The best movie of the week this time is a classic that I missed out on back in the day because I was 10 years old in 1990 and not too into lengthy legal dramas. Presumed Innocent tells the story of Harrison Ford investigating a murder, but then ending up being accused of that same murder. The tricky thing is, it really looks like he actually might be guilty and the movie is surprisingly successful at stringing you along for the whole ride with the “did he or didn’t he?” theme. Great cast, great script, great direction. It’s just a really solid drama that holds up very well even by today’s dramatic standards.
Eh. I don’t really see the appeal of High Tension. I think I actually saw this before, back when it came out and wasn’t particularly impressed by it then. Going into it again now and already knowing the twist makes it even less impressive, not just because it sucks all the tension right out of the story, but because when you go back and look at the details again with that knowledge, you can suddenly see a ton of plotholes. I won’t say what the twist is, but it’s one that’s been done many, many times already, and when you strip that surprise away there isn’t really anything left to admire about this movie. I much prefer the movies Alexandra Aja would come to direct after this got him noticed.
I checked this one out because it was by the same director as the goofy, but fun movies Bad Moon and Body Parts. There’s no horror to be seen in this one though, just an action/drama story, and a really, really bad one. I guess Adam Baldwin hadn’t learned to act yet in 1988 because he’s just exceptionally awful here. To be fair though, Roy Schreider is actually pretty bad in this too. He just felt like he was reading off cue cards or something. Maybe the inexperienced-at-the-time director is to blame for this one. The godawful supporting cast would sure seem to support that theory. Man, the kid the pair has to drag around is one of the shittiest child actors I’ve ever seen too. Just a miserable failure of a movie and I can’t comprehend how it apparently has a cult following. DNF.
Oh boy, time to dive back into that horror shit pile. Still on the D’s are we? *Sigh*, ok. Death Carries a Cane was another trashy low quality giallo whose plot and characters were so boring that I couldn’t make it halfway through. Hooray. Next!
Death Laid an Egg was about the same as the previous movie, but it did have at least one memorable characteristic. It had the absolute worst music I’ve ever heard in a movie. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that sometimes it’s just someone randomly pounding their hands on a piano, or sometimes there’s a badly recorded stringed instrument that I can’t identify (maybe someone improperly playing a banjo? I really don’t know) being aggressively plucked in the same few notes over and over again in a really obnoxious manner, and sometimes they even play both of these things at the same time, and yes, that’s really as awful as it sounds. I don’t know what they were thinking here. Completely unwatchable for me.
I was able to actually sit through this whole one! Despite this seemingly unrelated movie poster, it’s the weird story of a kid that supposedly dies in Vietnam, but then mysteriously shows up back on his parents’ doorstep anyway, but acting very strangely. Unsurprisingly, the kid is dead and starts killing and drinking their blood on the side. He’s not a vampire though, and he’s not a zombie either. You never actually find out what exactly he is or how he got that way, he just gets up to a lot of shenanigans. It’s not a great movie, but it wasn’t terrible, and the end was so strange and dark that it kind of stuck with me.
Ugh. What a shitfest. This has to be the worst early 90’s horror movie that actually made it into theaters against all reason. Weak deaths, annoying characters, and a painfully unfunny barrage of pre-kill puns that goes too far even by stupid horror movie standards. Dr. Giggles actually stops and stares right into the camera to say “Is there a doctor in the house?” right before he dies. Just awful and pointless.
Another Scott Adkins film, which is much like most Scott Adkins films are. It’s obviously not in AAA big budget blockbuster territory, but it’s not down in B-movie territory either. It’s somewhere in between, where everything is competently constructed and performed, but nothing particularly stands out either, except of course for Adkins’ impressive fight scenes. Point being, pretty enjoyable action movie.
Sometimes nostalgia is a bitch. The 80’s, space camp, a bunch of familiar 80’s stars, this seems like it would be a fun trip to the olden days. It was not. The circumstances of the accidental trip into space are insultingly stupid even for what I imagine was supposed to be a children’s movie. That bargain bin robot was just awful. Kate Capshaw can’t get through two lines without her terrible fake accent disappearing. It’s really just a long advertisement for Space Camp, which was a hot property in 1986 (I guess it worked on me at the time, because I somehow talked my parents into sending me there), but it sure isn’t a good one. Wouldn’t recommend this to even the most diehard 80’s fans.
Another watered down PG-13 ghost house movie where nothing much happens except a bunch of cheap and quick jump scares involving people in a lot of white makeup. Had a great premise, but played it so safe that it’s just boring. The recent Dark Horse series House of Penance did almost the same story, but did it a lot better.
Cage and Kidman getting their home invaded by the world’s most dysfunctional robbers. I can see how people wouldn’t like this, as the robbers are so over the top crazy and stupid that it all becomes rather unbelievable, but it was just like this weird train wreck that I couldn’t stop watching because I wanted to see what would go horribly wrong next. It was all kind of dumb, but I still enjoyed it well enough overall.
Another Ti West film, The Innkeepers was one of the biggest wastes of time I’ve ever seen. Made up almost entirely of build-up, and not the good suspenseful kind of build-up, the kind where two complete fuck-up loser characters trade annoying banter and fill time with a bunch of cheap fake-outs and false jump scares. The payoff in the end can’t even really be called a payoff, unless you really, really wanted to see a 4 second shot of someone in cheap white makeup in the dark. Just awful. If it hadn’t been the end of the night, where I was too tired to even bother turning it off, I never would have sat through it all. Complete garbage.
That’s all for now. I never know how to end these things so I’ll just say LATER, YO!