Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Director: Pierre-Paul Renders
Writer: Philippe Blasband
Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi
I didn't know what to expect when plunging in with Thomas in Love. The cover looked kind of odd and I worried it was going to be some cheesy Y2K-type romance movie. However, as soon as it started up I was immediately left speechless by what was happening on screen. Every once in a while movies can throw me for a loop within the first five minutes (the closest thing coming to mind right now being Barbarella). Anyway, the movie was pretty weird but I enjoyed it.
Basically the film focuses around a man who is an agoraphobic. This means he can't leave his apartment and also doesn't want anyone ever entering it. Since this is a vision of the future he is able to communicate with services, insurance, and his therapist over videophone. His therapist decides to thrust the man into a dating club and from there the lead character Thomas is introduced to some women.
Although the movie is focused around a then pretty modern concept of video chat it never attempts to play it up. Where some movies would scream about how COOL and FUTURISTIC everything was, this movie plays it straight. If you were living in a world with these devices they would be entirely commonplace and that's how everyone treats them. Of course, now Skype and other programs make Thomas' reality all the more relateable.
I wish there was more to the film because I really did like seeing the world through Thomas' eyes. Basically every second of the film is from his perspective. As such, we're treated to many videophone conversations and left to imagine basically everything else about the apartment and even Thomas himself. This movie probably won't appeal to a lot of people but it'll be a perfect match if you're anything like me.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Director: Philip Brophy
Writer: Rod Bishop, Philip Brophy
Genre: Horror: Comedy, Body Horror
For some reason I kept avoiding Body Melt. Something about the title repelled me and made me feel like it was going to be cheesy and worthless. I was so wrong and I'm really glad that the time was finally taken to watch it.
Body Melt is about some sort of health research company thing who is trying out their latest "stuff". It's supposed to make you feel amazing, I suppose, and maybe keep you looking good too. It could be some sort of miracle drug but now the time has come to run human tests. Instead of getting people to sign off on waivers and test things though the company has instead built up a nice little suburban area. Basically everyone on the block gets these interesting tablets and packets delivered to their house and for some reason they ingest them no questions asked. From there, the company tracks their reactions to the chemicals secretly. If nothing else the plot is certainly creative.
As one might expect, the drugs bring about unforeseen complications. The biggest side effect is that eventually your body melts. Like, completely. It's pretty gnarly honestly and that is the word I thought of when looking at some of the effects. It's disgusting, but almost cool to see some of the creative things happening on screen.
The movie can be compared to Bad Taste in regards to budget, but Dead Alive in regards to creativity. It's a highly creative and entertaining film. It's also pretty disgusting but if that's what you're into then this is the ticket. Overall I found it very enjoyable and I wish there were more movies out there like this.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Director: David A. Prior
Writer: David A. Prior
Genre: Horror: Slasher
Also known as Killer Workout, Aerobicide is a silly little film. It takes the 80s obsession with aerobics classes and spandex and uses it as the backdrop for a slasher flick. Because of that it's extremely easy to date this movie although it does have more to it than simply lots of shots of girls exercising.
The murders are particularly unusual. If you don't want to hear about the murderer's signature weapon then skip past this paragraph. For some reason the murderer has decided the best course of action is to stab people to death with a large safety pin. It definitely seems that would hurt, especially since he doesn't tend to go for the kill blow straight away. Why this is selected as the best option instead of something actually gym-related is strange, but whatever I guess.
While the murderer doesn't kill with gym instruments very much they do kill specifically within the gym, hence the title. Word gets out quickly that people with memberships to this gym are dying but somehow most of the members keep coming in anyway. Why they do this is completely unknown and laughable. This must be one of those times they want you to suspend your disbelief for them to make a point.
Even though the film is pretty dumb the reveal is at least halfway unexpected. It got past me anyway even though I could tell the movie was trying to point me in one distinct, wrong direction. It might make a decent little popcorn flick if there's nothing better on.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Director: Michael Paul Girard, Jan Marlyn Reesman
Writer: Teri Marlow, Dick Monda, Clement von Frackenstein
Genre: Horror: Possession
I came into Body Parts not expecting much at all. I knew it was something put out by Troma but beyond that I wasn't sure. Besides, there are Troma films out there that I don't like (Mothers Day). So, with a bit of worry I watched it and quickly fell in love. Or perhaps it's better to say I fell in "like" with it.
The movie is your standard tale of a psycho killing strippers. What isn't standard about it is the cast of characters. Everyone is ridiculous but in a mostly believable way. However, the longer the movie goes on the more times the believability is stretched thinner. By the end we've thrown it completely out the window and are experiencing something absurd. I for one liked the gradual climb from semi-realism to hilarity over the hour and a half.
Some instances of silliness are like when the cops are chasing a suspect. As they pass through a back yard with a dog the dog is never their concern. Instead, they tiptoe and weave over the many dog poop pieces strewn about the yard. It's dumb but made me chuckle all the same. Then there's one character whose persona is Marilyn Monroe. Probably unlike Marilyn though she is a complete and utter dunce. When it is her time to shine on camera she really does shine. I couldn't stop giggling at her ridiculous antics and lines like "If I'm ever reincarnated I wanna come back as Vanna White."
There's actually not much murdering in the film beyond the start. As such it's a bit of a stretch to call this a horror film since it's not very scary either... Still, I think it fits in especially since there is possession involved as well. Regardless of the genre this is one awkward film which deserves a watch.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Director: Brad F. Grinter, Steve Hawkes
Writer: Brad F. Grinter, Steve Hawkes
Genre: Horror: Monster - Mutation
After he smokes some weed he gets a job with an animal testing lab. He is simply to eat the genetically enhanced chicken meat and see if it affects him any. For some reason, this makes him grow a chicken head and become a bloodthirsty maniac. From then on lots of murdering ensues.
The story is mostly cobbled together out of nothing. The whole drug thing really doesn't seem to relate to the chicken bit and yet ends up being a very big part of the finale. Overall it seems like the movie wants to have an anti-drug message (quite a statement in the 70s) but I don't see how the chicken thing works into it. It seems like perhaps they used the guise of a crazy horror film to lure teens in only to bombard them with a message by the end. How sneaky of them!
The murder isn't even all that interesting anyway. For one, every female has the same canned scream when she dies (apparently the men also only have one scream variety). I've never been sure why people use canned screams but maybe it helps keep the actor/actress throats safe. Anyway, it's not very gory aside from a little blood and mostly is really goofy. I think that has most to do with the chicken-headed man but the victims also look and act silly.
I'd avoid this one unless you're in the mood for a shoddily-produced dull movie. Or if you're terrified of chickens, maybe.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Director: Brett Leonard
Writer: Kieran Galvin
There are some movies out there that make us question our humanity. Then there are movies that attempt to disturb us with the furthest reaches of humanity. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. In the case of Feed I'd have to say they don't succeed at all.
If you've ever seen The Human Centipede and liked it then this movie may be for you. For me though I hated the film. It seemed to focus too deeply on how gross the concept was rather than actually formulating anything solid for us to watch. I feel much the same way about Feed except that the idea behind it didn't really bother me at all.
In Feed, the story is based around romance, I guess, and the different ways people express it. In one relationship, the man is completely jealous and also violent. In another that is touched upon, one of the lovers wants to be fried up and eaten by the other (this is no secret, happens in the first few minutes). Then the focus of the story is the relationship between one man and woman where the man fattens her up to some 600 pounds.
I'm not sure what about this is meant to be so shocking. There are all kinds of people out there and at least in the case of these two it seems to be a consensual deal about being fed. Despite this, some Australian cop freaks way out and comes all the way to America to try and stop this evil man from his consensual but odd relationship. I don't understand the point and none of the characters are likable. It's a very dumb film focused on how HORRIBLE and GROSS and WEIRD this TOTALLY IS. Eh, it's mostly silly in its over-exaggeration. For some reason there are a lot of explanatory monologues too. The film really would have done better without attempting to throw all the logic behind these things at us.
So there you are. If you liked The Human Centipede then you might very well like this too. Beyond that though I'd say skip it. It's weirdly preachy and ultimately has no good point.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Director: Jack Sholder
Writer: Jack Sholder
Genre: Horror: Fantasy
Because I felt I hadn't suffered enough I took the time to watch the second Wishmaster film. As it turns out, it's better than the first. For one, the massive over-reliance on CGI is mostly gone. There are some new gross gore scenes, and generally the movie just makes a bit more sense. I still didn't really like it but it was an improvement.
This time around the evil genie man gets sent to jail. With all the murder he was committing in the first movie it really only was a matter of time. It's in jail where he gets to grant the wishes of may convicts. They seem to take things in stride even if people are getting screwed up left and right. Just pass him a pack of cigarettes and it's about the same level of dealings that these guys were used to before.
Beyond that there's some sort of story going on with the lead woman but really it's the genie who is the star. His slick demeanor drives everyone nuts except the viewer. It's entertaining to watch him work his magic on unsuspecting victims.
Still, the movie seems to rely too much on the coolness of how wishes can be mistranslated rather than any true story. Sometimes it's fun when there's no real story to have to focus on but in the case of Wishmaster 2 I mostly fell asleep. It might be a good time for some people though.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Director: Robert Kurtzman
Writer: Peter Atkins
Genre: Horror: Fantasy
Wow. Have you ever wanted to see the epitome of 90s movie fads in one feature? If so, Wishmaster is for you. If you're instead looking for a serious look at "evil" genies then please proceed elsewhere. This movie is laughably bad.
I recognize that CGI was coming into its own during these years and people would use it gratuitously thinking it looked godly. These types of movies never age very well, but this one is particularly bad. CGI is so extremely overused it feels like a commercial for a digital arts college. Not only it is overused it seems to be the only thing the movie relies on. Serious plot? Who needs one when we've got these fancy graphics!
Despite the mass of CGI silliness there is still nice makeup and gore effects going on. Some are particularly gnarly (enough so that I still remember them). That's a plus, but beyond that the movie is pretty dumb. You've got a genie who grants wishes to people... but he's not very nice in the way he grants them. While the story could have blossomed into something legitimately neat it mostly seems an excuse to make cool things happen on screen.
If it weren't for some of the extreme gore this would be about as thought provoking as a children's movie. Well, I mean, the gore keeps it from being for children but beyond that it seems like it could be. Why do I say this? Well, for some reason whenever a weird murdery wish is granted it causes an explosion. Oh, so you've turned some guy into ice? He's gonna explode! Oh, you've re-animated a statue? Make it explode! There are at least 4 unexplained explosions which only seemed to be there because it was "cool".
So yeah, I'd advise against staying far away from this movie. It rubbed me in completely the wrong way and I don't wish this atrocity on anybody.
Here's a nice clip from the movie:
Friday, November 11, 2011
Director: Bruce Pittman
Writer: Ron Oliver
Genre: Horror: Possession
Prom Night is one of my favorite alternate-to-Carrie high school horror flicks. I really love Jamie Lee Curtis in that movie and overall it was a little too 70s/80s but that made it better. Because of my attachments to the original I was curious how I would or would not like Prom Night II. As it turns out, it's still a pretty fun movie although it's not really attached to the first.
In this film there is basically an alternate past made up where a young slutty high school girl gets burned to death by her scorned lover during the prom queen crowning. From then on her spirit has been contained in a costume trunk (horror movie logic!). Of course, some drab girl unwittingly opens it and gets herself possessed by this powerful personality. It's a neat little story and definitely fun to watch the character that was set up as meek become so completely wild.
I liked it a lot more than I expected myself to. Much like the remade Prom Night I can't place my finger on why these movies even share the same title. They are mostly singular entities not connected by any story. It must be due to the ability to market things best when they are from established franchises. Either way, don't look at this as a sequel but just as a cool teen horror flick.
Incredibly, the Prom Night series spawned two more features after this. I've not seen them yet but am hoping to pick up the double feature DVD soon. Although somehow it is easy to assume they won't be anywhere near the quality of this one...
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Director: Patrick Lussier
Writer: Joel Soisson, Patrick Lussier
Genre: Horror: Vampire
Dracula 2000 is right up there in cinematic worth aside Godzilla 2000. Seriously. The "2000" of the film is that it's a modern take on the whole Dracula tale. There's not a thing wrong with that in theory and it actually starts out kind of cool. We begin the movie in some crazy bank vault with a man who appears to be the grandson of Van Helsing or something of that sort. A troop of highly trained men crack into Van Helsing's safe one night (despite having no clue what's inside it). Apparently, anything worth that much security must be worth zillions of dollars. So they get in there and extract a coffin because they're certainly not going to leave empty-handed. I'm sure you can assume what the coffin contains.
From then on things descend quickly into silliness. Really, the best thing about the film is that we have a hunky Gerard Butler playing Dracula. Beyond that though the film is nearly pure teenage Hollywood drivel. That's not to say there are not things to like about it. For one, it is kind of cool how the characters were modernized. However, the film also seems to be plagued by the worst product placement ever. It seems that stuff was really vile in the late 90s/early 2000s. Virgin Records is pimped so damn much in the movie for no good reason you'd almost think this was a commercial. Honestly, when Dracula gapes in astonishment at the store for 30 seconds you tend to notice.
If you're just looking for a very simplistic and flashy vampire romp it's not so bad. I doubt the movie was ever really intended to be taken seriously (like say, Bram Stoker's Dracula ). Especially with a name like Dracula 2000 it seems targeted squarely at the kind of audience who goes gaga over graphical splendor and sirens. So, overall the movie wasn't for me.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Director: Kevin Tenney
Writer: Kevin Tenney
Genre: Horror: Evil dolls
If you think about it, Pinnochio's Revenge is a really funny name. The movie has nothing to do with the "real" character of Pinnochio or anything. So the name is basically just for a doll which apparently is having his revenge. Weirdly enough, although there is a backstory in the movie it is never truly discussed. Because of that, we don't know exactly what he is getting revenge for anyway.
Let's talk about the movie though. We've got a single mother and her daughter. The mother is a lawyer and seems caught defending a lot of people who won't win in court. Her latest case deals with a purported child murderer who only stopped after he killed his own son. Also buried with the son was the Pinnochio doll.
So while working on this case the doll somehow makes it to her car and then into the hands of her daughter for her birthday. It all seems good and fine until bad things start happening. Why you would let your child play with a piece of evidence in a murder is beyond me, but apparently it wasn't a big enough deal. So yeah, basically there is something mysterious and bad about the toy. Or maybe there isn't. You've got to watch to find out!
Whenever I start to watch an evil doll/toy/puppet/whatever movie I worry that it'll be a rehash of Child's Play. Thankfully this is not the case. It kind of reminds me of the movie Magic which also featured a puppet in a creative manner. The movie isn't incredible by any stretch but it's decent. When you're low on puppet-related horror this should take of things.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Director: Gary Sherman
Writer: Gary Sherman, Brian Taggert
Genre: Horror: Haunting
Poltergeist III takes the road less traveled in sequel land. Instead of attempting to further string the same old story out it basically is a brand new film. In fact, the entire family of the original (minus Heather O'Rourke) is absent. She is living with her aunt and uncle for some undisclosed reason in a giant business building. As one might expect, the building becomes haunted due to the young girl having some sort of spiritual connection to the other side.
The film is interesting for the huge leaps of faith it took to create. Who would think it could be creepy to have a giant corporation skyscraper being scary? How does that work? The film handles it very well. Although it sounds hilarious on paper I became very drawn into the story. However, it still falls into a bit of Hollywood excess with some effects. The film could have done without these egregious attempts at "creativity" but whatever.
The creepy guy from the last film returns as he is harassing our heroine. Although, it's a new guy since the previous actor died. The whole Poltergeist curse thing seems mostly silly, but it is creepy to think about the fates of some of the actors in these films. This was Heather's last venture into the Poltergeist world as she died the year it premiered. In fact, I think you can tell that she is not entirely well throughout the film, which makes it a lot more of a depressing watch (if you think about it, anyway).
But then you realize what a strong actress she was. For such a young person she was able to pull out intense scenes and emotions that many adult stars cannot work out at all. Overall, the film is pretty good as long as you don't try judging it against Poltergeist. But since there are almost no connection points between them there's no need to compare anyway.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Director: Brian Gibson
Writer: Michael Grais, Mark Victor
Genre: Horror: Haunting
Poltergeist is a classic modern horror film. While there are two more films in the canon, neither of them work out as well as the original. Because of that, it's hard to really judge Poltergeist II all on its own. It mostly stands as a "part 2" to the first, but the first movie never needed a second part.
In it, we see the family has moved to a new home. Things get stirred up almost immediately when some creepy old man makes contact with our young heroine. I don't recall him being anywhere in the original film so I feel like this was just a new way to bring the scariness to the film. Anyway, he's bad news and at least everyone recognizes him as such.
The movie feels kind of disjointed. Around the same time the creepy man appears there is also a wise Native American who comes to aid the family. His Native American heritage somehow makes him a very spirtiual man with knowledge the "white family" does not yet understand. Over the course of the film he teaches them and whatnot. It reminds me a lot of Walker Texas Ranger.
If you were a huge fan of the original movie I would not suggest watching Poltergeist II. There's really no need to (although there are a few wicked effects). However, I might recommend watching the 3rd film. I'll talk about that one next and to why it is a pretty good movie.