Tuesday, September 29, 2009

#33 - Audition

Ôdishon (1999)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Takashi Miike. Written by: Daisuke Tengan, based on the novel by Ryu Murakami.

Plot: A widower (Ryo Ishibashi) finally concedes to start dating again and sets up a fake audition for a movie. Through this he meets a charming young woman (Eihi Shiina) and they start going out together. Little does he know that she is extremely disturbed. Hilarity ensues.

Review:
This is another one of those kind of depressing movies. I mean, it starts out okay but by the end of the movie you’re just wondering who the hell came up with this and why.

It’s a little slow getting going but the whole film has a very dreamlike quality, drifting along and getting progressively weirder. And it’s all got that sort of low-fi, semi-amateur look, the film quality, like it was shot on digital or something. I’m not sure whether it was shot on dig or not, bug I’ve noticed that quality in a lot of Asian horror flicks. I mean, it’s extremely well done, that’s not it, it’s just sort of weirdly unpolished looking or something. I don’t know what it is but it always catches my attention.

Anyway, this film is not strictly a horror movie - it is probably best described as a drama, it just borrows some elements from the horror genre in its skewing of reality and un-reality, making for many bizarre scenes. Also I guess some of the subject matter is vaguely horror related.

For example, the woman keeps a tongue-less guy in a bag in her apartment and feeds him her own vomit. That was pretty fucked up…

I guess this movie was more fucked up than anything, and that’s sort of where I was aiming with my initial comment on the person who came up with this. Seriously. People shouldn’t think about this shit.

But it’s in my head now too… huh.

Anyway, the movie culminates in an infamous torture scene, and I spent pretty much the last half hour of the movie curled up in a chair hiding, mostly because I was expecting something to jump up on the screen and make a loud noise. It didn’t, thank God, but it’s always good to be prepared. It took a while to come down off of it, too. I guess I was so tense during the last little bit it took my brain a long time to relax. It’s weird but cool.

Yeah, anyway, this is a pretty stellar recommendation, eh? No, it’s a good movie, it’s just sort of slow and sort of disturbing. Fuck, apparently I was not in the mood for writing at this time. These last two reviews really sucked ass. Ah well. I guess I'll just keep movin along.

Favourite Part: I can’t remember why, but this guy is telling the main guy the story of this murder. He’s talking about how the victim had been chopped up into many, many pieces and strewn around a bar or something. When police put all the pieces back together, there was an extra tongue and three extra fingers. That grossed me out a whole lot.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: None.

Click here to read my original review (July 2nd, 2008).

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#34 - Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Trash-o-rama

Written and Directed by: Wes Craven.

Plot:
Deranged, undead murderer (Robert Englund) kills teenagers in their dreams, subsequently killing them in real life (I’ve heard that ‘if you die in your sleep, you die in real life’ thing many times and am still not sure that it is true. I’ve died in my dreams before with no adverse effects. I also smoke in my dreams too. Weird). It’s up to one girl (Heather Langenkamp) to stop him.

Review: This movie is the best. It’s follows the slasher movie formula pretty closely, obeying the general rules, but it is probably one of the most imaginative films in the genre.

First of all, whoever came up with the concept (Wes Craven I guess) deserves a pat on the back. It’s just a really fucking good idea. About half the movie is set in peoples dreams, which means they can do whatever the hell they want, completely forgoing any form of logic. That’s awesome in and of itself.

Secondly, the execution is bomb (I can’t believe I just used the word ‘bomb’ in that context. Fail). Instead of just doing whatever, they did whatever really well. Yeah!

And then there’s the Johnny Depp factor. Honest to God, it enhances the wow-ness of this movie. Way more wow than Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween or Kevin fucking Bacon in Friday the 13th. But then, I don't really like Kevin Bacon all that much. He's just... ucky. Or something. I dunno, I just find him generally offputting. I think the rest of the population agrees with me on that. I mean, I don't see him all that often so...

But anyway, Freddy is pretty cool too, and it’s not surprising he became such an icon. I mean, he’s annoying as fuck but he’s got that cool glove thing which makes up for it. I wish I had one of those. I would totally kill the shit out of some jerks.

So, you know, good for him.

And another thing: out of the Holy Trinity of slasher movies, this one has the best sequels. Probably because they have the ability to do whatever the shit they want. Instead of being locked in the same tiresome cycle, they can just do some random retarded shit. It’s awesome.

This is a kick ass movie. This is also a suck ass review. Fuck.

Favourite Part:
Johnny Depp’s death scene was quite spectacular. So much blood….

Other versions:
Supposedly there is a remake in the works. Bah.

Sequels:
Freddy’s Revenge (meh), Dream Warriors (pretty good), The Dream Master (I forget), The Dream Child (weird), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (good stuff), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (interesting concept, crappy movie), Freddy vs. Jason (oh yeah).

Click here to read my original review (May 6th, 2007).

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

#35 - Horror of Dracula

Dracula (1958)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Terence Fisher. Written by: Jimmy Sangster based on the novel by Bram Stoker.

Plot: An ancient vampire (Sir Christopher Lee) travels from his home in the back woods of wherever to London in order to bother a beautiful young woman (Melissa Stribling).

Review: So… what am I up to now? I can’t remember how many versions of Dracula I’ve reviewed already, but whatever. Probably fewer than I think. Anyway, this is the Hammer version.

I swear to God, they don’t make them like they used to, man. This movie had it all. I know I say this every time I review a Hammer movie, but, fuck, they all had it all. Those movies had the perfect balance of good stuff. Cool period sets and costumes, really hot chicks, and that weird kind of colour that makes the movie look like it’s been colourized even though it really hasn’t. The blood is always super red.

Throw on top of that a script which doesn’t suck and British accents. There is no way this movie could possibly go wrong. It’s ingenious.

And I really like Christopher Lee. I mean, he’s gotten a little annoying these days (as has pretty much everyone associated with Star Wars Episodes 1 through 3 - honest to God, I cannot think of a single person involved with that movie who doesn’t bother me on some level now. Even, like, Ian McDiarmid and Frank Oz. Okay, they annoyed me a little bit anyway, but now more so. The only person impervious to the damage is James Earl Jones and his voice was only in Revenge of the Sith for, like, six seconds), but back then… wow. What a guy.

He was one of the best guys to play Dracula too. I really like Bela Lugosi, and Gary Oldman is pretty much Captain Sexy, but Christopher Lee is the fucking man. He pwns the hell out of that role, despite his weird little under bite thing (that thing is really weird). But, like, he barely does anything in the whole movie. He has about ten lines of dialogue and he still kicks ass the whole way through. It’s awesome.

And, you know, Peter Cushing. I love Peter Cushing! He’s the best Van Helsing ever, and this is probably his best turn in that role (I dunno, I haven’t seen all the movies in this series either… there are a lot of them and they’re not that easy to get hold of. It sucks monkey nuts).

Anyway, it’s also appropriately gothic and full of sexy stuff to keep me happy. Really though. They should go back to making movies like this. Only now it would be sort of self conscious and retro and generally shitty. Damnit. Oh well.

Fuck this was a sucky review. I'm sorry. I'm not entirely sure what was going on when I wrote it but nothing good.

Favourite Part: I liked it when Dracua did the Dracula thing with Dracula. Read: fuck I'm tired.

Other versions:
Many.

Sequels: Brides of Dracula (which I did see but don‘t remember), Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (I think I saw this one too but I’m not entirely sure…), Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, Dracula A.D. 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula and Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires.

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2010

2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)

[Meh]
Extremely Trashy


Sequel to 2001 set, obviously, nine years after that movie. About a group of Russian astronauts who decide to go out to Jupiter or wherever and investigate the monolith as well as the abandoned space ship from the first film. They bring along a few Americans (Roy Scheider, John Lithgow, Bob Balaban and maybe one other guy, I forget) so that they can decipher the information on the computer.

The first hour is about them trying to get to Jupiter. I sort of tuned out during this part so I'm not sure exactly what the problem was. There was some bureaucratic bullshit and then some aliens attacked them or something. And then the second hour is them trying to get away from Jupiter. They didn't really do a whole lot while they were there.

Okay, okay, the woke up HAL (turns out he's not such a bad guy), got some painfully cryptic messages from Keir Dullea (turns out he's still out there. Sort of?) and had some politcal problems. Apparently, down on Earth, the cold war is still going on or some damn thing and then it breaks all out and the astronauts from either nationality are forced to go onto separate spaceships. And they fuckin do it! Just because some jerk back on Earth told them to! I mean, who the fuck cares? They're orbitting fuckin Jupiter. So what if the Americans trespass on Russian property? What are the Russians going to do, arrest them? It takes them like two years to get out there. That was dumb.

Anyway, all in all the movie was pretty mediocre, not even triggering my rage reflex. It was just sort of dull and long. Although, it was probably the best parody of 2001 I think I've ever seen.

I mean, weird stuff is going on for no apparent reason!!!! Ooooooh, what could be happening? This is so deep. Who gives two fucks.

Honestly, if this movie had bothered trying to address and analyze whatever the fuck was supposed to be happening in the first one rather than just trying to be equally weird and stupid, maybe they would have gotten somewhere.

But yeah. On top of the fact that this movie is even more mystifying and full of shit than the first one, the characters and writing were also terrible. And they used the same damn music, only now, instead of actually making sure it matched the scene, they just jammed it in to say "You know this is like 2001 because we're using the same music". And it wasn't even written for that movie. Fuck. It's like how they find some way to cram 'Extreme Ways' into every Bourne movie, although at least in that case they do the decent thing and put it at the end.

The only improvement on the first movie is the addition of a female character. Unfortunately, it was Helen Mirren doing a shitty Russian accent. The whole time I was going, "but..... it's Helen fuckin Mirren.... why couldn't they cast someone who was actually Russian or who could at least do a competant accent?" Also, her character's name is Tanya Kirbuk. At least her first name wasn't 'Yelnats', coz, y'know, that would just be stupid and obvious. Fuck.

Yeah, not a very interesting or useful film.

END

Written and Directed by:
Peter Hyams, based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Starring: Roy Schneider, John Lithgow, Hellen Mirren, Bob Balaban, Keir Dullea, Douglas Rain, Dana Elcar

#36 - Aliens

Aliens (1986)
Trash-o-rama

Written and Directed by: James Cameron.

Plot: Set around sixty years after the events of Alien, during which time Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) has been floating around in a stasis pod. When she gets picked up and revived by the People of Earth, she learns that a colony has been established on LV-426 (the planet where the original Alien was picked up) and, surprise surprise, they have lost contact with the people there. So, being the only person to have ever come across the Alien and lived to tell about it, she is sent off with a bunch of marines to kick the crap out of some monsters.

Review: Boy do they ever kick the crap out of those monsters. This is one of those movies that is almost wall to wall violence, you know, people getting ripped apart and sprayed with acid, aliens getting blown all to hell, good times, generally a very fun movie to watch.

But ya know, the thing about this movie that actually makes it special and the part that the countless hordes of imitators really failed to get, is the surprisingly likeable characters. I say ‘surprisingly’ because most of them (Hudson, Vasquez, Newt, Ripley, Burke) are annoying as hell and yet still likeable (except for Burke - the guy was a real creep and then he turned out to be a real bastard). Their annoyingness is generally kind of endearing for some reason.

Same goes for the original movie (which I will discuss when the time comes). In fact, I think I wrote almost the exact same thing for that movie, only, I don’t remember because I wrote it in my notebook whereas the rest of these reviews are written in a word document (which is, you may want to know, why I didn’t use any accents on the letters which are supposed to have accents. I haven’t yet figured out how to do that on a laptop. I looked it up, but everything I found was for something that didn’t apply (i.e., they said to use the Number Pad. My computer does not have a Number Pad. And so on (NOTE: I figured it out. You press CTRL+SHIFT. But I'm not going to go back and reaccent all of those words. That is far too much work))).

And yeah, then there’s the extremely gratuitous violence, which is always super fun. But sad at the same time… not the violence towards the aliens - fuck them (I dread the day that humans make contact with extraterrestrial beings because I’m majorly racist. Jawas, Daleks, Orkans, all bastards… but most of all I hate the fucking Vulcans. Killer robots, on the other hand, I am usually pretty down with) - but, you know, the people getting trashed. It makes me feel bad.

Also, there is a certain level of suspense. I mean, there are some pretty creepy scenes. Mostly they are given up for things blasting other things, but every now and then something kind of spooky happens. I gotta love it.

Overall, this is a most satisfactory sequel to Alien. Although any time I meet someone who suggests that this movie outdoes the original, I am forced to punch them in the head. I can’t help it, I just have to. Because they are so wrong. And that’s not just me being a snob. Alien is fundamentally superior to this movie - the characters are better, the dialogue better written; there is more suspense and the alien is kept out of sight for most of the movie, making its appearances more shocking; Ian Holm is way creepier than Paul Reiser; there was a cute cat rather than an obnoxious little kid (okay, I do actually kind of like Carrie Henn, and on the scale of fucking obnoxious kids in sci-fi/action/horror movies, she is one of the least offensive, but still). And the original had John Hurt. I like John Hurt.

But yeah, this movie is still the best sequel to the first movie and probably one of the better horror sequels of all time.

Favourite Part: Bishop. He’s just so awesome. I mean, I could write a book on how much I love Bishop. First of all, he’s Lance Henriksen which pretty much sells him right there. But he’s also really nice! He’s so polite and helpful even when Ripley is being mean to him. And the fact that throughout the whole movie you’re expecting him to become evil and kill everybody and then he doesn’t. If they ever make androids, this is what they should be like. Plus, he is one of the few characters who actually survives (sort of). Best robot ever.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: Follows Alien. Followed by Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

#37 - Evil Dead

The Evil Dead (1981)
Trash-o-rama

Written and Directed by: Sam Raimi.

Plot: A group of youngsters head out to a spooky cabin in the woods for a weekend of beer and premarital sex. Then they uncover an ancient, evil looking book and read from it. Hilarity ensues.

Review: There’s not a whole lot new to be said about this movie (it doesn’t help that I already reviewed it, although that’s not a great excuse. Reviewing something again is a great way to capitalize on the jokes you missed the first time).

So I’ll just go on and talk about why I thought it was better than the other two movies. I’m guessing there are a number of people out there who would be insulted that not only did I put this movie ahead of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, but also completely omitted them from the list. “You included Alien 4 but not Evil Dead 2? What is your malfunction?”

First off, I thought that Alien: Resurrection was enough of a deviation from the other films in the series to be considered in its own right (same goes for, say, Dawn of the Dead). Yes, it doesn’t function without the other three movies, and it does homage them a lot, but it isn’t a clone of the first movie which sets it apart.

Evil Dead 2, though slightly different from the first movie, is still fundamentally the same. First of all, they redo all the events of this movie in the first twenty minutes of the sequel which, when you’re watching them back to back (as I did), is really annoying and somewhat unnecessary. I don't like flashback-recaps.

The rest of the movie is new, and yet not really that different. It’s just stuff that didn’t happen in the first one rather than stuff that did happen later… if that makes any sense.

Also, it’s way more slapstick and less horror. Though I do occasionally like some slapstick in my horror… I don’t know where I was going with that. I hate slapstick in my horror. I don’t like slapstick to begin with. I like sarcasm, dry wit and sometimes absurdism if it’s handled well. I’ve only watched one or two bits by the Three Stooges and I didn’t really like them.

Um, yeah, so I liked that this movie stuck more on the horror side of the spectrum, rather than going all out gore and such. Although the chainsaw for a hand thing was cool… but that’s the thing. Both Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness were more cool than anything. The only reason anyone seems to do anything is because it’s cool.

As for Army of Darkness, I don’t think I even need to really explain myself there. Yes, it is a fun action movie, but… it’s… well, you know. It’s really more fun to quote with your nerdy friends at parties than actually watch. It’s got some of the greatest lines in it, but it’s almost embarrassingly stupid.

And most of all, I liked Ash’s character in this movie more than in the other two. He’s less of a gung-ho asshole. He’s just a nice guy. A really nice guy. And Bruce Campbell is totally cute. I love him in this.

On a separate note, I listened to the soundtrack of the musical of this... I've heard that the stage show is pretty impressive but just based on the music.... avoid. I do not generally like musicals, particularly ones based on movies that were perfectly acceptable as movies and that is no exception.

Well anyway. I would be bracing myself for flamers who want to tell me how wrong I am regarding my assessment of the other two movies but not that many people read my blog.

Favourite Part:
I like the part when the girl gets stabbed in the ankle. I dunno why, but that made me happy. It just looked like it really fuckin hurt.

Other versions: Sadly, there is a remake in the works as of now. But, according to IMDb, Sam Raimi directs so it might not be total crap... on the other hand, why in the name of fuck would you want to remake your own damn movie when you could be spending energy on making other stuff? Honestly.

Sequels
: Yup.

Click here to read my original review.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

#38 - The Terminator

The Terminator (1984)
Extremely Trashy

Directed by: James Cameron. Written by: James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd.

Plot:
In the future, the world has been taken over by robots. They are opposed by a small group of human survivors led by a guy named JOHN CONNOR. Apparently, the resistance is tough enough that the robots can’t just nuke the fuck out of them, so instead they opt for something a little more complicated, sending an indestructible killing machine (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to the present to kill JOHN CONNOR’s future mother, SARAH CONNOR (Linda Hamilton) in the past. The resistance sends back their own guy (Michael Biehn) to protect SARAH CONNOR and stop the Terminator. He also ends up fathering JOHN CONNOR, creating a sort of paradox or something. The mind boggles!

Review: I saw this movie at a tender young age and it’s always held a special place in my heart. I think that most people have T2 in that space. Something about the father-son relationship. Guys wish they had a robot slave when they were little. Me? I hope that some day Michael Biehn will come from the future/past and rescue me from robots and then we can hide out in a bunker or something. Like, say he got blasted into the future in the past, so he’s still kinda young now, or whenever he comes to rescue me. Actually, he‘s not looking too bad now. He‘s still got a certain something. He could totally come rescue me now. I mean, he's 53, but really... well... I guess he is a little old for me. What's the rule? Half your age plus seven? Shit.

Okay, I’ve already spent way to much time on that. God, I need another hobby.

Um. Yeah. Where the hell was I going with this? T2 is more of an action movie, where as this is more horror/thriller, meaning slower, darker, nastier. Less cool for cool’s sake.

Granted, the Terminator is a machine which runs on cool, but this movie is a lot more dirty and unpleasant than the sequels, which are all a bit more on the flashy side. This movie is still pretty flashy, but it is less so. The Terminator is way scarier in this than in any of the sequels also. He just runs on total brute force. The T101 or whatever the hell was in the second movie, he was sneaky in that he could be anybody, but he wasn't very smart. And the TX... well... something about Kristanna Loken is just not very intimidating.

Also there isn’t quite so much driving in this movie. I dunno, there’s a lot of driving nonetheless but I swear to Jesus, T2 and 3 both take place almost entirely on the road. And there's the sound of tires and things exploding... very loud.

Whatever. This is probably one of the bestest time travel movies, and definitely the best killer robot movie ever. It does kick a lot of ass.

The script is also pretty witty, which I like, and the special FX are pretty good (the FX in 1984 were way better than the FX today). And you know, Linda Hamilton is the fucking shit. She kicks so much ass that even when she’s not kicking ass, she's still kicking fuckin ass. There’s something immensely likeable about her. I dunno, I totally want to go out for a beer with her. Not SARAH CONNOR, Linda Hamilton. I’ve read a bit about her (mostly out of boredom) and she sounds like a genuinely interesting person.

Seriously, though, she should be in way more stuff. I mean, she was SARAH fucking CONNOR. That should count for something. Arnold Schwarzenegger got to be fucking governor of fucking California. Linda Hamilton deserves at least some respek.

Anyway. Dick Miller was in this movie also. This is because all of Roger Corman’s former minions are required by law to use Dick Miller in at least one movie. That’s just how it goes.

Favourite Scene: The first scene I ever saw from this movie was the scene in which the Terminator removes his faulty eye, when I was probably around eight or so and it made me really want to see the rest of the flick. So that’s always the scene that pops out at me when I watch it. It pops out for other reasons too, I guess. But it’s really well done, even though Arnold’s head is all waxy. I like wax.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: Terminator 2: Judgement Day (the only valid sequel as far as I'm concerned), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (crap, although I did like Nick Stahl as JOHN CONNOR for some reason. The fact that Clair Danes was in it kind of made me sad, but it pissed me the hell off that they replaced her with Bryce Dallas Howard in the fourth movie. I mean, JOHN CONNOR gets older as time goes by but Kate Brewster (or whatever her name was) gets younger? How does that make sense? Fuck), Terminator: Salvation (have not seen).

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#39 - The Ring

The Ring (2002)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Gore Verbinski. Written by: Ehren Kruger, based on the movie written by Hiroshi Takahashi, based on the novel Ringu by Koji Suzuki.

Plot: Woman (Naomi Watts) watches an evil video which dooms the viewer to die a horrible death seven days from the first viewing. In order to save herself, her ex-boyfriend (Martin Henderson) and her creepy kid (David Dorfman), both of whom were also exposed to the video, she must find out what happened to the little girl (Daveigh Chase) who made the video do what it do.

Review: Interesting movie, both conceptually and in execution. I will admit that I have not actually seen the original film (through some peculiar series of un-events), but I have read the book so there you go. Although the book is really quite different so… yeah.

This is the first film I saw in the recent wave of Asian-inspired techno-horror films and so far the superior film. Though it does say that television is evil in a somewhat heavy handed way, it does so through the medium of television, which makes it sort of more complicated.

But it never gets especially preachy, as opposed to many other “TV-sucks” movies, which basically tell you that you’re a loser for even watching the movie and make you feel like crap. This just does its own thing in its own bizarre way.

Also, I think making it about a viral chain-video was just a really good move. Good idea for a movie/novel. Good stuff.

Anyway, that’s concept. On top of that, I was digging the look of the movie - the whole thing looks like it was shot through some weird kind of filter. All the colours are distorted somehow. I also remember really liking the music, which is weird coz it was Hans Zimmer. I find Hans Zimmer soundtracks generally inoffensive although really irritating due to the fact that they’re all the fucking same. If you don’t believe me, check out the soundtracks to Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean and any of his other movies from the last ten years.

To be fair, prior to Gladiator he actually wrote some stuff that didn’t totally rip off his other stuff. True Romance, for example, has really good music.

And you know Naomi Watts is extremely likeable. Over the last little while, she’s become one of my favourite actresses. She’s just… normal. But appealing. I wish her well, if you know what I mean. I don’t want to see bad shit happen to her (remember Funny Games? I hated that movie).

And the little boy is really creepy… so you know, he could have gotten killed and it wouldn’t have really bothered me that much. He freaks the hell out of me. I dunno, it’s weird.

Moving on, this movie didn’t scare me so much as unnerve me deeply. For instance, whenever I see a blank VHS anywhere, I avoid it like I avoid… um… getting shot in the face. Also, there is no way you could get me to go down into an old abandoned well. No way in fucking hell. I swear to god.

Yeah, it’s one of those ones that sort of sets in later… good movie though. Well done.

Favourite Part:
I remember this one scene, I think it’s right after the creepy kid watches the video and Naomi Watts looks out the window and from her apartment she can sort of see into the windows of all the surrounding apartments, and everybody is sitting around watching television and you realize how viral/volatile television is. That stuck with me a lot, although I think my favourite part artistically is the scene in which we finally get to see Samara crawling out of the television and, in her bizarre, stilted, stop-motion-esque way, walk up to the guy and ultimately kill the hell out of the bastard. It’s really cool looking.

Other versions: ‘tis a remake of Ringu.

Sequels: Rings, a short film which served as a prequel for Ring Two and was actually quite good and Ring Two, which had one cool scene (Samara crawls out of the well. Neat-o) but was otherwise a pile of lame.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

#40 - The Haunting

The Haunting (1963)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Robert Wise. Written by: Nelson Gidding, based on The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

Plot: A small group of people go to a spooky, old and reputedly haunted house to research psychic phenomena. It slowly becomes clear that the house is not strictly haunted, rather inexplicably malicious, and it begins to sort of possess one of the visitors (Julie Harris).

Review: Haunting of Hill House is one of my favourite novels, subtly creepy and sort of chick-y, if you know what I mean. It’s chick horror. Nell Vance is a character I can totally relate to and sympathize with even though she’s a totally pathetic loser. Possibly because she's a totally pathetic loser.

And they adapted it quite faithfully here, making a pretty good movie. It is creepy and claustrophobic, making effective use of lighting more than anything else. See, in movies today (ex: the remake of this one - you know, with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta Jones and Lili Taylor) they use CG for everything. When They want a movie to be creepy They stick some weird CG shit in there. Sure, those scare you at first but eventually you realize it’s not even remotely real and the scare wears off. But lighting, man, it’s actually there. You can see it. It’s awesome.

Robert Wise directed The Body Snatcher, above mentioned, which is another one of the best thrillers ever (he also directed The Sound of Music which is not…), so obviously the guy knows what he’s doing (or maybe not… as much as I enjoy The Sound of Music (and I do, really, I’m actually not being sarcastic. I genuinely like The Sound of Music. I think Christopher Plummer is Sexy), it really doesn’t effectively use creepy lighting for its scares… [insert cheap Julie Andrews joke here])

But yeah, this movie is admittedly sort of slow, but it’s not really about the thrills and shit. It’s about the building of character and atmosphere, working up to an extreme pinnacle of creepy. You could even say this movie is the motherload of creepy (although, you know, that’s probably not true. There is probably a movie which would be more aptly described as the motherload of creepy. Ex: anything with Joaquin Phoenix).

The cast does a very good job too. Though I’ve never heard of the actors (I vaguely remember noticing ‘Claire Bloom’ in the credits of Look Back in Anger, and I’m pretty sure I saw Julie Harris in something else), which was the selling point on the other version - crap with a star - they all are very good at doing their respective things. Although the performance which sticks out most in my mind is that of Rosalie Crutchley as the creepy old housekeeper, notable for her bizarre dialogue.

Anyway, for super-creepiness, this movie is the best. I don't even like haunted house stuff but this makes the grade or whatever. Fuck. Do you know how hard it is to end one of these damn reviews? I mean, you blather on and on for paragraphs and then you get down to the final words and you basically just have to sum up the whole review in, like, thirty words or so. Which makes you wonder what's the point, ya know? Reviews need only be one paragraph. I saw a website that does haiku reviews of video games and I'm thinking maybe I'll do that...

Favourite Part: “There will be no one to hear you. If you need help. In the night. In the dark” I remember I saw the remake of this first and laughed my ass off at that line, then found it weird when the same line was in both this film and the novel. Weird. I guess it’s all in the delivery.

Other versions: The aforementioned remake, which, though I described it as a piece of crap (and really, it is), I kind of liked for some morbid reason.

Sequels: Return to Hill House. No, I jest, there are none.

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#41 - Slither

Slither (2006)
Extremely Trashy

Written and Directed by: James Gunn.

Plot: Alien parasites which turn their hosts into disgusting, slimy, flesh-eating, zombie monsters invade a small town. It’s up to the head of local law enforcement (Nathan Fillion) to kick some ass and restore everything to its rightful order.

Review: I was actually scared to see this movie, the trailer looked so gross. I remember thinking that I wasn’t ready, and didn’t go see it in theatre. I hate myself in retrospect. This movie is fucking amazing.

First of all, it just piles on the goo and really is one of the grossest things I’ve ever seen. From a grotesquely swollen woman exploding in a sea of parasitic worms, to the part in which the zombie-creatures decide to meld into one big mass of disgusting flesh, the film is absolutely sickening from start to finish.

Second, it’s a loving homage, nay, a revolting melange of practically every neo-monster movie ever. The Thing, Evil Dead, Tremors and all sorts of other good stuff is referenced in this movie, making me feel all warm and wiggly inside.

Third, it’s hilarious, being an extremely successful combination of horror and comedy, as well as ridiculously fun to watch. Just thinking about it makes me smile… and want to puke simultaneously! Yes! Ye-e-e-e-es!!!

Fourth, Nathan Fillion is really cool. I haven’t even seen Firefly (who wants to send me the link to stream it? Anyone?), the only other thing I’ve ever seen him in was Buffy and he played the really gross creepy guy (you know, the stabby priest in season… seven? Yeah, yeah, season seven, coz he was like the assistant to the First or something and I’m pretty sure he killed at least one of the Potentials. Although I was never quite sure why the First needed him, having the Bringers and all… oh, wait, he was like in charge of them wasn‘t he… um… yeah…), but he really is immensely charming and likeable in this movie.

All in all a totally kick ass movie, although it is of this new generation of horror film which is really best appreciated by horror nuts (not to sound snooty, it’s still good). You know what I mean. It seems that every American horror flick that gets made these days was spawned by someone who spent all their time watching horror movies in the seventies and eighties. This is interesting to me, however, disconcerting. I know it’s just a certain subgenre which follows this trend and there are more… intellectual (?), certainly less self-referential, flicks being made it just seems that mostly things are going the other way.

Ah well. Being as I am a horror nut, this does not bother me. I’m just in it for the gore, man. And if there are a few laughs in there, hey, all the better.

Favourite Part:
I thought the writing was really good actually. There are plenty of amusing quotables in there, some of my favourites being "What kinda thing wants you to eat it?", "Starlaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" and "Something's wrong with me" (yeah, no fuckin shit). Also, one of the characters names is Grant Grant. I lul'd (fuck, I can't believe I just typed that. Somebody fucking git over here and shoot my damn ass).

Other versions: None.

Sequels: None, surprisingly…

Click here to read my original review (January 6th, 2007)

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Monday, September 21, 2009

#42 - The Fly

The Fly (1958)
Extremely Trashy

Directed by: Kurt Neumann. Written by: James Clavell, based on the short story by George Langelaan.

Plot: A science guy (David Hedison) invents a teleportation device for kicks (and for science). Unfortunately, when testing it out, he accidentally teleports himself along with a fly and ends up with a grotesque fly’s head!!!!!. His wife (Patricia Owens) must somehow deal with this.

Review: I really like this movie. It’s one of those things I saw at I think just the right age so that it freaked the hell out of me and has also stuck with me since then.

The movie is extremely... earnest. Almost too much so, but not quite. In fact, it's earnestness (which is, apparently, a word according to my computer) is at such a level that it is appealing to me.

Everything about the movie is totally adorable and at the same time hideous and grotesque!!!!!.

But really, I feel nothing but sympathy for the guy, his wife and the fly itself. Must suck to be that fly, I mean really. Particularly given the nature of the ending. Although, I will admit that he really didn't have to be doing that science thing he was doing. Actually, I thought they were being a little hard on him. As far as bad science stuff goes what he was doing wasn't that bad. Compare him, if you will, to Frankenstein, Moreau, Jeckyll (however the fuck you spell that), Vornoff. They were tampering with God's creations or whatever. The fly guy just didn't like going on planes. So I guess, in this movie, science is bad just coz it's science, which I can kind of get. Being a witch myself, I am not all that down with the science.

Anyway I thought that this movie was fairly clever. At the beginning we are told that the woman murdered her husband by crushing his head in a giant crusher at some factory. The curious part is that after crushing his head, she reset the crusher and then crushed his hand. Why?!.

The rest of the movie is told in flashback, unveiling the sad grotesque story of how he got to be the fly. And it is a sad story. Very sad indeed. It makes my eyes well up just thinking about it.

But anyway, the fly head looked really cool too. I remember after seeing this movie I drew nothing but people with fly heads for, like, a month. I don’t know where the drawings are, otherwise I’d share them with you. Some of them were actually not shitty. Oh fuck, I just had like this wave of flashbacks to this sketchbook I used to have somewhere. It had the fly, Frankenstein's monster and/or bride of frankenstein, creature from the black lagoon, the girl from The Ring and possibly the wolfman. Fuck. I wonder where that book is at. Course, I drew all this shit when I was, I dunno, thirteen or something, so it's probably not at awesome as I remember.

Moving on, this movie is also kind of scary. I mean, it’s just so horrible. It disturbed me anyway. Nothing like the remake, of course, but still. Quite awful.

I dunno. Just generally I thought it was a good movie. Patricia Owens’ performance was pretty good and there is something extremely chilling about it, even though it doesn’t really make sense in terms of science. While condemning science, the writer guy probably didn't, like, learn about it enough to make this movie work scientifically. The idea is there, though, man.

It’s also a really good movie for kids. Scared the hell out of me, sort of. I laughed, but was simultaneously terrified. Go figure.

Favourite Part: The final scene in which Vincent Price (as the guy’s brother) and Herbert Marshall (who plays a detective or something) discover the fly with a tiny human head caught in a web, about to be devoured by a spider, all the while screaming “Help me! Help meeeeeeeeee!!!!” in a high pitched voice, thus proving that the wife’s story was, in fact, the truth. The guys crush the man-fly and spider with a rock and vow never to speak of it again. This is one of the most hilarious scenes in movie history and yet it still haunts my dreams…

Other versions: The Cronenberg "re-imagining" from the eighties, one of the best movies ever.

Sequels: Return of the Fly, which is exactly the same only it ends happily and Curse of the Fly which I didn’t know existed until now.

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#43 - Cat People

Cat People (1942)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Jacques Tourneur. Written by: DeWitt Bodeen.

Plot: Guy (Kent Smith) marries a gorgeous, mysterious, foreign woman (Simone Simon), who believes that she will turn into a large jungle cat and kill her partner if she has sex. Turns out she’s right.

Review: Of course, it’s not quite that frank, but it does get the point across effectively without showing any explicit sexual content. Weren’t the forties awesome? I think so.

Anyway, this movie is pretty creepy. It keeps everything sort of to itself, if you know what I mean - there’s no graphic horror or anything (unlike the Universal horror pics of the time). It’s very subtle (I'm sorry, I have to put the word subtle in italics now. That's just the way it's got to be).

And Simone Simon’s character is very likeable. I felt bad for her. She came to this country minding her own business, happened to marry a dude and then he goes around cheating on her. She did not deserve this. And the guy is obviously a total asswipe.

I mean, the fact that he would even marry her when he he had a thing going on with the other chick just points out how much of a lousy asswipe he is. Bastard. “Yeah, sure” you may say. “You damn feminists always blame the guy” But dammit, it’s his fault. I mean, he ignores his best friend because he's trying to get a piece of the sexy European babe's action and then when she won't put out he runs back to plain Jane there. Piece of shit.

Not only that, but when our heroine gets sent to a psychiatrist (Tom Conway), by her prick husband no less (I think that's what happened, but I don't strictly remember), he turns out to be a total slut too. Bastards are everywhere.

So yeah, this is one of those chick movies I guess - about how most men are asswipes (notice the word ‘most’) and of course women will probably turn into murdering cat monsters and rip the shit out of their competition if you cheat on them. It’s true. That will definitely happen. Watch out.

Yes. Moving on, this movie is uber atmospheric and just creeps along like a creep in the night (in a good way…), but it’s also weirdly fun to watch. I kind of wish I had a copy of it, actually, just as a comfort thing (I haven’t watched most of the movies I own, I just like knowing they’re there. That makes me very happy for whatever reason).

But the fact that the character is extremely appealing is what makes me the most happy when watching this movie. I really liked her. I felt sad when she inevitably got killed (I think she got killed… actually, now I can’t remember). But yeah. This is probably one of the best werewolf movies around. Woo woo.

Favourite Part: Tom Conway, even though he was a slut. I still like him. He makes me smile. Go figure.

Other versions
: There is a remake from the eighties starring the lovely Nastassia Kinski which I have not seen.

Sequels: Curse of the Cat People, which interestingly does not go down the path of horror. It is kind of like a kid’s movie or something…

Click here to read my original review (February 2nd, 2007).

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

#44 - The Mummy

The Mummy (1999)
Extremely Trashy

Written and Directed by: Stephen Sommers, loosely based on the 1932 screenplay written by John L. Balderston.

Plot: A young archaeologist (Rachel Weisz) seeking artefacts in a ruined city in Egypt accidentally revives the three-thousand year old corpse of a priest (Arnold Vosloo). And then some really bad shit happens.

Review: This movie is kind of a joke amongst my friends and immediate relations. It’s one of those things that comes up when your bored. “Hey, it’s raining” “Yeah. Let’s watch The Mummy again”. I swear to God I’ve seen it over a hundred times, and you know what, I never fucking get tired of it. The only thing that’s happened is that it’s gotten funnier. Practically every line holds some weird in-joke for me, after having quoted and re-quoted everything back at Mr. Blue or Mr. Green.

Classics include: “They are lead by a woman. What does a woman know?”, “No! You must not read from the book!”, “Stupid superstitious bastard”, “Yeah, I’ll get yer damn bourbon”, “Awfully”, “This I do not know, but when I heard you were coming, I asked him. He said he was just looking for a good time”, “Who has touched you?!”, “Sounds like… bugs” and so much more. I could go on for pages. But why? You can just go look on IMDb for more of the quotable wonders of The Mummy.

In fact, I almost compare my affinity for this movie with that some people have for The Big Lebowski. I also spend long periods of time quoting that movie, but I think I’ve only seen it four or five or maybe six times.

But anyway, it’s good stuff. This movie is not really a horror movie either, although it does borrow heavily from the horror genre and is actually a much better movie than the original. It takes all the conventions of the Universal horror genre and turns it into an extremely fun, modern, action-adventure movie - one of the best, for my money. Sommers tried to do the same thing with Van Helsing with no success. I tried to watch that again recently and just couldn’t do it. I can’t remember which part exactly turned me off, but it was just not happening for me. I’ve seen it twice all the way through and that’s quite enough. Actually, I think it was Kate Beckinsale in her sexy suit that made me stop watching. I ended up watching some other thing, I forget what it was. Somethin else. Oddly enough, Kate Beckinsale's sexy suit does not bother me so much in the Underworld flicks.... there's just something else about Van Helsing which bothers me. Possibly the fact that every single character in the movie was cast wrong. Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing, David Wenham as that guy there, the guy who played Frankenstein's monster, Kevin J. O'Connor as Igor, Richard Roxburgh as Dracula. Actually, I do think that he was a pretty good choice and that could have been the best thing in the movie, but they kinda wasted every opportunity they had there. The whole movie was full of wasted potential.

Moving on. This is good, old fashioned, (mostly) wholesome entertainment without a whole lot of brain, but that’s alright. It is respectful towards the old classics, never trampling on them, and also doing its own thing.

I watched it last night and almost feel as though I could watch it again right now. It's just so jolly. Wow.

Favourite Part: The opening scene set in whenever BC, where we get to see all the cool old-timey Egyptian stuff in all it’s CG glory. The CG in the movie is actually surprisingly unobtrusive. It only bothers me in the scene where the Mummy takes Mr. Burns’ eyes and you can see his CG eye stalks, although in that scene I am usually giggling at the fact that, though the mummy took his tongue, he can still pronounce the word ‘tongue’, which you kind of need a tongue to do… but the set up scene was cool in a major way. Also, the movie is literally stacked with hot guys. That's a plus.

Other versions: The 32, and the one from the fifties.

Sequels: The Mummy Returns (sucked), The Scorpion King sort of (sucked), Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (haven’t seen - no Rachel Weisz though which is a bummer). Supposedly they’re going to do one set in South America next, which I think is cool.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

#45 - Shadow of the Vampire

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: E. Elias Merhige. Written by: Steven Katz.

Plot: About the filming of the original Nosferatu. Turns out that Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) is a vampire in real life. This raises some speculations as to Willem Dafoe…

Review: The movie feels sort of like the Ed Wood take on Nosferatu, but more made-up. If you know what I mean.

I guess it’s probably not a horror movie either, when you get technical, but it’s got a vampire in it so… Of course, it’s more goofy than scary, but it doesn’t deny it’s horror roots at any point and is occasionally weird enough to be creepy. Willem Dafoe is appropriately bizarre… I love him though. He should be in every movie.

And then there’s John Malkovich, for added humour value. I can’t remember if he’s trying to do a German accent in this movie or not, but it doesn’t matter. The guy can’t even do a convincing American accent. Honest to God, I would love to know what happened to that man. He’s kind of starting to grow on me though. I don’t know why, there’s just something weirdly… likeable about him. I guess ever since I saw Being John Malkovich I’ve started to really like him. Good movie that…

But yeah, this movie is entertainment I would say - it doesn’t try to be more than that (at least as far as I was concerned. I mean, there could have been some big message in there but I wasn’t paying attention), and it made me laugh.

And it’s a very good idea for a movie too. I can’t get over that. God knows it’s probably ripped off of something (what isn’t?) but I don’t know what that it. So this is very clever. It’s the ultimate post-vampire movie and, naturally, makes horror movie fans feel smug.

Although I’m not one hundred percent sure whether I saw this before the original Nosferatu or not… certainly after the Herzog version, but… I think I must have seen it later. I must have. Yeah. I don’t think I would have really gotten it if I hadn’t.

That’s one thing, though. It’s such a referential movie that you kind of have to see the source material to get the full benefit of this movie. Unlike Ed Wood… I guess. I’m not sure which is better in that situation. I saw Ed Wood before seeing Bride of the Monster or Plan 9, and I think it made me enjoy those movies more than I would have, but then I might have found Ed Wood more entertaining had I seen more of his films beforehand… undecided on that topic. Will have to run some experiments…

But yeah, this movie makes me feel happy.

Favourite Part: I dunno, it all makes me smile.

Other versions: None per se.

Sequels: None.

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#46 - Nosferatu

Nosferatu, the Vampyre (1979)
Moderately Trashy

Written and Directed by: Werner Herzog, based on Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Plot: An ancient vampire (Klaus Kinski) travels from his home in the back woods of Romania to Germany in order to bother a beautiful young woman (Isabelle Adjani).

Review: This is probably one of the better adaptations of Dracula out there. It’s not my favourite by any means, but it certainly is interesting. It’s extremely arty, and extremely unsexy, but everything in it has a certain feeling of decaying gothic filth, from the streets full of rats and scabby people, to the fact that the film is practically in black and white, to, you know, Klaus Kinski who seems to be decomposing before our very eyes! Or maybe that was just make-up. Who knows.

It is sort of depressing though. In a general way, if you know what I mean. I’ve only seen, like, two other Herzog movies but all of them have left me with this horrible crushing feeling of despair no matter what happens. Aguirre was the worst for this, even though I slept through about seventy percent of it (I was tired, dammit). Actually, no, Grizzly Man was worse, but that movie really was extremely depressing in every conceivable way. I mean… holy shit, eh. His other stuff is less tangibly depressing. It slowly wears on the spirit until, by the end of the movie, all I want to do is curl up on the floor in the foetal position, sheltering myself from the gaping chasm of nihility.

Or whatever. I seem to remember seeing this before I saw the original movie, so it’s always been even more iconic in my mind than that version. Although maybe I didn’t… now I’m confused… I’m pretty sure I saw the original much more recently than this.

Moving on, I saw this before I saw the other one, but after I’d seen many other adaptations of the novel, so I always thought of this as The Anti-Dracula in a way. Klaus Kinski isn’t Captain Sexy - he’s a creepy old man with weird teeth and no hair. Sort of pathetic but almost too creepy and gross to feel too bad for. He looks like he’s cold and moist. And kind of like a rat or something. Ew.

No offence to the rat people but… well, they’re weird.

Aaaaanyway, can’t think of anything else to write about this movie. So… yeah.

Favourite Part: Fuck, I dunno. The whole movie makes me want to die.

Other versions: Nosferatu, ein Symphonie des Grauens, and numerous other adaptations of the novel.

Sequels: Apparently there is a sequel called Nosferatu in Venice. Weird.

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#47 - The Innocents

The Innocents (1961)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Jack Clayton. Written by: Truman Capote and William Archibald, based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.

Plot: Woman (Deborah Kerr) goes to spooky old house to become the governess for a couple of young orphans (Pamela Franklin & Martin Stephens). Soon she discovers that the house is haunted by two of the former staff (Peter Wyngarde & Clytie Jessop) who are doing all kinds of nefarious and naughty things.

Review: I don’t have the energy to actually write a review of this movie so I’m going to copy and paste from the one I wrote two years ago (edited for clarity and grammar):

“It manages to be extremely fucking creepy without really showing you anything. Actually, that's a bit of an understatement, what with the spooky faces looming out of the darkness and shit. Man, that freaked me out.

"The whole thing has that black and white thing going for it. Shadows and all that, you know. A lot like it's counterpart, The Haunting (I say counterpart because they were made around the same time, they're equally creepy, and they represent the two different haunted house stories, although the house in this movie is more traditionally haunted, whereas that in The Haunting is just evil).

"Deborah Kerr is really scary. Scarier than the creepy kids, scarier than the ghosts. Sort of like Nicole Kidman in The Others, which is practically a remake of this anyway (creepy blonde woman in creepy isolated house with creepy staff and two vacant-eyed, creepy kids). She’s pretty good though. I like her. She was basically the only thing which held my attention in From Here to Eternity. But that’s neither here nor there.

"The kids are quite good as well, which is important. If the kids suck, then you might as well just give up. Neither of them really went on to do much (their IMDb pages are pretty weak). I remember Pamela Franklin in Hell House, which was actually a pretty good movie although it did suffer from that weird… thing that every Richard Matheson story has. You can always tell if something is Richard Matheson. Don't get me wrong, I digs the Matheson but his stories all have that... thing. That.... semi-over hyper-sexuality... if that makes any sense.

"Moving on, this movie is sort of ambiguous about whether or not the house is really haunted, managing to maintain this ambiguity to the end and beyond, which is a difficult feat. No, even at the end I wasn't sure if the house is actually haunted or if she's just psychotic.

"Yep. I liked this movie, and I recommend it to anybody who hasn't seen it yet. It's a nice, light ghosty story. I mean light as in bloodless and not heartstoppingly terrifying, like, say, The Grudge. God I hate that movie. I en't read The Turn of the Screw yet, but I mean to. [Edit: I have read it. I didn't like it. I thought that this movie summed up the book most effeciently].

It’s very old-fashioned, but on the other hand Deborah Kerr is pretty hot.

Favourite Part: That creepy fucking song:


Other versions:
Many.

Sequels: Apparently there was a prequel called The Nightcomers with Marlon Brando. Ew.

My original review can be read here although this was copy pasted from that so really there's not reason to read it...

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

#48 - Jaws

Jaws (1975)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Steven Spielberg. Written by: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, based on the novel by Peter Benchley.

Plot: Set in the nice, quiet little beach community of Amity, where a giant, killer shark shows up one day and starts ripping the shit out of drunk teenagers and cute/obnoxious little kids. It’s up to the local police chief (Roy Scheider), a dorky marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and Captain Awesome (Robert Shaw) to get the shark’s ugly fucking goldbricking ass out of their beach community.

Review: I've always argued with myself whether or not this film actually qualified as a horror film or not. Though it deals with a giant mutant shark killing people in wonderfully bloody fashion and contains elements of horror, it never felt like a horror pic to me. That pretty much goes for every Spielberg movie, though. Everything he makes feels like Spielberg doing whatever (with the exception of E.T.. That is hands down the best movie ever made). Duel is Spielberg doing thriller. War of the Worlds is Spielberg doing sci-fi. Saving Private Ryan is Spielberg doing war movie.

I guess it’s good to have your own style. Another interesting and irrelevant side note, the spellcheck on my computer recognizes the word ‘Spielberg’ though not ‘Nosferatu’, ‘Karloff’, ‘xenomorph’, ‘motherfucker’ or ‘spellcheck’. Go pop culture go.

Moving on, I decided to include this as it is generally regarded as falling loosely into the horror genre (unlike many of the other films on this list which I still consider horror). Um, yeah, it’s still an awesome movie due mostly to good script and acting (Roy, Richard and Rob are pretty much the holy trinity of killer shark movies), as well as the sparing use of the shark and the overuse of the two note ‘shark theme’ which, though only slightly irritating in the actually movie, has been abused to death since making it one of the most annoying themes in movie history.

The ‘out to sea theme’ (as I like to call it) is criminally underplayed. I looked around on the internet to see if I could find a sample of it, but came up with nothing. Sorry. If you know the movie I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

But yeah, the ending leaves a little bit to be desired, but generally it’s well done and we do get to see one person getting ripped in half, with literally gallons of blood. It‘s kind of an awful scene actually. I always feel bad at that point. Mostly because I love Captain Quint or whatever his name was.

I mean, it’s a bit of fluff, but as far as giant killer animal movies go, it’s the best. Pretty much everything other giant-something movie is derivative of this one, unless it has giant bugs or reptiles. And to think, if the robotic shark had been working when it was supposed to be working this movie would have sucked powerfully. Woo.

Favourite Part: Seeing this movie at a very young age started my huge crush on Richard Dreyfuss. He is such a dork, it’s adorable.

Other versions: None, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they announced a remake tomorrow.

Sequels: Jaws 2 (which I vaguely remember seeing), Jaws 3-D and Jaws: The Revenge (both of which I also remember seeing, although I don’t think I really did - I think I saw five minutes of 3 on television and as for 4, it may have been Deep Blue Sea).

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Monday, September 14, 2009

#49 - Isle of the Dead

Isle of the Dead (1945)
Slightly Trashy

Directed by: Mark Robson. Written by: Ardel Wray.

Plot: A group of people end up stuck on a small desert island because of this crazy ass plague, and one or more of them may be infected. Or a vampire. Or both. I forget, but I’m pretty sure there was a thing about one of them being a vampire. Needless to say, paranoia abounds.

Review: One of my favourite horror/thriller genres is the group-of-people-trapped-in-small-space-with-lethal-monster-or-virus category. Just think of all the fucking awesome movies that fall under that label. Alien, The Thing, Virus, and that movie about that house… I could go on but why bother.

Seriously though, this movie builds an effectively creepy atmosphere and even though nothing really happens, it feels like it does and at the end of the movie, you are left satisfied as far as thrillers go. Although strangely unsatisfied. This is one of those movies where I was not entirely sure where I stood by the end of it.

But yeah, this is one of those Val Lewton-produced thangs from the forties and man, he fuckin knew how to make a movie. Sure, he was the producer, but, like, he produced them real good. Body Snatcher, Cat People... actually, those are the only two I can think of, but you know, they were damn good movies.

They all used lighting and character and mood and shit like that effectively and this one is no exception. The result is really fucking spooky. I remember being quite bothered by it when I watched it (I was but a wee bairn at the time and disturbed easily, but it has hung over me like a stink ever since).

Also, it’s got Boris Karloff in one of his better roles (I’m kind of a Boris Karloff whore so I think all of his roles are his better roles (better than what?), but, you know, this was good), and fun to watch in a morbid sort of way. I mean, he was a bit of an asshat but then who isn't.

I mean, it’s a total who’s-going-to-die-in-what-weird-way movie, but that’s cool. Actually, it’s also one of those premature burial things (one of the characters has those fainting spells that look like death, thus she is terrified of being buried alive. She tells the doctor about her condition and he says that he'll make extra special sure that she's dead before they bury her, but then he dies. Then, she goes into one of her fainting spells and the other people think that she's dead and so they bury her and then... yeah. Spoilers), which explains why it bothered me when I was little. I watched it probably around the same time I watched Pit and the Pendulum and House of Usher, so they do run together a little bit inside my mind but you know whatever.

Okay, that’s about all I can say about this movie so I’m just going to fill up space for a little while. I’ve been sort of rushing a lot of these reviews to get them done by whatever date I’ve set for myself (I marked it on my calendar but can’t remember it offhand), so a lot of them kind of suck. At the moment of this writing, I am sitting in bed, contemplating writing a review for Day the Earth Stood Still, and wondering whether or not I should review the original as well. I dunno. Whatever.

Favourite Part: I liked the doctor. He seemed like a pretty decent guy. Whenever I watch a movie in which there are a bunch of people trapped in an isolated location with a killer virus or a monster, I always pick one person to root for and in this one it was the doctor. The person I pick almost always dies, which is a bit of a bummer. Other examples of these people include: Kane in Alien; Richard Denning in Creature from the Black Lagoon; Windows in The Thing and so on.

Other Versions: Supposedly a remake came out this year.

Sequels: None.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

#50 - Bride of Frankenstein

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: James Whale. Written by: William Hurlbut.

Plot: After miraculously surviving being killed in a burning windmill, Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) gets back to work, teaming up with another demented guy (Ernest Thesiger) to create a female companion for the monster, who also survived death in the aforementioned windmill.

Review: This movie is a total classic and a bit of a cliché. It’s on basically every top-horror-flick-list (number 13 on IMDb at the time of this writing) and has been talked about by basically everyone. That applies to a lot of the other films I’ve reviewed so far, however the difference is I can’t really think of anything to write about this one, but don’t feel confident enough to remove it. This list once contained one hundred movies, but I kept removing stuff whenever I didn’t feel like writing about it (also, so I wouldn’t have to start so early, thus giving me more time to write about the things I did feel like reviewing...).

So I’ll just sit here and talk about the numerous possible drug innuendos of this movie. First of all, Ernest Thesiger had a bunch of really tiny people living in jars at his house. As in they got small.

Secondly, that hermit was pretty sketchy. I’m reasonably sure he was going to try to sell his cancer pot to the monster. The monster, being a sensible man and rationally afraid of inhaling more carbon than absolutely necessary, declined in the only way he knew how - he freaked the fuck out. But the “hermit” kept on pushing. “This is not bad - this is good!” Asshole.

Great, that took up some space. Back to seriousness. This movie is extremely well made. It ventures into the realm of silly once too often (I don’t mind humour in my horror - a touch of dark comedy can often make things that much more horrific - but silliness can be extremely irritating. Don’t believe me, try re-reading the last paragraph) but it is generally nice to look at. Very gothic. Gotta love it.

Also, Elsa Lancaster is the fuckin shit. I swear to God. I’ve said it many times before and will no doubt say it again and again and again, but she is really cool in this. It takes a lot to make that hair look good, and she does. Awesome.

And, you know, it’s pretty spooky, but I don’t really like what they did with the monster. In the first one, you know, he was like this really pathetic dude, but in this one he was just kind of annoying.

Whatever. Still pretty good.

Favourite Part: The climactic scene with the bride and everything. Freakin sah-weeet.

Other versions: The Bride - made in the eighties. Apparently has Sting in it.

Sequels: Follows Frankenstein. Followed by Son of ~, Ghost of ~, ~ meets the Wolf Man, House of ~, House of Dracula.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

#51 - The Body Snatcher

The Body Snatcher (1945)
Surprisingly Classy

Directed by: Robert Wise. Written by: Philip MacDonald and Carlos Keith, based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Plot: A young medical student (Russell Wade) learns that the sketchy guy who supplies the bodies for the classes (Boris Karloff) is into grave robbing and murder.

Review: This movie is fucking intense. It spirals into this whole whacked out nightmare about the relationship between the resurrection man and the doctor (Henry Daniell), neither of whom can really function without the other, and the questionable morality of the situation. Nobody is strictly in the wrong, but everybody is kind of fucked.

It’s interesting. And the performances are all pretty solid - Russell Wade is sort of obnoxious, but that’s his character. He’s supposed to be a good guy. Henry Daniell and Boris Karloff are both brilliant to watch, sort of complicated, and hard not to sympathize with on some level. They’re both just doing what they have to do to cover their asses.

Then there’s the sort of weird performance from Bela Lugosi which is just in there for whatever reason. It almost feels like they wanted to do another Karloff-Lugosi film but weren’t entirely sure what to do with the latter. I did actually read the story upon which to film is based but it was a very long time ago and I don’t remember whether that character is in there or not, but he doesn’t really seem to have that much purpose, other than showing that Karloff is a hardcore motherfucker, however, since he’d already killed the singing girl and the wee dog, we already knew that.

Whatever. The movie is pretty creepy (I’ve seen it a few times and have had a different impression of it every time - most recently I found it creepy), and thematically very dark. The further it gets, the nastier it gets.

But at the same time kind of cute and earnest. I guess that’s just how the forties were. It’s unavoidable. Although like I said, it is very dark for the time. There’s no young-lovers subplot, and nobody really ends up okay by the end. Sure, Russell Wade survives, but is he any better for it?

So yeah, it’s an extremely interesting movie. It’s probably one of my favourite thrillers and one of Karloff’s best performances, just going to show that horror from the forties (particularly when produced by Val Lewton) kicks ass all over town, and wasn’t afraid to be extremely shocking and depressing despite the fact that the world was already shocked and depressed. Yeah!

Have to mention Corridors of Blood which is kind of a sister film to this - Karloff plays a doctor trying to invent anesthetics. While doing so, he gets hooked on opium and becomes involved with some shady people. Christopher Lee plays the resurrection man. The movie is sort of mediocre but it's a good companion to this one.

Favourite Part: This movie made me want to get into grave robbing. I dunno, I just really liked Boris Karloff and Henry Daniell, who I haven't really seen in anything else. He has a whole bunch of credits on IMDb and apparently he was in The Great Dictator, although I'm fucked if I can remember.

Other versions: Supposedly there is a remake in the works. Shoot me now. There have been a few other thematically similar movies, most of them involving Burke, Hare and Dr. Knox (who are mentioned in this movie), but no other straight up adaptations of the story to my knowledge.

Sequels: None.

Click here to read my original review (June 16th, 2007).

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#52 - An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Moderately Trashy

Written and Directed by: John Landis.

Plot: Two buddies (David Naughton & Griffin Dunne) are attacked by a werewolf while hiking through the English countryside. Griffin Dunne gets killed but David Naughton survives. He goes to London, becomes a werewolf, hooks up with Jenny Agutter and gets haunted by the ghosts of his victims. Groovy.

Review: This is one of those movies that’s just generally likeable - it’s hard to find a person who cannot withstand the charms of this movie (actually, that’s not true. It scared the crap out of both my aunt and my brother when they were little and they both still hate it). I find it hard to withstand the charms of this movie, despite the fact that the humour is occasionally a little broad.

But it’s a reasonably good werewolf movie. There is, in my limited experience, no such thing as the perfect werewolf movie, but this one is pretty good. It’s pretty funny most of the time, and it’s very gory (win!).

And the FX are pretty rad. I know it’s been said time and again but the transformation scene is the shit. I can’t think of a better one off-hand. Like, The Howling was pretty good, but the werewolves looked like muppets, thus undermining the coolness of that movie. Of course, the Frank Oz cameo in this movie somehow increases the coolness... go figure.

Course, these days, most werewolf transformation scenes are done with CGI which sucks in a major way. How can advances be made with stop motion FX when everything is CG? Stupid. People should just lay off the CGI and go back to using puppets. Puppets were the best. Actually, on second though, no. One should only traverse so far into Jim Henson country - its very dangerous. Too far and you wind up with The Dark Crystal which, though awesome and quite terrifying, is not exactly what you want in this context.

Really, though, stop motion is where it's at. Stop-motion > puppets > CG. I mean... Ray Harryhausen is the shit.

Yeah, um, Rick Baker too. Or something. This is getting a little weird.

Moving on. This movie is pretty groovy, albeit a little bit on the light and fluffy side. It’s good entertainment.

Favourite Part: Pretty much any scene with Griffin Dunne, who sort of decomposes slowly throughout the film. He gets all of the best dialogue and provides lols all around. Also, the weird double Frank Oz cameo (he appears as... a guy (I think he was from the American embassy but I don't remember) and also as Miss Piggy on the telly. Possibly in the same scene, though I don't recall) - WTH? Interesting.

Other versions: None, although they are starting to remake everything from the eighties now so it could (God forbid) be on its way.

((Update: IMDb says there is a remake scheduled for 2011. See, I was right))

Sequels: An American Werewolf in Paris.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

#53 - Return of the Living Dead

Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Beyond Trashy

Written and Directed by: Dan O’Bannon.

Plot: Two guys working at a medical surplus store (James Karen & Thom Matthews) accidentally disturb a canister in the basement which releases a gas, turning the corpses in the cemetery next door into brain-munching zombies.

Review: Much like Evil Dead and Re-Animator, this movie relies almost entirely on manic energy and ridiculous amounts of bodily fluids throughout. It’s really difficult not to like a movie as intense and insane as this one (although, oddly, I hated it upon first viewing. Go figure).

It’s still unbelievably stupid and painfully ‘80s - the clothes, the hairstyles, the music - but so hilarious. It’s like stepping into a time machine and realizing why the suicide rates were higher in the eighties than any other time in the 20th century.*

But yeah, this is a very fun movie, and well written. The dialogue and acting is sort of intentionally bad most of the time (at least I thought so), making fun of the conventions of the ‘80s zombie movie, at the same time becoming one of the best zombie movies made in the eighties. Actually, I can’t think of any other good zombie movies from the eighties… granted there are a lot of ones I haven’t seen and some of ambiguous genre (a lot of the time I refer to Evil Dead as a zombie flick when it really isn’t) but nothing really comes to mind. Interesting.

Also, the characters are weirdly likeable. I've generally found this to be the case in any movie I've seen written by Dan O'Bannon. They’re sort of stereotypes, and, though they are a little on the obnoxious side, I don’t particularly want them to get killed. The end of the movie is kind of a downer.

Actually, the end of the movie is pretty funny. They recycled a couple of shots from earlier in the movie making me think that perhaps either they just ran out of money or shot a different ending which didn’t work out (and ran out of money to shoot a new one. It always comes down to money).

Generally the movie is very low budget, but it manages without much. The FX are pretty good though for the time and that’s pretty much all I care about.

Yeah, I could watch this movie over and over again.

Favourite Part: “You can’t just burn the weasels. That’s cruel. At least let me take them out to the parking lot and shoot them” I love that guy.

Other versions: None, but the thirty year rule suggests that they will remake it by 2015.

Sequels: Return of the Living Dead 2 and 3, Necropolis and Rave to the Grave (the only one I’ve seen and not particularly good).

((*Note: That’s not true, I made it up, although apparently the suicide rate in America has decreased since 1980 from something like .013% of the population to .011% (again, I didn‘t check the math on that so that statistic probably isn‘t right either…)))

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

#54 - The Hunger

The Hunger (1983)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Tony Scott. Written by: James Costigan, Ivan Davis and Michael Thomas based on the novel by Whitley Strieber.

Plot: An ancient vampire (Catherine Deneuve) has the problem that all the people she turns eventually start to wither away into practically nothing. This has started to happen with her current lover (David Bowie) who seeks help from a renowned blood doctor (Susan Sarandon). She can’t help him, and when he finally reaches his expiry date, she gets involved with Catherine Deneuve.

Review: Granted, this movie is little more than an extra long music video, and isn't really great, but fuck is it nice to look at. It’s like, really good art direction for two hours straight. I love it.

And it’s got a little more substance than a music video, more plot and character development, but those take a lower priority than the music and kick-ass visuals. Which is awesome. I don’t really give a shit if scenes don’t progress logically, just as long as the movie looks good and has good music.

Not that the scenes in this movie don’t progress logically, but the movie does possess a weird dreamlike quality (partially due to the soft-focus lens used about seventy percent of the time), so even though the scenes do progress logically, it feels like they don’t. And sometimes they still don’t.

It’s all good anyway. Sigh. This is another movie I tried to review over two days. Doesn’t work so well. I get confused in the middle and forget where I'm going. This is also a movie I really didn't feel like reviewing for whatever reason and would have cut out were it not for the fact that I'd already removed so many flicks. Ah well.

Um, yeah, well, Catherine Deneuve is always a good thing, and there’s some action between her and Susan Sarandon to keep the other fifty one percent of the population interested. And there’s also David Bowie. I like David Bowie. I don't think he sings in this movie, though I do remember him playing the cello. I doubt that David Bowie actually plays the cello. Man, I love the cello.

Favourite Part: Cello-piano action between David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve. There’s a piece of music, according to the internet it is “Trio in E-flat, op. 100” by Schubert, which is particularly memorable. I dunno, I really like it. It’s nice. And as we all know, cello is by far the sexiest instrument ever invented. Not only does it look really sexy, it also sounds sexy. I have a couple of cello-playing friends whom I have always envied… I tell myself that some day I will take it up. And piano (another instrument I don’t play) is the second sexiest instrument in the world, but usually only jazz piano. I can vaguely play the piano. Can't read music, but, you know, I hit the keys and it makes sounds. I want to marry a pianist.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: None.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

#55 - Candyman

Candyman (1992)
Extremely Trashy

Written and Directed by: Bernard Rose based on the story The Forbidden by Clive Barker.

Plot: A woman writing her thesis on urban legends (Virginia Madsen) stumbles across the myth of the Candyman (Tony Todd) - he was horribly murdered back in the day (I can’t remember when exactly, but we’ll say a hundred years ago) and now, whenever you say ‘Candyman’ five times into the mirror, he comes back and kills the living shit out of you with a hook. Sort of like Bloody Mary only sexier. Anyway, she summons the Candyman and causes all sorts of problems for herself and others.

Review: I think possibly part of the reason I so enjoyed this movie was that I was expecting it to be really stupid and juvenile. Weird sadomasochistic guy dismembers attractive women with a hook in the ‘80s (okay, it was 1992, but that year was even more like the ‘80s than the actual ‘80s - I know because I was there).

But it’s actually a very interesting and scary movie. Scary in that special way that you don’t really notice when you’re watching it, but that freaks the hell out of you when you think about it later. After watching this movie, I thought very often about how much it would hurt to get disembowelled with a hook (I know, earlier I said dismembered, but disembowelled is probably more accurate anyway).

Seriously though. That would really suck, on so many levels. There is no way I am ever ever going to say ‘Candyman’ in the mirror five times. I’m okay with saying ‘Beetlejuice’ thrice, but not ‘Candyman’. Never ‘Candyman’.

However, Tony Todd is pretty majorly hot, and if you’re gonna get disembowelled by somebody it might as well be somebody good looking, right? (That statement is further proof that I may in fact be weird.)

Moving on. The movie is fairly restrained on the gore too which is a little hard to believe, considering the whole hook-disembowelment thing which I’m apparently a little hung up on right now. Please excuse me. At the time of this writing (approximately six thirty on May 31st) I was (or am?) very tired and a little dazed. Weirdness is me.

Moving on again. Um. The dialogue occasionally wanders into the territory of extremely creepy and weird (and not in a good way), my favourite example being the line, “The pain I will show you is exquisite” or some damn thing which sounds like the kind of retarded stuff they're constantly talkin about in Hellraiser, but that’s all good.

But yeah, the acting is good, the production values are fairly high, and it’s generally pretty mature. I mean, at the beginning it sort of does the teens-having-premarital-sex-and-getting-hacked-up thing, but it’s in a self conscious, referential sort of way so it’s funny. It’s also nice and disturbing so, yay.

This is probably one of my more favourite slasher movies.

Favourite Part: I dunno, it was all vaguely awful. I kinda liked all the cool graffiti that was around. It looked nice.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (interesting title…) and Candyman: Day of the Dead.

Click here to read my original review (January 3rd, 2009)

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Godzilla

Godzilla (1998)

[Fuck No]
Trash-o-rama


Wow. I saw this movie once when I was a kid (must not have been too long after it came out) and vaguely remembered it sucking. I guess I forgot how very powerfully it did suck.

In it, French nuclear testing causes an iguana to mutate and grow to massive proportions. A biologist specializing in radioactive worms (horribly miscast Matthew Broderick) has to join the team which sets out to stop the monster after it migrates from Tahiti to New York. There, he meets up with his estranged girlfriend (Maria Pittilo) and a mysterious french guy (Jean Reno). Or something. Fuck, the movie makes no sense.

I mean, there are several huge logic problems with the movie, the first being why in the name of fuck did the giant lizard go to New York. Honest to fucking Christ. At one point, Broderick explains, "Oh! It all makes sense! Many animals migrate during the nesting season" or whatever... so, you know, all those iguanas in New York? That's why they're there.

God, there isn't really that much to say about this movie - its shittiness is well known and nothing I say is particularly original but... God it was bad.

The dialogue was unbelievably bad and the acting wasn't that much better. It didn't help that pretty much everybody in the movie was miscast. As much as I like Matthew Broderick, I really didn't buy him as a biologist. Same goes for Hank Azaria. Love him but I didn't believe him for a second. In fact, it surprises me that they didn't cast Jean Reno as an italian guy or something like that. And the woman in it. My God. Okay, there were literally three female characters in the entire movie, two of them were morons, the other one was psychotic, but the female lead, Matthew Broderick's girlfriend, was painful.

Not that she was a bad actor. She wasn't great, but her character. Jesus. She was a manipulative bitch whore and she was so damn stupid. She spent the whole movie either being really mean to Matthew Broderick, or crying about it like the veinless pillow she was. I would honestly rather there be no female characters in a movie than ones like that.

Moving on. The creature effects were lousy. That's all I'm going to say about it. The point of Godzilla is that it's funny watching a guy in a lizard suit stomp around a miniature version of Tokyo. There is nothing remotely funny about a crappy looking CG lizard trashing a crappy looking CG New York. If you're going to rip-off Jurassic Park, at least do it right.

Also, man, passing the blame for the monster on to the French was a really shitty move. I mean, no one's going to believe it coz the USA did way more nuclear testing than the French. They're just trying to get them in trouble. This movie was just so unabashadly... American it made me sick. It was all like, "Yay, America! We're cleaning up the mess those filthy cigarette smoking, sex happy, coffee snobs made" Bullshit.

Finally, there's the crappy music. I don't ordinarily feel it necessary to make a point of the sucky music, but, you know, the music in this movie bordered on ridiculous. Every piece of music sounded like the dramatic end-of-movie music and was never appropriate to the scene. Ever. I swear to God, any time there was music I thought to myself 'wow, this is in the wrong place'. Although, really, the only way I would have been happy would have been if the song 'Godzilla' by Blue Oyster Cult had been on there in a loop.

Speaking of which, here it is...



Anyway, this movie was a pile of crap and Roland Emmerich deserves to be executed for his crimes. The only one of his movies I've seen which I can stand is Independance Day and admittedly, that movie sucked with a vengeance (Mars Attacks! was a vastly superior film). His latest shockingly bad flick was 10,000 BC. By far one of the shittiest movies I've ever seen.

I honestly don't know why people make such loud noises about the films of Uwe Boll when this Emmerich guy is clearly much more dangerous. I mean, his movies are fairly high budget and a lot of them clean up. Uwe Boll's movies all suck on every possible level, but the budget is also crap and I don't think anybody even watches them. Those that do know they're in for something terrible.

But yeah. I pretty much spent this whole movie talknig about what a piece of crap it was which isn't a very good sign.

Ech. I've talked about this pile of crud for far too long.

END

Directed by: Roland Emmerich. Written by: Roland Emmerich & Dean Devlin. Starring: Matthew Broderick, Maria Pittilo, Jean Reno, Hank Azaria, Arabella Field, Harry Shearer.

#56 - Son of Frankenstein

Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Moderately Trashy

Directed by: Rowland V. Lee. Written by: Wyllis Cooper.

Plot: Many years after the events of the first two movies, Dr. Frankenstein’s son (Basil Rathbone) moves into the old castle along with his wife and son (Josephine Hutchinson and Donnie Dunagan, respectively). After only a few days, the crazies start coming out and Basil Rathbone somehow gets coerced into regenerating the Monster.

Review: Admittedly, this is filler. I kept taking stuff off the list because I don’t want to review it, so something had to go on instead. Anyway, I enjoy writing about this movie. Maybe putting half the Frankenstein sequels on here is tacky, but hell, they’re good.

Considering that this is the third film in the franchise (and third films are rarely ever worth watching. Ex: Jurassic Park 3, Halloween: Season of the Witch, The Final Conflict. Nightmare on Elm Street 3, interestingly, was way better than Part 2. Just thought I’d throw that out there) it is quite amazing. Although, out of all of the Universal monster movies, Frankenstein by far had the best sequels of the lot.

Think about it though - Dracula’s Daughter was okay and Invisible Man’s Revenge was watchable, but other than that… I mean, the best sequel to The Wolf Man was House of Frankenstein and it had Frankenstein in the title, so…

So it’s a proven fact that third instalments usually suck. Moving on to somewhat less depressing places, this movie was way fun. It’s got all the components of a kick-ass monster movie - kick-ass monster played by Boris Karloff, creepy henchman played by Bela Lugosi, brief appearance from Dwight Frye (you’ll notice if you watch closely), creepy castle, weird effects, mad science… all that good stuff plus Basil Rathbone which can never hurt. Ever.

The only real problem with the movie is the fucking annoying little kid. They had to throw that little bastard in there for whatever reason (probably for the same reason they always add an obnoxious little kid - to get the viewers on their side. I don’t think that actually ever works though, unless it’s done extremely subtly) and annoy the hell out of me for ninety minutes.

Every time he showed up he had to yell his obnoxious catchphrase (I think it was, “Why helloooo there” or something), and every time it made me wish someone would throw him in a lake and get it over with. But you know the kid isn’t going to die. By the time the third movie rolls around, you know absolutely nothing shocking is going to happen.

But other than that…

This film is still ridiculously entertaining. It’s the kind of movie you can watch and feel totally satisfied at the end. They really don’t make them like they used to.

Also, it looks fucking awesome. They totally went all out on the rad, gothic art direction (same goes for the first two of course) which is always good.

And there’s something just really cute about it. I don’t know, Frankenstein always gets to me, without fail. It just makes me happy on some bizarre level. It’s vaguely nerdy I guess is the thing. Frankenstein is a total dork. He can’t help it. That’s just the way it is.

And, because the movie was made in the thirties, he can’t be a perverted weirdo who spends lots of time looking at partially naked women. Nope. Good clean wholesome fun. Now you can show pretty much whatever you want but really, what have we gained?. Yeah, this movie was. good.

Favourite Parts: Any scene with Boris Karloff is fine in my book, but the scenes between him and Basil Rathbone are particularly charming.

Other versions: None.

Sequels: Follows Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. Followed by Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula and Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein.

Click here to read my original review (January 3rd, 2007).

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