Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gothika (2003)

I'm probably going to get shit for this, but I've always liked Gothika.  I'm not typically a fan of supernatural movies, especially those that involve jittery spastic ghosts, but somehow this flick just played out well.  I guess it's like some of the things I liked about 8MM, combined with ghosts, and sort of like a better version of that crappy Angelina Jolie movie where she gets trapped in the mental institution against her will.  Something about being somewhere you don't belong and not being able to explain your way out of it sort of gives me anxiety. 

Gothika (never quite got the reason for the title) is about a woman named Miranda (Halle Berry) who is a doctor at a women's mental institution.  After a fairly routine day at work, which includes her colleague Pete (Robert Downey Jr.) looking sex-ay, she leaves to return home to her husband, Doug (Charles Dutton).  The last thing she remembers is getting into a minor accident and seeing an injured young woman standing in the road.  She tries to help the woman, but instead wakes up days later in the institution in which she was formerly an employee.

What's the catch?  Miranda's husband is dead and she is the main suspect.  She desperately tries to explain that she had no part of the murder, but of course, the evidence all points to her.  As she delves deeper into the reasons behind her husband's demise, she realizes that there are more people involved, dead and alive, than she could have imagined.

Sure, this movie gets a little cheesy at times, and it's more mainstream than many movies that I favor, but I've just always gotten a kick out of this one, Hollywood stars be damned.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Movie News: Mass Grave Pictures Gets Nasty

I love stories like this.  In an era of horror, where plots are regurgitated over and over and actual scares are few and far between, it's good to see people that actually care about the blood and gore that started it all.  I remember being in the video store with my sister in the early 90s, digging through the horror movies and looking for the craziest ones.  Blood Slaughter Massacre would have topped our lists back then, and I sure as hell want to see it now.

Since I've been hitting the convention scene, I've been lucky enough to meet the awesome people behind Mass Grave Pictures, who, in addition to making their own movies, are dedicated to restoring a "video nasty" lost in a legal battle over 25 years ago.  I've seen the trailers, which contain everything you love about 80s slashers, from the dipshit blondes to that booming announcer voice.  The killer is classic 80s, brandishing a knife and a ridiculous mask while chasing teenagers through parties and into showers, Psycho-style.

The sad news is that there's not much left in terms of actual footage of the original to work with.  So Mass Grave has decided to take matters into their own hands, mash up the awesomeness of all three BSMs and they start filming the feature length flick in January.  Stay tuned for updates as filming begins.

I love everything about this project, and the people behind Mass Grave Pictures.  Check 'em out at www.massgravepictures.com and on Facebook.  Rock on, horror lovers.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Halloween: H20 (1998)

Oooooh, 1998 Josh Hartnett was yummy, wasn't he?  He was 20 then (I checked IMDB) so it's okay to think that.  LL Cool J also appears, and while he's not in Doin' It shape, he still looks pretty sexy.

Also, any movie that involves both luring and escaping from killers in a dumbwaiter is always a great time.  I mean, when else does the dumbwaiter get play?  Is it time for a list on this subject?  I digress.

I don't like the look of Michael Myers in this sequel.  I can't put my finger on it, but something just strikes me as odd. But seriously, what perfect storm came together to not only have Jamie Lee Curtis back, but several other stars in an innocuous Halloween sequel.

We all know that the subsequent Halloweens kind of drifted all over the place, and Michael Myers just kept getting shot and never stayed dead.  I guess by 1998 we all just decided to accept that, and it seems totally normal that not only has Michael stayed alive for 20 years, but he's in good enough shape to go stalking his grown sister, Laurie.  There are several 90s-era stars involved in said stalking, and we get 90 glorious minutes of beautiful people running around screaming. 

This is actually an impressive Halloween sequel, and I've always liked this one.  There's the typical Michael Myers-esque stalking suspense, which always leads to some jump scares and a good time.  This one could have been totally lame, but I like the way it turned out.  Michael Myers lives, bitches.

Stake Land (2010)

Stake Land kinda flew under the radar...I wonder why.  This is a good solid movie and I'm not sure why it didn't get more play.  I think we're all vampired out by this point, between Twilight and True Blood and all the low-budget crap capitalizing on the recent vampire craze.

Stake Land was, as crazy as it sounds, a combination of The Road and an unfunny Zombieland. I'll quote The Mike and say that this flick was "sort of beautiful."  This movie takes place in an apocalyptic world where vampires rule and regular people are left to traipse along, constantly battling them.  "Mister" (Nick Damici) saved Martin (Connor Paolo) when his entire family was ripped to shreds by bloodsuckers.  They move up the east coast, mostly avoiding interaction with others, with the destination New Eden in mind.

However, they're not able to stay solo for long, and run into several individuals that they feel compelled to help, including Sister (Kelly McGillis) and Belle (Danielle Harris)  Mister himself has also gained quite the reputation, and is the target of a fundamentalist Christian group using vampires as weapons.

I sold most of my DVD collection off last year, opting to rely on a few prized Blu-Rays (The Devil's Rejects, Dawn of the Dead, House of 1000 Corpses, American Psycho, and more) but I would actually buy Stake Land and add it to my rotation.  I'm usually a love-em and leave-em type of gal when it comes to horror movies, but I really can't wait to watch this one again.

photo source

Blog Update: I've been movinggggg

Sorry, horror lovers, I've been on serious hiatus lately.  I've moved into a new apartment, about 20 blocks north, which might seem normal to some, but in NYC it's a big deal.  I've been painting, buying a lot of stuff, and organizing like crazy.  Apparently that leaves very little time for watching horror movies and writing about them.

However, I'm finally settled in, and although there's still work to be done, I'm comfortable on my (brand new!) couch, charging my Mac Book Pro and sweating over early 2000s Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious.  Expect many more posts soon, and thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pig (2010)

What should I say about Pig? It was an interesting movie, to say the least.  It's obvious that Adam Mason was trying to make an impression, and at that, he succeeded.

I was really bummed when I missed the online showing of this movie last year.  I was in the midst of grad school and was a little behind on my horror news, and the premiere flew right by me.  My attempts to find a copy were unfounded and after a while, I gave up.  Excited about my new banner (thanks, Scream King!) I went scrolling through some old banners and was reminded of Pig.  I started my search anew, and although I'm not going to say how I procured Pig, I will just say that I found it...somewhere on the internet.

The technical achievement of this movie is that it was filmed in a single shot with no cuts or scene changes.  Obviously this is quite the accomplishment, even though it makes you incredibly dizzy at some points.  There's very little dialogue in this movie, and much of it can be quite repetitive, or the nonstop rambling of a mentally challenged young pregnant woman.

Basically, Pig centers around a man living in a dilapidated trailer, torturing various people while alternately drinking wine and making somewhat sophisticated sauces.  He urinates on his captives, professes his love for his "retard" (his words, not mine), and generally seems to take a lot of showers for someone who remains so dirty throughout the film.  This movie really was an exercise in endurance in some ways.  You sort of want to shut it off because there's no storyline, but you're also interested to see what's going to happen next, if anything.  Like how far is Mr. Mason going to take this?!

I've seen this described as a bit Rob Zombie-ish and I could get on board with that.  It's got the same trailer trash backwoods psycho vibe of House of 1000 Corpses, but without the inherent charm of the Firefly family.  This man acts extremely erratically, and tortures, kills, and humiliates for no apparent reason whatsoever.  At first, you may think him to be mentally challenged as well, but sticking through this to the end will change that notion.  As for the ending, I found it to be brilliant.  Such a quick and effective twist, and if Adam Mason wanted to make some sort of Pig series, I supposed he opened up that can of worms.

I can't say overall how I feel about this movie, except that it had the effect intended.  I thought about Pig often over the course of the day and I imagine it won't leave my mind anytime soon.  It's an experience rather than a movie, and one of those things that kind of have to be seen to be believed.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hobo With a Shotgun (2011)

How lucky are the people who made this trailer?  After the success of the fake trailers featured in Grindhouse, Robert Rodriguez held a contest to get another awesome fake trailer.  That resulted in Hobo With a Shotgun, starring the always-badass Rutger Hauer. 

In Hobo With a Shotgun, a homeless man (the "Hobo") comes to Hope Town, now dubbed "Scum Town" since it is filled with corruption, murder, and abuse.  It is run by a crime lord, Drake, and his nephews Ivan and Slick.  They rule the whole city, and off anyone who tries to get in their way.  One night, Hobo stops a prostitute, Abby, from being murdered by Slick.  He tries to involve police, but realizes that they're as corrupt as the rest of the city.  Although he dreams of starting a lawnmowing business, he uses the money to get a shotgun, taking out all the baddies in town. 

Hobo and Abby join forces to fight the evil that exists in Hope Town.  Although they plan on starting a lawnmowing business together, they get sidetracked by complications risen from their new mission.  Hobo With a Shotgun got kind of silly and ridiculous towards the end, and not in the good Machete way.  I liked this movie overall, but the whole robot/knight thing was just kind of stupid and boring.  It just kind of dragged a bit.

Also, can you believe The Hitcher was 25 years ago?  Holy crap.  That led me to Google some older pics of Rutger Hauer and realize that he was dead sexy.  Me-ow.

Pelt (2010)

Pelt is about a group of annoying twenty-somethings who go camping without really knowing what the fuck they are doing.  They intentionally traipse onto private property and set up camp, before making a litany of other bad decisions.  They drink, they smoke, they wander off to have sex.  With half of the group doing various types of banging away from the camp, the other half smokes too much pot and passes out.  They wake to find their friends missing, and their camp ransacked.

The group realizes they are up against some backwoods weirdo who likes to torture and kill people.  This is obviously "inspired" by Wrong Turn right down to the fire tower scene.  They make a ton of bad moves and keep losing people along the way to cages and table straps.  The action moved along fairly nicely, although the gore was not that impressive.

I'd like to think that this movie is Evil Dead-ish in the sense that it certainly could not be taking itself seriously.  There's hysterical one liners like, "I need suds in my body" and a black man running around in duck footie pajamas.  The acting is sort of beyond ridiculous, and there is an inordinate amount of shit and fart jokes going on.

By far, the best part of this movie was 1:30 in....when we are introduced to the best shorts ever:

Milo (1998)

Milo was made in 1998.  Was it meant to look as if it was made in the 80s, a la House of the Devil?  Milo is about a group of little girlfriends who make an odd friend in a creepy little boy who stops by the school playground.  One day, they follow him to his father's gynecologist office to see some babies in jars.  In exchange for seeing the babies, the little boy wants to perform an exam on each of the girls.  Of course, this instantly goes awry and one of the friends is murdered by Milo.

Years later, the girls have grown into women and are gathering for their friend's wedding.  Unfortunately, there is a tragic accident and their friend is killed the day before she is to be married.  The friends are sad, but Claire (Jennifer Jostyn) decides to deal with this issue by taking her dead friend's place as an elementary school teacher at their childhood school. 

Shortly after starting the job, Claire begins seeing Milo hanging around the school, even though he apparently drowned years earlier.  Her friends think that she's going a little loopy after all the recent events, and refuse to believe that Milo is alive.  Of course they are incorrect, and Milo is alive in some sense.  Apparently he is still a child with a strange robot voice.  I don't know why he has never aged, as they don't explain this.  Something about Milo's mother and his gyno dad?  It's not clear.

Unfortunately, the IMDB rating on this movie (3.1) is actually right.  This movie was pretty terrible and there were all these weird side stories that never really made any sense.  The acting was pretty awful as well.  Fun fact though -- Milo featured a very young and uncredited Mila Kunis as one of the students in Claire's class.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

American Psycho 2 (2002)

If you're a Family Guy fan, you may find the narration of this movie a bit hard to take seriously, since it made me keep picturing Meg.  American Psycho 2 is a pretty senseless and unnecessary remake to the wildly successful American Psycho.

Rachael (Mila Kunis) was the sole survivor of murderer Patrick Bateman when she was a tween.  After escaping, she become obsessed with murder, and goes to college with the intent on eventually joining the FBI.  Apparently the only way to do this is to get the TA position in Prof. Starkman's (William Shatner) class.

Rachael works her butt off to have a perfect GPA and be a shoe-in for the position.  But several other less-deserving students are standing in her way, and Rachael is not having that.  She'll do absolutely anything to get to Quantico....and that means anything.  I was gearing myself up for the ending to be a straight-up ripoff of Urban Legend...and I was right.  That was a good ending though.

This movie is full of interludes full of chick power angst rock a la Bif Naked.  And the aforementioned Meg-narration.  Rachael seems to seamlessly get away with anything she wants to do, with no one being the wiser.  This movie wasn't actually horrible...it just was sort of nonsensical.  It sort of fits in with the early 2000 teen/college horror genre, but I'm not sure what this had to do with American Psycho except for some crazy made-up babysitter storyline.  They should have just called this shit Teacher's Pet or something and made it it's own movie.

 photo source

Lake Mungo (2008)

The horror "mockumentary" started with The Blair Witch Project, and has been hit or miss ever since.  Probably the most recent success was with Paranormal Activity, which I particularly enjoyed.

Lake Mungo centers around a family grieving over the loss of their teenage daughter, Alice.  Alice drowned near the family's home, her badly decomposed body identified by her distraught father.  After her death, the family begins to experience a series of paranormal events in their home and surrounding area.  They capture the activities on photo and video, but sometimes wonder how believable it actually is.  In searching for clues to Alice's death, they learn more about her life than they could have expected. 

This movie was definitely slow and required focusing on it. The characters' monotone way of speaking, while adding to the creepiness, made it difficult to pay attention at times.   There were some serious moments of eeriness in this flick, and one particular moment where I actually jumped in my seat.  The "secrets" revealed really tied the entire movie together, and for a slow buildup, I think everything wrapped up pretty nicely.

It might have just been my TV, but I found the sound level on this movie to be incredibly annoying.  The people's voices were either blaring through my speakers, or barely audible.  Lake Mungo, you made my fingers tired pressing the volume button ;)

This was no Paranormal Activity but Lake Mungo is definitely better than most of the mockumentaries making the rounds.