Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kalifornia (1993)

The Snowpocalypse is upon us in New York City, which gives me the perfect excuse to stay inside and catch up on some movie-watching.  I'm not sure how it is that it took me this long to find out about a serial killer movie that features Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, Michelle Forbes, and Fox Mulder.  Talk about a pretty sweet cast.

Years before he was saddled with a day care worth of kids and whipped by Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt was so dirty and sexy.  Juliette Lewis is NBK-era trashy and awesome.  David Duchovny is in his X-Files prime, and Michelle Forbes is nearly unrecognizable with her Pulp Fiction haircut.

Kalifornia is about a couple, Brian and Carrie, who are working on a book about serial killers.  To gather material for the book and take photos, they plan a cross-country trip visiting the sites of serial killers.  In order to save on gas and expenses, they put out a ride share ad.  The people that answer the ad are Early and Adele, a white-trash couple trying to escape prior transgressions and a nosy parole officer.  But little do Brian and Carrie know that beer-swilling hick Early is actually a serial murderer.

As they make their way across the country, Early is killing people left and right, although it takes the fellow passengers a little while to catch on.  Brian seems seriously desperate for a male buddy to distract him from the overbearing Carrie, so it almost seems like he's in a bit of denial about the whole thing.  Poor Adele is an abused and passive victim who goes along with anything Early does just so that she doesn't have to be alone.

This movie dragged a little bit at points, but it was overall a cool movie.  Brad Pitt is awesome as a country-friend psychopath and Juliette Lewis is just warming up for the awesomeness that will take place in Natural Born Killers the following year.  This is more crime thriller than horror, but definitely worth checking out.  Also, fun fact.  Brad Pitt actually went to the dentist and got his tooth purposely chipped for this role.  Bet Angelina wouldn't let him do that today ;o)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last of the Living (2008)

This is one seriously random-ass zombie movie.  I see it getting compared to Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland and I guess you could say this is a low-budget vaguely reminiscent version of one of those.

Last of the Living comes to us from New Zealand, where they claim to have made 90 percent of the flick for $5K, before receiving an additional $40K after posting a trailer on You Tube.  I wouldn't actually have a hard time believing that because this movie is pretty much what you'd get if a bunch of your friends together, drank some beers and made a zombie movie.

Last of the Living is about three friends (Morgan, Ash and Johnny) riding it out after the zombie apocalypse.  The demise itself is not really explained, but it seemed that these three survived amidst an urban wasteland.  Their days appear pretty simple.  They hang around the house, drink booze, watch TV and occasionally leave to go into town and kill some zombies.  They make random stupid decisions like stopping into a music shop while being chased by zombies in order to see if an album got released.

On one of their outings, they come across a sexy scientist trying to protect her dad.  As it turns out, they think they have the cure to the zombie plague, and they just need to get it to a testing facility on a nearby island.  The guys would really rather sit on the couch and drink beer than haul ass to some testing facility, but they decide to go along with it and try to save the world.

This movie was definitely low-budget but it was amusing for zombie fans.  The zombie kills were gory and sometimes funny.  This wasn't perfect but it was definitely an enjoyable movie.  Fun to watch.

Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009)

I'm a bad horror fan in some ways.  I don't really watch anything before the 1970s.  Eh, blame it on my upbringing.  I was born in the 80s to young parents.   The first horror movie I ever saw was The Exorcist, which my mom saw in the drive-ins with her best friend and a six-pack when she was in high school.  The next horror movies I wanted to see involved Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers.  In junior high, I stayed up all night at my friend's house by eating spoonfuls of Folgers and washing it down with Coke a la Nightmare on Elm Street 3.   And of course, we watched horror movies until sunrise.

Nightmares in Red, White and Blue (which we'll call Nightmares from now on, if you're into the whole brevity thing) gave me an awesome introduction to pre-70s horror.  It's an exhaustive look at the genre, from the very first monster movies, to the stuff that scares us today.  It was really more of a high-level look at horror flicks.  Don't go into this expecting too many fun tidbits about individual movies, like His Name was Jason and Never Sleep Again.  I really liked how this documentary examined the changes that the horror genre went through as audiences and the American landscape changed.  For example, as wars ended, monster movies would go to the wayside for a while, as the American public found themselves more scared by men than beasts.

I will say that this definitely seemed to dwell more on the earlier movies than the more recent ones.  It kind of fell off by the time it got to the 1990s and 2000s.  I know that the current decade has not been so hot for the horror genre, but it didn't really deserve to get cast by the wayside either.

All in all Nightmares is a solid documentary.  It's definitely an academic look at horror movies, as opposed to the gore and obscurity of Going to Pieces.  Definitely worth a watch for the horror enthusiast.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Lost Boys: The Thirst

I saw a preview of this movie during a Corey Feldman/Lost Boys panel at the New York Comic Con a few months ago.  Over this past few months, and after watching all three of the Lost Boys, I formed a theory about Corey Feldman. 

I have to admit that Corey is a little quirky in person (and dresses like Michael Jackson) but let's be honest about something.  There is no denying that as a child/teenager, he was a really good actor.  Stand by Me.  The Goonies.  Dream a Little Dream.  The Lost Boys.  He actually explained during the panel (I will put these videos up one of these days, dammit) that he was really into acting when he first started, but that after a while, it was really his parents pushing him to keep doing movies.

So my theory is this.  Corey Feldman is the second coming of Bruce Campbell.  He knows EXACTLY how ridiculous and cheesy his acting is.  You can tell when he delivers his lines in The Thirst that he is hamming it up on purpose.  And the grunting?  I'm starting to think this is all a big joke to him.  No one's going to replicate The Lost Boys so let's make some corny laughable sequels.  You can't argue with that in my opinion.

So to The Thirst.  Edgar Frog is now pretty much broke and he's getting evicted from his trailer.  Jamison Newlander is back as Alan Frog, looking pretty worse for the wear.  Edgar heads over to the comic book store, trying to sell some of his comics to help pay the rent.  Shopgirl Zoe seems to have a little crush on him and offers to help him make some cash on the books. 

Meanwhile, he returns to his home/trailer to find he has a visitor.  This is Gwen and she has quite a story.  Apparently, a bunch of vampires are throwing these rave parties where they're handing out a "designer drug," which is in fact vampire blood.  This is all part of a master plan to create a new race of vampires.  Why is Gwen involved?  Her brother went missing at one of the raves.  And guess what?  The next one is coming to San Cazador.

Edgar is reluctant to help out, but ends up changing his mind, after much grunting.  But it's a little late and Gwen has hired reality show macho man Lars Von Goetz to help out.  They all suit up with weapons and head over to the island.  A vampire/rave battle ensues, and I have to admit, the twist ending was pretty good. 

I liked this movie too.  It was definitely better than The Tribe but they obviously had a little more cash and special effects to put into this one.  If you're a vampire/Lost Boys/Corey Feldman/cheesy movie fan, I would definitely recommend it.

Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008)

I don't care what y'all say.  I liked The Tribe.  Sure, it's no Lost Boys, but there's a lot of lousy vampire crap out lately and I didn't think this flick was too bad at all.

In this installment of Corey-Feldman-still-cashing-in-on-his-teenage-years, former surfer Chris Emerson and his sister Nicole move to Luna Bay to live with their aunt.  Their parents have died and they really have nowhere else to go.  They need cash, so Chris stops by Edgar Frog's surf shop, hoping to get a job.  Chris and Nicole hit a party later that night, where Nicole drinks vampire blood.  Overprotective Chris drags her home, where she starts to act like....guess it....a vampire!

Edgar Frog tries to save poor Chris from his bloodsucking sister, but he's not hearing that noise.  But after a bloodthirsty sexual encouter gone awry, Chris finally seeks out Edgar's help.  Edgar explains that if they kill the head vampire, Nicole can be returned to her human form (not sure why this is, but okay) 

Edgar and Chris locate the vampires' lair and, in true Lost Boys fashion, a battle ensues.  Who will make it out alive, and with their humanity?  Corey Haim (RIP) makes a quick appearance at the end, and I wonder if he would have played a larger part had he had his shit together at the time.  Tom Savini also appears for a bit (random).

Yes, I know that Corey Feldman's acting is horrendous.  After watching the two Lost Boys sequels one right after the other, and seeing him at the Comic Con, I actually have a theory about this.  I will share this theory in my The Thirst review.

Overall, I thought this movie was pretty good, and I will even venture so far as to say I would watch it again.  Haters gonna hate ;o)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blog Update: In which I get back on my game.

I've been such a slacker on the blogging game lately.  The last month of my life has been a blur of traveling, Christmas shopping, and finishing up my masters degree.  I had my last class/paper/presentation yesterday (wooooo!) and I am thrilled to get back to writing (and having a regular life)

So stay tuned, becuase you'll be seeing lots of updates in the coming months.  I'll be writing wayyyy more, and we'll have some new site capabilities, videos and other fun stuff as my webmaster/manager/husband is also graduating.

So thanks for hanging in there, horror lovers, and I hope to have some more delicious horror news, reviews, and ridiculous ramblings coming your way soon ;o)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bloody Reunion (2006)

I lovvveeddd this movie.  Yes, it was a little confusing.  Yes, you could have easily missed the point of what actually happened, but I think any seasoned horror viewer could catch on.  I've seen this movie compared to High Tension, but it actually reminded me very much of Identity.  You know, that one with John Cusack and all the people at the hotel?

Bloody Reunion (aka To Sir, With Love) is the story of an ailing teacher, Mrs. Park, and her beloved students.  Mrs. Park is currently living with one of her former students, Mi-ja, who is caring for her in her failing health.  To cheer her up, Mi-ja arranges a reunion of their former class to stay for the weekend at Mrs. Park's home on the beach.

Mrs. Park is delighted when her former students return, but as it turns out, they are not so pleased with her.  They each harbor a secret resentment for some atrocity committed against them by Mrs. Park when they were students.  They each believe that whatever she did to them made them failures in life, quashing their dreams of becoming atheletes, models, etc.  As each secret is revealed, Mrs. Park's life is endangered.  Meanwhile, someone is picking off the students one by one, as those surviving try to determine who the murderer is.

This movie definitely wasn't perfect, as there were some plot holes and confusing storylines.  For example, there was this whole subplot about a deformed child that never really panned out to anything.  And it was hard to keep track of the characters and their whereabouts at times.  But I really believed that everything came together in the end, and I thought this movie to be a success.  I found myself thinking about it several times after I finished watching.  I definitely recommend.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Zombie Hunters: Follow-Up/Season Finale

I usually don't do follow ups (I prefer to love 'em and leave 'em) but I've found myself invested in Zombie Hunters: City of the Dead.  Amidst all the hype surrounding zombie movies and shows, ZH is like the little zombie show that could.

I've spoken about my love for this show before and after hanging out with the cast for a bit at Chiller Theatre, I was able to get hooked up with a copy of the eighth episode, which is also the season finale.  I mentioned previously that the special effects in this show have really grown and improved throughout the episodes, and after watching 8, I can say that the storyline is really tightening up as well.

Whereas in the beginning of the season, you might find yourself a little lost in the myriad of activities and characters, episode 7 (the warehouse zombie battle) really stood on its own and left you with something to look forward to in the next ep.  And the final installment of season one did not disappoint.

Carrie (Teri Hansen) and Bates (Christopher Murphy), pictured in the back right of the above promo photo, have really become standout characters on the show.  Carrie is badass while still looking cute as hell, and Bates is running shit, armed to the teeth, and always looking for the next zombie around the corner.  The plot has progressed to really start and show the drama between the characters, even touching on an illicit romance.  We're starting to get a 28 Days Later, and maybe even Stand-esque vibe as the characters find themselves strangely isolated in what was a bustling and packed city.  Billy (Patrick Devaney) has really found his place as the optimistic, yet imperfect member of the group.  Waiting for the world to go back to what it was, he finds himself clashing with Bates, while struggling with his own demons, so to say.

There have been a ton of improvements and awesomeness throughout the first 8 episodes of this series.  I think for next season, tightening up the editing and skipping more drawn-out scenes (particularly the fight scene in ep. 8) would really keep the show going on the right track.  The ending was not an annoyingly dramatic cliffhanger, but enough to get my mind working about what we'll see in season 2.  Support independent horror and stay tuned ;o)