Thursday, October 31, 2013
Right at the beginning of the movie a little girl is trapped inside the walls and drowned in cement while she cries for her daddy and screams and begs. It's horrible to watch, and that's what really got to me about this movie, imagining what it must have been like for those poor people trapped inside the walls of the building. This is a grisly little movie and it's hard to watch, but I loved it.
The story here is that a Vietnam war vet comes back home mutilated from the war, missing his arms and legs, and his fiance feels so terrible for him that she enlists the help of a scientist who is trying experimental surgery where he grafts body parts onto amputees. I think that's kind of goulish, personally, but I guess her heart is in the right place. Unfortunately for this couple, the scientist's assistant falls for the woman so he sabotages the surgery and Blackenstein is born. He goes around killing people and other asntisocial things until he can be stopped.
The movie has a tinge of sadness, as all movies involving Vietnam seem to, and it's also sad how this woman really loved her fiance and was only trying to help him, and it all went so horribly wrong for them. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a cinematic masterpiece or anything, but it's a fun little take on the Frankenstein story.
The movie isn't really about "zombies" in the traditional sense, reanimated corpses or even people turned into zombie-like creatures by a virus, it's about an elite boarding school where the teachers have a long history of capturing students and reprogramming them to behave a certain way. It's like being a vampire kind of, only in this case you don't have to drink blood in exchange for eternal youth, you just have to keep ingesting a serum that helps you stay young and succeed in whatever field you choose (which is why graduates of this school do so well in society).
It's all kind of silly of course, and the 80s hairstyles are hilarious, but it's a lot of fun to watch the movie in spite of these things. I'm glad I finally got to see it.
So the movie is about a career-driven woman who is planning to sell this apartment she inherited, so she's waiting at the apartment for the prospective tenant to show, and while she's waiting she manages to be such a boitch that she alienates everyone on the block and half the people who live in the building. So this guy shows up, and thinking he's the prospective buyer, she shows him around, and he tells her his client will pay lots of money for the place, so she has dollar signs in her eyes which block her from seeing that something weird is going on, even as more people show up to the apartment and anyone with half a brain would know something bad is going to happen. So eventually she finally realizes these people are up to no good, so she tries to stop them, but she's really bad at that, and while all of this drama is playing out, it's almost time for a solar eclipse, which ends up being a great time for occult activities.
We don't ever really learn who the weird people at the apartment ARE, we just see what they eventually DO, which gives us some clues, but I wanted more. I do appreciate how the woman who owns the apartment is such a horrible person that no one really wants to help her out, and I don't really blame them, either. There's not much gore, but there is a sense of foreboding and impending doom that kept me on the edge of my seat. The end is kind of a letdown, but getting there was pretty fun, so I did enjoy this one.
First of all, Spike Lee didn't write the movie, so leave him out of it, second, not all the white people in this movie are racist, third of all, a lot of white people are racist anyway, which is despicable, and in movies like this, despicable people do evil things and then get punished (whether they're white or black) that's how it works. There aren't even that many white people in this movie in the first place, which is why I like it so much, floating in the sea of white faces in the rest of the movies on this list thus far. Suffice it to say, I think if you watch this movie and complain that the like four white characters are racist and therefore the movie is saying all white people are racist, the problem is more with you than with this movie.
Anyway, the movie follows the classic anthology format with a wraparound story where one character is telling stories to other characters, and each story tells a tale of people doing horrible things and then being punished for their evil deeds. there's some corrupt cops, an abusive boyfriend, a corrupt politician, and a street thug, and each of them get menaced by something supernatural (some evil dolls, some ghosts, a kid with special powers, you get the idea). I especially love the story about the killer dolls, which was really the only story I remembered coming into this film. This movie is a lot of fun, and it's not as whitewashed as most horror movies, so it's a refreshing break (plus I love anthology films anyway). Check it out.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
This sequel follows events in a small southern town where the Hatfield family and the McCoy family have been feuding for years (so long that no one even really remembers why they're feuding anymore) and they still hate each other, except for two teens, one from each family, who have fallen in love and are determined to be together no matter what their families say. One night the young lovers sneak away to see each other, with one little McCoy sister standing lookout, and two older Hatfield brothers hear about it and run off to stop it, but they decide to make a pit stop and rape the lookout girl first, and while she's running away from them, she falls to her death in the woods. The Hatfield boys find their sister and drag her home, her lover finds his sister's dead body and pledges to get revenge, and before you know it, Pumpkinhead is back to his old antisocial tricks.
Lance Henrikson, who played the grieving father in the first movie, appears in this movie as a ghost who only reveals himself to certain characters so he can warn them to stop what they're doing and not pursue vengeance, since it won't be worth losing their souls over trying to get revenge. No one really listens to him much though, which is a shame, because of course things don't work out happily (stories of blood feuds and vengeance never really do). This movie has an obviously low budget, but because the actors appear to take their roles halfway seriously, the movie works much better than the second installment. I'll have to dig up the third sometime and see if that one is any good.
First of all, I agree with most everyone else: this movie is ridiculous. I mean, the actors don't even seem to take the thing seriously. It could have been a dark and mean-spirited story of revenge like the original, but everyone involved is playing their roles as big and campy as possible, so it's hard to take anything even remotely seriously. that's a shame, because I really think this movie could have worked better if someone in charge of making it had said "you know what? Let's pretend we're professionals and actually do our jobs well" but alas, no one did.
In this sequel we have a deformed boy being killed by some teenagers in the 50s, jumping to the present day when a new sheriff takes over the town, a man who was born there but moved when he was a young boy. He's back to raise his teenage daughter away from the corrupting influence of the big city, but of course she gets corrupted by small town evil, joins up with some teenagers who are used to getting a free pass to do what they want, and soon they've committed negligent homicide and accidentally raised the demon Pumpkinhead again (great job, guys). Pumpkinhead soon begins killing off a bunch of the town's good old boys, leaving sketches at the murder scenes (drawn in blood) of a pair of bloody wings, which is a clue that takes the cops way too long to figure out. The thing that bothers me the most I think is that this movie could have been a lot better with some better acting and if everyone had given a shit about their jobs making this movie, but as it stands, it's a disappointing follow-up to what I still believe is a great horror film.
This movie is about a psychologist in a small town in Alaska whose husband has recently died under mysterious circumstances, and she's not handling it well. Her son is angry with her, and her young daughter has gone temporarily blind, which is a psychosomatic reaction to the stress and grief of losing her father. The psychologist's patients all begin telling her of the same strange experience: they each begin seeing an owl outside their windows at night, something of a shared hallucination, and they're all having troubles sleeping and coping with stress, and when she tries to put one patient under hypnosis to get him to examine the vision of the owl, he loses it and starts screaming and breaking things and then leaves and refuses to talk to her about it. Soon the doctor experiences a blackout and a hallucination of the white owl that her patients are seeing, but her tape recorder was running during this blackout, and the recording on the tape suggests that something very old and very malevolent is at work in the town.
Full disclosure part 2: Since I was a teenager, when I began having night terrors, I'd have a recurring dream of a white owl flying into my room and pecking at my face and walking up and down my body. I haven't really thought about it in awhile, but I'd had one of those dreams RIGHT BEFORE I watched this movie for the first time, so when the movie reveals what that vision might mean, I nearly peed my pants in terror. My own situation, my own fears and dreams and experiences conspired with the movie to make me pretty freaked out for awhile after I first saw the movie. Of course I can't replicate that experience, now that it's been a few years and I have my nightmares more or less under control, but this movie still works for me. It's creepy and atmospheric and I really like the main character, the doctor Abigail, so I care what happens to her. It's interesting to revisit the movie after it scared me so badly years ago and I'm glad to find that I still liked it and thought it was a good movie, even when it didn't terrify me anymore.
The moie is about a young woman who wakes up in a hospital's isolation room, not sure what happened or why she's there. she seems to be suffering from some mystery malady, one that is affecting her strength and her motor skills. She's a medical student, so she knows the lingo, but she's confused about how she ended up here. From the scenes we see at the beginning of the movie and the reluctance of the doctor and orderly to discuss her situation with her, it seems clear that she's suffering from some mystery epidemic that is spreading throughout the country. Of course, I immediately thought "Zombie epidemic!" but pretty soon after, I figured out what was actually going on, so the ending didn't really surprise me when it came, but the VERY ending is a complete knockout. I'm not going to spoil it, but it definitely made me appreciate the movie more. I think this movie is worth checking out.
This movie is about a young woman named Lizzie, who has a lot of psychological problems after moving back to her hometown and the house where she grew up, which is also the house where Lizzie Borden used to live. Our Lizzie seems to have had some traumatic events happen in her childhood, but she refuses to discuss them with her psychiatrist, using him more as a prescription filler than as a confidant. Lizzie is having problems with her boyfriend too, and she's made a new friend in a neighbor woman who doesn't seem to have any concept of boundaries, as she just walks into Lizzie's house whenever she wants without knocking or announcing herself. By the time the movie ends, we've of course found out what happened in Lizzie's childhood (though I'm not so sure I understand it completely) and why Lizzie is so screwed up now. The movie wasn't great, it had flaws with the pacing and some questionable acting, but it kept my interest and piqued my curiosity as a longtime reader of the Lizzie Borden legend, which overpowered the movie's flaws for me, so it wasn't bad. Others who don't share my ghoulish passion for that legend might not enjoy this movie as much as I did.
I like that it's open to more than one interpretation. That makes it worth talking about. It reminds me a lot of two other horror movies I've watched in past challenges, "The Possession of David O'Rielly" and "The Skeptic," because those had endings that were open to interpretation as well, and that made watching them more interesting for me. But anyway, the house is scary and foreboding to me, which makes the movie scary and foreboding, but if you don't think the house is scary, you might not like the movie, because a lot of the scares rely on your feelings of isolation and devastation in relation to the creepy, oppressive house, which doesn't work if you don't find it creepy or oppressive.
This movie is about a woman who has died, and her son was estranged, and he returns to her home after her death to settle her affairs, only to discover that there's a presence in the house with him. Already I feel like I'm lying to you, because this is one of those movies where some of what I said MIGHT NOT be true if you favor one interpretation of the movie over another. The thing is, whatever your interpretation, the movie leaves a lot of the heavy lifting to actor Aaron Poole, because he's really the only character we see, and so if we don't care about him and don't get emotionally involved with his journey, we're going to find the movie boring. Most of the movie is literally footage of him wandering around the house looking spooked and kind of pensive.
It worked for me, because I cared about what he was going through, but I can definitely see where some people would find it boring. He can't really decide what to feel about his mother's death, because they weren't close and she was emotionally and verbally abusive to him, and this left him pretty scarred. I can identify with that, too. Ultimately, this emotional roller coaster is where all the scares of the movie rest, and if you don't feel connected to him, you probably won't like the movie. I kept going back and forth, but I think I ended up liking the movie and feeling compelled by what happened. It's not a thrill-a-minute type movie, but it's got its own brand of emotional devastation, which is scary in its own way.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
I really liked this movie. the three main characters, the woman's daughter Isabel and the two priests she befriends in Italy, play their parts very well and I felt connected to the characters, so I cared what happened to them. The woman who plays the mother does such a good job acting freaky and crazy that the demonic possession is believable even without the help of special effects. As for the ending, I actually like the very ending, though the characters make such boneheaded moves at the end of the movie that I wanted to punch them all in the face. All in all, I think this movie is a lot better than people make it out to be.
I've seen so many movies that it's hard to surprise me with a twist ending, but this one did surprise me. I asn't expecting a twist and I thought I pretty much had the movie figured out from the beginning. the twist is mean-spirited and nasty too, so I liked it. The ghost effects are kind of silly looking at times, but that didn't prevent me from enjoying this movie.
The scenes that depict the worst fears are pretty effective for a low-budget movie, with some of my favorites (a killer clown and a killer scarecrow) making an appearance. This isn't the best movie ever made or anything, but it was a lot of fun to watch, and it had some creepy moments.
So this movie stars Elijah Wood as a kid with a terrible childhood that left him pretty messed up, and because of his neglectful mother who was a prostitute, he's not a big fan of women. So he spends his time restoring antique mannequins in his mother's shop, and in his spare time he stalks women and kills them and scalps them and staples their scalps to the heads of his mannequins. Nice guy, right? The movie puts us in his head completely, because the entire movie is shot from his point of view, and his face is only ever seen in reflections, so it's actually pretty ambitious and artful for a slasher movie. Not to worry, though, this isn't a pretentious piece of arthouse bullshit or anything, since it actually has a storyline as well as its ambitious plot, and there's plenty of gore to keep gorehounds occupied. It's well worth checking out.
So anyway, this movie is about a young girl whose parents are divorcing, so shes having a rough time already, and she comes across a box that seems to be sealed shut, but it has cool carvings engraved on it, so she's drawn to it, and when she gets the box open she finds lots of trinkets inside, like a carved wooden horse, and an evil spirit. Neat. So she starts to change as the spirit takes over her, and her dad takes way too long to realize what's going on, and her mom just blames the dad, and I want to smack them both. So eventually everyone finally gets on the same page, and they try to exorcise the evil spirit, and it's creepy and cool. Nothing I haven't seen before, but not a bad way to kill an hour and a half.
It's about a singer who needs some time off to focus and write some songs, so her manager rents her a secluded cabin in a snowy location far away from the city so she can regroup. He must have given her terrible directions though, because she stumbles across the wrong cabin (and the worst possible one she could have found, since this cabin is home to a creepy killer who likes to have tourists for dinner). Her first night at the cabin she runs into an old boyfriend at a local bar and invites he and his friends to join her, and they helpfully provide most of the body count for the movie.
I really like the snowy location, which is actually literally chilling for me, and the killer is really creepy, so I dug this movie. I'll go against everyone else who has seen this movie and tell you that if you like slashers, you might enjoy it.
Yeah, this movie adds some more technical crap trying to be all fancy, but it's essentially the same smarmy crap story I hated when I saw the movie "Identity," or the movie "Funny Games," so I wasn't impressed. But after awhile, I actually did start to care about the characters who were left, and it turns out the movie actually has a plot, a reason all this is happening besides "haha, we fooled you, we're smarter than you," so in the end it wasn't that bad. This kind of movie is never going to be my favorite, though. I happen to LIKE watching movies about people who go to a cabin in the woods and get killed, and that doesn't make me stupid (or a bad person). Yeah, this movie winds up being good, but it's not for the reasons it THINKS, so yeah, not gonna lie, there are movies I've enjoyed much more this year because they don't THINK they're the smartest movie I've seen this year, and that makes them a lot more fun.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
This movie is about a group of friends who gather at an island cottage to spend a weekend partying. Of course there are plenty of buried feuds and enough hard feelings for the demonic forces on the island to play with as they try to turn the friends against each other. The group finds a creepy game buried in the basement and decides to play it (because none of them have seen "Jumanji" so they don't realize that this is a bad idea) and soon the questions on the game's cards start hitting too close to home and chaos ensues.
There's a lot of cool gore in this movie as people do nasty things to each other, and it's great seeing Danielle Harris in anything (even though I didn't really like her character here...actually I don't think I liked any of the characters in this movie). There was also a cool twist at the end that put a nasty little spin on things, and I appreciated that. Overall this was a fun movie that was definitely worth the wait.