Thursday, April 23, 2009

Exorcist: The Beginning

The Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

[Not really]
Beyond Trashy

One of two Exorcist prequels made within a very short period of time. Apparently, they made one, decided it wasn't gory enough or something, scrapped it and reshot the thing with a different director, then released both for whatever reason (moneygrab). This is the second version and generally regarded as the inferior one. I haven't seen the other one so I can't say.

Set in the forties (I forget when exactly. After the war), Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgård) has lost his faith and stopped being a priest after being forced to commit horrible atrocities during WW2 or some such and become an archaelogist. He is summoned by the church to solve a murder committed in the Louvre... sorry. He is summoned by the church to investigate this temple they found buried in Kenya which has something to do with Satan.

The whole thing feels sort of like Prince of Darkness without a sense of fun and actually way more predictable. I knew from about the first ten minutes that it was the sexy lady who was actually the devil (spoilers). I mean, she was trying to seduce an ex-priest for fucks sake (which is a little unfair, but then this was probably made by old people). It just goes to reason.

Also, the movie was really... lame. There were one or two gross scenes (the woman giving birth to a baby covered in maggots was alarming, although had very little to do with anything), but it was all sort of run of the mill and didn't have anything on the fucked up shit going down in the original movie. Gah.

And is it just me or was Satan's dialogue a lot weaker too? Maybe it's just that the words 'fuck' or 'cunt' don't have as much shock value when mumbled by a grown woman than they do when shouted by a young girl.

On top of that, the movie didn't really make a whole lot of sense. Not that the original had logic in spades but at least the characters were sort of compelling and you actually gave a shit about what happened to Regan and her mother. In this movie you know the priest is gonna live, he's going to find his faith and he's not going to get it on with the chick.

Plus, the original movie was disturbing enough to sicken viewers of any creed, whereas this one turns in to one of those movies that doesn't really work so well if you don't believe in Satan (other examples include: The Omen, The Reaping and all those other movies involving the antichrist).

Another annoying thing which pissed me off a little bit - at one point they try to exorcise the demon from the boy (which is pointless because the demon's not even fuckin in the boy) and fail miserably because of course only the Catholic church can do that, which sort of made me wonder... what the hell did the people do before the Catholic church arrived in their country? Like, because it's supposed to be the place where Lucifer fell to Earth (of course, it had to be in Kenya), presumably they have had some problems with demonic possession before and presumably they had ways of dealing with it otherwise they would have a serious problem on their hands... so...


On the plus side, the movie looked great and the sound effects were pretty good. Stellan Skarsgård does a decent (though somewhat disturbing) impression of Max Von Sydow, and is kind of hot. Apparently the role was originally offered to Liam Neeson, which would have been interesting (Liam Neeson + Catholic priest = yay, see Breakfast on Pluto), but Stellan does a good job.

The only other people I recognized in the movie were the guy from Dark Shadows, Ben Cross I guess his name is, and Alan Ford, who played Bricktop in Snatch.

Yeah, overall this movie was mildly interesting but also mildly boring and mildly offensive. I do kind of want to see the other version though.


Directed by: Renny Harlin. Written by: Alexi Hawley, based on the screenplay written by William Wisher and Caleb Carr. Starring: Stellan Skarsgård, Izabella Scorupco, James D'Arcy, Remy Sweeney, Julian Wadham, Andrew French, Ralph Brown, Ben Cross, Alan Ford.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

She Demons

She Demons (1958)

[Not Really]
Beyond Trashy

Big dumb man, obnoxious blonde woman and cool Asian friend (Tod Griffin, Irish McCalla and Victor Sen Yung, respectively) wash up on an uncharted island inhabited by a mad scientist and his scarred wife (Rudolph Anders and Leni Tana, respectively) who are turning beautiful young women into monsters using radiation and lava or something.

And holy shit was this movie retarded. It managed to blend elements of a desert island, romance, mutant mud faced monsters, hot babes, SM stuff, slavery, abduction, weird science, nuclear testing, mad science, disfigured wives (the wife in this looked a lot like the girl in Eyes Without a Face), and Nazis and still come up with nothing.

I didn't think such a thing was possible. I mean, I just assumed that if you threw that much shit into a movie you would have to come up with something worth watching. Anything else would defy the laws of filmmaking somehow. This was basically just an episode of Gilligan's Island on meth, really. Or Lost with all the interesting bits removed.

I don't know, this movie totally blew me away and yet failed to keep my interest. There were one or two bits which got my attention - I mean, it was really totally pervey. Everybody slobbering over Irish McCalla there. It was disgusting, but sort of funny to watch.

The other thing which really disturbed me was that a lot of those Nazi guys didn't look that old. Like maybe twenty five. Which would have made them, what, twelve when WW2 ended? Um... where the fuck did they come from? That's just weird.

Anyway, Irish McCalla was really scary looking and really obnoxious which made me wonder why the guys wanted to save her at all. In fact, the only person who was any good in the movie was Rudolph Anders and he was fucking creepy.

Yeah, this movie is probably only worth watching if you really have nothing better to do.


Directed by: Richard E. Cunha. Written by: Richard E. Cunha and H.E. Barrie. Starring: Irish McCalla, Tod Griffin, Victor Sen Yung, Rudolph Anders, Gene Roth, Leni Tana.

Wild in the Streets

Wild in the Streets (1968)

[Not really]

Exploitation flick about a young musician (Christopher Jones) who direspects his elders but eventually becomes President of the States. A sort of paranoid fantasy dreamed up by a bunch of sad old people who are, evidently, scared shitless of anyone under 30.

Anyway, I was sort of looking forward to this movie for some reason. I guess I was expecting a lot more people to get wasted than actually did. I was hoping for people walking down the street with UZIs blowing old people away. It was sort of disappointing.

And painfully dull. Oh my God. It just goes on and on, going into the agonizing details of the guy's rise in the political world (but not enough detail for it to make sense). It was like watching the US campaign trail on fuckin CNN, only marginally more interesting because, well, there were music videos. And the actors were slightly better looking than most politicians (although not by much, excepting Richard Pryor and Hal Holbrook, who was relatively very young in the movie).

So, like, nothing really happens for a very very long time. I think I spent most of the movie looking up the ages of the director and writer (old) and talking about Sgt. Pepper and The Yardbirds with Mr. Blue. Because this movie was lame. Shelley Winters was sort of entertaining as dude's mother, but not enough to make the movie interesting.

Granted, things do pick up in about the last fifteen minutes and the movie does end on a sort of high note. Once he becomes Prezident, dude rounds up everybody over thirty five and puts them in these special camps where they are all jacked up on LSD and left to run around in purple togas. Cool. They should start doing that for real. That would be awesome.

Also, the music was fucking awful. Made me want to die.


Directed by: Barry Shear. Written by: Robert Thom. Starring: Christopher Jones, Shelley Winters, Hal Holbrook, Diane Varsi, Richard Pryor, Ed Begeley.


Bug (1975)

[Sort of]
Extremely Trashy

Co-written and produced by William Castle (it was, like, William Castle week at my house for some reason. I briefly thought about watching House on Haunted Hill again, but then remembered how much ass it sucked), which might be a bad sign, but then again, he produced and almost directed Rosemary's Baby which is pretty much the shit so... you know...

After an earthquake, a bunch of bugs which can start fires crawl up from the bowels of the earth and start wreaking havoc. They particularly like crawling inside the exhaust pipes of cars, and also going inside peoples ears and setting themselves alight. Why? I don't know. It's so mysterious.

Like The Tingler, this movie is conceptually sort of interesting, but it's not executed very well. I mean, it's made well enough. It feels like a made for TV thing and the acting is a little over the top, but it's alright. It's just that (like any of the movies I watched during William Castle appreciation week) fucking nothing happens for the longest time.

I really did think it was interesting from a pop-science point of view. I don't know how much of it was remotely based on fact, but they made it sound convincing enough and they spent a lot of time talking about how the bugs worked and stuff. What they ate and why they did what they did. While that kind of thing is probably not terribly interesting to the average viewer, I find it really fascinating. Because I'm a fucking loser.

But the movie rambled on and on and on. It started out being sort of about this horrible plague of crazy ass fire bugs and the science guy (Bradford Dillman) trying to find away to exterminate them. That went on for, like, an hour. Then the guy's wife (Joanna Miles) gets set on fire by one of the bugs and, because they didn't teach her the stop drop and roll method in school, she burns to death, also managing to burn the house down. Fail.

So then the science guy becomes the enemy of humanity (I guess. There's actually this one scene where he turns evil. It's really hilarious) and goes crazy in the desert, breeding a new strain of the bugs which develop psychic powers and a taste for human flesh or some weird shit like that.

It feels like two totally unrelated films, complete with meandering, seemeingly random plot elements. Actually, it feels like a series of unrelated scenes. This effect was enhanced by the fact that a lot of stuff didn't really make any sense at all, and I couldn't tell the difference between a lot of the actors. I kept going "hey, didn't that guy die?" or "who the fuck is that - oh, wait, yeah, it's her". But there you go.

However, the film is worth watching for the aforementioned scene in which one of the characters gets a firebug in ehr ear and runs around screaming for, like, ten minutes. Gross, but awesome.

Anyway, it was way more interesting than that weird fucking movie with Ashley Judd. Way more laughs anyway.


Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc. Written by: William Castle and Thomas Page based on the novel The Hephaestus Plague by Thomas Page. Starring: Bradford Dillman, Joanna Miles, Richard Gilliland, Jamie Smith Jackson, Alan Fudge, Jesse Vint, Patty McCormack.

The Tingler

The Tingler (1959)

Extremely Trashy

Another bizarre William Castle flick. This one is about a coroner (Vincent Price) who discovers that fear can actually manifest physically and, if not released with a scream, can kill you. Experimenting with LSD and a deaf-mute woman (Judith Evelyn), he manages to extract the weird bug thing created by extreme fear.

The movie is really very high concept - in the right hands it could have been quite interesting - but is rather poorly executed. Much like in 13 Ghosts, it's hard to tell if anything is actually going to happen at all.

Stuff just meanders along at a painfully slow pace without even the vaguest sense of direction. Okay, the plot of this movie was a little tighter than that of 13 Ghosts, but it still has a lot of extraneous and bizarre elements.

They did do one or two interesting things, though. For example, the woman's fatal acid trip, shot in black & white & red, is pretty cool. Vincent Price's not so fatal acid trip, on the other hand, was fuckin hilarious ("the walls... are closing in... mustn't scream... mustn't.... aaaaaaaaagh!!!!"). Trivia: according to IMDb, this is one of the first movies ever to depict an acid trip. Weird.

Anyway, the "monster" was sort of stupid, but it still freaked me out just a little. It looked sort of like a centipede or something and was pretty gross. And it lives in your spine (I think)! That's just wrong.

There wasn't nearly enough gore in this movie. Sure, there was a bathtub full of blood, but I'm talkin about, like, things ripping out of people. People getting their heads bitten off. You know, shit like that. I know, this was 1959 but... well, whatever.

Yeah, Vincent Price is always fun to watch, even though he looked kind of embarrassed throughout. The movie was morbidly entertaining and amusingly ridiculous.


Directed by: William Castle. Written by: Robb White. Starring: Vincent Price, Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts, Pamela Lincoln, Philip Coolidge, Judith Evelyn.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Twilight (2008)

Extremely Trashy

First things first: despite the fact that I am 17, of the female persuasion and into vampires, I have not partaken of the Twilight books. I read Harry Potter, that was depressing enough for me.

For those of you unfamiliar with the plot (do such people exist? If so, why read this?), it's about a young woman (Kristen Stewart) who falls in love with a vampire (Robert Pattinson). That's pretty much it. The other plot elements seem like they're just thrown in there as filler. Basically, Cullen there rescues her from every dangerous situation because she (being a girl) couldn't possibly take care of herself.

I was pretty surprised that this movie was written and directed by women and yet all of the female characters were either weak and helpless or just the girlfriends of the males. It was, like, the reaction to Buffy or something. The girl in this is a total waif but she gets the guy (more or less). Buffy is a strong, independant woman who kicks ass all over town, and ends up alone by the end of the show. Hm.

Now, don't get me wrong, I actually don't mind sexism in movies, just as long as we can all sit back and laugh at how dumb the men who made the movie were. So in this case it is not the content of the film which bothered me - it is the context in which it is received by its fans (again, haven't read the book so I'm solely judging the movie here). Young girls want to be like Bella (Bella - Bela? Hahaha). It's worrisome.

Okay. So I knew that I was going to feel this way about the movie (I am familiar enough with the books to have an idea of what's going on), but I watched it because 1) I'm into vampire flicks, 2) it was at the store and 3) I was hoping there would be some hot guys in it. I mean, it's the chickiest flick ever, hot guys are mandatory.

I will admit my definition of 'hot' is a little unconvention al, but I didn't find any of the dudes in this movie particularly attractive. Robert Pattinson was just creepy and as for the other vampires, I couldn't shake the thought of 30 Days of Night when it came to them. Go figure. Actually, I did really like girl's dad (Billy Burke). He seemed like my kind of guy.

Anyway, apart from that I thought the movie was pretty well made. The art direction was awesome and I really liked Kristen Stewart. She was appealing and cute.

Overall, the movie was better than I expected it to be, but I still found it sort of offensive.


Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke. Written by: Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer. Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, Cam Gigandet, Elizabeth Reaser, Taylor Lautner.


Watchmen (2009)


Went to see this movie in Fredericton a little while ago, and just finished reading the comic last night. I was told to see the movie first to avoid disappointment or something. I guess that makes sense on some level.

This movie is essentially a murder mystery. An ex-superhero (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is murdered and his former comrades must find out who done it. It's much more complex than that but I'm not even going to bother trying to sum it up. It would take too long and besides, it's beyond my ability.

Needless to say, the movie is pretty fuckin crazy. I enjoyed about the first ninety minutes (although I thought the best part of the movie was the opening credit sequence which set up the alternate universe in which the the story is set as well as the characters' backstories to the sounds of "The Times they Are a-Changing". Brilliant). I started to get confused in the last forty five minutes, and was not entirely sure what the hell happened and why (having now read the comic, this seems clearer to me).

Moving on. I'm not crazy about Zack Snyder's choice of material so far (300, the Dawn of the Dead remake which, though much better than it should have been, was totally unneccesary), I do quite like his style. It's really cool to look at. Also, I have to say that the CGI was pretty good. There was an awful lot of it, but mostly they managed to blend it effectively with the live actors, avoiding the Sky Captain look (I fuckin hated that movie).

I just didn't really find the characters that interesting, with the exceptions of Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley - I just read he might be playing Freddy in the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Good choice. The guy is scary) and the Naked Blue Guy (Billy Crudup). That guy was awesome. Malin Ackerman was pretty but not very good. Patrick Wilson was decent was alright but sort of boring. Blah.

Still, the movie was pretty cool. It kicked plenty of ass I guess. I liked it more than 300. That's not really saying much. 300 was fucking boring. This flick was alright. The book was better, although I can see why it's sort of unfilmable. This movie was way too long already (I drank one of those giant cups of root beer during the trailers, making the last ninety minutes of the movie hell), and it was really simplified and condensed.

I dunno. They did a pretty good job with it though. And there's plenty of violence and sex (sleaziest sex scene ever - "Hallelujah"? Ewwww). Fun for the whole family.


Directed by: Zack Snyder. Written by: David Hayter and Alex Tse based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. Starring: Malin Ackerman, Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Carla Gugino, Stephen McHattie, Matt Frewer.