Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In Their Sleep


(2010)****

A woman still trying to get over the tragic loss of her son accidentally hits a boy on her way home from work. He seems to be okay so she loads him into her car and he tells her they have to hurry and go. As they take off a car comes zooming up next to them shining a flashlight in on their faces. He tells her he witnessed a burglary and now the burglar is after him. She takes him home to dress his wounds and wait it out til morning. Of course the crazy man comes and terrorizes them but things are not always as they seem.



Once again French horror produces a real winner. This film has the three t's tension, terror and twists. I can feel true sympathy for this grieving mother who is now put in a position of trying to protect yet another boy. I say boy loosely because this "kid" is more like in his late teens early 20s. I was engaged in this film from beginning to end. That's all I'm going to say because it's best to go into this one knowing very little about it. Most definitely not biddy safe but the rest of you horror aficionados will love it.

Cheap Thrills



(2013) ****

Failed writer, Craig, is in crisis. On the same day he learns that he and his wife and newborn are about to be evicted from their apartment, his boss (his wife’s father) fires him after he asks for a raise. While drowning his sorrows in a local pub he runs into a shady former friend from high school. Together the two swap stories and drink beer. After using the bathroom Craig finds Vince talking to an eccentric, very rich, married couple, Colin and Violet. Plying them with coke and expensive Scotch, Colin begins offering the two large sums of money to do stupid things (e.g. “$200 if they can get a pretty girl to slap them” etc.). Eventually Craig and Vince, now high and drunk, accept Colin’s offer to go back to the couple’s luxurious home. Colin notes that it is Violet’s birthday and he wants to give her a really good show. He informs them that he has $250,000 in his safe that he will give them if they engage in a series of degrading actions. Given that they are both down in their luck they quickly agree. It starts out innocently enough (e.g. they are given a large sum of money for shitting in Colin’s neighbor’s house) but as you might expect things get out of control quickly as the challenges become increasingly dark.



I loved this! There seems to be a new genre of horror emerging where people are rewarded for debasing themselves as entertainment for bored rich people (Didn't Homer Simpson do this for Mr. Burns once?). This had me engaged from the get go; a good cast and some very dark humor. It’s not for the squeamish but the rest of you will love watching the escalating nastiness.

The Woman in Black


2012  **1/2

Okay, first the good news.  Once he takes off the specs, Daniel Radcliffe looks different enough from You-Know-Who that he should be able to enjoy the post-Potter career he deserves -- and he's got the acting chops to deserve one, too.  The bad news is that I can't recommend The Woman in Black to you my fellows, and I'll give you the main reason in less than 15 seconds:


You're not going to be surprised when the logo forms because the title is right there, but I had a brief moment of "Ooh, this is a cool Marvel Studios-style logo, was that Raquel Welch I just saw?" and then, well, I could read it.  Sigh.

To be clear, this was actually a big hit for Hammer and they don't care what I say.  But I though TWiB conformed perfectly to their usual formula; a seriously engaging and atmospheric set-up that just never really stops setting up, so you start to notice something is missing when the movie hits the two-thirds mark, and that missing something never really appears.

The promising opening involves a Edwardian era British tea party for dolls, interrupted when all three girls look at something in the corner, then look the other way in unison and, entranced, walk to the window and calmly jump out.

Making it the most interesting doll tea party ever.

Cut to our boy Arthur Kipps, a London lawyer whose wife died in childbirth four years earlier, a loss which still very much haunts him.  Radcliffe does a good, subtle job conveying a man driven by his duty to his son even though he is still overwhelmed by grief.  This has clearly been affecting his work, because when his boss sends him off to a remote coastal village in which their rich old lady client has died, he makes it clear that it's get the job done or you're fired.  If I understand England correctly, that means within a few days he'll be a toothless gray person with an outrageous accent lurking in the dark, urban corners of Mary Poppins.

As IF.  Am I right ladies?  Rowwwrrrr!

Descibing the parts of the movie that took place back when I still liked the movie, I admit a doubt about whether I'm being overly harsh.  This doubt first came up when I read about the 1983 novella (which I wiki-spoiled for myself) and the 1989 British TV movie (which I didn't), because it's possible that the small plot differences could have saved the flick.  The gothic atmosphere is totally there, as are some very effective scenes, especially because TWiB's MO is to make children kill themselves.

But then I predictably swept aside that doubt and now present my formal objections.  I just took some cough syrup a while ago and it's totally kicking in, so I'm not promising no spoilers.  Seriously, though, you think you want to see this?  You don't.  Trust your uncle Octopunk.  Just keep reading after the warning.  It's not yet, the spoilers start after that picture below.  Don't look at it!  Did you look at it?  Aw, forget it, you might as well keep reading.

Starting below the picture, besides spoilers, is 

OCTOPUNK'S INFORMAL LIST OF HORROR MOVIE FOULS

PARTICULARLY IN THE AREA OF GHOST STORIES

PARTICULARLY AS ILLUSTRATED BY THE WOMAN IN BLACK MOVIE, THE ONE WITH HARRY POTTER IN IT

ALSO SPOILERS.  BUT IF YOU'VE READ THIS FAR YOU'RE GOING TO KEEP GOING.  IT'S GLENDA THE FUCKING GOOD WITCH!  WHERE AM I GOING WITH THIS?

This conveniently turned up on Cracked just the other day.

Item One:  Just fucking tell me already!

This can be a problem in all kinds of movies, and it comes from a very functional narrative place:  how do we keep the story going?  If there's a secret, you have to draw it out, otherwise there's no movie.  I get that.  But the gradual information flow must be achieved organically or it's instant bullshit.  

TWiB's deal is thus:  when anyone goes to the old manor in question, the one Arthur Kipps' firm is trying to sell, there's a danger they may see the titular woman in black somewhere over there.  All they have to do is see her once, and that means a child in the village will die.

When Kipps shows up he gets the traditional greeting of small villages in Hammer movies, that is everyone is surly and suspicious and shoo the children inside and clearly want him to go away immediately.   So fucking tell him!  The worst thing that could happen is he doesn't believe you and he goes anyway -- but he goes anyway because you didn't tell him anything!  And then after a kid dies he goes again!  Because you didn't tell him!

And Harry's not off the hook either.  He befriends the town rich guy who helps him out because he refuses to buy into the town's superstition, even though he lost a son himself.  At no point does our hero pull a Dorothy up there and say "So this superstitious crap that everyone in town believes I'm involved in... what is it exactly?"  Because that woulda been wicked smaht.

Item Two:  Jesus, Townspeople, just move already!

One couple has a kid who dies and then they have another one, who they lock in the basement so she can't hurt herself, which doesn't work.  Just move already!

Item Three:  Or maybe just burn down that house!

Yeah!

Item Four:  When things are there for a second and then they aren't there -- that is not automatically scary!  Do your work!

I like to think she's grabbing his butt.  I'd go for it if I were a ghost.  

Obviously the trick I'm describing can be used to tremendous effect if it's properly done, but the boilerplate attempts in this movie fall woefully flat.  I was particularly senstitive to this having watched the insufferable Insidious a week before (review pending, but you just got a one-word sneak peek).

The ending zinger was so predictable I was upset with the characters for not considering it.  Arthur Kipps' son is coming to the village with his nanny (again, something easily preventable with the right information), and Arthur thinks he placated the ghost because he never saw The Ring.  When the boy shows up Arthur says they're leaving town immediately, which is smart, but he doesn't think about the easily accessible train tracks or ever ponder what TWiB would do if she were still pissed...

The twist I didn't see is that he dies too trying to save the kid, and then their dead wife/mother is there and it's all nice and misty and nice and they walk away together.  Is that a final Fuck You from this bland, disappointing movie, or an actual good idea, turning very notion of a horror movie ending on its head?

I'm going with the Fuck You.  Because sure happy Harry can get ghost-laid or whatever, but his kid only got four years of life thanks to an angry bitch ghost.  That ain't cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Among Friends


Just look at these people, don't you want to punch every one of them.

(2012)**

Bernadette is hosting a party and only the cool people are invited. Not just any cool people only the coolest of the cool. When the coolest of the cool get invited to a party they don't just hop in the car and go they get a limo and they go in style. They all sit around the dinner table and relish in each other's awesomeness until they realize that the totally uncool Bernadette has drugged all of them and they are for the moment paralyzed from the waist down. Turns out the cool people aren't really that cool, actually there are bunch assholes who treat each other terribly and have no respect. Bernadette decides to call them out on this and play a little game which includes viewing videos of the shitty things they've done with a little torture for payback, a little scalping, a little cutting off of bodily appendages just to spice things up a bit. But hey what's wrong with a little bloodletting among friends.


Ow, that really hurt...yawn.
The premise of this film isn't bad but the acting is atrocious. I mean if a person just got partially scalped then had a nail driven through their hand I think that you might hear a little bit of a tortured inflection in their voice. At least show a little pain, this woman acted like it was just another stroll through the park. In these type of movies their should be at least one sympathetic character that you feel bad for but honestly I didn't give a shit about any of them, including the host. The only glimmer of hope was the limo driver who was played by Kane Hodder, I believe he was the only actor in the film that had anything substantial under his belt. That said, this is the second movie I've watch this season in which Kane was overtaken by a small woman and stabbed to death. He needs a better agent.

Cassadaga

 (2011)***

After the untimely death of her sister, Lily moves the quiet spiritual community of Cassadaga. She attempts to contact her sister through a séance but instead ends up being tormented by the ghost of a murder victim. She must now put the pieces of the puzzle together and find the man behind the murder so the ghost can rest and leave her at peace.


Vengeful ghost stories are nothing new they have been around for ages. The charm in these stories comes through the uniqueness of the direction. I found this film to be interesting and overall it was a pretty good watch but it relied on those quick pop up scares and such to keep you on your toes. I think that's just taking the cheaters way out of actually being scary. Ghost stories have so much potential and I find them to be much more frightening when you can't see the ghost, an invisible entity throwing things around causing harm makes the film much scarier since you never know where it is. The killers method of execution however was quite different, he turned his victim into a human marionette, see above.

Horror Express

(1972) **1/2

It was a toss between 2.5-3 stars, because of creativity!(review contains spoilers!!)--
Christopher Lee plays an anthropologist named Prof. Saxton, who goes to Manchuria with his assistant and tries to bring back the find of the century! He tells people that the crate is full of fossils making sure it is covered and locked up, as curious minds want to know what it is. As he is trying to claim his room  at a local hotel that he booked weeks ago, he comes across an old pal (Peter Cushing)Dr. Wells. As they are checking into the hotel, a thief tries to open the crate, only to become the first target of this "creature". The thief's eyes are found to be white as he is found dead by the police!

The local police know of his thievery past, and finds the professor at the hotel. This brings out the curiosity of Dr. Wells as Prof. Saxton brings the crate onto the train. Well, now the train starts bringing about the deaths of a curious(paid by Dr. wells) baggage handler who gets killed while opening the crate-so the creature gets out! Oh no!
There are a few colorful characters on this train-a lady spy, a countess, a father, and a scientist.
The professor and his assistant does an autopsy on the baggage handler to find out that his brain is completely soft and smooth, like a baby's bum! This concludes that the creature extracts knowledge from his victims through their eyes, gaining their knowledge! They just can't help staring into his beaming red eyes!
Well, a few more people die as the train goes on. Police aboard the train send a telegraph to the next train station inquiring assistance, which finally stops the train. This doesn't make the creature happy!
We find out that the creature can body jump into someone else as he kills!
This is where Telly Savalas comes into the movie, playing Captain Kazan. He responds to the police assistance aboard the train playing a jerk role, as he takes over the train! He gets his, though!
The doctor and professor find out what the creature wants and finds out that he is from another galaxy. They must destroy him!
They contact the next train cross-over and get all of the survivors to one part of the train, disconnecting the caboose that the creature is in! The caboose is thrown over a cliff and the creature burns to death!
This movie contains minimal blood, but shows a couple of foreheads being sawed during autopsies, and gross dead eye-poking to extract fluid...eeww!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Botched





(2007)

To be honest I'm not exactly sure as to what the hell I just witnessed. Described as a "horror comedy", I found the sense of humor in this Irish film to be simply bizarre.

Stephen Dorff (whom I think is just great, not sure why) plays a low level gangster eager to pay off his debt for being smuggled into the US from Russia as a child. When the perfect diamond heist gets botched (!) thanks to a dog running into traffic, his crime boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself.

Accompanied by two bickering brothers, he's sent to Moscow to steal a priceless golden cross that once belonged to Ivan the Terrible. The older brother Peter is a belligerent moron while Yuri is meek and relatively useless. This mission hits complications when his party gets trapped on the 13th floor, resulting in an unpleasant hostage situation.

The hostages - a security guard who thinks of himself a soldier, a trio of nuns, a nerd, a hot chick and a couple of others who aren't going to live very long - start getting murdered by a sadistic unknown assailant who dresses and acts like a guy who takes himself too seriously at a Renaissance Faire. The plot sound absurd but it's all explained satisfactorily. Hint: Ivan the Terrible.

I dug Botched. I probably won't watch it again anytime soon but I enjoyed the unexpected directions it took. There are some genuine horrific moments that are neutered by  amateurish special effects and one Scooby Doo-like chase.

Carrie

(2013)
***1/2
 
Carrie is a very bright, yet religious teen in middle America.  Despite her intelligence, she apparently never learned about menstruation, and is terrified when menarche hits in the locker room in front of a bunch of other senior girls.  If that timing wasn't bad enough, it gets so much worse when the group of girls just happens to be the vilest group of young ladies ever who then pelt Carrie with tampons & pads, while one of them films the assault and posts it on you tube. 
 
Once you get past this incredulous premise, the rest of the film is actually pretty good.  Chloe Mertz is a very modern Carrie, who when assaulted with her mother's fanaticism responds in a very loving, yet borderline-independent way.  It's one of the very few ways in which this film differs from the original - the '70s version has Sissy Spacek as a hapless victim of her mother and environment.  The modern Carrie is actually relatable - one can understand her rebellious responses to her mother and peers, and see that despite her resiliency, these other influences are relentless in tamping her down. 
 
Where the modern Carrie differs in terms of believability is the picture above... Really, we're expected to believe that the girl above has never been asked out on a date?  And that all the pretty girls laugh at her?  Really?  Really?

Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead

(2014)****
At this years Rock n Shock we had the pleasure of viewing a screening of Dead Snow 2. It was introduced by Derek Mears who plays Stavarin in the film. With this sequel they decided to go full on horror comedy. The laughs begin right from the opening scene as we watch Martin, the survivor from the first film fighting off Nazi zombies as he attempts to drive away. He manages to shake them off but immediately crashes his car and wakes up in the hospital with the police ready to question him about the deaths of his colleagues. Much to his dismay, he's informed by the doctor that they have reattached his arm, only trouble is the arm that was in the car wasn't his, it belonged to one of the Nazis. The arm gives him some insight as to what the Nazis are doing and he realizes they are coming down from the mountain and he must take action.


This film crosses every line that has been drawn. You know all those unspoken no-noes that you aren't supposed to do in films like killing kids or the handicapped. Not only does it cross these lines but somehow makes it laugh out loud funny when it does. It was great to watch this in a crowded room where everyone reacted the same. At times it almost took things too far to the point where it becomes a little too silly. There was also a foul unpleasantness defiling the air during the final battle. I thought at first it was the rotting zombies but stood corrected. I'm not naming names or anything but I do believe a familiar long gray haired, tattooed somebody who was sitting next to me was the source of the stench. I'm pretty sure it was him since the row behind him suddenly cleared out. I cannot fault the film for that, I do however hold some responsibility to Pizzeria Uno for not putting a warning on their rattlesnake pasta. Anyhoo, it's really a fun ride (the film not the farts) and both films are solid so I highly recommend them.

Wolf Creek 2



(2014) ***

"The following is based on actual events. 30,000 people are reported missing in Australia every year. 90% are found within a month. Some are never seen again."

Mick Taylor is back causing more mayhem in the Australian outback. This time around he is pursuing Paul who escaped his clutches after Mick brutally murders Paul’s girlfriend. Wolf Creek 2 is essentially a 90 minute chase as Mick stalks Paul across Southern Australia.



I really enjoyed the original Wolf Creek and I even gave it 4 stars, wannafightaboutit? The original was “loosely based” on “true events”, which usually means “barely” based on true events but it worked nonetheless because the fate of all the characters including homicidal Mick Taylor was unknown. The problem with sequels to slashers is that by time we get to number 2 and beyond we know that there is no way in hell that the killer is going to die. Instead we get a formulaic, paint-by-numbers affair as we are introduced to a group of characters who will be picked off one by one. Also, Wolf Creek 2 makes the egregious mistake of never allowing the protagonists to gain the upper hand even for a little while, which is why I dislike the film ‘The Strangers’. It’s no fun to watch 90 minutes of torture and murder if the protagonists never get the upper hand!


Wolf Creek 2 is analogous to the Elm street films. In the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” Freddy Krueger is downright terrifying. By time ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge’ was released Freddy was cracking jokes every time he killed someone (I need not mention my feelings about Freddy wearing sunglasses in the 5th installment). Moreover Freddy became overexposed in the sequels rendering him as frightening as a schoolgirl holding a lollypop. The original Wolf Creek took place at night and Mick’s screen time was limited as he stalked and tortured campers. Wolf Creek 2 takes place in the daytime and Mick is in almost every scene. Like Freddy K. in the sequels, Mick cracks wise throughout the film with (unfunny) observations (e.g. when Mick plucks out a human heart, he snickers, "Oh no, rip your heart out!" in thick Australian accent). It’s a shame because actor John Jarratt is terrific as Mick Taylor and the character could have become iconic. Unfortunately there is really no place to take the Mick Taylor character unless he goes to Manhattan or outer space. The greatest crime Wolf Creek 2 commits is to tarnish the original film which should have been left alone (see also, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Omen, The Exorcist…).  I struggled between a 2.5 rating or a 3.  I ultimately went with 3 because despite my misgivings this is still a highly watchable entry.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rear Window

Rear Window (1954) ***1/2

I've finally checked this one off my "to do" list. I started it once maybe 20 years ago, but it was late night, and the slow talky opening just lost me. I quit and never made it back to it. Well, this time, I stupidly did the same thing again. Started it Saturday night after my insomniac 4am viewing of Stake Land the previous night. Yet again, I found myself nodding off about 30 minutes in, so I stopped and just finished now, the next day.

Well, I know I'm in the minority, but this one for me is just "good" Hitchcock, not up there with my favorites. Technically, the set is brilliant--all those mini plays within a play in the various windows, and the whole voyeurism subtext about people wasting their lives watching other people live is smart and relevant and all. It just felt a little drawn out for what is really such a small story.

I also think I would have preferred a younger actor in Stewart's role. He looked an old 46 with all that grey hair, so his line about "I'm not ready to get married" seemed off key, and he's saying that in reference to Grace Fucking Kelly. She might not be the best actress to cast for a role in which we're expected to believe she's being rebuffed by a reluctant heterosexual man. Riiiight.

They do have a great chemistry nonetheless, and Stewart plays up that everyman charm as usual. Anyway, certainly not a miss by any stretch, and I can see what other people love about it, but I'm not sure it makes my personal Hitchcock top ten.

The Crawling Eye

Here's lookin' at you kid.
(1958) ***1/2

A mysterious radioactive cloud passes over a mountain possessing the minds of some mountaineers. The end result is a series of decapitations and the hustle to get everyone out alive before anyone else loses their head.

This is serious business you know, veeeeery serious indeed.
Oh! My! Gooooood! It saw me naked!
The Crawling Eye is a classic 50's horror film, meaning all the men wore high waisted pants and the women never put up a fight. I can imagine it being terrifying back in the 50's but now, as with most of the B films from this era, they are more amusing than horrifying. It's great to see everyone panicked and serious, running around terrified of something that is just more funny than scary. If you're a fan of these old films like I am you will love it.

The Returned

(2013)***1/2

This post zombie apocalypse film takes a completely new angle. After the second wave of infection, scientists come up with a protein based injection that can keep a person from turning if administered within the first few hours of exposure. The "returned" must take regular injections to keep the infection at bay.  Crisis commences when there is a shortage of the necessary protein and the returned begin turning. The government takes over concentration camp style herding up the returned while they race to develop a synthetic protein. Kate is a doctor who works first hand with the program, her husband Alex is one of the returned. She hides Alex to keep him out of the camp and it becomes a race against time to keep him well.


This film was less about zombies and more about the desperation of these people who were trying to hang onto their lives. It is more psychological than gore as good people begin to do things against their very nature to try and get hold of life saving doses of the protein. Within a sea of zombie films I truly appreciated this fresh and more realistic look at the aftermath of an epidemic.

The Creature Saga

Revenge of the Creature
(1955)
***
I'm baaaaaaaaaaack!
Two scientists successfully capture the Creature -- whom I have affectionately named Harold -- to bring back to a Sea World type oceanarium in sunny Florida and advertise him as The Gill-Man. There, the movie is destined for a Blackfish type storyline of sea beings protesting their incarceration by humans to further science. Harold is accessible for scientists to study but is being forced to live in isolation from the rest of his underwater friends in a fabricated setting. He is fed guppies in a cheap-looking wire cage. Patrons of the oceanarium get to stare at him and laugh through cheap glass. 
"Isn't he just co cute and helpless? Let's say you and me get some dinner, or maybe just make out while the Gill-Man looks on?"
His only solace is the company of Helen Dobson, an ichthyology student, who is kind and uninvasive unlike her biopsychologist professor Clete Ferguson, who prods him with a taser-like rod to “train” the Gill-Man like one would train a porpoise or an orca. Harold isn’t going to have any of it and finds a way to escape on a night when Helen and Clete are out dancing at a beachside club and restaurant. The plot reverts to the original Creature from the Black Lagoon and Harold abducts Helen to claim her as a hostage/potential mate, and Clete pursues him with the help of the police. 

Throughout viewing this I couldn’t help but root for Harold as he enacted his “revenge” on the humans who took him out of his natural habitat and subjected him to a series of incongruous and really stupid tests. I wonder if he had had more time with Helen he would try to communicate to her his pain and bewilderment at what her colleagues were doing to him? Would she listen to him or continue to be horrified? How might he conduct himself around Helen to show her he meant no harm to her? Unfortunately we shall never know the thought Harold’s fishy motives because he was never given a chance to express himself.


The Creature Walks Among Us 
(1956)
***
A group of scientists (who all look and speak alike) travel off the coast of Florida in pursuit of a humanoid creature attacking fisherman. Marsha is the young wife of the captain of the boat and is a thrill-seeker, not letting her controlling husband limit who she talks to or what she does -- although her spirit is admirable, her actions often get her into trouble. She accompanies two other scientists as they search for the creature, and eventually passes out from going too deep.

Their second attempt to capture Harold is successful because they douse him with lighter fluid when he invades their ship and light him on fire. His scales are burned off and in his retreat to the aquatic abode he has made for himself, nearly drowns. His metamorphosis, initiated from the fire, has left him with human skin and capable lungs that he never used before. Two of the scientists are fascinated with this and want to acclimate him to a life on land. There is, for the first time in this trilogy, a voice of reason sympathizing with Harold’s situation being ejected from his world of water and forced to live in another, but of course they just laugh it off and feed him air. Hooray for forced evolution!
The denouement of this flick was a little predictable but never really felt like there was closure on Harold’s fate. I enjoyed this movie not so much for its content but for its potential beyond the end credits. For example, Harold could take on the surname Gilman (a nod to his moniker in Revenge of the Creature), decide he must live among the monsters who made him this way -- humans -- and get a day job. I am so working on a comic strip of this right now.

I, Monster

(1971) **1/2


Another one of my Mr. Lee/Mr. Cushing reviews!
This is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde movie made in the 70's. I think I'm getting the hang of the British accents, finally. Very proper and distinguished gentlemen star in this one, where Lee plays Dr. Marlowe who invents a drug that reacts differently on each animal he experiments on. He tries his drug on willing patients and also gets different results. One man goes from a mad business man into a sniveling man and a lady goes from distinguished normal to getting  the doctor into bed!
Dr. Marlowe then tries it on himself, noticing how he changes from a distinguished gentleman to a happy psycho! He likes being the happy psycho and hurting people and rents a room, away from his own house. He is making a separate personality for himself. His butler even thinks they are two different people! The more he takes, the uglier he transforms on the outside!
Yup! Hi there!
 
The only person that has a clue that the hyde character might be the doctor is Utterson, played by Peter Cushing. He confronts Dr. Marlowe about this other person-ality named Mr. Blake. The doctor reassures him that Mr. Blake was a bad business man and will not be doing business with him anymore. But the doctor needs his drug and realizes that he must get rid of Utterson. There is a fight between them that involves a small fire that kills the doc, then we see him going from Mr. Blake to Dr. Marlowe.
For a movie made in 1971, good transformation at the end!
 



American Mary

(2012) ***


Poor little Mary Mason...She just wanted to make extra cash so she could turn her phone back on!
I gave this three stars because of the lead actress Katharine Isabelle-that's Ginger, from Ginger Snaps! Yay! Even though I nodded off for a few minutes due to tiredness, this movie wasn't boring at all.
Well, Mary has been going to college to become a surgeon but her finances are slacking. She calls her grandmother to keep borrowing money but decides to go find a job.
She brings her resume, yes resume, to a strip club in town. The owner Billy Barker takes a look at her resume, inquiring about her career to become a surgeon. Just as that is happening, one o his bodyguards comes running in yelling about a dying dude. Billy offers her to make $5000 if she can fix him right then and there. She is hesitant, but thinks about the money and goes for it.
Mary goes home and freaks out a bit and receives a not-so-friendly phone call from her professor about missing a class.
She ends up going to class and turns her cell phone back on with the cash she has just made. She gets a phone call from a woman named Beatress who ends up stalking Mary until she can talk to her in person about her request for plastic surgery..even showing up to Mary's school!

                                           This is Beatress BEFORE the surgery..
When the money offered is too good to pass, Mary accepts. Beatress then sets Mary up with another one that wants plastic surgery..
                                   I know someone who is married to a girl that looks like this!
So, Mary is making lots of money and continues classes until she is invited to a special invite party by her professor. She gets all dolled up and excited for this special party! As soon as she walks in, she is offered a drink-uh oh! As she is mingling around the party, the camera pans around the room as you see men masturbating to a naked woman. Suddenly, Mary gets woozy and lies down on a bed down the hall . The professor comes in with a video camera and films his wrong doings with Mary. She wakes up in the morning, rushes over t the strip club and pays the owner to kidnap the professor! He then becomes her practice model for her plastic surgeries! (awesome revenge)
Well, the disappearance of the professor bring the police around, but Mary plays ignorant. She goes back to the strip bar to let Billy know about the interests of the police as a warning. She doesn't realize that Billy keeps day dreaming about her and worships her. Oh well..
The movie comes to an ending soon..but I don't want to give it away!
I'll just say that Mary has developed her skills in sewing!

Dead Snow 2 (Red vs Dead)

(2014) ****

Catfreek and I watched this screening at Rock N Shock-introduced by Derek Meers!

Over the top hilarious! Yes I gave it four stars because of the creativity, but only four because of the ridiculousness of a few situations. It's a must see after you watch the first one, even though they bring you up to date in the first five minutes. Filmed in Norway again-in English :)
So Martin from the first one, survives the attack and gets away only to be brought to a hospital with a missing arm. The hospital assumes the zombie arm(Herzog's) found in his car is his, and attaches it on hm. Meanwhile, the Zombie leader Herzog has Martin's arm attached to him. Well Martin didn't know that his new arm has special powers that help him throughout the movie!
 If you've seen the first one, you'd remember a little dorky guy named Roy-Well, he shows up as a different character in this sequel. He's easy to recognize under the eyeliner! duh...
 His arm goes crazy killing almost everyone it touches. He is also being blamed for all of his friends that were killed in the first one! While he is in the hospital, a little boy takes a picture of his new awesome arm and sends it to a Zombie Squad in America. Yeah, these guys..
 
So, they come and help save the day with all of their nerdy wisdom! They ask Martin to find out what the zombies are after. Martin goes to their WWII museum and find that they were given a mission from Hitler, which got them killed in the first place-but they must complete their mission!
Martin finds out that their mission was interrupted by the Russians, so he must use his special arm the raise the dead Russians!

This is when the killings get awesome and ridiculous, but so worth the watch! Blood everywhere, local police are confused, locals being butchered in their homes, and funny ladies in wheelchairs trying to get away! I don't want to give away  the ending, so here is the trailer...
Dead Snow 2

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Canal



(2014) 3 Gretchens

Film archivist David and his beautiful, pregnant wife Alice move into their dream home.  Five years later, David becomes aware that Alice's affections might be drifting, and also discovers that the house has a very grim history.

Argh, could have been excellent, but lost me at the end.  Overall a well-acted and interesting twist on haunted house, with suspense and ambiguity over whether mental illness or the supernatural is responsible.  I do think some will like this better than I did so if it's on your list, proceed.

13 Sins



(2014) 4 Gretchens

Passive Elliot loses his job at the worst possible time: he is about to get married, his girlfriend is pregnant, and he is responsible for his mentally challenged brother and aging father.  When his cell phone rings and a cheerful voice offers him the opportunity to take on a variety of increasing challenges for increasing payments, Elliot thinks this is the answer to his problems.  Of course, we know better.

One of the finds of this year's Horrorthon, thanks to Catfreeek! There is a definite streak of black humor, the challenges ramp sharply in intensity and seriousness, and Elliot's responses to the challenges ring true. Not a dull moment throughout. I think everyone on the blog should at least consider checking it out!