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.


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

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.



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.


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.


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

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...


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 (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.



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 (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.


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...


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.