Thursday, October 30, 2008

Someone's Watching Me!

Someone's Watching Me! (1978)

Rating: God No
Extremely Trashy

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Day Watch

Dnevnoy Dozor (2006)

Rating: Yeah
Moderately Trashy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Psycho (1998)

Rating: Unneccessary
Extremely Trashy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Monday, October 20, 2008

Food of the Gods

Food of the Gods (1976)

Rating: Not really
Moderately Trashy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Empire of the Ants

Empire of the Ants (1977)

Rating: Yeah
Moderately Trashy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, this movie was well worth watching.


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

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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday the 13th 9

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

Rating: Uch
Beyond the Planet of Trash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vampire's Kiss

Vampire's Kiss (1989)

Rating: Sure
Moderately Trashy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The ninth installment of the Friday the 13th series.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Dark Knight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pick Me Up

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

Rating: Meh
Moderately Trashy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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