Now Reading: More Alan Moore stuff

My personal Alan Moore marathon continues with V For Vendetta, my other favorite Moore classic. While not as intricately designed as Watchmen, it still tells an impressively complex tale of a fictional “future” (you know, the futuristic late 90’s) where Britain has become an Orwellian fascist nightmare and one person’s bizarre, but effective plan to start a revolution. It’s certainly a much better story than the clumsy, watered down film version, but let’s not start making those comparisons or we’ll be here all day. I would simply say this is another “must-read” comic for just about anyone.

Another one that’s a bit like the earlier days of League of Extraordinary GentlemenTop 10 is about a city where everyone has superpowers, with the focus being on the superhuman police force that has to deal with all the crazy situations that arise from a bunch of people with powers all living together. None of it is particularly complicated, but it’s all extremely well-paced and written, with a great cast of characters. It’s a shame that it was such a short-lived series, as it set up such a huge, interesting world with so many possibilities.

As usual, the original From Hell is quite a bit different than the movie version. I actually kinda like the movie, but it’s definitely a very different version of the story. The comic spends most of the time focusing on the killer and his strange motives. There is a cop who finds the killer, but he’s not at all like the Johnny Depp character and there’s no more tragic romance subplot. The original story strongly suggests that the killer has some kind of strange visions of the future and that his magic-related reasons for the killings may not have been all in his head. It’s also got some very graphic sex and violence scenes, so watch out!

Promethea is an odd one. It starts out as a familiar enough tale of superheroism, but suddenly veers into some incredibly in-depth and complex material about the interconnected nature of existence and just about everything contained in it. The pacing could maybe be a bit better, as a good 40% or so of the plot, right in the middle/end, just turns into essentially an incredibly long lecture about magic/physics/reality/the mind/etc. It’s intresting stuff, but it kind of jumps off the rails of the actual plot of the book and becomes so dense and dry at points that it feels kind of like you’re suddenly reading a textbook or manual. You just have to keep in mind that Moore‘s beliefs on the presence of magic in the history of the world are a bit…literal, so to speak. Other than that, a fun and fascinating read.

That’s enough Alan Moore for now. Time to move on to other worlds…

Watchin’ Stuff

Am I watching a lot more movies lately or is it just that I’m now writing little entries even for terrible-ass movies that I turn off after 20 minutes, which I didn’t use to bother with? Perhaps a bit of both…

Oh no. I don’t know how this got into the pile. A Troma movie, and it’s not even really a horror movie. The script actually seems kind of interesting, dealing with a Vietnam vet whose post-war life is falling apart in a really ugly way, but every other single aspect of the production is just so painfully bad. Absolutely terrible acting, make-up, music, effects, etc. This is why I generally avoid Troma stuff. They’re a little too far under the bar of awful old movies for me.

An…interesting first entry from the director of the decent The Devil’s Candy. Crazy teenage girl and her father kidnap a guy she likes and they act really crazy and torture him a lot, and…that’s about it. This movie has apparently gotten a lot of praise for the characters, but I didn’t really see what the big deal was about them. The main character and his girlfriend barely even have any lines after the first 15 minutes or so. The subplot of the goofy friend and his prom date just kind of feels like filler. I almost turned it off, but it starts getting even more messed up in the last third of the movie, enough that it kind of salvaged the whole experience.

Speaking of torture…this was a nutty little film about some very dumb college kids getting captured in the jungle by some very angry cannibals. Eli Roth movies sure aren’t for everyone. Sometimes the comic relief bits can feel a bit out of place among such seriously graphic violence, but I don’t know, somehow it kind of works for me. Again, not an amazing movie, but it kept me interested and entertained most of the time.

British horror anthology from the early 70’s. It tries so hard and does a lot of things right, but ultimately it’s just way too tame. This would be tame horror even by network TV standards. That’s about what it felt like actually, like some rejected episodes an old show like Tales From The Darkside or something. Just didn’t do it for me.

Flatliners was clearly trying to be a horror movie, but it was never all that scary. I guess the dead kid that harassed Kiefer Sutherland was slightly creepy, but it was overall more of a sci-fi fantasy kind of thing really. It’s no Lost Boys, but it’s a decent enough old-timey Schumacher movie. Good enough to warrant a modern, luke-warm looking remake, I guess!

Here’s another Schumacher movie that I’ve never even heard of before. Some say it’s one of the worst movies he’s ever done, but I actually liked it. Michael Fassbender is an undead Nazi necromancer who needs blood and isn’t afraid to send zombie horses after you to get it. I can’t help but like that.

Eli Roth’s latest movie, apparently. Eh. Didn’t do much for me. I appreciate the idea of turning the tables and having attractive young women be the menacers instead of the menaced, but something about it just didn’t work for me. I didn’t feel much sympathy for Keanu, since he let these strange people into his house while his family was away and then had sex with him. The whole thing is actually like a long, violent PSA about the dangers of cheating. I didn’t really need a “scary” movie to tell me that. *shrug*

Honestly, this is not a very good movie, but it’s a horror anthology about killer cats (and their victims who deserved it) so it has a certain charm to it. Kind of like an earlier version of Cat’s Eye, but with even more cats. It’s a nice so-bad-it’s-good movie for cat fans at least.

From the previews, this seemed to be the ladies’ answer to John Wick, but I don’t know if that’s quite accurate. It has a good retro score and is extremely impressive visually, but it had some pacing issues and was pretty predictable. The first hour really starts dragging, but then the second hour suddenly picks up into almost non-stop action and intrigue that goes by incredibly quickly. I suppose in the end, I liked more of it than I disliked, but if they decide to do more of these, the sneaky spy conspiracy part of the plot could use a little more work.

When a man’s family is killed and his girlfriend raped, the only thing left for him to do is…build a big monster truck with a giant drill on it and get oddly specific car-related revenge? I don’t know why I bother with things like this. It was bad. OF COURSE it was bad. It was actually a little less terrible than I expected it to be, but still not good. Naturally, the rolling vengeance itself appears very rarely, and doesn’t look all that good when it does. I should have known better, but it just sounded so silly. Oh well.

And finally, just got back from seeing this. Damn good stuff. There are some…surprising developments. That’s all I’ll say about that. Just a thoroughly enjoyable movie without a single boring moment in sight. Little heavier on the comedy than you’d maybe expect from a Thor movie, but somehow it works and doesn’t take away anything from the main serious plot. Good times. Infinity War cannot come fast enough…

Watchin’ Stuff

This one I’ve seen before, a very long time ago. It presents itself as a standard 80’s slasher, but of course there’s a twist to it all. There’s not really very much graphic violence at all for an 80’s slasher, but it does have a decent, familiar 80’s cast and is paced pretty well. Still holds up decently, though it’s not what I’d call a great film.

I don’t know why I even tried this. It’s very rare for a killer animal movie to actually be worthwhile. I guess the fact that it takes place in Chicago swayed me. Anyway, it’s not very good. Not enough actual alligator action. Mostly just the main characters standing around talking about the alligator, and “why won’t anyone believe me about the giant alligator”, and blah blah blah. Time wasting snoozefest.

Why did I try to watch the second one too then? Well, sometimes horror sequels are better than the originals, like with Food of the Gods 2. This isn’t one of those movies though. This was even worse than the first one. Again, just a lot of talking about the alligator and no one believing the existence of the alligator, and with even less alligator appearances this time. Honestly, you could cut the alligator right out of this movie and it wouldn’t even make much difference. It felt like some bad tv drama that someone just decided to toss an alligator into after the fact. I don’t understand why people try to make movies like this if they have no intention of even trying to make it about what they’re presenting it as. “Hey, let’s make a movie about a killer alligator, but then barely have it be about an alligator at all and just put it straight to video! We’ll be rich!”. Awful.

Needed to go back to watching all those Argento movies to wash the bad alligator taste from my mouth. This is another giallo one. This time it’s about a guy who writes slasher novels, who apparently picks up a crazy fan that starts stalking him and reproducing scenes from his book. Naturally, it all takes some crazy twists and turns along the way. I think that’s one of the things I like most about these kinds of movies so far, that they’re so unpredictable. They’re not always entirely unguessable, but they go to great lengths to subtly make you suspect all the wrong people, and the truth ends up being so crazy and convoluted that even if you guess the right person, you still probably won’t guess their motivation. This one does a good job of that too. Very strange stuff with some great surprises.

Ok. Let’s see how many of the NINE Children of the Corn movies I can get through! Man, this movie does not hold up well at all. Interesting concept, but it’s pretty terribly executed. This couple gets lost and ends up in this strange country town where everyone seems to be missing, except for the children, who are acting rather strange. This seems like it could have made for some great tension, except they showed the children killing all the adults in the very first scene, so even though the main characters don’t know what’s going on, the mystery was already spoiled for the audience immediately and so there’s no suspense at all while they slowly plod along, building up to answers that were already given in the beginning.

The effects are so much worse than I remember them being too. I don’t think I’ve seen this since I was a kid and I seem to remember certain parts being much more sinister than they actually were. All I learned from this is that this song totally ripped off the Children of the Corn theme.

Argh. It only gets worse! This is so shitty and boring! How can there be NINE of these movies?!? Who watches all these? Fuck this, I give up already.

Had the strangest urge to see this again. Don’t think I’ve seen it since it came out. As much hate as this movie seems to get, I think it’s actually surprisingly enjoyable still. It’s a very strange movie that doesn’t seem to know who its audience is. It very much resembles a 90’s cartoon and almost seems like it’s aimed at children, except it was R-rated for being packed full of swearing and relatively graphic violence. It was too graphic for kids and too stupid for adults, and so it ended up a failure. Looking back at it now though, it’s really quite amusing. It’s just so very ridiculous and 90’s-feeling, in the very best of ways. It kind of resembles If Looks Could Kill, with a lot of cartoonish spy-movie villain characters and a nonsensical world domination plot. Everything about this movie is just completely ridiculous and insane, and it shouldn’t work at all as a movie. I have no idea how they even got everyone to agree to this thing, but it’s an oddly compelling and laugh-inducing train wreck to watch.

Not to be confused with the video game based Uwe Boll shitfest of the 2000’s, this Alone in the Dark is about some escaped mental patients terrorizing one of their doctors and his family during a blackout. Despite a surprisingly good cast, it’s ultimately just another padded out snoozefest that’s almost all buildup and little to no payoff. At least this one wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t sit through it all, but it wasn’t good enough that I’d ever bother doing so again.

Bell From Hell is some kind of bizarre thriller/”horror” from Spain in the early 70’s. I’m told that it’s about a man who was falsely placed in an insane asylum so his aunt and her three daughters could steal the family inheritance. He then gets out and plans some elaborate revenge that involves learning how to butcher cows and being some kind of home-taught gore-effects artist, I guess. I don’t know. It’s hard to actually discern this from the movie itself. Most of the time nothing really happened. He talked with his relatives a lot and there were some vague threats tossed around on both sides, and not much else.

Then there was this confusing part in the middle where some unrelated young girl runs into a group of hunters in the woods who start antagonizing her and are apparently about to gang-rape her, but then the main character comes out of nowhere on a motorcycle and rescues her, getting wounded in the process. The next scene is him walking into some fancy club with both his arms in giant casts with some elaborate metal braces holding them both up. We then see that the ringleader of the rapey hunters is in there. Main guy sends someone over to rapehunter to tell him to meet him in the bathroom. They meet in the bathroom and rapehunter is like “oh, we were just joking around, you don’t need to tell anyone about what happened, right?”, and so main guy is like “sure! but help me out here, I need to take a piss”. So rapehunter holds his dick while he pisses, then main guy takes off his fake casts and laughs. He tells rapehunter something like “I told her you’d do it!”, rapehunter is confused and asks who, main guy says “ask your wife!”. End of scene. None of this ever comes up again. What the fuck? I’m guessing his plan was to blackmail the guy by telling people he touched his dick in the men’s room? But…everyone saw him go in there with casts, and he asked him to do it, and there’s no proof, and none of this really makes any sense, and what does this even have to do with anything?

That pretty much sums up that movie. Next.

Another giallo by Lamberto Bava. Relatively well-produced, with some imaginative and disturbing death scenes. I don’t know if this one was easier to figure out than the others I’ve seen, or I’m just starting to get used to the twisted thinking of these movies, but I was able to guess the killer much earlier than usual this time. Still, it had an interesting story and kept me entertained the whole time. That’s good enough for me.

Haven’t seen this one in a long time. It still holds up pretty well. Christopher Walken plays an evil angel that has a heavy New York accent because Christopher Walken can’t sound any other way, ever. There’s a good cast overall, and they do a good job of maintaining the momentum of the film considering how blatantly low the budget was for a story of this scope. It’s the most exciting war in heaven, that actually only takes place in abandoned buildings and a hut in the desert, that you’ll ever see.

Also watched The Prophecy and 3, the straight-to-video sequels that still somehow managed to get Walken to sign on even though almost no one else involved would. They’re tolerable for straight-to-video movies, but I wouldn’t recommend that anyone go out of their way to see them like I would the first one (and I’m not even going to talk about the next two sequels).

That’s all for this week. Get used to a steady stream of shitty horror movies over the next year or so, as I continue my quest for lost horror treasures.

Now Reading: Watchmen

It’s hard to imagine that there’s anyone left that hasn’t at least heard of Watchmen by now. I’m sure there are still plenty of people who still haven’t read it though. Well, let me tell you, everything you’ve heard about it is absolutely true. You’d be hard pressed to ever find a comic that’s more perfectly constructed and paced, with the writer and artist working in such unison that there isn’t a single wasted panel or word. It really is a masterwork of the medium, with incredibly fascinating characters and a deep and disturbing plot that’s really more about simple, inherent human nature and the different ways that everyday people react to fear, than superheroes.

It’s amazing, and also maybe more than a bit depressing, that the underlying political and social themes that were relating to the Cold War nuclear scare of the 80’s here, still so closely resemble the current mood of the American masses.

Anyway, anyone that has any interest at all in comic books, even if superheroes aren’t normally your thing, should really check this out someday. It was an exceptional work of art back then, and it’s still one now. Personally, even having read it probably over a dozen times throughout the last several decades, still notice something new in its pages every time I pick it up.