Wicker Man, Black Christmas, The Hills Have Eyes et cetera). I do not question this fact, I merely observe.

Anyway, unlike some other remakes, this one actually does try to change some stuff a little bit, try to make it it's own movie, give it it's own look, that sort of thing.

Whether or not it succeeds as a film is debatable, but it at least isn't an exact copy of the original film. The one difference that stood out to me for whatever reason is that most of the torture/violence seems to be inflicted on the men rather than the women (go figure). Not necessarily a good thing, but I dunno, it kinda grabbed me.

They don't give too much explanation for the cannibal family (they save all that crap for the prequel), which is nice and there are a couple of freaky scenes. R. Lee Ermey is unbelievably fucking creepy, although, as I have mentioned before, I don't really find deformities etc all that frightening. Like chainsaw guy, there. He has no nose. That isn't scary, it's sad (sort of the same way I feel about Voldemort in them Harry Potter movies).

The acting was a couple notches better than that in the original (this had actors who actually did other stuff), but it just looked so slick and expensive. It didn't have all the gritty, semi-amateur, low-budget goodness.

So although it's not a great movie or a great remake, it's so very much better than the sequels to the original film (it doesn't really have to try hard to do that, it just has to be somewhat coherent), making it an okay entry in the series.

Which means I'm actually done with this series. I've seen ALL of them. Sadly, I actually feel like I've accomplished something. And I've had the song 'Chain Saw' in my head for over a week now. "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre/took my baby away from me..."


Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever (2002)

Directed by: Eli Roth
Written by: Eli Roth and Randy Pearlstein
Starring: Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello, Cerina Vincent, Joey Kern, Arie Verveen, Robert Harris, Giuseppe Andrews, Eli Roth

Riff on the Evil Dead theme, about a group of young people who go out to a cabin in the woods and catch some horrible disease, a little bit like Ebola. When the vaguely demented locals learn that the kids are infected, they go about trying to stop it from spreading, so to speak.

I was expecting this movie to be pretty stupid, and it was, but it was still pretty fun to watch, from the ridiculous situations and bizarre supporting characters, to the idiotic but realistic dialogue (the characters call each other gay a lot. That made me laugh).

And it was nice and disgusting. Although not as disgusting as reading about Ebola. I figured I should actually read up on Ebola just so I knew what I was talking about and could defend my comparison if I had to. I also decided to look up smallpox and the bubonic plague just to put it into perspective.

It did kind of make this movie seem less fun in my mind though. Um... I wasn't really thinking about that when I was watching it though, I thought it was funny. I laughed.

Anyway, this is apparently Eli Roth's first major film or something, which is cool. It was good (I haven't seen either of the Hostel movies, so no comments there). Sort of self-aware horror picture, very referential of the genre, probably more than is necessary. It made me feel smug and we all know how I feel about that.

Ah well. I also thought it went on a little bit at the end just for the sake of being funny. And it was funny, but perhaps a little more than was necessary.

Still, overall I found it a pretty entertaining, gross-out post-horror film, all that Ebola stuff aside (fuck, man). That's all after the fact. Although that doesn't make it any less nasty. Well, whatevs.


The Witchfinder General

The Witchfinder General (1968)
AKA: The Conqueror Worm

Directed by: Michael Reeves
Written by: Michael Reeves and Tom Baker (Tom Baker, really?) based on the novel by Ronald Bassett
Starring: Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Hilary Dwyer, Rupert Davies, Robert Russell, Nicky Henson

My computer's running unbelievably slowly today. Dunno why I mentioned that, just thought I'd bring it up. I was going to load some videos on here but now I'm thinking maybe I won't. I'm thinking maybe I should just turn it off and let it rest...

Well, movie set during the English civil war about a 'witchfinder' who tortures and executes mostly women suspected of witchcraft by their paranoid neighbours.

Vincent Price is super creepy in this one, of course playing the pervey, puritanical fuck-o, who was apparently a real guy (though I'm not sure how accurate this film is in terms of how he lived or whatever. It's not exactly a biopic of the dude). I thought he did a pretty good job, being considerably less goofy than usual.

The movie was pretty well done, with a few rather horrible scenes of bad shit happening to people. At no point does it go for the 'supernatural' angle, which is nice, although I did keep wondering when the worm was going to show up.

You know, like, it turns out that Mr. Price was actually being controlled by this brain worm from outer space or something... okay, I wasn't really expecting that to happen, but it would have been funny if it did.

(The birds just all stopped singing... that's really creepy. Sorry, that's just really distracting. There's just the spooky silence out there now. And the hum of my computer. Still my computer gently hums. Eh, whatever.)

Um. Yeah. Well. I guess other puritan assholes ended up causing trouble in and around Massachusetts later on there. It's a really good thing we're so much more advanced as a species and know better than to behave in such a way.


The Devil Bat

The Devil Bat (1940)

Directed by: Jean Yarbrough
Written by: John T. Neville
Starring: Béla Lugosi, Suzanne Kaaren, Dave O'Brien, Guy Usher, Donald Kerr, Yolande Mallott, Edward Mortimer, Arthur Q. Bryan

Mistook this film for something called The Vampire Bat with Lionel Atwill and, like, Fay Wray and maybe Dwight Frye or something. Thus, I was somewhat confused for a goodly portion of this movie. Well...

Lugosi plays a guy who makes aftershave or something for this big company. He believes that the company has been cheating him out of his money and decides to get his revenge.

Revenge involves a special aftershave containing a rare herb found only in Tibet (where else? It's always frigging Tibet in these movies), the scent of which provokes extreme aggression in a strain of large fruit bats the Lugosi is keeping in his basement. He gives samples of the aftershave to the family members of the heads of the company and then they get killed by crazed bats.

Weird. I guess it's pretty much an average film of that ilk - it was watchable but it didn't really blow my mind or nothing. Lugosi is really creepy (but in a sort of endearing way, you know?), the rest of the acting is decent though no one stood out particularly.

Though the comic relief is somewhat lacking (kind of disturbing in parts), there is some pretty hilarious dialogue along the lines of, 'put the shaving lotion on the soft, tender parts of your neck' or 'I'd rather use the lotion after I shave, when my skin is more tender and receptive' or something. They kept saying tender. It was weird.

At one point, I had to ask Mr. Blue if guys actually ever talk like that about their aftershave (coz hell, I dunno. For all I know men get together in secret and talk about the tender parts of their necks), to which he replied, 'I've never heard such things!'

(Kind of a misquote there, but I can't really remember what he actually said. Man, I would suck as a journalist.)

Yeah, that was pretty weird. I dunno. This movie didn't strike me as being anything special (to be fair, I watched it on a triple bill with Battleship Potemkin and Rashomon...). The bats were awful cute though.