Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Victim (2011)

"NOT Based on True Events."  Cute touch in the intro.  We've got a barely recognizable Danielle Harris (Mary) getting plowed over a rock by some redneck.  Kyle (Michael Biehn) is a sort-of creeper having lunch in town and then returning to his remote home.  In the meantime, Annie (Jennifer Blanc) is running terrified through the woods.

Annie arrives at Kyle's house, where he attempts to console her.  Sidenote: I'm having a hard time picturing Michael Biehn as anybody but the Sheriff in Planet Terror.  I know he's been in a ton of stuff, but my mind keeps going back to the BBQ recipe.  When trying to explain what happened to her, we revisit how this all came to be.  Poor Danielle Harris has to keep reliving the doggie-style scene that is the cause of her demise.

The men that were partying with Mary and Annie when the "whole thing went down," James (Ryan Honey) and Jonathan (Denny Kirkwood), show up at Kyle's house looking for Annie.  Since the cops are against them, Kyle and Annie believe they have no one to ask for help, so they set off to find Annie's body to use as "proof."  They kind of look, but then just bang instead.  But we all know those two men weren't gone for good, didn't we?  We get a lot of flashbacks via Annie, a little torture, and a pretty sweet head-bashing.  The end wasn't really a "twist" and didn't come as a huge surprise.

I've read different reviews and stories about this movie, and I get the sense that the acting was supposed to be intentionally bad in order to make it a grindhouse-style flick?  It didn't really work here, since there was no "punch-line," so to speak.  Like Planet Terror had the cheesy lines and overacting, but it also had awesome zombies and a ton of gore and a good storyline.  It was written in three weeks and filmed in 12 days, and maybe they should have taken more time on each end of this.  There were a few graphic sex scenes, and a lot of Danielle Harris and Jennifer Blanc running around in skimpy clothing, or being buck-assed naked. This movie definitely had potential, but just didn't come fully to fruition.   Still love all involved, but have seen better performances out of everyone. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Fields (2011)

Tara Reid's fall from grace post-American Pie/Van Wilder has been pretty public, and I probably wasn't alone in thinking that she would never work again.  But recently she appeared in a handful of horror movies, and showed up in American Reunion looking as lovely as ever.  So I do want to sort of root for her, even though the hair she's sporting in this movie does not really suit her:

I think they were going for "Amityville Horror," but ended up with "Little House on the Prairie"

Cloris Leachman is also in this movie, and what a random place for her to show up.  She plays a curmudgeonly hick grandmother who keeps telling her grandson that if he wanders too far off, they will find him dead and bloated and disgusting.  Nice image!

All of the promotional materials for this movie claim that it's "based on actual events" but neither IMDB or Wikipedia will tell me what those events were.  So, let's just get right into the plot.  Bonnie (Reid) is in a shitty marriage where her husband thinks it's fine to point a rifle at her.  But instead of leaving him, she ships her kid, Steven (Joshua Ormond) to live with his creepy grandparents so she and her husband can work things out.

This is all happening alongside the events of the Manson killings, which Steven seems quite interested in.  He is also told repeatedly to stay out of the cornfields behind his grandparents home, and he discovers why when he sees a dead body back there.  During the time that Steven is staying at his grandparents', strange things start to happen.  It begins with him hearing someone breathing at the window and continues as he begins to see strange people on the property.  Speaking of people, there are some weird-ass characters in this movie.  There's these weird inbreds killing chickens, random hippies wandering around, and a dude with a creepy resemblance to Charles Manson. 

I didn't see any information on the budget for this movie, but I will say that the quality is quite good, especially the cinematography.  It was filmed in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, which obviously lends a natural beauty, but the lighting and sound quality were excellent as well.  There's some great location shots, from the farm itself, to a decrepit and disgusting house, to an abandoned amusement park.  (Side note: it must have been so f'in awesome filming in the abandoned park, which was actually Bushkill Park, opened in the early 1900s)

But unfortunately these positive components, and a few creepy moments, did not add up to a good movie.  I watched this whole thing, and I'm still not really sure what happened.  It seems like some Charles Manson-wannabes were kinda torturing some grandparents and their grandkid.  They may have killed other people.  There were some neglectful parents vaguely involved.  The lame jump scare at the end made me SO MAD.  I feel like this movie had some really great legs, but it just couldn't pull it all together.  Bummer.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Identity (2003)

How have I never written a review of this movie?!  This is such a sleeper flick that's such a blast.  So many great actors, slick storyline, and awesome filming.  Not to mention an excellent twist.

Malcolm Rivers (Pruitt Taylor Vince) is about to be executed for murder.  His lawyers have tried to plead insanity, but there is not enough evidence to that.  Until, in the middle of the night before his execution, a diary is discovered, detailing numerous personalities, one of which his doctor believes is the actual killer.  Being the night before his death penalty, they call an emergency hearing to revisit the case.

Meanwhile, there are many different stories going on at once which culminate in a large group of people gathering at a middle-of-nowhere motel.  A couple (John McKinley and Laila Kenzle) is traveling with their child (Brett Loehr), around the same time that a young woman, Paris (Amanda Peet) is racing away from Vegas.  Caroline (Rebecca DeMornay) is fleeing a movie set, being driven by Ed (John Cusack).  Another couple (Clea DuVall and William Scott) become stranded due to a flash flood.  There's also two escaped convicts (Ray Liotta and Jake Busey) and a guy running a motel (John Hawkes). 

While in this motel, people keep getting picked off one by one, their deaths being accompanied by the appearance of a room key, which seems to mimic a countdown.  Everyone wants to blame each other, but it quickly becomes confusing who is involved or responsible.  Every time they think they've found the suspect in the killings, they turn up dead as well. In the meantime, we continue to check in with the "midnight hearing," which seems inexplicably associated with the events at the motel.

This is one of those movies where you can't say too much about it without giving away the whole story.  But trust me that this is just a cool, tight and compact thriller with lots of good acting, and a great story and twist.  Available now on Netflix instant.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

I vaguely remember seeing this movie a few years back, but I can't recall any details about it, and I apparently never wrote a review.  Scream King is sick at the moment, and he's hogging the streaming Netflix in the second bedroom.  Therefore, I'm forced to tread through the mess of free Amazon Prime movies.  I've noted a few horror movies I could get into, and we'll start off with this one.

I actually loved The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.  It's one of the better remakes that's come out within the past ten years or so, another being The Hills Have Eyes.  Remember Jordana Brewster?  She was such hot shit when The Fast and the Furious came out, and then she sort of just faded into obscurity.  But she's in this movie, trying to live up to Jessica Biel.  So the old meatpacking plant is closed down by the Texas Department of Health, taking away everyone's jobs and essentially killing the town.  Leatherface still wants to work there, though, and they are having a hard time getting him to leave.  In the meantime, a group of four attractive twenty somethings (Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Diora Baird, and Matt Bomer) are heading to drop their boyfriends off for the draft to Vietnam.  Obviously this is a recipe for death, destruction and cannibalism.

Yay, Lew Temple as the sheriff!  He has been popping up in my life at random lately with The Walking Dead and all.  Of course R. Lee Ermey takes him out to gain his rightful place as sheriff, which obviously continues into the original remake.  Okay, good story flow.  We get kind of a repeat of the remake (ha!) as they stop at the same country store and ask to use the bathroom.  There is a gang of bikers this time though.  There's a forced accident and holy crap they are fucked.  At least they don't have a dead body in the car this time.

They get dragged back to the infamous cannibal house, where all kinds of atrocities await.  It seems they need/want the victims for food, but then I get confused as to why they torture them so much.  I mean, I guess there wouldn't be a movie without it.   Attractive co-eds are tied up, cut up, and made to run around the maze-like homestead.  They desperately want to save each other, but we all know how that goes.  I enjoyed how the ending was kind of the antithesis to both the original and the remake, all while linking it together.

Per IMDB, apparently there was never a plan to make this prequel.  But after seeing the remake, fans kept asking questions about how things came to be.  And they made a prequel.  Listen up Rob Zombie -- we want a freakin' House of 1000 Corpses prequel!

The second time around I actually liked this movie.  Maybe because it was much, much like the TCM remake. We like things that are familiar, right?  I'm also kind of a fan of formulas, and the whole TCM series sorta has that down. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

American Horror Story Asylum: "Unholy Night"

Somebody shoots Santa out front of a grocery store.  That's unfortunate.  Now some deranged blood-covered Santa is in a little girl's house.  Tying her parents up with Christmas lights.  Shooting them in the head.  You know, regular holiday stuff.

Meanwhile, it's the holidays at Briarcliff.  Mary Eunice is ALL ABOUT IT.  She's chopping hair off left and right to hang on the tree.  Sister Jude tries to come in, but Mary Eunice boots her right out.

We revisit last Christmas, when it seems things went horribly wrong.  Briarcliff is in possession of the Santa murderer, and he gets verryyy antsy around Christmas. He rips a dude's face off. But now, Mary Eunice is happy to to give him a Santa suit to wear.  I mean, what's Christmas without a little murder?

Dr. Arden brings Mary Eunice a present.  A pair of earrings that a woman swallowed and shit out over and over at Auschwitz.  Instead of disgusted, she is delighted.  That upsets Dr. Arden.  Lana is puking her guts out.  Sister Jude is begging to be let back into Briarcliff, when Dr. Arden comes to pay her a visit.  He begs her to help with Mary Eunice.

Kit dreams of his wife and Grace.  Lana asks him a billion questions when he awakens.  Sister Jude and Dr. Arden are working together against Mary Eunice.  Meanwhile, Monsignor is practically drooling over her.  Creepy Santa is out in full force, and Mary Eunice is more than happy to accompany him.

Santa attacks Sister Jude while Dr. Thredson guns it out for Lana.  Luckily Kit's still rattling around the asylum.  Luckily for all of us, Sister Jude gets the better of the Santa!  Until next week, crazypants!

American Horror Story Asylum: "Dark Cousin"

There's lots more nuns here we've never seen before.  They go to check on Grace and she's bleeding profusely from the vajay.  A dark angel who looks like Mrs. Grubman from Nip/Tuck comes to take her away but these two ditzes manage to revive her.  (Wait, it's not Mrs. Grubman, but the older maid from the first season!  People keep popping up in this nonsense)

"I hope this clarifies the chain of command, Arthur."  I absolutely freakin' love Mary Eunice.  Now there's a black man, Miles, we've never seen before who wants to chop his arm off.  And there's something written on the wall that only Sister Eunice understands.  The black angel visits Miles. 

Dr. Thredson is raping Lana, which is sad, and she's putting up no fight.  However, it seems like she's just saving up her energy for when she pops the shit out him later!  Thredson has already tired of her and decides she must die.  Lana is having absolutely none of that.  But she escapes only to jump in a car with another weirdo!  This chick has the worst luck.  And now she's back at Briarcliff!!  BUMMER.

Sister Jude relives a time when she was a singer and a drunk.  She got kicked out of her band, and reminded of the little girl she hit.  The Devil/Mary Eunice calls Sister Jude to make her feel sufficiently awful.  She goes to a diner and dreams of cutting her wrists but does not do so.  She goes to visit the family of the little girl she thought she'd killed.  But surprise!  She's ALIVE.  With a little baby of her own.

Kit escapes and runs to save Grace.  But in the meantime, one of those creatures escapes and attacks everyone.  As Grace tries to protect Kit, a security guard shoots her, and she takes off with the black angel.  Until next week!

American Horror Story Asylum: "The Origins of Monstrosity"

We're back to present day and everyone's all strung up at the abandoned mental hospital.  Oooops.  Back to Briarcliff, and we have a creepy child.  YES.  Back in the basement with Dr. Thredson and Lana.  He is deliciously psychotic.  He's getting naked with cadavers now?!  This show has no limits. 

Thredson explains his past "work." Lana is understandably terrified, especially because he wants her to be his mom.  The little psycho girl, Jenny, gets left in the asylum by her exhausted mother.  Sister Jude wants nothing to do with that shit, and calls in Mary Eunice.  I almost forgot about Shelly!!  She is in some hospital somewhere, suffering, while the Monsignor shows up.  Like he can help.  He remembers his first meeting with Dr. Arden, and him mentioning "experiments."  Obviously this relates directly to Shelly's horrible condition.

Mary Eunice is stripping her clothes off so some dude can watch and play with himself.  Classy.  Dr. Arden shows Monsignor more "patients."  When he threatens to expose, Arden threatens right back.  Apparently Monsignor has something to hide.

Mary Eunice and Jenny commiserate.  She loves having a little friend.  The Monsignor, apparently responding to Arden's threat, fires Sister Jude.  Kit calls Dr. Thredson as Lana tries to file away at her chains.  I might stick around for the Croque Monsiuer.

Yippppeeee!!  Mary Eunice is wearing the red lingerie and singing "You Don't Own Me."  I'm obsessed.  Sister Jude is back to drinking, and she's doing it with Dr. Arden.  Oh, the Nazi hunter is still on his case, and all he needs is a fingerprint to lock it up.   But wait, Mary Eunice has other plans.   She's going to off the Nazi hunter and continue to be BFF with Arden.

The little girl kills her entire family when she returns home.  No big deal.  Bloody Face/Thredson doesn't think Lana is his mom anymore and she's gotta go.  She tries to play Mommy a la Mrs. Voorhees.  He attempts to breastfeed.  Once again, NO RULES ON THIS SHOW.

Back in present day and everyone's slashed up at the asylum.  Bloody Face took the girl though.  The cops seem to think they have a handle on it, but I'm highly doubting that.  Abrupt ending, and we're onto next week.  I was starting to think this show was losing it's momentum a bit, but I did like this ep.  Looking forward to the next one!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 3: "Made to Suffer"

Ugh, this midseason finale bullshit again.  I read last season that this is because people don't want zombies, death, and destruction on TV around the holidays.  Well, some of us DO.  I don't want to wait until February to find out what happens with my beloved survivors.  Let's recap the episode that will keep us all guessing for another 8 torturous weeks.

There's a new group, complete with a guy named Tyrese.  There's a little rumor/theory going around on the interwebs that The Walking Dead is only allowed to have one black dude on at a time.  When the black prisoner came into the picture, T-Dog's time was cut short.  Now it looks like Tyrese and the prisoner (apparently I still don't know his name) will be battling for who gets to stay on the show.  As this new group runs away from the zombies, they enter the prison, carrying along an injured woman.  Carl hears their screams and goes to investigate, ultimately saving them.  What's interesting when different groups run into each other is seeing how brutal some people have become, while others desperately cling to humanity.  The new group wants to treat the injured woman.  Carl wishes to throw her to the biters.

Andrea still thinks sleeping with the creepy Governor is a good choice.  I'm really beginning to hate her.  We get to revisit the Governor and his daughter.  He keeps her hidden in the wall with some sort of straightjacket on, and her face covered.  So this is what testing that old man was about.  He wants his daughter back.  He thinks she remembers him, but she just wants to eat him.  I HATE THIS GUY.

Glenn starts tearing apart the zombie corpse, and Scream King is very worried about the purpose of this.  It's okay, they're just removing bones to use as weapons.  Glenn and Maggie need to start leading the group, for real.  The prison group is still scoping out the perimeter.  I'm really incredibly interested to see what will happen when Merle and Daryl inevitably run into each other.  I feel that Merle would ditch Woodbury for the prison, but I don't think Daryl would ditch the prison for Merle.  Remember when he wouldn't sleep in a cell, because he doesn't like to be enclosed by walls?  I'm imagining the same would apply for the walls of Woodbury.

Okay, so I finally know one of the names of the prisoners, which is Axel aka Adam Banjo from The Devil's Rejects.  He's hitting on Carl's little girlfriend, and Carol shows her newfound cajones by shutting that shit down immediately.  He's all, "well Maggie's with Glenn and you're a lesbian so who else am I supposed to screw around with?"  Carol's all short hair does not = lesbian.  However, we all know she want's the Daryl D, not that of Axel.

The ensuing battle scene at Woodbury escalates quite quickly.  There are smoke bombs involved, and lots of gunfire.  What's extra interesting is that the smoke bombs prevent people from seeing the other people that they should be seeing!!  No one is aware that other previous members of their groups are traipsing about Woodbury.  Michonne gets separated from the group, but Rick doesn't care.   They find Glenn and Maggie, and they spill about Merle.  Daryl wants to talk some sense into Merle, but Rick's all, the ship has sailed on that, buddy.

Michonne is in the Governor's house and for a moment, she is very UN-MICHONNE by feeling actual empathy for what she thinks is a real child, but is the Governor's zombie daughter.  He begs Michonne to spare her, but just like that, she's back, and slices her through the head.  Also, the Governor gets some glass to the eye.  Andrea sees all the heads and the dead zombie child, and still doesn't seem to realize the Governor is BATSHIT CRAZY.  She does exhibit some sense by letting Michonne go.

The Governor looks quite frightened as he gathers everyone at the zombie Thunderdome.  He says that they have a traitor among them, and one of the "terrorist intruders."  He reveals them to be -- Daryl and Merle!!  How the fuck are they going to get out of this one??!?!?!