Friday, October 14, 2011

Survival of the Dead

This film offended me it was so terrible. This movie is a very definite contender for worst movie out there. I guess Diary of the Dead got my hopes up since I managed to find something to like about it, but Survival failed to meet even my lowest expectations. I don't even know where to start with this steaming pile of shit. But I suppose from the beginning is never a bad place. The film stars the bandits from the previous movie, the lead character tries to justify it but it's all kind of word salad. The token lesbian bandit masturbates while the white guy watches late night variety talk shows on his laptop. Yeah, some chick is just idly flickin' the old bean on top of a jeep at the start of the film, very classy. From there we get some hillbillies with a bunch of black zombie heads on sticks. We pick up a kid who does retarded shit and our lead takes a retarded shining to him for no reason. There's some banter about how apple stuff is cool. Fuck you Romero. Fuck you. It's hard to even recall how stupid this steaming pile of bullshit was. I hope the paycheck from this keeps you warm at night. Whatever. They listen to the kid in terms of taking directions because he found a clip on youtube of a guying telling them to come to an island. SURFUCKINGPRISE IT WAS AN AMBUSH ALL ALONG. No reason is given for why these people have turned to banditry. Oh, I forgot about those guys. The bandits are people we met earlier in the film. They come from an island with two families, the guy who was banished advocated killing the dead and was shunned by his daughter and the other family for it. No reason is given for how retarded they all are. Anyways, they fight it out, the latino bites a zombie which is apparently enough to turn him into a zombie. Reverse rules. Genius. The old guy from the island who tried his best to kill them joins with a wink and a nod. EVERYONE IN THIS MOVIE IS RETARDED BY THE WAY, IT'S KIND OF IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT. On the Island the dead are chained up to stuff, but one of them is riding a horse. A zombie. Riding. A horse. I will cheer when Romero dies. He did good stuff in his time, but he's intent to undo it all with the single worst movie he could possibly make. To some extent his zombies have always retained some intelligence and dexterity. But do you know how much is involved in riding a horse? What's next? Zombie accountants? Zombies that give history lectures? Fuck this shit. Anyways, there's a weird blood feud that escalates. We find out the zombie on the horse has a twin who isn't a zombie. That is until she feeds her hand to her sister and then gets pissed when it happens. They make a big point about the zombies eating other food like horses. The guy who advocates killing zombies is portrayed to be wrong for some ungodly stupid reason. It ends, the main character talks about wanting to stay on the island to make a living but then 5 seconds later they state that they left and took money which would have no value at all.

Jesus fucking christ. This movie is terrible in every way possible. Seriously. It probably is the worst movie ever made. Nobody can act. The visuals are half awful CGI. The sound will be mostly that of your brain begging for death. The story might fit in with a western, but what little idea is there is handled piss poor.

I can not advise against seeing this movie enough. I feel I am worse for the experience. Do not let loved ones watch this putrid goose anus of a movie. Burn it if you come across it. Do what needs to be done. Fuck this movie.

The Thing (1982)

This was another film recommended to me on Facebook, it wasn't the surprise hit that was Session 9, but it clearly deserves its reputation as one of the greats. A research site in Alaska strikes me as a pretty genius setting, it's secluded, still on earth and extremely inhospitable, thus pitting a limited crew against the monster in a deathmatch. It's got all the benefits of putting the film in space without the risk of venturing off into the realm of sci-fi and beating the monster with science. This shit is a gritty cage match, and I love it for that. There's not a man among the main cast who's incapable of acting, they're all very believable as angry paranoid mountain men. Most of them have pretty distinct personalities and I found myself caring about their grizzly deaths. Right from the start McReady destroys a computer because it beats him at a game of chess and I knew I was going to like him.

I was excited to see Morricone's name in the opening credits but the soundtrack never really wowed me. It's very much appropriate to the film but I'm used to his music making me stop a while to focus on it for a little bit. It's entirely adequate though, and if it served only to draw me deeper into the film then I can only conclude it did it's job flawlessly. Visually this movie is pretty stunning. At no point do I feel like I'm not in the middle of the arctic. Nothing seems inauthentic or implausible. The titular thing always looks top notch, rubber puppets covered in slime are how I like my monsters to be done, none of that CGI shit. It's also very easy to tell when someone is cold, they'll have realistic frost build up which is a really nice touch.
The story is pretty simple and it works well. It practically sprints to get us into the meat of the film and once it gets there it's a mad dash to the end with no lull. That's something I appreciate immensely. It's rare that the film isn't barreling through deadly situations one after the other. The paranoia of the thing being anyone at any given time adds to the tension, the film addresses this at one point and then leaves us to hope things haven't changed since then. The thing is one hell of a monster too, rather than showing one power it appears to adapt into something more threatening as the film goes on, giving us something new to be scared of all the time. The primary means of fighting the beast is fire, often manifested as a large explosion, this movie loves blowing shit up and I love it for that.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Diary of the Dead

I wasn't expecting much after how disappointing Land of the Dead was so the bar was set pretty low for this one. Somehow it managed to not be disappointing. Thinking about it I can only name one thing in this movie that stands out as good, the alcoholic English ex-patriot professor who stands like a judgmental god of death over his students. Even that one good thing sounds pretty stupid. But somehow it worked. This film adopts a terrible documentary style which doesn't really work. Half the time someone is always pointing out that the cameraman is filming and telling him to stop. It pokes fun at itself a few times and there's a really annoying callback towards the end that was a real groaner. The zombies are slow but threatening since, like any good zombies, they're very inclined to bite. All our characters are film students, which makes them more hateable than they needed to be yet still kind of relatable. The actors are all fairly good for a change, I suppose that was what I liked about this movie, I was able to lose myself in it a bit without being jarred back to reality every couple of minutes. That's a very rare thing in a zombie film. Visually nothing in this film is particularly interesting, and the documentary style is kind of annoying sometimes. There's no soundtrack to speak of, which was probably a good choice. The story barely exists. This is all about watching competent actors and a little bit of gore here and there. It's not a very exciting movie, or a thinker, or much of anything really. If you want to see competent acting, decent zombie gore and don't care if it really has a point to it this is the movie for you.

The House on Haunted Hill (1999)

I'm going to go ahead and disclose I have a bias towards this movie, saw it in theaters around Halloween when it was released and I loved it. I've seen it more times than I like to admit but it's been a while. I've never really cared about the plot, or the characters. As a movie, it's kind of crappy. It could've been a series of paintings and been just as effective. The soundtrack is pop crap too, but it's pop crap from an era I'm nostalgic for. The sound is adequate, probably even a little above average. When I watch this I am in it for the corn syrup and red dye. This film wastes no time in giving it to me either. I like that. I like that a lot.
I'm really not sure what there is to even say about this movie. I hate Chris Kattan in it, but I generally just hate Chris Kattan. I hate the people who've made careers of mimicking him. Justin Long, Jimmy Fallon, clumsily charming white guy who's big schtick is being nervous. Justin Long was actually really good in Zack and Miri, I'm not sure why he keeps sticking to the Chris Kattan bit. Between those 3, Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg the awkward nervous funny guy routine has been done to death. Oddly enough I can barely tell Kattan, Long and Fallon apart, same for Cera and Eisenberg. They're not really helping themselves stand-out by all trying to act the same either. That rant doesn't really belong in this review, but I had to get it out. It annoyed me throughout the film anytime Kattan would talk. Have a creepy hot nurse to make up for it. (The guy in the rubber mask shaking his head behind her was deliciously weird)

It's cheesy to it's core. But it doesn't try to be more than it is. I appreciate that. It's the kind of movie you can watch in a group and riff while you go. Watch it if that sounds like something you'd enjoy, it's one of the better horror movies out there. Have some more screen caps since I can't think of anything else to say.

Land of the Dead

I watched this movie a few hours ago and really didn't want to write about it. As I often like to say; it's not the worst movie I've ever seen and that is the only praise I can offer here. There are two good things about this movie. The first is John Leguizamo who gets a fairly prominent role, I'm always happy to see him in a movie. The guy made an amazing Captain Vegetable.

The second good thing, and I readily admit this is very arguable as a good thing, is that the zombie threat in this movie is a legitimate threat. They aren't fast zombies, they're smart zombies. At least one of them is. He can do simple things like operate assault rifles, swim and apparently feel emotions, that's a pretty big repertoire for an undead guy.
The movie tries to make a point about corporate greed but doesn't really pull it off. The extreme dichotomy between have and have not isn't really believable which makes the whole thing feel faker than it needs to. There's some stupid things, most of which I've already forgotten but I do remember one zombie that was a thread of flesh away from being decapitated yet it could still move it's body enough to catapult the head at people and bite. It wasn't on screen for long but it annoyed me enough that I'm still kind of pissed. It doesn't help that it was a CGI zombie, which never thrills me in the first place.

Don't watch this movie if you want a good movie, a fun movie or anything but very mild mediocre entertainment. If you're like me and trying to watch through all Romero's zombie films just sit back and think about better movies you'll watch afterwards, that's what got me through it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Children of the Corn (2009)

There is nothing good about this re-make. I DVRed it thinking it was the original, I never thought anyone would have re-made it so I didn't think to check the year. The kids are painful to watch. It isn't their fault they can't act, they're kids. They need direction and editing, both things this movie lacks. The female lead was given the direction of "act like a bitch" and then ran with it, ran far far away from any other aspect of her character's personality. She gets about 2 minutes on screen being a sane, normal person and spends the rest of her time alive making everyone miserable. The male lead isn't awful, but then again he isn't really anything. It was cool watching him kill children, but his Vietnam flashbacks are heavy handed and feel out of place given the intensity with which they're depicted. There's also a weird scene where all the kids stand around and watch two teens mate on an altar. I say mate because they're ordered to do it by a little boy, it's stupid. This whole movie is stupid. I don't know. I watched this because it was there and I was lazy. It's not the shittiest cable movie I've seen, but it's close.

Session 9

Session 9 came to my attention when I posed a question on facebook concerning people's favorite horror movies. This is the first I've watched of what was recommended to me and holy crap was it not what I was expecting. I'm hesitant to label Session 9 a horror film, but as much as I think this label doesn't do it justice I have to agree with it. Session 9 is heavy on suspense. VERY heavy. It is also big on setting, sound, cinematography, even the lightning is impressive. This is a movie made by a man who loves movies and that shines through spectacularly. This was not made to make money, it is not an art film, it's the telling of a story done masterfully. This is one of those rare movies where I struggle to find something to say about it not because there wasn't anything to say, but because so much of it is melded to it's medium, it's a film that needs to be a film. It wouldn't work as a book, or an album, a comic, or at any rate it wouldn't work as well. This is a film that needs to be a film. The sound is so expressive and goes perfectly with the visual elements, they alone are good enough it practically didn't need the story. But it got one. If you're like me you try to judge a movie while you watch it, it's a bad habit I know. But this movie defies any pre-conceived judgement, two or three times I thought I had a grasp on it but I was dead wrong. If you enjoy the art of cinema, watch this movie. It is not a slasher flick, it is horror in a very pure form, a little bit goes a long way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

I picked up the original Dawn of the Dead again because it's been over a decade since I last saw it and it's remake disappointed the hell out of me. This is one of the most highly regarded films in all of zomebiedom, so it's gotta be good right? Maybe. I spent most of this movie lost in a culture that ceased to exist around the time I was born. Mall culture. But I'm getting ahead of myself on that. The movie picks up where Night of the Living Dead left off and the situation is explained through news broadcasts, which are completely awesome. Some guy with an eye patch represents all of science and he gets harassed by talkshow hosts because he advocates killing the cannibalistic dead. In his broadcast he gives up on reasoning with people and just calls them all dummies, it's kind of great.

Our cast is committing the taboo act of trying to escape the zombie carnage and find someplace safe. Along their way they stop at a shopping mall and decide to make a living in alcove near the roof. Unlike the re-make this is not the death of the movie, they have a lot of work ahead of them cleaning up the mall's zombie infestation and making sure no more of them can get in. Watching them do this is actually kind of fun. The malls of the '70s were vastly different places from the malls I grew up with. For one thing the music is a lot better, mostly circus-y synth tunes that lighten the mood and make zombies shuffling around a mall seem like a pretty comical thing. It's my understanding that Romero had a specific aspect of modern culture he was lampooning with each film in his original dead trilogy, Dawn of the Dead was his potshot at consumer culture and that still shines through very clearly. Zombies stumbling around on ice, in the isles of department stores and being jostled by the escalators are a scathing lampoon of mall culture.
The consumer goods paradise doesn't last long enough to get boring thankfully, as raiders set their sights on the mall. This small army of leather clad bandits aren't as much of a threat as they are an excuse to introduce slapstick comedy to the movie. They dart around the slow moving zombies and pelt them with seltzer water and pies for no fucking reason at all. The insanity of a world gone to hell somehow rings true as bikers and zombies form a zany circus in the middle of the apocalypse. And who should be leading them but fucking Tom Savini. I did a double take when I saw From Dusk 'Till Dawn's very own Sex Machine leading the army, looking exactly like he did in that surprise hit of a B-film about vampires. I wish he did more movies, he seems to love these cheesy roles and it shows.
The end of this film isn't anything especially stellar, but it's hard to cap this kind of experience so I wasn't expecting much. I can't help but feel watching this movie in the context of the time in which it was released would've made it more of a horror film and less of a comedy piece with a message. It's still great for what it is and serves as a time capsule for the generation of people who knew their mall as a center of culture. Those of us raised after the '80s will only ever know it as a place to get brand name jeans.

Now with all that said, there was a lot about this movie that bugged the hell out of me. When running away from the city the main cast come across rural communities that were pretty successful in killing off the slow walking menace. Why not land and join these people who are competently dealing with the problem? It's better than blindly hoping you can find a place where the problem doesn't exist. These zombies are only really a threat in large numbers as the film often shows. They shuffle and aren't as inclined to bite as their modern counterparts. We see zombies hug people and grab at them but the first bite doesn't happen for at least an hour. They even took the time to dress the zombies in whacky costumes like nun habits and Hare Krishna robes. They're not the clear threat a good zombie outbreak should be and that bugs me to no end.
Making matters worse the main cast constantly makes choices that fly in the face of all logic. Whenever they have a chance to safely pick off zombies they choose to run around in the middle of them instead. Rather than hide in the safety of their rooftop apartment they try to fight the raiders. They go far out of their way to create opportunities for things to happen. Up to a point human stupidity is the bread and butter of a zombie movie, but these guys abuse that and it took me out of the movie. The way it handles race is just kind of bizarre. There's remarkably little tension with one of our main cast members being black. The woman of the group asks him to clarify his use of the term "brothers" early on, asking him if he meant it as street slang for friends or actual biological brothers, that was pretty much the only racial crack until the raiders came. They've got a Mexican raider in a sombrero. It was a what the hell moment for me when he burst onto the scene looking like he could burst into a hat dance at any time. Oddly enough he spends most of his screen time trying to get his blood pressure tested. When the zombies over run the mall and the raiders are retreating he just kind of gives up and tries one last time to finish a blood pressure test while he's devoured. Oh, and Tom Savini calls the black member of the main cast "chocolate man" at one point. It's such a cheesy bit of racism from a cheesy guy that I cracked up laughing. I had to pause the film and rewind it a few times before I could move on from that.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

You're probably wondering why I watched the re-make instead of the original. If you aren't wondering that you've either assumed I have shit for taste or you weren't aware there was an original. In either case, fuck you.
This movie gets a bad rap, and it deserves it. I haven't seen the original in a long ass time, so I can't really compare the two, but this movie has no problem being shitty on it's own. It starts out well enough, we meet our main character, establish that she is a nurse and that she lives a very normal suburban life. That lasts all of five minutes. All hell breaks loose with no warning. Suddenly picturesque suburbia is swarmed by the hungry un-dead and the sounds of chaos fill the air. Girl scouts bite into soccer moms, your pleasant neighbor has a gun pointed at you and nobody has explained one god damned thing. That is what I want from a zombie movie. I know the rules, you can establish them as we go for the benefit of everyone else, just make it seem organic.

But no, after a few more blissful minutes of survivors grouping up, seeking shelter and combating the most deadly enemy of all in a zombie outbreak, man, we dive into what feels like at least an hour of exposition and boredom. The monotony is broken up here and there by events which in and of themselves are pretty boring and at one point some really awful softcore porn. Probably the highlight of the middle of the film is Richard Cheese's lounge version of Disturbed's "Get Down With The Sickness" being played over a montage of unexciting life for the survivors in the mall. Please know I say that as a man who dislikes lounge music, has no love for the song being covered and finds very little joy in the irony of their combination.

All of our characters are stereotypes; something I would have no problem with given it's a zombie film except that we spend so much time with these characters. The snarky asshole is a snarky asshole, the tough cop with a heart of gold acts like you'd expect and the depressed teenage girl does depressed teenage girl things like become attached to a dog and paint stuff. We get to see them exhibit their one dimensional personalities, a lot. Fuck you Zack Snyder there is nothing good about what you do. 300 had some interesting visual elements to it, but that was only 3, maybe 5 minutes worth of material you stretched over 117 minutes. know what you did. You better know what you did.

Anyways, when they finally leave the confines of the mall, they do so in large armored vehicles. This is an excuse to have expensive stunt work and bigger explosions. It made sense in the context of the film but staying in the mall made a lot more sense, even if it meant the death of the angsty teenage girl who was already dead in all likelihood anyways. In the supplementary material Andy, the most interesting character in the entire movie despite the lack of screen time, tells us he has enough guns and ammunition to take out several thousand zombies, which he doesn't do for whatever reason despite being barricaded in his very own gun store. Anyway the ending is a welcome return to action, but it's too little too late. Given how heavily armed the survivors are and their armored transport we have to rely on them to make some pretty big errors for anything interesting to transpire. As the credits roll we get an epilogue of sorts, and while it isn't necessarily a closed ending it feels pretty definitive.

There are a lot of stupid things about this movie, it tries to be funny in ways that make me think a 16 year old was involved with writing the script and that's never a good thing. It accomplishes in 101 minutes what it could've done in 30 and probably have been better for it. All that said, it isn't the worst zombie movie ever made (though not for lack of trying). The television broadcasts shown in the beginning are kind of interesting, we do get a few minutes of good movie at the start and it has a zombie baby which is kind of an interesting idea. If you're new to the zombie subcategory of horror films you might enjoy it, even if you could spend your time watching an almost infinite number of films that would be more worth your time.


God fucking damn. Phenomena, is the shit. It's a cheesey horror flick from director Dario Argento and the first starring role of Jennifer Connelly who I know mostly for giving me a boner when she rode the mechanical horse in Career Opportunities. (Enjoy your sympathy boner)Photobucket
Already this movie has a lot going for it. Add in the creepy crippled Scottish entomologist with the monkey nurse, Connelly's stereotypical oversexed French room-mate who smokes and the extremely bitchy girls of the school and you have a recipe for good times. I call these girls bitches in the most loving sense. They go far out of their way to make life hell for Connelly anytime they're on screen.
With all that going on for it I'm confident in saying the best thing about this movie is it's soundtrack. There are some metal songs which are pretty fucking awesome, and I say that as a guy who doesn't like metal, but the real attraction is the main theme. It's like what every song from Castlevania is trying to imitate, an excellent bit of synthpop by Goblin.

Seriously, that shit is off the hook. I'm pretty sure nobody except pedophiles trying to score young boys on the internet say off the hook anymore, but that's how awesome this track is. Think of that music while looking at this picture and it just makes sense.
The plot isn't what's going to draw you into this movie, but it's kind of slasher flick so nobody was expecting it to. No, what's going to keep you interested are the characters and the fact that something is constantly happening. There is no slow or dull point in this movie, it throws stuff at you faster than it can be resolved, and by the end you'll be left with a lot more questions than answers. That is a very good thing. You will be questioning what the fuck just happened fairly often and that just shows how you've grown complacent with constant exposition and films that move at a snails pace. This movie is like a stripper vomiting an artistic masterpiece filled with unicorns enslaving all of man-kind and making them work in their magical rainbow factories. A thing of pure beauty. It's a perfect example of what a film in this genre should be. Also, one of the main characters is a fucking monkey. God damn, this movie is so insanely awesome.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

28 Days Later

Well shit, it's October, time to watch horror flicks.
I haven't seen 28 Days Later in several god damned years but I remember it being really fucking good. In particular I recall referring to it as the most artistic piece the zombie genre had ever seen. After watching it again, I think that still holds true, but mostly because it's a genre that doesn't aspire to that kind of fancy shit. Anyways, it wasn't the movie I remembered it being. I still love that first half, where zombies (people infected with something that inhibits their inner rage or whatever the fuck was the case) were the problem. But the second half feels lacking. There's not enough chaos for my tastes. Suddenly there's a place that is extremely safe, lots of guns, food, no problems aside from rape. It goes from being survival horror to a revenge flick in very little time. It's still the most visually interesting zombie film I've ever seen, but in a genre where the bar isn't set very high but still most of the entrants manage to limbo under I'm convinced that doesn't mean very much.

It could've used more corn syrup blood and gruesome shots of people being torn limb from limb too.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Koi Kaze Conclusion

Hmmmm... I think I know why I forgot the ending. Largely it's because it didn't air with the original run of the series, but I should've seen it the last time I watched it. I have strong feelings about this ending, just like I do any ending, but in this case I can't say whether it was good or bad. It was an end with infinite possibilities I suppose, not an easy choice to make, but overall I'm inclined to think it was the correct one. The last few episodes, pretty much the contents of the entire third disc, are filled with moments that truly drew me in.
Koi Kaze is an exceptional piece in every way, it is at both times depressing and uplifting. As I said before, there are no happy endings in this series, but there is hope and in this case that's enough.

No-No Big Brother! Sticker Sheets

This is how fucked up this show is. They give you freaky incest stickers to go with it. Presumably so you can be more easily identified when it comes time to cull the filth of society. I can think of no other reason to distribute this with the product. I'd also like to take this time to note that it is completely batshit insane that this got both a region 1 release and a dub. Turn A Gundam isn't getting a dub, and that show is about giant robots, not boning your sister. What does this say about our priorities in America? Nothing good.

Koi Kaze

So, Koi Kaze. Man, fuck this shit. I am nuts about this weird ass anime. I am a dude with no shame who watches freaky shit about depressing as fuck incest. But man, it's like this, I look at this shit and I see two people in pain in a world that will never accept them. Ain't nobody gettin' a happy ending from this bullshit. This is like my third time watching this show through, and I'm still picking up shit I ain't never noticed before. The art is several kinds of fucking awesome. It takes the pastels and softness of shoujo and delivers 13 episodes of hardcore suffering. Shit is fucking adorable in every sense of the word. The animation.. is pretty standard, sometimes, when the quality dips, I think it's intended to be that way for effect. So if it is just shitty in places, they did a really good job of hiding it, and that is to be commended. The music is pretty stand-out. Lots of instrumental pieces that convey the melancholy of the show very well. Ain't a shit load more you could ask from an OST for this kind of show.
It's kind of amazing that they were able to take this very taboo concept and turn it into something that seems very innocent. I think the characters help a lot with that. Our main characters are basically pretty simple people. Every step in their relationship, be it the more taboo side or the more innocent aspects, is awkward as shit. It's kind of hard to not feel bad for them. Ain't their fault they got fucked up feelings for each other. Our side characters are the ones with all the fun comic relief personality disorders. There's nobody that is difficult to like and that is a rare god damn thing. Making a story based on inner conflict is a difficult god damned thing to do, and that's really what makes Koi Kaze shine. This shit is a real journey, taking two poor suffering bastards through the wringer. I look forward to finishing my re-watch of it, because I honestly forget most of what happens and how it ends. I was depressed as fuck when I started watching this shit, but watching this level of suffering really kind of puts it into perspective.
Koi Kaze, a depressing as fuck artistic extravaganza. If you are not down with feeling like shit, probably don't watch it. If you already feel like shit, you ain't got anything to lose, watch this fucker and feel better maybe.

Fuck your shit,

p.s. I ain't got no clue why you'd name a show this sad "carp wind". What the hell?