Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review Bomb!

Hey gang! So is Horrorthon over, or what? According to the rules we worked out last year, all the reviews should have been written by the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which was obviously a couple of days ago. But Cat's the only one to actually wrap things up and I suspect there might be other reviews out there still to be written. It feels like a lot of us have been swamped by pesky old Real Life (I know I have), and with Xmas coming up it would be nice for some closure.

Unfortunately, I still have fifteen (fifteen!) reviews I haven't written yet. So here they all are, in a short, loose, machine-gun fashion. Ideally I want to come back to all these flicks and give them the full treatment, but I thought it would be best to 1) at least get them in before November is over, and 2) possibly catalyze a bit of Best-Ofs action from the lot of you. Is this mike on?

Here we go...

Species 1995 ***

Ben Kingsley hires some alien hunters and yells at them for not adequately fixing his gaping failures. Also boobs.

Martyrs 2008 *****

Many things about this movie will blow your mind, not the least of which is that almost all of it takes place in the same house. I plan a spoil-everything review so the biddies can see what the fuss is all about.

Frankenstein Conquers the World 1965 ****

One of my top five favorite Toho kaiju flicks, with a cool creepy premise and the best best BEST alternate ending of any movie ever. I may have to buy a copy of this dvd to adequately illustrate my point.

War of the Gargantuas 1968 ***

Sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World with more hair (the dude on the left in this picture is supposed to be the same dude on the left from the picture above). Also stars Russ Tamblyn, the weird shrink from Twin Peaks.

The Earth Dies Screaming 1964 *1/2

Snoozy British C-movie that nobody remembers and nobody should.

Severance 2006 ****

Just as funny and good as 50PageMcGee said it was.

The H-Man 1958 ***1/4

Atomic blob people stalk the Tokyo underworld. Better blob effects than The Blob.

Attack the Block 2011 *****

Absolutely brilliant. Don't listen to Tami.

Alien Vs Predator 2004 ***1/2

Given the reviews leading up to this, you'd think this movie would piss me off, but it's actually pretty good.

Alien Vs Predator Requiem 2007 **

Ah, there it is -- this movie pisses me off enough for two movies, maybe more. Terrible.

Pitch Black 2000 *****

Holy crap do I love me some Pitch Black.

Event Horizon 1997 *1/2

I've never been able to stand this movie and now I've seen it three times. Someone will pay.

Predators 2010 ***3/4

Despite Adrien Brody doing a Batman husky voice, this flick is pretty decent.

Critters 1986 ***

Late 80s goremedy with Dee Wallace bringing her A game, god bless her. Also, Neelix gets killed.

Prometheus 2012 **1/2

Same batch of idiots you remember from a few months ago, doing the same idiotic stuff, marring what could have been another classic Ridley Scott movie.

Ka-BAM! I'll let that sit for a day or two and then hit you up with some Best Ofs. Hope to see some of you guys here.

Hugh Jackman in Talks For ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

From slashfilm, One of the key characters in the Days of Future Past comic book storyline (as was the case in most of the big X-Men stories in the early ’80s) was Wolverine. And so it seemed inconcievable that Bryan Singer would make the First Class sequel (or is it an X-Men bridge movie?) without bringing in Hugh Jackman. Remember that it was Singer who cast Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in the first place, angering fans who wanted to see a pint-sized dude with claws, as per the original comic book version of the character. People were angry, that is, until they saw Jackman in action and he won everyone over.

So, now that Singer has not only the First Class cast ( James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult) but ‘classic’ X-Men actors Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart on board, the next guy in line had to be Jackman. And now he’s set.

THR reports that Jackman is in talks, without any details of how big his role in the film will be. Let’s hope it isn’t as minor as his First Class cameo (above). Given that a slightly aged Wolverine is one of the important characters in the alternate future timeline of the classic story, Jackman could get to play dual roles in the film.

So who’s next? Famke Janssen? This film needs a Kitty Pryde; what do you think the chances are that Singer will try to bring back Ellen Page, who played the character in X-Men: The Last Stand? Since there have already been multiple big-screen versions of the character, a new actress taking the gig wouldn’t be a big deal.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not A Bad Idea!: Heroes Of Science Action Figures

From geekology, Note: Larger version HERE, but be sure to check out the artist's site for a full-res version. He also explains his criteria for inclusion and why there's only one woman, no Bill Nye, etc.

"This is a series of conceptual action figures based on famous scientists by DeviantARTist datazoid. They would all look great locked in an epic battle on my living room floor. *imagines Tesla shooting a lightning gun at Einstein while Hawking backs over Schrödinger's face in his wheelchair*"

These little guys took between 40 minutes and 2 hours each, totaling around 50 hours of work.
The figures are all based on Star Trek: TNG and Star Trek: DS9 figures (primarily Odo from DS9, and Picard as Dixon Hill from TNG), and have been heavily modified in Photoshop using Liquify and a great deal of digital painting. Unfortunately, the figures aren't real. I wish they were.
Great job, I think the only thing they're missing are some SWEET ACCESSORIES. Every action figure needs accessories! Obviously, Schrödinger would come with a cat. And Jacques Cousteau -- he could have a submarine playset add-on! Oh God I could just think about this stuff all day.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

American Horror Story

I believe I'm the first to bring up this series on the blog and I am wondering how many of you are watching it. As season 2, The Asylum, is in full swing I once again find myself drawn into what has got to be one of the edgiest TV series' I've ever seen. One of the most unique and intelligent things about AHS is the decision to make the second season a whole new story. When season one, involving a couple moving into a notoriously haunted murder house, wrapped up it seemed final and I thought okay where is this going to go? Then season two comes out with Asylum and it is fantastic. A few of the actors from season one are carried over (Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson) but in entirely different roles. If you are not watching then let me recommend it to you, season one is now available on Netflix. Great stuff, I love it when horror breaks into the mainstream.

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's a SpongeBob Christmas airs tonight!

Hey gang! This airs on CBS tonight at 9:30! They also shot some bumpers with the live actor Patchy the Pirate talking to you from "on set," and I might be in the background. Even without the my ego-feeding part, the special is awesome. Tune in!

Edit: I completely forgot to mention that, although this premieres tonight, it's been available on dvd at Target etc. for a couple of weeks. Apparently it was "quietly" released for reasons having to do with shelf space. It's only ten bucks, and the pineapple house I made is on the cover!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, you beautiful freaks!

Alien: Resurrection

1997 **

And so a once-iconic franchise goes careening straight off the rails.

I love director Jean-Pierre Jeunet. I think he's a visual genius and both Delicatessen and Amelie would easily appear on a list of my 50 favorite movies. But the franchise's genre-jumping experiment begun by James Cameron takes an even sharper misstep this time, because the world really didn't need the French art-house Alien movie.

For exhibit A I present Dan Hedaya's crossed eyes. He's the head honcho of the Auriga, a military research spaceship on which they have successfully cloned Ripley and the Alien Queen she was carrying, using Ripley's blood samples extracted in the previous film. The clone retains some of Ripley's memories, and Dan Hedaya receives this news with his face all up in the camera and his eyes googling thusly.

"That's very nice about the clones and everything but I think I'm having a stroke..."

It's not a mystery, it's just part of Jeunet's style to find actors with dramatically contoured faces and exploit that quality, in order to invoke the ubiquitous Sad Clown of Life. That's why he keeps hiring Ron Perlman and the amazing Dominique Pinon.

Best yearbook photo ever.

Is there no place for accomplished clownishness in sci-fi horror? Perhaps I don't have the authority to say, but I will say Alien Resurrection makes a bad case for it and here's why. Jeunet might love action films but he doesn't seem to get them. The setup for this seems good enough: the Auriga is visited by the smaller ship Betty and her ragtag crew, who will team up with Clone Ripley when the Alien poop hits the fan. They do, and it does, and the movie's plot unfolds before them: traverse the vast Auriga and reach the hangar where the Betty is before everyone gets killed. Ready go.

And they start walking to their ship. Like, leisurely strolling. Captain Michael Wilcott wanders off because he sees a pretty gun on the floor. There's a long interlude while Clone Ripley gawks at the seven previous failed versions of her -- one alive in bed, the rest displayed in big tanks of fluid. She burns them all and we get individual shots of all six tanks exploding. These items plus a number of expository asides completely neutralize any sense of urgency or suspense.

The mismanagement goes even further, at one point claiming suspence and tension when there isn't any. At the end of one action scene, two guys are strapped to each other and one of them is holding them both on a ladder. He's about to lose his grip because of the added weight of an Alien hanging off the other dude's foot. So there's all this screaming and "what's gonna happen?" and "will he cut himself loose, sacrifice himself to save his comrade?" in the air, and nobody bothers to mention that the Alien's head has been blown off and there aren't any more around. So somebody can go down and help them somehow, grab the one guy's arm, shoot the Alien off the other guy's foot, whatever. Like I said, the action scene is over.

Plus Winona Ryder's in it and she's even worse than usual.

"Keep. Looking. Pissed. Off. Yay, I'm acting!"

I'm not sure where it was first decided that there was DNA swapping going on when the facehugger's victims were incubating. Like the Alien/Predator team-up, I think it originated early in the comic books and seeped into everything else. Making the Alien 3 Alien quadrupedal was fine, and I don't begrudge Resurrection for cloning the Queen from Ripley's blood or mixing some Alien DNA into Ripley to make her badass. It's the kind of bogus move that's okay when you're making the fourth movie in a series.

But the climax of this flick is a cosmic misfire, managing to insult the Venerable Order of Movie Monsters and the miracle of birth itself. With Brad Dourif screaming helpfully in the background, we watch the Alien Queen give birth human style, which to me feels like the laziest shortcut idea to a pale imitation of the psychosexual fears this franchise has fostered. And the newborn monster is quite literally the least interesting non-human player in four whole movies.

"You're a disappointment to your mother, your grandmother, and the universe's sum total of good ideas."

Earlier tonight a friend of mine was griping about the unmasking of the Space Jockey in Prometheus, and he said something that I think applies even better to Resurrection's Hybrid monster. He said "They took something iconic and un-Gigered it!" And it's true. The Hybrid is what you get when you take the Alien, give it the body posture of a drunk old homeless lady, then fill in all the interesting texture with spackle and slime. Why would anyone do that?

I've been skipping over this review and doing other ones, I guess because this movie gets my dander up. Not only do I like the director, but also it was written by this guy Joss Whedon who you may have heard of. I've read and heard rumblings that the studio messed around a bunch with his script, but I haven't delved into it because it won't make the movie better. Watching Alien: Resurrection is an annoying experience I don't plan to repeat. It teases you by looking like it will be fun and worthwhile, but then it starts slapping you with these little disappointments, and each time you're tricked into hoping it's the last because all they have to do is get back to that thing they had going at the beginning.

And then.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


(2007) ***1/2
This work of Columbian cinema was taken in one continuous shot. Although dizzying towards the end,  it works because it throws you in to every scene with an uncomfortable realness. It opens with Benjamin and Jose, along with two others, driving down a little country road to a small rancho where they hold a family at gunpoint and demand 15 million pesos. It turns out the family doesn't have any money, the robbers strap a homemade bomb made of PVC pipe around the mother, Ofelia's, neck.

What PVC-1 lacks in plot it makes up for in intensity. Ofelia, her husband, and eldest daughter make the trek to the nearest town where they meet up with Jairo, an anti-explosive specialist. Any moment Ofelia or her husband Simon fidget with the pipe, it starts beeping and you have no idea when, or if, it's going to blow. I would recommend this movie to anyone because it's down-to-earth enough that it won't give you nightmares, but dude prepare yourself for 85 minutes of teeth-grinding nervous tension!

The Fear

(1994) ****

"There is no devil but fear."

A weekend of fear exploration with aspiring psychologist Richard turns deadly with the help of an adult-sized Pinocchio -- I mean wooden figure.
This thing is seriously so creepy I can't imagine how a child could find it so endearing. The Fear follows the typical formula of city kids camping out in the woods and not knowing their ass from the fireplace, and I almost aborted this one because of its terrible soundtrack. There's a reason why 90's white boy ska/reggae isn't popular anymore. Just sayin'.
I gave this such a high score because Richard's dream interpretation plays an important role and each character brings their own unique complexity and, just as they get annoying, die.

In touch with your Inner Sanctum

(or, as Crystal Math refers to it, Inner Scrotum)

Thanks to JPX's charitable contribution to JSP's horror collection, and to Lon Chaney Jr's trouble-ridden mug, the two of us enjoyed episodes entitled "Calling Dr. Death," "Pillow of Death," and "Weird Woman." As you can see below, all of the Inner Sanctum movies follow a recognizable pattern.

Calling Dr. Death
Crystal Math's rating: ****
Johnny Sweatpants' rating: ***

Lon Chaney, Jr. stars as Dr. Mark Steele, an unhappily married neurologist who dreams of divorcing his wife and getting it on with his nurse/secretary, Stella. His wife is adulterous, condescending, and unapologetic towards Steele about her actions. One weekend when Steele and Stella decide to get out of town, his wife's skull is crushed with a blunt instrument. Of course, Steele is the primary suspect and the chief of police is not backing off questioning Steele and imposing himself in nearly every aspect of his life.

JSP: The use of Lon Chaney Jr.'s whispering inner monolog is both endearing and illuminating. His festering hatred towards his wife Maria is justified as she openly despises him and cheats on him unapologetically. Apparently divorce was not really an option in the 40's because it seemed like the most pragmatic solution but it's never even thrown on the table as an option.

Pillow of Death
Crystal Math's rating: *** 1/2
Johnny Sweatpants' rating: ***1/2

Lon Chaney, Jr. stars as Dr. Mark Steele Wayne Fletcher, an unhappily married neurologist attorney who dreams of divorcing his wife and getting it on with his nurse/secretary, Donna. Fletcher is a successful attorney who despises his wife's growing obsession with suicide. When she unexpectedly dies via pillow suffocation, Fletcher again becomes the primary suspect with a detective busting his balls for all the answers.

JSP: First of all I was disappointed that the weird head in the jar did not introduce this film. Secondly, "pillow" has to be the most non-threatening noun to ever precede "...of Death" in the history of cinema. In any case Pillow of Death was one of the more entertaining installments, mainly because of the high body count and the hilarious seance used to contact his deceased wife. His wife's ghost points her finger squarely at Lon but is the seance merely trickery?

Weird Woman
Crystal Math's rating: ***1/2
Johnny Sweatpants' rating: ***

Lon Chaney, Jr. stars as Dr. Mark Steele Wayne Fletcher Norman Reed, an unhappily contently married neurologist attorney Sociology professor who dreams of divorcing his wife and getting it on with his nurse/secretary, Donna convincing his superstitious wife Paula to give up the traditions of her adopted Pacific Islander rituals and get with the Western school of thought on science over faith. When one of his colleagues is found murdered, he must clear Paula's name before the town breaks into witch hunt mode.

JSP: Weird Woman is a little more involved than the other Inner Sanctum murder mysteries because it explores the neverending battle between reason vs. superstition. Personally I found Lon Chaney's character to be the least likable in the bunch. He clearly only married Paula because she's a knockout but treats her more like a savage that needs domestication than a wife. Nevertheless it was just as much a fun viewing as the others.

There are 2 more Inner Sanctums that we weren't able to tackle but there's always next year!

Speaking of entomology...

Here are a couple of movies that "bugged" me this October . . .

The Fly
(1986) *** 1/2

Seth Brundle is a socially awkward nerd with an ugly, ugly face but a rippin', smashin' body (played by Jeff Goldblum). One night he hits it off with Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) at a press conference and brings her back to his humble abode warehouse in which he has built a couple of "Telepods" capable of transporting someone from Point A to Point B.

Without Brundle's knowledge, Veronica's editor and former lover obtains the story she gathered from Brundle and publishes it, putting more pressure on Brundle from the science community and bringing him more and more into recluse to perfect his Telepods. Veronica convinces him to document videotapes of his progress for scientists and for posterity. His first project has disgusting results: a baboon is turned inside out. However, his next experiment is a success so he decides to place himself in the Telepod, and therein lies all the similarities of the 1958 original. The doctor undergoes a horrifying transformation, attempts to save himself, and comes to terms with the tragedies of science and experimentation.
I haven't seen an "attack by vomit" sequence until now. It's disgusting, but effective!

The Fly 2
(1989) ***

Seth Brundle's son must use his fly powers to stop corporate evil.
Martin Brundle has been raised in a lab since birth, and even though his accelerated growth half-fly DNA makes him an annoying kid on-screen, that annoying kid disappears about 20 minutes in and we get a socially awkward but exceptionally good-looking nerd, just like his pops.
From left: evil CEO, Martin B, and his love interest.
When Martin comes of age he is given his own apartment by the corporation that raised him with the promise that he will finish his father's work on the Telepods. The Fly 2 is by comparison tamer than its predecessor, and the real "horror" doesn't begin until about 1hr 20 of this 1 hr 40-minute movie. However, the ending is very promising and surprised me at how well this pulled off as a sequel. It could stand alone on its own six legs!

Once Martin realizes he is being watched every moment of his life he rebels and runs away, only to return when his body begins a metamorphosis:
"Could I bother you for a cup of sugar?"



Johnny Sweatpants' rating: ****1/2
Crystal Math's rating: ****

JSP: I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of the home invasion genre, but I will concede that there are several very strong horror movies of that variety. In recent years the French appeared to have cornered the market with High Tension, Inside and Them and the US countered with the cerebral The Strangers. Spain’s Kidnapped follows the same formula of innocent people being attacked in their homes by  homicidal killers. In The Strangers the invaders’ motives aren’t revealed while in the French ones I mentioned the motives were reserved for a shocking reveal or plot twist in the end. The motive in Kidnapped is merely money and I would argue that it makes the movie much more realistic and hence more frightening. The family makes several attempts to appeal to the thugs' compassion but they simply have none.

The characters do not always behave the way you think you would or the way you expect them to, but the extreme circumstances make it unfair to judge them. Certain individuals have only split seconds to make decisions that may save the life of (or be responsible for the death of ) their loved ones. As for the ending... ahhh the ending. I shall not spoil. All I will say is that I was initially outraged but the more I let it sink in the more fixated on it I became. Now I'm of the opinion that the ending is perfect.

CM: Ugh! Blergh! Grrrrrghrr... Ok I got that out of my system. Kidnapped falls into the category of Best Movie You Never Want to See Again. From the very first frame (at the top of this review) where a man with a plastic bag over his head runs aimlessly through the forest seeking help, to every hairpin turn in the plot when things could get better and resolve themselves, to the striking denouement that left my jaw on the floor for twenty minutes, Kidnapped does just that to all your sense of security.

A typical middle-class family moves into a new home and all of its members are wrapped up in their own world, their own drama: the mother is trying to coordinate a nice home-cooked meal to share with her family, the rebellious teenage daughter wants to go to a party to see her boyfriend, and the father has too much work to bother conceding with the mother's point of view, so he gives his daughter money and tells her to have fun tonight.

This movie does not drag for one moment! Before long three strange men come a-knockin' on their doorstep. Although all three have the intent to steal every penny the family's got, I found it intriguing the amount of time spent developing each burglar's character, the first of whom just wants to get the money and get out with no problems, the second of whom just wants to have his way with the teenage daughter, and the third of whom seems to have gotten involved with the wrong crowd on the wrong night.

CONCLUSION: JSP and Crystal agree that every movie should end either like Kidnapped or like The Great Outdoors.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Planet of the Vampires

1965 **

"I didn't steal Alien from anybody. I stole it from everybody!" -- Dan O'Bannon

I'm recycling that quote because It! The Terror from Beyond Space and Planet of the Vampires make a nice double feature of movies that influenced Alien. It's murky if either film was actually a direct influence on the screenwriters of Alien (accounts vary), but in a way it doesn't matter. I say we just give them credit as aesthetic/spiritual antecedants and move forward.

Two interstellar ships, the Argos and the Galliot, receive a distress call from Aura, an unexplored planet shrouded in thick fog. The spaceships' interior design takes its cues not from the cramped, real-ish, submarine-like template of It! but rather the more fantastic, minimalist ideas I believe grace a lot of Flash Gordon serials. Having watched Apollo 18 recently, I just marveled at the spaciousness of this cockpit.

"I'm sorry, what the hell did you say? I can't hear you guys from my space desk."

Shortly before landing, the Argos loses contact with the Galliot and then everyone on board starts beating each other up. For some reason the captain keeps his cool and manages to slap everyone back to normal. Here's a shot of a nonsensically roomy hallway because I just can't shut up about it.

"Good Christ where is that fucking outlet?"

The crew finds the landed Galliot but they all killed each other, except later some of them are seen walking around. Also every Argos crew member who is placed on solo guard duty goes missing. This happens no less than three times, which is astoundingly dumb. So too is the reveal, as crewmembers both alive and dead are being possessed by very un-vampirish "balls of light you can only see out of the corner of your eye." They're the remains of the native Aurans, who are trying to escape their dying world with the old distress call/alien possession gag. They tried it once before on some really big aliens, so as to inspire Dan O'Bannon someday.

I so wish that table were crammed with giant alien wine bottles.

This movie gets all its points for stylishness because the story is a big fizzly blandwich. It seems like nothing happens even when some stuff is actually happening, like the promising subplot of the alien ship with the spooky giant skeletons. They get stuck inside, they get out, the redshirt they left outside is gone, aaand scene!

Moreover, the style didn't really wow me that much. This was directed by Mario Bava, whose atmospheric touches in Black Sabbath I couldn't get enough of last year. This flick also deploys ample smoke machinery and weird colors, but the end result just doesn't play as another planet. Bava is great at old school horror, but the eerie, otherworldly isolation at the core of good sci-fi horror seems to be beyond his reach.

Here's where I get a little ranty. While trawling for screenshots I came across a few opinions more positive than mine, and the word "camp" was trotted out more than once. Campy style can be a lot of good things, but I dislike it immensely as an excuse for a movie's shortcomings. In my opinion, the overused go-to "They knew it sucked when they made it!" does not make things better, but rather the opposite. I think the better artists push through their limitations and find a place of sincerity in their storytelling, even with something as silly as Forbidden World.

That said, I don't think Planet of the Vampires was really aiming for a self-aware wink at the audience. It's based on a short story, and I suspect it just wasn't enough story to make a whole movie, at least not one with very good pacing or plot. Not a bad stopover point if you're doing a Bava film festival, and it's got what might be the hippest space suits ever. Best thing about them: you can't fault the crew for removing their space helmets in an alien atmosphere.

Because they don't have space helmets. They have little hats.


(2011) **3/4

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) offers a different take on the boogeyman tale by presenting two separate storylines that merge together in the final 20 minutes, both revolving around a ghoul that preys on children. The first story takes place in England where Clive Owen portrays a loving father assisting his 12 year old daughter Mia with her creative writing assignment. Mia writes about a mysterious ghost named “Hollowface” who needs to steal children’s faces for his own, lest he has nothing... or something like that. Meanwhile in a parallel story set in Spain, a young boy begins having nightmares about the very same ghost. The connection between the two families is saved for the M. Night Shyamalanic twist at the end. I must confess that my confident early prediction could not possibly have been further from the mark.

Intruders is an adequate spookfest with an emphasis on the psychological side of ghost stories. The scientific and religious approach to the situation is carefully contrasted; Mia undergoes therapy while the Spanish boy is sent to the church for a cure. It falls short in the scares department but it's intriguing enough to follow if you happen to stumble into it. I don't normally give quarter ratings but I can't in good conscience rate it as high as *** or as low as **1/2. 


One day I decided to give myself a Dario Argento double-feature. The result was not only visually appealing but musically stunning. After reviewing the hour-long feature The Black Cat, checking out Suspiria last year and Giallo the year before, I was excited about checking these two out. It is apparent that Argento brings his creative A-game to whatever he directs (that I've seen); colors are bold when they need to be and choice scenes are either beautiful, gruesome, or somewhere along that spectrum.

(1980) ****
A book penned by an alchemist causes its reader to be stalked by a tall man with long fingernails and be brutally murdered. The text, The Three Mothers describes the nature of three witches (Mother of Sighs, Mother of Tears, and the worst of them all, the Mother of Darkness), and the steps to take to end them.

Rose Elliot is living alone in New York City in one of the creepiest apartment complexes. As she is reading the book and using clues to lure one of the three Mothers (I don't know why), she writes to her brother Mark for help. He immediately flies in from Rome where he was attending music school to assist her, only to find that she has gone missing!

I would best describe Argento's work as abstract horror. There is an element to it that makes you squirm and scream, but a linear story is completely void. I felt like there were one-too-many sub plots going on for the viewer to make sense of what was happening to the main characters, and when it was done, I completely forgot who was the main character but I was left with this kick ass song:

(1984) ****

Jennifer Connelly plays a girl who communicates with bugs, and there's a serial killer out who plays Iron Maiden before going in for the kill:

Don't hurt yourself headbanging.

Connelly plays the daughter of a famous actor who is boarded at a Swiss all-girls school. When the students begin to die and their body parts show up, Connelly joins forces with local entomologist John McGregor to help her crack the case. 
The chimp helps out, too, I just won't say how.
Watching Jennifer command these bugs to do her bidding reminded me of a camping trip I went on with JSP two summers ago. The campsite was really dry, the heat was almost unbearable, and we weren't allowed to make a campfire. At first I wasn't really bummed out -- who needs S'Mores? -- then I realized that this meant flies and bees felt it was their duty to surround us and any meal we were cooking. Instead of trying to beat them all offa me, I just decided to coexist with them, not make any quick moves, and between me and the bees nobody'd get hurt. And I was right. So I feel an affinity for bugs with Jennifer. Don't judge me.