Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"I guess we never know when death is coming."

"No,. we don't. And that's why we shouldn't live in fear of it."


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wind Chill (movie #102)

I saw this movie a few years ago for the first of these Halloween challenges that I did,and it's one of the few that I remember from that challenge. It's so bleak and mean-spirited that it's hard to forget. First of all, the characters aren't the most likable in the world. Two college students who don't know each other very well decide to carpool home to save money. The guy secretly likes the girl but she doesn't like him (she doesn't like much of anything, as she botches and complains throughout much of the movie, treating him like shit). On the way home, they get into an accident on a deserted stretch of road, and soon they're trapped in a snowbank without much hope of rescue. To top it off, they start seeing people around them who turn out to be apparitions of spirits of other people who died on that stretch of road. Soon they're fighting frostbite and trying to survive while also battling ghostly visitors from the past.

It's a pretty good little movie. the atmosphere is so thick that it actually has me shivering because it looks so COLD onscreen, the ghosts are pretty cool looking,and there's even a mystery to solve that had me intrigued. I really enjoyed watching this movie again and it's one indie that I can safely recommend since most of the pitfalls of indie filmmaking aren't in evidence here (bad acting,horrible special effects, etc.)

Diary of the Dead (movie #101)

When I was a kid, my brother and I weren't allowed to watch horror movies, but my mom thought that if a movie was black and white that it couldn't do us much harm,so she let us watch the original "Night of the Living Dead" from 1968. I was excited to watch that movie at first, even though I thought an old black and white movie couldn't affect me very much, but let me tell you...that movie messed me up. I was young, and I still expected my movies to end with the good guys triumphing over the bad guys, so the kind of downbeat ending that the original NOTLD movie has was something I didn't expect,but I never forgot how that ending made me feel.

This movie is George Romero's latest "Dead" movie, a continuation of his zombie epic that he began over 30 years ago,and to me, this movie had almost as much of an impact on me that the original did back then. A lot of people don't like ":Diary of the Dead," and I get why. It's cheesy at times and a little silly with some bad acting, but that doesn't bother me too much. the movie follows people of my generation, disillusioned college students who live their lives on the internet and get a lot of their news from YouTube. When the world starts to end, news spreads fast, and an amateur film crew of students at a local college decide to drive around the countryside documenting the events to make a film for whoever is left behind.

A lot of the movie is shaky cam footage, and the people in the movie fight amongst each other the way most people do in zombie movies. A lot of that is captured on the film ans the gravity of the situation reaches them and they realize that the world is changing and things will never be the same for them. It's pretty bleak watching people die and watching the film crew slowly lose hope. the movie ends with a scene that I'll never forget (just as the original NOTLD did) asking me "Are we worth saving?" Since I ask the same question myself a lot, so I appreciated this movie even more because of that. This movie isn't perfect, but it really gets under my skin, and I appreciate it for that. In that way, it hearkens back to the power of the original NOTLD and it was the perfect thing for me to watch for my wrap up of the challenge this year.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 (movie #100)

Wow, this was a mean-spirited little movie. Not that that's a bad thing. Horror movies are supposed to be disturbing and evil,right? I don't know how the abysmal slasher cash-in "Prom Night" inspired this nasty follow up, but I'm glad it did. this movie follows the story of Mary Lou, a bitchy, rebellious teenager in the 50s who terrorizes a local priest in the opening scene of the film. Mary Lou likes to terrorize people, namely her fellow students at school, and she moves from one guy to another, dumping her boyfriend on prom night to hook up with someone hotter. When a prank goes wrong, Mary Lou is burned to death in front of the rest of the students at prom (like a witch being burned at the stake, which wasn't lost on this viewer). Fast forward to the late 80s, and that school is gearing up for prom again when Mary Lou decides to return from the grave for revenge. She possesses the body of a sweet, innocent girl and pretty much turns her into the embodiment of pure evil (what a bitch).

this movie is really mean-spirited. Mary Lou likes to do horrible things to people, and in one scene, she walks around a locker room, totally nude, terrorizing a fellow student. this scene surprised me. I hear a lot of bitching that movies these days are mean-spirited and they don't offer much hope for the redemption of the characters, but it's clear from watching this movie that this attitude is nothing new. I've never seen this movie before (I didn't like the original Prom Night, so I wasn't interested in seeing the follow up) but I'm really glad I checked it out for the challenge this year. to me, this is what the challenge is all about: discovering cool little horror movies you wouldn't have otherwise seen.

Skeleton Dance (Wildcard #6) (movie # 99)

When I was a kid, this was one of my favorite cartoon shorts. They played it every fall around Halloween during the Saturday morning cartoons my brother and I watched. It takes place in a graveyard where a bunch of animals are spooked by the atmosphere. An owl is sitting in a tree hooting at the audience,being blown about by the wind. Two cats are hissing at each other (much the way my cat hisses at her own reflection in the window) until a skeleton climbs out of a grave and scares them literally out of their skin. Then some other skeletons join the first one, and they begin dancing around,enjoying the music,until the song end is and they climb back in their graves. I haven't seen this cartoon in years, but I'm glad I looked it up for this challenge (and I'm glad I saved all my wildcards but one for the last day, so I could catch up on fun little movies like this on Halloween).

The Fall of the House of Usher (1928) (Wildcard #5) (movie #98)

Having recently watched a newer update on the classic Edgar Allen Poe tale "The Fall of the House of Usher," it was intriguing to go back and watch this, one of the earliest silent films based on this story. Let me tell you, if I thought that movie was trippy and weird (and I did) it has NOTHING on this little silent movie. the dreamlike/nightmarish imagery in this movie is crazy, and it's hard to tell the dream world from reality (which I suspect was the point). This silent movie follows the original story a little more closely than the recent update I watched a few weeks ago (a man goes to the ancestral home of his friend whose sister has recently died of a mysterious disease, only to discover that something more sinister might be going on and she might not be dead) but the nightmarish imagery makes it hard to tell what is going on. I remember reading the Poe story and not being sure what was going on either, though, so I think this is just a theme of this story. Nevertheless, I'm glad I watched this, because it gave me a better appreciation for the "House of Usher" update of the story.

The Devil in a Convent (Wildcard #4) (movie #97)

his is another short movie that's over 100 years old. It's from the year 1899,and it depicts a convent full of nuns that are suddenly terrorized by a demonic little guy (perhaps it's Satan himself; that part isn't totally clear) who appears out of a portal to hell (represented by a trapdoor in the floor) and begins filling the convent with demonic images until he's banished by a Priest. The quality of the primitive special effects is impressive, considering the year this movie was made. It's short, so there's not much of a plot (but then again, some movies today that are hours long don't really have a plot either) but it was still cool to see the early special effects at work trying to tell a creepy little story.

The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (Wildcard # 3) (movie #96)

This is a horror short from the 1890s, and a lot of people call this "the first horror movie." It's only a few seconds long, but it's done in the style of a newsreel, and it depicts the execution of Mary Stuart. The clip shows her kneeling before the executioner, who raises his blade and chops her head off, grabbing it and holding it over his head triumphantly. In the olden days, people used to gather to watch public executions, cheering and jeering when criminals "got what they deserved" (and people say society today is violent). This was a ghoulish practice, but by the 1890s,it was history, so I can't imagine the uproar this movie caused when people saw what appeared to be a woman getting her head chopped off onscreen. By this point I'm sure everyone knew the story of Mary Stuart's execution and knew it was long in the pasty, but if this was the first murder ever captured on film, I wonder how many people believed the image was true? I wonder if people reacted to these images the way they did to a movie like "The Exorcist," running from theaters in terror? It's cool to witness a part of history like this (and to see an onscreen decapitation that's over 100 year sold that's still better than most movie decapitations today).

El Spectoro Rojo (The Red Spectre) (Wildcard #2) (movie #95)

I'm trying to cram in some short movies to fulfill my wildcards for this horror challenge (any movies under the standard running time of about 60 minutes, Halloween specials, etc.) and I wanted to check this movie out, because it was made in 1907 and I like catching up on early horror films and getting a sense of their impact on horror film evolution throughout the years. I've seen a lot of cool little old horror flicks this way, but this movie isn't one of them. It's only about ten minutes long, but it's not very interesting. Some of the movies I watched today were intriguing,but this one just kind of lay there not doing anything interesting. It's about a secluded cave wherein a glowing red ghost lives, performing tricks like a magician, tormenting people. That makes it sound more interesting than it is. I really recommend checking out some of the early silent horror films, but you can safely skip this one.

Shaun of the Dead (movie #94)

This is one of my favorite comedies of all time. I still remember the first time I saw it. My friend and I got off third shift at work, came to my house, popped it in, and thought it might end up being really stupid. the first few jokes kind of fell flat, and then something happened,we looked at each other, burst out laughing, and then didn't stop laughing for the rest of the movie. It's just that kind of humor, the kind that gets me giggling no matter what (I can think of a scene in this movie and it makes me smile no matter where I am or what I'm doing).

This movie is about a guy named Shaun, a slacker in his 30s who doesn't have much ambition. He lives with two roommates and his girlfriend dumps him at the beginning of the movie because she doesn't think he plans to go anywhere in life (and he doesn't seem to care, either). He goes out with one of his roommates to get drunk the night of the break up, and in the morning, the world is suddenly ending in a zombie apocalypse. Soon, he's going around town gathering his friends and family and trying to seclude them all in a local bar, waiting for rescue. It's the same plot from any other zombie movie, but the twists and nudges to other classic zombie films are what make this one a treat for horror fans. The jokes in this movie aren't forced the way they are with one of the "Scary Movie"s or with something like "Shriek if You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th," it's not a spoof in that classic sense, it's just a movie where dialogue and situations are cast in a funny light, and that's something refreshing in this age of "Epic Movie" and "Date Movie" and "Spoof Movie 3001." I love returning to this movie every time I need a genuine laugh and a good time (and I can't hear Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" without thinking of this movie...that's a good thing). I haven't seen this movie in awhile, so it was the perfect choice to cheer me up this Halloween.

I Still Know what You Did Last Summer (movie #93)

Of all the slasher sequels I've seen, this one has some of the most ridiculous twists. Watching it, I think "wow, if these college students had known more about geography, this movie would never have happened." It's not that I expect everything in this movie to be totally realistic, but of all the slasher movies I've ever seen,I think this one takes itself so seriously that every silly thing that happens is more glaring as a result. The original "I Know What You Did Last Summer" was silly at a few points, but nowhere near the level of ridiculousness that this movie reaches. Nevertheless, this movie has a spooky island setting, and some cool kill scenes, so I can forgive anything dumb that happens along the way. Julie and her college roommate win a trip to a secluded island resort, but the killer from the original movie is up to his old habits (yeah,I thought he died, too, but you know these killer can never die in movies like this). Soon they are running and trying to survive,and then there's a twist at the end that makes everything about ten times more stupid. Poo on stupid ending twists. But yay for killers rampaging in secluded hotels.

Ghost Ship (movie #92)

This movie gets a lot of hate, and I don't really understand why (that seems to be a running theme with the movies I like...everyone else hates them :-p)

A crew salvage a ship where a bunch of people died years ago. They learn that the ship is haunted because all the people on the ship died terrible deaths and are pretty vengeful and angry. The crew eventually learns that the truth is even more complicated than they think, though,as treasure is buried with the ship and the vengeful ghosts might not be the only danger here.

The scene where the original ship guests are massacred is the best part of the movie. It's really icky and creepy. I also liked the mystery revealed at the end of the movie (though it's a little weird, it works for me) and there's plenty of gore and some cool surprises along the way. I think this movie is good fun.

Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (Movie #91)

This movie is so sad. I mean,I've loved it since I was a kid, but I see something new every time I watch it (that's one of the reasons I love it so much) and this time around it struck me how sad and tragic the character of Charlotte is.

Charlotte was a southern Belle when she was young, and her father doted on her, but he didn't approve of her boyfriend, so he gave a speech to the boyfriend and drove him away. The night he breaks up with Charlotte she screams at him and threatens to kill him. Later we see him sitting alone, mourning the lo9ss of his love, when someone comes into the room and chops off his hand and then his head. Later, people at Charlotte's coming out ball see her walk in with her pretty white dress covered in blood. everyone in town assumes she was the murderer. She assumes her father was the murderer,and out of love for him, she never really rigorously defends herself against these accusations (and she never tells anyone about her suspicions of her father). Since there's not much evidence one way or the other, she is never tried or convicted, but everyone in town assumes she is guilty and spreads this rumor, so she grows into an old woman in the plantation home with her father. She never marries again or moves out on her own, and she grows more and more crazy as the years go on. Fast forward to the present. The city is tearing down the old house to build a highway, and they want Charlotte to move out, but she refuses. She writes her beloved cousin Miriam for help,and Miriam obliges. Charlotte gets more and more crazy and her memories of her dead lover get more and more realistic until she thinks he's really come back form the dead to haunt her. What's really going on here? It's up to the audience to put the pieces together as the story unfolds.

Here's the deal. When I was a kid,I was obsessed with the re-issues of old Tales from the Crypt comics, nasty little horror comics that featured despicable people doing horrible things to each other and then getting what they deserve at the end. I think I initially loved this movie because it is so much like one of those Tales from the Crypt stories. I also love how everything that happens in a mystery. No one character knows the whole truth of what happened that night when Charlotte's lover got murdered (or so we think). Basically, the story has been built up over the years through gossip, and poor Charlotte has grown old in this house surrounded by people who hate her and vilify her for something she didn't do. She has fed their hate in a lot of ways by acting as crazy as they think she is (as the sheriff says in the beginning of the movie, Charlotte isn't really crazy, mostly just eccentric, but she acts crazy because that's what people expect of her). But a problem comes up and Charlotte doesn't know how to fix it. Her home is going to be torn down, and it's the only home she's ever known, and she doesn't know what to do. She calls her cousin to help her, and everyone says that her cousin is vengeful and evil, but at first her cousin acts nice. It's only as the movie goes on that we see this nice facade crack and we learn how truly vengeful cousin Miriam really is.

There's more to the story, but you should really see it for yourself. This is a movie that really deserves more recognition than it gets, I think. Creepy and evil and mean-spirited and fun. It's just what the doctor ordered for a Halloween horror romp.

X Files: I Want to Believe (movie #90)

Um...I wanted to like this movie. Even when everyone else in the world hated it, I still thought there was a chance I'd like it, so I watched it,. I hated it. I found it even worse this time around, as I was laughing most of the way through (and it's definitely not supposed to be funny) and...yeah.

The movie is about the disappearance of an FBI agent that lures ex agent Fox Mulder out of hiding. A Priest who's in exile because of his crimes against children is having visions that tell where the agent is, and more murders are discovered, and Mulder and Scully were in a relationship but they broke up because they're morons, and Scully is a doctor who is trying to save a patient that everyone else says is beyond help,and blah blah blah, and there are [people who speak German (I think it's German) throughout the movie, but there are no subtitles at the bottom of the screen to tell us what they're saying, and my head exploded, and Scully needs to have faith and believe, and Mulder needs to find the missing FBI agent, and my cat's breath smells like cat food, and is the movie over yet?

So yeah. It's not very good. Bleh.

One Missed Call (2008) (movie #89)

This movie is horrible. Absolutely horrible. I like the original, but this remake sucked balls. It's about a group of college students who start hearing a strange ringtone on their cellphones, one they've never heard before, and then (since they don't answer the peon...what if they did? What would happen then? We'll never know) they have a voicemail, and when they listen to it, they hear the sounds of their own deaths. Then they die. And there's a ghost killing people, a vengeful little ghost, and we don't know why (and in this movie, we don't care). One of the students investigates to find out what's going on, the world's dumbest cop helps her, blah blah blah, is it over yet?

Watch the original instead.

The Strangers (movie #88)

This movie is creepy. It's about a woman and a man staying in a secluded cabin for the night who are tormented by three strange people for no apparent reason. The "strangers" first stay outside the house, making noises and knocking things down, then the trouble escalates. This is one of those movies that got under my skin. How many times do you get the creepy feeling that someone is behind you, then turn around to see that no one is there? Well this movie posits the idea that someone really IS there, you just don't turn around fast enough to know it...

AAAAAA! Let's just say that this movie freaked me the hell out when I first saw it, and even though it didn't scare me this time around, I still appreciated it for the well-made little creepfest that it is.

Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (movie #87)

People say that the "producer's cut" of this movie is better, but for my money, the theatrical cut is just as good. The story goes something like this: The original cut of this movie relied very heavily on Donald Pleasance, and when he died, the studio wanted the movie reshot because he wouldn't be able to continue the series since he was dead. That original cut of the movie is still looming around the internet and among fans, and it's been dubbed the "producer's cut" of the movie. Because it's said to be so much better than the theatrical cut, I wanted to see it for years, but when I finally did, it...well, it kind of sucks. I mean, it's ok, but I LIKED the theatrical release (it's not perfect, no, but it's ok, and it's not as bad as people say it is) sop I was underwhelmed with the "producer's cut" of the movie, since I didn't think it lived up to the hype. It's good, but it's also bad in different ways than the original. I don't know. Like I said, I like the theatrical version.

The plot is kind of dumb, but for the sixth movie in a series, that's to be expected. Jamie Lloyd (Laurie's daughter who was kidnapped by a mysterious man dressed in black at the end of part 5) is pregnant (yeah,.she aged a lot in the time between the two movies...and ew, she had sex with her uncle...ew ew ew) and she gives birth in some kind of icky Satanic ritual, then manages to escape with the baby only to be killed by Michael who wants the baby back. But she hides the baby and she's lucky that the person who finds the baby is Tommy Doyle (the little boy from the original Halloween, all grown up) and he can protect the baby because he knows of Micheal's past. Meanwhile, there's a family living in the old Strode house who are about to discover that they're connected to Michael Myers in a way they never dreamed.

Ok, yeah, it's really dumb. But there are some really cool kill scenes, some cool chase scenes, and a monologue by a creepy old woman that makes the whole movie so much fun. Trust me, the Producer's Cut isn't much better.

Ogres (movie #86)

This movie isn't bad for a SyFy original. It's about a young girl and her boyfriend who discover a strange little town that is being attacked by evil creatures (ogres that look like something out of The Lord of the Rings movies). The town doesn't seem to really exist, and all the people dress in old-fashioned clothing, which seems to point to the idea that there's some kind of time warp letting this town from the past exist hidden in the woods in the future. It's explained in the end (kind of) and I did enjoy watching it play out onscreen. the movie has Katharine Isabelle in it, and she's gorgeous, so that makes things even better. All in all this is one SyFy original movie that makes all the crappy SyFy originals I saw in this challenge almost worthwhile.

The Vault of Horror (movie #85)

This is another anthology movie like "Tales from the Crypt," where a group of people gather to hear stories of their deaths. I like both movies, but I think the surrounding story for this one is stronger. Instead of being people trapped with a tour guide, these people meet as friends and discuss dreams they have where they die, only in the end they discover that these aren't exactly dreams. This movie adapted two of my favorite stories from the old comics, so I think I like it even better than "Tales from the Crypt."

Tales from the Crypt (movie #84)

This movie concerns a group of people on a tour of an old mausoleum who become trapped by a creepy old guy who begins telling each of them the stories of how they will die. All the people are evil, despicable people who use and abuse those around them, and they get their comeuppance at the ends of the stories. The stories are adapted from old back issues of E.C. horror comics (Tales from the Crypt was the original comic, and the spin-off horror comics were The Vault of Horror and The Haunt of Fear...they were creepy, gory little comics where bad people did bad things and then had even worse things happen to them as a result...my morbid little kid self loved them). anyway, I like this movie. It's a little cheesy and some of the effects are silly because it's an older movie and it didn't have the benefit of modern day effects, but aside from that, the movie is cool and it's as much fun to watch as the original comics were to read.

Leeches! (movie #83)

This movie is really gay. Like, literally. I mean, I watched it on the gay network (LOGO,not the OTHER gay network, HERE! which typically has better movies) so I expected that, but this movie was a lot of fun for me. everyone else in the known universe seems to hate this movie, but I thought it was pretty cool. Someone actually said of this movie, "I wish they'd have taken the subject more seriously, like "Attack of the Giant Leeches."" Did you REALLY just say that you wanted this movie to take itself seriously like "Attack of the Giant Leeches" (which for those of you who don't know is one of the campiest movies of all time, was made on the cheap in order to make a buck, and definitely does NOT qualify as a serious horror masterpiece)? Do people LISTEN to themselves before they say things? And besides, did you really think a movie with an exclamation point in its title would be concerned with being a serious piece of cinema? Get a grip, people.

So anyway, this movie is about a high school coach who gives his players steroids in order to,um, enhance their performance (mind, get out of the gutter) and then the guys start getting attacked by these giant leeches who like to feed on the drug enhanced blood. So a bunch of players get...um...sucked to death (I told you to get out of the gutter!) and really there's not much else going as far as plot. The surviving guys have to figure out how to kill the leeches, with the help of their girlfriends (the guys have girlfriends,not the leeches...and since this is a gay movie looking for a gay audience, how come all the guys have girlfriends? It would make more sense for the leeches to have girlfriends, wouldn't it? Yeah...I didn't get it either). But anyway, I thought this movie was a lot of fun and it DID hearken back to "Attack of the Giant Leeches" for me, because whatever anyone says, that movie was NOT meant to be taken seriously. The rubber leeches in this movie are cool looking (especially compared to the ones in "Attack of the Giant Leeches") and they actually look like real leeches at a few points, which I appreciated. So all in all, I had a lot of fun with this movie and everyone who didn't can go screw.

Captivity (movie #82)

I really hated this movie when I first saw it. Elisha Cuthbert plays a prissy airheaded model who gets kidnapped and tortured by some evil baddie that we don't see for the first 30 minutes of the movie (he sits in shadow and monitors everything on a TV screen like Dr. Claw from "Inspector Gadget," which made the movie unintentionally hilarious for me) and then at the half hour mark it gets unbelievably stupid with "plot twists" involving the secret lives of the captors, and everything gets so stupid that after awhile I wanted to kill the director (arrogant little prick that he is). This time around, though, the movie didn't annoy me as much., I definitely liked the theatrical ending that I saw in this version better than the one on the unrated DVD.


In the ending I saw, the woman kills the bad guys and escapes, then we see her in an interview talking about what happened to her and how perverts like her captors deserve to die, and then we see that she has become a vigilante who kills rapists and child molesters and the like. It's a really dumb twist on top of a lot of other dumb twists. In the theatrical ending I saw in this version, we just see the woman wandering off broken and looking traumatized, and the movie ends there, and that's a lot more powerful than seeing her turn into Batman. This movie still sucks, though, so you shouldn't see it unless you have absolutely nothing else to do.

Borderland (movie #81)

The first time I saw this movie, I hated it. this time around, I liked it more, but it still pales in comparison to "Hostel" and "Turistas" and other movies of the same kind that I really like. Basically, some visitors in a foreign country (here it's Mexico) run afoul of some people who want them dead, and the visitors are tortured and killed in horrible ways without much chance of escape. The cops seem to either be in on the killing or indifferent to it, and there's a lot of spiritual mumbo-jumbo from a local drug dealer who thinks torturing and killing someone will give him super powers or something. I don't really get it. Even after they explain the beliefs of the "cult" or whatever you want to call them (the people who want to torture and kill the tourists) it still sounds dumb to me. I guess it's supposedly based on a true story. that's what the article in Fangoria (a horror magazine) said. I find the events of the movie singularly unimpressive, though. I like all the other "tourists get tortures" movies a lot better.

The Deaths of Ian Stone (movie #80)

Um...i think I'm missing something here. People raved about how great this movie was, but I really honestly don't get it. All I see is someone squishing "Dark City" and "The Butterfly Effect" together to create a movie that...well, kind of bored me. Boo. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't get into it (and I liked the other movies more, the ones it ripped off...dude, the motto is "steal from the best and make it your own," not "steal from the best and run and hide before you get sued").

The movie is about a guy who dies a horrible death one night only to awaken and then die again and awaken and die again (lather, rinse, repeat...kind of like a really morbid "Groundhog Day") except he lives a different life every time he awakens. He doesn't know why this is happening, but he soon discovers something sinister is stalking him and wants him dead (it's all the viewers who are bored to tears by this movie, I swear). I wanted to like this more, but it just made me want to sleep.

I Am Legend (movie #79)

The first time I saw this movie (a very very loose adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel of the same name) I didn't like it. I thought it was maudlin, melodramatic, and some of the plot twists were silly (not to mention the creatures are incredibly stupid looking). this time around, all those problems are still present, but I ended up liking this movie a lot more for other reasons.

The movie centers around a man who worked as a scientist, trying to combat the effects of a deadly virus. Let's just say that things went wrong and basically the world pretty much ended, with some 90 percent of people turning into weird, dark dwelling creatures who hate the light and rabidly feed on human flesh. The doctor is immune to the virus, but he loses his family and pretty much everyone he loves and knows. For all practical rights and purposes, he's the last person alive in the world. All he has is his dog, and he spends his days roaming around looking for other people like him who survived the apocalypse.

The premise is compelling and Will Smith does a great job with his acting. The first half of the movie, despite the horrid looking CGI creatures, isn't half bad. It's the second half that gets totally ridiculous. I just don't buy the ending, either. It seems silly to the extreme, and what happens is annoying because the characters keep sdaying "oh, he had to do this" and I'm like, "Um, no, he didn't have to do that, there are 20 million other possible solutions that don't involve THAT" and it just grates on my nerves because the very very end seems pretentious given that the climax didn't HAVE to play out the way it does. I know, I'm being vague, but trust me, the ending made me want to chuck a brick at the director and everyone involved with making the movie (except for Will Smith and the dog).


The thing is though, this time around, I was touched a lot more by Will Smith's situation. He has no loved ones left, all he has is his dog, and when the dog dies, that scene had me bawling. Maybe it didn't hit me before how desolate that scene is, or maybe I'm more sensitive now than I was a year ago when I saw this movie, but it really got to me. Right after the dog dies, when Will Smith is in the store talking to the mannequin and he says "say hello to me...say hello to me..." those lines made me roll my eyes when I first saw this movie, but like I said, I must be more sensitive now than I was before because that scene made me cry too. I think that emotional appeal let me enjoy the movie more this time around even though the ending still pissed me off.

Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (movie # 78)

Now THIS is what I'm talking about. This movie is as much fun as I was hoping for in a sequel to the zombie movie that gave me tons of fun back when I was a kid. My brother and I used to watch the original Return of the Living Dead whenever we got a chance (it aired on the USA network fairly regularly) and we had fun speculating about how the zombies managed to say "brains" when they didn't have lips (among other fun topics). The fourth movie (Necropolis) was kind of a let down, but this, the fifth movie, was a riot.

In the opening sequence of this movie, a guy is trying to sell a barrel of the infamous zombie-making nuclear waste when things go very wrong (let's just say he loses his head). His nephew learns of his death and when going through his stuff, finds more barrels of the waste. The nephew and his college friends discover that taking small amounts of the toxic waste can get you high, so they start selling it (as a drug called 'Z') which ends up wreaking holy havoc at a rave on Halloween.

This movie was a lot of fun. there seems to be a lot of hate for the movie, but I do0n't get that. It's not like the original wasn't stupid and campy. I for one had a lot of fun with this sequel.

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (movie # 77)

I still haven't seen "Return of the Living Dead 3," but the original is one of my favorites (I remember watching it with my brother as a kid whenever it was on and my mom wasn't around) and the second one was pretty good too, so I was excited about seeing this movie.

Basically, after the events of the third movie (which I don't know, you know, having not seen it and all) the evil and powerful Hybra-Tech corporation is attempting to make some chemical wearfare by using toxic waste to generate zombies. On his way back he gets into an accident with a kid, the kid's friends follow him to Hybra-Tech to get their friend back, and while there, they release some brain-hungry zombies.

This movie is fun, but as one guy I talked to put it, the movie takes itself too seriously. It's not as fun as the original and the premise is so silly that with them trying to take it so seriously, everything kind of falls flat. It's not bad really, but it's disappointing because it's definitely not as fun as I hoped it would be.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

John Carpenter's Vampires (movie #76)

I'm glad I watched this movie again, because I hated it so much the first time I saw it that we had nowhere to go but up, and I did enjoy it more this time around. A group of bloodthirsty vampires attack and kill this vampire hunter's crew so he tracks them to their lair in an effort to kill their leader. The movie is really stupid in some places, but the gore is cool and it's not as bad the second time around. I'm glad I liked it...and I'm glad the money I spent on this wasn't in vain.

Ghouls (movie #75)

What did I say about watching SyFy original movies? Bad Lillian. Bad. I wanted to see this one when it came out though (Lord only knows why...I think I had it confused with something else) so I watched it. Ugh, what a terrible movie. Um,it didn't really have a plot...a young girl is sad that her mother died,and then she starts being haunted by Ghouls because she's supposed to be the sacrifice for the zzzzzzz...

Huh? What'd I miss? Oh yeah,so anyway, the ghouls in this movie are cheap and stupid looking CGI monstrosities with no personality and no scare factor whatsoever. The only entertaining part of this movie was near the end when the lead character was chained to a table and she was flailing about in such a stupid way that I couldn't help but laugh. You try to escape like a girl. Plus when her boyfriend tried to rescue her, he's fighting and she's tied to the table but she keeps making comments like "Jump! Hit him!" and the like, and I yelled, "Stop being a backseat fighter! He's trying to save you, just shut up!" That was really the only interesting thing about the movie, though. Other than that...zzzzzzz...

Arachnaphobia (movie #74)

I'm freaked out by spiders. Ugh. I'm ok like, playing with someone's pet tarantula or something,but if a spider scurries around in my house, uh uh. I'm out of there. Probably screaming. I don't DO spiders. So of course I scream throughout probably the whole movie here and it gives me the shivers and is generally an unpleasant experience,though I like it so much I watch it over and over again.

The movie concerns a family who move to a small town to escape the big city only to find somethings in nature that are worse than anything they've encountered in the big city. The town is being overrun by poisonous spiders that are killing people. Cut Lillian shrieking. If you're not freaked out by spiders you might not like the movie, but for those of us who are, it's a creepy crawly treat.

Carver (movie #73)

I didn't want to like this movie. I was still in a bad mood after "Funny Games" and I just found myself mocking the low-budget and amateur acting of this movie...and then I slapped myself across the face and made myself shut up, and I found myself enjoying things a lot more. No, this movie isn't perfect, but it's got a lot of interesting things going for it (probably more than it should given its dubious heritage). A group of friends camping in the mountains run afoul of someone who likes to kill people and film himself doing it. Uh oh. There are a lot of gruesome deaths here, and the victims don't die instantly gushing rivers of blood, either, they squirm and limp around and try to drag themselves to safety, which is heartening to watch. Plus the ending has some twists up its sleeves and a few things that surprised even me. All in all, it's not perfect, but it has heart and filmmakers who want to actually tell a story, and I'll take that over pretentious sneering any day.

From Dusk Till Dawn (Movie #72)

So here's the deal. This movie starts out as a story of two brothers trying to rob a place and take a hostage and escape with some money. One of the brothers is the calm,clear-headed one (relatively speaking) and the other brother is...well, he's batshit insane and you kind of never know what he's going to do. Watching them is interesting (and I don't even LIKE George Cloony) but then they take some more hostages, end up in a bar in Mexico, find out they're surrounded by vampires...and for me, everything kind of goes to shit. I thought it would be cool watching people fight vampires in a bar (I usually like watching things like this) but for me, I liked the movie better without the vampires. they look kind of hokey and silly, and they just don't do much for me. I get to watch the lovely Juliette Lewis though, so I can't complain too much. It isn't that this movie is bad, it's just that the movie seems to suffer from ADHD, and the director throws everything he can think of at us, and here's some robbing and here's some raping and here's some killing, and here's some escaping and here's some vampires and here's some more vampires...it's a little over-the-top for my tastes, and not in a good way, in a "wow, this movie doesn't know when to shut up" way. I still like i t though...I just find myself liking it less and less as time goes on.

Funny Games (movie #71)

I put off updating my list for about two days because of this movie. Nasty,evil little piece of shit that it is, trying to think of something intelligent to say about it, some way to articulate why I hated it so the "smart people" and the "real cinema fans" will respect my opinion even if they disagree. I finally realized that I can't be nice about it, I simply cant, and so I will be honest, and if that makes me less of a film fan in your eyes because I hate this movie, then so be it.

Here's the deal. This movie is about a rich family who find themselves at the mercy of two young men. The young men appear to be polite, but they invade the house and torture the family until the viewer cries for it to stop (oh the humanity and so forth). At least that's what the movie PRETENDS to be about. What the director is REALLY trying to do, right from the very beginning, is prove to the audience that he is smarter than us, that he knows we REALLY enjoy seeing people tortured and that's why we watch these types of movies, and he's going to play with our expectations and make us sit through a grueling experience to prove that we really want to watch this type of thing happen but we only watch it on film because it's socially unacceptable to really torture and kill people in real life. As one of the annoying, preppy bad actors says near the end of the movie, you can watch real life happen and you can watch a movie happen, so both movies and "real life" ARE reality, since you can observe both (or something like that, I was too busy gouging my ears out with a rusty fork to catch everything, but I got the gist, and thank you so much for preaching at me, oh wise director...now that I don't have ears anymore, I won't have to worry about that kind of thing).

Peter and Paul (the Mary is silent) are the two young men who knock on the family's door at the beginning of the film asking to borrow eggs (but we're smart, attentive film viewers, so we know that they don't REALLY want to borrow eggs, they want to torture the family for entertainment). throughout the movie I kept trying to engage myself and make myself pay attention because the goddamn thing was so fucking boring I was praying for death, so I'd ask myself things like, "What would I do if I were in this situation?" The answer is that I'd never be fucking stupid enough to let two white-gloved strangers into my home, so this movie wouldn't happen to me. Maybe rich people are dumb, I don't know. Anyway, I shit you not when I say that this "egg borrowing" scene goes on for more than twenty minutes, with one of the young men dropping the eggs every time until the mother gets frustrated and tries to throw the men out, but her husband says she is overreacting (because he's an idiot) so the young men stay awhile and eventually the torture begins (for the family at least, we viewers have already been tortured by about a half hour of wasted celluloid that has sucked thirty minutes from our lives that we will never get back).

Therein follows the most banal and boring torture sequence I've ever seen. And I mean EVER. And I've watched "Live Feed." That movie was a million times better than this movie could ever hope to be, because the director of "Live Feed" wasn't a pretentious douchebag who made a movie simply so he could presuppose his own conclusion that human beings are evil and are entertained by violence. Anyway, I tried my best to ignore my rage at the director and get involved in the story in spite of him (I'm used tho this task, having watched many Eli Roth movies in my day) but I couldn't. Every time I'd manage to become engaged in something, one of the young men (Peter or Paul or the invisible Mary) would turn to the screen and wink, or make some comment to me, because you see, the director is SO SMART that even his characters know they're in a movie and they know we're watching and they know that we know that they know that we know that they know...wait, what were we talking about again?

People rant and rave on and on about how brilliant this movie is. How the torturers make the mother of the family strip, but we the audience are "denied the pleasure of seeing her naked" (nah, I can see naked women any time I want in my own bathroom mirror, I don't really watch movies like this to get off, thanks for the insinuation though, it makes you special) or how one senseless act of violence (this whole movie is a senseless act of violence) happens offscreen and then we get to see a long sequence with a blood-spattered TV set and the killers talking amongst themselves, proving that...um...television warps us and makes us violent? There really wasn't any reason to have this shooting occur in front of the TV set, it doesn't make sense spatially with where the characters were right before the camera panned away, but like I said, this movie is SMART (S-M-R-T) and so it can do whatever it wants. Then the camera guy suffers a heart attack or something, because the camera sits still for (I kid you not) ten fucking minutes while the characters sit in stunned silence and DO NOTHING. People really love to talk about how this scene is brilliant. Oh yeah, when nothing happens in a movie for ten minutes, I know "brilliant" is the first word that comes to MY mind (to quote Bart Simpson, "You know what would have been scarier than nothing? ANYTHING!!!") Before you sputter and fume at me, I get it. The people are stunned. I get it. You know what, though? For a movie that claims to use the "shocking realism of the effects of real violence" as one of its tenets, it sure is fucking unrealistic when it wants to be. NO ONE, I don't care how rich or stupid, would have sat for ten minutes doing nothing. they would have tried to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, to escape. I don't care how stunned you are, that doesn't mean you have to suddenly become a moron. People who scream at characters in regular slasher movies for making irrational moves (like running up stairs) sure seem quick to salivate all over the irrationality on display here. I have HAD horrible things like this happen in front of me, and I can tell you from experience, I didn't sit in the floor for ten minutes to display my stunnedness. It just doesn't happen. Besides, why are people so quick to whine "it's supposed to be realistic" when a fucking character in this movie TALKS TO THE AUDIENCE DURING THE MOVIE? Fuck you, people, you can't have it both ways. you can't shout "REALISM" like a wounded harpy one minute and then praise the rampant unrealism in the same breath. The movie isn't "defying my expectations," it's just being inconsistent with its heavy-handed message.

The characters in this movie make so many stupid moves that it's hard to list them all (I know I lost count after awhile) but I love how they escape only to run ineffectively back and forth (I kid you not, back and forth,back and forth, get captured, escape, run back and forth, back and forth, lather,rinse,repeat) until eventually they're caught again. It's funny, because I'd given up on this movie, and then near the end, something happened that actually took me off guard, something that surprised me, and I thought, "Maybe I'm judging this movie too harshly, maybe I'm wrong about it" and then (I FUCKING KID YOU NOT) one of the characters stands up, grabs the remote control, REWINDS the movie, and then alters the outcome. Yes, you heard me right folks, and I couldn't make this shit up if I wanted to (and why would I want to? Why would anyone?) I saw a low-budget horror movie called "The Roost" once that employed this same technique, and it was a pretentious, ridiculous move then, and it's just as pretentious here. I don't know what's worse, the thought that two directors actually came up with this same stupid idea, or the thought that the director of "The Roost" watched "Funny Games" and thought this garbage was a good idea and stole it. I think I've officially lost the will to live.

I'm sure someone somewhere is snickering and shaking his/her head right now, thinking "you just didn't like the movie because it didn't have a happy ending and that's what you want from a movie. You're mad that the movie flouted your expectations." First of all, fuck you. Second of all, you're wrong. You know what I want (what I really want, besides a million dollars and a pony and world peace?) I want a movie that gives me a reason to watch it. I can take a pretentious exercise in cinema that is trying to explore the idea of why we like violent movies (after all, "The Shining" and "American Psycho" have already explored this idea, just to name two...no, Virgina, there ISN'T an original idea in this movie) as long as the movie gives me a reason to keep watching. If the director is going to shake his head from his perch atop an ivory tower (on top of Mount Privilege) and shake his head at me for continuing to watch his movie (you know you're really identifying with the villains,right? Actually, no, I'm not identifying with anyone in this drivel, but thanks for the assumption). That kind of sneering bullshit is something I don't need. So the movie finally ends (miracle of miracles) and I've heard people say that the movie is masterful and brilliant for daring to have an ending that isn't happy (hey, for my money, anything that makes this movie STOP is a happy ending) but that irks the shit out of me. The characters tell us throughout the movie that the thing is going to end badly, and then it (gasp, choke, sob) ENDS BADLY. Wow, what a surprise. Hold on.

ME: I'm going to stand up from this chair

*stands up from chair*

ME: There! I just did just what I said I was going to do!

*jumps up and down*

Am I masterful and brilliant yet? Am I? Am I? Huh?

Not working for you? Yeah, it didn't work for me either.

So here's the thing, I finished this torturous exercise in filmic colon cleansing, and I decided to watch the TV show "Criminal Minds" in order to wash my brain out (it's sad when you need to watch "Criminal Minds" to cheer yourself up). On the episode I watched that night, I watched a man being tortured, and I cringed and yelled at the screen for the good guys to rescue him, and I realized something. I felt more emotion in that one hour of television than I felt throughout the entire viewing of "Funny Games." I can still be affected by torture and horror. I'm not desensitized to the point that I don't care, I just didn't care about that movie because it's a pretentious piece of arthouse bullshit. I watch violent movies, and that doesn't make me a bad person who's immune to the power of an emotional appeal. whatever message Michael Haneke was trying to get across when he wrote and directed (and then remade...because he's modest that way) this piece of cinematic swill, he failed as far as I'm concerned. I get it, we shouldn't watch violent movies, it's bad, it makes us bad, you've made your point. I've heard the same thing a million times. But you know what? If I want to watch violent movies, I'm going to watch violent movies, and that is a private matter between me and Clive Barker and Wes Craven and Alexandre Aja, I didn't ask YOUR opinion, so shut the fuck up and eat a bag of dicks, and while you're at it, take your preaching elsewhere, ok?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Fall of the House of Usher (2007) (movie #70)

I've wanted to see this movie ever since it debuted, and I was excited to watch it. I have to say that, because I feel bad railing against these little low-budget movies the way I have been. I've found some of my favorite movies of all time by giving indie and low-budget movies a chance, but during this challenge, it seems like I haven't seen many low-budget movies that were worth my time, and that irritates me, because I know those movies are out there, the little low-budget gems that make my day and renew my faith in filmmaking. I love watching re-imaginings of Edgar Allen Poe's classic stories, so I was very eager to see this movie. I didn't come into it expecting to hate it like a lot of reviewers did, I think, so that makes the results that much more disappointing for me.

I didn't hate the movie, but it confused the hell out of me. I actually had to track down some other people and discuss it with them in order to really understand what was going on in the movie. After these discussions, I kind of liked the movie better, but I don't think that's an excuse for the filmmakers to get lazy and make their movie all dreamlike and confusing. Seriously, there were a few times throughout the movie where I suspected that I had fallen asleep and was dreaming the events onscreen, because they didn't make any sense to me and they floated ion the screen like images from a boring dream. The plot of the movie isn'[t bad, though, it's really the execution that makes this movie so annoying. Jill (the lead character) has been friends with Madeline and her brother Roderick for years. Madeline and Roderick are twins and they are from a creepy old family with a mansion (the titular House of Usher). After Madeline and her brother mysteriously disappear from Jill's life, she receives notice that Madeline has died and wanted Jill to attend her funeral. Jill goes to stay in the House of Usher and rekindles her romance with Roderick, who suffers from some kind of mysterious degenerative disease (the same one that killed Madeline). Strange things start happening, Jill starts seeing Maddy's ghost, and she soon discovers the secret of the Usher family curse.

What exactly is that secret? Well, that's the confusing part. No one seems to be able to agree on exactly what is going on, but after discussing it, I've developed my take on what happened in the LSD-induced ending, so here it is:


Jill learns that she is pregnant by Roderick, and then in one scene she runs around looking at all the family portraits and lining them up on the floor, saying "it's all one line!" This confused me. I think she was discovering that the twin children (always a boy and a girl) in the photograph had been reincarnated throughout the generations. She later learns that Maddy had become pregnant with Roderick's twins but that she killed herself in order to end the curse. the curse seems to be that the twins will always die early of a degenerative disease, which is to be expected if you inbreed like that for hundreds of years I guess. I think that the spirit of the original twins kept being reincarnated over and over again, but that Madeline didn't want to continue the curse, so when she became pregnant with Roderick's babies, she did a self-abortion (this isn't made explicitly clear in the movie, so this is just my interpretation). The disease that Madeline and Roderick have makes them appear to be dead when they aren't, so I think Roderick just pretended that Madeline was dead in order to lure Jill to the house and make her his baby momma. In the end, Madeline helps Jill escape and helps drown Roderick, but she dies too, embracing him. Jill then learns that she is pregnant with twins, and we see the twins embracing on the ultrasound. I think Madeline just realized that5 she couldn't keep the line going because the twins would die, so she allowed Jill to be lured to the house so Jill could become pregnant and then Madeline and Roderick died because they knew that they would be reincarnated in Jill's twins.

This is all just my take on the movie. I think it can probably be taken in a few different ways. I think the movie would be stronger without all the dreamlike imagery and the annoying jump cuts and such. The core of the movie isn't bad, I just with the filmmakers hadn't gotten so lazy (or dropped so much acid while making the movie).

The Skeleton Key (movie #69)

What a kinky number. For this, the kinkiest of numbers, I picked one of my favorite little movies that (of course) is hated by a lot of other horror fans. I really don't understand why, though. For my money this is one smart little mystery/horror that actually takes ghosts and ghostly legends and voodoo as plot devices and then actually treats them right for once.

This movie concerns Caroline, a young woman who makes a living as a nurse. After a tragedy makes her want to stop working in a hospital, she takes a job as a live-in nurse for an old woman and her husband who live in a creepy New Orleans plantation home. Soon Caroline begins to suspect that the husband (who is mostly catatonic due to a stroke) is in danger from his wife, who seems menacing and possibly homicidal. As Caroline learns more, she starts to believe that there may be something to the old voodoo legends that hold sway in the area.

Caroline's movement from skeptic to believer is key here. she doesn't jump to believer overnight like they do most of the time in these movies. Further, this is the first movie I've ever seen to give voodoo legends this much respect. That may sound like a weird statement, but seriously, the movie treats voodoo differently from other movies I've seen; people believe in it, and for that reason, it is important to the plot and Caroline respects that even if she doesn't believe at first. The movie doesn't dismiss voodoo as hokey or portray the people who practice it as ignorant backwoods folk, and I appreciated that.

This movie impressed me for many reasons. It followed its own rules (it introduced something as a plot point, such as "your enemies can't enter a room if you pour sulfur at the base of the door," and then it followed that rule for the rest of the movie instead of just throwing it out there and then forgetting about it like other movies do). It introduced clues throughout the movie that point to the conclusion, and you can follow them if you watch the movie again and pick up on things you may have missed. The movie surprised me with a twist at the end that I didn't expect, which is hard to do. the movie also had the balls to end with a conclusion that most movies avoid. It's hard to get an audience to accept a sad, depressing, or mean-spirited ending (people still like to hear "And they all lived happily ever after) but this movie was willing to show an atypical ending, and I appreciate that.

All in all, I don't get why there seems to be so much hate for this movie. I think the acting, plot, and ending are strong, and I think the movie oozes with atmosphere, and it creeped me out and got under my skin, which is what I want my horror movies to do. I think the movie is well done and well worth a watch.

Shriek if You Know What I did Last Friday the 13th (movie #68)

I really like this movie. Maybe it's because I'm so immature that I laugh at the stupid jokes, I don't really know. This is another one of those spoof horror movies that crams elements from every slasher and teen movie the writers can think of into one movie. It's a lot of fun. I like this better than the original "Scary Movie."

Clawed: The Legend of Sasquatch (movie #67)

I know, I know. With a title like "Clawed: The Legend of Sasquatch," the chances that this movie would be good were slim to none, so I should have known better and I really shouldn't complain. I thought maybe watching a group of high school (or maybe college,I don't remember) kids go on a camping trip while meanwhile a group of moronic redneck idiot hunters are in these same woods hunting a rogue bear that's supposedly killing people (but we know it's really an evil Sasquatch doing the murders). I thought that if there were a rogue bear on the loose, the city would close the woods to campers, but during this challenge I've watched two movies (this and "The Feeding") that proved me wrong. I stand corrected. Anyway, this movie is really boring and annoying and I hope no one else ever watches it.

Do You Wanna Know a Secret? (Movie #66)

Usually I like cheap slasher movies, but this one was dismal and boring. A group of vapid, annoying friends start getting emails asking if they "wanna know a secret" and then when they go to meet with the person sending the emails, they get killed. I figured out the killer in the first two seconds of the movie (since the killer is one of the only people in the movie who can act) and then spent the rest of my time wondering why all these 30 something people were still in high school. There's some ok gore, but other than that, nothing of note to recommend this movie.

Prey (movie #65)

In this kind of movie, acting is key. The basic story is that a step mother wants to bond with her stepchildren (a teenage daughter and pre-teen son) so they decide to go on one of those safari tours where you have a guide drive you through a wildlife reserve and you can observe the animals in their natural habitat. The only problem here is that the pack of lions in this particular wildlife reserve have gone rogue and are attacking and killing everyone, so they attack and kill the guide and the family is then stranded in the vehicle in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by this pack of lions and waiting for rescue.

As you can see, given these circumstances, if the stepmother and two kids aren't good actors, the movie will become very tedious and you'll want to shoot yourself in the face. Lucky for us, the acting in this movie is pretty strong. Conner Dowds does a great job playing the young son who wants to like his stepmom but faces pressure from his stepsister to hate her. Bridget Moynahan is great as the stepmom desperate to reach out and connect her new family. Carly Schroeder really surprised me. It's very easy to play the bitchy teen daughter in this kind of movie as one-note, but she managed to add depth to the character and make me care about her and empathize with her situation.

The situation is pretty dire here. The family is vacationing in Africa, and this safari is out in the middle of nowhere with not a lot of hope for rescue (especially since their would-be rescuers keep getting eaten). I really liked this movie and cared about the characters, even though it's not the most original idea in the world (can anyone say "Cujo"?) This is one of the most enjoyable movies I've watched this challenge.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Final Destination 2 (movie #64)

This is my favorite of the "Final Destination"movies. It's kind of cheesy and a little stupid, but it's not bad. I like the actors a lot better this time around than I did in the original(I love A.J. Cook) so it's much more enjoyable than the original for me, plus I love the death scenes,and I'm in a car much more than I am in a plane,so the car crash scene that opens the movie is very compelling for me. It really can't be topped in my view, it's one of the best opening sequences for any horror movie. The death scenes are disgusting, but again, they're some of the best in the series. I love seeing someone get sawed in half with a flying barbed wire fence or getting smashed with a big sheet of glass. It's subversive and fun waiting around to see the cool and creative ways death will kill people next. I love these movies.

White Noise (movie #63)

This is one of those movies that is good for most of its running time and then falls apart at the end. It's sad, because for a long time,this movie is very promising. Michael Keaton is mourning the loss of his wife, growing more and more estranged from his young son,when he discovers that he can hear her communicating with him through the "white noise" (static) of electronic devices. It might sound stupid,but this is a phenomena that many people believe in, so that didn't bother me much, and I think Keaton is compelling enough to pull it off. Anyway, soon he discovers that his wife isn't the only one communicating with him, that evil things are trying to reach out too, and here's where the movie gets sticky.

It seems like it's building up to some big twist ending,but about twenty minutes from the end,you realize "hey,. there's no twist, the moviemakers don't know how to end this." Have you ever been talking with someone and eventually they start to trail off and then just stop talking because they forgot what they were going to say? That's how this movie ends, and it's a shame, too, because it could have been a lot better. It's still not as bad as people say it is, though.

Bloodsuckers (movie #62)

Sci-Fi original movies suck. It's a known scientific fact. this movie is about a group of vampire hunters who fight vampires in outer space (oh boy, right?) and it's pretty terrible. The CGI spaceships are the best part. They're very giggle-inducing. I've seen worse during this challenge, though.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Feast (movie #61)

I want to stab the director of this movie. Right in the face. I mean, SOMEONE should stab him.

When I try to tell people why this is the most annoying movie ever made, they don't seem to understand why, so I try to list the reasons, and I get very heated. First, the movie is cut like a music video with frenetic jumps and jigs and jags that give you a headache if you look at the screen for too long. Second, the director thought it would be cute to have the screen freeze and have character bios flash across the screen during the first ten minutes of the movie (and throughout) which is the most godawful idea I can think of, except this director thought it would FURTHER be cute to have the character bios LIE to the audience and mislead us, which renders the entire practice moot and makes me want to pour sulfuric acid on his wounds after I stab him. So we learn who the characters are, but instead of being a competent storyteller and letting us find out about them as the movie progresses (like we would in a movie with half a brain cell behind it) we get these flashes that tell us that X is going to happen, and then hee hee hee something ELSE happens and see?!?! they believed me but I was lying to them and I'm the coolest director EVER for doing this! I can picture him cackling with glee thinking how cool he is. It makes me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. *turns into the Hulk*

I'm over the bullshit, forreal. I hate it when people think you can manufacture style like this. I'm trying to watch the movie and everything is jumping around and the screen keeps freezing to feed me misinformation about characters I don't give a shit about anyway,and I am at a loss as to why I should care. People point out that there's a lot of gore in this movie. So what? I can watch a movie with a lot of gore that doesn't suck ass. Why would I want to watch THIS movie? Yeah, the creatures eat people, and at one point one creature squeezes a guy's head until it pops, so yeah, the gore effects are cool. So? Again I remind you of the myriad movies with cool gore effects that actually have redeeming value. I don't need to watch this movie to see cool gore. Plus the characters are a bunch of incompetent idiots who fight and bicker and it's a miracle they can survive a thunderstorm without drowning, let alone an attack from otherworldly creatures. Even the ending (trying to be cool as it rips off an idea from "Just Before Dawn") can't save this mess. Again I ask why people even like this movie.

Halloween II (movie #60)

This movie is so boring that I slip into a coma every time I try to watch it. I keep giving it a chance, hoping that I'll somehow change my mind and like it this time, but no dice.

This is supposed to take place on Halloween night,directly following the events of the first Halloween. Michael Myers is still alive (though now he's wearing a stupider looking mask) and still killing people, so Dr. Loomis still has to stop him. Laurie Strode has been taken to the hospital,but Michael is still after her, so we get to see Michael Myers stalking through the corridors of a dimly-lit, poorly staffed hospital throughout the movie. It's kind of creepy, as far as the setting goes, but I hate the characters and I hate the Michael Myers mask and Jamie Lee Curtis sleepwalks through her performance, so it just comes across as boring and ridiculous to me. I don't get why people like it.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Movie #59)

People rag on this movie a lot,and I kind of understand why. Supposedly, John Carpenter's original idea with the Halloween movies was to make each subsequent movie about a different scary horror concept, but the studio convinced him to write the script for Halloween 2 as though it were a direct sequel that brought back Michael Myers, so he did it against his better judgment,with the stipulation that he be allowed to make Halloween 3 as a totally different scary story concept not related to the Michael Myers mythos. That was the downfall, I think. People saw that Halloween 2 had Michael Myers, so after that, they expected ALL the movies to have Michael Myers, so when THIS movie came out, people didn't want to watch a Halloween movie without Michael Myers. It doesn't help that this movie is so esoteric. It's something I would have loved as a kid,but once you get older, the idea of Halloween masks that take over and kill you seems something better suited to an R. L. Stine novel and not something grown-ups should watch in a horror movie. Not only that, but the "villain" is over-the-top like the narrator of a kid's Halloween special, and while it works for the role, it makes the whole thing seem...well, a little juvenile. Not that I'm bothered by that. I love watching "Are You Afraid of the Dark" and other scary things marketed at kids, but people who wanted to see another brutal Halloween massacre won't take kindly to all of this kiddie spook show crap.

The movie itself isn't bad,really. I mean, the acting is kind of bad, and the plot is a little far-fetched (masks that are evil, people who try to stop the evil plot get killed by superhuman seeming guys who act like robots, this is all a plot by a mask-making company run by a creepy over-the-top old guy who thinks Halloween is too commercial, etc.) It's not bad tho0ugh, I mean, I've seen far worse,and again, I think this only suffers because of its connection with the other Halloween movies. People wanted to see Michal Myers going on a rampage and instead they got this,and then they got pissy. I like this movie, though. I like the idea of Halloween returning to its roots of corrupting children, and some guy trying to stop it (even if his plan to stop it is so laughable that there's no way anyone but a kid would buy it...are you sure this isn't a kid's movie?)

The Forsaken (movie #58)

This movie is a rip off of every vampire movie made prior to its release, but in a way, it's not that bad. I mean, I've seen far worse, so if you don't mind a derivative flick that thinks it's a music video, this movie won't be too annoying for you.

Um, what is this about? Well, vampires exist (gasp!) and there's a girl who's about to turn into a vampire but isn't fully turned yet, so she has a psychic link to the vampires, so these two guys drive around with her and try to fight the vampires. Yeah, I know. You've seen this before and seen it done better, but if you have two hours to kill, you could do a lot worse.

In the Mouth of Madness (movie #57)

This movie is messed up. Seriously. The first time I watched it, the old ratty VHS I rented fuzzed out at the end and there were no end credits, so I freaked out thinking "shit,what if this movie is real?" It's THAT kind of movie. Exactly what a scary movie should be.

The premise of this movie is weird right from the start. A famous horror writer (Sutter Cane) has disappeared before turning in his latest manuscript. His publishing company wants their property, so they hire someone to find Cane. Sam Neill starts having weird visions and hallucinations, but he acts like these aren't any big deal and continues with his mission to find Cane. He discovers that Cane is probably in this small town that isn't found on any map, but he finds a map hidden in the designs on the front covers of Cane's books and, along with a lady from the publishing company, sets out to drive to this mysterious town, "Hobb's End," and find Sutter Cane. Weird, gruesome, and grisly happenings ensue and then things get REALLY weird and soon we're not sure what's true and what isn't. This continues through the end of the film.

The acting here isn't bad. I mean, everything is a bit over-the-top, but that adds to the eerie air of unreality that permeates the movie. There is plenty if ickiness and gore, and things get so damn WEIRD that it's hard at times to piece together what's even happening. I don't really mind that, though, because I enjoy a good mindfuck, and this one is a lot of fun.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Miner's Massacre (movie #56)

This movie isn't that bad, but it's not that great either. A bunch of miners in the old west die horribly in a mine, and every time someone steals their gold, they get snippy and start killing people. Some teens who can't act stumble upon the mine and take the gold, and the miners don't like that much. If the characters were more likable, we might get more out of this experience, but at least we get to see Karen Black in a small role. Someone tell me why the miner ghosts have physical mass and can be hit and punched? Or why, after learning that stealing the miner's gold will bring them back from the dead and earn you a death sentence you'd FORGET that you had some more of their gold in your fanny pack? Or why you'd be wearing a fanny pack in the first place?

Again, the movie is ok,but it's mostly brainless.

The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror XX (wildcard #1) (movie #55)

I haven't watched The Simpsons in years, but Charter has been advertising this episode for weeks now,so I decided to check it out after the dismal crud that was "The Dunwich Horror." This was just what I needed. People say the writing of the show has been suffering lately, but this was pretty funny. Definitely up there with the rest of the Treehouse of Horror episodes I remember watching as a kid.

The opening sequence of this episode was great. The Universal classic monsters make an appearance, and they discover that their getup is outdated, so they buy some costumes and go to a Halloween party at the Simpson house (which is fun until their wives intervene). Good times.

The first segment totally riffs on Hitchcock, so there are a lot of references to classic Hitchcock movies like "Strangers on a Train," "Psycho," and "Vertigo." I enjoyed that (we also get to see a cartoon Hitchcock tumbling off a cliff). The second segment mocks "28 Days Later" and there's a nod to "28 Weeks Later" at the end) and it's pretty hilarious. It's funny to see the residents of Springfield chowing down on each other. The third segment blasts "Sweeny Todd," and because I hated the movie so much, I laughed my ass off (I think I'd probably like the play, but the movie was dismal). In this segment, Moe tries to kill Homer and discovers that adding Homer's blood to his beer makes it more popular (and makes anyone who drinks it delirious, so Marge starts to fall for Moe). This was a lot of fun and just what the doctor ordered last night.

The Dunwich Horror (movie #54)

This movie was horrendously boring. Of course, it was on the SyFy network and it had previews that couldn't even make it look good, but you know,I'm a glutton for punishment (and I love movies about possession) so I decided to give it a try.

I can't even really explain the "plot" to you. A woman gets pregnant by her strange backwoods father, and at age ten the "kid" looks about 40 years old because of some ancient curse he needs to fulfill. A group of people who perform exorcisms are fighting with this evil backwoods family for possession of a book that will unlock the secrets to some ancient evil power. A bunch of boring people stand around and talk for hours, and that's really the movie in a nutshell. Not much happens (and what does happen doesn't make sense). I've seen a lot of DTV horror flicks that I like. This wouldn't be one of them.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Children of the Corn: Revelation (movie #53)

Someone please remind me to stop watching direct to DVD sequels. I mean,the movie "Boogeyman" had 2direct to DVD sequels that were both better than the original,but that's the exception there. Plus, once we're getting into the SIXTH sequel to a series and the movies ate DTV, we're most likely digging into the toilet.

Such is the case with "Children of the Corn: Revelation." As creepy as kids can be sometimes, even creepy kids don't have a prayer of saving this movie. The basic "plot" consists of a woman who is concerned because she hasn't heard from her grandmother, so she travels to the town where her grandmother lived top find out what's going on. She finds out that her grandmother died (we already know this because we see it happen in the opening scenes of the movie) and while going through her grandmother's stuff she finds that her grandmother was involved in a cult of evil kids who killed their parents and then later killed their cult leader. Of course the cult leader is pissed about this, so he wants to get revenge from beyond the grave, and now he's killing the former children of his cult(now elderly people) and I'm making all this sound much more interesting than it is.

That's really the problem here, of course. This movie could have been ok if anyone involved had given half a shit about the proceedings. the premise wasn't bad, but the script doesn't give anyone anything interesting to do, none of the actors care, and the creepy kids can't even act well enough to look sufficiently creepy. I've seen the seventh installment in a few series. I actually really like the seventh "Friday the 13th" movie, the seventh "Halloween" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" are almost on par with the originals, etc. This time around, the movie sucked not because it didn't have a chance, but because no one involved in making the movie even cared if it was good or bad. So why make a movie then? Why not do something productive, like pick your belly button lint or something? I don't get it.

Children of the Corn 666 (movie #52)

You know,I TRIED to like this movie. I really did. At one point, a person is walking on the road next to a corn field when suddenly these kids start walking out of the corn and surrounding her in a circle chanting, and I thought, "wow, this movie is going to be cool!" Then I watched the rest of the movie and everything turned to utter shit. Evil kids are killing people in order to fulfill a prophecy blah blah blah. You've heard all this before and you've seen it done better in other movies. Skip this and go watch something else(anything else, even "Night of 1000 Cats"). This is utter crap that really isn't worth your time.

Prince of Darkness (movie #51)

I saw this movie when I was in college and I was just getting obsessed with horror movies again.so of course I loved it back then, and I was worried that if I watched it again now, it wouldn't be as good as I remembered. Luckily I was wrong. this movie is just as creepy and effective as I remember. It's pretty weird and messed up though, so I don't know if everyone will like it as much as I do.

The plot concerns a church that has housed a secret for years; this vat of icky green slime that is supposed to be the living embodiment of evil. A group of physics students at a college are asked to investigate this substance (of course none of them believe the "it's evil" warnings) and as they hang out in a building that used to be a church, running tests and examining the yucky green substance, it slowly starts to take over their bodies and turns them into drones bent on doing its bidding. That sounds really stupid (I thought the same thing) but I assure you, the premise works. I don't know if it's the acting (Alice Cooper drops by to play a creepy character, and I geeked out because I love him) or if it's the creepy fucking music (a great score by John Carpenter here) but something about this movie gets under my skin and stays there. I'm glad I watched it again and that it's as cool as I remembered it to be.

Bless the Child (movie #50)

I don't get why everyone hates on this movie so much. Sure, it's cheesy, but I've seen far (far far far) worse. The basic premise has been done a few times. A little girl is born,but she's no ordinary little girl. She has powers and is clearly special, and some evil force wants to either turn her to the dark side or sacrifice her to the devil (or some approximation thereof). There's not much original there, but the little girl Cody, played by Holliston Coleman, is in the hands of a very good actress, so she helps breathe new life into this tired premise. She plays another little girl besieged by evil religious people in "Charisma," a great episode of the TV show SVU, so she seems to be drawn to roles where she's tormented by evil religious leaders. Here, her character is strong-willed and we root for her to beat the bad guys, or at least I root for her, and that makes the movie easier for me to take.

i think we're supposed to see Maggie, the woman who raises Cody, as a skeptic who slowly starts to believe, but really, she goes from zero to instant belief in my eyes, so there's not much of a transformation. But Kim Basinger does a good job with her role, so I don't much care. I like how she takes on the mother role and comes to love Cody as her own. Jimmy Smits isn't the world's best actor, but he's fine here as the cop trying to make sense of all this supernatural claptrap. And Rufus Sewell is such an evil fucking asshole here. SERIOUSLY. Does he EVER play a character who isn't a total tool? Anyway, I love to hate him, so I don't mind him in this movie. Angela Bettis is also good here as Cody's birth mother who falls right into an evil trap. the movie even has Christina Ricci as a street kid who warns Maggie about the evil that's after Cody. How this movie attracted to many bigger name actors is beyond me, but it's the acting that saves this sinking ship.

Honestly, I can't recommend this one because so many people hate it, and I guess I can sort of see why. The CGI demons and the like are trying to my patience and the premise is old and tired and...yeah,a lot of it sucks. But I love the actors and I connected with the characters, so the movie works for me. I still don't think it's as bad as everyone says it is.

The Mist (movie #49)

I don't think I can talk about this movie without spoiling the whole thing.

Well, maybe a little. I love the way the movie is set up. Just like the story, there's a storm, and then the father and son go to the local grocery store (just like anyone in a small town would do after a storm like that) to buy some supplies and also to talk with the neighbors and check in (I mean, that's what my mom always did after a storm...we'd go shopping at the grocery store meanwhile all our neighbors were there, too, since it was the only grocery store in town, and we'd all talk about the storm and what had been destroyed or broken on our property...I remember one day we had a storm so bad all the power was out in town, and the store employees were leading people around the aisles of the store with flashlights...it was THAT kind of town). So right from the beginning, I'm hooked into the story. I remember reading the book as a kid and imagining the whole thing taking place at our local grocery store.

This is when things get bad. See, there is no ordinary storm going on outside the store. Something supernatural is taking over the town (possibly the world, but we don't know that yet, we only know what we can see) and the mist that settles over the town brings evil with it. At first we're not sure what, but we know that the mist is thick and impenetrable, it hides everything from our view, and everyone who goes out into the world never returns. So the people do what people would do in that situation, they poke at the mist, trying to figure out what's going on, and that's when people start dying. Because this isn't just a regular mist, there are creatures of some kind hiding in there. Here we get some bad CGI in the movie, but if you can ignore that (and you should be able to...I was) the story is much like that of the book, everyday, small-town people, trapped in a grocery store while the world turns to hell right outside the door.

This is when people show their true natures. Some don't believe anything is wrong (and of course, they try top leave and soon get dead). Some believe everything is turning to hell, and they try to help and support each other. And then some people believe that the world is turning to hell, but they believe they have the message of salvation. this is when things get sticky. I know so many people like the crazy church lady in this movie that it makes my blood run cold. Seriously. And it would be just my luck to be trapped in a store at the end of the world with someone like her. There is so much about that character that rings true. First of all, the scene where she stands prone while creatures are attacking the store and says "My life for you," and then when she doesn't get killed, she interprets that as God sparing her life, which must mean she's chosen, right? That is SO something a Christian would do (well, the crazy fundamentalist ones I grew up with). Everything was ordained by God. My pastor was in several car accidents, and every time she walked away without a scratch, so when she started telling me I had a demon in me and I told her I didn't agree, she said I was ignoring God by "spitting on his messenger." Clearly, because she didn't die that must mean she's God's messenger. It's something so down-to earth and believable. All of us, if we're honest with ourselves, want to believe that there's something special about us. that we're chosen. If we were able to believe that we were spared from death and we somehow had a message to bring, and we could use that to get people to listen to us and believe the things we said...a lot of people couldn't resist that kind of power. I'm not saying everyone would do what this lady did, or even that all Christians would act this way (I'm a Christian too) I'm just saying that humans have weaknesses, and situations where the world is falling apart can make our worst human traits come to light, and this movie shows how this woman's desire for an audience is fulfilled and her god complex spirals out of control and creates something horrible.

People who are afraid will cling to desperate things. any port in a storm, right? If the world was ending right outside your door and someone was standing in front of you telling you that there was a way to be saved, it wouldn't take long before you started to want to believe her...and then slowly began to believe her, in spite of yourself. Or maybe you wouldn't believe her and you'd be one of the people standing off to the side freaking out as everyone started to believe her and go crazy. that';s the camp I'd be in. At first, the people in the store ignore this lady and her pseudo-biblical ramblings, but then they start to listen more and more as days go on and they get desperate. Only a few people resist her craziness, but soon they're the minority. I know what that feels like. No, I've never been trapped in a grocery store while the world was ending, but I've been trapped in a house while everyone around me started to believe crazier and crazier things until suddenly I was the only one who "didn't believe" and that meant I was evil...everything in this movie rings true because the characters are based in reality. that makes the whole experience scarier.

And then there's the ending.


I understand the decision they make, I just think that it seems like they're giving up and not giving themselves a chance for anything else to happen; for any kind of salvation. If they'd clung to each other, gotten out of the vehicle, and then he'd shot the people outside after he heard those loud noises, I'd feel better about what they did. It just makes me so angry the finality of it and the despair of what happens right after that when it could have been avoided. The look on the little kid's face when he sees his dad about to shoot him gets to me too. I'm not saying it's a bad ending, on the contrary, I think it's a very good ending if it elicits this kind of emotion and discussion from me. Some endings make me yell because I think the characters make illogical decisions, but in this case, I fully see why they do what they do, but it's totally not what I'd do in that situation because I'd want to give myself every chance to survive and I'm so mad at them for ending it the way they did. I'm probably carrying a lot of personal feelings and experiences about suicide into my reaction, and I think that's ok...if a movie can make me think about those things, it's definitely a good one in my book. I just get so upset at what those characters do because even before we find out that the military is right outside the window, I'm still screaming at them "No, stop! Give it a chance! At least TRY to keep going! Don't give up!" It was a powerful experience for me, probably moreso this year than it ever has been for me before, and that's why I wanted to come here to discuss it, not to rag on the movie or say it's bad, just to share that the mix of emotions I feel during that scene makes it hard to watch.


So in conclusion...apart from some bad CGI, this is a good movie. You should watch it, but be prepared to be kicked in the gut.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saw 2 (movie #48)

This is the Saw movie that proved that the story could be bigger, could be more than a premise for one movie, and that it could stretch out and the puzzle could grow and evolve and span multiple movies. I really liked this movie the first time I saw it (I actually like all but the fourth Saw movies) and the impact of the movie hasn't diminished over the years. I still want to punch Jigsaw in the face when I watch the movie now (shut up, you preachy blowhard) and I want to punch Donnie Whalberg in the face, too. Just because. I like how Jigsaw tells people everything they need to know in the first five minutes, but they don't listen to him. The premise of the movie is intriguing, and whatever you think about the later Saw movies, you have to admit,it's a cool premise for a horror movie.

Jigsaw's traps creep me out this time around. The pit full of needles gives me goosebumps. The furnace triggers my fear of fire and my fear of small places (who isn't creeped out by the idea of being burned alive?) The movie does remind me a little too much of "Cube" considering how everything plays out, but it's still an effective horror movie.

Joy Ride (movie #47)

Man,Ted Levine has a creepy voice. I didn't know who he was when I first saw this movie, so I only knew that they got a guy with a creepy voice to play the Truck Driver in this movie, but now that I've seen other movies with him in them (and watched Monk, where he plays a cop) his voice can still give me chills, which I think is a pretty big achievement. This movie is about two guys on a road trip who intelligently decide to play a prank on a trucker over the CB radio, and then the embarrassed trucker decides to follow them around and enact his revenge. It's a pretty good time. there's not much of a plot, but that works in the movie's favor. Sometimes simple is scarier.

Slash (movie #46)

I have a soft spot for low-budget slasher movies. Most of the time they suck, but sometimes you stumble upon a gem like "Slash," and that makes it all worthwhile for me. The movie is about a rock band led by a brooding guy named Mac who has a dark past in a creepy little small town. When his band makes a pit stop on tour to attend a funeral, the rest of the band gets to meet his family, and things escalate from there. It turns out that besides harvesting corn, Mac's family may have some other grisly hobbies.

The movie isn't perfect, but I'm a sucker for movies with killer scarecrows, and there's one that makes an appearance in this movie,so I geeked out over that. I also like the music in this movie. Overall,it's one I'm glad I own and I enjoy watching it from time to time to remind myself that it is still possible to make a good slasher even though people like to say that every original idea has already been used and the subgenre is played out. I think that this movie proves them wrong.

Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (movie #45)

I've liked the Hellraiser movies for years now, and by "the Hellraiser movies," I mean parts 1 and 2. Both of those movies are nasty and gory and icky and sadistic and cool, and I like them both equally. I've heard I should check out the rest of the movies in the series, but I've also heard that the rest of the movies in the series suck, so I never really knew who to believe. Last night, I just said "Fuck it," and watched part 3 anyway, since it was on TV and I had the opportunity. I have to say, it isn't as good as the first two movies in the series, but it has some cool things to offer.

The "cenobites" are demon like creatures that populate hell. They used to be human, but they gave up their souls (kind of half willingly most of the time,they are usually too stupid to figure out what they're messing with when they mess around with the Puzzle box in these movies). See, people find this puzzle box that purports to offer the key to the greatest pleasure they've ever felt, so of course they're geniuses and they play around with it, and when it opens, it releases the cenobites and whoever bought the box loses their soul and gets tormented for all eternity until they reach the state where pleasure and pain are one and the same. Pretty nifty, huh? I still think all of this could be avoided if people would quit buying the stupid box, but people are stupid, in general and in movies.

So this time around a woman gets hold of the puzzle box and releases Pinhead (the main cenobite, the guy with pins sticking out pf his face and head) and there are some other cool cenobites. there's one that shoots out razor sharp CDs, and there's one that has a camera embedded in his head that films people. In one chase scene throughout the city, a lot of people die because the woman is trying to get away, and at one point she's resting,trying to catch her breath, leaning against the window of a TV repair shop when suddenly the picture on the TV screen changes and we see her leaning against the wall, and she turns to watch herself, then realizes that the cenobite with the camera is standing behind her filming her and projecting the image on the TV screen. It's a surreal, creepy moment that I enjoyed. This movie isn't as serious as the first two, but that scene hearkens back to the creepiness of the first two, and it's one I enjoyed. there's another cool scene in a church, but I won't spoil it for now. Suffice it to say that churches do NOT offer solace from these particular demonic creatures.

I liked this movie. It's not great, but it's inspired me to check out the other films in the series.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Omen (movie #44)

I love this movie. The original "The Omen" is one of my favorite horror movies. The remake isn't half bad, either, but it's a shot-for-shot remake without much new to offer, which I never really understood...if you don't have anything new to add to the story, why make the same movie twice? Bah,some people's kids.

Anyway, as some people know, I'm not a fan of The Exorcist (boo, heretic, burn her at the stake) so for my money, THIS is the "possessed little kid" movie of the 70s that everyone should see. It starts out with an impossible situation, a husband and wife are in a foreign country at a hospital where the woman is giving birth. The man is told that the baby died, and that he should adopt another baby from the hospital and pretend that it's his so that his wife will never know. What would you do in that situation? The poor guy is so sad and despondent that he agrees to this, and he and his wife raise the child as their own, until we flash forward and the child is five years old and strange things start happening. This is seriously a great setup for the movie. As it goes on, you just can't help but feel sorry for the poor guy. He was just trying to do the right thing, and look what he had to go through because of it. A lot of bad things are said about Gregory Peck and his acting in this movie, but I think he does a terrific job with his role. He made me believe it.

There's so much abo0ut this movie that adds to the ambiance. The music is haunting, the nanny who comes to care for Damien (who may or may not have evil ulterior motives) is horrifying in a few scenes, the innocence with which Damien handles the evil things he does is unsettling, the few gore effects work very well (this is still one of the best decapitations I've ever seen on film, and I've seen a LOT). There are so many scenes that work for me. The scene in the graveyard when Gregory Peck finds out the truth about who Damien really is, and the scene at the end where he's trying to carry out orders to destroy the evil in Damien is so tense and alarming that it had me biting my nails even though I've seen it before.

Do yourself a favor and give this movie a chance.

Shutter (movie #43)

This movie reminded me a little too much of "What Lies Beneath," and the very very ending is incredibly stupid, but other than that, it's really not bad. The ghostly images that flash across the screen are cool and creepy, and I liked the plot. Even though I knew that there was going to be a twist (you can't fool me, I know when you're hiding something from me, movie) I was still impressed with how they pulled it off.

I actually can't say anything more without giving away the plot, so I'll shut up now. Check this one out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hollow Man (movie #42)

Here's the thing. I like this movie, I really do, so I hate to have to dis it, but it does some things that really piss me off.

I like the idea of a modern-day serum to turn someone into the invisible man. I like the update of the classic invisible man story. I like the performances, and I like what Kevin Bacon does with the role and how he turns evil and sinister.

The thing is, I can forgive a few little plot inconsistencies, but the ending of this movie makes me want to stab someone.


Near the end of the movie, the friends find themselves "trapped"in the lab, and they say that there's no way out, and they run around until all of them get killed except the boyfriend and girlfriend. Then the girlfriend has her showdown with Kevin Bacon's invisible man, she electrocutes him, and she and her boyfriend discover that the lab is about to blow up. that's when she says "Let's climb up the elevator shaft," just like that, and they do and they eventually escape. WTF? I thought there was "no way out" and they were trapped? If there was a way out all along, why didn't they take it before all their friends got killed? Did they just not like their friends very much? I don't get it, and that seriously pisses me off enough to sully the experience for me. I still think the movie is good,but that's a glaring misstep from people who should have known better.