Friday, March 27, 2009

Some older reviews

I've got this sneaking feeling my MY SPACE account is about to suspended or canceled due to me speaking up about some bullshit they are pulling involving censoring links to outside sites and now selling advertising space to the people who use the site. For about two years I logged EVERYTHING I watched on my My Space blog. So in an effort to keep all that shit I wrote, I am going to start copying it here. There was some cool movies I wrote about, so I think my readers here might enjoy reading about them.

Oh yeah...fuck My Space....

Wed Oct 1, 2008
SNUFF: A Documentary About Killing On Camera (2008) - Completely bogus, filled with bullshit 'mockumentary' about a subject that is endlessly fascinating to those of us who have love for the grindhouse movies of the 70's. This movie purports to be a documentary about the origins of the snuff film but never even trots out the Ed Saunder explanation from his book The Family about the Manson Murders which is where the term originated. Instead the play the entire ending murder scene from the movie Snuff and actually have on screen text asking you to decide if it is real. Of fucking course it isn't real! It was shot in Carter Stevens' studio in New York and tacked onto the Roberta Findley movie to spice it up and cause controversy. But they don't interview the easily accessible Carter Stevens who could have told them that. Instead they get a bunch of 'independent' filmmakers, all of whom have no actual IMDB credits that are supposed to be experts. Ummm, if they wanted some credibility they should have had Fred Vogel and Me in the movie talking about this shit, but I digress. The talk a little about Faces of Death but once again do not talk to the director, who is, once again, fairly accessible. They cover the standard stuff dealing with the Leonard Lake and Charles Ng Murders complete with pirated footage from a crime show, and how the Iraq war has bumped up the availability of death footage thanks to all the beheading videos (which they show some of). The showpieces of the movie are two long interview segments with a dude named Mark Rosen who claims he used to work for Byanston films in the seventies (the mob outfit that released Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Deep Throat). He tells a story about a Russian pedophile ring busted in 2000, that made snuff films that some corroboration can be found online for. But the sources online are a little questionable at best. Yet this story has a bit of a ring of truth, or at least the possibility of truth to it. The the movie ends with Rosen getting all teary eyed recounting how he saw a Filipino snuff film in the 70's. The story smacks of bullshit, though his recounting of it is pretty convincing. Most suspect is that he is the producer of this film so it is in his best interest to have a killer story to end on. The trailer for this movie on you tube has a production assistant talking about how on their last day of production they got an actual snuff tape with the word 'enjoy' written on the label. Nothing of the sort is in the movie. Once again just hyperbol to sell this thing. One last thing, one of their 'experts' is a dude named Raymond Whalen, who I'm sure is a beautiful person in real life, but his 'performance' in this is so bug-eyed and wildly over the top that you want to throttle him any time he is on screen. Every other word he utters he has to empathsise like its his last. His delivery reminds me of those people in chats rooms that type in all capital letters. Funnily enough he is the only one in the movie with actual IMDB credits as an actor and screenwriter. If you are interested in this topic of Snuff films and the myth behind them check out The Dark Side of Porn: Is Snuff Real. It is an excellent 45 minute BBC documentary that gets all the details right and doesn't skimp on interviewing people. Then read Killing For Culture by David Kerekes and David Slater which is due to be revised and re-published sometime soon. But this movie is pretty much a waste of time. First time seeing

Friday Oct 3rd 2008
Bad Biology (2007)**- Frank Henenlotter's (Basket Case) long awaited return to the screen starts off strong, but ultimately ends on such a sour note that it can't be considered anything but a huge disappointment. The film covers ground that underground filmmaker Scooter McCrea has already mined (in a much more serious way) in his brilliant movie Sixteen Tongues. Oddly enough McCrea is editor on this film. Bad Biology tells the very loopy tale of a girl that was born with seven clitorises in her vagina. So she is basically in a constant state of arousal and needs sex all the time. But she gets so aroused during the act that she sometimes kills her partners. She is also an artist/photographer and likes to snap pictures of these anonymous men while they are in the throws of passion and/or death. Then the really weird part is that she also has a sped up metabolism that causes her to conceive and give birth to mutant babies within two hours of each fuck she has. But since these babies are basically mutated monsters, she just dumps them in the trash. The second prong of the story deals with a young man who has a mutant penis. Seems when he was born his genitals were deformed and as a young man he began injecting them with growth hormones to make them normal. But instead it not only made the organ enormous, but gave it its own consciousness. So it demands sex and more drugs all the time. Naturally these two will meet, but the conclusion is highly disappointing. All this sexual loathing and body dismorphia is prime material for Henenlotter and for at least half the movie he has an uneasy balance of really sick humor, nasty sex and a weirdo dirty street vibe. But about two thirds of the way through the film it starts to just rehash Brain Damage with the Elmer monster replaced with a mutant dick. Then it goes into territory that was done recently in the film Pervert, but done there with a lot more humor and charm. The final joke is so resoundingly not funny that you end up angry you just sat through the whole movie. I wanted to like this movie much more. I LOVE Henenlotter's other films. I think he is one of the most interesting directors around and his world view is incredibly unique. His love for weirdo trash is unparalleled. But this one goes was astray before it is over. Watch for Tina Krause oddly enough playing herself! First time seeing this.

Sat Oct 4th 2008
Ator The Blade Master (1983) *1/2 - Joe D'Amato's second film in his Conan rip off series featuring big old wooden ass Miles O'Keefe is bottom of the barrel cheese with a side helping of Velveeta topping. This is about as low budget as these things get with skimpy costumes, a cast of about a dozen including extras, maybe two or three horses (when they have to travel across country they are just shown running through fields on foot!) and the same three villainous guards over and over again. But the piece d' resistance is a battle with the lamest giant snake in film history. This thing has to be made out of felt and cloth with no mechanized movements at all. It's just a head and neck teetering around a corner, with a tongue glued down inside the mouth, otherwise it would be flailing in the breeze. I distinctly remembered this from seeing this as a kid and it was even better than I remembered. Seen this before.

Monday October 6, 2008
Hard Target (Workprint) (1994)*** - Sam Riami produced this Jean Claude Van Damme Vehicle which was supposed to be the introduction to American audiences of John Woo. The theatrical cut was pretty good for a Van Damme film and retained some of the stuff that made Woo movies special. But once this workprint started making the rounds it became clear that a hatchet job had been done to the film as 20 minutes had been hacked loose from the flick. Including a lot of splashy violence, a better ending that had been entirely re-shot for laughs and a lot of Woo's trademark slow motion character work. Word spread that Raimi was the guiding force to the re cutting wanting a more 'American' product, as well as something more palatable to the MPAA. While still not a classic, this workprint shows that the movie was much closer to the kind of films Woo had made previously in Hong Kong. Of course none of this explains the piece of shit Broken Arrow. Seen this before.

Tuesday Oct 07, 2008
Capturing the Freidman's (2004) ***1/2 -- Excellent documentary about a tightly knit New York family that is torn apart when the Father is arrested for receiving and owning child pornography. But the investigation from this charge leads to further charges of him and his son supposedly molesting dozens of children in the sleepy community. See this old man, a teacher by profession, taught after school classes in his home for computers in the 80's giving himself ample time to commit these crimes. What makes this documentary unique is that the family had a habit of documenting their lives with camera even during the meltdowns so a majority of the film is stuff that was shot from the inside as it were. And it is that footage that is the most emotionally raw and hard to watch. The movie draws on some tough issues in a situation where there is not a lot of easy answers. The Dad is not completely innocent as he did have child porn and eventually admits to being a pedophile and having relationships with minors in his. But he swears to have never done anything with the kids he taught. His son swears the same and several parents int eh community come forward claiming their kids were not harmed either and that the police questioning was rather leading at best. Even though Pops is guilty of something, it seems it isn't of the crimes here. But that won't stop the runaway justice being forced into place, now will it? A fascinating and infuriating indictment of our hysterical culture. Seen this before.

Saturday October 11th 2008
Home Sick (2007) *1/2 - The first film that Synapse Entertainment has actually produced turns out to be pretty dire unfortunately, mostly do to the atrocious acting. Which may not entirely be the actors fault. Home Sick seems to be trying to be intentionally weird and off beat and doesn't attain either quality very successfully, especially in the intentionally over the top acting. Instead the characters become tiresome and annoying making the movie harder and harder to get through irregardless of the messy story. The story as it is deals with a group of slackers whose get together is crashed by a man with a suitcase gull of razor blades. He asks them all to name who they hate and one numb skull says he hates everyone at the party. Naturally everyone starts getting killed by some unseen assailant, including people who were never named by anyone like on girls mother or a neighboring pedophile. None of the kids react with any kind of fear, but only act in self preservation and selfishness as the movie moves forward in fits and starts, sputtering to the next scenes. Sometimes it has a jarring otherworldly effect, but most of the time it is just confusing and frustrating. The movie is shot well and edited nicely (though not narratively) and has some really splashy gore effects but the nonsensical story and really bad acting make this a disappointment over all. First time seeing this.

Sunday October 12, 2008
Night Of The Creeps (1986) ***1/2 - this is one of the unheralded classics of the 80's and it is a crime that there still isn't a dvd of this. I managed to get a HD ltbxed rip of this and fell in love with it all over again. It is amazing that this is Fred Dekker's first feature film because the direction is so self assured and well handled. The camera work is always moving but motivated, the characters are rich and believable, especially the relationship between the two friends, and the horror is gooey but always fun. The film manages to wink at the audience but never insults or plays down to them in anyway. Its a serious shame that Fred Dekker has not directed more movies. This, The Monster Squad and unfortunately Robocop 3 which was pretty much never his actual project. Then he was squeezed out of Hollywood. The dude was mega talented and deserved so much more.

Jive Turkey aka Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes (1974) *** - I had never heard of this nifty little blaxsploitation oddity before but decided to give it a try since it was in the Mill Creek Drive In Classics 50 pack. I was immediately taken with it's no budget charms. From the get go this is not quite like the other black action picture of the era, instead setting the action in 1956 Chicago (though the budget clearly doesn't allow for any real vintage set pieces, clothing and only one or two cars). The plot deals with a numbers runner named Pasha who is being put under the gun by the Italian mob and the Mayor's task force. Both of whom he had been in good graces with previously. Seems the main mobster he had grown up with, but is now being leaned on hard by the higher ups in the family, and the Cops whom he had always kept paid off and are being leaned on hard by the Mayor who is up for re-election. To show that Pasha don't take shit laying down he lets his main assassin, a six foot rather mainly dame (or is she? Surprises are in store), slit the throat of a mafia enforcer in a shocking moment. But Pasha makes it clear he is a gambling and numbers man, he don't play in the narcotics business and that is what he is trying to keep out of his community. Seems the who neighborhood is in the numbers game and everyone loves Pasha. He's a Father figure and a respected man who treats the neighborhood right. But when his people start getting killed, he pushes back. Highlights include the scene where the amazon assassin beats two hitmen to death with her high heeled shoe, and a scene where Pasha hides his car during a car chase in a waiting U-Haul van. But what makes this work is the very real sense of community and people. Yeah the feel out of place to the time period, but it very much feels like these are people who know and live with each other. Everyone on screen feels lik ethe real deal, from the little kids to the old barbers, this oozes legitimacy. The movie moves at its own pace, which is never very fast. Instead it sort of just lets you tag along with Pasha and his gang as they outsmart those trying to do them wrong, with some very graphic violent moments along the way. Some will slag the movie for its low budget, hell even a credit is misspelled on the front of the movie, but I think this is a unheralded little gem of the era. First time seeing this.

Monday October 13th, 2008
Breeders (1985) *1/2 - Tim Kincaid directed this as part of his multi-picture deal with them reigning king of no budget horror/exploitation Empire Pictures. His former days in the porno trenches (both straight and gay) are pretty evident here in just the amount of skin alone in this picture as all but one female cast member doff their clothes. The whiff of a plot is about some alien that can possess men, is attacking and raping virgins in New York city in an attempt to spread its seed. think of an Urban Humanoids from the Deep but without the intentional humor or style and you're close. Truthfully the script is typical B-movie hokum and not that terrible. All the naked girls end up in the monster's lair in what loks like fifty five gallons of sperm that they writhe around and bath in. Sort of baking themselves as they ready to become monsters themselves.What sinks this is the stinky butt acting. No matter what is happening the reaction shots of the actors are the same blank stare. Now maybe that's the director's fault and he just shot all the reactions on the same day. The monster effects pretty much suck the big one too, with one of the worst rubber suit monsters from any era. Though surprisingly the gore and transformations are okay comparatively speaking. Ed French did the make up and his work is not known for quality. Tim Kindcaid went directly from this to the anti-classics Robot Holocaust (recently shown on satellite in a LTBX heavily matted remastered print) and Mutant Hunt, then a something called The Occultist. then hit a sleaze gem with a movie called Riot on 42nd Street which everyone should see. First time seeing this.

Vibroboy(1993) * - Jan Konen french director of the action cult favorite Dobermann got his notice from this expensive and very well shot and directed short feature. Too bad it is so hateful and homophobic that it leaves a terrible taste in your mouth. But then again the only thing I've seen from this director I really liked was the short film he made about the souped up witches chases each other through the city streets on brooms. This thing is about a transvestite who brings his female friend a Mayan relic for her birthday. Her abusive screeching gearhead boyfriend (who abuses both of the other leads in the movie and is the HERO!) is convinced the other two are sleeping together. The relic breaks and inside is an ancient dildo. He thinks his wife is supposed to let the transvestite use it on her, so he puts it on the end of a pneumatic power tool with the intent to fuck her to death with it. Through events too stupid to try and recount he ends up blowing up their trailer and she mourns his death and blames her friend for losing her husband. He raises from the dead as a Tetsuo/Robocop rip off machine man hybrid wielding the dildo/fuck machine power tool with full intent to rape the both of them to death. Oh yeah this is all played for laughs and slick MTV visual styled coolness, so when it ends with the transvestite about to be raped to death with the dildo machine in his mouth and the monster singing to him, its supposed to be funny, cause he deserves it. Why? Cause he's gay, get it! The production value of this thing is amazing, and Konen has a fantastic eye for visuals. But the world view exposed here is pretty gross, especially how it is so uber-cool in its casual hatefulness. He hasn't been very successful in his career overall, and I can't say I'm too sad. First time seeing this.

Wed October 15th 2008

Friday October 17th, 2008
Hell's Highway ***1/2 (2002) - Amazing documentary about the classroom scare film and more specifically the grotesque and savage driver's ed films that haunted several generations of high schoolers. These films were made by a little company here in Ohio called Highway Safety Films that was a branch of the Highway Safety Commission in the late fifties through the seventies. This documentary talks to the surviving members of the company, several of the cops involved, Mike Vraney from Something Weird Video, Rick Prelinger of and some people who saw these as teens. Everyone speaks intelligently and has lots to say, except maybe the private investigator who tries to tell us that the company was a front for embezzling and porno which seems highly unlikely. There was however a brush with salacious sex when the company did a film for the Mansfield Police Dept as part of an Investigation into the murder of two young girls that had then staking out the men's room in the town square with cameras. the film they shot caught all kinds of homosexual goings on, some of which is briefly shown here. And probably were the rumors or porn came from. Be warned though, this is rough stuff as they not only show the most hardcore footage from the driver's ed films such as Signal 30 and Mechanized Death. They pretty much show ALL the mangled corpses, twisted bodies and morgue photos from these movies and the other movies from competing companies as well. It can be greuling stuff to sit through at times. The story they tell about finding the baby in a wreck is pretty horrible, they fact there is footage of it shown, is near unbearable. The fact it made it into a film that was shown to school kids is outlandish. And it is shown in this film. I remember an amazing ex girlfriend of mine and I watched a tape of these driver's ed films ina hotel room at a convention a long time ago. She had bad memories of that exact same film with the baby, and low and behold this tape we had just bought and were watching had that scene in it. We fast forwarded. you may end up doing the same. It doesn't make you a wimp. Seen this before.

Saturday October 18th 2008
Teenape Sex School (2008) ***1/2 - An extra on the Film Crew/Wet Heat DVD from Tempe and Chris Seaver's Low Budget Pictures that has the legendary character of Teenape up to his typical shenanigans with a busty lass in a hotel room showing us the audience the ways he gets the ladies. Teenape as played by Casey Bowker is usually pretty amusing and has grown on me over the years. But what makes this short so fucking great is simply the actress in it. She is not credited so I have no idea who she is, but she simple has the nicest boobs I have EVER seen. And I am an expert on these sort of things! I could bury myself between those and live there until I am old and Grey and be happy for the rest of my days. If Roger Ebert can give good reviews to movies because he likes busty women, so can I! And this gal has the best rack since Uschi Digart! ( . ) ( . ) She's a nice looking young lady too. All I can say is WOW! First time seeing this.

Wet Heat (2008) ** - Chris Seaver of Low Budget Pictures returns with his love letter to 80's action that references everything from Escape From New York, and The Terminator to such extreme classics as Never Too young To Die. The story is even more convoluted than the typical LBP flick though with several storylines playing throughout that all literally come crashing together for the final shootout at the end. The beloved Teenape is let out of prison to go on a special opps mission to save the President of Entertainment who has been kidnapped by a transvestite evil madman (shades of Gene Simmons in Never Too young To Die) who wants his life story made into a movie. Along the way there will be rebels, a ninja, a cute chick who thinks she is a Freddie Mercury impersonator, a female terminator out for Teenape's blood, a hand puppet and other assorted goofy characters. Its an everything but the kitchen sink approach, throw it all at the wall and see what sticks, and some of it does. The opening To Catch A Predator spoof is funny, and Seaver's wordplay is at work here as usual. There's a shit ton of digital effects, mostly gunfire and gore, some of which is fine, some of which is pretty low budget looking. But I guess that suits this movie okay considering. Over all this is a pretty decent time, has a some good laughs, but lacks the consistent zest of say Mulva 2 or Carnage for the Destroyer. Still you could do worse. First time seeing this.

Return To Sleepaway Camp (2008) ????? - Sleepaway Camp is one of my favorite bad film classics. I've seen it more than an human rightly should. A lot of people love the sequels, but I only think they are okay at best and really don't hold a candle to the original. Here we have the original film's writer, director Robert Hiltzik taking the reigns again and he delivers another movie that is straight from the planet only he lives on. Without a doubt this movie is terrible. Completely and insanely terrible. But it is forehead slapping, laugh out loud, so bizarrely terrible that you can't take your eye off it. How or why the decisions made throughout the movie were thought to be a good idea are so unfathomable that it just becomes immensely enjoyably to watch this play out in a cruel way. Maybe it takes a little masochism (and sadism too) to appreciate it. The story takes place 25 years later and Camp Arawak has reopened under a new name and new owners except for Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo from the original) the speedo wearing muscle head form the first film. Apparently the kids here ar all from penitentiaries or something because they are the worst behaved, most sadistic, mutated, mean spirited, spiteful little fuck ups EVER to grace a movie screen. the main character is a fat, greasy, troll named Alan is introduced picking on littler kids, cursing people out, pulling girls hair and generally being an asshole. But as the movie progresses we are supposed to become sympathetic to him because everyone else in the movie is a BIGGER asshole than him. They all pick on him, and I mean ruthlessly. Almost every remaining frame of film is taken up with someone fucking with Alan in some way and him cursing and screaming at them. The movie becomes almost like primal therapy as we watch this kid be tormented. But the problem is that he is set up to be such a jerk from the get go, that you don't really feel all that bad for him. I give the actor Michael Gibney credit for playing such a total fuckin spaz. He goes all out. Oh yeah there is someone killing people too, but its almost an after thought to people picking on Alan. It is also painfully obvious who the killer is fromt he get go. And to those who loved the cop with the electrical tape mustache in the original film (I know I do!) there is a cop in this one with a just a ludicrous paste on beard that will have you howling. But it at least plays into the movie. Felisa Rose and Johnathan Teirstan make appearances in their original roles as well. There is one really impressive kill involving a literal bed of nails that is almost worth the whole wait. I'm sure I've done a piss poor job of describing how bizarre of bad this movie is, but it is also one of the better times I've had watching a movie in a while. First time seeing this.

Sunday, October 19th 2008
Tropic Thunder (2008) ***1/2 - Near brilliant action/comedy/satire from (I can't believe I am writing this) Ben Stiller that just about made my laugh my nuts off. my Moms who is in her mid sixties laughed harder than I did! The movie opens with a set of fake commercials and trailers just like you would when you normally sit down in the theater. In fact it you are one of Dayton's many asshats that always arrive ten minutes lat cause you had to find your 'bling' then you would have thought the movie wasn't on yet. These bits were clearly inspired by Grindhouse's experiment with the fake trailers and none of them are nearly as successful as those were. Only the trailer for Satan's Alley a riff on Brokeback Mountain and In The Name of the Rose really shines. When they show Tobey Maguire and say' Winner of MTV's Best Kiss award'' right after the other character's five time oscar wins, it is one of the most spot on nailing of our current culture. And funny as FUCK! What the trailers do DO however is set up the characters we are about to see by painting thumnails of their work, most of it mediocre, as well as their badboy images. It's a smart bit of character shorthand. The movie starts proper with a excruciatingly bloody Vietnam battle sequence with people being disemboweled, limbs blown off and a guy shot in the head with no one, but no on can stop the four foot blood spray. Ben Stiller saves the day even though he's been shot like nine times by knocking a live grenade out of the way of the helicopter with his hands. When the smoke clears his hands are just shredded meat as him and Robert Downey Jr. (Who happens to be a black man, more on this in a moment) Share a tender moment about brotherhood and bonding. Then someone yells cut and chaos explodes as people try to do there jobs and money is being spent on every second. The movie gets complicated from here with Stiller's character needing this war film to be a big hit to save his failing career. Downey did a huge chance to delve 'deep into character' by having special plastic surgery done to turn him black. And since then he will not drop character. The Director and Nick Nolte as the grizzled vet whose book it is all based on, decide the only way to take these bunch of fuck ups to work is to drop then into the jungle and make them think they are fighting a real war and shoot it reality TV style with hidden cameras. But the minute the rules are set by the director, he steps on a very real, very old Vietnamese landmine and is blowed up real good. So there are out there on there own...and... with a terrorist organizational responsible for most of the uncut heroine that makes it out of Asia. Oh yeah there is Jack Black too. Normally I hate him with a passion. But he spends the entire move in pain from heroin withdraw, sweating, puking, hallucinating, biting heads of bats, and begging to suck dick to get drugs. Its his best performance ever. Lots of big stars get in on the act, Matthew Maconahay plays Stiller's agent and has a couple of the best scenes ('I killed the one thing I love most in the world' 'What? Oh my god you killed a hooker!' 'No not a hooker a panda!' 'Amanda that's probably not even her real name, you know these whores... ' No a cute fluffy, playful attacking with hate in his eyes Panda bear!') Then there is the complete transformation of Tom Cruise. I had to tell my moms it was Tom Cruise playing the head of the studio. His going so deep into the role can only be comparable to Johnny Deep in Fear And Loathing in Las vegas when he played Hunter S. Thompson. Something Tells me Cruise is playing a real guy too. The manurisims seem to perfect to not be someone he studied and is Mimicking perfically. There is some shit that doesn't work, or at least not super well, such as the whole simple Jack retarded kid movie. I see the point they were trying to make with it, but at times it still felt a bit tacky. Even if they do make their point about the academy and how they work picking winning performances. There's maybe one or two too many musical montages as they travel down river bits too. Another convention of the type of movie it is I know, but that's a joke that frankly is lost on the audiences seeing it, so why waste the time. Otherwise, this is one of the best times I've had in the movies in a while. A huge surprise too me. Too bad I had to come home afterward to my real life.

Friday October 24th 2008
The Incredible Melting Man (1977) ***- This was surprisingly the first time I had gotten to see this incredible bad movie masterpiece, and seeing it with an audience was something sublime. An astronaut arrives in the rings of Saturn ("You haven't lived until you've seen the sun through the rings of Saturn!") and gets radiated for his trouble. Soon he is back on Earth melting away. No explanation of what happened to his co-pilots. You know this movie is out of control as soon as the scene involving the chubby nurse running towards the camera screaming happens. In slow motion! She then busts out a plate glass door just like a stunt man. Awesome. But not as awesome as the performance of Dr. Ted Nelson played by Burr DeBenning. This guy has a monotone that will have you in stitches. His freakout where he pours his heart out to his wife, only to stop deadpan and ask her for crackers is amazing. The direction by William Sachs is breathtaking in its stilted way as everything seems to take about 30 seconds longer than it needs to. Each shot, line delivery or action seems to linger just a bit too long. The scene where Ted Newsom and his buddy discuss his pregnant wife while riding this weird lift is just one bizarre little aside you have to see to understand. Rick Baker's melting effects are very good, and there is some splashy gore to be had. I was under the misinformation that this was PG rated but its not. I'm not sure why i thought that. Great fun for the whole demented family! First time seeing this.

Alligator (1981) *** - John Sayles wrote this pretty great little giant animal on the loose tale that could be Jaws in the city. Well directed by Lewis Teague who would go on to direct another animal horror movie with Cujo. And starring the great Robert Forster and the very hot Robin Riker. It is just all the way round a solid little horror flick with good performances and likable characters, nice writing, a good monster that you sometimes can root for, and taught direction. Sometimes the low budget shows in the effects but what are you gonna do? Henry Silva almost steals the movie as a big game hunter called in to hunt the giant gator. Seen this when I was a little kid.

Mother of Tears (2007) *1/2 - I liked this even less watching it on the big screen than when I saw the bootleg of it last year. Certain things looked better on the big screen such as the gore effects (well most of them, the vagina to mouth spearing looked pretty fake on the big screen), but Asia Argento's horrible performance, hell, Everyone's horrible performance's, the nonsensical story, even for Argento, the flat direction and just plain goofy shit all were magnified ten fold. The scene where Asia is menaced by a mean old MONKEY is the stuff for compilation mix tapes it is so goofy. And the witches of the world that are so evil and menacing are basically goth chicks who just stepped out of some Bauhaus concert? I'm not buying it. The occult mumbo jumbo that is relayed in the reams of dialogue could be interesting, and the fits and starts of the movie kinda sorta work in moments. I see what Argento was trying to do. But I hate to say it, its a failure and a terrible way to end the trilogy.

The Final Terror (1981) **1/2- Perfectly serviceable teen slasher/backwoods survival movie is a little too slow going to be called good, but it has its charms too. Plenty of rising stars are on board from Darryl Hannah, to Jon Pantalatano, Rachal Ward and fuckin Adrian Zmed. Its directed by Andrew Davis who would go on to direct Steven Seagal's best movies Above The Law and Under Seige as well as The Fugitive. The movie is more of a suspense than horror but has a couple of gory moments and a surprise ending that has more people surviving that you would expect. Over all pretty decent. First time seeing this one.

Saturday, October 25th, 2008
Bangkok Dangerous (2008) **1/2 - Surprisingly decent action/crime remake of the Pang Brothers Chinese film of the same name. The same directors made this remake with Nicholas Cage starring as a hitman who is in Bangkok working on a series of four hits that will be his last. He has a code of ethics that have him not getting involved with any people, killing anyone he comes in contact with for his job to leave no trail. But he finds that his life is changing and he doesn't want to stop it. He takes on a student, a young street punk. He starts to date a deaf/mute pharmacist girl. Naturally hits start to go wrong and he finds himself on the wrong end of the spectrum having to hunt those who originally wanted him to hunt for him. After a row of turgid movies where Nicholas Cage either overacted or barely registered at all, he finally gets back to basics here and delivers a nicely shaded performance as a man enshrouded in loneliness. Someone who loses control of their life simply because they need to reach out to someone else. He finally shows us he can act again. The story is nothing special, we've seen it all before, but it is directed well, with a minimum of hyper stylized theatrics and a more street wise feel. The ending is especially grim and surprising for a Hollywood film. I was surprised at how okay this movie was. It is like a solid little B-picture, and nothing more. First time seeing this.

Sunday October 26th, 2008
Saw V (2008) ** - The Saw franchise barely climbs up from the last one that was frankly a mess. It is no secret that I like these films, even though it is considered by most hardcore horror fans some sort of sacrilege to do so. They're like an ongoing TV show in the theaters, with continuing characters and story arcs that you go to see what happens next. With that in mind, they are far more well put together than say (boy am I gonna take some shit for this!) the Friday The 13th films where you just got the same movie every time. Saw 4 was a jumbled mess though where they tried to take several story arcs and put them into play in several time lines and it required that you have seen all the other movies just to keep up and it didn't work at all. But it was the goriest of the series and possibly one of the goriest movies ever released in a mainstream movie theater. Saw 5 however scaled back on both counts, taking the story back to basics with a group of people locked in a specially build maze of traps like in Part 2 and with a lot less gore. There are still several story arcs going, but they are far less complicated, and they make sure to fill you in with flashbacks from the other films. The problem is that it begins to feel like warmed over hash, instead of continuing the story in a consequential way. A big part of this is the fact that Jigsaw is dead and someone else is committing the murders. The backtracking to make this new killer part of the story doesn't really work. It makes the focus of the other films seems weaker. Plus Toben Bell really was the main voice of the films and with him only in flashbacks it feels a little hollow. One thing I did like about this one however is that the MTV editing was kept down to a minimum this time. Only two of the murder/torture scenes had it, where as the other films were filled with it. I've always hated that fast cutting, hyper stylized shit and this new director seems to not be comfortable with it either. In fact he seems to be almost wanting to make a thriller and not a horror film this time out, which is not really the best way to approach the material. And unlike the other films, this has a pretty anti-climactic ending. Its okay all in all, but the series is starting to have the law of diminishing returns go into effect. First time seeing this.

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