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.


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.


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 (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.


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....


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.


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 (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.

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 (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.


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.


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.


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.


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 (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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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 (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.


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.


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).


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.


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

Youth Without Youth

Youth Without Youth (2007)

Ranking: Yeah
Trashiness: Moderately Trashy

When I heard the title of this movie, I thought it was probably going to be about inner city street gangs or something, and have had a difficult time getting rid of that idea, even after seeing the movie.

Really, it's about an old man (Tim Roth) who gets hit by lightning and starts aging backwards (alright!). He also develops a second personality and gets really weird. Avoiding Nazis who wish to experiment on him, he hones his magic powers and researches the origins of langauge. Eventually, he meets up with the reincarnation of his long deceased lover (Alexandra Maria Lara), who is frequently possessed by her other incarnations, which causes her to age twice as fast as normal.

The first hour of the movie is basically just Tim Roth lying around talking to himself really slowly about really boring ass shit, or walking around in a fedora concentrating. He was pretty annoying. Admittedly, I did find myself wondering aloud if anything was ever going to happen.

However, that was all set up. In the second half, when buddy meets up with chick chick, things sort of pick up a bit. Then we get into the tragic mortal-immortal romantic stuff, along the lines of The Fountain or, more to the point, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Although it was not so absorbing as The Fountain or as sexy as Dracula, it still did appeal to my more romantic side, wherever the fuck that is.

And it really did look nice when the camera wasn't turned upside down or sideways. There were lots of old cars. That's important.

Anyway, I kind of want to watch it again now that I know it gets good halfway through. I'm thinking maybe I can trick one of my friends into watching it with me (I hate watching movies by myself. It feels weird). I'll see what I can do about that.


Written and Directed by:
Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novella by Mircea Eliade. Starring: Tim Roth, Alexandra Maria Lara, Bruno Ganz, André Hennicke, Marcel Iures, Alexandra Pirici, Matt Damon


Ôdishon (1999)

Ranking: Yes
Trashiness: N/A

Japan, producing 78% of the world's werid shit, since 1954. So they say. I've been hearing things about this movie for a while, and watched it on a double bill with Battle Royale.

It's about a widower (Ryo Ishibashi) whose friends keep telling him he should remarry. Eventually, he gives in, setting up a fake audition for a movie so he can meet some women. It's a kind of slimy, pervey plot, but anyway, he does meet a girl who he really likes (Eihi Shiina), and starts going out with her. Unfortunately, she has a few problems.

The film starts out seeming fairly innocent (okay, it was pretty creepy, but it was like a Sunday picnic compared to the rest of the film) and gradually descends into a total fucking nightmare, culminating in a horrific and surreal torture scene involving needles, eyeballs and a piece of wire which can "easily cut through meat and bone". Fuck.

I watched the last half hour of the film through my fingers, quaking with dread and remained in a state of shock for some time afterwards. I was afraid to be alone. The movie really freaked the bejeezus out of me.

It was so frigging quiet, too, really biding its time, never being too obvious or tacky. All that nightmare stuff was really disturbing. I'm still not entirely sure what parts of the movie were real and which parts weren't.

Seriously fucked up, man. Scared the living shit out of me, honest to God. I'm not that hard to scare, but it does take a little effort on the part of the filmmakers.

I haven't seen too much of Takashi Miike's other work other than "Box", his segment in Three Extremes. That freaked me out too. I kind of want to see some more of his stuff though. Although maybe not in rapid succession.

I recommend.


Directed by: Takashi Miike. Written by: Daisuke Tengan, based on the novel by Ryû Murakami. Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Renji Ishibashi, Miyuki Matsuda.

Battle Royale

Batoru Rowaiaru (2000)

Ranking: Yes
Trashiness: Somewhat Trashy

Set in the near future where entire classes of high school students are selected 'by impartial lottery' and sent to an island to compete in a sick game known as Battle Royale. They are each given a weapon (selected at random - some people get good stuff (i.e., a gun) some people get crappy stuff (a pot lid)) and told that the last person standing gets to go home. Each kid is fitted with a collar and if there is no winner after three days, the collars all explode.

And holy shit is it fucked up, really going into everything that's scary about young punks in this world today. The acting and possibly the writing (or maybe just the translation) weren't always great, but I did feel they did a pretty good job of showing exactly what would happen in such a situation. When a bunch of teenagers are put on an island and told to kill one another. Everything gets blown totally out of control.

It's kind of a 'what would you do?' movie in a way. What would you do? I spent a lot of time thinking about this movie. It disturbed me, man.

It was so frigging intense, too. And violent! Holy shit. Genuinely shocking film. I thought it was really well done although sometimes a little bit hard to watch.

I'm surprised they haven't remade it in America yet. Of course, there are lots of similarly themed films, most recently The Condemned, which was a real piece of trash. This film wasn't that trashy. It wasn't classy by any means, but it has style. The characters were more interesting, the situation more compelling. Even the 'evil' and/or 'crazy' people had real lives and actual problems as opposed to just being evil 'because they are'.

I dunno. It was good. It was a scary idea and very well executed. And though they haven't done a straight up American remake yet, I'm sure they'll get around to it (actually, I just checked IMDb, and there's a remake scheduled for '08, so there we go).


Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku. Written by: Kenta Fukasaku based on the novel by Koushun Takami. Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Beat Takeshi, Taro Yamamoto, Kou Shibisaki, Masanobu Ando.

Perfect Creature

Perfect Creature (2006)

Ranking: Meh
Trashiness: Not Particularly Trashy

Really weird movie set in an alternate universe (which looked like every other alternate universe ever invented - sort of Victorian, with dirigibles) where there's this order of all male vampires called The Brotherhood. They live in peace with humanity and help them out with stuff. When one of the Brothers (Leo Gregory) gets infected with some weird virus and goes on a killing spree, his buddy (Dougray Scott) has to track him down with the help of a female police officer (Saffron Burrows).

Or something. I can't exactly explain what was going in this movie, you kind of have to watch it. It felt sort of like a standard vampire pic along the lines of Underworld or some such, but it was really strange. It actually held my attention only on account of it being kind of different. Sort of.

A lot of it was really nothing more than a mash of clichés (the script was not particularly inspired - that whole bit at the end where buddy talks about the corruption of the Brotherhood or whatever bugged me - they didn't seem that bad. I guess Big Organization = Evil no matter what), but the idea was kind of interesting and the setting was just unusual enough to make it stand out. That and the fact it was from New Zealand. NZ seems like an interesting place. I'd love to go there.

The acting also was pretty good as I recall (at least, it wasn't bad - it was a couple weeks ago so I don't really remember everything) and there were a few interesting touches. The fangs on the baby for example.

Anyway, I'm not sure about this movie. It really was a good idea, but it wasn't great. Like I said, it did hold my attention longer than some things. Bloodrayne, for example. That's not really saying a lot. Bloodrayne was such a piece of shit.

Naw, I guess this was okay. Recommended for fans of vampire movies who are kind of bored with the regular crop of garbage from America, or people who really want something to watch.


Written and Directed by: Glenn Standring. Starring: Dougray Scott, Saffron Burrows, Leo Gregory, Scott Wills, Stuart Wilson


Cloverfield (2008)

Ranking: Yeah
Trashiness: Not Particularly Trashy

Okay, I know a lot of people really hated this movie, probably on account of it being so hyped or something. Granted, it wasn't extremely intellectual. It was a big fucking monster movie, dammit. It was supposed to be pedestrian.

For those among us unfamiliar with the premise, it is a first person, Blair Witch style account of what happens when aforementioned big fucking monster attacks New York City, destroying all the requisite landmarks (trade towers not included). The survivors run around the city doing stuff and trying not to die.

There are some basic problems with the film. For instance, nothing - absolutely nothing - happens for the first 20 minutes of the film (that does add to the 'realism' of the film. The characters don't just pick up a video camera with a blank tape. There's other stuff on there). There's a lot of artificial tension generated between the characters. And dumbass keeps the camera rolling when doing dangerous things such as crossing from the roof of one building to another, running around in the dark or being eaten (spoilers). I kept shouting 'camera down, asshole'. That was irritating, but there wasn't really an easy way around it.

I'm sure the constant jostling camera was annoying as fuck in the theatre, but it looked fine on my camera. I kept thinking that the picture quality was really good considering it was supposed to be shot on an ordinary digital camera. My camera sure as shit don't take that high quality video. It was probably shot on film.

However, despite those few little irks, I thought it was generally pretty effective and remarkably understated in spots. It never went out of its way to explain the inexplicable (supposedly the film hints at the monster's origins, but we never find out exactly what the monster is or where it came from - it's just there. That's enough) and it used CGI FX sparingly, so the film didn't look like total shit.

And bits of it actually did freak me out. It was all gross-out factor - the characters were totally two dimensional, I didn't really give a shit about them. Those bug things were nasty though, man. Fuck.

Interesting, well done post 9/11 monster film (I could probably write an essay on how 9/11 has effected the face of horror films, but I'm not gonna).


Directed by: Matt Reeves. Written by: Drew Goddard. Starring: Michael Stahl-David, Odette Yustman, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas, Lizzy Caplan, Mike Vogel.

Dark Star

Dark Star (1974)

Ranking: Yes
Trashiness: Moderately Trashy

Sci-fi comedy/spoof following the exploits of the crew of the space ship 'Dark Star'. Dark Star's mission is to travel through the Universe destroying unstable planets so that galaxies may be colonized (or something. I didn't exactly follow that but whatever). And they've been in space for way to long and are going quietly insane.

Of course, when people say 'sci-fi spoof' I tend to think of Spaceballs. This movie pwns Spaceballs. Then again, the SF film my friend made in his backyard pwns Spaceballs.

It wasn't obnoxious. It was fairly restrained, but just really odd. And funny. I laughed. Notably, one of the earlier films of both Dan O'Bannon and John Carpenter, both of who would go on to do great things, i.e., Alien, Return of the Living Dead, The Thing, Ghosts of Mars et cetera. Dan O'Bannon also features in one of the main roles and does pretty well.

Again, this is sci-fi for weird people. People who thought 2001 had great, unrealized comic potential. Actually, I don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't think that. I mean, come on. "You know I can't do that, Dave". Ho ho ho. Comedy masterpiece of the century. Last century. Whatever.

Oh my God. I should probably stop before I get totally off topic. Yes, the crew of Dark Star has several small, but humourous adventures involving a beach ball with feet, the cryogenically frozen captain of the ship, a rebellious bomb and so on.

Yeah, no, really, maybe, off-beat SF picture. I can't really think of too much else to write about it right now. I like to fill reviews up to 2000 characters or thereabouts for some neurotic reason. I'm only up to, like, 1682 right now so I'll have to talk about something else.

Right now I'm sitting around listening to Les Negresses Verte. My neck really hurts on account of my headbanging yesterday afternoon (don't ask). Ummmmm... I kind of want a cup of tea. I might go get one. I might not. Okay, that's about good.


Directed by: John Carpenter. Written by: John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon. Starring: Brian Narelle, Cal Kuniholm, Dre Pahich, Dan O'Bannon.