Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday's Choice Cuts: Monsters In the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film (1997: Manchester University Press)

I've tried starting this post three or four times now.  It's not working.  So this, in turn, becomes the beginning.  Monsters in the Closet dives deep into celluloid history and lays bare its darker underbelly.  Starting with the early days of film and working its way to the 1990's.  This book dissects everything from the Universal classics, to the exploitative Hammer Films, and rounds out with the homoerotic ties of Clive Barker.

Monsters in the Closet made me take a deeper look into scenes I saw as nothing more than entertainment.  For example, in Frankenstein two men (the Doctor and Igor) work together as a couple to create life.  While the reanimating of dead tissue is a horror in and of itself, the idea of life coming from a non-heterosexual "couple" can play in on homophobic points of view.  Other moments of monsters wrestling with shirtless men in an attempt to break up a straight couple are rampant in those older films.

I learned a lot from this book too.  For instance, in the 30's there was a ban put on using the term homosexual or having an outright gay character in your film.  There were a lot of tongue-in-cheek references though.  It became almost a game to code characters actions and dialogue so that only those knowledgeable would be in on the joke.  Slip it under the censors that didn't know any better.  In fact, the homophobia that was so rampant in Hollywood over time was fascinating as well.

Just as a heads-up, this book does lean on the academic side.  It's not textbook dry but I could see this being on a required reading list for a course in film or human sexuality.  Each chapter ends with at least four pages of footnotes which add more info to what you've already digested.  I did find myself excited to hit those though because it let you have that expansion of the history or the author's thoughts.  He does a great job of showing how the art reflects the times, even if the times didn't want to face some things.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

They're Watching (2016) 1h 35m

I was on board with They're Watching at the start.  Really, I was.  But then we got to the last 15 minutes and it was like they realized they had a bunch of money left over and promptly use it for some rough CGI to shart all over the ending.  So much CGI.  Borderline SyFy CGI.

They're Watching takes place in a random Eastern Europe village where a rich white woman and her European husband buy this absolute trash cottage.  It is part of a home-fix-up show where the filming crew comes back some time later to film the progress that was made on the house.  Since this is the case the entire film is done from the POV of each of the film crew cameras.

The village itself has a story about a woman that was burned as a witch when the village children got sick.  This is a continual theme, especially after two of the film crew intrude on what ends up being a funeral for some children.  The village turns against the crew for this trespass. After that everything starts to spiral down the Blair Witch hole.  Which sounds like it's some weird theme porn.  The Blair Witch Hole!  Like Debbie Does Dallas, only in the woods and filthy!

I think that's a good point to step away from the plot here in case anyone reading this wants to watch it.  I will say that up until the terrible CGI kicks in, I was relatively engaged.  It isn't hard to follow the threads left out while viewing this, but, for as much as I complain about this style of horror movie,  They're Watching did it well.  Just that fucking CGI... god fucking damnit!

I give They're Watching 2.5 flipped houses out of 5:

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Housebound (2014) 1h 47m

Hi kids!  Do you like twists?  Do you want more twists than an M. Night Shammalammadingdong movie?  Oh man do we have something special for you!  So special I'm using this .jpg from the movie to pretty much show how I felt for most of this film.

I'm more of the woman on the left than the bloody woman...

Housebound started out really slow.  I wasn't sure if this was meant to be a horror film or a dry British horror-comedy.  I think it was the second option here.  We start with a botched ATM robbery which leads to our main character being sentenced to 8-months house arrest at her mother's house.  At first it seems that the house is haunted.  We see a ghost arm, hear some weird stories, find out this place used to be a halfway house where a murder was committed, and experience tons of electrical issues.

It's not ghosts, but we find that out later.

It's assumed the weird neighbor committed the murder, and we waste time on that for a bit.  He's only good for plot info about Eugene.  Who is Eugene?  He's the guy that has lived in the walls of their house for like fucking ever!  But he wasn't the murderer...

The murderer ends up being the therapist that is there to help our girl rehabilitate or something during her house arrest.  He was on some sort of internship or fellowship at the halfway house and killed a girl after an incident.  His head eventually explodes though so it works out.

This movie started out at a snail's pace.  So much so that I invested in watching one of our cats play with his toy bat.  It was adorable and a much better watch for the first 15 minutes.  Otherwise though, when this film starts to peak it stays at that point for a while.  I may or may not watch this again if given the chance.  I'm not sure.  You do get to see a cheese grater used as an actual weapon, so that's a plus.

I give Housebound 2 ankle monitors out of 5:

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Young Frankenstein (1974) 1h 46m

It has been ages since I've seen this film.  I think that this was the second Mel Brooks film I was introduced to (the first being Spaceballs because I was like nine or ten and rented it after some kids talking about it in elementary school).  It's always weird to go back to something as an adult and pick up on the humor you were too young to understand  It's not like this movie has a ton of it, but I did miss out on what there was when I was 12.

Young Frankenstein is a horror-comedy where the great-nephew (I think) of Frankenstein returns to his ancestor's castle and, despite his own aversion to being connected to his family's past work, creates a new monster.  Hi-jinx ensue during the entire movie.  That's the overall plot.

I'm don't want to ruin any of this film's jokes.  If you've ever seen a Mel Brooks film then you are familiar with they type of humor this has.  It is done in black & white like the classic Universal movies and stars Gene Wilder in one of his best comedic roles.  If you haven't seen this, you're missing out.  Unless you hate comedies or fun...

I give Young Frankenstein 4 real Frankenstein Castles out of 5:

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Monday, July 24, 2017

The ABCs of Death (2012) 2h 9m

This isn't my first rodeo with The ABCs of Death.  In fact, this may be my third time through if I'm remembering correctly.  I wish I could do this with a fresh set of eyes, but it is what it is and so I'll review based on this watch.

If you're unfamiliar with The ABCs of Death (or its sequel The ABCs of Death 2), it's an anthology of short films where 26 different directors from around the world are each given a letter of the alphabet.  From there they must pick a word that begins with that letter and make a short film pertaining to that word and death.  Any format is acceptable so long as they stay within those requirements.  At the end of each short the word is revealed to the viewer.

This is why the first watch of either of these films makes them the best.  When we initially watched The ABCs of Death it was spent trying to guess what the word was before the short ended.  On this viewing I remembered some of the themes ahead of time so a few of them lost that excitement.

Overall though, a majority of these short films are pretty great. While there are a few so-so ones, these films are so short that you're not weighed down before you have something new altogether.  The main killer here ends up being the two-hour plus running time, but you've gotta fit A-Z in there.

I give The ABCs of Death a solid 3 alphabet books out of 5 (for this watch through):

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Windmill (2016) 1h 25m

"This isn't Hell, this is Holland" is an actual quote in this movie, but I'll explain this later.  Every so often you get stuck with a really slow slog of a film just to have a three second moment make up for it.  A great example of that is in the film The Rite.  Anthony Hopkins plays a priest that is becoming possessed (if I'm remembering it right, it's been a while).  There's a scene where he is standing and looking at a body of water and there's a small girl next to him.  The girl asks if he'll bless her doll and then Anthony Hopkins just fucking backhands that kid and the scene is pretty much done.  There's also that moment in Hot Fuzz where Simon Pegg goes back to the town and is ready for a fight and one of the first things he does is dropkick an old woman.  Hot Fuzz isn't a slog, but that scene and the previous scene always make me laugh my ass off.  The Windmill gave me one of those moments where the movie has like two minutes left and a fucking Hellraiser hook just shoots out and straight into the middle of a woman's face and almost passed out laughing.  It looked good but it was so unexpected and hilarious.

I wish I could end the review right there.  Actually, if you just watch the last five minutes of this then that would be a five-star moment and review.  Unfortunately for me, the Windmill was a really good plot set in the dumbest of concepts.  A tour bus leaves Amsterdam with a group of what we learn are individuals with heavy sins.  The only exception to this is a teenage boy that is also a hemophiliac and has the most unnecessary character detail in this film.

They get stuck at a spooky windmill where a huge Jason-esq (circa Part 2) slasher begins killing them by making them relive their sin prior to death.  The only person to face and escape him is the Japanese man that felt legitimate remorse for his actions.  He also survives to explain our plot.  The mill is a gateway to hell that is guarded by a miller that made a deal with the devil at one point.  After the town murdered him, the devil was so fond of the miller that the devil let him walk the earth at that windmill to collect the souls of the damned.  Now that shit sounds fucking rad!  Everything except for the windmill/miller part could have been put somewhere else with another occupation and been way more exciting... but it wasn't.

The remainders think that burning down the windmill will end everything but it doesn't.  You can't fuck with the devil.  He rebuilt that shit instantly.  He's the fucking devil!  Although I assume the innocent kid died.  We didn't really get closure on him.  For all I know he's running naked through the wilderness of Amsterdam like some sort of streaking and bleeding Don Quixote.

I really wish this film would've been put somewhere else.  The plot concept was strong at its core but the execution was just a big fat shrug.  Maybe it's based on some sort of actual superstition and that's why they kept with it.   That limited it to be more of a colloquial concept as opposed letting it have a worldly grasp though.  Whatever.  The sinful actions were at least interesting and the deaths were gory.  I think that the face hook is the only thing that helped The Windmill by the end.

I give The Windmill 1.5 out of 5:

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday's Choice Cuts: Harley Poe

Let's skip straight past The Misfits as far as horror-punk goes.  We all know of them and how they're kind of a shadow of their former self.  Of course, so is "no-photos" Danzig right now.  Let's jump straight to a modern band with Harley Poe.

Sounding like a slightly more folk-punk version of The Violent Femmes, I was was introduced to them by chance back when I was spending a lot of time checking in books at the library I worked at.  At that time I was listening to a lot of Pandora or Spotify and this happened to just pop up on a random playlist.  Since then I've tracked down most of their albums except for one of their last releases which was put out by Fangoria and is a group of seven 7" all tied to one of the deadly sins.

The albums are a good mix of horror and humor.  With topics ranging from vampires, to werewolves, to hating their small town of Kokomo (not the place the Beach Boys song is about), it's fun sing-a-long type stuff.  Although I wouldn't recommend it in the car with your three-year-old.

Here's one of my favorite songs.  It's called Time of the Month and ties in a woman's cycle to be about her full-moon werewolf transformations as opposed to menstruation... although blood will flow.  MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tales of Halloween (2015) 1h 32m

Ten short films in roughly 90 minutes is pretty ambitious. When I saw that I thought it might be a bit too ambitious but resigned to settle in and watch Tales of Halloween.  As soon as the opening credits kicked in my attention became focused on the screen.  Doing an awesome take on pop-up books to introduce the titles of each of the shorts that were included was such a fresh idea to me.  I became hooked.

I can't do much of a review here without ruining some of the shorts but here is the gist of it.  All of these take place in the same town on Halloween night.  You actually see some of the same characters pop up for brief moments in other shorts and it helps to cover the seams.  You know you're getting ten stories here but that overlap makes them all cohesive.  Each transitions into the other with only a minor form of a narrator by way of a woman doing a radio broadcast.  Luckily she is used sparingly and rather than being the glue holding it together she becomes more of a decorative attachment.

Out of the ten shorts I'd say that there were only two weak ones, but they're only weak in comparison to the others which were outstanding.  With a bar set that high, you're pulling a B+ while everything else is an A.  Think of it as one of those shitty grading curves where an A was moved up to a 92% and these two shorts have a 90%.  Tales of Halloween could honestly be my Baskin or my Beyond the Gates for this cut.

My favorite shorts on this are: The Night Billy Raised Hell, The Weak and the Wicked, Friday the 31st, and Ding Dong.

I give Tales of Halloween 5 spooky jack-o-lantern faces out of 5:

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hypersomnia (a.k.a. Hipersomnia) (2016) 1h 30m

I was going to start this by saying "I'm not a fan of films with human trafficking," but then I don't really think any sane person is a fan of films with human trafficking in the plot.  Although, people really like CSI:SVU and that show was nothing but terrible crimes happening to people.  I've seen some crazy shit on that show.

With all of that in mind, let's move on to Hypersomnia.  An Argentinian film that reminded me a lot of Black Swan, just without the whole dancer thing.  Our protagonist is an actress that begins to have issues with feeling as if she's slipping between two lives.  There is her regular life, and then there is the life of a woman being held and sex trafficked by some members of a criminal group.  A client, known only as The Gardener, is apparently an enforcer as well as a torturous asshole.  We do get a glimpse of him wearing a mask and apron.  The mask reminds me of a mix of Jason's potato sack mask, Scarecrow from Batman the Animated Series, and Decker's mask from Nightbreed.

For the most part we're left trying to guess which is the real world and which is a dream state, or are both real?  Spoilers: They're both real and she has a twin that she sometimes jumps into.  After putting the pieces together she tracks down the warehouse building where this shit is going down and she and her boyfriend attempt to liberate the girls.  The girls had a plan of their own and enact it at this time and begin to wreck shit.  The Gardener ends up being the one person they thought was their friend the whole time that just happens to have some form of multiple personality disorder.  They escape with only the loss of the actress' boyfriend who dies by The Gardener's hands.

Honestly, this film didn't keep my interest.  The use of The Gardener seemed like an unnecessary foil to the actual twins.  The jumping back and forth was done in a manner that felt a bit too chaotic in the editing.  This lack of smooth transitions really take away from any flow this movie could have acquired.  Also, the actress went through crazy conditions to do a play that seemed like it was going to be shit.

I want to give this a 0, but I'm going to give Hypersomnia 1 set of Siamese twins out of 5.  Just because the acting in it was pretty good:

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell (1987) 1h 23m

I can't really do a real review for this one.  It came up in the horror section but it's a combination of old horror film previews (apparently from some sort of cable access show?) mixed in with a plot of zombies watching the previews and some guy with a zombie ventriloquist dummy making bad dick jokes.

The previews were at least interesting.  They tended to group some together by common threads.  So you'd see Texas Chainsaw Massacre backed with Deranged.  Both films were based on the serial killer Ed Gein and actually look similar, minus a giant with a chainsaw.

A few of the other previews have crazy gimmicks added to them where you don't even see much of the film but instead something like a reporter showing up and saying that someone has gone insane while watching the movie.  You get throwbacks to the older horror warnings but instead of the times where they say things like "if you're scared to death then we'll pay for your casket" you get something like a bell cue during the movie so you can turn away from the graphic sex or violence.

Speaking of sex, holy fuck!  There are just naked people everywhere.  One film was pretty much just billed as having tits in 3D.  One of the pairs of tits shown though had some weird inverted nipple hole thing going on.  I don't want to see your weird 3D 70's hide-your-weed-in-there tits!  There was also some sort of film with necrophiliac cult where a bunch of people were naked at the end of it.

There there were a ton of Exorcist rip offs.  It was interesting overall to see just how many films wanted to cash in on something a bigger budget film did, or how many went in the other direction and made absolute randomness.  Racism is also rampant.  People of color depicted as savages and attacking white people.  There was one film named something like Africa: Blood and Gore which looked like a Faces of Death of terrible things that happened in Africa, but it comes across as just "look at how horrible and savage these black people are!!"  Fuck that film ever existing.  It's no wonder shitty racism existed then and still exists.  It's the kind of shit I'd hear about growing up in a small mountain area and people believed that shit.  Now I'm angry again.

It was good though to see some previews for some better known films; Night of the Living Dead, Wizard of Gore, Corpse Grinder, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I actually forgot I own Wizard of Gore and have yet to watch it until I saw it pop up there.  Maybe on a day off I'll get to that.

So, as I said, I can't review a collection of previews with some shitty skits in between.  The skits would get a one just for juvenile behavior, but that's it.  I would say that overall Mad Ron's Prevues from Hell is worth watching if, for nothing else, you want to see some horror history.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Silenced (aka: Gyeongseonghakyoo: Sarajin sonyeodeul) (2015) 1h 39m

I really like foreign horror films.  Primarily because they're something different.  They give me something new to be scared of.  It's a whole new series of plots, monsters, ghosts, and superstitions that actually spark something inside.  I find myself looking up more info, digging deeper, going further than I do with most American horror films.  So what do I do when one suddenly pulls a very American horror plot?  Actually... I kind of liked it.

The Silenced takes place in an all-girls boarding school/sanitarium.  Our main character, Shizuko, arrives because she has contracted TB.  Over time we find out that there was another girl with the same name that just left/vanished one day.  The girls seem like typical school girls but some have weird freak-out moments.  It's as if they've become possessed.  There are some more traditional Asian horror moments that come into play as well: hands reaching out where there's nobody, girls with long black hair being pulled into impossible spaces, etc.  Shizuko begins to change as well.

I want to write more but I know if I cover any more of the plot then I'll spoil this movie.  Most of the time I don't care if I do, but that's on crap, and I enjoyed watching The Silenced.  It's a slower paced film than what most people may be used to but when it picks up it picks the fuck up.  I spent time actively trying to piece together things rather than having it all figured out from the start.  I also like that the filmmakers use the symbolism of breaking glass so well.  It represents everything from  moments of frailty, to a shift in a person or moment, or even someone's breaking point.  At first it seems tedious until you have that realization of "oh, there is purpose to this."

I give The Silenced a solid 3 cheesy Mazel Tov images out of 5:

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Clinical (2017) 1h 44m

Netflix has entirely too much money.  Sometimes they put out great things, and sometimes they put out trash.  Sense 8, great.  Castlevania, great-levania.  However, having a shit ton of money burning a hole in your pocket means that you'll take risks.  Much as how I plan on going to the toy store later and I just got paid.  If I'm not careful I'll end up wasting some of that money on trash instead of putting it toward something good.  This was one of those times where the money was probably doled out by being drunk and making it rain only to realize later Netflix needed to pay rent or some shit.

Clinical is a mash-up of time jumps.  We start with a psychiatrist finding a female patient in her office with bloody hands and a shard of glass.  After attacking the psychiatrist the girl then cuts her own throat.  We find out later she survived.  How?  Well, this is the one thing I liked about this film and one of the weird things I picked up in random research.  When a person cuts their own throat they never complete the cut, you get about midway before the body enters shock and you pass out.  They stuck true to this and I applaud them for that.

Moving forward, after therapy of her own, our psychiatrist reopens her practice but avoids dealing with trauma cases because that's what her last patient was.  Eventually she gets a call from a man named Alex that says he was told she would be the only person to help him with his trauma.  She concedes and begins treating him.  He had a face transplant and his story was that there was a car accident he stopped to help and this lead to a mess of shit where his face got all kinds of jacked up.  That's a lie, he's actual the previous girl's father who was a fucking sick ass pervert and that was the girls trauma.  We'll leave it at that.

The girl begins showing up and you think it's either a ghost, flashbacks, or dream sequences but it ends up that she was released from the mental hospital she was kept in and just began fucking with the psychiatrist.  Lots of shit happens and it all leads to our protagonist pulling off the entire face transplant in one big ol' face pancake.  This makes no sense since it was a transplant from like a year ago and would have healed, but fuck science!  They spent it all on throat cutting research.

This review is way too long but there was a lot going on that was too confusing with establishing if it was past, present, or a dream.  I assumed that Alex was the girl's father early on and then they tipped their hand waaaay earlier than the reveal.  The acting and general cinematography were good but the directing and editing were kind of a wet fart.

I give Clinical 1 computer rendered clinic out of 5:

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday's Choice Cuts: Castlevania (2017: Netflix)

I've been a fan of Castlevania since I was a wee child.  In fact, from where I'm sitting right now, I can see my NES cartridges of Castlevania and Castlevania II, as well as my wall scroll of the box art of Castlevania hanging on my wall.  I've used this blog before to mention horror related video game things, but this time we get to talk about the animated series of Castlevania that Netflix has put out.

Spanning only four episodes (because they didn't want to take a risk on it and fail horribly), a majority of this "season" is mostly to establish plot and characters.  If you've ever played Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse for the NES then you're no stranger to most of the general things.  Trevor Belmont is your Belmont for this (although, I'm always partial to Simon), and along the way he picks up Sypha and the season ends with them acquiring Alucard to their party.  I don't think I've seen any signs of Grant Danasty yet, so they might just leave him out.

The setting is Wallachia, an area cursed by Dracula where, after returning from his travels, he finds the Church (capital C there) has burned his wife at the stake for witchcraft.  She was a woman of science and a healer but fear and superstition lead to her death.  After  giving the people one year to make their peace before the curse arrives, they instead ignore it with the thought the Church will protect them.  They're wrong and blood and gore ensue.  There were no tiny hunchbacks jumping around or floating Medusa heads...  I better see that shit!!

All in all, it's not 100% what I wanted, but it's still in the high 80%-ish range.  The writing is great thanks in part to Warren Ellis (whom I know for because of the Transmetropolitan comics).  It does a good job of bring the game into an action scenario.  Trevor uses a short sword, a whip, daggers, and at one points has holy water become a weapon.  The whip animation is awesome and there are parts where he does things like disarming someone by whipping off their finger or taking out their eye.  Which leads me to the next part, gore.  They seem to know the perfect ratio of having it look awesome but don't let it become overkill for shock's sake.

It's been picked up for a second season which is supposed to be twice as long so I'm looking forward to seeing where they're going with it.  As I mentioned earlier, four episodes of establishing why your characters get together was a long time to spend on that and it did leave me unfulfilled by the end of this season.

Plus... the only other thing we've ever really had was Simon Belmont on Captain N. *shudders*

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kristy (2014) 1h 26m

If modern horror movies have taught me anything, it's that the internet was created by the devil to do the devil's work.  This blog: the devil's, Netflix: the devil's, ordering pizza online: absolutely the devil!  With all this fiber optic satanism running rampant, it's obvious that fake 4Chan cults would pop up, right?

That's kind of the baseline of Kristy.  An online forum known as "/the fold/" hunts down "Kristys."  The women aren't actually named Kristy (well, some might be) but it's a general name used for a girl who has her shit together and is attractive.  They refer to them as "Kristy" by saying that it means "child of Christ" (or something along those lines) and that by killing them they are killing god.  Whatever, it's a cult created on the internet.  The point is this cult has sects around the U.S. and they do these murders while filming on their cell phone cameras and upload them to the site.  Cell phones are the super devil, who is stronger than the regular devil!!

One group decides to go after this girl Justine who is staying on her campus over Thanksgiving because she's an idiot and is taking college too seriously.  This cult sect of a woman in a hood and three guys with shitty duct tape/tin foil masks begin fucking shit up on the like three people that are still working on the campus, a dog, and try to wreck Justine.

This film wasn't really anything new as far as a slasher/survival horror film.  The internet thing made me think of the show Dark Net (which if you haven't seen, check that shit out).  I do like that Justine isn't just the typical "run up the stairs instead of out the front door" type of heroine.  There are a lot of times she outsmarts the killers and a few times she impressed with her survival skills.  There was a brief moment too where her boyfriend shows up and I was worried this film was going to take the "straight white male savior" route, but he exists to get killed and be the spark that ignites the real survival fire in Justine.

Survival Fire kind of sounds like a sweet band name...

I give Kristy 2 pilgrim turkeys out of 5:

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Evolution (2015) 1h 21m

Evolution is a movie.  I watched it.  That pretty much sums up how I felt after I finished this film.  It wasn't as if the content left me confused or that there was too much to process, it was just a thing that exists in this world.  Much how you come to see newspaper headlines that you see and know that exists but it doesn't effect you.  It's like strangers on the sidewalk.  Perhaps they acknowledge each other but for the most part brush right past each other and continue on.  Some other metaphor goes here to make it a trilogy.

Evolution is actually a foreign film.  The dialogue, all in French, is minimal.  This film seems to rely more on visual story telling.  A boy is swimming in the ocean and sees a dead body among the coral.  This appears to be the early catalyst to let the boy know that things aren't as they seem.  Ignoring the fact that everyone there is either a weird pale androgynous Tilda Swinton woman or a young boy that has to take medicine (yeah, every single boy) we're never quite sure if this is set on Earth or even in the present.  We just get a lot of life and death imagery laced with the color red and star symbolism to accent key moments.

This film once again toes the line of horror.  It's really more of a sci-fi/thriller type deal with one straight up nightmare fuel scene.  I can't go into it unfortunately because it gives away a lot of this movie and truthfully, while it didn't impact me that much, I don't want to disuade someone else from seeing it.  This just wasn't what I was looking for at the time and that probably colored it that way for me.  I might rewatch it at some point if someone says they want to watch it and I'm there, but all in all it was just a film I watched.

I give Evolution 2 starfish out of 5:

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Blood Valley: Seed's Revenge (a.k.a. Seed 2) (2014) 1h 18m

FUCCCCCKKKKK! It was too good to be true!  Such a strong start to this Cut and suddenly I'm faced with Blood Valley: Seed's Revenge.  I couldn't even find this film on IMDB until I did some research and found out that it's on there as Seed 2.  Is there a Seed 1?  I don't know.  I don't give a fuck.  Fuckin' baby's first horror movie here sucks hard enough for two!

BV:SR (which sounds much cooler in that format, like some anime with mechs) starts with the first huge ass credit being Uwe Boll!  If you're not familiar with him, he produced a bunch of terrible movies based on video game IPs with almost no fucking knowledge of the content of the games.  Blood Rayne, Alone in the Dark, Postal, House of the Dead, Far Cry... How did he make all of these?  He exploits a German tax credit so that if the film didn't recoup he gets to write off the film!  So he produced BV:SR.  Apparently he also did produce Seed which I just saw while looking up his IMDB.

BV:SR takes place in the Nevada desert where a bachelorette party gets stranded on their way back from Las Vegas.  They get attacked by rejects from The Hills Have Eyes and Taxes Chainsaw Massacre and it ends up the bride from the group betrayed them all from the start.  That's it.  Tons of fake blood, nudity, poor attempts at graphic shock, three uses of the same chest stab prosthetic, and every "violent" thing being a quick close-up shot of a wound following the initial action.

I wasn't kidding when I called this baby's first horror movie.  There's no style to it and a lot of the directing makes amateur mistakes while trying to prevent you from noticing other glaring problems.  It's also edited and put together out of sequence which makes it feel disjunct as opposed to thrilling or artistic.  Apparently BV:SR had a $1.2 million budget.  I don't know how unless they spent most of it on the RV because that shit was swank.  Seriously, 98% of this film takes place in the middle of the desert in fuck all USA.  I could've made this film with my cell phone, a couple of straws, two gallons of fake blood, and some pizzas to feed my friends while we fucked around in the desert.  I've taken shits that are more shocking and terrifying than this film could even imagine!

I give Blood Valley: Seed's Revenge (a.k.a. Seed 2) 0 copies of Iron Maiden's Powerslave out of 5:

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Monday, July 10, 2017

The Fly (1958) 1h 34m

I remember, as a kid, seeing parts of The Fly remake.  Where Jeff Goldblum mutates and vomits on things and then puts a shotgun muzzle to his fly head while begging for death and looking gross.  It's a far cry from his open shirt sexy lounging pose in Jurassic Park, or his weird alien acting in Earth Girls Are Easy.  But we're not talking about him anymore.  We're talking about the original with Vincent Price and some other people I might never care about.

If you're unfamiliar with it, The Fly is science gone wrong.  We start with a woman running from a body with the head and arm crushed in some sort of machine press.  She then calls Vincent Price (because who the fuck else would you call in this situation) to say she just murdered his brother/her husband.  We're then told the story leading up to that moment.

Her husband creates some a form of matter transfer and while testing it on himself a fly is also in the chamber and they swap some DNA.  The man becomes more fly-like, and the fly becomes more man-like.  We don't see this happen, instead our experimenter keeps his head under cloth and his arm hidden in his coat.  We eventually see the fly arm and then a reveal of the head where his wife somehow elicits the same scream of indiscriminate emotion over and over.  As he loses his rational mind to the fly part of him, he begs her to help with his suicide.  After he writes "love you" on a chalk board she seems to think that it's okay to then do this.  It's just one of those weird moments where you see the character rationalize it in their head in that moment.  It's awkward.

This movie has one of the most annoying kid actors I've ever seen in a film.  He had to have been a stage-trained actor because everything he said was slow, loud, and over enunciated.  He is also given a line in which he says " know how women are."  You're fucking eight!  You don't know how women are!  How much tail has this kid been getting on the sly to be able to say that shit?  You know how women are?  They'll fuckin' send you to your room and ground you for talkin' shit like that.

Also the husband/brother tested the machine on the family cat and it didn't succeed.  We just get cat meows from the air.  The moment he even looked at that cat I instantly wrote this guy off and was waiting for his death.  Fuck you fly man!  You got what you deserved for fucking with that cat!

I give The Fly a solid 3 pictures of Vincent Price from the Simpsons out of 5:

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

5th Cut Begins! Almost Mercy (2015) 1h 25m

Welly welly well... here we are again.  Another six weeks, another 30 movies.  It seems like in the past few weeks that Netflix has made some updates to their system.  I've been getting my full selection of films and they also seem to have a much looser definition of what they're listing as "horror" now.  Fuckin'... rad...

Almost Mercy is one of those that toes the line of the "horror" heading.  This falls much more in the dark comedy/post-teen drama realm.  We're introduced to a duo of social outcasts, Emily and Jackson.  Emily also plays the role of our narrator for a majority of this film.  She fills in the gaps where needed and adds a relatively snarky commentary on things in the town.

Where Emily and Jackson live seems like any other small town USA.  It's a place where our duo just doesn't quite fit in.  Emily and Jackson bounce between general teen angst and being full blown sociopaths.  After the father of one of their fellow students commits a murder/suicide with his family we start to notice the cracks in the mask of this town.  The phrase "we're only as sick as our secrets" is the only way I can describe what eventually unravels with some of the towns folk.  What I thought was going to just lead to a school shooting plot (and almost does before Jackson chickens out) turns into something way crazier and way better.  This isn't to say that I would think a school shooting would be good.  The thought was a turn off, but the actual rampage that does happen in the film is awesome.

I could say a bunch more about Almost Mercy but you should probably check it out.  Bill Moseley is in it as the town pastor and fucking kills it as always.  The character of Emily is well done.  Nothing against Jackson, I liked him too, but Emily is the shining star here.  For once I get to start this blog out on a high note.  Fingers crossed for the next 29 films.

I give Almost Mercy 3.5 combat axes out of 5:

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