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Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

Since you’re a big bat, can you turn into a tiny vampire?

Friday, October 28, 2011

DC SHOWCASE: Jonah Hex


STATS:
2010
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos
Written by Joe R. Lansdale
Starring Thomas Jane, Michelle Trachtenberg, Linda Hamilton

WHA’ HAPPENED?
The final installment of the DC Showcase series, this short film involves our scarfaced hero murdering a killer hooker by leaving her to die in a mineshaft filled with the corpses of all her victims. And yes, this is an animated movie.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
Ive already talked about two of the other films in the DC Showcase, one of which was fairly beefcake-y, and one of which was gruesome as hell. This one, as you can tell from the synopsis, is pretty close to the second category.

The other reason I wanted to write about this was to show my readers that Jonah Hex isn’t nearly as lame a character as his live-action movie makes him seem.

Stupid and incomprehensible. Also, why
does Josh Brolin have freakishly short arms?

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
Yes, but the nudity is strictly female. The story centers around prostitutes, so… duh. But Jonah is a tall glass of water, if you ignore his hideous facial scars.

Actually, nevermind.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
The very end of this film includes dozens of dead corpses rotting away. There is also violence and murder up the wazoo. Man, I love this character.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Yet again, DC outdoes itself with the gore. Before I rented this video, I had no idea cartoon DVDs inspired by comic books could be so… awesome. I am now a fan.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

DC SHOWCASE: The Spectre


STATS:
2010
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos (Jack Two Santas)
Written by Steve Niles
Starring Gary Cole, Alyssa Milano

WHA’ HAPPENED?
The Spectre is a private detective, ghost, and ladies man all rolled into one. Basically, if CBS executives combined all of their scripted shows, they would come up with The Spectre. In this film, he solves the mystery of a murdered movie producer by using horrifying magic hallucinations to kill the bad guys. He also narrates a lot.

He is voiced by this guy, BTW.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
This short film is a continuation of Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, which I recently posted about. It originally came as a bonus movie on the video Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths. Afterwards, they packaged it with three other DC shorts (including Superman/Shazam), which is where I got to see it.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
Unlike the previous Superman short, which was 98% hot guys wrestling each other, this one doesn’t have a lot of beefcake. The Spectre isn’t a particularly rippling hero, and he mostly stays covered in a long green cloak.

He does make out with a weirdly blonde Alyssa Milano.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
The horror aspect, however, is front and center. The death scenes in this one are terrifying. One involves a killer car…

Like this, except not horrible.

…And another involves a bunch of movie props coming alive and being creepy as hell.

Like this, except... well, just as ridiculous as this.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Man, is this film creepy. But don’t just take my word for it. Check this out. If I had known that DC animated films could be this apeshit terrifying, I would have started watching them years ago.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA


Creature from the Haunted Sea is a Roger Corman horror-comedy from the early 60s. You can watch it for free on Youtube, along with such wildly different Corman movies as Beast from the Haunted Cave, Devil from the Haunted Forest, and Thingy from the Haunted Laundromat. Corman basically made 17 movies using the exact same script and a Mad Libs cheat sheet.

My fellow bloggers over at The Moon Is a Dead World have pooled together a bunch of movie reviews for the Halloween Fifteen, and my contribution is a write-up for Creature from the Haunted Sea. Check it out, along with 14 other reviews covering everything from Japanimation to torture porn. I am excited to see what people say.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam


STATS:
2010
Directed by Jaoquim Dos Santos
Written by Michael Jelenic
Starring Jerry O’Connell

WHA’ HAPPENED?
Superman teams up with Captain Marvel (a kid who gets random magic powers every time he shouts "Shazam!") to fight Black Adam, a white guy named Adam. The entire movie is one long fight scene, with some exposition about how Captain Marvel gets his powers.

WHAT YOU SAY?
"Shazam," obviously.

Um... a slightly different film.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
This movie is the centerpiece of a 4-part anthology film meant to introduce people to lesser-known DC heroes. I found it free on Netflix and decided to check it out. Certain sections were gleefully horrific, so I thought I could do a few write-ups for this website. I had to start with this one, which was the least horrific and bloody, because it was the first (and longest) installment in the set.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
As expected, this film is chock-full of superpowered, animated beefcake. In this installment, we get Superman, Captain Marvel, AND Black Adam, three rippling heroes. Theyre fully clothed, but tights barely count as clothing, right? The animators leave absolutely no bulges to the imagination. I strongly believe that some people are just born gay, but superheroes like these make a good argument that some pop culture can "turn" kids. If so, bring on the super men!

Like I said: bulges.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
For one giant fight scene, this film has precious little blood. Also, the city is weirdly underpopulated, so there aren’t a lot of deaths amidst the wreckage. This could be due to budgetary reasons (lots of extras are hard to draw) and moral reasons (protect the children!), but comparing this film to the others in this grisly series makes me think it has more to do with the former than the latter.

PLOT HOLES AND CRAZINESS:
Does Captain Marvel have a big fan base? I’ve never heard of him, and his backstory is needlessly complicated. That said, there is something pretty kick-ass about a preteen who can turn into a big hulking hero just by saying a magic word.

Also, I’m surprised that a DC character is named Marvel. I’m not a huge comics fan, but I assume there was probably some drama involved back in the day.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
This movie is a fun little time waster. If you're of the "Prince Eric School of Hot Cartoons", there is a lot to like in this one. There’s not much of a story beyond a vague don’t-bully-people message, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.

But seriously, Black Adam needs a new name.
Like, Vaguely Ethnic Adam. Or The Rock.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ALL-AMERICAN GIRL


Hello, readers. Just eight more days till Halloween (Silver Shamrock!). I hope you are all looking forward to the festivities and enjoying the decorations. There is just nothing like walking into Walmart and seeing the orange and black silhouettes of witches and whatnot hanging from the ceiling.

What is even better, though... is the flurry of random horror films on every TV channel that isn't Bible-related. So far, I have been loving the TV this season, and I've stockpiled a bunch of reviews for later. I've seen everything from the good, the bad, to the downright adorable.

Guess what category this falls under.

Over at our sister blog, though, we've been having a grand ol' time discussing All-American Girl, one of the forgotten sitcoms of the mid-90s. Check out a few of our reviews. They serve as a nice break from decapitations and computer-animated sharks.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

S1M0NE


STATS:
2002
Written, Produced and Directed by Andrew Niccol
Starring Al Pacino, Catherine Keener, a Evan Rachel Wood, a hologram

WHA’ HAPPENED?
Ever wondered what Frankenstein would look like as a navel-gazing Hollywood satire? Well, neither did the rest of the world. S1m0ne is a comedy about a down-on-his-luck director who invents an actress out of a computer simulation. The world falls in love with the actress, and it ruins his life.

There’s a lot of shouting, too. Obviously.

"God created little furry animals to be worn."

"Have you ever actually HAD dolphin? Pan-fried, with a little garlic and fennel."

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
This film is a fascinating failure, a big budget comedy starring A-list talent that arrived DOA at the box office. It has the stink of being a pompous Hollywood satire that is of no interest to anyone outside of LA County. Naturally, I wanted to see it.

Admittedly, it’s not exactly a horror film, or a gay film, but it has its roots in sci-fi, and gay audiences usually respond positively to clever satires that gently poke fun at the establishment (Heathers, Pretty Persuasion, Death to Smoochy). And it certainly helps that the star of Heathers (Winona Ryder) and the star of Pretty Persuasion (Evan Rachel Wood) and the star of Death to Smoochy (Catherine Keener) round out this universally stellar cast.

Aside from the title character,
who really is played by a robot.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Like most satires, S1m0ne thinks it’s smarter than it really is, but I still recommend it. Consistently funny and only slightly pompous, this film takes a really dumb premise and uses it the best way it can: to show us how very, very stupid we are regarding celebrity worship.

No comment.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

IMMORTALS


If you’ve seen the trailers for the new action picture Immortals, you probably realized that it is just like 300, except… well, it has a different title and cast. As the trailer proudly proclaims, both movies come from the same producers.


But that’s not all they have in common. Here are the top seven reasons these movies are completely the same:

7. Oh, look. They have oracles too!

In 300, a bunch of oracles writhed around as their
white robes floated in computer-animated arcs.
In this film, the clothes are red.

6. The lead characters make a crapload of speeches.

For Sparta! Or, um, what country is this?

5. Huge masses of soldiers fight each other in slow motion.

The Sistine Chapel, only awesome.

4. The characters live in a CG world.

Everything the light touches will be yours, my son.
Except for that area right there. It isn’t pixilated yet.

3. The hero has to leave his lady behind so that he can fight stuff.

After a couple sex scenes, of course.

2. Hordes of men fight with their shields.

It’s just like Captain America, only retarded.

1. Gold-plated rulers kick people in slow motion.


At this point, it seems like the producers are messing with us. All the other similarities can be explained away as coincidental. But to include a direct copy of the single most famous moment in 300 is kind of like making an animated movie about a goat named Rambi and then killing off Rambi’s mother. This is verging on Snakes on a Train territory.

That said, if that kicking guy doesn’t impale someone with his hat, I will be eternally disappointed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

PUSS IN BOOTS

I am not a huge Shrek fan, so I never thought I would be so excited about its spin-off movie Puss in Boots, an animated actioner starring the voice talents of Antonio Banderas. The first couple trailers have been underwhelming at best, but this new one (from Italy, I believe) really gets me excited about checking this out at the theater.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NIGHT OF THE CREEPS


Reason #42 to watch Night of the Creeps: It doesn't make handicapped people seem saintly and perfect. And the nerd characters are uniformly douchey.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SLITHER


Is Slither a horror film? No. And I think that's why it wasn't as popular as it should've been. This is firmly in the comedy zone, even moreso than its spiritual ancestor Night of the Creeps. It doesn't attempt to be scary or atmospheric. But it rises above the Scary Movie 4 School of Suckage by taking its characters seriously and raising the stakes in a natural, believable way. You care about these people, even the reprehensible ones, and you want to know what happens to them. And by "you," I mean "me," because I have no idea if you have the same sensibilities as I do.

Which explains the other reason why this film was a big ol' flop: the target audience must be really really low. Sure, horror fans are a vocal bunch, and when we want to, we go to the movies in droves. But horror-comedy fans come from a slightly narrower bracket, because this implies that you're a horror fan, but that you don't absolutely HAVE to have shocks or suspense to have a good time. It's like finding a rollercoaster fan who likes riding them for the heights. I am a huge supporter of horror-comedies, but I understand why so many people aren't. It's a specific style, and you gotta be on the right wavelength. And by "you," I mean "you" this time. Go see Slither.
No reason to use this picture. I just enjoy the undertones.


Friday, October 14, 2011

DEMENTIA 13

DEMENTIA 13
1963
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Francis Ford Coppola
Starring William Campbell, Luana Anders, Bart Patton and Sophia Coppola as the whiny daughter who gets horribly murdered


WHA’ HAPPENED?
Well, this is Psycho in a castle, basically. A woman commits a crime (kills her husband), goes to some far off place (an Irish castle), and promptly gets murdered (in a pond). Just when you thought she was the main character, she gets killed. Oh Francis, you saucy saucy director. The rest of the movie is spent following people as they try to figure out who the killer is. Hint: he’s a hotel-owning taxidermist.

I couldn’t find a relevant picture, so I thought
I'd include John Candy because why not.

WHAT YOU SAY?
"If you’re going to be my wife, you’re going to have to be the trusting, silent variety."

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
There are two reasons I decided to write about Dementia 13. One is thanks to The Moon Is a Dead World, one of my favorite blogs. They’re doing a series of horror reviews in preparation for Halloween, and I wanted to match a few of their reviews. That blog is always a fun read.


The other reason I wanted to watch Dementia 13 is Francis Ford Coppola. That guy is the reason this film hasn’t fallen off the face of the Earth. This is his big break in cinema, courtesy of Roger Corman, and even though it’s a cheapy American International picture, it has a great reputation because of its director's subsequent films. That said, Mr. Coppola isn’t known as being one of the most consistent directors, which also intrigued me. I didn’t know if this film was like Apocalypse Now… or like the behind-the-scenes of Apocalypse Now. Remember, Coppola directed at least three of the greatest films of all time. He also directed the budding onscreen romance of JLo and Robin Williams.


 
SHIRTS AND SKINS:
No nudity, though the female lead shows off some of her curves, especially when she’s swimming in the haunted pond.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
Heck yes. I mean, the film is tame by today’s standards, but it has some extremely stylish murder scenes. I’m a sucker for people discovering dead bodies underwater; I’ve always liked seeing people struggle for air after the shock of seeing a floating body part. It’s Jaws-syndrome. And then the murder directly after: genius! For all the story’s faults, it is still shocking in the best sense of the word.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
While I think the basic plot outline has a lot of potential (and so did Hitchcock, which is why he used the EXACT SAME PLOT), but the execution is so hard to follow, it’s almost nonsensical. Visually, the film is great. It’s stylish, and the underwater scenes are truly scary. When compared to similar cheapo horror films from the early 60s, this one really is beautiful.

But you’d also think that Coppola would be able to string together an easier-to-understand film. The plot is not complicated, and yet I had to watch the movie twice to understand who was who. From a storytelling standpoint, this is less Godfather Part II and more Cotton Club. And that is a shame.

This has nothing to do with anything; I just thought it was quaint.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

SATURDAY THE 14TH STRIKES BACK



STATS:
SATURDAY THE 14TH STRIKES BACK
1988
Directed by Howard R. Cohen
Written by Howard R. Cohen
Starring Ray Walston, other people

WHA’ HAPPENED?
The same thing as Saturday the 14th, just with different people and less humor. Also, instead of a magic monster book, this movie has a magic smoking crack. That is right. A magic smoking crack that gives birth to strange things.

Like an eye window.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I grew up with the first film. I acknowledge its many flaws, but I love it so so much. I knew that this sequel exists, but it’s notoriously hard to track down. So I went to Amazon.com, which is a great place to find VHS copies of anything, and ordered myself a copy of this film. Now that I’ve seen it, I fully understand why it’s so hard to track down.

What!

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
This film is chock-full of nudity. Actually, no nudity. Like in the first film, the teenage daughter takes a wacky bath with a wacky monster. But other than that, nothing to report. Just a lot of wholesome fully-clothed talking scenes of talking with clothes on.

Also, sexual tension.

FAMOUS PEOPLE:
This film has some familiar faces. There’s nothing more fun than watching someone you like as they slum their way through something beneath them. People like him:

Hey. It’s that guy. Losing some of his Hills Have Eyes cred.

And him:

Hey. It’s that guy. Taking a break from reviewing films.

And him:

Hey. It’s that guy. I recognize him from 60 Minutes.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
Why do I recognize this house? Is it the house from House IV? Or Real Genius? Anyone? Thoughts?


FINAL VERDICT:
This film is awful. Seriously. People don’t act like real human beings. They do wacky things for no reason at all. It’s the fakest, dumbest thing, and a true step down from the dumb-but-fun original.

Stupid people being stupid. With fog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

SATURDAY THE 14TH


STATS:
1981
Directed by Howard R. Cohen
Written by Jeff Begun
Starring Richard Benjamin, Paula Prentiss, and Jeffrey Tambor

The two reasons this movie is awesome.

WHA’ HAPPENED?
A family inherits a haunted house. A vampire couple wants to take the house from them, because it contains a magic book of monsters that will cause the end of the world. The human couple tries to enlist the help of Van Helsing, who ends up being a bad guy or something. The wife also turns into a vampire. A bunch of wacky stuff happens, and the world doesn’t end. Not the best news, because that means we get to watch the horrible sequel.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
I wasn’t allowed to watch real horror movies as a child, so I obsessed over the few horror-adjacent movies that I was allowed to watch. Among those: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Addams Family Values, and this film, which my parents deemed family-friendly enough for a six-year-old to watch.

They didn’t realize how terrifying Jeffrey Tambor can be.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
The teenager daughter shows a lot of skin as she takes a bath with the Creature from the Black Lagoon. (Yes, it’s that kind of movie.) That’s about it, though. There aren’t any equivalent male characters.


BLOOD AND GUTS:
This has as much blood and guts as you’d expect from a wacky horror-comedy called Saturday the 14th. In other words, not a lot. There are a lot of monsters, though, and the monster designs are pretty great. And only a little rip-offy.

The public domain version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
There is a surprising amount of special effects for a cheapo, early 80s horror film. I’m not saying this is a good thing. But points for effort.


The vampire couple turning into weirdly glowy bats.

OK. IS IT GAY?
Maybe. It celebrates the outsider and it says some satirical stuff about family dynamics and… You know what? I’m just making stuff up now. This isn’t gay at all. It’s fun, though. In a stupid, bland kind of way.