Watchin’ Stuff #32

Watched a bit more than usual this week due to good old Spring Break, but the movie of the week goes to Tragedy Girls. This is the story of two high school girls who decide to become serial killers in order to boost their social media presence (or are they just using their social media presence as an excuse to boost their serial killing?). Several movies have tried to do something like this before, though most of them have failed pretty miserably. Heathers is probably the only real good example of a similar theme, and there are some noticeable similarities, but this has much less of a conscience and leans even more heavily into the comedy and graphic violence.

It’s really more of a horror comedy than a serious attempt at dissecting modern smartphone-addicted teen culture, though it does take its share of stabs at that. I don’t often find myself watching teen girl movies (as in never), but the two lead girls were very charismatic and carried the ridiculous premise impressively well. It’s funny, stylish, brutal, and completely immoral, and maybe that combination shouldn’t work, but somehow it all adds up to a lot of fun here.

An “extreme” French horror film that I’m still not quite sure what to make of. Long story short, it’s about a mysterious order kidnaps and tortures women in some bizarre attempt to recreate the conditions of Jesus and other such martyrs in order to learn the secrets of the afterlife, I guess. For all its hype, its really no more graphic than Hellraiser or any other similarly gory movie, though I have to give it credit, it did somehow manage to feel more realistic and disturbing than Hellraiser. Its atmosphere and effects were certainly well done and effective.

The vague, ambiguous ending leaves something to be desired though. I’m not going to give it away, but it could be deep and meaningful or it could be a completely pretentious bit of philosophical fluff, depending on which interpretation you choose to believe. Unfortunately, it’s left so vague that it’s hard to say which is true with any real confidence. Make of that what you will…

Used to watch part 1 of this a lot back in the day, but not part 2 because they never had it at Blockbuster for some reason. MD Geist is a weird story about a super soldier in a post-apocalyptic future, except the main character is a totally unlikable psychopath that doesn’t seem to care about anything except finding more challenging fights to get into, even at the cost of the whole world. The first part was decently animated for the time and had some cool battles with various mechs and robots, but the 2nd part is actually kind of terrible. Scattered mess of a plot that doesn’t really have a conclusion. Lots of people screaming loudly at the sky about what they’re going to do, but not very much actual action taken. Oh well. It’s still a guilty pleasure anime classic to me.

I don’t know what possessed me to watch this. I never really liked Power Rangers very much back in the day. I always wanted to, as the outlandish Japanese robots and monsters were right up my alley, but the godawful American replacement actors just spoiled it all for me. I guess maybe I thought this different, more condensed version might have more action and less of the cringey shit, but…I was wrong.

It actually didn’t start out too badly. I kind of liked the characters at first and didn’t mind at all that a more troubled group of teens had replaced the whitebread Christian movie teens of the shows, but 45 minutes later I was wondering just when the hell they were going to actually turn into Power Rangers already. An hour in, I was still wondering. It isn’t until NINETY MINUTES in that they finally turn into Power Rangers and then literally less than five minutes after that they all remove their face masks for the rest of the movie anyway.

I hoped that I would at least get rewarded with some good action scenes after all that bullshit, but they couldn’t get that right either. The teens suddenly start acting extremely annoying once their powers finally fully kick in, the big boss monster and the Megazord both kind of look like shit, and the whole thing with Krispy Kreme in the last half hour was some of the most obnoxious and insultingly blatant product placement I’ve ever seen in a movie. Complete waste of time.

A surreal fantasy movie by Lucio Fulci, Conquest tells a tale of two dudes, one who has a magic bow, travelling across the land to find and vanquish the local evil sorceress. There’s a really crappy looking race of werewolf people, weird zombies, shapeshifting evil gods, and a whole lot of other really bizarre shit. I don’t know that I can honestly say that I liked the movie, but it’s certainly noteworthy for how insane it all was.

Well, this was underwhelming. It seemed to have all the right ingredients, but it just never seemed to come together. I suppose the problem was that they played it too safe. It didn’t seem to want to go far enough in either the drama or the action and so neither really stood out at all. Everything about it was just so average and generic that I couldn’t seem to find it in myself to care about anything happening. Turned it off before it even ended because it was just background noise.

A bad straight-to-video vampire movie, but fortunately it was one that was bad in some pretty amusing ways. It’s one of those movies that wasn’t supposed to be a comedy, but there’s just so much to laugh at. Over the top acting, absolutely ridiculous dialogue, and a weird version of vampires who hang their lungs outside their bodies while they sleep (based on one of the more obscure overseas vampire myths, I believe). Decent effects for a low budget movie of its time too. It wasn’t an amazing movie by any means, but it was definitely entertaining and amusing.

Not sure what they were going for in this. It’s supposed to show the dark side of suburban America in the 50’s, but at the same time it’s all so sterile and cartoonish that it’s hard to take any of it too seriously. There’s a murder “mystery” that you can see coming a mile away and in between are some brief undercooked scenes of the community being half-assed racists to the new black family in town, and that’s about it really.

The movie doesn’t seem to have much to say other than that there was this secret, dark underside to the idyllic happier times of the olden days, but was there anyone out there that really still needed to have that explained to them? Well, I guess if there is then it’s a good thing they have this movie to let them know about it in the least subtle way possible.

In the not-too-distant-future the “solution” to crime is the creation of a big “personal freedom zone” where there are no laws. Naturally, this place just becomes a big rat’s nest of criminals who just come out and commit crimes and then run back to their safe zone, because there’s almost no security to keep anyone in or out, which would seem to negate the whole point of the place, but whatever.

Anyway, this is all just a setup for The Ultimate Warrior to bust out of prison and kill a bunch of cops so that the hero can go undercover in the crime zone and join a local deathmatch arena club in order to track him down and stop him and his gang of criminals. Of course this involves a lot of fight scenes, some of which are actually pretty good.

This is one of those weird movies though, where the main character is very noticeably the worst fighter out of everyone. Chad McQueen very clearly does not know how to fight and his few fight scenes stand out a lot when they’re all blatantly made up of quick-cuts and stand-ins, especially when everyone else around him is showing such legitimate martial arts skill. I guess it’s lucky for him that The Ultimate Warrior didn’t really have any martial arts skills either. Oh, he’s great at posing and generally looking tough and menacing, but he clearly doesn’t have any moves that aren’t basic wrestling ones.

So, not a great movie, but it was watchable for the better fight scenes and the overall guilty pleasure of the 90’s straight-to-video trash tone.

An early Ti West movie. I haven’t liked most of what I’ve seen by this guy, but I’m trying to go back and give him another chance for some reason. This one I saw once long ago and remembered being sort of entertained. It’s decent, I guess. It’s got great atmosphere for being so painfully low budget and at times it feels a lot like the original Evil Dead, but it’s also slow, short, and ends rather abruptly. Still, I think I enjoyed it overall. Something about the setting and its presentation, along with the music, just gave it this eerie retro feel that made it mostly work.

The Nameless has good intentions, but just doesn’t have what it takes to come through on them. It’s all about a sinister cult, but the cult themselves barely do anything or even appear on screen. It’s pretty much entirely made up of second hand exposition about how evil the cult is. They try to salvage it in the end by introducing an unexpected twist that makes it seem like things are about to get really disturbing, but then they fumble that too and it all just feels like a complete waste of time. Oh well.

Also, season 2 of Legion, the most surprisingly surreal and visually impressive “superhero” show around, has begun. Naturally, things are off to a very strange start. In fact, it all seems to have become even weirder than before, but not so much that it’s boring or incomprehensible. If you ask me, this show is more Twin Peaks than the recent disappointment that was Twin Peaks: The Return. Highly recommended and it doesn’t even require any knowledge of the comics to get into.

4 comments on “Watchin’ Stuff #32

  1. ignitedmoth says:

    Nice post! 🙂 I’d always meant to get around to watching Martyrs, but never did. That’s too bad to hear about the weak ending for it. These posts always make me miss working at a movie rental store (RIP Blockbuster!) 😛

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