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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Voice

Reality competition shows are about as far away from horror films as you can get (without starring Davey and/or Goliath). So when I start an article called “The Voice,” you wouldn’t be off-base to assume that I was spotlighting a new Syfy Channel original movie about killer sirens. But nope. This is about the NBC singing competition starring Christina Aguilera in the role of “Sober Paula.”

I have never seen this show, nor will I until they air the final, to-the-death round in its ratings-challenged seventh season. But I will say that their recent TV Guide cover is truly horrific. Let’s take a look…


What exactly are the secrets of The Voice, it asks? Well, let’s take this one creepily-posed face at a time.


Cee-Lo Green
This expression is what one might call “The Shock and Awe.” His lips are open in a come-hither trout configuration, and his eyes are wide and surprised, like the unfortunate recipient of a goosing whilst visiting an old folks’ home inhabited entirely of Cloris Leachmans.

His secret: he just witnessed a single mother of two killing herself because of repeated exposure to his Top 40 hit “F$#& You” (the uncensored version).


Christina Aguilera
This expression is blank and vapid, what we like to call “The Numb-Numb” or “The Liv Tyler-in-Lord-of-the-Rings-er.” Her lips are slightly apart, yet not at all inviting, and her normally sparkling eyes are doing the opposite of smizing.

Her secret: she just found out that her repeated use of Botox clashes with her new vegan lifestyle. Also, she’s confused about something.


Blake Shelton
His gaze, slight nostril flare, and sparse facial hair all combine into a prime example of “Pedaphile-Chic.” He’s also bugging out his left eye, the one used for scoping fresh meat.

His secret: he’s planning something dirty with your daughter. Be mindful.


Adam Levine
His lips are in a grimace-pout, and his eyebrows are knitted into the eyebrow equivalent of Downward Facing Dog. His head is also slightly tucked in, as if ready to spring into action.

His secret: he just saw Blake Shelton doing something morally and legally amiss. Also, he wants to serenade someone.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hard Candy


STATS:
Hard Candy
2005
Directed by David Slade
Written by Brian Nelson
Starring Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page

WHA’ HAPPENED?
Patrick Wilson is a pedophile who takes a much younger Ellen Page back to his place for a skeezy afternoon of being illegal. Before he can do anything, though, she drugs him and ties him up. Get it? The victim turns the tables on the predator. For most of the movie, Ellen does things that would make Juno’s water break. Patrick is a truly awful person, but the filmmakers push us to the limits and ask if he deserves everything that happens to him. (Answer: pretty much.)

The shower scene. Like the fountain scene from Friends… except more harrowing.

Oh. And Dr. Yang from Grey’s Anatomy is in it, too. She plays the Asian.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
Why did I add this film to my Netflix queue? Two words: Ellen and Page. She is riveting in everything, even in really bad SNL sketches where she has to play a dancing Peter Pan or something. This was her big breakthrough role before she did that movie that forever linked her with teen pregnancy (Damn Inception!). I wasn’t sure how old she was, but she straight-up looks fourteen. And Canadian. I knew that she was good in this, and I knew the basic story, so I thought I’d check it out.

Notice the Carol Brady hair flip?No? You don’t? Me neither.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
Due to the subject matter, this film is perhaps the least titillating thing I’ve seen that doesn’t take place at a concentration camp. There is nothing sexy about anything here, which is pretty much the point. The filmmakers hired the beautiful, beautiful Patrick Wilson, but not even his smiling face could make his character a sex symbol.

Ick.

Also, Patrick has a pretty pronounced bald spot in this film. I’m not sure if he does in real life, or if that was just an artistic choice to make him seem less like an insanely good-looking actor.

Hey! It’s Nicolas Cage!

BLOOD AND GUTS:
Surprisingly, not a lot of either. Well, this movie does have a lot of guts. You know, with the pedophilia and all that. But I’m talking about metaphorical guts. Literally, there aren’t any actual internal organs on display here. Hell, this guy gets (SPOILER ALERT) castrated and we see nothing. Thank freaking God.

I think the whole point of this film is to raise some interested questions about revenge and sympathy and how far a bad guy can be hurt before we start feeling sorry for him. Anything explicit and gory would just muddy the message.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
So Patrick Wilson has a weird fixation with movies about castration. In addition to this little ball-buster, he did Barry Munday, an indie quirkfest starring Judy Greer and not starring his balls.


He also did Little Children, the movie where Freddy Krueger Redux castrates himself and Kate Winslet has a lot of sex.

Here’s some back. What what.

OK. IS IT GAY?
Thankfully, no. So many people equate pedophilia with gay men. This movie doesn’t even give lip service to that misconception. Now, I’m not saying that this movie wouldn’t work if both roles were male. It would still be creepy as hell. It would still be effective. But it would also perpetuate an idea that is weirdly common among straight people. Sickos can be gay or straight; this movie just happens to be about a straight one, and I’m glad for that.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

ED WOOD

I hope you don't think I'm dirty, but... can anyone tell me what my favorite kind of wood is?


Nope.


Nope. But good guess. I like them.


Yes. You are correct. ED Wood is my favorite kind of wood. And as you can see from the above photo, he has a brand new box set for you to enjoy. It's called a "Big Box of Wood," because, as this post clearly demonstrates, you can never make too many jokes out of the word "wood."

Included in this box set are all of his available films (not the monster porn, apparently) as well as hours upon hours of interviews, commentaries, and bonus awesomeness. Brotherhood director David DeCoteau pops in for a few of the commentaries, because why not? You can read all about this release at Dread Central, which is the greatest website alive. But more importantly, I recommend buying this set and honoring one of the most enjoyable filmmakers in the history of monster porn... I mean movies. In the history of movies.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Muppets Trailer

I was all geared up to write today's blog post on They Live. It's one of my all-time favorite films, AND I'm psyched about John Carpenter's upcoming return to the living. I thought this would be the perfect time to pay tribute to kicking ass, chewing bubblegum, and the longest man-on-man fight in any movie ever.

However, priorities can often change in the blink of an eye, and while no amount of crappy reviews is going to take away my enthusiasm for The Ward, I've decided to give this post over to something completely different: the new Muppet movie.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Why the hell would any self-respecting horror blog spend any time talking about the last remaining puppets that don't kill anybody.


Well, who said I believe in self respect?

The Muppets have very little to do with gay culture and horror, but Kermit is the closest thing to a universally beloved character that could ever exist. Everyone at least likes the Muppets, and some people love them with a passion.

So if you haven't seen the new Muppet movie trailer, then here it is. This is a reason to celebrate, my friends. This is pop culture at its finest.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

THE BRIDES OF DRACULA


STATS:
The Brides of Dracula
1960
Directed by Terence Fisher
Written by Peter Bryan, Anthony Hinds, Edward Percy, Jimmy Sangster… and Bram Stoker, I guess
Starring Peter Cushing, Not Christopher Lee


WHA’ HAPPENED?
As the film’s opening narration explains: “Dracula is dead but his disciples live on.” Thus, Brides of Dracula has nothing to do with Dracula or anyone married to him. Instead, it’s about this guy…


Not exactly Christopher Lee, huh?

This is Baron Meinster, a vampire whose name is passably scary, if you ignore the fact that he sounds like a cheese.

The movie follows a beautiful French woman as she travels through a Romanian town populated by superstitious folks with suspiciously British accents. They say things like, “There’s nothin’ to be afeared of.” And then they go all silent and glarey when the French woman says the wrong thing. (They reminded me of the similar townspeople from the beginning of American Werewolf in London.)



Because this is a Dracula film, the French woman ends up staying the night at Castle Meinster, presumably because Castle Gouda was too far away. Castle Meinster is a beautiful estate with one of the most exorbitant candle budgets in history.


Seriously. It’s like every room is celebrating Hanukkah.

The French lady snoops around, even though Baroness Meinster warns her not to. Eventually, she meets the Baroness’ son, who is both handsome and a vampire. He’s also chained up in his room. The French lady frees him, because the French love freeing potentially dangerous prisoners.



Baron Meinster runs off and drinks his mom because he’s a vampire (spoiler, I guess) and the French lady doesn’t even try to take responsibility for the thousands of innocent lives that she put in danger. Thankfully, the French lady isn’t our heroine, because the next time we see her, she’s lying unconscious in a road. She’s not exactly Lara Croft.

This is when the film switches to Dr. Van Helsing’s POV. Van Helsing finds the French lady’s unconscious body in the midst of vampire country and automatically assumes the only rational explanation: she “was frightened” and passed out. Apparently, Dr. Van Helsing went to the same medical school as Dr. Phil.

From there, long stretches of the film are taken up by characters talking nonstop about mysterious neck wounds and all that boring stuff as 21st century audiences twiddle our thumbs and wait for something to actually happen.


Doesn’t this Romanian pub look like a
cheap Italian bistro from Lincoln, Nebraska?

In order to at least vaguely justify the film’s title, Baron Meinster proposes to our French girl (who has since relocated to a completely different city). He drinks her friend Gina, who’s so British she looks like a Dr. Who companion.

K-9.

In a string of poor decisions, Baron Meinster shacks up with a crazy lady and two vampire brides (including Gina) in an old windmill. Because this is a horror movie, the windmill burns down. Van Helsing defeats him and all is right with the world.

Now, there are a few lingering questions here: Why does he follow the French woman to another city? Better yet, why does he propose instead of drinking her outright? What makes her so special? Also, why does he move to an abandoned mill, the only building that can literally turn into a giant cross. He’s just waiting to get staked.

One more thing: Shouldn’t there be three brides, not two?


And is the one in the back smiling?

WHAT YOU SAY?
 “I have very little appetite.”

“You may not believe it, but we’ve had gay times here. Balls. Dinners. Life.”

“Come closer. Please. Come closer. You see, I can’t come… to you.”

“And now I leave you entirely to yourselves… for ten minutes.”


This is the Meinster House. Home of the Meinster family. Meinster.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I’ve always wanted to review a Hammer film. I have fond memories of watching them with my dad back when I was very young. I also have fond memories of Power Rangers, so this is where you insert a grain of salt.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
There are several murders, but they all occur off-screen. The Baroness gets killed, and we see her bloodless body for less than a second. The BFF Gina gets killed too, but that is similarly off-screen. What we do see is Meinster’s old lady henchwoman falling off the stairs and Van Helsing cauterizing his own neck wound. I didn’t even get screen captures from those scenes; that’s how effective they were.

I may seem like I’m getting nit-picky on a film from a totally different time period and moral code, but these complaints feel symptomatic of a larger problem: I didn’t find this vampire threatening. He’s constantly running away from everybody (male and female, French and otherwise). Furthermore, when we first see him, he’s chained up by an old lady. Add that to the long list of bad decisions he makes in the last half hour of the film, and you’ve got a villain that doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of men.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
One thing I enjoy about films from this time period is what I call “soap opera staging.” This is when two people are talking, one person turns toward the camera, and the conversation continues. This never happens in real life, and yet you see it all the time in older movies.

“But Gwendolyn. Ronaldo isn’t just my lover. He’s also my clone.”

OK. IS IT GAY?
No. It is not. In fact, I was surprised by how weirdly sex-less this film is. I clearly remember Hammer films having lots of blood, boobs, and naughtiness (like in my personal favorite, Frankenstein Created Woman… and Then Groped Her). I guess because this film is from 1960, it’s much tamer and less grope-y. In fact, a good chunk of the movie features the French woman wandering around in her pajamas, except in this film they’re nineteenth-century nighties, which are basically Victoria’s Secret Wizard Cloaks.

The tone of this film can best be described through two lines of dialogue. One character is dishing to her friend about this cute, pale guy that she’s dating: “Did you let him kiss you? Tell me, please.” “Only my hand.”

Sure, I could talk about the Meinster family dynamic, about how the mother disapproves of her son’s non-standard lifestyle and hides him away. On paper, that sounds at least a little interesting for a queer audience. And yet, that’s kind of a stretch. All-in-all, this film doesn’t give me a lot to sink my teeth into.

It’s definitely enjoyable, but it’s a little stuffy and British. And it’s not at all gay. On the gayness scale, I’ll give this a Sir Alec Guinness (before his tell-all biography came out).


Monday, June 13, 2011

Super 8

STATS:
Super 8
2011
Written and Directed by J. J. Abrams

Starring Elle Fanning and her 70s hair.

WHA’ HAPPENED?
[CLASSIFIED]

WHAT YOU SAY?
This film has a refreshing number of minor swear words for a family movie. It’s The Goonies all over again.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I’ve been hearing about this mysterious movie for months now, and while no one knew exactly what it was about, everyone kept using the word “Spielbergian.” Oh, it’s so Spielbergian. The kids are Spielbergian. People who didn’t even know what that word means overused it like Stephenie Meyer overuses adverbs. Immensely.

By the time it finally hit theaters last week, I was convinced that it was about a whip-carrying shark who makes friends with a friendly alien on a slave ship that crash lands onto dinosaur island while Robin Williams flies around with a robot version of the little kid from the Sixth Sense. That’s how Spielbergian I thought it was.

A dark-haired boy gazes up at a mysterious alien light.
We all know what Spielberg movie this is from. Munich.

And while Spielberg isn’t the most gay-inclusive director in Hollywood, he’s consistently entertaining. So I had to check it out. And then I had to write about it, because I kept thinking about all these great Spielberg jokes like Stephenie Meyer thinks about adverbs. Seriously.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
This film does not shy away from death and blood, though no kids die. Just adults, because that’s how life is and God bless America.

This guy got hit by a train, but he
looks pretty okay. And he has gun.

I won’t spoil anything about the horrible alien creature that kills people and hangs their bodies upside-down in his lair. Did I say alien creature? I meant Earth-animal. And did I say kills? I meant nuzzles. And did I say bodies? I meant… Earth-bodies. Crap.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
What’s with all the camera flare? Hasn’t this J. J. Abrams fellow directed anything before?

So the big secret of this film is that the
kids can shoot blue lights from their eyes.

OK. IS IT GAY?
Well, it does have the kid from 7th Heaven all grown up and made to look like a 70s-era stoner.


I assume he has a gay fan base. I don’t really know where that assumption comes from, but I’m just throwing that out there.

Aside from that, there is nothing gay about this film. It’s about a bunch of teen outcasts, blooming love, and alien encounters that are fun for the whole family. It’s a wonderfully made, wonderfully acted movie that I would highly recommend. It’s beautiful; it’s just not gay. For that reason, I’ll give this two Rob Lowes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS


STATS:
1972
Directed by Bob Clark (Black Christmas, A Christmas Story)
Written by and starring Alan Ormsby


WHA’ HAPPENED?
Alan, the wizard-cloaked douche of the century, brings a bunch of friends (or perhaps employees) to an island at night. Once there, he resurrects the dead. The dead get all resurrect-y and kill Alan and his friend-ployees. It’s a morality play.

Alan the wizard-douche. He makes me taste bile.

WHAT YOU SAY?
"The magnitude of your ignorance overwhelms me." 

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I chose this film because I’m a sucker for bad zombie films. I basically have Shock Waves playing in a loop deep inside my brainstem. I figured this movie would satisfy my minimum requirements for a good film: corpses and victims.

Also, this movie has one of my all-time favorite titles.


Except for this one, of course.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
No skins, and the shirts are all 70s and awful. Also, check out these pants:

I feel disheartened that an entire decade
embraced this style of polyester vomit.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
The entire cast gets ripped apart by zombies, and yet we see nothing. No blood. No candy-colored grue. Just victims disappearing into the shambling mass of rampaging corpses. (Which isn’t a BAD thing, per se.)


RANDOM THOUGHTS:
Alan, the director/star, is the most obnoxious main character I have ever seen in a movie. And I’m an early-period Blake McIver Ewing fan. (No I’m not.)

OK. IS IT GAY?
Well, there is clearly a gay man in this circle of friends. He does his own zombie make-up, makes jokes about going straight, and is the first to be horribly murdered. It’s not exactly a positive portrayal.

However, I cannot recommend this film to gay or straight horror fans. The audio is bad, the lighting is almost unwatchably dark, and the zombies don’t show up until after our main characters say annoying things to each other for an hour and a half. The presence of a gay secondary character doesn’t make this gay-friendly. The only reason you might want to watch this is for the early-70s kitsch. For that, I’ll rank this film a solid Gene Rayburn.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

VAMPIRES SUCK


STATS:
2010
Written and Directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the unholy duo who unleashed Date Movie unto the world

WHA’ HAPPENED?
This movie follows the basic plot of Twilight and New Moon, pausing every few seconds to add jokes about Lady Gaga and wrinkly butts. In that respect, it’s reminiscent of late-period Paddy Chayefsky.

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” [fart noise]

WHAT YOU SAY?
“Hearing you breathe is the greatest gift I’ve ever received.” [Becca farts in Edward’s face.]

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
This is the latest in a long string of Friedberg/Seltzer movie parodies starting with Date Movie and hitting an impossibly low nadir with Meet the Spartans. They are also credited writers on the much more legitimate Spy Hard and Scary Movie, the latter of which has seen a rapid drop in prestige thanks to these similarly titled train wrecks. But while films like Date Movie and Epic Movie have served as the Roger Clinton to Scary Movie’s Bill, Friedberg and Seltzer keep churning them out whenever another string of slightly similar blockbusters comes out. (Honestly, how does Will Smith’s Hitch qualify as an “epic movie” anyway?)

I wanted to review this particular entry in the series because it seems like the most relevant to the average horror fan (who would pay good money to see Twilight get farted on for an hour and a half). Also, the previous spoof movies have had a recurring theme of constant gay panic jokes, particularly in regards to 300. I wanted to see if that would also apply to their Twilight spoof.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
From an abs standpoint, this film absolutely delivers. Of course, that’s not particularly surprising, considering the source material. However, this film’s version of Jacob is clearly over 18, which is way less skeezy.


BLOOD AND GUTS:
No guts, but there is definitely blood. I particularly enjoyed a scene that mocked Bella’s paper cut from New Moon. While the original movie made her seem like a hemophiliac, this version added massive geysers of blood shooting out of her finger and (for some reason) elbow. That was the entire joke, but it somehow worked. When it comes to non-fart-related physical comedy, this film often delivered.


RANDOM THOUGHTS:
The actress playing “Becca Crane” (get it?) is really good at the faux-angsty Kristen Stewart mannerisms. She bites her lip, plays with her hair, and looks away all at the same time. She’s like an awkward puppet… or, you know, Kristen Stewart.


OK. IS IT GAY?
While this is not a good film (at all), it had its moments of stupid humor. For most of the running time, I felt like I was watching a little kid making nonsensical knock-knock jokes and kicking a dead horse, but since that dead horse was Twilight, I say kick away.

Much like every post-Airplane! spoof, the humor is hit and miss, but there are so many jokes that statistically some have to land. I’d say I laughed six times during this one, which is a huge step up from the negative numbers of Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans. Perhaps I’m being overly kind because I was so surprised by the lack of gay panic hysteria in this film. There is only one scene that fell into that category: when the muscle-y wolf pack dances around in short-shorts to “It’s Raining Men.”


Clearly, it was not a good joke, but there really wasn’t anywhere else to go with it, given the source material. Other than that, I didn’t notice anything hateful. There were a couple man-on-man kisses, but nothing meant to make the audience squirm.

I was worried that they would have a recurring joke about Edward being gay, particularly because he keeps shying away from Bella’s advances. They didn’t go that way, however, and the movie was better for it.

So is this film gay-friendly? Not really, except in the shirtlessness quota. Is it offensive though? Nope. And considering the low-low-low-low bar I set for this film, that makes it a stunning success. I do not recommend this film to any human being, but on the gay scale, I’ll give this two Eric Roberts. It’s low-rent, but it means well.