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.