Friday, January 30, 2015

Stanley - 1972

Do you realize this is the second post in a row where I have correctly guessed the year of the movie without looking it up?  Daaaaaaaaaamn I'm good!  I knew this fucker was 1972.  How?  Practice makes perfect.

"Everyone is afraid of snakes.  But everyone is fascinated by them."  That may or may not be the line of dialogue that is Stanley's plot.  Something like that was spoken like 10 minutes ago in this bullfuck of a movie.  But I'm too drunk to rewind it.  This movie is ass-tacular.  That's both ass and spectacular.  But mostly it's just ass.

You take an idea, say, "what are people afraid of?" and then you make a whole movie about it.  If the answer was, say, being killed by animals, you get movies like Day of the Animals, Grizzly, Prophecy, etc.  If the answer was sharks you get Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, Shark, Open Water, etc.  Spiders you get the Kingdom of the Spiders, Giant Spider Invasion, Horrors of Spider Island, etc.  I'm just saying people have exploited the fuck out of this idea.  So then someone said snakes.  And before there was Anaconda, before there was Venom or Vipers or Snakes on a Plane/Train, there was fucking Stanley.  Because you see, Stanley is a snake.  A boring, boring fucking snake.

Some dude who looks vaguely like that Indian who cried in those 70's commercials against littering stars as hippie-go-hug-a-tree, who keeps a pet snake and it kills people and oh god this movie is stupid.  Seriously, Gorehouse Greats, my Amazon dvd set I bought, is starting to look like a mistake.  Be aware, this is my first review written while watching the movie, and the first written while drunk.  So I might be biased.

It's not funny, scary, interesting, well made, well acted, it has no tension or action or intrigue.  It's people saying things as dull and flatly as possible and then badly done scenes of snakes, which are obviously not dangerous, pretending to be dangerous.  It makes me sick.  Someone kill me.

Don't watch Stanley.  Go to the mall, rent a shotgun, and blow your fucking brains out before you watch this movie.  Let a dog rape you before you watch this movie.  Cannibalize yourself before you see Stanley.  Oh just let me die now.

Lemme also go on a rant because I can.  There's this girl, names Susie I think, and she has this line:  "If you want to go to bed with me, you have to say love, not like".  I'm not writing this because I don't understand the want for love.  I'm saying this because WHO the fuck would ever say that dialogue?  Isn't that just inviting yourself to be lied to?  Well, uh, I want sex, so "I love you".  Boom, I get fucked!  Now, I may be "compromising values" but words are just fucking words and if you sleep with any dude who drops the L word (not the TV show) then you are just as much as a slut as the girl who's selling herself.  Just sayin.


Re-review 2/25/15
I finally got around to re-watching Stanley.  What kept popping into my head were thoughts like "could I have actually been right when I wrote my drunk review?"  This movie is truly not very good.  It's mostly the really deadpan, I-have-no-emotions acting of lead character Chris Robinson as Tim Ochopee.  He is so boring to watch.  It's painful.

One of the other things about this movie, is that I'm not scared of snakes.  I guess that may really be why I didn't like this.  It's not threatening to me to see a rattlesnake coiled up hissing at someone.  I just don't care.  Sure, some of the biting scenes were well done.  Sure, the scene where the guy jumps into the pool that has snakes in it was fun.  But still, stupid, and bland.

At 1 hour 45 minutes, it's much too long for what it is, and without checking through each movie in the boxset, it's probably got the longest running time.  15-25 minutes could have definitely been trimmed to make it a quicker, better film.

Might I also point out that the girl I mentioned in my drunk review, who says "You have to say love, not like" sleeps with the guy even though he never says love.  Nice.

The snake deaths are controversial now of course, they are all real, and they are kind of strange to see.  Part of you is convinced that they must've been fake snakes, but they are not fake.  It's insane because you really don't see real killing often, and then when you do see it you realize how convincing and easy it is to fake.  The real kills in this are so easy, so quick, and so anticlimactic that is makes you regret that all the snakes died.

I approached this movie with an open mind and tried to like it more, but I don't.  It's dirty, low, and easy to dislike.  It has no interesting characters, the snake deaths are not fun to watch.  They also do have a fake snake that they use for the multiple face-bites.  It's a very obvious wooden fake snake.  Way to go, guys.

2 viewings, and I still don't like it.  I want to give it one star, also want to give it half a star.  But there is no reason, neither of them would be descriptive enough of how bad this was.  Why would it get half a star?  For the fact that it had a straight-forward plot?  That's not enough.  Movies shouldn't have confusing plots.  Just because I knew what was happening in this movie is not enough to give it credit.  That's why I'm giving it ZERO stars.  Fuck this movie.


Parasite - 1982

Producer/Director Charles Band has a big following.  Mostly I think it's 15-22 year old stoners who are haphazardly wandering through the video store (or nowadays, the internet) and find a movie so preposterous, so outrageous, they say to each other, "LOL, check dis out, Lenny, a movie called Evil Bong!  Let's watch it while we smoke a bong!"  Note that in this sentence, the speaker did not Laugh Out Loud, but literally said "el oh el"

What I'm trying to say here is that these people are not the brightest of movie-watchers.  Nor are they meant to be.  When you market a movie entirely based on the notion of "let's make a movie so what the fuck people will want to see it if only to know HOW you can make a movie about that!" you're not exactly aiming for the stars.  Hence you have films like Gingerdead Man, Ooga Booga, Unlucky Charms, Demonic Toys, the list could go on.  But like most direct to video people, he has his cult following, and he has not always only made little known of movies that appealed to the lowest common denominator.

1982's Parasite first came to my attention because I saw the poster for it in another 80's movie, I can't seem to recall which one, but it wasn't Troll, and that is the only thing listed on imdb as having a poster of Parasite in it.  So who knows.  I'll probably never know.  Anyway, it was an 80's horror movie and I saw the Parasite poster, and thought "I should see that movie".  So now I have.  It's a pretty well done movie, which I almost feel bad about saying given the details surrounding it.

I love this:  post-apocalyptic world where the apocalypse is never explained....ahh.  Every movie should begin this way.  I mean it.  Like, why the fuck not?  Okay, so this world is not as destructive and horrible as most post-apocalyptic worlds are, this one still has money, still has cars, and still has some semblance of law, but it is still after the big blow up of society so we know something is gonna be wacky.  We follow through and through good guy Paul Dean.  He arrives in Joshua, California, almost exactly the same as it was pre-apocalypse (ha, gotcha there, Joshua Tree) and immediately rescues a topless girl from a gang rape (nudity in the first 8 minutes = win).  Turns out she...wanted to be raped?? And anyways he decides to stay there, and is soon pursued by a dude in a black suit, who drives a black Lamborghini and is hunting Paul.

Turns out Paul has a little parasite living inside of him, and he has weird things he's carrying around with him.  What's in the weird things?  Why, another parasite of course!  So the other one gets loose, starts killing people and growing bigger, and the one inside of Paul starts to gradually kill him.  So he must track down the loose parasite, with the help of sexy voiced Demi Moore, and then he must somehow kill the one inside him before it kills him.  It's a race!  To the death!  Oh and the dude in the Lamborghini is also a threat!

So I joke and all, but it is actually pretty well done.  Neat setting, out in the desert, very cool effects for the parasite that is killing people, it's slimy and gross looking with huge fangs and looks like some sort of sick nightmare.  Very well done.  The movie must've been sort of a disappointment to the original 3D release, as there's not a lot that would have been in 3D, but since I didn't watch it that way anyways, who the fuck cares.  The acting is solid throughout for once, the main actor Robert Glaudini is really good, actually.  Demi Moore is a nice touch to an otherwise mostly ugly cast, and some other good actors in it, make it an enjoyable movie.

Um, I was definitely going to write something else here.  Too much coffee this morning.  God, I feel ridiculous.  Well, who knows.  Here's the poster for the movie!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hatchet for the Honeymoon - 1970

I have reviewed several Lamberto Bava movies on here (Demons 1-3) so why not toss in a Mario Bava film?  Why not I ask you, WHY NOT?

Hatchet for the Honeymoon is a surprisingly refined looking movie, it looks crisp and high budget, although maybe because it's set in an upper class, elite neighborhood in Italy.  It never really dwells on the location, in fact with the actors and the absence of geographical landmarks, it could probably take place anywhere, and that may have been what they were going for.  A lot of these types of movies were under the impression that foreign meant bad, so they took steps to make their movies appear like they were filmed and set in America.  (Grim, however, does not fit this mold, as it was made in the 90's.  It's just stupid.)

Anyways, Hatchet starts out with an introduction to our killer.  Self-proclaimed psychopath John Harrington is a serial killer.  He has murdered 5 women at the beginning of the movie, he tells us calmly, all young women he has slaughtered on the eve of their wedding night.  Or just, whenever.  The first thing we notice is that he actually doesn't stick to this mantra, because he kills one woman once he hears she is engaged, and he kills two more, it later says, just at other random times.  He also doesn't use a hatchet, it's a cleaver.  I'm just saying.  So maybe the alternate title should've been "Cleaver for the...Uh, Lady".  Complete with the "...Uh".  We follow him as he lives in a miserable marriage, runs his bridal dress fashion business, dresses in endless ascots, and once in a while, kills a girl.

For a movie about a serial killer who is smart, interesting, and well acted, this movie did not have to be as strange as it gets to be.  This movie would've kept me interested, been good, and still held a status today, even if it hadn't gotten weird.  But it does, and to me that's bonus points.  Some mild spoilers.  John eventually decides to kill his wife.  Again, not on her honeymoon, and not with a hatchet, he kills her and then is subsequently haunted by her ghost.  It seems everyone can see her except him, they act like she's still there, we as the audience see her, dressed in black.  John can hear her too.  Maybe he has finally snapped, and is completely mad now?  Maybe he imagined killing her and she is actually still there?  It's a surprisingly well done, awesome twist.

This movie has stood the test of time well.  For 45 years old, it's interesting, fast paced, unexpected, and cool.  Great acting, interesting settings and production value. It looks great.  I have to say I was impressed with it and even though I prefer the fast paced, effects filled, schlocky 80's fluff, this movie is definitely part of that wonderful Italian horror series that includes such greats as De Laurentiis and Argento.  Perhaps not known as well, but interesting to see what other directors and other films were going on at the same time.

It's also surprisingly tame for a 70's thriller.  Looking through the ratings this film has gotten, I have to say that by today's standards this would be a PG-13 film.  Not a lot of blood, I don't really remember any nudity, no language, etc.  It's a strong statement that this film did not have those.  So all in all, good, worth a watch.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The White Buffalo - 1977

What do you get when you cross a western with a horror with a suspense thriller?  Well, you might just get The White Buffalo.  This movie started out with what is actually a pretty good idea:  you take some elements of Jaws, and some elements of a western, and you make a suspenseful, dark western movie wherein they're fighting some monstrous and nearly unstoppable enemy.

I think the reason it did not achieve this goal is kind of obvious, number one the crossover of fans is not that big, I don't think the world was ready, nor may ever be, for a western themed thriller film.  In fact very few genre's can successfully be mixed with western.  The only other crossover western movie I can think of right now is Westworld.  But that movie is far more successful at it's goal than this one.

Other reasons why this one might have failed:  it's kind of heavy on the dialogue and lacking in the suspense.  Sure, there are some cool suspenseful scenes in the film when it's done well, the soundtrack is good and ominous, but overall it's pretty slow.  The good thing about Jaws was that feeling that any moment the shark could arrive, the ocean was huge and vast, they were in the enemies territory, etc.  From the beginning of this film, it's made pretty clear that when they will finally face the buffalo, it will be on their own terms.

Speaking of facing the buffalo, here is the plot:  Wild Bill Hickok, played well by Charles Bronson, is having nightmares about a white buffalo.  So he decides to hunt the bastard down.  He comes to some town, picks up an older man who he mostly just calls "old timer".  Hickok and Old Timer then cross paths with several Indians in a fight, and help out an outgunned Indian named Worm (played not that great by Will Sampson).  So, Worm is also out for the white buffalo.  Apparently it killed his daughter a while back.  So the three of them hunt it down, and for some reason call it "spike".

That's pretty much it, it's not a complicated plot at all.  It looks like it may have been low budget, simply because the film looks like it could have been made for next to nothing.

Of course, one cannot write a review for this thing without talking about the buffalo machine.  Oh, the buffalo machine.  You know, if they had only showed face shots, or if they had somehow actually gotten a buffalo, or if they had done just about anything else, this movie probably wouldn't be remembered today.  It's pretty forgettable.  Except for that insane, laughable buffalo machine.

You know those mechanical bucking bull things that people like to get totally drunk and then try to ride in western themed bars or movies?  You know the ones.  Well, imagine one of those, that only goes up and down (it doesn't turn or anything) on a fucking obvious track, sliding towards Charles Bronson.  It's a pretty bad effect, and you see it plenty of times.

Now, they must have known it looked bad.  They definitely try to shoot the buffalo in close ups and only show the face.  But the face it kind of silly anyways, it's just not AS silly.

So that's why this movie is remembered....pretty much.  That's why I saw it.  All in all, it's not a terrible movie, it's just not that good.  It's got a mechanical buffalo, but other parts of the build up are done pretty well.  Actors are generally good and cinematography was well done.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Prime Evil - 1988

I had to buy this collection I found on Amazon, if you are a horror or bad movie buff check it out:
http://www.amazon.com/Gorehouse-Greats-Collection-12-Movie/dp/B002DHACSS/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1422394549&sr=1-1&keywords=gorehouse+greats&pebp=1422394553050&peasin=B002DHACSS

This is great because it's so damn cheap! 3 dollars!  For 12 movies.  Yes I will gladly buy that.  My first venture into it I took last night, with Prime Evil from 1988.  Prime Evil is a not-so-great horror movie, in one of those horror sub-genre's I don't particularly like: the horror movies that are about, concern, or have characters that are doing something involving religion.

For me this is a big deal.  Even The Exorcist for me is kind of in the genre, because it involves a religious dude fighting some demon that's taken over this little girl.  It's not that I am not willing to watch movies like this, it's just that generally I find them to all be similar and all be bland.  Like it's more about the psychological terror than awesome monsters and badass effects, which is what I love.  (See:  Demons - 1985)

In this movie, some religious cult leader is immortal, and has to sacrifice a virgin to Satan, to do all his evil shit.  Of course.  So, we follow the virgin and her boyfriend, as the evil cult leader tried to charm her into getting away from her boyfriend.  Then at the same time, we also follow a nun who takes the dangerous assignment of infiltrating the religious cult, to get an inside perspective, and to stop them.

And...it all goes pretty much as you'd expect.  Religious culty dude is averagely creepy (actually a pretty decent actor too) and the cult is getting close to their goal of sacrificing the virgin on the Winter Solstice to bring Satan out and grant them further immortality.  Or something.

There's lots of topless girls in this movie (although not the best bodies in the world) and not a lot of cool death or effects.  Spoilers for this movie includes the actual devil getting summoned and killed, it's a cool costume and I wish we could've seen it longer.  And they drown a woman in alcohol in a very stupid sequence that would not work in real life.  Then we get the stupid twist ending that the leader of the cult is still out there.  Yeah, so scary.
But Satan is dead.  So....how/why is he still out there?
In fact if Satan is dead, are we all going to heaven then?  Or did god die too?  Can good exist without evil?  Stupid ending.

That's all, nothing much else to say about this flick.  Very average.  The clothes looks 80's so that's fun, but everything else feels 70's.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Moebius - 2013

I do love me some Korean drama films.  Oh yes, I do.  When I first learned about Ki-duk Kim  it was in 2003 with his film "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring".  That film also happens to be the perfect introduction to his work.  Easily it is one of the most accessible, the most poignant, and in concept one of the easiest of his work to follow.  Now 10 years later I am still a big fan of his work,, everything of his I will see, and he has to be my top Korean director.

"Moebius" is definitely not beginner type material.  One must understand the ideas behind his films.  There are many recurring motifs in his films, as well as in the philosophy behind them.  So what I'm going to do is give a brief synopsis, then I'll talk about the ideas, the philosophy, and the meanings behind these plot devices.  I will mention at this point that "Moebius" is shot entirely without dialogue.  So keep that in your head.

The plot concerns a family: husband, wife, and teenage son.  It is clear from the first minute of the film that the husband is cheating on the wife, she knows it, and this has been going on a while.  He is not doing anything to hide it, as her name displayed on his phone even has a heart next to it.  We witness the wife watch later in the film as the husband has sex with his mistress in a car right outside of the building where they life.  That night the wife has had enough, so she takes a knife and goes into the bedroom.  She tries to put off her husband's penis, but he stops her, slapping her.  She then goes into her son's room.  Earlier she saw her son masturbating, and thinking that he would grow up to be the same as his father, she instead cuts off his penis (first theme: hurt the innocent).
The looks from the doctor to the husband tell us that his son is now disfigured.  The father's mistress comes around again, and the father does not want to see her anymore.  In fact, in the next scene, we witness him going to the hospital to have himself castrated (next theme:  self sacrifice).
A fellow schoolmate witnesses that the son can no longer urinate, and sees the mutilated penis.  This schoolmate and his friends start to torture the son, later exposing his penis and laughing at him.  The son soon finds the shop where his father's mistress works, and she exposes herself to him and comes onto him.  The son later is tortured by the schoolmates outside of the mistresses shop, and a gang of older guys stops the schoolmates, but then rape the mistress.  In the meantime, the father has taken to the internet, and has found out that people can achieve orgasm by hurting themselves:  by rubbing stones against their flesh, they can achieve orgasm  (theme:  pain is pleasure).
To sum things up, the son and the mistress start to have a relationship, once the son learns from his father that with pain he can orgasm.  The father finds, on the internet, that penis transplants have been successful, and we see the son going into surgery.  However, the son's new penis cannot become aroused, and he cannot orgasm any more.  Then, the mother returns.
This is where the movie goes to extremes.  In fact, the next theme is that going to extremes is sometimes the only way to communicate.  And the similar theme, that underlying these extreme overreactions and these extremes in behavior, there is a sick, twisted comedy.  It is not a comedy which the persons going through it can see, in fact we as the audience can almost not see it, but there is a bizarre otherworldly comedy to the next few events.  SPOILERS.
The mother goes to her son, and holds him.  As she strokes his face, the son gets an erection (this is another two themes:  repulsion is arousal, and the flesh knows).  Seeing this, the mother looks in horror at the husband, and it is then that we know the husband has donated his penis to his son.  Pulling down the husband's pants, the wife's face confirms this.  It is then that the wife decides to pleasure her son.  This is a theme, again:  everyone has a role to play, everyone has a duty to perform.  As well, everything must come full circle.  An image of a mobius is a twisted loop, and since that is the title of the film, we know that every action taken in this film must come full circle.  So the father listens later as the wife masturbates her son, and later as she goes into his room, disrobes, and approaches him with the intent to have sex with him.  The father does stop this, tearing her off of him and taking her away.  It is then I knew there could be only one way for this film to end.  They know it as well.  She watches, no trace of horror on her face, as he loads his gun with three bullets, one for her, one for himself, and one...for the penis.

I love this movie.  I want to talk about that themes now.  Spoilers will still be present.
1) Hurting the innocent/destruction of innocence:  Since the boy in this film was victim of his mother's rage, she must make amends to him.  It is for this reason that she must later make the sacrifice of herself, as well as the sacrifice of giving him the orgasm.  It must come full circle.
2) Self sacrifice: all of Ki-duk's films have this theme, usually.  The father had to make amends for his betrayal to his wife, and to his son.  Since his actions got the son mutilated, it is his duty to sacrifice his sex, his testicles, immediately.  Later when they learn of the penis transplants, it is his role to donate his penis, render himself gender-less, as a self sacrifice to his son.
3) Pain is pleasure:  it is a firm idea that just like people find happiness in misery, they find pleasure in pain.  Another theme I thought of is that what is life, without suffering?  What can we do, to experience pleasure and joy, if we have not experienced pain, suffering, and loss?  Once must take the good with the bad, know them for what they are, and revel just as much in the pain as in the pleasure.  You must accept and be thankful for them both.
4) Extremes of communication, and the comedy of extremes:  this film is shot in a very specific way.  While the characters are suffering, while there is abundant pain, there is also stupidity, comedy, and silliness.  Early in the film, while the husband and wife are wrestling over the phone he has received a call from his mistress on, the feet of the wife and husband are rubbing up against each other's faces, getting toes in their mouths, etc.  Later, while the family of three all fights in the son's room once the wife needs to have sex with her son, The expressions, the suffering, is so over the top that one almost cannot help but laugh.  It is intentional.  Because life is so stupid, the things that happen to us are so ridiculous, you must be able to laugh at yourself, at the situations you are put in.  Just like you can look back on a horrible part of your life and laugh about it, this film is saying that you must look at the situation these characters are in, and you must laugh at them.
5) Repulsion is arousal, the flesh knows: simply put, just like pain is pleasure and suffering is comedy; repulsion is arousal.  The son's and wife's disgust at incest, the disgust in their desire for each other, is the reason for their arousal.  Similarly, the penis knows.  The flesh knows is in a lot of Ki-duk films, and it simply means that the penis, having belonged to the husband, who had an attraction to the wife, is still aroused by the wife.  Also, once the son got the penis, he could not achieve erection from the mistress:  the cheating penis cannot orgasm with that woman any more, hence they cannot be together.
6) everyone has a role to play and a duty to perform:  This is sort of a generalization that you must accept with this film.  Otherwise you'll question why the wife would masturbate her son, why the mistress would pleasure the son, why the father would kill himself and the wife.  They must because it is their role.  It is the husband's duty to have sex with the wife.  Since he was failing his duty and rather having sex with the mistress, it is his role now to sacrifice himself to his wife.  However since the wife mutilated the son, it is her role now to "make right".  Since she is now able to give him an erection, it is her role to follow through and give him the orgasm that only she can give.  Since the penis is given by the father, and it has sinned by having sex with the mistress, it is the role of the penis to be sacrificed, which is why in the end the son shoots the penis with the gun.  This includes the idea of the mobius, everything must come full circle.  The last shot in the film is the son, who we obviously would not know if he was alive or dead after the gunshot, and he is worshiping a statue of Buddha from the house he lived in.
The son in this shot is honoring their sacrifice, as well as closing the circle.  The lying, cheating father is gender-less and dead, the vengeful mother has died to apologize for mutilating the son.  The penis, destroyed.  This brings up another theme I just thought of:  acceptance.  The mother accepted her role as the sexual provider for her son upon witnessing his erection.  As she masturbated her son, a tear flowed from her eye.  Was it from disgust or joy?  The disgust that she must masturbate her own son, or the joy that she is able to finally repay this crime she has done against him?

Be warned, this movie is truly not for everyone, but I think if you watch it for these themes, you will appreciate it.  It is masterfully shot, as always, by Ki-duk, amazingly acted, and just amazing.  Also, really, just amazing breasts in it, some of the best on film I'd say.  Hehehe.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Colt Is My Passport - 1967

Well, it may have taken me a few days, longer than my intention, but I did finish A Colt Is My Passport. This 1967 Japanese black and white film was part of the Nikkatsu Noir boxset that Criterion released a while ago, and I have now seen two of the films on that set, this along with I Am Waiting.

I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Japanese.  I think I am not alone here, there seems to be a sort of reverence for Japanese culture in the west.  Maybe it's the way that they have single-handedly dominated technology, maybe it's a sort of a tribute to the country that we bombed, who knows.  All I know is that from as long as I can remember back, I have wanted to go to Japan, and had a strong interest in Japanese culture and films.

I know I've been reviewing silly, cult, unknown of, new, various whatever films, but a part of my blog here definitely going to be including serious films.  The sort of films that I actually like.  Now, I love a good hack and slash, a good grindhouse, a good trashy 80's movie as much as the next guy, but I'm talking about actually like, real movies.  With you know, something called talent that went into them.  Additionally, I have changed my blog's name.  Yes, it used to be "another movie reviews blog"  and now it is "another movies reviews blog".  Why?  Because FUCK to the English language!  Hahahahahahahaha!   Okay, just wanted to say that.  Moving on.

A Colt Is My Passport, being compared to I Am Waiting in my mind because that the other Nakkatsu film I saw, is a little bit of a disappointment.  Not to say that I think it's bad.  It's interesting to see this interpretation of a gangster film, but I find that it's a lot of guys doing things that don't really matter, people acting in ways that are maybe unrealistic and they're only doing that to fit the plot....

Essentially, the plot is that two rival gangs are at war.  One gang hires the main character, Kamimura, to assassinate an important figure in the other gang.  He kills the man, and is immediately sent into hiding by the gang that hired him.  The rival gang is out for revenge and tries to catch Kamimura, to no avail.  Then, seemingly for no real reason, the two gangs make peace.  Their only catch?  They want Kamimura.  So the gang that hired him AND the rival gang are now out for Kamimura.
Basically.

It's a good enough plot, it works, but it's a little bit too easy.  Since the movie is not dialogue heavy, we are forced to just accept that everything happens has a reason.  I guess you could say you're supposed to suspend reality, just like every film, but I think since there's a lot of empty pointless shots in the film, maybe they could've spent some of that time explaining things and having reasons for things.  I know people will disagree with me.  Maybe it's just that I really liked I Am Waiting, and this one was in my opinion not as good.  It also contains one of those things I hate specifically about Japanese movies:  people are talking, saying not so nice things about a person that one of the women cares about.  Without any explanation or build up, the woman will then scream, ridiculously loud, about how they're all "Idiots!" or they "Don't understand" and then she'll charge out of the room and collapse crying in the next room.  Ugh.  Seen it too many times! It's overacting, it's unrealistic, and now it's cliche!  Christ, it even happens in the original Godzilla.

Another minor gripe - Kamimura is played by actor Shishido Jo.  And WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with his cheeks?!!

 I literally had to Google it, read it on Wikipedia, read interviews with him, I had to know, and discovered he got plastic surgery...to INFLATE HIS CHEEKS?!!  WHY??  He looks ridiculous!

Bullwinkle?  This is Rocky!  Come in!


This is incredibly distracting for me.  It's to the point where it actually takes away form the film, in my opinion.  I should also state that it's not like he is in the least overweight.  So it looks like maybe he was trying to be a heavier-set looking guy...without actually being heavy set?  WHAT?  Again, some people are going to think this is not a problem.  But for me, this was a big problem.  Just like casting an actor who say, has no ear.  You just keep looking at it.  Maybe if it is made into a plot point, made into part of the story, it's understandable.  But this is just a weird WTF thing that took away from my enjoyment of the film.

I'll still recommend it.  The ending, the pay off, is good.  Lots of tense preparation scenes and a super cool looking location make it a great pay off.  However, just like some of those other movies where the ending seems too well scripted, I had this feeling the entire time like "yeah great plan...except if the guys did ONE thing different, it wouldn't have worked".  Like somehow Kamimura knows EXACTLY what the enemies will do, when they'll do it, and how.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Howling 3: The Marsupials - 1987

Wow does this movie get a bad rap.  This movie is one where you either love it or hate it for the most part.  And I have to say that if you were to watch The Howling, and maybe skip Howling 2, just go right for The Marsupials, your head would be spinning and you’d be saying “what the FUCK?”

Think of Howling 3: The Marsupials more like Halloween 3: Season of the Witch.  For those of you who don’t know, Halloween 3 was a reimagining of the Halloween franchise.  Instead of following serial killer/demon Michael Myers, it followed some weird masks that were killing people.  Sure, that is an interesting idea, however people didn’t know what it was and WHY Michael Myers wasn’t in it, and it’s looked at now as even more of a WTF movie than it was when it first came out.

But like I said, Halloween 3 was not bad; it was just not what people wanted.  Just like Marsupials is not bad, it just comes out of nowhere and it wasn't what people wanted. 

The Howling 3: The Marsupials begins with a professor finding footage of people in Australia killing what appears to be a wolf like creature.  This is old footage, shot around the early 1900’s.  So they go to investigate.  And they discover that 1) there are werewolves in Australia, and 2) the werewolves in Australia are marsupials, meaning that when they give birth to their young, their young go into a pouch in their stomach, much like a kangaroo does with its young.

You may be thinking that’s weird.  Yes, it is.  It's a pretty weird movie.  The basic idea is that way back when, a Tasmanian tiger mated with a human, and that produced werewolf children.  Now, they live in Australia along side normal humans, and in this movie are not the evil killers that they are in most of the rest of The Howling movies.  It's an interesting approach and allows the werewolves to be the main character.

It's interesting when a movie does this.  Much like Danny Boyle with his approach to zombies in 28 Days Later, it's cool to have someone new approach a genre and make some crucial changes.  You could very well argue that 28 Days Later was the first zombie movie to really make a significant impact since Night of the Living Dead.  I believe if Marsupials had been more accepted and perhaps a bit less weird, it might have redefined werewolf movies.  

In real life a werewolf would not be the vicious unstoppable killer it is in movies, I think.  By and large, it would have to avoid humans, run, and live a life outside of society.  It would also relentlessly be hunted and feared no matter what the individual werewolf's intention.  It is that type of life we see the werewolves living in The Marsupials.

Anyways, the plot concerns a small group of werewolves on the run, alongside a human who is in love with a female werewolf.  It is this human and female werewolf that gave birth to their marsupial wolf as was mentioned earlier in this review.  The film follows them as they try to escape being hunted by the government.  It's an interesting idea, and gorgeous shots of Australia add to the films appeal. There isn't a lot that needs to be said about the plot, I don't want to give it away, so just watch it.  Just don't go into it looking for a The Howling style horror.

Here is a image of the baby werewolf thing crawling up towards the pouch of it's mother, which you can't really see in this shot.


Demons 3: The Ogre - 1988

aka Demons III: The OgreThe Ogre: Demons 3House of the Ogre and La casa dell'orco

This movie is a bit baffling to me. Not only is it made for TV thus excluding just about everything cool that could happen like violence, nudity and lots'o swearing, but the name seems to be a mistake. I think.

A mistake because I don't know what the fuck that thing in the movie is, but it sure as shit ain't no ogre. Google ogre. Go ahead, I'll wait. You got a picture of some hulking monster, maybe with a club. Something that resembles the idiot from the Shrek movies. Shrek is an ogre. He's green, he is not too smart, he's mostly just muscle, big teeth, the whole package in other words.

The thing in this movie, I don't know what it is. It honestly looks more like a bad witch costume. A male witch. It has a weird wooden looking face, it is light on it's feet and even runs. Imagine a huge ogre running! NO! They're supposed to be bulky and slow. Actually, maybe the thing in this movie is supposed to be a goblin?! That makes a lot more sense.

I don't mean to rag on this movie too much. It's actually okay for a made for TV movie. It plays like a mystery thriller more than a horror film. You have a young female author that decides to take a vacation in a house out in the middle of nowhere with her husband and child. She is a writer of adult fiction, even writing horror novels...wait a minute. This is the same plot as Howling 4! In Howling 4 a young female horror writer vacations in some rural shithole town outside of LA and gets hunted by werewolves....in The Ogre a young female horror writer vacations in some shithole outside of rural Italy and is terrorized by an ogre. Hmmmmmmm....

Then lets see how much these plots continue to be the same. Writer starts seeing and hearing things, no one believes her and blames her overactive imagination. Writer starts investigating the area they are staying in and finds freaky shit. Writer finally uncovers the truth in the last like 15 minutes of the movie and that's where the pay off is. Yeah, they're pretty similar.

What The Ogre has going for it though is a cool house, a pretty well acted crew, a solid directing job by Lamberto Bava, and a super cool 80's music theme that I guarantee you'll be humming after. So it's not terrible. It's just, you know, not good. And it's definitely NOT an Ogre, nor is it worthy of being called Demons 3. (which, to be fair, it is normally not called Demons 3. I think some jerk-off somewhere was just being, well, a jerk off)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nightcrawler - 2014

I did have the good fortune to see this in the theater recently, and thought that even though I had originally wanted to write about old, forgotten about movies, I would write about this one too.  Actually what I wanted to do was write about movies that I watched that did not have cult followings, but which I thought deserved cult followings.  In short, I have at multiple times changed the idea behind this blog.  But it is still movies!  I won't review my tape dispenser here, for example.

Okay, Nightcrawler.  From a guy who hasn't done much in Hollywood, written some screenplays and thats about it, this is a pretty impressive feat.  You can tell it has the background of a screenwriter behind it as most of the movie is dialogue heavy.  In fact, there is a lot of things that is stated by the main character that normally would be the clever parts of a book, the parts that don't get translated onto the screen well and make you think, "eh, the book was better".

I say this a compliment.  The dialogue really makes this movie.  If it relied on long shots of the characters staring moodily at things, or if it had some other tactic that propelled it, it might not have made the effect it did.  Instead it has the main character, played with zest by a perfectly cast Jake Gyllenhaal, saying some of the most interesting, weird, and extremely precise things ever uttered in a film.

It has to be this reason that I left the theater smiling.  I was replaying some of those witty dialogue moments in my head.  They are just extremely well done, the dialogue here is the prizewinner.  The plot?  Well, it's interesting too.

Louis Bloom is an odd person, and though we never figure out everything about him, we know from the first shot that he is a criminal.  A criminal, a risk taker, and a very "complicated" guy.  And that's before he discovers what appears to be his dream job.  Driving home one day from his day to day life, he sees a car accident that has just happened.  And he witnesses the news crew there, filming the accident, and then making a call and getting paid for the footage.  It is at this moment Louis decides that's what he wants to do.

I think this is one where the plot takes a back seat to characters, creepiness, and general other stuff going on.  The plot is strong but I think mostly it exists to show us what this character, Louis, is capable of, to show him as un-human, as a manipulator, as a user and abuser, and worse:  as a master controller and influence to others bad side of themselves.  Sometimes this is done abruptly, other times it's done through methods.  All in all, it does work, and we come off believing it.

The best thing about this movie is that once it ends, and the ending sucks by the way, I had this feeling.  This feeling that I knew why it ended the way it did.  I don't know for sure, I have done zero research, but I get the distinct feeling Louis Bloom is based off of somebody the writer/director Dan Gilroy knows.

Why?  Because of the ending.  In the same twisted way that American Psycho's Patrick Bateman is based off of the father of author Bret Easton Ellis.  I would ask him that if I could.  To Dan Gilroy I mean, I would ask if its based on someone he knows past or present.

Anyway, original idea, some unexpected turns, awesome dialogue, it's worth checking out.

Demons 6: De Profundis AKA The Black Cat - 1989

I got the enormous thrill of watching Demons 6 De Profundis while very stoned last night.  Having never seen it before, expecting very little, and totally just wanting something that scratched that 80's itch, I was completely surprised by just how good this movie really is.

So I'll save you the trip to Wikipedia (are you supposed to capitalize Wikipedia?) and tell you that the Demons sequels work like this:
Original titleEnglish titleRelease yearAlternate title(s)
Dèmoni 2Demons 21986
"La casa dell'orco"Demons 3: The Ogre1988"The Ogre: Demons 3", "House of the Ogre"
La chiesaThe Church1989Demons 3
Dèmoni 3Black Demons1991Demons 3
La settaThe Devil's Daughter1991Demons 4The Sect
La maschera del demonioThe Mask of the Demon1989Demons 5: The Devil's Veil
Il gatto neroThe Black Cat1989Demons 6: De Profundis / From The Deep
Dellamorte DellamoreCemetery Man1994Demons '95

As you can see, there are 3 different Demons 3, the rest of it is pretty straight-forward.  From what I have read on Wikipedia, The Church is the "real" sequel to Demons 2, and the Ogre and Black Demons are just trying to use the name to their advantage.  

Demons 6: De Profundis may not have intentionally been made to be a sequel to Demons at all, it may have very well stood on it's end, I cannot seem to find that information online.  What I do know is that they do share some common grounds though.  Demons and Demons 2 both had creatures coming out of living television sets, creatures that infected you with the demon virus.  De Profundis doesn't strictly have the Virus of the Demon (cool band name there) in it, but it does have a creature living in a TV that is evil and is trying to kill YOU.

The movie is a little disjointed in plot, kind of weird.  It at times feels like it was maybe 2 movies that were edited together.  The plot is also somewhat confusing.  Basically, some people are making a movie as a sequel to a Dario Argento film.  In their film, they have an actress playing a character named Levana, and this actress starts getting tormented by weird hallucinations.  In the mix somewhere is a black cat skulking around.

Alright.  So the plot is not the high point.  The high point is that it somehow just works, it's weird, it's a mystery, it's kind of creepy, and it doesn't feel like the bottom of the barrel type of sequel we are all expecting with the 6th movie in the franchise.  There is a genuinely weird moment in the film that I was struck by, when a woman gets home, talks to a boy, and a plummer, and then goes into the other room and talks to her friend.  It is then revealed that the boy AND the plummer are both hallucinations.  And the moment she realizes she left the creepy boy alone with her baby...oh man, it was awesome.

Workable effects, some creepy shit going on, and all that entertain enough to distract from the trainwreck plot.  It is interesting that since so few copies of this exist, one of the popular ones and indeed the one I watched is subtitled in Japanese.  I will admit this was interesting to watch when I was stoned, and may have contributed to my solid enjoyment of this flick.

Another thing about this movie is that it looks OLD!  Not just because the quality is extremely poor and the print that was being played was damaged to all fuck.  The characters look 70s, definitely not late 80's.  This feel like it was made in 1976.  I felt that exact year vibe from the entire movie.

Leaving that movie behind I will take a moment and talk about my blog.  I apologize for the last few entries.  I have been distracted from the films, and not giving them in depth reviews.  I have been watching and doing other stuff at the same time, and I feel like I betrayed my quality of review to multi-tasking.  I almost want to delete the posts and go back to rewatch the past movies  (this trend started with Dark Night of the Scarecrow) and rewrite the reviews.  I still might.  
I do apologize again.  
Look for my upcoming review of Microwave Massacre.  Also, maybe Demons 3: The Ogre.  I almost want to watch every film in the franchise, official or not.  Can't find Demons 5 anywhere though.  If anyone has any clue, hook me da fuck UP.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Demons 2 - 1986

Thought I might as well also review the sequel to the winner Demons.  Demons 2 is like every watered down sequel.  Less blood, gore, less interesting effects and characters, and less rock music even.  It's still better than so many other horror movies though.

This may have been the quick turn around, trying to capitalize on the success of Demons from the previous year.  I don't know that is the case or not, but they did make several other sequels, legitimate or not.  So I'm guessing the first was successful and they tried to follow up that success.

Here are a few of the problems, as I see them:
1) more characters and a bigger setting (being trapped in a large building versus a small theater) means that we care less about them, they are not a plot point, more they are just things, much like a prop and less of a person.
2) Not as much focus on the demons and transformation scenes.  I loved the transformations in the first movie.
3) not as loud music and less of it.  it's a small thing, but it's noticeable.  And it would've been so easy to pump it full of music!  How is that hard?
4) They throw in an additional thing about the demons that makes no sense!  For some reason in this movie one of the infected men who is a demon suddenly transforms into a fucking gremlin?  Like seriously a gremlin, looks even like the one from Joe Dante's 80's flick.

There are more specifics I could go into, but just re-read number 4 a few times and you'll understand that now additional information is needed.
Seriously they look like gremlins.

The one thing I do love about this movie is the ending.  The first and the second movie both had these questions that would have gotten asked without an answer:
Why are these people locked off from everyone else?  Who is locking them in these places?  Phone lines are cut, and doors are all locked, etc.  What happened with the demons after the events of the movie?  These questions and more are starting to be answered in Demons 2.  It's aninteresting ending for sure.

Not as classic or amazing.  Just a watered down standard sequel.

Demons - 1985

This rock em sock em movie should be more well known.  I mean it.  Seriously.
Directed by Lamberto Bava, this is a fun, rowdy hour and a half of awesome effects, bizarre storylines, interesting characters, and general thrills and spills.  Not to sound cheesy, but it's a perfect 80's cult film for you to watch.

When a theater is playing a movie about demons, things start to take a weird turn when life imitates art.  This is one thing I love, a movie that has a movie inside of it!  But not like a real movie inside the movie, an additional fake movie they can play and then have the movie riff on, imitate, etc.  It's just so cool!

So life imitates art and suddenly the theater patrons watching this demon movie get shocked when one girl there runs off to the bathroom and...transforms into a demon!  YES!  Much like a zombie, apparently demons in this movie can create other demons by biting/killing humans, and then that human will arise as another demon.  Awesome.

So now we have multiple demons hunting some very idiotic movie goers in a theater.  And then, the door is locked.  And then, they can't find the emergency exit.  And then, the theater staff is gone!  This just gets cooler and cooler.  You have several interesting and well played characters, the strong macho guy who looks to be in control, the screaming scared women who flee and get nude at the drop of a hat, you have the wanna be dudes who try and be tough but are mostly just cannon fodder.

This movie hits all the wants you could have in a 80's demon movie:  lots of death and gore, amazing practical effects, super cheesy dialogue, and I haven't even mentioned the insane soundtrack!  Made up of insane guitar riffs and real rock songs, it's a fucking awesome soundtrack.  Plus, you got nudity, you got spookiness and general skin crawling feeling to it.  It reminds me of Dead/Alive with it's disregard to the real world yet you have that feeling it's so plausible in its own way.  Its own, over the top, nightmare-ish kind of reality where people have 8.6 gallons of blood in them and they like to smear it all over women's naked breasts.

I really did like this movie actually.  If only for the soundtrack, I just thought that was genius.  It's a film that knows its audience and it doesn't care about anything.  It just says you know, this is pure fucking entertainment.

It was followed by Demons 2, also directed by Lamberto Bava, but then oddly enough Demons 3: The Ogre is NOT a sequel to Demons 1 and 2, but rather another film takes that role, The Church, directed by Michele Soavi.  The "key factor" in all these movies is that in each of them, people are trapped in a place.  In 1 its the theater, 2 an apartment building, 3 well, a church.

This movie is a near perfect film.  For what it is, it accomplishes it's every goal and it's everything you'd want it to be.  Highly recommended.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Ice Cream Man - 1995

This movie, now this is something else.  This is a true classic of the "cult" variety.  It even stars long time cult actor Clint Howard.

What is the difference between good cult and bad cult?  Well, I think some parts of it lie with intention.  I think a movie like Ice Cream Man, may have been trying to be an actual horror movie.  It works because it's not over the top with comedy and stupidity, it's a low budget horror movie but it has a good plot, a decent enough adventure to it, and some interesting plot points.

As a young boy, Clint Howard's character witnessed his childhood friend the ice cream man get killed by some gangsters.  He was covered in the ice cream man's blood and due to this his parents sent him to a clinic to care for him.  Slowly over the course of the movie it is revealed that while he was there he was the subject to bizarre terrible experiments at the hands of an evil doctor.

It's interesting because it makes you feel some sympathy for the killer.  Clearly this character, the young boy who would grow up to become the killer ice cream man, was mentally damaged by these experiments and by the various drugs given to him.  Not to mention never getting over the trauma of seeing the man who was killed in front of him.

So a group of kids, all of which are acted decently enough for once, witness the ice cream man kidnapping one of their friends.  This friend, a short statured kid, gains the sympathy of the ice cream man, who keeps him alive and teaches him about making ice cream.

At the same time, the police are investigating the disappearance of a kid who the ice cream man killed, and are tipped off to investigate the ice cream man.  When their search turns up nothing, it's up to the group of kid friends to stop the ice cream man.

There are some cool shots in this movie.  The scenes of the body parts in the ice cream truck, the scenes of the ice cream man in all his demented glory, and the scenes of the kids, in their very Goonie-esque ways, planning to get the ice cream man, are easy highlights.

This feels like one of those 80's classic films that you might have grown up with.  It feels older than it is, but in a very innocent and not "bad" sort of way.

I don't know really what else to say about it.  It's good, it's some solid entertainment, there's a rational feeling to it, and it even manages a small twist in what you're expecting the end to be.  There are some pretty bad moments where it feels like it should have been edited out, or where they were trying for comedy or that "cult" level of attraction, but it mostly feels like a innocent, but stupid, horror movie.

I recommend it, definitely a good drinking movie.  Maybe a drink for every scene in which something disgusting happens with the ice cream.


Dark Night of the Scarecrow - 1981

In this captivating soon to be cult classic look at society horror and America....no, just kidding.

In this very average and mostly predictable horror movie from 1981, the town murders an innocent mentally disabled dude (the death of an innocent, cue dramatic revenge).
So, then, naturally, Something starts to kill all the people in the town. Oh, did I not say the mentally disabled guy was dressed up a scarecrow when he died?  He was playing hide and go seek.
This movie is chalk-full of overweight police officers, drinking, smoking, and old people.  You know, you don't see movies where the "stars" be they hero or victim are overweight, middle aged, fully loser-status people.  Hollywood has been overtaken by these 6-pack having, attractive dudes.  You could not have an action star now like Charles Bronson or even Sean Connery.  Now they have to look like Daniel Craig.  Even Arnold Schwarzenegger is only getting by because of his history of being an action star.
Anyway, back to DNOTS.
Beh, whatever.  It isn't a classic, it's not a great movie, and you can skip it if you want.  I just love them killer scarecrow movies.  Why?  Cause I'm pretty lame.

The effects are non-existent, the acting is okay enough, the pacing is okay, just enough to keep you from falling asleep (that is unless you're kind of tired and comfy).
The scarecrow costume thing is pretty neat, I will say, it's cheap and flimsy and probably made for next to no cost (much like most the movie, I would imagine) but sometimes you don't need much, just blackness and mystery, to sell your horror movie.
It was a made for tv movie, or at least with the idea in it's makers minds that it could be shown on tv, no blood or gore, or nudity or "bad words" in it.  It's very tame.


The Spoilers.


So the mean, overweight police officer that we have followed for most of the movie turns out to be the guys who survives the longest.  He makes the startling discovery that the body of the mental dude is still in the ground!  WHA?!  So then it must be...the girl who was friends with him!  WHA, BU....HOW WHY WHAT?  WHAT A FUCKING TWIST!  OH MY GODDAMN CHRIST!
Oh wait, he tackles her and a ghost starts a tractor and kills him, I guess it was the ghost of the retard all along.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Leprechaun 2-6 - 1994,1995,1996,2000,2003

I sort of hate movies that are self aware.  It makes for lousy comedy, no real action/horror, and the appeal of schlock-for-the-sake-of-schlock.  Ugh.  It makes for a very long 90 minutes when you're not drunk.
Leprechaun 2 has the semblance of a horror movie, kind of.  I'm not saying it's good mind you though.  It's just more of what happened in Leprechaun 1.  Leprechaun 1, mind you, was not that bad.  It is solid enough, with some good acting and some okay effects.  It's definitely a good movie for popcorn, drinking, smoking some weed, and generally making fun of.  Leprechaun 2 sort of tries to recapture that magic but with less appealing actors (except for Warwick Davis, who of course is great in all the films).
They do invent neat ways of killing the leprechaun in all 6 movies, I will say that.  And most the movies do rely on practical effects, which is always nice to see.  I am in fact, very much on the "cgi sucks" bandwagon.
Leprechaun 3 is the first movie to take the stupid leprechaun idea and then make it stupider by having it...take place somewhere else?  So, this horror movie needs a new something.  What will we do...Um, take the leprechaun and put him in Las Vegas!  Yeah!  Genius!  I guess.  So in short, it takes place in Las Vegas where "hilarity" ensues.  Yes, although 1 and 2 may have thought they were funny and inserted some comedy, 3-6 go full blown on the "comedy" and really try to keep the stoners in their audience giggling between mouthfuls of potato chips.  I dunno.
So then 4, he goes to......SPACE!  Yes, and I'm sure half of you know this, there is a movie called Leprechaun 4: In Space.  Wheeeeee.  Yep, so he is in space and there's some chick who appears who is supposedly connected to the Leprechaun through some means of some kind.  And it must be the future but how he really got from Las Vegas to here, who cares.  And what else?  Oh, the leprechaun grows to be the size of a giant.  He's like 20 feet tall near the end and it's as horrible effect as you can imagine.  Oh and also, bad cgi in this one.
Leprechaun in the Hood, aka Leprechaun 5 is up next.  This one is kinda weird.  Its got a flute in it that grants the person who plays it with some sort of hypnotizing power, and a couple struggling rap artists get ahold of this thing, play it, capture the attention of their fanbase, and use it to get ahead in the rap world.  Okay, I'll buy that.  Also, Ice-T is in it, and he's a pretty good actor.  He really gets to yell at people too, which is cool!  I love seeing people get really pissed off.  It's pure entertainment. The rest of the movie, well it's better than Leprechaun 4.  And maybe 3.  It's actually not too bad.  You sort of sympathize with the rappers, even though the rap songs in the movie are pretty bad. There's one where they literally just repeat the same line like 5 times.
Then he goes, well, back to the Hood.  What, did they run out of places for him to go?  He couldn't go to like, Africa, or back in time, or maybe to a cruise ship?  I'd love to see him in Hawaii like Jack Frost 2.  Well anyways.  He's in the hood, this one is far less interesting than its predecessor, and it feels like a good place to call the series to an end.
Unfortunately, it did not end there, but there is in fact Leprechaun: Origins out there, which I have not seen yet, but I can assume already, is just not good.


Rodentz - 2001

Also known as Altered Species.

This movie....well, wow.  I don't know.  Here's your first clue:  I was inputting the title of this blog, Rodentz 2001, but I didn't know the year it was made.  So I guessed.  And the year I guessed was 1991.  Because, it looks that old.  In fact it looks older.  The only reason I would guess the 90's is that it definitely has that 90's awful "who the fuck green-lit this" feel.

The "Rodentz" in Altered Species are some sort of, you know, special, scientist exploited, genetically altered, whatever super rodentz.  They are smart, they are cunning, and they are killers.  And they are also horrible cgi, bad puppets, stock footage, and shot in extreme close up so that you can't tell what they're doing, where they are, or what's going on.

I also find that I keep getting this movie and Carnosaur confused.  Why?  I don't know.  I watched them both on the same day.  Haha.  Yeah I'm fucking awesome, how did you know?

Lots of movies get to be called the worst movie ever.  What is the worst movie ever?  Well, it's not Rodentz.  In fact, the worst movie Ever Ever is probably just some incomprehensible mess that literally like 5 people even know exists.  Rodentz, however, is bad.  Not really even enjoyably bad.  It isn't entertaining, it's slow, it's not funny, and the Rodentz aren't even killing people in cool ways.  There's practically zero gore, zero chainsaws, there's zero charisma from hero or villain, there's a warehouse that they filmed in which is just supposed to be, well, a warehouse.

spoilers
They fight, blah blah blah, man vs rodentz for most the movie.  They discover loud noises hurt the rodentz, they kill most of them, then the mama rodent shows up and it's like the size of a person.  A really, like, laughable almost costume.  It sucks.  So, they fight it, blah blah blah, it dies a bland fiery doom death.

It is really just filler.  It's not a good 90 minutes.  It kinda sucks.  If you were drunk or high it might even kill your buzz.  Because it's bad, like really, I'm saying that.  I enjoyed Grim and Carnosaur more than this.  I enjoyed Manos: The Hands of Fate more.  I fucking enjoyed Battlefield Earth more.
Did I mention no nudity also?  Cause I'm sure they wanted to get it on TV.  So there's that too.

So, 0 out of 10, Grade F, this dude shouldn't have been allowed to direct again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Guinea Pig: Mermaid in a Manhole - 1988

This notoriously hard to view series, Guinea Pig, is comprised of six movies from what I can tell.  I don't know everything about the series, but it is based on artwork and manga of Hideshi Hino in some parts of the series, especially the one I just watched, Mermaid in a Manhole.  It is also supposedly awful, torture-porn type films made only for the sake of making weird awful torture-porn.

Having now viewed it, I think I can say that I largely disagree with most of the strongly negative reviews.  I think one needs to have a understanding of some aspects of Japanese culture, needs to understand the view of an artist, and needs to approach it looking at what it is trying to say versus how it says it.

An artist gains his inspiration from an open sewer drain.  He enters this drain and finds a dead baby.  Once he is home, he paints the dead baby he found in the sewer.  The next day he goes back.  This time, he finds a real life mermaid.  She is surrounded by filth, garbage, and shit.  She is wounded, has some infection on her, and can't really move.

So, he paints her.  Her paints her there, in the sewer.  So, then the next logical step seems to be to take her to his home.  Once he gets her back home, he puts her in his bathtub and again, continues to paint her.  Her infection has gotten worse, and she now has a section of her stomach covered in colorful boils.  As they spread, she gets worse and worse, but tells the artist that he needs to continue to paint her.

He uses a razor to slash open the boils at one time, spilling out their pus and goopy contents.  This he then captures in a jar, and uses it to paint her.  The infection spreads, taking over her body.  Her pain is mounting every day.  One day he discovers that worms and maggots are crawling out of the infection.  She shrieks as boil after boil erupts with worms.  The next moment she is literally coughing up worms.  Still, she insists, he paint her.  Long story short, she is dying.  He  takes her out of the bathtub, and with a large blade, he kills her.

I realize you're either going to see this, or you're not.  Let me tell you why you should.  Not because of the grossness, the violence, the sheer disgusting levels of vehemence contained in it.  Because at some point everyone needs to see the world the way someone else does.  What this movie is really about is the passion of the artist, his struggle with the inspiration he has, the beauty he finds in rot, in death, in pain and sickness.  This is not a movie about a mermaid dying.  This is a movie about someone finding themselves overwhelmed by a sensation, a need, for inspiration.

This movie is one that is successful in making me relate to another artist.  Not the actor, the mermaid, the artist in the movie.  The artists of the manga, Hideshi Hino.  I feel like I understand him now.


Upstream Color - 2013

This is one of the best films I have seen recently.  I'm not going to say too much about it, because I really, really want you, your friends, your parents, everyone, to see this film.

The plot is loosely about a man a woman who, sharing more in common than might be on the surface, bond together and try to reassemble their lives.  The way they are connected to is only hinted at throughout the film, and I'm intentionally leaving it out because I really want any readers of this column to go see the movie for themselves.

The essential thing to grasp about this film is that is not a paint-by-numbers, ordinary film.
 The type of film this is intrigues, inspires, challenges.  It makes you think, it gives you parts of a story and infects the ideas in your head and makes you fill in the rest.  This is the kind of film that makes me fall back in love with movies.

When I was younger, I wanted to direct movies.  I was inspired by great films that I saw and I wanted to create my own unique vision.  The more Hollywood creations I saw, the less inspired I became however.  Where are the great, thinking man's films?  I saw action blockbuster again and again, and cheap remake after cheap remake.  I began to decide if this what people wanted to see, if this was where Hollywood saw the future, I didn't want to be a part of it.

Seeing a movie like Upstream Color reminds me of wonderful films like The Seventh Seal, movies that really made one contemplate themselves, and meaning.
Upstream Color is made by Primer director Shane Carruth, the man has a very focused and abstract mind, and his movies reflect not just brilliance but an entire philosophy. 

Definitely A+, 100%, two thumbs up, whatever the rating system is it gets full marks.

Please watch it with an open mind.

Grim - 1995

This is one of those movies that is probably thought of in that eternal stereotypical way "it's so bad it's good".  But in my view, it's not THAT bad.  It's biggest flaw is that it's just a low budget movie that leaves no lasting impression.

I love that in some movies, they have padding where there is none needed, but then you are just violently thrown into other scenes, scenes which need an explanation, but there is none.  That is definitely the case in this movie.  The movie begins (of course) with a random Ouija board scene and some people, who through their actions, call this creature into existence.  It infests itself in a cave under where they live in Virginia.

Then you have a team of spelunkers, exploring the same gigantic cave.  I find it interesting that this film was made in England, yet it's supposed to be Virginia?  And most the characters don't have an accent or sound like maybe they are trying to hide an accent?  Like why not just be British if you are?  Perhaps they didn't want to have that British feel to the movie?  I would like to know the story behind that.  It seems the director is British, I can't seem to find that information online.  But then why not hire British actors?  I'm just going to say that they wanted to appeal to all audiences and call it even at that.

Anyways, there is of course a huge monster in these caves.  Grim, the name of the movie and therefore what I'm going to call the monster, is a pretty decent costume.  It's got big teeth, big claws, and is bulging with muscles.  It does a decent enough job as a movie monster, even with frequent long shots of the monster and close-ups.

So Grim starts to pick off the spelunkers.  And...can teleport through walls.  Oh yeah.  I forgot about that didn't I?  He can.  And it's the worst effect in the movie, and has no explanation.  And, he doesn't use it as often as he could/should, preferring to wander aimlessly around for quite a chunk of the movie.  Anyway, we see him more than we should, ruining the thrill of seeing the monster, but since he looks cool, that's not a terrible thing.

This is the film's guilty-est sin, padding the fuck out the middle with stupid dialogue, the monster presumably getting lost in his own cave, and other similar things.  At one point, Grim kidnaps one of the females, chains her up in a big open room, and "keeps her for later" I guess.  Why he kills others but not her, anyone's guess.  Anyways, that's fine, and as these idiotic people try and escape Grim they discover light hurts Grim.  Okay, cool.
So then when part of the cave collapses, blocking their way out, they must face Grim and find a way out.  And eventually they find a part of the cave that has a view of the outside, and hey, it's almost day time.  So they lure Grim to them, the sun shines at just the right time, and Grim gets transformed into a rock.
Then they leave.  Yeah, that's right.  They leave the other woman, I think her name was Wendy, trapped in the cave, chained up.  The film ends, showing Wendy chained in the cave.  Well, sucks to be her.

It's a decent enough, forget-able flick, good monster suit, and by the director of a similar monster movie, Breeders.  It's got bad actors, but who cares, and padding, but it's not like it's the worst movie ever made or anything.  Check dat shit out.


Killdozer - 1974

It’s crazy to think this movie is over 40 years old now.  It doesn’t look bad.  The cars they drive are all jeeps and construction equipment; all of the vehicles haven’t changed much in 40 years.  Still all big, yellow, anonymous machines.  That, and the fact that it’s filmed on an island and thus we don’t see any towns, signs, etc., makes it feel like this hasn’t aged badly. 

The aging factors to this movie are mostly in the small details, the ridiculous font titles that come on as the credits roll, and the occasional time you can see some of the men are wearing bell bottom pants.  That, and the soundtrack.  The minimalist, all synth score is a thing of beauty, truly.  So over the top and abstract, that sounds like someone noodling around on a Moog or something similar.  The composer Gil Melle was not stranger to soundtracks, so I wonder what his inspiration for this soundtrack really was.  He is also the composer for another made for TV movie I own, “The President’s Plane is Missing”.

The first shot of this cult movie is an asteroid speeding towards Africa, then the shot of an island. Construction on an island off the coast of Africa is underway.   A ragtag group of construction men are busy building a site for a drilling crew.  The asteroid seen in the first shot has landed on the beach and when they hit it with a bulldozer, a blue light from the asteroid transfers to the bulldozer.  A construction crewman observing this somehow gets injured by it, and dies after telling another crewman supervisor Kelly about the light he saw.  Of course, Kelly doesn’t believe him.  However, the dozer is now infested with whatever the light was, and after trying to drive the dozer and experiencing a loss of control, he knows something is wrong.

So the crew mourns the death of the crewman, and Kelly orders the dozer inspected.  It is at this time they notice the dozer makes a slight ringing sound coming from the blade.  Kelly orders that the machine should not be used in the field.  The dozer is soon turned back on again by another unknowing crewman and it destroys the only radio the men have to contact anyone off the island.  Then when the crewman who started the dozer jumps off of it later, the dozer chases him and kills him.  Kelly, again, is the only witness to this happening.  It is at this time that Kelly tells the remaining 3 guys about the dozer killing the men.

Long story short, after Kelly tells the other guys, it become man versus machine, and the machine definitely holds its own for the majority of the film.

The script is pretty minimal and tight.  The length of only 73 minutes means that everything happens pretty fast.  The movie does a good job with pacing, the first 20 minutes fly by.  It’s an interesting, actually very well done film.  It does contain some cheesy dialog and ideas, however.  The three guys left on the island each have their moments when they can really ham it up.

One of the lines Kelly says is:  “It’s too heavy to hang, it’s too big to put in the gas chamber”.  Yeah Kelly, and it also doesn’t have lungs nor does it have a neck….  Great job guys.  The dozer itself is pretty cool.  The front blade is threatening looking, and the dozer has two little lights that almost look like eyes, especially when they change in brightness levels. 

But tell me that this shot isn't cool.  It’s not a bad movie!  It definitely deserves it’s following.