Friday, May 11, 2012


Wreckage (2010)

So I'm kinda getting tired of the selection of rentable movies they have at the Irving in Gagetown so the other night it was a toss up between this movie and Apollo 18, which will probably be my next endeavour, this one only got picked because I figured it'd have some neat cars in it, as well as a dude named "Scoot McNairy".

Once you get through the two opening scenes, one of which might as well have been the first twenty minutes of the Halloween remake, the story concerns four young persons who are going somewhere - I'm not sure where they were going, but they were driving some great distance in a really nice lookin car. If I had a car like that, I'd never drive it, I'd just rub it with a diaper. So anyway, they're drag racing some other dude and the car blows up forcing them to go to the junk yard down the road to salvage parts where they get picked off one at a time by a crazed killer.

This is one of those movies which, though bad, is morbidly watchable. Sure, it's completely fucking retarded. The video quality looks about one step up from being shot on a cellphone; the editing is, for want of a better term, baffling; the lighting was stupid for fuck sake and the acting was painful.

But you know I think the whole thing was supposed to be sort of comical. Fuck, it had to be. Otherwise there's no explaining the retarded hillbilly (played by the Scoot McNairy dude. That is seriously the most awesome name I have ever read off a DVD case) who showed up and ran around the junk yard for the better part of the movie. That character had no point except comic relief.

hey y'all
A lot of the dialogue was amusingly terrible, and the characters' ridiculously erratic behaviour was entertaining. Really, though, the most fun was trying to figure out who would be the next victim. All of the characters were obnoxious and rude enough that any one of them could have died at any time! It was pretty exciting.

Despite that, almost nobody got killed in the movie. Seriously, only three people died in the junkyard, which is about the lamest killing spree ever. Jason Voorhees routinely would bag twenty people per movie when the series was in full swing. Three is pitiful. You'd think there would be more than three ways to kill a person in a fuckin junkyard, and yet one of those three people was actually just shot to death. With a gun. Fuck. Also, despite the fact that there was a sort of skanky girl (one of the three to die), I did not see one breast in this movie. So if you're looking for one of those breast movies, don't rent this puppy.

Mostly what happened was this:
SHERIFF: Everybody back to the ambulance, we're going to wait for back up
CAPT. WOW: My finace is still out there, I've got to find her!
SHERIFF: I can't stop you but I recommend you don't do that.
CAPT. WOW: Don't get in my way.
Variations of that snippet of dialogue happened at least three times throughout, if not more, wasting valuable slashing time.

Furthermore, if you like it when movies mostly make sense, this is not the flick for you. There is... so so much in this movie that made my brain sore, ranging from small details to major logic problems. For example, they wouldn't sentence a twelve year old to life in prison for killing his crack head parents. How come the lights had no power but the car compactor did? And if there was no power to the lights, how come the junkyard was so brightly illuminated?

Why didn't the group of young persons go to the house of the people who owned the junk yard and ask to be towed into town? Why would the road be so pristine if nobody travelled it? If the junkyard was less than a few miles away from where the car broke down, why did it take them until well after dark to get there?

What happened to the girl who nearly got raped by the guy in the second opening scene? How could crazy guy be the killed if he was killing people in the area long before he was in the area? What was all that talk about a serial killer anyway? When the decoy killed escaped, why didn't captain wow and the sheriff just radio his location in and get the wounded girl to the hospital? Was the decoy killer supposed to be the real killer's brother, because if so that needed to be elaborated on a little more.

Although the fact that they needed two explanatory closing scenes to make sense of what the fuck just happened in the movie just goes to show that the plot was too convoluted.

But yeah, despite all that, if you're really bored and want a chuckle, roll up a doob and give this a watch, you may be amused. One word of recommendation, though I don't condone illegally downloading movies because that's stealing you guys, the price of rental is a little more than I think anybody'd want to spend on this, just sayin.


Directed by: John Mallory Asher.  Written by: David Frigerio.  Starring: Mike Erwin, Aaron Paul, Cameron Richardson, Roger Perry, Scoot McNairy, Kelly Kruger.

Conan the Barbarian

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

In this new interpretation of the Conan myth - directed by that guy who did the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th remakes - Conan (Jason Momoa) watches an evil warlord (Stephen Lang) kill his father (Ron Perlman) over a magical mask fragment, and swears vengeance. Twenty some years later he some how manages to grab this lady-monk (Rachel Nichols) whose blood is needed to activate the mask's power. Apparently Big Bad spent two decades trying to find this chick despite having a clairvoyant daughter because he's a fuckin idiot.

I'm not going to lie, at about the four minute mark I decided that this was one of the stupidest movies I've ever seen and had to get drunk to even continue watching it. How stupid is it? Let me count the ways...

The whole movie was borderline incomprehensible with most of the scenes being ineptly shot and edited, particularly the fight scenes. I don't know what the fuck is the problem but it seems like every movie I watch these days has shitty, convoluted and generally poorly executed fight scenes - some examples off the top of my head include Thor, Priest and Cowboys vs. Aliens - I dunno why nobody can shoot a competant fight scene anymore. I suppose it's possible that Lord of the Rings pretty much set the bar and I have yet to get over it. Either way, it incites me to rage.

Furthermore the one sex scene in the movie was maddeningly brief and vague and left me feeling sort of disappointed and unsatisfied. I don't ask for much from movies, really I don't. All I want is a coherant story, halfway decent editing, piles of blood and organs and gratuitous sex. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.

Moving on, the art direction was less than impressive, the CG was passable I guess and there was a suitable amount of blood which is really the only positive thing I can say about the movie.

The acting was terrible although I got the impression every now and then that these were not terrible actors, just not good enough to overcome how fucking stupid the script was. There were all these cute little quips which I don't remember and evidently were not even worthy of IMDb's Memorable Quotes, but overall there was way too much talking in this movie. One of the strengths of the 1982 Conan was that there really wasn't much more than six lines of dialogue in the whole movie - that worked. The violence said it all, man, there was no need for words.

Also on that note, though Jason Momoa kind of looks like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, he lacks the charisma or whatever it is that made Arnold more than just a big pair of biceps with a sword.

He just looks so friendly
I'm not particularly familiar with the Conan stories, but I am totally a fan of that movie, it's the shit. Sure, it was completely retarded, but it was so unassuming. It wasn't trying to be awesome, that just happened. This movie tried to capture some of the elements of the old movie such as the meandering storyline and the monsters (there was a scene with a tentacle beast being fed hot chicks which was vaguely reminiscent of the giant snake scene in the older movie) but it shoved everything together haphazardly, added some weird goth chick and wasted a whole lot of time trying to be epic. A thing is epic or it isn't, there's no sense in trying. And if you are going to try don't rip off every other successfully epic movie ever. For fuck sake.

The most infuriating thing, however, about this movie was the lady monk character. There was nothing wrong with her per se, but... well, she was kind of a wuss. The only person she could even hold her own against was the other girl (Rose McGowan) and even then, Conan had to come rescue her. The evil girl wasn't too impressive either, she was slightly more badass but despite being way more powerful than her father she was just his tool. I got the impression that she was after his dink too which is gross.

See what I mean?
But really, the lady monk is just the MacGuffin - the bad guy only wants her because her blood is gonna do something magical, Conan only wants her to keep her away from said bad guy (and says three times that she's his property), there's even a scene in which she's caught in this big old wagon wheel, screaming her ass off, and Conan and the bad guy fight literally on top of her. She's an object in every sense of the word. Compare this to Sandahl Bergman's character in the '82 flick. She's a badass.

Seriously, though, she was Conan's equal, and though she gave her life to save his she continued to kick ass from beyond the grave. Fucking. Hardcore.

And for that reason, this is the first movie to genuinely offend me in a long time. To summarize, it wasn't worth the $4.51 is cost to rent, I would recommend avoiding if at all possible.


Directed by: Marcus Nispel.  Written by: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer and Sean Hood based on the character created by Robert E. Howard.  Starring: Jason Momoa, Stephen Lang, Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Nonso Anozie, Ron Perlman

Friday, April 27, 2012


Thor (2011)

Ho boy. I've never read the Thor comics, but I am really big into Norse mythology so I kinda set myself up for disappointment here, but what the hell, I'll try to do an unbiased review of this piece of shit.

Okay, so there's this dude, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who's dad, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is the head honcho of all the gods. Thor pisses Odin off by fucking around with the giants and breaking the truce Odin had with their king - or whatever - and thus is banished to Earth where he gets picked up by some kind of lady scientist (Natalie Portman). Meanwhile, Thor's brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes over the home kingdom and acts like a dick for an hour.

There's really not very many good things I can say about this movie so I'll just start listing off the stuff I wrote down in my notebook while I was watching it.

My first impression was that the effects were kind of weak. Like, unusually weak for a movie that relies pretty heavily on them. I just rewatched Fellowship of the Ring not too long ago and thought that had better FX than this movie despite being ten years older. Also, all the scenes set in Asgard looked like they were storyboarded within an inch but the art direction was kind of vague and I didn't have a real sense of what I was looking at, which is maddeningly contradictive. How is that possible?

The fight scenes were frenetic and hard to follow and ultimately not that interesting. I didn't give too much of a fuck as to what was going on, but the sloppy direction just pissed me off. Surely to god they've figured out how to shoot a fucking fight scene by now. Holy hell.

The characters weren't particularly interesting - I'm supposed to believe that a) Natalie Portman is the world's hottest wormholeologist and b) she totally loses her shit as soon as a big chested retard takes his shirt off in front of her. And on that note (characters, not retards), I never quite got what the fuck Loki's motivations were. At all. Okay, I get that he's the god of bullshit, but if I followed what was going on, which I think he did, his whole nefarious plot was just to get attention from his father, making him the god of daddy issues. He had a pretty cool hat, I'll grant him that.


All in all I thought the movie was pretty fuckin dull. The writing was meh, and the movie kind of crept along waiting for something cool to happen. It sort of picked up when they hit Midgard and then they did the whole "hey this guy's from another planet/dimension/time/culture, he doesn't know what doors are or whatevs" which was amusing but I've seen it done better. Parts of it sort of reminded me of that movie, Masters of the Universe, with all those retarded people...

Anyway, a killer robot shows up towards the end, granting brief excitement, and then some stuff happens in Asgard for some reason. Ultimately, the whole thing was sort of offensive to my religious beliefs but I said I was going to let that go.

The final blow, as it were, came when I awaited the credits - I assumed the movie had been made by some up and coming director who wasn't quite used to making big ass movies and stuff, which would excuse the sloppy direction here and there. Nope. Kenneth fucking Branagh. Now, I've never actually seen a Kenneth Branagh directed movie I enjoyed but I would think he would at least know how to make a fuckin movie. For fuck sake.

To summarize, this movie was an almost total waste of time, unless you're a big fan of the comics or something in which case maybe you'd like it or something. Otherwise, you should spend an hour and check out the comic Gods Almighty which heavily features Norse mythology, is reeeeeeeally funny and a much better way to spend your evening.


Directed by: Kenneth Branagh.  Written by: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne based on the comics by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby.  Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Troll Hunter

Trolljegeren (2010)

Blair Witch style first person horror/fantasy flick about a group of students who are doing a documentary on dead bears or something, and decide to start following this dude (Otto Jesperen) only to learn that he is, in fact, a Troll Hunter. He hunts fucking trolls. Like, bonafide, under the bridge trolls.

There's not really much else to the movie - the camera crew follows him around while he travels here there and everywhere doing his job. The movie almost plays like a tourism ad for Norway with a few exploding trolls thrown in.. There wasn't a whole lot of character development, with the exception of the titular character. I didn't really feel that any of the film sudents were given a lot of depth - I didn't even really get why they were following him in the first place. He told them to fuck off so off they should have fucked.

That's generally the problem I find with these first person horror flicks which have been cropping up a lot lately. It's really hard to do proper character development and have it feel natural. You can't film all the time, and if you go that approach it seems really forced.

Also the run time is a little too long - most of the movie consists of the Troll Hunter and camera crew driving here and there and back again, which actually works for the majority of the movie but really started to get thin in the last fifteen or twenty minutes.

Other than that I thought this movie was fucking brilliant. The dialogue was clever but not smarmy, and the amount of consideration that was put in to making the trolls completely believable was kind of astounding, from descriptions of different types of trolls, to how trolls are to be killed. There's a troll veterinarian, and a government agency which covers up the fact that there are trolls. The effects were great but it was the troll hunter himself who made the trolls believable. It made sense that there would be trolls. Why the fuck not?

That actor, Otto Jesperen, I have no idea who he  is, some Norwegian guy presumably, but he was really good. The movie could have been unbelievably stupid if somebody not so good had been in the main role but he totally made me believe. Plus the character was probably the most badass of badasses.

Anyway, like I said, the effects were really quite impressive, the movie is well shot and the scenery is fucking gorgeous. It made me want to move to Norway, if it weren't for the damn trolls.

Long story short, I highly recommend this movie if you can get your hands on it, even if you're not into foreign language stuff, you won't regret it. Just the one scene of the Troll Hunter running up to the camera and yelling "TROOOOOOOLLLL!!!" is totally worth it. Check it out.


Directed by: André Øvredal.  Written by: André Øvredal and Håvard S. Johansen.  Starring: Otto Jesperen, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Johanna Mørck, Tomas Alk Larsen, Urmila Berg-Domaas, Hans Morten Hansen.

One Million Years B.C.

One Million Years B.C. (1966)

You know, that movie about cave people that isn't Quest For Fire. I remember watching this as a very small child and thinking it was one of the greatest things ever, so my brother and I gave it a whirl the other day. Please forgive the spelling mistakes which will probably occur, one of my fingers is kinda fucked up for some reason, probably had it in my nose too long or something.

Movie tells the story of a cave dwelling gentleman (John Richardson) and his long series of misfortunes. He's the son of the leader of his tribe, and somehow gets exiled by his dick brother. He wanders long and far and eventually comes across a group of blonde beach dwelling people - totally - and hooks up with one of their women (Raquel Welch). But, because he's kind of a dick, he gets exiled from there and winds up back amongst his own people.

This movie is kind of... how should I put it? Retarded. I wasn't entirely sure what the fuckin point of it was except to show off some okay costumes and bitchin special FX. Other than that it was just some vaguely Biblical horseshit with less morality and more glaring historical inaccuracy. I'm not really sure what the filmmakers wanted me to gain from it.

That being said, it was at least fun to make fun of, as opposed to, say 10'000 BC, the most soul crushingly depressing film ever made about prehistoric persons. Also, the scenery was sort of nice, the music was bizarre but interesting and Raquel Welch was ridiculously fuckable as the iconic CaveBabe. I'd put a picture but y'all probably already have it on your wall.

And fuckit, there's a T-Rex (or something) fighting a Triceratops. That shit be bomb. Granted, with the popularity of this movie, that probably made a whole generation of people think that dinosaurs and humans actually existed at the same time, but fuck them if they can't take a joke. There were never god damn gigantic sea turtles either but that was still fucking awesome.

Honestly, I should probably start wrapping this up before I go off on a tangent about special effects. Just to get a little bit in there, the effects in this movie were pretty good - the stop motion dinosaurs courtesy of Ray Harryhausen were amazing but the giant iguana and aforementioned sea turtle attacks left something to be desired. Still, not bad all considered.

All in all, this movie defies any kind of real criticism as it's just too whack to really think about without feeling like a stoner of some variety. It's more exciting than a lot of fantasy movies and has more laughs than most comedies so what the hell, go for it.


Directed by: Don Chaffey.  Written by: Michael Carreras based on the film One Million B.C. written by Michell Novak, George Baker and Joseph Frickert. Starring: John Richardson, Raquel Welch, Percy Hebert, Jean Wladon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

god damnit

So I keep all of my notes for upcoming reviews in this little blue book, because I can't remember shit for longer than about ten minutes. Anyway, said book has escaped me, hence the dearth of update this past week. If there's anybody out there what reads this regularly - reviews will return as soon as I find my fucking notes.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Invisible Ghost

Invisible Ghost (1941)

So I've been trying to tackle the "50 Horror Classics DVD Collection" ('classics' in this sense is a bit of an exaggeration at best) a little bit at a time, which so far is proving to be somewhat depressing. But every now and then comes a film which was actually worth watching. This is one of those films.

A sad old man (Bela Lugosi) lives in a big house with his daughter (Polly Ann Young) after his wife (Betty Compson) left him for another man. Little does he know, she was in a car accident shortly after leaving and suffered brain damage and amnesia and was later found by the gardener (Ernie Adams) who has been keeping her in an old barn in the woods in the hopes that her memory returns and she can go back to her family.

Unfortunately for everybody involved, the Wife developed some kind of magic powers as compensation for losing most of her brain function, so she goes out regularly, hypnotizes her husband and makes him commit atrocious murders.

Okay, I'll admit that the plot makes no fucking sense but that's not important. What is important is that it's pretty well made considering what it is - a low rent horror pic from the forties.

It's well shot for one thing, unlike a lot of shit I've watched lately which, between the writing, editing and cinematography is basically unwatchable. This is pretty classy, and maintains a spooky, old school atmosphere.

The writing and acting are decent and the characters are actually interesting, particularly Lugosi - super nice guy by day, ruthless murderer by night, giving the movie a sort of sad and poignant quality which is lacking in most horror pictures regardless of era. I feel bad for the guy, and his family. They didn't deserve this.

It's also got a healthy dose of sick humour which is sort of surprising for the time. Yeah, most of these old movies have some pathetic attempt at comic relief, but there's some actually funny stuff in this. There's one scene in which the butler discovers the body of the maid which is morbid and well done (I looked for a clip but couldn't find one - you can watch the whole movie on youtube though so what the hell).

And you know there's some pretty heavy shit going on in there. At the very beginning of the movie, Lugosi murders the maid who, as it turns out, was having an affair with his daughter's fiance (John McGuire). Right before she was killed, hubby told her to leave him alone or else and thus he gets pinned - and executed - for the murder. Which is kinda weird. I also got the impression that Lugosi totally raped the maid before or after murdering her. Also weird.

So yeah, the plot is a little strange - the movie ends abruptly without really explaining why any of the shit that happened happened - and it seems a little strange that the polic never so much as suspect Lugosi, but then he was really nice. Still, I found it really well made, extremely satisfying and totally worth watching especially for Lugosi fans as this is one of his better performances.


Directed by: Joseph H. Lewis.  Written by: Helen & Al Martin.  Starring: Bela Lugosi, Polly Ann Young, John McGuire, Clarence Muse, Terry Walker, Betty Compson, Ernie Adams, George Pembroke.

Black Dragons

Black Dragons (1942)

So this is a boring and utterly demoralizing movie about a group of well-to-do dudes who get together to plan how they're gonna sabotage the war effort. One night after they've been partying, a mysterious doctor (Bela Lugosi - not Boris Karloff as the case promised) shows up and starts murdering them one by one. That goes on for about an hour, leading up to the big expoisition scene right at the end.

I'm going to assume you won't mind me spoiling the ending for you (I will add that the movie is sort of less demoralizing when you sort of know what's going on) and go right for it. Bela Lugosi's character is a renowned plastic surgeon working for the Nazis and the well-to-do saboteurs are actually Japanese spies in disguise. After assuming the faces and identities of a bunch of business men (and presumably learning to speak without comically racist accents), they imprisoned Dr. Lugosi so that he wouldn't tell the world about what they'd done. Anyway, he escapes and comes back to kill them or whatever.

So Lugosi's character is almost the hero - he stops the disguised spies from completely sabotaging the war - but he's also a Nazi... I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this. They throw in the niece of one of the businessmen (Joan Barclay) - who turns out to be an American spy - and a young FBI guy (Clayton Moore) to give the viewer some less conflicting heroes, but it's still sort of hard to tell whether Lugosi is villain, heor or victim. That's pretty damn sophisticated for a 1940s genre picture.

That being said, the writing and editing rendered the film nigh incomprehensible, and the acting was so atrocious I didn't even want to follow what was going on. Even Lugosi looked sort of embarrassed to be there, and I can't rightly blame him. He doesn't do a whole helluva lot except sneak around, popping up everywhere as if he were magic. Which I suppose he kinda is.

But really the only creepy thing in the movie is the female lead who spends nearly half her screen time hitting on Lugosi, who pretty much tells her to fuck off several time to no avail. I'm sure that was supposed to be her doing spy stuff but she just came off as some kind of weird gold digger.

Long story short, there is pretty much nothing going for this movie and I can think of no reason to watch it other than it's there.


Directed by: William Nigh (the science guy?).  Written by: Harvey Gates based on a story by Robert Kehoe.  Starring: Bela Lugosi, Joan Barclay, Clayton Moore, George Pembroke, Robert Frazer, Edward Peil Sr., Robert Fiske, Irving Mitchell

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

I've seen this movie a few times now so reviewing it is kind of against my ethics (I like to do reviews cold) but I gotta review something. I MUST.

A really jumpy police dude (Johnny Depp) is sent to the small village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate the recent beheading spree there. Could it really be the work of the fabled Headless Horseman, an undead menace who rides around the country side searching for his missing head? (Yes, yes it could)

This is one of those science vs magic movies, but it actually gets all that bullshit out of the way fairly quickly and goes about being a magical mystery without too much fucking around. Which is nice. They handled the juxtaposition of the two pretty well and made a good movie.

It's got it all, really. There's more whacky old British actors than you can shake a stick at, including, but not limited to, Dumbledore, The Emperor, Batman's Butler, that chubby guy who's in every movie, and Christopher Lee. Also Christopher Walken going totally apeshit.

It's got good photography, all the stuff shot out in the woods was especially gorgeous - I assumed the movie was actually shot in upstate New York somewhere but I looked it up and I guess they filmed it in England which is okay I guess.

It's got a shitload of decapitations, heads come off left and right, and the effects are pretty goddamn good. The CGI left something to be desired but then it was the nineties, but the decapitations looked really fucking cool. There's a fair bit of humour as well which  is important.

On the downside, Johnny Depp's accent isn't that great and Christina Ricci's is terrible, especially next to, like, actual English people. Now, when I saw their accents were bad, I'm not talkin Keanu and Winona in Dracula bad, just... not good. And annoying, in Ricci's case. I'm not than keen on Christina Ricci anyway, her lack of facial features freaks me out, and all of her dialogue sounded clunky and awkward.

But enough of that. The other big problem is the ending which takes too long and is sort of extraneous. I mean, having a really complicated plot is fine but if you need to have a scene where the villain explains how they set everything up at great length, then the plot is too complicated. I hate too much explanation. It irks me. And it seems kinda sloppy in this movie.

After the cunning plot is finally explained, there's a big long chase scene which is just really silly. So Johnny Depp and the Horseman are fighting on top of the carriage while it races through the woods - why not stop the carriage? Would that not be easier? There's no point in running away from a guy who's attached to your vehicle and he's obviously not going to fall off.

Anyway, that aside the movie is still a pretty good watch and probably one of the least Tim Burton-y Tim Burton movies, so if you're not into Tim Burton this is the Tim Burton film for you. Tim Burton.

Directed by: Tim Burton.  Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker, based on the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving.  Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Griffiths, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken


Priest (2011)

I had a feeling that this would be awful but I'm a sucker for vampire movies (no pun intended) so I went for it. And, you know, this wasn't awful. There's a bitchin animated sequence at the beginning which runs through the backstory - humans and vampires have been warring since the beginning of time. Humans, facing almost certain extinction, cloistered themselves in huge walled cities ruled by the church (makes sense) and defended by an elite order of superhuman Priests (they kick ass for the lord!), who worked themselves out of a job by eradicating vampires, and were then disbanded.

The movie goes downhill from there. The plot, such as it is, revolves around a former Priest (Paul Bettany) whose niece (Lily Collins) is kidnapped by vampires. Against the wishes of the Pope (Christopher Plummer), he ventures out into the wasteland to rescue her and stop the coming vampocalypse or whatever.

I wanted to like this movie, I really did. That's part of the problem with it. I've never seen a movie that is so bad but maddeningly full of potential. It could have been so fucking cool. The world (a sort of post apocalyptic alternate reality of our own) is well conceived and interesting. The part set in the city was neat, reminiscent of Bladerunner or THX 1138.

The art direction was pretty good, the movie looked great when it wasn't too dark to see (this is one of those dark movies I'm sad to say). The vampires in particular were really cool. They weren't suave, or sexy, or human, at all.

O hai
They looked like some thought went in to their design. They don't need eyes, they've got big ol' fangs for biting, they secrete slime to build hives, they got a bunch of dudes who look like Marilyn Manson to guard them and most importantly, they got Karl Urban.

Wait, no.

Anyway, it seems like a whole lot of work went into this movie (apparently it shares almost nothing with the comics, they came up with new stuff for this), and I give it an A for effort, I really do. It's got Brad Dourif in it. And that's awesome.

But you know, I had two major problems with the movie. Firstly, why Paul Bettany? His character is supposed to be from the American midwest I guess, so he's got an American accent which just doesn't sound right. Seriously, why cast an Englishman in that role? Yeah, he looks the part but surely he's played enough clergy members by now (I can think of two other movies off the top of my head). Probably if the character had been British they would've cast Keanu Reeves or some shit.

Aaaaand the plot is painfully predictable. It's not even funny, it's just sad. Like whoever wrote the thing didn't understand what a cliche was and just went for every one in the book. I swear to god, I called every fucking thing that happened in the movie in the first fifteen minutes and I'm not all that sharp. I'm not exaggerating, either. There were only two things I got wrong: I thought that the Priest would make the ultimate sacrifice and give his life to save the girl at the end (which he didn't, he totally lived) and I thought that Christopher Plummer was secretly working for the vampires (nope, he was just sending assassins after Priest to be a dick).

When a movie is that easy to predict, it leaves me feeling so dissatisfied. I could have written this movie in my head without even trying. And like I said it's especially offensive because this movie had the potential to be really awesome but failed miserably. On top of that, it doesn't even end properly. It leaves the ending wide open for the sequel.

The only time you should leave a movie open for a sequel is if you already have the sequel in pre-production at the very least. Because if your plan is to make a movie that's so great it'll make a shitload of money to fund the sequel, it's not going to work. Chances are, your movie is not as good as you think it is, you're not going to make enough money, and the open ending of the "first" movie is just going to seem dumb and unfinished.

There, hopefully that works and filmmakers stop doing that shit.


Directed by: Scott Stewart.  Written by: Cory Goodman, inspired by the comics by Min-Woo Hyung.  Starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandant, Maggie Q, Lily Collins, Brad Dourif, Christopher Plummer.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bloodrayne 3

Bloodrayne: The Third Reich (2010)

Man, you know, I saw this movie at the store and I knew I had to watch it. Something about Uwe Boll movies compels us all, like moths to an open flame. Anyway, this is the second sequel to Bloodrayne (I haven't seen the other film in the series) and is set during the second world war. Great.

So there's this half vampire chick (Natassia Malthe) who I guess is working alongside The Resistance on the eastern front and accidentally turns some badass Nazi (Michael Paré) into a vampire because, despite being a few hundred years old she's a fucking amateur. So this badass Nazi vampire dude starts working with a mad doctor (Clint Howard) to... I dunno, turn all the Nazis and eventually Hitler into super vampires. In other words, it's exactly the same plot at Innocent Blood only instead of Mafiosi there's Nazis.

Also, apparently World War 2 had a lot to do with vampires. I didn't really catch all of this but there was something mentioned at the beginning about either vampires trying to eliminate humans or humans eliminating vampires and that's why the war happened. And... I dunno that bothered me. I get why people want to use Nazis in completely anachronistic ways in their movies - they can be killed without guilt or remorse but they're also really photogenic. But, like, fucking around with the details of the second world war for entertainment's sake is just... it's kinda disrespectful.  Yeah, I know, it was almost seventy years ago but it's still too soon.

But that's just a personal thing. In the interest of being objective (since when do I do objective reviews? Fuck), this movie was almost completely incomprehensible. I mean, okay, Rayne and a bunch of freedom fighters or whatevs are trying to stop the badass vampire Nazi from getting to Berlin to infuse Hitler with vampire juice, I got that part. But there's all kinds of stuff going on that I had a hard time following not only because it seemed completely irrelevant to the plot at hand, but also because the editing was so fucking incompetant it was hard to tell what the fuck was supposed to be happening in some of the scenes or why they were showing it to us.

There are also a lot of little problems, like how come Rayne leaves her corset on in bed? Why not sleep naked? It's certainly not out of modesty on the filmmakers part, since there is a fairly graphic girl on girl scene at approximately the 25 minute mark (you're welcome). Why does she even care what the Nazis do? She's a goddamn vampire, it doesn't effect her. Why does the crazy doctor start quoting Bob Dylan in the middle there? What the fuck!?

But the biggest problem (or not, depending how you look at it) is the almost unbelievably bad acting, specifically Natassia Malthe who was just really lacking as a kickass vampire babe. The only thing she really had going for her was that her corset did a good job of pushing her tits up, but I mean when she took that off her boobage kinda disappeared... she also had a pretty cool hat. It reminds me of those little tiny leather hats they put on hawks and falcons and shit.

Pictured: Rayne, Rayne's Hat, Rayne's Breasts and the guy from open mic night at the Hipster Cafe
But other than that she really didn't do it for me. She had one of those high, girly voices and her acting made me miss Kristanna Loken. At least she didn't try to emote. At all.

That being said, the guy who played the doctor, Clint Howard (who is apparently Ron Howards brother and has like a gazillion credits on IMDb) was waaaaaaaaaay worse. It was almost embarassing to watch. He looks like he's just reading his lines off cue cards and doing a funny accent (what accent was that exactly?) instead of acting. It was pretty funny to be honest.

But you know what, as absolutely terrible as this movie is, it did entertain me for seventy minutes. I could have rented one of those movies about people dying of cancer for two hours and gouged my own eyes out of boredom. This at least had some shit going on. Then again my priorities are kind of warped.


Directed by: Uwe Boll.  Written by: Michael Nachoff.  Starring: Natassia Malthe, Brendan Fletcher, Michael Paré, William Belli, Annett Culp, Clint Howard.

The Vampire Bat

The Vampire Bat (1933)

A small German town is being plagued by murders. The victims are being found with small puncture wounds in their neck, completely drained of blood. Is the local nutter who likes to play with bats a vampire, or could the killer be a human being trying to disguise their crimes? It's up to the level headed law enforcement man (Melvyn Douglas), his lady scientist girlfriend (Fay Wray) and the somewhat sinister - he wears a god damn cape - town doctor (Lionel Atwill) to get to the bottom of the mysterious deaths before more occur.

This movie is actually a fairly decent mystery in the science vs. supernatural subgenre, which I ordinarily find somewhat tiring but this is old enough to get away with it. The 'tricks' they were using weren't stale cliches yet and the suspense held my interest pretty well. It didn't hurt that the movie was, in general, very well made (especially when compared to The Mad Monster and The Ape which I watched in the same evening).

The art direction is nice and gothic, and the cinematography was pretty good - it's nothing groundbreaking but it's a little bit above competant, as though somebody at some point made some kind of effort to make the movie not suck. The plot relies on a paranoid atmosphere rather than special effects, and there is a bonafide angry mob at one point so that was satisfying. The only real technical problem I had was that every transition from scene to scene was done with a diagonal wipe. I hate wipes (that would look really weird out of context), if you need to change the scene just change the fucking scene, you don't need to use some god damn effect to do it. Sometimes there were two wipes right in a row (again, without context that looks really bad). That's just uncalled for. But that's a pretty minor problem.

Moving on, the cast was good too - Lionel Atwill was sufficiently sinister and Dwight Frye was... well, he was Dwight Frye. You can't go wrong with Dwight Frye. Maude Eburne was good as the hypochondriac aunt (also the comic relief, I guess), and the rest of the villagers were appropriately crazy and excitable.

I actually didn't realize that the main dude was Melvyn Douglas. I always think of Melvyn Douglas as the reeeeeally old dude from Being There but he was kinda sexy in this movie. He had a good 'stache. And ya know, Fay Wray did a good job. I've only ever seen her in King Kong and found her unbelievably irritating in that movie, but she's good in this. Her character is surprisingly not sissy, either. She doesn't let the dudes walk all over her. There's one scene where Melvyn Douglas is trying to kiss her in the garden and she's all 'no, man, fuck off'. I think the actual line was "it's too early in the morning". There may be some kind of subtext there but I can't figure out what it is.

Anyway, I wouldn't call this a classic by any means but it's a fairly solid old-timey horror picture and definitely worth a gander if you're into that sort of thing.


Directed by: Frank R. Strayer.  Written by: Edward T. Lowe.  Starring: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, Maude Eburne, George E. Stone, Dwight Frye.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Ape

The Ape (1940)

I apologize for this review in advance. I have had a bit to drink tonight so my wit is not at it's sharpest. Also I just finished watching BloodRayne: The Third Reich which left me feeling sort of addled and confused and will definitely be getting a review next week.

This movie is about a kindly but kinda loopy old doctor (Boris Karloff) is doing some well-meaning but slightly immoral experiments to help a young woman (Maris Wrixon) who has polio or some shit walk again. Meanwhile, the circus comes to town and during a fire, a giant killer ape gets loose!!!!!

Those two things don't really seem to have anything to do with one another until the very end of the movie. In fact it was confusing enough that in my little book of notes I wrote, several times, "what the fuck is this movie about?"

Anyways, this movie is actually pretty good. Once the plot sort of falls in to place, it's sort of satisfying, and the plot twist such as it is isn't so cliched and overdone that it just makes you tired and sad (i.e., they're all ghosts! Woooooaaaaaaaaaoh god). So that's good. It took me, like, up until the last ten minutes to call it.

The characters are pretty well done, from the sheriff who abuses his powers slightly, to the townsman (not entirely sure what his job was) who's having an affair on his wife, to Boris Karloff's good performance as the misguided doctor who looks eerily like my grandfather did forty years ago. Also the ape costume was fuckin sweeeeeet.

The Ape did all it's own stunts in this movie.

That being said, the plot could have been handled a lot better. The filmmakers seemed so concerned with hiding the astonishing twist that the very inclusion of the ape subplot was maddeningly mysterious. Plus the editing and cinematography weren't what I would call superb which didn't really help with the coherance of the movie.

Overall, this movie is watchable but not great. A better movie in the same vein would be, say, The Body Snatcher, also featuring Karloff but, unfortunately, no ape.


Directed by: William Nigh.  Written by: Kurt Siodmak and Richard Carroll, based on the play by Adam Shirk.  Starring: Boris Karloff, Maris Wrixon, Gene O'Donnell, Dorothy Vaughan, Gertrude Hoffman, Henry Hall, Ray Corrigan.

The Mad Monster

The Mad Monster (1942)

Okay, so there's this bat shit crazy scientist (George Zucco) who figures out that he can extract a compound from wolf's blood and inject it into people, turning them into human-wolf hybrids to help fight zee Germans. The problem is all of his peers think he's bat shit crazy, so he injects the serum into his retarded gardener (Glenn Strange) and gets him to kill said peers to... I dunno, prove them wrong?

I don't fucking know. Out of all the bat shit crazy scientists I've seen in old B-movies, the dude in this was probably one of the craziest. The guy knows he's fucking crazy. There's one scene at the beginning of the movie where he is imagining talking to the scientists who apparently humiliated him publicly by debunking his crazy theories - that in itself is fine, but then these figments of his own imagination start telling him he's crazy. That's always a bad sign.

Never mind the fact that his 'enemies' such as they were, were actually pretty reasonable. They gladly gave him a second chance to prove his demented theory and would have apologized for mocking him if he hadn't killed them. The guy obviously has a pretty serious persecution complex, even going so far as to get up in the grills of a young reporter (Johnny Downs) because a different reporter did an unfavourable story about him one time. Never mind that the one he chews out is dating his daughter (Anne Nagel) and trying to be helpful. What a dick.

And really, he has this serum which can turn people into crazy werewolves (essentially) who go around murdering people coz it's fun, why doesn't he administer it to the people he's trying to kill? Turning a different guy into a werewolf, getting him to kill his enemies, and then restraining him and givnig him the antidote seems really complicated. Turning your enemies into monsters makes waaaaay more sense. Not only is he a dick he's also not terribly bright.

Man I could go on about the logic in this movie all day. How about this one - every time the villagers who later form a sort of disgruntled mob see the 'werewolf' they describe it as not quite a man and not quite a beast but it's hard to tell because it was misty.

Spoiler: It was this guy.

Granted, the "villagers" in this movie were just a bunch of jerks who lived in the god damn swamp, but still, how come they always jump to the conclusion that the mysterious killer was some kind of bipedal beast and not, like, a really ugly dude in a beard? Or a hippy? From a distance he kinda looked like Kris Kristofferson.

Then again, Kris Kristofferson (presumably) couldn't survive two shotgun blasts to the chest. Which brings me to yet another logic problem with this movie. The writers (or somebody?) went to great lengths to make the 'werewolf' sorta sciencey. Like, y'know, plausible and that. He's a man with ramped up abilities. The only person who suggests that he's a werewolf is this crazy old pipe smoking lady (Sarah Padden). So he's like Science Werewolf. How come he can get shot twice at point blank range with a fucking shotgun and walk away without a scratch? Because science, apparently, is magic.

Okay, I think I'm done with that tangent. Now I'll get to the technical stuff. The sound was terrible - the music was really loud but it was almost impossible to tell what the actors were saying. I know, it's an old movie, but damnit, there are old movies that are not too badly preserved. This one was not one of them. Not that being able to understand what the actors were saying was that important because the acting really wasn't that good. George Zucco was acceptable, and Anne Nagel was okay but the guy who played the titular monster? Woah. I know he was supposed to be playing a retarded guy, and he actually did not go full retard but man oh man was he painful to watch.

The cinematography was bad, the picture quality was bad, the special effects aren't half as good as those in The Wolf Man, and, to ice the cake, the editing was so bizarre (read: bad) that the whole thing was only barely comprehensible. I had to pay really close attention to glean any kind of meaning from the film which made me mad because it was a waste of my attention.

Long story short, this movie really really sucked. If you want to watch a good werewolf movie from the forties, watch the aforementioned Wolf Man. If you want to watch a movie about a man who has been affronted by a group of people and decides to remove them one by one using slightly suspect science, I recommend The Devil Doll if only for laughs.


Directed by: Sam Newfield.  Written by: Fred Myton.  Starring: George Zucco, Glenn Strange, Anne Nagel, Johnny Downs

Friday, March 2, 2012

King of the Zombies

King of the Zombies (1941)

Set, I guess, during World War 2, three dudes (John Archer, Mantan Moreland and Dick Purcell) are forced to land on a mysterious island when their plane runs out of fuel. The island is inhabited by a creepy "Austrian" dude (Henry Victor - the role was apparently turned down by Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre), his spaced out wife (Patricia Stacey), her neice (Joan Woodbury), their servants and possibly some indiginous people but fuck them. Though their host is decidedly nefarious looking, it takes the three American dudes the whole movie to figure out that he is dabbling in hypnotism, voodoo and some Irish pagan shit.

This movie is supposed to be a comedy and it's would almost be funny if it wasn't so depressing. It's so slow paced - the run time is a little over an hour and yet nothing happens at all until around thirty minutes in, and even then it's nothing to write home about.

The writing is bizarre, with characters coming to nonsensical conclusions. For example, the white guys finally start to believe that something fishy is going on when they find an earring on their bedroom floor that wasn't there before. Then later, they notice that the earring matches the pair that their host's sleepwalking wife is wearing, but those are one of a kind and she's currently wearing both of them so something strange is clearly going on... and then the mysterious earrings are never mentioned again. What the fuck?!

In the middle of the movie the tone suddenly shift from horror-comedy to what feels like one of the weirdest sitcoms ever. Mantan Moreland has been hypnotised into thinking he has been turned into a zombie (I don't know why the evil guy even bothered with that shit when he had a bonafied voodude on hand) and comes down to get supper with the rest of the zombies, then starts holloring at the maid (Maguerite Whitten) "Woman! Where is my supper?"

At the end of the movie too they try to jam all this stuff that they thought was interesting together and make it make sense. There are genuine voodoo zombies, there are people hypnotized into thinking they are zombies, and there is something to do with transmogrification or whatever, all of which when dealt with alone are sort of interesting, but all together just seem like overkill.

The photography was crappy - some of the scenes shot at quite a distance for no evident reason other than they ran out of time or film to shoot close ups, and the video quality was terrible, a warning sign in and of itself. It's not a good sign when clearly nobody bothered to try and preserve the film. It's probably just chance that it's still around for our viewing pleasure.

But the most embarrassing part was Jeff, the dim witted, easily frightened, wise cracking, googly eyed black man, who got lines like "I thought I was a little off colour to be a ghost", "I ain't goin' in that house, I is stayin right here til I changes mah mind", and "lawdy lawdy! them zombies tried tah have me fo suppah!" Fuck. Okay, okay, it was a different time, this is quite a few steps up from white dudes in black face and it was sort of unusual to even have a prominent black character especially in a horror flick, but still. This shit is just sad.


Directed by: Jean Yarbrough.  Written by: Edmond Kelso.  Starring: John Archer, Mantan Moreland, Joan Woodbury, Henry Victor, Dick Purcell, Marguerite Whitten.

Road Warrior

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

I saw this once a long time ago (I saw Mad Max and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome at one point as well, but I remember way more about this movie) and enjoyed it so I watched it again the other day. Aaaaaand I figured I'd review it coz hey, gotta review somethin' right?

Set in the not so distant future after war n' stuff has turned the world into the Australian outback (augh!). Max (Mel Gibson) lost his wife and young child to a buncha bad motherfuckers in Mad Max and now drives around the wasteland with his dog and his shotgun doing shit. In the search for gasoline he gets roped in to helping a small community of refiners escape from the S&M dudes who rule the wastes.

This actually held up really well, compared to some stuff I watched when I was little and seems really fuckin dumb now - yeah, this movie might be kinda dumb but it's so fucking insane it doesn't matter. It's impossible not to be impressed by the sheer craziness, from the ridiculous costumes, to the whacked out gyro-guy. It makes even the weirdest gaps in logic seem somehow sensible. I don't doubt that the group of leather chap clad badasses would waste all their gasoline driving circles around the encampment in their high performance cars instead of just burrowing underneath the compound - I mean, fucking look at them! They're obviously not the most contemplative dudes, they just do stuff coz they're bored, they don't worry about it a whole lot.

So it's pretty fun. I don't really like car chases in movies but this one does a really good job, particularly because all the vehicles are crazy and cool to look at. My brother and I have like four vehicles between us in various states of functionality, and our mother suggested that we supe them up and use them to reinact scenes from this movie. Just because.

So the highlights of this movie I would say are a) the awesome cars.

b) Mel Gibson. He may be a lunatic now but he's a really good actor. Also he was like twenty five in this movie and ridiculously hot. Holy sweet jesus. And he's got that hot leather jacket.... daaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn. Max is the coolest, hands down. He's got an awesome dog. I would say that he's got an awesome car but it's a Ford so fuck that.

c) The stunts. While watching this movie, I reminded myself that all the stunts were real, none of them were done with computers or any of that bullshit, and it blew my mind. I like watching really good stunts (or, failing that, horribly botched ones), it really flips my switch.

The only thing which didn't flip my switch about this movie was that the accents were so thick I could barely understand a word coming out of anybody's head (I seem to remember Mad Max was even worse for that), although part of that can be blamed on the fact I watched a really old video copy and the sound wasn't great in the first place. But still. Fuckin Australian accents - they're almost as annoying as Canadian accents.


Directed by: George Miller.  Written by: George Miller, Terry Hayes & Brian Hannant.  Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Emil Minty, Michael Preston, Virginia Hey, Kjell Nilsson, Vernon Wells, Max Phipps, Arkie Whiteley

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)

This movie had "Guillermo del Toro" right on the cover so I knew pretty much what to expect - some dark, spooky freaky shit with a little girl in it. And I was right! That being said, this movie was actually pretty good.

A sullen but kind of neat little girl (Bailee Madison) gets sent to live with her dad (Guy Pearce) who is restoring an old house with his girlfriend (Katie Holmes), to whom the girl does not particularly take to at first. Despite the fact that the house is totally fucking cool, the basement is infested with an ancient evil... in the form of a bunch of little pixies who are afraid of bright light.

I shit you not, the monster is a bunch of god damn evil fairies. And you know what? It works. Just because something is small doesn't mean that it can't be scary - in fact a whole shit load of little things is probably scarier than one big thing (remember in Jurassic Park 2 when the guy from Fargo got eaten by compsognathus? It was SO TERRIFYING they couldn't even show it).

And furthermore, you know, there aren't a whole lot of horror movies about fairies which I find weird. Sure, when people think of fairies they either think of this:

Or, if they're not into political correctness, this:

But there are all kinds of malevolent beings that can be described as 'fairies', like Spriggans, Goblins, Kelpies, Redcaps and the Glaistig, which, despite being completely terrifying, almost never show up in movies. So, you know, this movie does that at least. Represent. That being said, I think that I could probably deal with the goblins in this movie. For starters, they were only really interested in children. I think. I wasn't actually too clear on what they were after.

It was stated that they wanted children's teeth, but also that whenever they came to the human realm they needed to take somebody back with them - so both I guess? I don't know, I think if you dragged a kid into the netherworld you would automatically get their teeth, right? That's sort of part of the package. So why bother going after teeth? Not a whole lot of logic going on there.

I also have seven cats so I'm not really that worried about anything smaller than a raccoon bothering me at home. Fuck the goblins.

But I digress. Back to the point, there were some pretty serious gaps in logic here. I mean, they find this dungeon underneath the house which was sealed up (they didn't notice the hollow wall when they were gutting the place for some reason) and is totally fucking creepy and instead of, I dunno, going to work on renewing it or at the very least cataloguing the never before seen paitings (the guy who originally owned the house was a renowned painter), they just fuck off and shut the door.

In fact, the adults in the movie seem shockingly nonchalant about everything. It's pretty obvious that there are some little creatures running around the house and the dad dismisses them as rats - so... your house is full of giant fucking rats. Maybe get somebody in there to deal with it? The guy is trying to sell the place after all, having a basement full of monster rats isn't exactly a great selling point.

Actually, you know what, the dad is the only one who is frustratingly dismissive. The awesome gardener (Jack Thompson) knows that there are child stealing creatures in the basement and almost gets killed by them, and Katie Holmes is quickly convinced. It's just dickhead that won't smarten up.

To conclude, this was pretty good. It was kinda silly and not a classic by any means, but it was well done, the acting was good (I was surprised by how much I liked Katie Holmes - I've only seen her in Batman and thought she was terrible but she was good in this) particularly the little girl, and though some portions of the movie were really dark they were never so dark that you can't tell what's going on, and it sort of has something to do with the story so cool.


Directed by: Troy Nixey.  Written by: Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins based on the 1973 TV movie by Nigel McKeand.  Starring: Bailee Madison, Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Dune (1984)

I vaguely remember watching this movie a long, long time ago and thinking it was pretty cool. So I figured I'd give it another whirl and man did my memories deceive me. I'm going to come right out and confess that I have not read the book(s) - I started reading the first one but it was really... dense (that's the nice way of putting it, right?).

The plot is about a dude (Kyle MacLachlan) who is exiled into the desert by his enemies and becomes the rebel leader of a group of nomads and also the chosen one of an ancient mystical order.

See? How fucking hard was that? Yes, all that shit about House Atreides and House Harkonen being manipulated by Jose Ferrer because of some intense politicking, or the dude in the tank getting it's knickers in a knot over buddy, or the Bene Gesserit fucking around because they are mysterious is interesting but ultimately unneccessary. In a book, okay, you can pull that shit off but in a movie it really bogs everything down.

Okay, I guess you need to explain a little bit about the spice because otherwise it makes no sense that anybody would give two sweet fucks about a shitty, backwater desert planet, but all the other stuff? Fuck, there was so much stuff going on in this movie and absolutely nothing at all happening. And it's so fuckin political - I don't give a shit who's on council in the village where I live, why would I care what's going on in politics on some fictional planet in space? Blurgh.

For the sake of kindness, I will illustrate the highlights of the movie - it looked great, and Kyle MacLachlan is reasonably hot. And it had Brad Dourif in it so that's pretty cool. Okay, now that's out of the way.

Everything about the movie is so ridiculously over the fucking top it's embarrassing. For example, wouldn't it be enough to just say that the Harkonens didn't like the Atreides (for whatever reason - there was something to do with a magic ring that I didn't get. I think it opened something. Why a ring? Rings are easy to lose. When you get drunk and start dancing they fall off. In a world where they have developed intergalactic travel and terraforming why can't they use retinal scanners open things)? Did the Harkonens have to all be psychotic, homicidal maniacs? Granted, they were all gingers but still, that was a little much.

Okay, okay, I'll accept that they are a family of degenerate lunatics. But I will not accept that anybody with the least semblance of intelligence and common sense (which presumably the Emporer has, being Emporer and all) would put the fuckers in charge of the most important planet in the universe. Why would anybody do that? I know it's a shithole of a planet so you don't wanna station your best buddy there but surely there is somebody else who is slightly more competant and stable than Baron Harkonen.

But that's not really that important in the grand scheme of the story - the story, at it's core, is some thinly veiled hippy shit about sticking it to the man and doing massive amounts of mind altering drugs. The really sad thing is that this made me realize how much of the sci-fi and fantasy stuff I love is just fucking hippy shit. The Matrix? Hippy shit. Star Wars? Hippy shit. Lord of the Rings? Hippy shit. The only thing I can still hold on to is, like, Star Trek. Star Trek (the original series anyway, I never got into the other ones) really isn't hippy shit. At all.

Think about it though. All that other stuff I just mentioned is about a group of rebels sticking it to the evil establishment (read: hippy shit). In Star Trek, Kirk is part of the establishment. It's totally conservative, it's great, I love it. Whenever there are hippies on that show they're kind of dumb and confused. God damn I fucking hate hippies.

But I digress. Overall, Dune is a bunch of politics and hippy shit, encased in really cool art direction, with a really shitty soundtrack. By Toto. And Brian Eno. Fuuuuuuck.


Written and Directed by: David Lynch, based on the novel by Frank Herbert. Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Kenneth McMillan, Sting, Max Von Sydow, Jose Ferrer, Sian Phillips, Jurgen Prochnow, Virginia Madsen, Alicia Witt, Sean Young, Dean Stockwell, Brad Dourif, Patrick Stewart

Tales from the Darkside

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

Watched this anthology on TV the other day. Apparently it's based on a show I have never heard of, in the same vein as like Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, which George Romero did after Creepshow. So... now we know that.

The wraparound story involves a woman (wikipedia tells me that was Debbie fucking Harry. Cool) with a ridiculously cute little boy (Matthew Lawrence) in a cage preparing to cook him and serve him at a dinner party. To prolong his life, he kicks it Arabian Nights style and starts telling her stories.

The first story, Lot No. 249 (which I thought was a book I had to read for English but apparently not) is about a weiner (Steve Buscemi) who gets cheated out of... something... by some dick and his girlfriend (Robert Sedgwick and Julianne Moore) so he orders a mummy off eBay and magicks it into killing them in nasty ways.

At one point the mummy pulls a dude's brain out through his nose. That was satisfyingly gross. The rest of the story wasn't really anything special. It was sort of alarming seeng Steve Buscemi and Christian Slater friggin around with a mummy (I didn't realize that the girl was Julianne Moore until now. Whaaaaaat), and you know, mummies are sort of underused as monsters. Sure, they don't really do all that much but technically neither do zombies so what the fuck. More mummies, people, come on.

The second story, The Cat from Hell is about a cat... from hell. The cat is pestering a crazy old dude (William Hickey, the craziest old dude of them all) because his pharmaceutical company did testing exclusively on cats. He hires a hitman (David Johansen) to kill it and then fucks off for the weekend. Needless to say the hitman has a hard time trying to kill the cat. Tenacious little bastards they are.

The way they show the cat killing people (it kills a couple of people) is, well, it's pretty ridiculous. I mean, it's a fuckin cat. I know, cats are evil and one of my cats has repeatedly tried to trip me up and kill me but still. It's a cat. I was totally rooting for it too. It was just getting revenge for the deaths of its brothers and sisters. Besides, the hitman was whiny.

That being said, this also has one of the most disturbing horror deaths that I've ever seen - the cat crawls inside a guy's mouth and kills him from the inside. What the fuck? 

This segment is sort of interesting, and the photography is pretty cool. They got cat vision going on and everything, it was great. I like cats. I like cats killing people.

The third and final segment, Lover's Vow is about a down-on-his-luck artist (James Remar) who watches one of his friends get killed by a fucking gargoyle. The gargoyle spares his life on the condition that he never ever tells anybody about what happened. Later that night he meets a mysterious and beautiful woman (Rae Dawn Chong) who moves in with him immediately and gets his art in the swankiest gallery in town and blah blah blah. You can probably figure out where this is going.

Seriously, though, let's examine the situation - you live in New York. You run into a woman running down the street. She agrees to go home with you even though she just bumped into you and you look like a god damn lunatic. And you're not, like, the least bit suspicious? Come on now.

Despite that, this is the best story in the movie and actually pretty good. And, like mummies and cats, gargoyles really don't get that much screen time (short of the show Gargoyles. That's my favourite show). So that's cool. Represent.

Over all the movie was watchable. It had a kind of cheesy, television look to it and fairly low production values but it was okay and sort of predictably entertaining. If you like twist endings but not surprises, this is the movie for you! Otherwise, you know, if you need to watch something and this is on then what the hell.


Directed by: John Harrison.  Written by: Michael McDowell & George Romero, segment 1 based on Lot No. 249 by Arthur Conan Doyle, Segment 2 based on The Cat from Hell by Stephen King.  Starring: Debbie Harry, Matthew Lawrence, Steve Buscemi, David Johansen, James Remar, Christian Slater, William Hickey, Rae Dawn Chong, Robert Sedgwick, Julianne Moore, Dolores Sutton, Alice Drummond, Mark Margolis

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pig Hunt

Pig Hunt (2008)

"From the director of Skinwalkers and Jason X" It says that right on the fucking box for this movie, like that's somehow supposed to be a good thing. That should have been fair warning but fuck, it also says it's about a three thousand pound pig and a throat cutting feminist cult. I'm gonna say right off the bat that the best thing in this movie was the really kick ass soundtrack by Les Claypool who apparently is in the band Primus. That being said, the rest of the movie is pretty... lame.

The film opens with I guess an Iraq veteran (Travis Aaron Wade) and his way hot girlfriend (Tina Huang) going pig hunting with his buddies at his recently late uncle's camp in deep redneck country (which is apparently driving distance from San Fransisco). There he meets up with some skuzzy hillbillies (Jason Foster and Nick Tagas) who are also going pig hunting and then they wander around in what looks like a state park for hours. And, you know, there might be a killer pig out there somewhere.

This movie really didn't seem to know where the fuck it was headed. I mean, the cover promises us a god damned monster pig but all we get for the first fucking hour is a bunch of morons wandering around in the "woods" exchanging completely pointless banter, a family of angry rednecks and some emu-farming, pot-dealing hippies. The fuck is that?! I want to see the fucking pig!

I think the point of it is that the title Pig Hunt does not refer to the wild hog but rather the fact that humans are pigs or some shit, as evidenced by the bullshit quote from Orwell's Animal Farm stuck in right before the end credits. Because, you know, when people watch a movie called Pig Hunt surely they don't actually want to see a giant pig hunting people. No, they want to see a hundred minute meditation on the nature of the human soul. FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

Granted, at around the eighty minute mark the movie totally loses its shit and turns into a crazy fucking nightmare about killer hippies and the literal giant pig does show up and eat some fuckers and it's pretty cool. So if you want to see a movie about a killer pig, just watch the last half hour of this movie. Don't worry about the rest of it, I promise you did not miss much.


Directed by: James Isaac.  Written by: Zack Anderson & Robert Mailer Anderson.  Starring: Travis Aaron Wade, Tina Huang, Jason Foster, Byronn Bain, Howard Johnson Jr., Ravij Shah, Trevor Bullock, Nick Tagas, Les Claypool

Dead Like Me: Life After Death

Dead Like Me: Life After Death (2009)

So I decided to give the direct to DVD sequel to the TV series Dead Like Me a whirl the other day. I bought it a while ago and only now got around to watching it. A quick note before I begin - if you've never seen the show, there is a) no point watching this movie and b) no point reading this review. The movie barely fucking made sense to me and I watched the shit out of that show. So now that's out of the way...

In the first few minutes we learn that George (Ellen Muth) has been dead for five years, Der Waffle Haus has burned down and Rube has collected his last reap and moved on to the next stage of the afterlife. So that would, according to the logic of the show, mean that whoever his last reap was would become a reaper and replace him, right? Wrong, that's never even brought up.

What does happen is a really sleazy reaper from New York (Henry Ian Cusick) shows up to takes over the group as their new leader, and then goes about fucking everything up by giving out wrong ETDs and convincing everybody but George that they can do whatever they want consequence free.

Meanwhile, George tells Reggie (Britt McKillip) that she is who she is and they sort of bond or some shit until George has to reap the douchebag she's boning (Jordan Hudyma). And Murray finally kicks the bucket, making him probably one of the longest lived cats in history.

So this movie has enough material to fuel, like, five episodes of the show, had all the different plotlines actually been given time and consideration rather than just being flung together and called a movie. In fact, it kind of seems like they crammed all of the ideas for later seasons which never got made into one big fucking mess of a film. It kind of gets caught between being just a long episode of the show and trying to be a more traditional movie, with a tradtional plot and everything. And, on both fronts, it falls flat on its face.

One of the biggest problems is the addition of a villain, which the show never needed, and who sort of gets lost in the jumble of other plot elements so that there really isn't enough time to explain his motives at all, short of saying, well he's just a dick. The best part of the movie is the reapers trying to figure out some way of killing him, but even that wasn't explored enough to reach it's full comic potential.

And even worse, there just wasn't the same (I hate to use this word but) chemistry between the actors. They didn't look like they were having fun anymore. And who can blame them? The show had been over for several years, everything just kind of lacked momentum.

Furthermore, with Rube gone and a different actor playing Daisy (Sarah Wynter) who I really didn't like very much it was just wrong... I dunno. A good show is like a good BLT. It's got toasted homemade brown bread, a little bit of mayo, fresh juicy tomato, crunchy lettuce and crispy bacon. But if you start fucking with ingredients, take away the tomato, swap the bacon for salami and leave the sandwich out for too long before you eat it, well, it's just not as good as it should be.

So all in all, unless you're a huge fan of the show and desperate to find out what happened to Reggie, I wouldn't bother watching this movie. The final episode of season two was way more satifying and conclusive. This is just sort of sloppy, uninspired and disappointing.


Directed by: Stephen Herek.  Written by: John Masius & Godchaux.  Starring: Ellen Muth, Britt McKillip, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy, Sarah Wynter, Henry Ian Cusick, Christine Willes, Cynthia Stevenson, Jordan Hudyma, Crystal Dahl

Hobo With a Shotgun

Hobo With a Shotgun (2011)

So I finally saw this movie, an expansion of the Halifax made trailer which won the Grindhouse trailer contest. And frankly it's kinda hard to review seeing as I know a few people who were involved and even though I haven't lived there in three years, I'm still totally in love with Halifax. But fuckit, I'll do it anyway.

The film tells the story of a Hobo (Rutger Hauer) who travels the rails and winds up in Hope Town, a wretched hive of scum and villainy ruled by a sadistic maniac (Brian Downey in probably the most insane performance I've seen from anybody in a long time) and his two equally horrible sons (Gregory Smith and Nick Bateman). Appalled by the depravity present in the city, the Hobo buys a shotgun and teams up with a kind hearted hooker (Molly Dunsworth) to start cleaning up the streets.

It's done in vintage, exploitation-era style, and actually goes all the way with that, from the old school credit sequence, to the intense use of colour, to the oh so cheesey dialogue. And one thing that really stood out for me - nobody has a god damn cell phone. One of the things that really pissed me off in both Death Proof and Planet Terror, both emulations of old school drive in grindhouse flicks, was that everything was going along as per normal, and then somebody whips out their blackberry and starts texting or whatever. Fuck off.

ALSO, both of those films had a super huge budget and, while Hobo was probably made for more money than most splatter films of the sixties and seventies, it wasn't extremely high budget by today's standards and it totally uses that to its advantage.

The movie is packed with over the top violence and gore which is way too cartoony to be disturbing or moving, it's just funny more than anything - a guy gets squished by a backhoe shovel in an explosion of red goo, another dude gets his dink blown off (HAHAHAHAHAHA), lots of dudes get their heads exploded. Everything is more gross than shocking, and sometimes totally unbelievable, like somebody getting their hand cut off with a lawnmower. Seriously? Every lawnmover I've ever used got stuck and stalled out when I came across a thick clump of grass or a twig, I can't imagine they would be able to cut through bone. Then again, Dead/Alive had a guy wasting a house full of zombies with a lawnmower so I guess if we're going by movie logic, losing a hand to a lawnmower blade is well within the realm of plausibility.

There are a couple of scenes which are genuinely shocking, notably a girl almost getting decapitated with a skill saw which was realistic enough to be unsettling, and a school bus full of children getting incinerated which actually managed to push the envelope in a genre where virtually everything has been done.

There are a few qualms I had with the film. First and most important being The Plague, a pair of (I guess) robots who show up about seventy minutes into the movie without any real explanation of who or what they are or even where the fuck they came from (they were sort of hinted at briefly early on but not substantially). General rule of thumb - don't introduce new characters more than an hour into the film unless you really have to. Yeah, The Plague was cool but sort of unneccessary - there was no reason another already established character couldn't have filled that role.

Secondly, the acting was, for the most part, really... not good. And not in an intentional, corny sort of way, like how the writing was intentionally (and hilariously) bad ("I'm gonna sleep in your bloody carcasses - tonight!", "put the knife away or I'll use it to cut welfare cheques from your skin" and "get your hands off me, you're crushing my smokes" are some of the best worst lines I've ever heard in a movie). It was just straight up bad and amateur, which is too bad seeing as there are some really good actors in Halifax.

That being said, Rutger Hauer was really good as the Hobo. He was very convincing, from the nonsensical mumbling to the slightly confused look on his face (I hope that was acting), I truly believed that he was, in fact, a hobo. Molly Dunsworth also stood out as being very convincing and sympathetic - I totally bought that her character had no other options than to become a prostitute - and unlike most female characters in this kind of movie, she kicks a tremendous amount of ass at the end.

So to conclude, Hobo isn't the greatest movie ever made, and if you like flicks about middle aged women taking Valium for three hours, stay the fuck away. But if you're into unmitigated violence and mindless entertainment then this is definitely worth the cost of the rental.


Directed by: Jason Eisener.  Written by: John Davies.  Starring: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworth, Brian Downey, Gregory Smith, Nick Bateman, Jeremy Akerman

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fright Night

Fright Night (2011)

Well. I'm back. There were a couple of flicks I thought about reviewing over the last year but I never got around to it but fuckit, here we go.

Follows essentially the same plot as the original from the 80s. A young man (Anton Yelchin) living in some shitty suburb of Las Vegas discovers that his new neighbour (Colin Farrell) is a throat ripping vampire. In order to save the neighbourhood and his girlfriend (Imogen Poots), he must enlist the help of TV personality Peter Vincent (David Tennant), who specializes in phony vampire stuff.

I don't remember a whole helluva lot about the original Fright Night except that it was sort of cute and it had Prince Humperdinck in it (and not Malcolm McDowell). This version has Colin Farrell and he is smoking fuckin hot. Holy jesus. Yeah, he's playing a really nasty vampire who acts like a total freak when he's not tearing people a part but sweet christ can he rock a white wife beater.

The cast was actually pretty good for what appears to be a run of the mill vampire remake. Anton Yelchin is believable as the main character, Toni Collette is good as The Mom (the character she has played ni every fucking movie I've ever seen her in), David Tennant's ridiculous overacting is entertaining as usual.

And the writing was pretty good. There were some pretty clever lines and a surprising number of chuckles throughout. It just... it got going a little too fast. I dunno, about two minutes into the movie, the main character has been informed that his neighbour's a vampire, half an hour later and everybody knows about it, they then spend the next hour plus trying to kill him.

While I'm not a fan of movies that fuck around for half an hour when the audience knows who the vampire is already, you don't have to jump right in there immediately. There's this thing they call character development, it's supposed to make the audience give a shit about the characters. This movie didn't really bother with that. In fact, what little character development they did manage to work in had kinda the opposite effect.

For example, we know that the main character ditched his best friend since childhood (Christopher Mintz-Passe), later allowing him to be turned into a vampire, so that he could fit in with a couple of dickhead bros and score with a really skanky girl. There's one point in the movie where she says to him somehting like, "I knew you were a dork, I like you because you're different". Apparently lying to a girl to get in her pants is different now. Huh.

But none of that is really a big deal. There's one really major problem I had with this movie. It's true that "less is more" is a good idea when doing horror - the less you show of the monster the scarier it will be when the audience finally gets to see it - but that does not mean that every mildly spooky scene should be so fucking dark that nobody can tell what the fuck is going on. Seriously. This movie might have been kind of scary had I been able to see anything on the screen except for some vague blurs and outlines of stuff. So many movies have been following this trend. And it doesn't fucking work. It's just annoying and boring. Why would I want to watch a black screen and listen to people screaming? I would think it's kind of a waste of money to have actors and a film crew present while you're shooting essentially nothing.

Most of these kinds of scenes are, like, Anton Yelchin exploring Colin Farrell's house and stuff like that so, even though the music would indicate that there is something creepy that I should be looking at, I don't really feel like I'm missing anything. BUT there's one scene where everybody's in this van (I guess) and Colin Farrell is chasing them (I guess) and possibly underneath the van at one point (I guess). It was so god damn dark I could not tell who was where and what was going on at any point. It actually made me angry because I figured I was probably missing something.

That shit is just annoying and somebody needs to tell filmmakers that it is not remotely scary. Other than that, though, this movie is perfectly watchable. It doesn't cover any new ground whatsoever, it's pretty old school, but it's clever and pretty entertaining. I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it but there are worse things to kill an evening with and ogling Colin Farrell was totally worth it.


Directed by: Craig Gillespie.  Written by: Marti Noxon based on the 1985 film written by Tom Holland.  Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blog of Horror Rides Again

It's been almost a year since I last posted a review but... damnit, the time has come. For new readers, I used to reside over here but I'm going to be moving all the old reviews over in time. For old readers (if there are any still alive), hi! Sorry I left. I'm back now. I moved on account Blogger is way more customizable. Unfortunately, someone already got my domain name (it's MINE!!!!!) so I gots dashes. Anywho. Welcome to my home. Do please enjoy your stay.