Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Walking Dead Episode 11 "I Ain't a Judas"

Reunited and it feels so good!  Much of the original crew is back together, which means they are arguing nonstop about what steps to take next.  Herschel calls Rick out for "slipping."  Good on you, Herschel.  Carl also encourages Rick to "step down" as the leader.  He says that Herschel and Daryl can handle things, and I agree!

Meanwhile, Andrea is STILL in freakin' Woodbury.  And arguing with the Governor.  He says if she goes to the prison, she should stay there.  YES, do that.  It would be the best decision you've made in a while.

Some people want Merle to stay, but Glenn thinks they should use him as a bargaining chip and just go pass him off to the Governor.  Herschel has a heart-to-heart with Merle, which is just an odd pairing.  They trade bible verses.

Meanwhile Andrea wants to go to the prison and initiate some sort of truce.  She wants Milton to sneak her out.  She should know she can't trust that dork, and he runs and tells the Governor like 5 seconds later.  The Governor encourages Milton to help Andrea "escape" from Woodbury.  She's taking a page from Michonne's book and getting herself a zombie pet.  And she runs into the people Rick kicked out of the prison!

Michonne is doing push ups, and Merle thinks it's a good time for a chat.  Those poor people that got kicked out of the prison and are now headed for Woodbury, where they'll likely become soldiers for the Governor.  They just can't catch a break.  Andrea approaching the prison with her zombie on a leash is pretty badass though.  Rick has ZERO patience for Andrea and her antics.  She tries to explain that a war is about to start, and they're all BRING IT.

The Governor uses the new group's niceness to spread his lies.  And they spill the story about their time at the prison.  They're also willing to tell them about the layout of the prison, probably most notably the breach.  Everyone hates Andrea except for Carol, who lets her hold the baby.  Carol fills her in on what she's missed.  Carol also suggests that Andrea should run off and be a tiger in bed with the Governor and then kill him in his sleep!  Way to go Carol!!!  I love this idea.  Of course it's probably not really going to work since the Gov knows that she went back to the prison anyway via tattletale Milton.

Andrea returns to the Governor, and tells him the truth.  WTF.  She plays right into the "you belong here" nonsense, and looks ready to follow through with Carol's plan.  YES.  Meanwhile, at the prison, things kinda suck, and once again, Beth takes this as her cue to sing.  This seems to cheer up Merle of all people.  Rick is going on a run with Michonne and Carl.   But to where?

Andrea stands above the Governor and does not fucking kill him!  I feel stupid for liking her for like five minutes.  Until next week!

The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 10 "Home"

Last time on The Walking Dead: Rick is seeing dead Lori in a wedding dress, the group is super-weak, Daryl went bye-bye, and a war with Woodbury is about to begin!

Crazy Rick is dragging some pallets around and creeping on people through binoculars.  Also maybe looking for walkers, but spotting Lori in a wedding dress.  Someone get a straitjacket.  Also, earth to the Walking Dead writers, this ghost Lori storyline is already getting old.  Drop it, plz.  Did you owe Sarah Wayne Callies some screentime or something?

Michonne's looking at Rick kissing his ghost wife, and thinking, I need to be the new leader up in this bitch.  I may be a little temperamental, but at least I'm not traipsing around chasing ghosts.  Andrea and the Governor are back chatting.  OMG find a new man!  He promises no retaliation against the prison, but I don't believe him for a second.  Andrea wants to see her friends.  The Governor starts a diatribe about "getting himself together."  He wants Andrea to be a temporary Governor or something?!  Whattttttt.

Daryl and Merle are hunting, but it's not going very well.  Merle is being a douchecanoe as usual, and Daryl is already missing the prison.  Merle has no desire to look in houses for food and supplies, thinking hunting is the only way.  The prison group is trying to figure out where the security breach is.  Glenn wants to grab Michonne and go put a bullet in the Governor's head.  Glenn puts the smack down -- explaining that they can't go on the road again with a crying baby and Herschel missing one leg.  He also thinks Rick is in no place to make decisions.  THANK YOU GLENN.

He and Carl set off to fix the breach, and he puts Michonne in charge upstairs.  Good call, Glenn.  Meanwhile, the Governor talks to his dorky assistant.  This season is a contest for how often characters can say the word "loyalties."

Holy crap, the prison is overrun again by zombies, and it's only a matter of time before they breach their safe little area.  Meanwhile, Rick is nowhere to be found, and Glenn is totally taking charge.  Him and Maggie are still fighting though, which sucks.  Once again, miscommunication is a problem with this group.  Also, I totally think Carol and Axel are banging.

Daryl and Merle are still hunting when Daryl hears a baby.  It turns out to be a group of people being overrun by walkers.  Merle doesn't want to help, since he's a miserable bastard who hates everyone, but Daryl goes running to the rescue.  YES!  BADASS DARYL back in action.  Kill with the hatchback was the best death I've seen on Walking Dead in a while.  Too bad the people they saved don't speak English.  Merle wants an enchilada.  Daryl has had absolutely ENOUGH of Merle's shit.  He says that Merle asked for his hand cut off due to being such an asshole.  "You lost your hand because you're a simple minded piece of shit."  AWESOME.

OMG, apparently Merle and Daryl were supposed to be robbing the camp when they met up with the group?!  Holy crap.  It seems like years of frustration with Merle, starting from when he walked away when his father was beating on him.  Now he just feels like he's a terrible person, and Daryl wants to go back where he belongs.  LOTS of emotion coming from Daryl.  Great performance.

Meanwhile, where the hell is Rick?  Oh, still wandering around.  I guess the writers are aiming for this Rick thing to be super serious, but I'm just finding it really funny.  Hopefully he'll go take a nap in the grass since Herschel can't convince him to come in.

And the bullets are flying from the Governor!  Guess that promise about no retaliation meant nothing.  And poor Carol!  She loses YET another man in her life, and has to use his body as a shield.  OMG zombie dropoff.  OMG mysterious lady in a bulletproof suit.  OMG Daryl and Merle saving the day.  OMG Michonne and her katana.  I'm literally jumping up and down on the couch and high-fiving Scream King.  I hope the next ep brings everyone back together like a big happy family!!!

The Walking Dead Season Three - Episode 9 - "The Suicide King"

I've fallen a little behind on my Walking Dead recaps, sadly!  But tonight, I'm skipping the Oscars (obviously) and catching up in one fell swoop!  Thank goodness that AMC always plays old episodes before the new ones.

When we left off at the end of last season, Merle and Daryl were locked in a fight to the death.  I was really worried about where Daryl's loyalties would lie, with the group or with Merle.  It seems like he just has a ridiculous attachment to Merle, no matter what an asshat he is.

So much of the confusion on this show is due to miscommunication.  Like Andrea should step up and help Daryl more, but she's all butthurt because she thinks they left her behind at the farm.  But of course they thought she was eaten.  Daryl and Merle stage a sweet getaway and take off with the prison group, while Andrea stays behind like the dipshit she has become.

OMG DARYL WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE?!?!  You were my favorite!  Now my only favorite is Glenn.  Glenn is pissed that Rick didn't kill the Governor, but Rick says Daryl was a priority.  Daryl who is now gone.  A light bulb finally goes off in Andrea's head and she discovers that all her friends are alive and were right there in Woodbury.  Should have got while the gettin' was good, blondie.  Everyone in Woodbury is going nuts, and the Governor is right along with them. They want answers, and the Governor is not about to provide them.  But Andrea is more than happy to wax poetic.

Rick and the crew return to the jail, and the visitors finally catch a glimpse of who is going to decide their fate.  Why is Rick still making all the fucking decisions?  That is starting to annoy me.  Also, his baby doesn't even know him, and probably thinks the blonde teenager is her mom.

"You're like my own son, Glenn."  Herschel has done a HUGE turnaround over the last 6 months or whatever.  Clearly Maggie can't tell her dad that she was violated, but he knows something is up. 

Once again, miscommunication destroys EVERYTHING on this show.  Rick is super delirious after all the craziness at Woodbury, and seeing his baby and stuff.  Also, he's probably losing his shit, considering he took fake phone calls for like an entire day not too long ago.  He spots Lori on the rafters, wearing a freakin' wedding dress! W.T.F.  He starts screaming at her to go away, which of course everybody reads as being directed towards the new arrivals at the jail.  They race away as Rick fully goes bananas.

It's this time that we really need to evaluate how weak the prison group had gotten, especially with the forthcoming "war" against the General.  Literally they have a couple girls, a pre-teen, a wishy-washy convict, a crazy dad, a one legged man, and a freakin' BABY.  Their ONLY salvation is Glenn and Maggie.  They're kicking Michonne out too!  I'm really hoping that those people didn't go far, and that Herschel is able to hobble after them and beg them to come back. 

Madison County (2011)

Literally all I've heard is bad things about this movie.  I really didn't even know what it was about, but bad opinions abound.  Today, I've been on a blogging roll, and I had under 1.5 hours before I have to leave for the grocery store, so I decided to give this flick and try and get it booted from my instant queue.

Real original plot -- a group of college students travels into a backwoods town to investigate some murders.  It's a pretty hodgepodge group, including a hot Asian and a nerdy guy who are secretly dating, the douchecanoe that planned this trip, the Asian's brother who hates everyone, and the requisite hot blonde.  When they go to a diner, people stare.  A guy says he reckons they shouldn't take a picture of his truck.  A seemingly sweet old lady gives them directions that are clearly bullshit.

They don't want to "waste the trip" so they all split up and go randomly wandering around.  They are tempted by everything ranging from a room full of junk to s swimmin' hole full of naked ladies.  And then, of course, there's a murderer in a pig mask. Not only should they have let that trend die around the time of Motel Hell but I think the Saw franchise beat it to death as well.

As the assault of the pig-man continues, they all desperately want to get help, but it's so difficult when the town is dead-set on protecting their resident serial killer.  This is pretty much ripped from the Texas Chainsaw playbook, right down to the old lady behind the counter at the general store, to the slow-witted killer that no one can seem to stop.

Madison County just really didn't have any redeeming qualities.  It was basically wander around and get killed.  No suspense, no real backstory, one-dimensional characters that bored me to death.  And while I appreciate a faceless killer as much as the next horror fan, let's at least give the guy SOME sort of personality or reason for killing.  I'd give this one a pass.

Grave Encounters (2011)

After Paranormal Activity was released, there seemed to be a never-ending stream of shaky-cam movies involving possession and ghosts.  None really lived up to their inspiration, or their predecessor, The Blair Witch Project.  Grave Encounters had the things I loved about Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity, with a little Yellow Brick Road thrown in.  Readers of my blog know that there are a couple things I don't love in horror movies -- copious jump scares and weird mutating faces.  This has a little bit of both, but I will abide it for the other things I liked about this flick.

Grave Encounters is a combination "found footage"/shaky cam movie about a group of twenty-somethings making a "Ghost Hunters"-type show.  Although they filmed an awesome trailer/pilot, they seem to making a joke out of the whole thing, since they've never really even seen anything paranormal.  Their assignment for "episode 6" is the Collingswood Psychiatric Hospital, which has one of those standard backstories about patient abuse and a bunch of lobotomies.  The group makes a big show of the caretaker locking them in there overnight, and they set up all of their equipment.

They wander around the hospital laughing about the lack of any ghosts or presences, but their attitudes soon change.  What starts out as a slammed door and a wobbling wheelchair turns into a full-on paranormal assault.  Not only were there actual ghosts to be seen (like the picture above) but there were also some really great creepy touches, like the medical bracelets, spoiled food, blocked fire exit, and reversed front door.  The entire asylum turns into a massive time warp/maze, making the film crew lose their grip as the hours go by.

I really liked this movie.  I appreciated how they portrayed the slow breakdown of the group, and effects weren't half-bad either.  It definitely provided that eerie, creepy vibe, eschewing the corniness that often accompanies the "found footage" genre.  I'm imagining that Grave Encounters 2 might totally jump the shark, but I will check it out for curiosity's sake.  But this is a fun, scary watch, and available on Netflix instant.      

Bereavement (2010)

It's a lazy Sunday here in the Scream Queen household.  Scream King has brought home a ton of work, and is holed up in the bedroom with noise-canceling headphones on.  I have a huge cross-stitch project to work on, and of course, an endless supply of horror movies to watch.  The reason I heard about Bereavement was actually after watching the trailer for Chained, which is actually next up on my Netflix DVD queue.  Reviews on IMDB compared it to Bereavement, and since the latter is available on Netflix instant, I thought I'd give it a shot while waiting for Chained to arrive.

I was excited to hear Michael Biehn is in this movie.  There's something maniacally sexy about him, kinda like Bill Moseley.  Unfortunately in this movie, he plays an overbearing, annoying uncle, when he would have been much better cast as the serial killer.  It also took me pretty much the whole movie to figure out why this was called Bereavement.  I guess it's because the girl who comes to live with her uncle is grieving her parents.  Or the serial killer is mourning his dad?  I'm not sure.

The plot is, that a girl, Allison (Alexandra Daddario) comes to live with her Uncle Jon (Biehn) and Aunt Karen (Kathryn Miesle) after the death of her parents.  She's not too psyched about having to live with a new family, especially in a boring rural area.  But she soon perks up as she meets William (Nolan Gerard Funk -- what a name!) and starts seeing him.   Overbearing Uncle Jon is not thrilled, but he really should be focusing on the serial murderer living in their midst.

Meanwhile, in a nearby abandoned slaughterhouse, Graham (Brett Rickaby) kidnapped a little boy, Martin (Spencer List) several years prior.  He has spent this time schooling the boy in the wonderful world of torture and murder.  There seems to be some sort of reason that Graham is compelled to kill, but it's never quite explained.  He spends a lot of time talking to a cow head, which seems to be some sort of twisted representation of his deceased father.  There's lots of screaming, stabbing, and killing...and of course, the monologues with the cow skull.

I really didn't think this movie was horrible.  It wasn't was just average.  The cinematography/scenery was beautiful, the storyline was interesting, and the little boy was suitably creepy.  But it just kind of dragged a bit, and there was never really any explanation for the murders, or why the dude felt compelled to teach the kid.  Apparently this is a prequel to the movie Malevolence so I will have to check that out as a follow up.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

House at the End of the Street (2012)

I'm kind of in love with Jennifer Lawrence lately.  The Hunger Games was awesome, and she's just so pretty and not skeleton thin and just all around fabulous.  And does Elisabeth Shue ever age?  Seriously, she looks like she just stepped off the set of Adventures in Babysitting.

I originally thought this was a remake, but maybe I'm just confusing it with movies of similar titles.  Scream King says that you should just skip to the last 30 minutes of this movie, since that was the only cool part.  Well, it was definitely the best part, but I don't know if I'd advise skipping the majority of the movie.   It's gotten pretty mediocre reviews across the board, but I thought it was decent, especially compared to a lot of current crap being put out.

The premise is nothing incredibly new.  A teenager, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her newly-divorced mom, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) are renting a house very cheaply in a new town.  The reason they are able to get it for such a great price?  Oh, no big deal, just that a young girl killed her parents in the place next door.  Elissa discovers that the girl's brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot) is still living in the home, fixing it up and preparing to sell.

Elissa is attracted to Ryan's sensitivity and broodiness, like many teenage girls are.  But the townspeople are less than welcoming to Ryan, believing that the house is dragging down their property values.  The more Sarah tries to keep Elissa away from Ryan, the more attracted she becomes.  Meanwhile, it seems like Ryan is keeping a little secret in the basement...

This movie had a couple of fun little twists, nothing that we haven't seen before, but they work here.  There were a couple of odd plot holes, like the presence of a key when a door was set to lock from the outside.  And some little side-stories that I didn't care about, like Elissa's band or whatever.  So nothing groundbreaking here, but all in all, I'll say I liked it. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bloody Mary by J.A. Konrath

For a while, I was completely obsessed with Jack Kilborn/J.A. Konrath.  When I read Endurance, Afraid, and Trapped I could not get enough of his stories.  I played around with reading the Jack Daniels mysteries for a while, and even wrote a review on Stirred.  In addition to loving J.A. Konrath, I also have an affair with the free Kindle books section on Amazon, so when Bloody Mary appeared there this week, I thought I'd give it a read.

As mentioned before, I just can't picture the character Jack Daniels.  It's driving me nuts.  In the intro, Konrath promised that this book would not have a ton of gratuitous violence. Well, there's still a good amount of violence and even some necrophilia, but I guess it's tame for Konrath.

Bloody Mary is the story of a guy who is chopping up prostitutes and arranging with a creepy dude to creatively dispose of the parts.  This mystery man gets debilitating headaches which can only be alleviated by murder.  Understandable.  As a young model turns up missing, Jack and her partner Herb are on the case. They expertly dig through evidence and find clues, ending (you think!) in quite the public standoff.  But what should be the "end" is actually only half the book, as the twist leads to another winding plot.

I definitely liked this book, and burned through it in two days, having a hard time putting it down.  The one thing I did not love about this particular story was the Jack Daniels personal backstory.  I just did not get her little love triangle, or the decisions she made.  The mom was an interesting character addition, as was the cat.  Although, I would be interested to know if Konrath has ever actually spent more than 5 minutes with a cat.  They would never wear a diaper in a million years, they don't drink milk, and even the meanest cat I've ever known has never latched itself on someone's head multiple times!

As for this book, it's a fun quick read,  and still free on Kindle as of this moment! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Excision (2012)

I love AnnaLynne McCord, ever since her days playing Eden Lord, a complete and total crazypants on Nip/Tuck.  She actually was in a horror movie before that, Day of the Dead, but I seem to have forgotten that.  The thing about Anna Lynne is that she is quite beautiful, albeit runway-skinny, but Excision managed to make her look like a straight-up troll.

Freaky imagery and jittery people a la Japanese horror really freak me out, so I can tell from the start that this flick is going to give me the willies.  Pauline (McCord) is an outcast, at both school and home.  Her mom (Traci Lords) and dad (Roger Bart) are at odds and constantly arguing.  Her sister, Grace (Ariel Winters) is her antithesis, always looking perfectly put together and browsing bridal magazines while she emulates popular girls at school.  She also has cystic fibrosis, which plays an increasing role throughout the film.  A couple of other random appearances in this movie -- John Waters plays a minister, and Malcom McDowell plays a math teacher. 

Although Pauline is obviously awkward, she certainly isn't a wallflower.  She insults popular girls, and propositions guys for sex, which she wishes to have while on her period.  She dreams of being a surgeon, and in her dreams, she is beautiful, powerful, and often blood-soaked.  Especially when banging this poor guy when he doesn't know she's on her period. You don't lie to a dude about that.  

Pauline falls deeper into her self-obsession and random destructiveness -- chucking food at her mom, carving a cross into her skin, puking on girls at school, and just being a general douchecanoe.  But within all her weird behavior, she seems to have an ulterior motive that she wishes to be for the better.

It's hard to say how I felt about this movie.  It was interesting and visually arresting, and the acting was impressive.  The ending was probably the best part of the movie, and kind of came out of nowhere despite Pauline's batshit craziness throughout.  As much as I loved the ending, the movie lost me kinda halfway through and I spent about 20 minutes feeling sort of pukey and wishing it would be over.  So I was kind of 50/50 on this whole thing.  The freaky imagery and overall story was cool, but it just sort of dragged in the middle and got annoying and overly gross at points.  Interested to see what others thought of this. 

"Your vagina looks like a diseased axe wound."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

I feel like it's a really fun fact to know that Paul Rudd's big screen debut was in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, also known as Halloween 6 and Halloween 666.  But instead of being known for the premiere of Paul Rudd's sexiness (he would follow this movie up with the much-more-popular Clueless) the sixth installment of the Halloween franchise was plagued with reshoots, horrible editing, and everyone hating everyone by the end of the production.

The first crappy decision I noticed about this movie is that someone else is playing THE Jamie Lloyd, not Danielle Harris.  Apparently they refused to pay her the $5K she asked for the movie, so they replaced her with J.C. Brandy.  NOT COOL.  Basically, it's several years after Jamie Lloyd's disappearance with Michael, and she has been impregnated, and is giving birth in some sketchy basement.  She attempts escape, running to a bus station and calling a local radio station (?!?!) begging Doctor Loomis for help.  Hmmm, a deserted bus station...probably not the best place to be safe from Michael Myers. Anddd, adios Jamie.  If you were Danielle Harris, maybe you would have lived.

Meanwhile, a new family has moved into the old Myers house.  Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd!), the kid that Laurie babysat in the original Halloween, is living across the street, and is a little crazypants.  He is convinced that Michael still walks the earth, and is quite excited when he hears Jamie Lloyd on the radio.  This compels him to track her to the bus station, where apparently no one has noticed that there is BLOOD EVERYWHERE, and a baby in a closet in the bathroom.  No worries, though, because Tommy will just take care of the baby.

The woman that lives in the Myers house with her mean parents is Kara, and she has a creepy kid named Daniel.  When her mom finds out that they are living in the Myers house so close to Halloween, she flips and moves out.  The dad just gets drunk.  Kara takes her kid and holes up with Tommy.  Dr. Loomis tries to help, but his involvement is a bit choppy.  Apparently much of this is due to the fact that the director of this installment found Donald Pleasance's scenes "boring" and cut a lot of them.

Surrounding this story is a druid-like cult, who are apparently somehow involved with Michael Myers, and some associated children.  They also perform surgeries.  The cult part really confused me and I was having a hard time keeping track with what was going on with that.  The standard Michael-stalking-and-people-dying ensues, and we're set up for another sequel, because, come on, we can't wrap up the Halloween franchise without the return of Jamie Lee, and the addition of Tyra Banks and LL Cool J. 

The Descent Part 2 (2009)

I mean, who didn't love The Descent?  Awesome concept, great execution, all-around badass movie.  As with many horror movies these days, it was left open for a sequel at the end with (SPOILER!) one girl (Sarah) escaping and leaving her maybe-alive, husband-banging friend (Juno) behind. 

When Sarah escapes and is taken in by authorities, she's finding it hard to explain why she doesn't remember anything about the last few days, and is covered in her friend's blood.  Meanwhile, rescue teams are searching the surrounding caves, to no avail, and desperately need Sarah to help them locate her missing friends.  The Sheriff's theory seems to be that Sarah killed all her friends in the cave and is now kinda losing her shit.

In an attempt to "jog her memory," they have Sarah join the rescue team at an old mine entrance that a dog has sniffed out.  She stills remembers nothing, so is pretty freaked out to start traipsing around in a cave again.  She sees a "crawler" but the other members of the team think she's just paranoid.  They push on, but predictably get separated, and the crawlers begin to close in.  No one seems to be listening to Sarah about the fact that they can HEAR but NOT SEE, and they all keep screaming as loudly as possible whenever they get the chance.

Much like Part 1, it then becomes a fight against the creatures, although this time we get treated to a rat climbing out of someone's mouth, and also a crawler pooping on two poor girls that are also apparently swimming in poop.  Yum.  The ending once again leaves it open for a Descent 3, which was never in the works as far as I can tell.

This flick was okay, but doesn't even come close to the creativity, action, and creepiness of the original movie.  Of course, that awesomeness isn't available on Netflix instant, but this is.  That seems to be Netflix's new jam...making random sequels available for instant watching, but never featuring the original/better movies.