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Thursday, September 29, 2011

AMUSEMENT


AMUSEMENT
2008
Directed by John Simpson
Written by Jake Wade Wall
Starring Katheryn Winnick, Laura Breckenridge and Jessica Lucas
Not really. Is it supposed to be?

WHA’ HAPPENED?
Well, three things happened, really. This is an anthology film based on three separate urban legends. One involves a young couple driving into a dark forest because a stranger told them to take a short cut. The second involves a babysitter getting stalked by a killer in a clown costume. And the third involves a girl getting sewn inside a bed at the world's creepiest bed and breakfast. They all involve the same killer, a giggling lunatic who was teased by our three main characters in elementary school. One girl gets away and explains the moral of the movie in the most pointless narration possible. I guess we all learned something, then.

WHAT YOU SAY?
"It’s funny, right?"

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I have never heard about this movie. Ive never known anyone who has seen this movie. But it has been recommended to me by Netflix over and over again for the past year. Apparently, it really wanted me to see this film. So I finally clicked on the goofy clown face (MST3K reference).


BLOOD AND GUTS:
Yes, there are death scenes. And yes, they are extremely elaborate and impossible. Case in point, this Victrola kills someone:


SHIRTS AND SKINS:
There are a few scantily clad women running around in their bras and panties. That goes with the territory. On the male side, though? Nothin’. There is the giggling killer, of course. Hes not exactly a rugged fellow (though his IMDb photo makes him look pretty handsome). And the two boyfriends don’t really get an opportunities to shine… or go around shirtless. It’s a missed opportunity, if you ask me.


RANDOM THOUGHTS:
Urban Legend is one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures. I love watching people get horribly murdered via urban legends. I also really like anthology films and wish they were more popular with the general public. Based on those criteria, I'd say this film would be right up my alley. And for the most part, it is. But there's also the stink of missed opportunities in every scene. It’s not nearly as awesome as it could’ve been.


OK. IS IT GAY?
Not even. If it dialed up the camp factor, then maybe. Lord knows the premise is campy enough. But as it is, this is a lukewarm hetero journey into cheap scares and minimal suspense. That said, I like the clown costume. It’s cute.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK


Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a refreshing little haunted house tale about tiny creatures that try to kidnap Katie Holmes' stepdaughter so they can eat her bones and teeth. It is freaking great.

These are the little creatures. They’re simultaneously adorable and frightening. Mostly adorable. Especially when they use their little tools.



The main issue I had with this film is that it shows the creatures too soon and too often. They don’t lurk in the shadows as much as they should, especially since they’re repelled by sunlight. They also don’t do a lot of killing, leaving the middle of the film sagging under long stretches of non-suspense.



My other issue with the film is the fact that the male lead (Guy Pearce) is that character in haunted house movies who doesn’t believe anything is wrong, and really drags his feet before deciding to flee. Now, that type of character is always insufferable, but in this case, he’s almost retarded in his lack of comprehension. Get your family out of that freaking house! You have photo evidence! Just go. And yet, he doesn’t. And poor Katie Holmes pays the price.

By losing Midichlorian points, or whatever Scientologists believe in.

Whatever its faults, though, this film is a charming little throwback to horror movies of yore. Prepare to laugh and jump and silently curse Guy Pearce. It’s a roller coaster.

Monday, September 26, 2011

DISNEY CAPTIONS


Check out this brand new blog from the award-winning makers of… this blog. And by award winning, I mean shut up. It’s called Disney Captions, and it’s a daily dose of Disney screen shots with weird and inappropriate captions. Here's a sample:
 
This chipmunk feels gross.

I post a new photo every day, so check it out. Every morning, you can watch your childhood get ruined piece by piece. It’ll be fun AND educational!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

CANDYMAN 2 AND 3


Ever experienced déjà vu? Me neither. No matter what The Matrix tells you, déjà vu is pretty much BS. That said, the moment I stuck Candyman 3 into my VCR, I had the distinct feeling of déjà vu. I'd never seen this film before, and yet I knew exactly what was going to happen beforehand. Was I in a time loop? Nope. I'd just seen Candyman 2.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

ZOMBIE HIGH


I. Love. Zombie. High. I love everything about it. I love the wall-to-wall 80s music, especially since all the lyrics are weirdly motivation pieces of advice about "rising up," etc. etc. I love how it has absolutely nothing to do with zombies until at least the halfway point. I love star Virginia Madsen, who is gorgeous and amazing.



I love the hair, and the clothes, and the horny roommate who says "PSM" instead of "PMS". I love the dorky love interest who looks like he escaped from Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love.



I love the faux-rebel love interest who cusses out his Latin teacher because he’s baaad. I love how the high school has the most mature, chiseled study body since one of the Brotherhood sequels.



But most of all, I love the last half-hour, which is inept, bordering on incomprehensible. I know that Ms. Madsen has since disowned this film (she mentioned it at the Phoenix Film Festival, where she was even more beautiful in person). And I can absolutely see why. But one man's trash is another man's treasure, and Zombie High is a steaming pile of treasure. Please watch this film.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

THE THING


The brand-spanking new remake/prequel/future-pile-of-money The Thing 2: Die! Darkman! Die! is coming out soon. The trailers have been all over the place, and they look pretty awesome. Sure, it will probably rely too much on CGI, and it also looks like it errs on the side of action over horror… But a crappy Thing is still better than no Thing at all. (Maybe. Ask the Cat in the Hat.) So despite all my reservations, I will be at the premiere with bells on… Because I really want to make loud jingling noises that disrupt the movie-going experience.

That said, there is no way this film is going to outdo the original. There is just no way. The original is one of the most perfect movies I’ve ever seen. And I’m always wary of remakes, because I’m afraid that even if they’re good, they will erase the original’s memory from future generations, and I do not want that happening. So please rewatch this film as often as you can, especially now that the new one is coming out. It’s your duty.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CANDYMAN


After recently watching Final Destination 5 (or 5nal Destination, as it was originally going to be called by really stupid movie producers), I realized how much I love Tony Todd. I love him in Hatchet and Hatchet 2. I love him in season one of Chuck. And I particularly love him in Candyman, a Clive Barker horror film from the early 90s.

If you are a gay horror fan, you naturally gravitate toward Clive Barker and his works. It’s a natural mesh. He makes movies with a queer sensibility. And even if his films are butchered by interference (Nightbreed), they’re still interesting. This is perhaps the most perfect film that Mr. Barker can make. Sure, Hellraiser is probably more important. It probably has a bigger following, but from start to finish, Candyman is a more consistent, better constructed film.

Plus, it stars the incomparable Virginia Madsen. And even though Jennifer Laurence is a scream queen of the highest order, Virginia is an old-school movie star. She is classy.

Here she is, crawling through the hole in a bathroom wall.

Candyman might not have inspired the franchise that he deserved (which, considering the later Hellraiser films, might be a godsend), but he will still go down in history as the number one reason mirrors are creepy as hell. Also, if I could hire anyone to narrate my life story, it would be Tony Todd.

Any guesses what FLUCH means?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CRITTERS 2: The Main Course


Critters 2: The Main Course is my all-time favorite Critters movie, which is like calling someone the World's Tallest Midget. This entire series is built around one basic question: How much money can we make ripping off Gremlins?

Answer: more than these jackasses.

These movies are not good. And yet, every one of them (even the installment that Leonard DiCaprio has tried to destroy every copy of) is so, so much fun to watch. This one, number 2, is probably the most fun. Exhibit A: A man wearing a bunny costume gets eaten alive from the inside out and his dying body stumbles into a church full of families. God bless America.

And let us take a moment to honor Eddie Deezen, otherwise known as this guy:


Eddie here is one of the few actors to appear in both Grease and Grease 2: The Squeakquel. He is such a bright spot in some horrid films, and here, he just knocks it out of the park.

Also, there is a truly great Freddy Krueger cameo. And as you all know, a little Freddy goes a long way.


All-in-all, this film is much more of a comedy than the first one, especially once all the critters morph together into a giant ball of critter. They are like real-life Pokemon, and that is surely a scary thought. Please watch.


Or else...


Monday, September 19, 2011

RANDOM BOX SETS

Two of my favorites.

More than any other genre, horror movies are often clumped together in wildly unrelated box sets. Why, for example, would Predator fans be interested in Dead Silence? Just go to Walmart and you’ll see the ape-shit insanity from which DVD people must suffer. They see that a film is in the horror section, but they don’t bother reading the synopses before clumping things together like they were Dr. Moreau. I mean, Schindler's List and Raging Bull are both black and white dramas, but they have virtually nothing in common. No one would package those into a single box set. So why are horror movies so easily sorted? Probably because horror fans will buy anything.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER


STATS:
1992
Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui
Written by Joss Whedon!
Starring Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry, Paul Reubens, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank, Rutger Hauer, David Arquette

David Arquette

WHA’ HAPPENED?
I know you’ve seen the TV show. I know you know the plot. Let’s move on.

WHAT YOU SAY?
"All I want to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die. Now it may not sound too great to a sconehead like you, but I think it's swell. And you come along and tell me I'm a member of the hairy mole club so you can throw things at me?"

"Pike isn't a name, it's a fish."

"You're floating! C'mon, man, get away from here!"

"Does the word 'duh' mean anything to you?"


ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
This film has gotten some undeserved criticism since the subsequent TV show went and redefined genre television as we know it. While admittedly not nearly as amazing as the show, this film is a solid, enjoyable ride. I have seen this film multiple times, each time expecting to be disappointed because I am such a fan of the show. And each time, I am reminded of how solid this film really is. I just wanted to share that with people.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
None. Now, I’m not saying that I’m a huge Luke Perry fan. But 0% is a rather low ratio for shirtlessness, no?

BLOOD AND GUTS:
A small amount. We see neck biting. The Pee-Wee Herman vampire loses an arm.


RANDOM THOUGHTS:
Hey! It’s Hilary Swank. She must’ve just stopped training with Mr. Miyagi.


OK. IS IT GAY?
Yes. This is the kind of film that LGBTerror was made for. A smart, strong heroine teams up with some cute outsider guy and together they fight vampires. It’s clever and quippy and campy and fun. Even though Joss Whedon saved his gay characters for the subsequent TV show, there is still plenty here for gay audiences.

Also, the early 90s soundtrack is great. When the first band listed on the cassette tape is C + C Music Factory, you know your ears are about to have a party.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

HOWLING 7: NEW MOON RISING


STATS:
HOWLING 7: NEW MOON RISING
1995
Directed by, written by, and starring Clive Turner (a modern day Orson Welles)

WHA’ HAPPENED?
Not a lot. There are more scenes of line-dancing than werewolf violence, hence the film's original name: Howling VII: Please Don’t Watch This Because It’s All About Line Dancing. Actually, the film depicts a small town panicking after a body is found. The townspeople suspect werewolves because they are townspeople, and thus extremely stupid. A red-haired cowboy from Australia saves the day. And… that’s about it.

WHAT YOU SAY?
[Last lines of the film] "Oh, we thank you so much for this beautiful benefit. Thank all of our neighbors and our friends and Ted, we're sorry. I was looking at Pappy with that tail on his hat and I thought about a song that I wrote just for him and the cleaning lady."

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I always, always, always wanted to see this film. I had heard that this was the worst werewolf movie ever made. I heard it had some truly nonsensical dialogue between non actors. I heard it made people’s eyes bleed. I just HAD to see it.

I also knew that it was written, produced, and directed by its Australian star, who got the part because he happened to be a minor character in two of the other Howling sequels. I love those kind of auteur-driven films, because they’re usually bad in a very self-indulgent way. And that, my friends, is the best kind of bad. Also, he looked like this:

Before I saw this man, I had no idea why
us red-heads always got such a bad rap.

More topically, I wanted to spotlight this film because I knew there was an upcoming sequel-slash-reboot of the franchise. It looks similarly awful, but it’s clearly targeting the teenage demo, instead of the living-in-a-ghost-town-and-cooking-meth demo.


SHIRTS AND SKINS:
This film uses actual townspeople at a small, rustic ghost town. Let me repeat: real people who still live in a ghost town. There is no nudity and I am so, so grateful.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
There is a grand total of two legit murder scenes, and both of those aren’t worth mixed nuts. More egregiously, there is very little werewolf action. The glimpses of werewolf that we go catch are so poorly computer-animated (ahh, the 90s) that you gotta thank the stars that the lighting is so bad.

Pictured: the werewolf mid-attack

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
Perhaps the creepiest, most atmospheric scene in the whole film involves line dancing. And absolutely no danger whatsoever. Just line dancing. If that doesn’t pique your interest… then I don’t blame you. Because this film is really dull.


OK. IS IT GAY?
No. Thank God. It’s as gay as Larry the Cable Guy… and only half as scary.


Seriously. This film has a reputation for being so-bad-it’s-good. Don’t believe the rumors. This is way too boring to be fun. It’s like watching an episode of MST3K without the talking robots.

Friday, September 16, 2011

PINOCCHIO


PINOCCHIO
Written, produced, directed, and starring Roberto Benigni

Pinocchio is the timeless tale of an innocent puppet who struggles to grow up into a real boy, but he keeps making all the mistakes of childhood. It’s archetypal. It’s a fairy tale. And it’s a story that will never, ever be a good live action movie.

Im just going to say it right now: Pinocchio is one of the greatest animated films of all time. It’s one of the greatest FILMS of all time. Period. It’s a shining jewel in Disney’s crown. But watching a beautifully animated puppet turn into a donkey and talk to a cricket is adorable. Watching a balding Italian man in his 40s doing the same… well, it’s just creepy.

Life is a-beautiful! I am Italian!

Throughout the movie, he does the same kind of physical schtick that would be cute if he werent a 40-year-old man wearing a dunce cap.

If I don’t look at him or acknowledge his existence,
maybe he'll stop trying to act precocious.

Unfortunately, the less people laugh at his antics, the harder Roberto Benigni mugs for the camera. I call that the Robin Williams Guide to Being Insufferable. By the time his closest friend (Topher Grace) turns into a donkey and dies because a farmer works him too hard, I decided that this was the single creepiest, most misguided family film since the last adaptation of Pinocchio that I saw.

So is it gay? God I hope not. On one hand, it’s about an outsider trying to win the respect of his father… but he can’t, because he constantly lapses into childish behavior. That’s basically the plot of at least a dozen gay indie comedies that I’ve not seen but pretended I did. On the other hand, it is really, really irredeemably awful. And not in a campy way. It’s basically the movie equivalent of a creepy uncle who sits at the kids table during family reunions and pretends that he’s seven. So no. That’s not gay. It’s just sad.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MERIDIAN


STATS:
MERIDIAN
1990
Written and Directed by Charles Band
Starring Sherilyn Fenn and others


WHA’ HAPPENED?
The girl from Northern Exposure falls in love with a beast and his evil twin. Seriously. I cannot be any more specific than that, because there are some things that man is not meant to type.

WHAT YOU SAY?
"Perfect body. Smooth. Classy."

"Do not cry. I need you to love me."

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I love Charles Band. I love direct-to-video horror films from the early 1990s. I wasn't expecting Tolstoy, which is fine with me. I freaking hate Tolstoy.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
This film has lots of nudity. Seriously. Very Skinemax. I half-expected Emmanuelle to pop up and say a monologue about something. (Because that's what those movies were about, right? Monologues?)


And admittedly, some of that nudity happened to be male... but it was all slightly hairier than I would like.


BLOOD AND GUTS:
Nope. Everyone was too busy sexing.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
I think I would like this movie a little more if the tragic beast character didn't remind me of Sloth from The Goonies.

Hey you GUYS!

OK. IS IT GAY?
Sure. It's all about tragic romance and beautiful people and epic love stories that transcend time and space. There are also best friends who tell it like it is AND wildly inaccurate depictions of circus gypsies. I believe that at least some of those things would be of interest to the gay demo.