Thursday, June 30, 2011

Eden Lake (2008)

As my husband read the description for this movie, he said, "is this like that other movie, Them?"  Yeah, I guess Eden Lake is sort of like Them in the sense that if you liked one, then you'll like the other.  I love movies with strong female leads, and this flick is a great example of such.  The badassness of this particular femme fatale actually reminded me a lot of Storm Warning, another foreign favorite.

Eden Lake is about a smitten couple, Jenny and Steve, who plan a nice holiday at a secluded lake.   Their tranquility is soon interrupted by some punk kids wielding a boombox and a mean Rottweiler.  Steve tries to speak to the brats, but to no avail.  His annoyance with them only leads the kids to constantly torture the couple, starting with popping their tires and continuing with worse punishments.

The game of cat and mouse continues, with the adults being outnumbered by psychotic high schoolers armed with knives and unchecked rage.  When Steve becomes incapacitated, Jenny goes balls to the wall and teaches these little punks a lesson.

This movie was gory, fast paced, and contained an unusual level of violence towards teenagers.   Although reminiscent of flicks such as Them and The Strangers, this definitely wasn't a copycat.  Eden Lake was an adrenaline-filled story with a super-harsh ending.  Definitely one not to be missed.


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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Faculty (1998)

I mentioned The Faculty recently during the 30 Day Challenge and realized that I haven't seen this 90s gem in quite a while.  This flick is practically a who's-who of 90s teen stars, including Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Shawn Hatosy, Usher, and Elijah Wood.  The adult cast isn't too shabby either, featuring Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, and even Jon Stewart.

We've all thought our teachers were aliens at some point, right?  But unfortunately for the students at Herrington High School, the old adage is proving very true.  A parasite has been let loose among the school's faculty, and it's spread by inserting a little creature in through the ears of its hosts. 

After the faculty all becomes infected, they are set on spreading it amongst the students as well.  While others are tricked into "ear exams," a rogue group of students realizes what is going on and decides to fight back.  They are lead by second-year senior Zeke (Hartnett) who is considered a drugged out slacker, but excels in science and creating a concoction to defeat the faculty.  The ragtag group of rebels includes supergeek Casey (Wood), goth Stokely (DuVall), jock Stan (Hatosy), Southern belle Marybeth (Laura Harris), and head cheerleader Delilah (Brewster).  A battle ensues as the group confronts the affected...and each other.

This movie is a fun romp in the spirit of a really entertaining era for horror movies.  The mid-90s were a blast for teen-centric horror flicks and The Faculty is no exception.  Thank you, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Williamson for another good and gory time.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cinderella (2006)

Watching this movie reminded me that I need to complain to Netflix about their crappy subtitle formatting on instant watch.  I thought about just turning this movie off instead off struggling to read the subtitles kind of half chopped-off, but I had sort of committed myself to this flick and decided to stick with it.

As a big lover of Nip/Tuck, I was intrigued by a horror movie about plastic surgery.  And a Korean one to boot.  Hyungu is a teenage girl who is the daughter of a successful female plastic surgeon.  Her mom is sort of creepy towards her, in my opinion, constantly taking care of her skin and bathing her and such.  Hyungu never lacks for friends, as her girlfriends are more than happy to have the direct hookup to a plastic surgeon. 

But, unfortunately, the girls that Hyungu's mom operates on keep dying mysteriously.  And after Hyungu goes rooting around in the basement, she finds clues to expose the fact that she is not who she thinks she is.  There are definitely skeletons in the closet with this family.

Although this movie had some seriously creepy moments, I'd call it more a drama/thriller than a straight-up horror movie. It reminded me somewhat of Bloody Reunion  which was a pretty awesome flick.  I did like the story though and enjoyed the movie overall.  I certainly do sometimes wonder what happens with the title translation of these movies.  No idea what this has to do with Cinderella, but such is life ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wilderness (2006)

I allowed my husband to pick a horror movie from our bursting-at-the-seams instant queue and this is what resulted.  I felt generally pretty meh about this movie.  I mean it had some cool things going on, but it's one of those movies that you pretty much forget about the minute the credits roll.

Wilderness comes to us from Britain, and is about a bunch of kids living in sort of a juvenile facility.  There are bullies, nerds, and weirdos, just as you would expect.  One boy in particular, Davie, is bullied quite severely and is subsequently depressed.  He commits suicide and the head of the institution blames the boys sharing his room.

As punishment, they are shipped off to a deserted island to practice their survival skills.  Of course, they are miserable about the whole thing until they come across some delinquent chicas who are also learning their lesson.  Although the responsible adult figures try to separate the sexes, they all find a way to cause trouble.

The other problem?  Adults and teenagers alike are being attacked at random by some mystery source and a pack of killer dogs.  Who is the killer?  And does it have something to do with the demise of their incarcerated brother?

This flick had some good gore and kill scenes but overall I was sort of uninterested.  I also really don't appreciate violence against animals, so that sort of turned me off as well.  So not awful, but pretty forgettable.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Candyman (1992)

Your first kiss?  Your first day at school?  Don't you remember your first time watching Candyman?  I was 9 when this movie came out, so obviously I wasn't allowed to see it.  But in junior high, I finally experienced the glory that is Candyman.

I actually had no idea this had anything to do with Clive Barker until I just searched the movie on Wikipedia.   That explains why I loved Dread but does not explain why I can't stand Hellraiser.

Candyman is such an awesome movie.  We all love urban legends and what is not incredible about an entire movie based around the "bloody mary" thing we feared as children?  Helen (Virginia Madsen) and her friend/colleague Bernadette (Kasi Lemmons) are writing a thesis on urban legends, which becomes more and more focused on Candyman.  Helen all but forces her friend to go to the housing projects, Carbrini Green, and investigate a recent murder supposedly committed by the Candyman.

Helen soon discovers that Candyman is the spirit/living embodiment of a slave who fell in love with a white woman and was killed in what is now Chicago.  He has come back to haunt the projects in which his ashes were spilled over.  Unfortunately, Helen gets way too involved and further dragged into the Candyman story than she planned.

This movie has levels of creepiness that I have rarely seen in another film.  I saw this movie first when I was maybe 11, and it's still stuck in my head 17 years later.  This is an excellent flick from start to finish with great acting and an awesome storyline.  I know Candyman came from the 90s, but it's a serious classic.

Phantoms (1998)

"Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms yo!"  I couldn't even hit play on this one without hearing that quote in my head a million times.    Phantoms is based on the Dean Koontz novel of the same name, where two sisters return to Snowfield, Colorado to find that the whole town has just pretty much disappeared.  I've never been a huge Dean Koontz fan, although I should start reading more of his books.  I loved The Door to December, but I was always typically too obsessed with Stephen King to pick up a Koontz novel.

Phantoms is full of star power including Ben Affleck, Rose McGowan, Peter O'Toole, Liev Schreiber, and Nicky Katt.  Also, can we take a moment out to acknowledge that Rose McGowan was the epitome of late 90s hotness?

Jawbreaker?  Scream?  She was even in Bio-Dome for chrissakes.  (My love for Pauly Shore movies is not really a secret)

As the sisters investigate the disappearances, they find people that appear to be dead for no reason.  They run into some local lawmen who try to straighten things out, not with much success.  They learn that those in charge are treating this situation as a biological attack, and are trying to pin down the creature/contagion/whatever that is causing people to just croak at random.  One scientist/thinker/nutbag decides that this is caused by "the ancient enemy" which also took out the Mayans.  Okay....

Supernatural flicks are not my favorite, so Phantoms didn't do as much for me as it might for others.  I did enjoy much of the action in this movie, such as the cop's body being ripped away and clothes staying, people puking out lizards, and the shot with the scientist where all the townspeople were standing in the street.  The action and effects were pretty exciting, and there was a lot going on, coupled with a great cast and good acting.

Whether or not Affleck was the bomb is kind of up for grabs but I did really like seeing Liev do "wanna see something?"  Ahhh, the 90s.

However, the whole story didn't really entirely come together for me.  Maybe because I'm kind of meh about the ancient spirit coming for revenge storyline

I will say that the sound level on this movie was insane.  In order to not be instantly evicted from my apartment, I had to keep turning this shit up and down like every three minutes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Roman (2006)

So I bought this 4-pack of horror movies at Best Buy a little while back.  I previously reviewed Live Animals which I really liked.  Now it's time for Roman, starring Lucky McKee, Kristen Bell, and Nectar Rose.  This was one crazy-ass movie.  I'm still thinking about it a couple of days later, sort of unsure what to make of it.

Roman is basically a loner, who lives in a sparse apartment with no TV.  His entertainment basically consists of watching out his front window, mainly following the activities of a girl that he deems Isis (Bell).  Crazily enough, one time he's drinking some brews up on the roof, and she joins him.  They start to kindle a bit of a relationship, but Roman's (McKee) obsession already runs a little too deep.  The entrance of another love interest, the nymph-like Eva (Rose) brings more complications.

It's hard to say too much about this movie without giving things away.  His "treatment" (for lack of a better word) of Isis is more bizarre than much of what I've seen in recent horror.  It was part Psycho and part Seven and just all-around crazypants.  The Eva character started to get on my nerves after a while with her constant chatter and wild vegetation outfits, but I sort of understand where they were going with that. 

Roman was an all around solid movie.  I didn't love it, per se, but it was definitely interesting and had a lot going for it.  The music was kind of bizarre, but it helped me rediscover a song my grandma used to sing to me.  It's no classic, but solidly creepy and worth checking out.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Burning Bright (2010)

I'll be the first to admit it.  This movie sounds COMPLETELY ridiculous.  An autistic kid and teenager stuck in a house with a freakin' tiger?!?!  How did the tiger even get there? 

And now it's time for me to eat some crow and confess that this movie was pretty awesome.  There was actually a believable and horrible reason for the tiger being in the house and although you think it wouldn't, it all actually added up. 

Kelly's life is not a good time right now.  She goes to drop her autistic brother, Tom, off at a special school, planning on using the money left to them by her deceased mother.   However, the school tells her that there are insufficient funds in the account, and she finds that her stepfather has withdrawn all of the money to build a safari park at their house.   In addition, she now is about to lose her college scholarship to stay home and take care of her brother.

She returns home to find a bunch of people boarding up the house for a hurricane, and a bunch of exotic animals chillin in the garage, including a gigantic tiger.  Of note is the fact that the tiger has not been fed in two weeks so that the loser stepfather can "show it who's boss." (Sickening)

With the house boarded up tight and safe from the incoming storm, Kelly and Tom go to bed, and evil stepfather takes off for the local watering hole.  But instead of just locking up, he backs the trailer up to the house, letting the tiger inside and hoping to rid himself of those damn pesky kids.  The next hour is a literal cat and mouse game, with some really exciting scenes.  IMDB says that they used a real tiger for the majority of this movie, and that very little is CGI.  The movie was fast paced and concise, topping out at only 1 hour 15 minutes.  I thought the ending was great and really came full circle.  Definitely recommend this unique flick.

Fun fact.  If you have cats, definitely watch this movie with them.  Mine were meowing at the screen and wrestling with each other the entire time.  Guess they were psyched about seeing their long lost ancestor on the big screen.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Maniac! (1980)

It seems like I've had a really good run with Netflix lately, since I haven't had any problems since I received Mean Creek split completely down the middle sometime last year.  This also may have been because I've been getting a lot of Blu-Rays, which are apparently impervious to scratches.  However, I recieved my Maniac DVD scratched all to hell and with a weird melted mark on it.  I assume that's why I forced to miss 1:14 to 1:26 and had to look it up on Wikipedia.  Oh, the perils of online rental.

Anyway, Maniac is a very freaky movie that I've been looking to watch for some time.  I'm always excited to watch movies about 70s and 80s New York City, and after viewing the glory that is Basket Case I needed another look at the grungy NYC that I was not even alive for.

Frank Zito (Joe Spinelli) is a large and in charge lonely New Yorker who misses his moms.  She was an abusive prostitute that made him hide in a closet while she brought men over.  For some reason, this immediately made me think of Identity.  Because of his strange childhood, Frank is a Ron Jeremy-looking schizophrenic who goes out at night trolling the streets for ladies.  He attacks them, says weird things, and scalps them.  He then brings their hair and clothes back to his apartment, where he dresses up mannequins to look like the deceased women.  Or his mom.  I'm not sure.  He snuggles with them for a couple of nights before finding a new mannequin lover and so forth.

One day while traipsing around Central Park, Frank spots an attractive photographer, Anna (Caroline Munro) taking his photo.  He is interested in Anna, but actually to date her and not chop up her face.  Somehow he's able to change from a bumbling weirdo to Rico Suave and take Anna to New Jersey for dinner.  They date, while he continues his extracirrcular activities.  But even though he seems normal around Anna, he's quickly losing his shit.

Tom Savini did the effects for this movie, and even appeared in probably the best kill scene, which is very reminiscint of Son of Sam.  The bathroom scene was also quite awesome, and seeing a late-70s version of the Columbus Circle subway station was quite a treat.  This movie was seriously creepy, and although the end was sort of meh, I enjoyed it overall. 

Fun fact: The song "Maniac," made famous by Flashdance, was actually written about this movie.  They changed the lyrics for Jennifer Beals to rock out to.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Movie News: First Pictures from The Walking Dead Season 2

It seemed like so long ago when I was at a Walking Dead panel where the cast revealed that writing had just begun on Season 2 and nothing was set as of yet.

And now, mere months later, we have our first still from Season 2.  Nothing earth shattering, but it's just a good feeling to know that the show is moving along.  Can't wait to see the Walking Dead crew back in action!

Frank Darabont is psyched as well!  Frank tells Dread Central: "At this moment I'm standing on a stretch of post-apocalypse interstate in Georgia littered with abandoned cars and blessing my good luck to be reunited with our amazing cast and our fantastic directors and crew. Across the board there are none better. It's great to be shooting again. I think we've embarked on a great season."

Yay zombies!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Movie News: Human Centipede II gets banned in Britain

Ohhhhh, Britain.  While you think you're protecting your citizens from this "real risk" of a movie, you've just given Tom Six all the publicity he could have possibly dreamed of.  The British Board of Film has banned Human Centipede II from the country, effectively making all of us want to see it even more.  Here's what they have to say:

"There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience."

Well, sign me up!  They also release some spoilers to back up their point, and although I read them out of curiousity, I won't post them here.  I mean, I'm sure none of us thought this movie would be anything else than as sick and disgusting as possible, and God Bless America that we'll be able to see it here.  I understand that these types of movies have zero cinematic value, but to me they're like a roller coaster.  You know they're going to make you sick to your stomach, but you want to ride anyway ;)

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Altitude (2010)

I wonder if anyone was thinking of The Langoliers when they started writing the script for Altitude.  We don't have a full-size plane and a smattering of random people, but instead a bunch of horny, drinking 20-somethings and a rookie pilot wearing enough eye makeup to block her vision.  The plane is very tiny, and I believe they're flying to some sort of concert. 

As it so turns out, the pilot's mom crashed a plane full of people many years ago.  Instead of avoiding air travel as most would do, she decides to become a pilot herself, and a bad one at that.  During their plane troubles, she decides to toss out some extra weight, and as you may imagine, it's hard to throw luggage out of a plane while keeping people securely inside.

At first it just seems like some sort of plane malfunction, coupled with a storm.  But however, there seems to be some octopus-like creature lurking outside.  Somehow this ties in with this girl's mom's plane crash but I can't really figure out how.  In fact, I really can't figure out what's going on with this entire movie.  Everyone on this plane was ridiculously insufferable and I don't understand how I was supposed to tie some semblance of a storyline together that involved children, tentacles, and comic books. 

I think I put this on my queue because I try to review new movies when possible.  But this reminds me why I don't do that all the time.  This movie was annoying from start to finish and I have no idea what happened.  Skip it.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chopping Mall (1986)

I love the mall.  Being from upstate New York, I worked at the mall on several different occasions and I remember all the delights and horrors that come with that place.  I especially love the mall in the 80s.  The 80s were just kind of a crazy time all around and that was really reflective in the mall.  Fashion was wild, Papa Gino's was a hot place to eat, and there were cookie stands instead of Auntie Anne's.

Chopping Mall is based on kind of a ludicrous premise, but that makes it all the more enjoyable.  Some security firm has created robots that can patrol the mall and "neutralize" any criminals that are robbing the mall after closing time.  Was this a rampant problem in 80s?  So much so that we needed to create special robots just for mall patrol.  You learn something new every day.

The robots are supposed to protect the workers at the mall by requiring identification and not taking them as criminals.  But something, seemingly to do with lightning, has gone terribly wrong and the robots are malfunctioning.  This wouldn't be a problem if the mall was empty, but there is a group of workers partying and sexing it up in a furniture store after hours.  When the robots find them, they go on the attack and attempt to pick them off one by one.

The story behind this movie was fun, and although the effects were not perfect, the deaths were pretty cool.  The music was at a Tangerine Dream-awesome level, that unfortunately stuck in my head after the movie ended.  The acting is truly 80s, complete with exaggerated everything, from facial expressions to screaming to that glorious crimped hair.

Chopping Mall is an original concept and a fun time.  Seeing the robots ride the escalator and flail their arms around like E.T. made my horror-hardened heart sing with glee.  Yay 80s!

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Roommate (2011)

Since I'm not really a fan of mainstream horror at all nowadays, I thought I would hate The Roomate.  But on the contrary, I really liked it.  Sure, it was sort of a direct ripoff of Single White Female (right down to the hotel seduction scene) but if you're going to re-make SWF, you might as well do it with Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester.

Minka Kelly is Sara Matthews, who goes off to college to be a fashion and design student.  Her roommate has not yet arrived, but she meets a bunch of cool friends in her dorm who take her out to a party.  They all get drunk, and this part confused me a bit, because what college freshman thinks there's UN-spiked punch at a frat party.  Morons. 

Sara wakes up with a wicked hangover to see that her roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester) has decided to make an appearance.  She's quiet, shy, and a non-partier, but has a closet full of designer clothes and seems nice enough.  Rebecca and Sara become friends, but soon learn that their interests diverge a bit.  While Sara wants to have fun, party, and bang a cute frat guy, Rebecca wants Sara all to her herself. 

Rebecca starts out by calling Sara a bunch of times when she's out with her boy toy, but things quickly escalate.  She involves Sara's friends, boyfriend, teacher, and even her poor helpless little kitten.  I found Rebecca to be seriously creepy, and Sara was the perfect unassuming roommate.  The backstory was solid, and normally I don't go for ripoffs, but I love Single White Female so much that I loved this too.  The violence against animals was totally unnecessary, and should have been skipped.  But overall, I thought The Roommate was a fun watch.

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