Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are You Scared? (2006)

The writers of this movie must have literally seen the Saw series, rewrote it with crappier dialogue and the EXACT SAME PREMISE, and somehow sold it as a movie. Maybe they were hoping to capture the 0.00001% of horror fans that didn't catch the Saw series, which is blatantly released every Halloween like clockwork.

Are You Scared has a group of 20-somethings trapped in an abandoned warehouse. They're all really confused until they remember that they all tried out for this reality show about their worst fear. So, I guess don't investigate any further, this would be it!

Instead of Jigsaw/creepy tricycle puppet, a mysterious voice comes over the loudspeaker, belonging to a deformed middle aged dude in a control room. It's time for the games to begin! This group is complete with a totally annoying token black guy, whose stomach has been slashed open and bandaged...but he just figures it's part of the game (I bet MTV has some sort of disclosure for gaping abdomen wounds).

The first "game" is a direct ripoff of the surgically implanted key thing from the Saw series. Then to mix it up a bit, the next challenge involves twins (a boy and girl that act a little too close for comfort) and we basically get a replay of that drill to the head scene from Saw.

The games continue until one girl, the "hero" of the movie remains. There's a lot of running around and screaming, and it reveals that her worst fear is someone finding out her secret (dun dun dun) The twist is boring and sort of predictable and nowhere near the caliber of the first Saw.

Lesson learned from this movie: don't blantanly rip off scripts and try to pass them off as an original movie. Epic fail.

Grade: F (When A Killer Calls -- blatant and ridiculous copy of another better movie)

Mr. Jingles (2006)

On recent trip upstate to visit my sister, we relived one of our favorite pasttimes -- picking out crappy-looking horror movies from Blockbuster and watching them aided by copious amounts of wine. I started at "Z" and she started at "A" and we both had to pick a movie before we met in the middle.

I picked Mr. Jingles, much to my sister's chagrin, as she is terrified of clowns. The DVD cover is actually pretty scary-looking and I was looking for some scary-clown fun, like a low-budget IT.

On the contrary, I'm pretty sure I could have made this movie in my neighborhood with my dad's old video camera. This was seriously the most terrible acting and cinematography I have seen in a LONG time. Mr. Jingles is some deranged serial killer who kills this girl's family and consequently sends her off to a mental hospital.

Mr. Jingles (called this because he has some bells that sound like Santa's reindeer) stalks the family of three through their house, offing them with this two paltry little axes. Seriously though, I probably could have created better death scenes with a couple of butter knives and some ketchup. It was SO FAKE. But a police officer shoots Mr. Jingles and we assume his reign is over.
So this poor girl spends something like 7 years in the mental hospital before she's released to the care of her aunt and her stoner cousins. Immediately after she leaves the hospital, she's ready to meet boys and party (either her treatment was great, or completely ineffective) Luckily, her aunt is called out of town for business and the party is ON.

Sadly, one of her goth cousins and his weirdo friends have different plans. To commemorate the "anniversary" of Mr. Jingles's "rampage" (which I can so far count as a mere two deaths), they're going to dress up like Mr. Jingles and scare their poor cousin. So they head out to the cemetary, and oh noes, someone has beat them to the punch and is running around as Mr. Jingles! The token chubby Marilyn Manson-wannabe dresses up anyway, however, they all never make it to the actual "scare" as the real (?) Mr. Jingles returns to complete his killing "spree" (which now appears to involve a few more bodies than before)

Geez, this movie was terrible. The Mr. Jingles in the movie looks nothing like the one on the cover -- he looks more like a Ronald McDonald on crack. I love a crappy B-movie as much as the next devoted horror fan, but there was no value here -- cinematic, scary, or otherwise.

Grade: F (the part in IT where the clown turns into a bug -- complete waste of an opportunity to utilize a scary clown to it's full potential)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rest Stop 2: Don't Look Back

I was really excited for this movie! As we all know, I loved the first one, even though the majority of people on earth disagreed with me.

So, we're headed back to the rest stop. It's a year later and the brother of the guy (Jesse) from the first movie is back from the war and ready to go find Jesse and Nicole. So he, his Amy-Smart-wannabe girlfriend, and nerdy friend all take off on a little road trip. At this point, I must reiterate the fact that I hate hate hate the use of cheesy dramatic music in horror movies. It's just out of place, and stupid, and just, ugh. Okay, end rant.

Anyway, they stop at a gas station that's a direct ripoff from every past incarnation of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre where some weirdo has Nicole's prize ribbon or some such. Aw, it seems like the nerdy one has a crush on Nicole. That's unfortunate.

So they're thisclose to the rest stop, and the nerd-bot (Jared) needs to pull over and use the bathroom. He stops at some random port-a-potty (weird) and this is the first time I almost saw death by port-a-potty. Oh! Nicole's back. In that same bra and jeans she was wearing when she ran away from the psycho 365 days ago. Seriously, that's just not possible. She starts hooking up (?!) with Jared but ZOMG she's a ghost and not actually there. Gripping.

So they're all back to moving along, but unfortuantely they're all saddled with this blonde skanky lush, Marilyn. She's on the constant quest for a liquor store and unfortunately no one is really accomplishing anything in terms of actually finding the missing people. So they're back to the rest stop, and seriously, AT&T needs to take a ride out here because for the last however many years, all of the outgoing phone calls are being directed to some psycho killer. I'm disappointed to find that the deal with the killer is some sort of supernatural schtick, and it would have been a lot scarier if he was just a real person.

That weird family from the trailer is back and these people are even more whacked this time around. I am pretty psyched that we got to see more of the creepy midget in this one, and it looks like they threw a couple more bucks into his makeup this time. The bus is back, we've got some eyeball extractions, and poor liquored-up Marilyn chained up in a garage.

Seriously, everyone is a ghost in this movie and it gets old real quick. Just leave things at the first movie, people. I wasn't losing sleep at night wondering if they were rounding up the cast for another swing by the rest stop.

Grade: D- (Jeepers Creepers 2 -- some things just do not warrant a sequel, especially when it's just trying to mirror the first one)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Imprint (2006)

This was pretty much the tamest picture of this movie that I can find (aside from the cover), and still it's making me a little queasy. Imprint was a totally fucked up hour of my life. This episode of Masters of Horror, created by Mick Garris and directed by Takashi Miike, was deemed too graphic by Showtime, and was pulled from the series. Of course, in the current horror landscape of torture porn, it was released with the screaming headline "BANNED FROM TELEVISION" in order to drum up interest.
Imprint tells the story of American journalist Christopher, who is searching the red-light districts of Japan to find Komomo, a prostitute that he had fallen in love with, and promised to return to. In the midst of his journey, he meets a deformed prostitute and drinks sake with her. He asks her about Komomo, and her life as well.
And boy, does this woman have a story to tell. First off, and sadly, Komomo is no longer alive, but the reason she is dead is shocking. The woman reveals that she stole a ring from the mother of the house, and blamed Komomo. For this indiscretion, Komomo was hung upside down (pictured above) and stuck full of needles until she confessed. The woman, under the guise of bringing her water, kills Komomo. She explains that all of the girls were jealous of Komomo, as she made the most money and attracted the most men. Not to mention she was waiting for a handsome (relatively speaking, I guess) American man to take her away from prostitution.
But, oh no, even this fucked up story is not enough for this lady. It turns out (!) that her mother and father were brother and sister. Because of this (duh) they were exiled from their town and forced to move from place to place. But fortuantely for job security (insert sarcasm), her mother was an abortionist and didn't seem to short of work. Additionally, after the mother would give birth, she would toss the babies into the river (great parenting) But strangely, one that was thrown in the water (the prostitute running this movie) survived for two days so the mom decided to keep her (glad to know she earned it) Eventually she becomes the apprentice to abortion and consequently a prostitute.
This was not really a horror movie. It was a messed up little story with one death (not counting babies), and certainly no madmen running around. I watched this whole movie with my mouth open -- I was gross, disturbing, and I guess, effective but not what I would call a typical horror movie.
Grade: C- (Apt Pupil, shocking and gripping, but too much disturbing social content to be "enjoyed")