Thursday, April 19, 2018
This is the third fuckin' horror movie I'm doing on here that has Adam Scott in it! Piranha, Krampus, and now the Netflix original, Little Evil! Is he becoming the new Christopher Walken, popping up all over the place because he doesn't want to get bored? I'm not complaining. He became a boy mayor and blew the town's money on a giant winter sports complex named Ice Town! And if you don't understand that then go watch Parks and Rec you uncouth fart!
Little Evil is a horror comedy based around the premise of The Omen... or maybe just an AC/DC album since the kid looks more like Angus Young than Damien. Gary marries the woman of his dreams without having ever spent time with her son Lucas. Lucas is literally the child of the devil, conceived through some strange cult ritual. Gary just wants to be a good step-dad for his step-son, Lucas wants to bring about the apocalypse, the mother is oblivious. It's a step-dad support group vs. a doomsday cult while Gary attempts to become the father he never had.
Netflix hasn't really been pumping out good content when it comes to their original horror films (ex: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House) but they do a much better job when it's a cross-up such as this. It's like an America swing at making a film in the vein of Shaun of the Dead. We get nods to The Shining, Poltergeist, and some Ghostbusters humor thrown in. We're also treated to one of the best uses of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" for a device reveal. I had a good time watching Little Evil. It's one of those films where you could have some friends over, order some food, and make a Friday night of it.
I give Little Evil 3 copies of High Voltage out of 5:
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Someday, I can only hope to have an unknown uncle leave me a house full of mannequin parts and blood magick. I have an entire branch of the family tree that split from my side a few generations back, so it could happen. Suddenly I could get a letter in the mail about secret basement rooms in a creep house while I have dreams of a mildly attractive scene girl. I mean, I don't care about the girl, but the creep house I'm all in for!
So that's part of the plot of The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Thomas inherits a large and strange country home from an unknown uncle. In the letter he is told of how he is tied to the house by blood and to never go into the secret basement. After a quick visit, in hopes to get the house ready to sell, he finds out that it's associated with a series of disappearances and carries a heavy anxiety with the locals. With the help of a local woman (that is searching that home for her brother), Thomas uncovers some apocalyptic shit involving demons, djinn, and a mysterious woman known as Briar Rose that is sleeping somewhere below.
This was a surprisingly good movie. There was a great mix moments where you're holding your breath in expectation and straight up visual horror. The application of the mannequins in the house and their role in the story improved with each bit of lore. The set, prop, and character design gave me this sense of Guillermo Del Toro meets City of Lost Children meets Silent Hill:Revelations. The only thing that felt out of place was the strange hacker character that they bring in to help translate a journal. He doesn't serve any real purpose except to have an "oh shit" moment while everyone else is traversing the chamber of secrets like Harry fuckin' Potter.
The very ending of this film appears to be leaving things open for another film. If so, I hope their plan is to work through other fairy tales because this really should be a one-and-done. If not, they'll kill what momentum they had going for it. At the same time, this could also turn into a really long and shitty episode of Supernatural if they fuck it up.
I give The Curse of Sleeping Beauty 3.5 copies of Grimm's Fairy Tales out of 5:
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
I'm not sure how, but I have never watched this film before. I've heard really good things about it, knew the general plot, and liked the fact that the poster copies Salvador Dali's "In Voluptas Mors," yet I have never felt the urge to sit down and watch The Descent. Then the universe decides it's time and I have to sit down and watch it. The question is, over a decade later, will I like this as much as other people did?
The Descent leads us along with a group of women coming together to do some cave spelunking. This is their first group outing since the death of the husband and child of one of their members (Sarah). While it's meant to be a healthy and healing gathering, their interpersonal issues cause a lot of tension, especially when a new girl is introduced to the group. What was planned as a simple trip down and through an established cave formation turns dangerous when the planner actually takes them to an undiscovered cave and a cave-in traps them inside. Lost in unmapped and unfamiliar terrain, they attempt to find a way out but instead find why no one has ever survived to talk about these caves.
Okay, confession: I don't think this lived up to the hype. It was close, I'll say that, but I think the difference in time might be what knocked The Descent down a few pegs for me. About 90% of this film I was down for. The only things I found lacking were: 1) I wish the Native cave paintings would have included something about the creatures. Even just one weird little mud guy slapped on there. 2) The creature design didn't do it for me. I think this is because I've been watching too much FaceOff (the show, not the movie) but it's just this bat/human hybrid which is such a go-to design for something cave dwelling.
Oddly enough they made a sequel to this movie in 2009. It even has Shauna Macdonald reprising her role of Sarah. I can only assume this was a cash grab on the popularity of the first movie. Odds are if it ends up on Netflix then I'll end up watching it for this site.
I give The Descent 3 pictures of why I will never go spelunking out of 5:
Monday, April 16, 2018
I've recently been trying to get back into shape. I was never ripped but I played ice hockey from the age of 5 up until I moved to the deep South... where ice exists only rarely and when it does the entire city shuts down. Why am I sharing this info with you? Because if I take nothing else away from this film, it's that you can try to be as healthy as you want but you can still get wrecked as fuck by something beyond your control.
Dana is a track coach going through her usual yoga/morning run routine when she is hit by a car. The driver immediately leaves the scene and only through sheer luck does Dana end up in the local hospital. When Dana comes to she has the feeling that she's being watched by an unseen figure at night time. During her recover she finds that the hospital had an orderly that acted as an "angel of mercy" to five sick children before he was found out. His nickname was Nails, due to his habit of keeping fingernail clippings from the children in envelopes.
This is another film that would've worked out much better if it were a thirty-minute short. There's a sub plot of Dana's husband having an affair that serves no real purpose aside from the ghost showing Dana a weird video of it. We also get a large amount of time spent showing that the hospital is poor and practically in disrepair. It's filler that did nothing to further the main plot and only padded the movie out.
The final act of this film jumps the rails completely. In fact, it doesn't just jump the rails, it jumps to another rail, grinds that into a combo and finds a secret tape hidden there. We become established with why Nails wants to kill Dana but now he's just killing anyone and everyone in the hospital. It's one of those moments where you ask yourself why he didn't just do that shit in the first place. You're a ghost with ghost powers, use them! Ghost it up!
I give Nails 2 weed leaf nails out of 5:
Friday, April 13, 2018
Here's something new to the 30 Days of Plight. I've covered live action films of manga/anime with the Netflix Deathnote film, I talked about the anime inspired Castlevania series in my Choice Cuts, but now we get a CG film based on a manga/anime. I just need a legit video game movie to pop up now. Maybe one of the three Resident Evil animated films... which I own on blu-ray... shut up! I like them!
Gantz:O is like watching an hour and a half video game cutscene (I'm looking at you Kojima!). After Kato is stabbed and killed by some psycho in the train station he wakes up in an apartment with four other individuals and a large black orb known as the Gantz. In this version of Japan some people die only to resurrect as part of a game where they battle real life monsters in order to gain points. If a player collects 100 points in a round then they are granted a "wish" where they can get a special weapon, bring back a dead teammate, or be set free from the game and never have to play again. Kato needs to survive, not only for himself but for his younger brother he cares for.
This is my first exposure to anything Gantz. I knew of it, but never what Gantz's plot was. After watching this though I definitely want to check out at least the manga. I was afraid the use of CGI was going to detract from the film. Luckily the CGI is just lifelike enough that your mind is kind of tricked into thinking it's live action. This is in opposition to other similar films such as Advent Children. Keep in mind though that Gantz:O is years later than Advent Children so technology has only improved. The creature design for Gantz was impressive, with a great collection of creatures inspired by Japanese mythology with parts swapped out like custom action figures.
I will say that certain plot lines get confusing with this, especially when it comes to the very end. I had to look up interpretations online but this just left me with more questions as this timeline apparently takes place after Kato's second death and he has no recollection of his prior time in the game. These elements don't detract from the movie though and even the ending part could be read as set-up for a sequel.
I give Gantz:O 3 Onna Nue out of 5:
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Do you like Cormac McCarthy? In particular did you like The Road? Do you wish that rather than the strange Mad Max raiders he put in there that the big bad were some sort of zombie/cannibal? Do you also want it all presented to you in Canadian French? Then brother I have a film for you!
Ravenous takes place in rural Quebec where a viral outbreak has turned people into a zombie-like state with a craving for flesh. Our story focuses on a single man that tells jokes like your drunk uncle at a wedding. He exists to lose his friend, gain a new female friend, acquire a small child, and join another small group of survivors. Who lives? Who dies? Who was at risk of falling asleep during this movie? Spoilers: The answer to the last one is me!
I'm not saying Ravenous is a bad film, it's just slow. It's slower than most films I've complained about being slow. Even when we're faced with someone fighting the infected it's not enough to get the adrenaline pumping. This isn't helped by the generic attempts at getting the audience to establish a personal interest or connection with these characters.
Then I have my personal complaint with this film. The woman that takes on the "mother" role of our group carries an accordion with her almost everywhere. I own an accordion and let me tell you that those mother fuckers are heavy. There is no way in hell I would consider carrying it on my back in an armageddon situation.
I do appreciate the personality of this film's infected. They retained enough intelligence to be able to set traps as well as have an almost communal or pack mentality. They don't overexert themselves by chasing prey until they drop and they work together. They aren't perfect. We get a few scenes of them just standing in a field waiting for something to catch their eye, but it's progress.
I give Ravenous 1.5 accordions out of 5:
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Denmark: A country that I looked up a bunch of facts on and, while most of them are pretty cool, I don't feel like sharing them on here. A land where people live simple lives and work at a factory that processes fish. A land where one guy is a total asshole to his female co-worker and he and a friend do a fake sexual assault using a fish, as if that makes the shit joke okay...
When Animals Dream is less of a horror movie and more of a light thriller with a horror element. Marie lives with her father and ailing mother. She lands a job at the local fish processing plant and all seems to be going well. That is until she starts to unravel a secret about her mother being part of some Russian tests and that whatever the mother has might have been passed on to Marie. I'm being vague but long story short, it's some kind of lycanthropy, and everyone in the town knows what's up. Some people end up missing and they come for Marie and her mother.
This film was incredibly slow if you're looking at it solely from a horror stand point. The actual wolfwomen segments are minimal and it's not a shock because I guessed what this was going to be about just based on the title. I don't know why werewolves are the thing to associate with this "coming of age." Just last week I covered the same general plot with Uncaged. There's also Ginger Snaps which everyone knows by this point.
I get it! Puberty sucked for us all. Hair where the was no hair before, adult teeth bumpin' in, primal urges to jizz into all the tissues that exist in the house, yeah, we get it. The same with the passage from teen-to-adult. We fucking get it! After watching this I spent a bunch of time trying to think of a different monster we could use for this metaphor but nothing really works well... except for maybe the Creature From the Black Lagoon. You could hit puberty and get weird dick gills or something. Oh god, that'd be the worst.
I give When Animals Dream 1 t-shirt of wolves howling at the moon out of 5:
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
This is my second time watching The Babadook. I saw it not long after it came out and didn't understand what all the fuss was about. So when it came up for this website I realized that I needed to check my shit at the door and give this film an honest chance to see if maybe, four years later, this film had something that I missed. Don't get me wrong, I missed or forgot about a lot, but do I still think this film is a Babadookie?
The Babadook is a visual representation of anxiety and depression. Everyone knows this by now. A single mother and her six-year-old son are going through some hard times and a book titled The Babadook mysteriously ends up on their shelf. It freaks them both the fuck out and from that moment the boy begins to claim that certain things are the Babadook's fault or that he is physically there. The one thing he keeps telling his mother though is to not let him in... she shits the bed on that one.
A lot of the conversations I've had about this film have people pointing a finger at the boy and basically saying "that kid is a shit," or blaming him in part for his mother's problems. Okay, first off, that kid is on the cusp of turning seven and built a backpack catapult and a crossbow out of random pieces of wood and string. That's some incredibly intelligent shit for someone that age. Other than that, he's just a typical child. He hasn't developed proper tact, he is curious about all kinds of things, and if you don't pay attention then he may get into some shit. On top of that, he realizes that there is something really wrong with his mother emotionally and attempts to comfort her and let her know that he won't leave her.
They're both dealing with the absence of his father (he died in a car accident while driving the mother to deliver the boy). It just happens that as the birthday approaches it reminds her of what her life was meant to be (a writer), and what it became instead. She also doesn't have a network of supportive individuals as her sister sucks and she hides the truth from her neighbor and coworker. Her depression is so deep that she can't sleep, calls off work, ignores her child, and becomes a miserable person overall. It's only once she realizes that she needs to get help and, for lack off a better metaphor in this film, stands up to her depression (The Babadook) does she begin to heal.
The Babadook is banished to the basement (where the father's stuff all remains) and she acknowledges it, feeds it worms, but doesn't let it rule her life anymore. She's become a greater mother, neighbor, and person. If only dealing with depression were as easy as yelling "THIS IS MY HOUSE!" and then giving your depression worms every so often...
This has been more of an analysis than a review. I still don't really like The Babadook. I think it's okay but I've touched on my dislike of "the real monster is mental illness!!!!" enough on this site. The movie itself is just paced too slow and it felt like a slog, especially when I knew what the payoff was going to be.
I give The Babadook 1 Babadook Meme out of 5:
Monday, April 9, 2018
There's something in the water! It's Jerry O'Connell's CGI penis! Everyone get out of the lake! Real talk though, there was a part of my brain that ignored the fact that this film was ever remade. Then I promptly had my mind blown by the people involved with this movie. Neville Page did creature design? Jerry O'Connell (and his CGI dick), Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Adam Scott, Paul Scheer?! Where the fuck did the money come from for this movie? Why did they decide to remake Piranha? And most importantly, why was this movie kind of okay?!
Piranha's plot is simple. A small quake opens up a crack in the bed of a lake. This gives way to a subterranean lake full of prehistoric piranha that have also evolved to be extra badass. It's also Spring Break which means people came to party at this lake. I assume these college kids are the lamest of the party kids to just come to a small town with a big lake to party. We have our main characters but it's all the usual shit for them. Teenage son shirks off his babysitting duties and then he and his wards all end up in danger. Their mom is the sheriff and has to come save them while dealing with dumb college kids and killer fish.
They knew what the fuck they were making with this film. It's dumb, but lovable dumb. There are lines like "If fish looked like that I would fuck fish. I WOULD ONLY FUCK FISH!" The CGI kills done by the schools of Piranha are extra gory and great. We get a bunch of people that end up with gnawed skeletal sections of their body, and even a cable slice followed by an upper body slide down the cut (a personal favorite of mine in horror). The only thing I really hated about this film was Jerry O'Connell just being the grossest of the gross. I get that he's supposed to be as sleazy as Joe Francis, but I grew up watching My Secret Identity and Sliders. Jerry will always be the dorky guy that ends up flying with the help of aerosol cans in each hand.
I give Piranha 3.5 actual piranha out of 5:
Friday, April 6, 2018
I've covered the original Creep way back in my second cut. I wasn't overly impressed with it and found its story to be lacking a strong punch. So when Creep 2 was released and people were suddenly saying how good it was I wasn't buying it. I couldn't conceive how Mark Duplass would build off of the original film and come up with something that was suddenly so adored. Then I watched this sequel...
Creep 2 picks back up with Aaron (Duplass) in the midst of one of his spying/lying schemes to kill his latest victim. This time though, it's different. In his set-up to the murder he begins to confess about the stalker being him and that he has been feeling off in some way. The murder still happens but his speech continues as his victim bleeds out. He is having a personal crisis on if he still finds enjoyment in his "work." Enter Sara. She's her own brand of odd as she is attempting to create a YouTube show where she replies to random online dating ads and then tapes the strange encounters. After two failed episodes she has her own breakdown but in the morning finds an ad placed by Aaron. The two meet for Sara to actually tape Aaron's confession about being a serial killer, although she doesn't believe him.
I liked the plot of this movie so much better than the first. Starting with this bizarre depressive crisis from a sociopath that doesn't get a thrill from the hunt anymore is such an odd but engaging concept. I found myself actually wanting to know where Aaron was going to go mentally. Sara also brings her own manipulations which just ups the ante and made me try even harder to figure out where this was going.
I assumed three possibilities:
1) They're going to get together and become a murderous power couple
2) He's going to groom her to take his place
3) He's going to kill her and get that spark back
I'm not going to say if any of those were right or wrong because that gives away too much. I will say this though: The ending of and the perceived endings of this movie left me fulfilled each time as a horror fan. Good job with the rally cap, Mark!
I give Creep 2 4 singles of TLC's "Creep" out of 5:
Thursday, April 5, 2018
I've been disappointed by films before. Had my heart broken. Been starving hysterical naked, dragging myself through the streets at dawn looking for an angry fix. Okay, that's actually the greatest minds of Ginsberg's generation but you get the point. There are films that I hope will bring good things once I hit play. I assumed that a werewolf film called Uncaged could take me places. Instead it just left me on my couch with a want for something real.
Uncaged puts us shortly after our main guy's 18th birthday. Apparently becoming a man also includes becoming a wolfman for him. His uncle invites our guy to his cabin for winter break. It will apparently be empty and this is also the time that his wolfy-ness should be kicking in. Wolfman invites his misogynist-hyper-sexual-focused-but-virgin cousin and their friend. Our wolfdude begins to realize there's something wrong with him and eventually gets tied up with a local crime person. Wolf shit happens, this movie is bad, and they try to pull off a low budget version of the American Werewolf in London change but end up giving us a wolf snout, teeth, and an Amish beard they picked up from the Spirit store. It's butt! BUUUUUTTTTTTT!
I think the moment I gave up on this film was about two minutes in when the cousin is having a conversation and says "she is thirsting for my penis." That's pretty much how that guy talked the whole time, unless he was making a gay joke. His dying wish was for a prostitute so he wouldn't die a virgin. Well virginity is a social construct and not a real thing. Do you know what is real? This movie, but it needs to be forgotten. Left as a bad dream best forgotten for it's terrible writing, boring looking wolf, and all around aura of an egg fart.
I give Uncaged 0 copies of Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" single out of 5:
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
If you've been with us from early on then you'll know that I covered this film's predecessor, Curse of Chucky and was blown away by the franchise's return to being actual horror films. I'm not sure why but when I saw that they made yet another Chucky (do we still refer to this as Child's Play?) film then there was some trepidation that Cult would not live up to Curse. Luckily, I was not let down.
Cult of Chucky takes us a few years beyond the ending of Curse. We find out that Nica was blamed for the murder of her family but her insistence on the actual murdering being the Chucky doll lands her in a maximum security psych hospital. She is eventually deemed safe enough to be moved to a medium security space by her doctor. At the same time, Andy (from the original Child's Play films) is all grown up but still tortured by his past. He keeps a living Chucky head in a safe believing that this is the best chance to prevent him from doing anymore harm. Unfortunately for both of them, Chucky learned a spell from VoodooForDummies.Com (yes, that's a quote) and with the help again of Tiffany, he tries to finish everything he started all while creating a true cult of Chucky.
I can't believe that I was blown away again by a Chucky film. It's the perfect mix of meta humor and knowing when and how far they can take a joke. Combine that with some gruesome kills and an overall solid story and this movie is near perfect. Alex Vincent returns as to play the adult version of his childhood role of Andy, Jennifer Tilly is still on board, and Brad Dourif is doing Charles' voice again. What more could you want?
I give Cult of Chucky 5 My Buddy dolls out of 5:
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Mother fucking Wesley Snipes! Fuckin' Blade! Mother fucking Simon Phoenix! A man that has vanished from the public eye (except for the one time my friend was his Uber driver). He's back! Or at least he was back in 2012 with today's film. Is my excitement warranted? Does Snipes live up to my hype? Does this film do him justice and vice versa? Ehhhh......
Gallowwalkers (yes, all one word) takes us to the old west where a badass looking Mr. Snipes is hunting down a specific individual all while doing Sub Zero head-rip fatalities and being a rad cowboy. We come to find that the man he's looking for is a strangely skinless person that steals the flesh from a young man and harasses a cult known as Enoch's Hammer. His actions are all because he thinks that Mr. Snipes killed his son. Wesley picks up a sidekick at some point and then everyone meets on the farm where our hero was raised for some final gun shooting and rock throwing.
Okay, real talk, as hyped as I have been sounding with this review, this film isn't that great. Wesley Snipes looks cool but when he talks it feels lackluster for someone that is meant to be a shoot-first-growl-talk-later type of guy. As a "presence" though, he kills it.
The plot and character design are what saves Gallowwalkers for me. If this were just a bunch of jagoffs in cowboy hats shooting each other because of "reasons" then I would've counted this as a total loss. Instead we have men that steal the skin of other men (and in one case, lizards), carrying around a crucified mummy, all while hunting down Wesley Snipes. On the other side we have sick dreadlock and grey-in-the-right-places Wesley hunting them down in return and ripping people's heads and spines off to satisfy his own revenge, and counter the curse upon him.
I made this movie sound sick as hell again...
I give Gallowwalkers 3 Simon Phoenix's out of 5:
Monday, April 2, 2018
You know the beginning to the Outer Limits? Where a monotone voice tells you to just sitting back and relaxing because "they" control your TV and are about to take you on an adventure? That's pretty much what happened to me when I started watching this movie. Rather than a descent into madness it was an ascension into it. You go willingly as opposed to fighting tooth and nail.
The Void throws us right into it with two men attempting to kill everyone in a remote country house. A survivor makes it onto the road where the local Sheriff notices him and transports our man to the closest hospital (20 minutes away, just to show that this is fuckall USA). We're then given about an hour or so of insanity, Silent Hill-esq monsters, crazy cultists, and a doctor that read too much Lovecraft.
I really liked this film. It felt like someone was turning up some sort of intensity knob slowly from the start, but paced it so well that when you reached the end everything was at its breaking point. I could see the influences of Lovecraft but more so I saw the influence of the first two Hellraiser movies. Nods to Frank, the labyrinth beast chasing Kirsty in the hospital, and the Leviathan are all present but not heavy handed. It's tastefully done... you know, as hell creatures go.
I also like that "The Void" isn't just an arbitrary title. There is a literal void which exists in a space between the folds of our perceived universe. Somewhere between life and death, somewhere with weird muscle monsters and giant triangles. Actually I just made this sound like a gay club...
I give The Void 4.5 bloody Franks out of 5 (I'd watch it again, but I probably won't buy it unless the DVD has amazing extras):
Saturday, March 31, 2018
In high school my friends and I spent many a Friday night renting random VHS tapes. We were "those kids" that played in bands and watched bad movies because they were good. It's the "Dio Effect," where something passes the threshold of terrible and cheesy to end up becoming amazing. The one thing I wish we had back then was a book like this. I could see one of us buying it but passing it around for weeks at a time as we read and digested each film inside before it stayed at our usual Friday night watch spot for reference. This book needs to learn time travel...
The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema reads less as a "guide" and more as a checklist of films to work through before you die. Every piece of celluloid tucked between the covers of this book comes with the author's personal description and feelings about it. It feels genuine though as the second movie you encounter has Michael telling you that it's not a good film. It's still strange, but just not his thing, and I can appreciate that honest approach.
Michael also does a great job of adding extras here and there. Sometimes you get some trivia about a film, or a short interview with someone involved, or even a recommendation of what other movies you might want to pair with your selection. Did you order the steak? Then you'll want a red wine. Do you watch The Apple? Then try it with Phantom of the Paradise!
One thing to keep in mind with this book is that this is "The Ultimate Guide" and not "The Complete Guide." Upon my acquisition of this book I quickly scanned it for some of my more obscure favorites but not everyone will have ever seen Cornman, although the lack of Six-String Samurai was disappointing as it is my favorite movie. Luckily I did see other favorites such as Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Yeti: A Gay Love Story, and Wild Zero gracing these pages.
The living tend to ignore the strange and unusual, but if you're strange and unusual or just like the strange and unusual then you should pick up a copy of this book. Yes I just ripped off Beetlejuice to finish this review, but that's not important. What is important is that you check out The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema.
I would like to thank Michael Vaughn and Schiffer Publishing for hooking me up with a copy of this book to review. Also, as an FYI, I was not paid in anyway to write a good review for this book, it's legitimately good.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Lily, the main character in this film, is from Altoona, PA. I grew up about 20 minutes from Altoona so I'm going to give you some fun facts that I remember about that town:
1) Sheetz started there. If you're not familiar with Sheetz, it started the whole Made To Order gas station food thing. The main strip of Altoona has something like six Sheetz that you can all see from each other. It's also Western PA's version of Wawa.
2) It's known for the Horseshoe Curve which is just a horseshoe shaped section of train track in the mountains. I rode a train on it in fifth grade as a class trip. It wasn't impressive.
3) Benzel's Pretzels started there.
4) It had a Chuck E Cheese's which had the arcade game Crossbow and my friend Dustin and I would go as adults and play the shit out of it.
5) There's a bowling alley there that I ordered a cheeseburger at in 1999 and since then it has remained the best burger I've ever eaten in my life.
It's pretty bad when I'm more interested in telling you about Altoona than talk about this movie.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is a Netflix original that I wish they wouldn't have made and put that money back in to doing another season of Sense 8. Lily is a nurse/caretaker for the elderly and she has been sent to the North East to take care of an author nearing the end of her life. From what I could gather there is a ghost that haunts the house named Polly. Her body is hidden in the wall after her husband killed her in early 19XX or late 18XX. I don't know for sure. Time is really an illusion when it comes to this movie because we find out that Lily had been working there for a year at one point and I have no idea how that passage of time happened beyond three days. The ghost starts fucking with Lily and it's dumb.
Most of this movie's exposition is done in voice over from Lily but it's done in that way where it seems like she's trying to seem more interesting than she is. When she's reading one of the author's books it becomes even more apparent because the book is so well written in comparison to the dialog. The writer (and director) of this movie wrote both things, why could they not see that one makes the other sound pretentious and annoying?
I think that this film was written with an "ABC" concept. We have "A" with "B" and "C" is the outcome but everything in-between is filler. Very dimly lit, monotone, and boring filler just oozing out of the cracks.
I give I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House 0 Casper comics out of 5:
Thursday, March 29, 2018
I don't mind subtitles in films. In fact, I would much rather have subtitles instead of a terrible dub where the context gets changed. Like that episode of Pokemon where they're eating rice balls but keep calling them donuts because they assumed English speaking children wouldn't know what a rice ball was. What's even worse though is when the character is speaking English but the subtitles say something different. It's definitely one of those "you had one fucking job" moments that confuses the hell out of me, and it happened multiple times during my viewing of this.
Staying in India, Horror Story takes the always hard to believe plot of a group of friends out partying the night before one of them is about to move away. I've moved multiple times in my life and you do not go out and fucking party the night before unless you have a moving service hired and someone is going to drive you where you're moving to. I'm getting off topic but I hate this plot line in horror. Anyway, our group decides to go to a supposedly haunted hotel because trespassing and breaking and entering are always good ideas the night before someone is moving. This hotel ends up not just being haunted, but super haunted as it was previously a mental hospital that had a violent patient that claimed to have married Satan in it.
Horror Story is really just a series of dumb decisions. The bending of the space of the hotel was a nice touch but in truth it's nothing that really made me want to become engaged with this film. I will say that the hotel "library" having an occult section meant that this was a classy establishment, and the final run with a hand full of fire was climactic, but the rest was a snoozeroo.
I give Horror Story 0 H.H. Holmes houses out of 5:
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Three days deep and we get our first "found footage" film of this Cut. I wanted to rip into this movie right at the start of this review but I decided to take a moment and look into it a bit more. This is really a bare bones production done on a shoe-string budget. It's the director/producer's first film and there wasn't much of a crew. I'm filling you in on this info because it's something that I'm taking into consideration. I came into myself thanks in part to a very DIY punk scene in Pittsburgh, so I can respect this kind of lo-fi production.
6-5=2 is a film out of India where a group of friends go hiking on a random mountain path. I'm having trouble remembering what their actual motivation is for this because I've had a lot of Indian found footage films I've ended up watching for this blog. This movie turns into a bootleg version of the Blair Witch quickly (a film which was said to be the major influence) with faux graves appearing in the night, cameras catching weird behavior, and everyone being lost.
This isn't the best horror film I've ever seen, but it's also not the worst. The Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity influence is far too heavy and feels more like copying than just an homage. This is especially prevalent when they use an alternate Paranormal Activity ending where the remaining female walks up to the camera and cuts her throat in front of it. The parts I liked were really more of things that maybe only I would enjoy. For example, during one of the evenings a girl sits up and starts doing some sick thrash metal hair spins for about a minute. I was waiting for some DRI or Municipal Waste to kick in, but it didn't. The other thing I liked was a brief ghost appearance that lead to my note of "Oh shit! Special appearance by the Babadook!" So as I said, only dumb stuff that got me excited. As for the rest, they made a movie with what they had. That's more than I can say for a lot of us.
I give 6-5=2 1 Suicidal Tendencies album out of 5:
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Horror films have taught me many things over the course of my life. One thing is that children are most likely all ghosts or the devil. Just because that creature was "born" doesn't make up for the fact that there were a solid nine months where you had no idea what it was really doing in there. I've seen sonogram images that look like that thing is summing all the powers of the dark lord into him! Seriously! Do you have multiple children? Well then one is a ghost and one is Satan, or they're both the ghost of Satan, I don't know. I don't have kids!
The Temple takes us to Japan where white people act like entitled assholes and can't take "no" or "not for sale" for an answer. A woman finds an old journal in a used book store but when she attempts to buy it the shop owner tells her that the book is cursed, not for sale, and kicks them out and closes up shop. If this isn't a sign of "don't fuck with that book," I don't know what is. Of course, one of the men with her goes back to find a small boy in the shop and buys the book from him (red flag #2). He stops at a ramen stand where he is told by the chef and the other patron to not go to the temple in the journal (red flags #3 & 4), but one of them still tells him where the temple is. So guess where these people all go the next day? This plot is trash.
I was really hoping for something great when this film started but it took me down a long and lonely road of boredom. I held no sympathy for any of these people because they're all trash and multiple levels. It's the deepest trash I've ever seen. An ocean of trash. The only thing that caught my attention was maybe three to five seconds long and it was the guardian spirit of the temple coming to life and attacking one of the men. The rest of this film can be shot into the sun for all I care.
I give Temple 0 dumpsters out of 5:
Monday, March 26, 2018
When I was a kid I was easily scared by all kinds of dumb stuff. Most of it being something related to the supernatural, but all of it being stupid shit that kids get scared of. The concept of "apps" didn't exist until after I was out of college, but let's just say, for one minute, that it existed when I was a child. There is no way in hell I'd be scared of an app with a silhouette of Pee Wee Herman on it!
Bedeviled is like someone took the original Nightmare on Elm Street and decided to make Freddy some sort of spooky demon in app form. After a local girl is found dead of what seems to be heart failure all of her friends receive a request from her to download Bedeviled. What starts out as a much better Siri turns into an evil presence that feeds off of fear and has no problem bending time and space to scare the hell out of anyone with the app.
If I wanted someone to try and scare me in regards to the use of technology then I would show my grandparents my iPhone and then proceed to hear all of the crazy shit they picked up from TV shows about how it will probably kill me. This film had that overtone of "those damn kids and their cell phones," woven inside of it. Yet, it tried to stay hip with the kids by mentioning stuff like BitTorrent and having phone hacking. It does lose touch again quickly though when a cop starts listing off possible drugs one of the kids might be on and it goes "...molly, skunk...poppers, sniffing each other's dirty underwear, bath salt orgies!" Remember kids: only a cop will ask you for something like molly or skunk, and if they ask for poppers or where the bath salt orgies are then they're a pervert.
There are some saving graces in this film. The entity can only exist and manipulate digital technology so anything analog is safe. They end up finding a reel-to-reel recording which helps the remaining two in their attempt to delete this thing from their phones. The app tricking a lot of them into revealing their biggest fears to use against them was also well done, except for the teddy bear. That was just trying too hard. The final nod (and I assume homage to Elm Street) was the mom ending up with the app on her phone at the end. It was like the mannequin being pulled through the door by Freddy. Unfortunately, these just weren't enough to bring me around to recommend this movie.
I give Bedeviled 1 iPhone out of 5:
Friday, February 16, 2018
Once again we wrap up another Cut and I'm looking forward to a much needed break. I love horror but subjecting myself to boring or just bad films makes me feel like I'm stuck on the Satellite of Love only without quirky robot friends to keep my sanity. Instead I develop something more akin to Ren & Stimpy's "space madness."
So what is going on with 30 Days of Plight while I'm taking my break between cuts? A lot actually:
I'm waiting on an Elgato to arrive so I can do proper streams of horror games over on my Twitch channel which is Twitch.TV/30DaysOfPlight. I'm looking to do at least an hour or two once a week during this break. A lot of Friday the 13th The Game will be shown and I'll be announcing those streams on our Twitter and Facebook.
I'm working on a t-shirt design to sell through an online vendor which will hopefully be available at the start of the 8th Cut.
I'm going to start reaching out to try to get some screeners of newer films and once that starts then I'll be doing a "Screener Saturday" once or twice a Cut.
Speaking of format changes, I'm going to be going back to a Monday-Friday post schedule for our regular reviews. The Sunday-Thursday existed because of my previous work schedule but being that I'm Fun-employed for the time being I can go back to a normal set-up. What does this mean about my Friday's Choice Cuts? I haven't been avoiding them, there just hasn't been a lot I've come across that I've felt like talking about. More than likely I'll just shift these to open Saturdays or maybe I'll keep them for a second post on some Fridays. They're kind of nebulous at this point.
Finally, we will return for not only our 8th Cut but also our 2 Year Anniversary on Monday, March 26th. If you have any suggestions for anything related to the site or just want to reach out and say "hi" you can contact or catch me at any of the following:
You get the point. So thank you for reading and I'll see you all again on March 26th. So until then, I'll be right back...
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Years ago I went with a group of people camping. As night came, and we were sitting around the fire, we started attempting to tell ghost stories. One of my fellow campers said he didn't have any ghost stories but he had seen this film so we told him to try and recap it since none of us saw it. The next five minutes were a hodgepodge of a story which ended with the most blasé "and then she jumped out a window and died." Everyone laughed their ass off and to this day I still think of that as a punchline to terrible stories. Post script to this story, that isn't what happens.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose is barely a horror movie. In truth this is a court drama that happens to revolve around priest that is being blamed for negligence in the death of Emily. Most of the time is spent with lawyers and witnesses arguing between the science of the physical word and the existence of the spirit of the supernatural. We are told the story from start to finish and there are some scenes of Emily before and during her possession but it's overshadowed by the litigation.
If I would've paid to see this film in theatres and this is what I got then I would be pissed. The only saving grace of Emily Rose is Emily herself. Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) does a lot of the physical contortions on her own as well as her facial expressions and voices. I spent some time looking into facts about this film and she was cast at the audition because she scared the director. Big ups to you, Jennifer.
Speaking of the director of this film, I came across something saying that he wanted people to leave this film with more questions than answers. You have a fictional court case and exorcism based off of a real account that happened in Germany. You can't make something up and then have people seek out answers when you've created the universe it exists in! Here's my question for you, why is this movie two hours of the most boring "horror" ever? Riddle me that, Batman.
I give the Exorcism of Emily Rose 1 romance paperback titled "Exorcism" out of 5 (and that is only for Jennifer Carpenter):
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
This is an odd way to start a review, but I feel that the term "redneck" gets overused in horror. It has become a catch-all for any non-urban/non-suburban villain character(s). Take this film for example. The descriptions mention the townspeople as "rednecks" but I find them more akin to the villagers in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. Their actions may be shocking and wrong to us, but to them it's what they have been doing for ages. I'm not justifying either groups actions here as by modern social and moral standards both are viewed as wrong. The people here don't really fit the stereotypical overalls, flannel, banjo playing bumpkins we typically visualize, so why not find a better term? Anyway, let's get back on track here.
Happy Hunting's main character is Warren, a crank making alcoholic. He receives a call from Mexico saying that an ex-lover has died and that he has a child. Warren mans up, tries to quit drinking, and sell some bunk crank to make it to Mexico. The deal goes south but so does our man until he ends up in the town of Buffalo Flats. It's a town known for its rich hunting heritage despite being a desert region now. He arrives just in time for their annual hunting festival where this quickly turns into The Most Dangerous Game with Warren and four others attempting to flee from the towns elite huntsmen.
It's been a while since I've watched one of these Running Man style films. While it lacks the panache of a lot of its predecessors I can't really find any heavy faults with Happy Hunting. Sure, we have a ton of time spent in the desert without much action but I found myself on Warren's side and had some emotional reactions to characters being killed. I also appreciated the speech from the Sheriff about the hunt being about how they "deal with problems," in this town. Once again, it doesn't justify their actions, but it helps you understand them. Overall, I'm probably not going to watch this film again, but if it's already on somewhere then I'm not adverse to seeing it again.
I give Happy Hunting 2 copies of Guns & Ammo out of 5:
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
So close. So close to finishing this Cut without having to deal with another "found footage" film and instead one more has to sneak in at the zero hour. My husband and I had a long discussion last night about this subgenre of horror and what has and hasn't worked. Blair Witch played on the fact that everyone grew up with some sort of urban legend. Paranormal Activity brought the fright into our homes. Grave Encounters took the phenomena of ghost hunting shows and had their own twist on the absurdity of them as well as pushing horror to be a bit more extreme. Most generic found footage just keep taking a group of 20-somethings and putting them in a haunted space. You know what else had that plot? Scooby Doo! And the fucking Scooby gang is way more entertaining!
Strayed (Perdidos) does this same dead horse style plot. A group of 20-somethings go into a supposedly haunted building to record ghosts. They vanish and this is the footage found. The twist here is that we know a Rabbi had to do an exorcism in this building. The Rabbi also left a Dybbuk just chillin' in that space, which I feel you wouldn't want to leave hanging out for just anyone to find. Spooky scares happen and I can't read Hebrew to save my life so I have no idea what half of that stuff says. I couldn't even translate whats on that poster and I spent a good 20 minutes trying and just gave up assuming its one of the 72 names of god.
Surprisingly, Strayed was one of the better found footage films I've watched. The quick pans gliding by shadowy figures are decently scary but what this movie does that I really like is that the spirit has the ability to manipulate physical space. People find themselves in hallways that end up looping themselves, rooms will change at any point, and impossible space becomes possible. In the end though, these weren't enough to save the film from long periods of nothing and poor character interactions. I would have liked this better if it were a 20-30 minute short film. This way you get all killer/no filler.
I give Strayed (Perdidos) 1 rabbi clip art out of 5:
Monday, February 12, 2018
Both on and off of this blog I've watched a lot of horror comedies. Sometimes you want to be able to laugh while also seeing gore as opposed to laughing at the poorly done gore. John Dies at the End, Tucker & Dale..., Shaun of the Dead, Deathgasm, all great examples of mixing hilarious comedy with fantastic horror. So what happens when a horror comedy does neither their horror nor their comedy aspects well?
Night of the Living Deb doesn't have much going for it in the plot department. Deb attempts to hit on a guy without knowing his fiancé is there and pissed at him. They end up getting drunk and passing out back at his place. The next morning is awkward but then so are the zombies that exist everywhere now due to water contamination by the water company owned by the guy's father. That's about it.
There's an attempt at an awkward romantic angle here but the dialog feels really forced and disingenuous between our leading characters. It's only made worse by 90% of the lines in this film attempting to be jokes. I had a few laughs while watching this but to be bombarded with mediocre humor consistently made me dislike this film even more.
If I had to sum up Night of the Living Deb in a few words then I would say this is the equivalent of some college friends realizing one of them had a video camera and trying to make a zombie movie in a weekend. Okay, that's more than a few, but we're not quite at "shit sandwich" level of bad with this film.
I give Night of the Living Deb 0 copies of Shaun of the Dead out of 5:
Sunday, February 11, 2018
At some point soon I would like to write a book that's an "everything I needed to know about life I learned from horror movies" type thing. In it I plan on having a section on foreign travel because holy fuck do white tourists just do the dumbest shit! Agreeing to ride out to the country in a foreign land with people you just met, yeah, fucking stupid! Taking an object from something called a "ghost house," you're an idiot! Basically being a tourist, you're probably an asshole, and I say that living in a city that is a tourist wonderland.
Ghost House sets us up with a couple on vacation in Thailand. On their first day they befriend two other tourists that are staying in their hotel. After an evening of drinks and strippers our couple is convinced to go out to a remote spot because the fiancé is jealous of her man friend having lipstick on his face and she is told that she could get some cool pictures out there. The other couple tricks them so that a spirit possessing their friend will possess our cranky lady. Now, with the help of their tour driver (Gogo) our man seeks out all kinds of shaman and mystics to save his betrothed. He has three days to do so before her soul is taken into the abyss.
This film had a really sharp reverse bell curve. It started out strong, despite relying heavily on jump scares, but there were about 15-20 minutes where it just couldn't keep my interest. By the end of the film it came back around and I want to create an award just to give to the actress that played the witch at the end (or whatever she might be called, my occult knowledge doesn't extend too far into Asiatic countries). She by far has the best "fuck you I did it!" laugh I've ever heard.
As for our ghost woman, except for the very end she is shown in quick and jerky shots. We get a few close-ups which end up disappointing because the facial appliance looks a bit rough. I don't know if it's what they molded it out of, or the paint job, but it looks a bit too Halloween mask for me. I've also been rewatching Syfy's FaceOff from the beginning and I'm finding myself more critical of stuff like that. Curse you Glenn Hetrick!
I give Ghost House 2 ghost houses out of 5: