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.

Watchin’ Stuff

Another 80’s classic, Night of the Creeps features aliens, killer slugs, zombies, and a story that’s not-so-secretly a social commentary on rapey frat-bros. The dialogue is a little cringey at times, but it still holds up pretty well for the most part. Definitely recommended for anyone into goofy 80’s horror.

Actually watched all 4 Critters movies, but I’m not going to get into great detail about all 4 of them. The original Critters was a pretty solid movie for being one of many Gremlins knock-offs of its time, though the Critters are a little more murderous than the Gremlins. The second one still holds up pretty well too, though it pretty much entirely stops even pretending to be a serious movie. 3 and 4 are actually pretty crappy. I would advise most people to stop at 2 unless you’re really into the series for nostalgic reasons or something.

Wow. I like some really disturbing and depressing movies, but this one takes the cake. Elle immediately opens with the main character being raped and from the description, I was under the impression that the rest of the movie would be a thriller about her trying to discover the identity of the rapist and get revenge on them, but apparently the description is quite misleading. Instead, the movie mostly focuses on the various relationships the main character has with her friends and family, and it turns out she’s actually an extremely unlikable person. She has extremely dysfunctional relationships with her mother, son, and ex-husband. She’s sleeping with her best friend’s husband, and is trying to screw her married neighbor too. SPOILERS INCOMING!

SPOILER TIME: the rapist turns out to be the neighbor she’s trying to fuck, and once she finds out, she…suddenly doesn’t mind so much? I guess she changes her mind and decides that she’s just going to let him come back and keep raping her because she decides she’s into it now? I gave up at this point, but I looked up the ending and apparently she changes her mind again later and convinces her idiot son to kill the guy later. What a miserable bunch of people.

This is a movie from the director of Bone Tomahawk, a decent western/horror from a few years ago. This is supposed to be similarly brutal, but I couldn’t make it far enough to find out. Holy shit is this movie slow and dry. Vince Vaughn’s supposed to be this big tough guy with anger issues, but most of the time he just kind of sleepwalks his way through the scenes. With his sedate performance and the incredibly slow pace, even when the movie finally reached the prison part, it was still dangerously close to putting me to sleep. Maybe there’s some good stuff in there later on, but if I have to sit through 90 minutes of boredom to get to it, it’s not worth it to me.

Amazingly, I’ve never seen this before. Was never really a big Patrick Swayze fan, I guess. This was pretty decent though. Calling it an action movie, as so many people seem to do, is probably a bit misleading. Sure, there are a few fight scenes, but it’s really more of a drama most of the time. Anyway, of course it’s a bit cheesy since it’s the 80’s, but it was pretty enjoyable.

And finally, another great season of Stranger Things. They took a little time to plant some seeds for future stories too, so it looks like this show will be sticking around for a while still. Anyway, it’s basically a 9 hour long 80’s movie of very high quality, much like the first season. Great writing, great characters, great everything really. If you still haven’t seen this show, get out of the damn cave you’re living in and watch it already!

This is about it for Halloween for me already, as I’m not going to have time to celebrate on the actual day since it falls on a weekday. On the plus side, I picked up a large number of terrible “new” horror movies recently. Enough to keep me blabbing for the next year or so, though I’m sure that about 85% of them will end up being complete garbage. OH WELLLLLLLLLLLLL!

Watchin’ Stuff

This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The trailer was pretty boring and the reviews are pretty terrible, but I thought it was decent. It does kind of have that feeling like if the first and last few minutes were removed or altered, it could have been an entirely different movie with no connection to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it was alright for what it was. Dark, disturbing, and a pretty generous amount of good quality gore effects. Did this series really need yet another origin/reboot chapter, and is this latest entry going to finally revitalize the brand? Probably not to both, but oh well.

I remember this being on tv a lot when I was a kid, so I thought I’d revisit it. Eh, it’s pretty bad. Not nearly as bad as the ultra-abysmal original Ghoulies, because that’s an extremely low bar to reach, but it’s still a pretty poor 80’s horror movie. The creature design is passable for its time, but the story, characters, and death scenes are all pretty underwhelming. Watching it now, that ending doesn’t really make sense either. I remembered them getting the giant creature at the end to swallow a dummy with a bomb in it to defeat it, but now that I see it again, it was actually a molotov cocktail that just had a cloth fuse sticking clearly out of the eye of the dummy. That was their plan? To just hope that that thing stayed lit, even when a giant demon thing swallows it? And then it makes him explode like it was made of dynamite. It just seems so silly now.

Now the big ape moment that we’ve all been waiting for. What people have been calling the most amazing ape movie ever and one of the best movies of the year. Eh. It was decent, but I actually thought it was the least interesting of the 3 recent apes movies (not including Burton Apes at all in that of course, because that never happened!). Just like the previous two, the characters and effects were great, but this one felt a lot less consistently paced than the first two. The majority of the movie focused on a small handful of characters, who spent most of the time just talking, and don’t get me wrong, the script was still well-written enough for even the slowest parts to be entertaining, but I was a little surprised at just how little war there was in a movie with this name.

You know, it sure strikes me as strange too, that this movie was so highly praised and financially successful, even though it’s so long, dialogue heavy (it even has subtitles half the time!), and action light. Why is it that this met with such mainstream success when everyone seemed to hate Blade Runner 2049 for the same reasons? Beats me.

70’s horror just doesn’t do it for me most of the time, but you never know. There are some occasional gems to be found there. This isn’t one of them. Not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but just too dated and slow to be entertaining.

Another one that I used to watch a ton when I was a kid. I didn’t expect this to hold up at all either, but it’s actually still pretty funny. It’s absolutely ridiculous and implausible, the kind of goofy-ass nonsense that could only succeed in the 80’s, but somehow it still works more often than it doesn’t. Of course half the fun is also laughing at how terrible it is. It’s terrible in the best way though. Fun times.

Arghhhh. I tried and tried to like this. I’m a huge fan of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but this is just awful. The quality of the writing took a huge nosedive in the third episode and I couldn’t make it through the fourth. It’s just so terrible and cliche-packed. It’s like a bad cartoon. I give up. Just bring back Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

Wait, let me sneak a few more bonus things on here…

Another Netflix Stephen King adaptation. I guess they’re really reaching for un-adapted Stephen King works these days, huh? Thomas Jane and friends put in a good performance and there are some nice effects, but it’s a pretty slow and dreary tale. Man kills wife, man regrets it and goes kind of nutty. Eh. It was ok, but I doubt I’d ever watch it again.

Wow. This is so very bad. Painfully bad script and dialogue. What’s with the pop up text? Was that supposed to be emulating internet memes? Who is this movie for? I feel like this is aimed kids in high school or under, yet it’s rated for ages 17 and up. I guess I just don’t get it. This is just an incredibly unfunny movie with no redeeming qualities to it, except I guess the cinematography was decent enough. Big slow clap for that.

Watchin’ Stuff

It is a difficult quest, to try to find good horror movies that I’ve never seen before, when I’ve already seen so very many of them. You have to dig through a lot of shit to find the ever-shrinking number of rare gems within. Tonight is no different. The Boogens is another one of those boring-ass horror movies where 90% of the movie is spent doing absolutely everything to avoid actually being a horror movie because that shit costs money. It takes an hour for them to even show just the tentacle of one of the creatures on screen. It’s unfortunate, because the actors and the script were relatively decent for a low budget early 80’s horror movie, but they just sit around talking for almost the whole thing because the budget for the creature effects was about $50.

Profundo Rosso, a.k.a. Deep Red, is another crazy giallo film from Dario Argento. This time a musician witnesses a murder and gets caught up in trying to solve the case pretty much all on his own because the police are oddly absent throughout most of the story. This is basically the same plot of his previous movies again, but whatever. This one was particularly weird though. The movie randomly switches between Italian and English on a regular basis. The whole romance/team-up subplot with the main guy and the reporter lady is incredibly strange and laced with out-of-place slapstick comedy moments. The transitions between some scenes lead me to believe that there was some kind of problem with the editing. It feels almost like this movie changed direction multiple times during creation, then was never actually completed, but then they just decided to splice all the parts together anyway and say “eh, close enough”, yet…somehow it kind of works. It’s insane and absolutely ridiculous, but I couldn’t stop watching it.

Pro tip though: there’s a part very early on where the hero sees something important at the crime scene and if you’re paying attention you might notice this thing briefly, but it happens too fast for you to see it clearly…UNLESS you get the bright idea to rewind and pause at the exact right fraction of a second, in which case you’ll end up seeing the identity of the murderer and spoiling it for yourself right away, just like I did! So…don’t do that.

This is presented as a babysitter and a kid being stalked by a killer on Christmas, but this is completely misleading. Spoiler: the home invasion is very quickly revealed to have been staged to make her scared which was supposed to end up making the babysitter fall in love with the kid somehow, but when the stupid scheme doesn’t work, it turns into this awkward kidnap/rape/murder fantasy, which is what the movie is really all about. There’s nothing scary about some horny 12 year old kid. It’s also supposedly a comedy, but there’s nothing funny about it. It was all just very unpleasant to me. Turned it off halfway through.

Another cheap snoozefest. I like how the lady on the cover isn’t even the actress who actually plays the baddie in the movie. That should tell you what kind of shit movie this is. Nothing else even worth mentioning here. Couldn’t finish this one either. Next!

Ah, dammit. I’ve already seen this one and I couldn’t finish it that time either! This is why I need to keep track of these things, because how else can I possibly keep track of all these crap movies. This isn’t even the only movie called Death Ship (they’re both awful)! NEXT!

Why am I doing this to myself? This is absolute garbage. It was a little funny from time to time, but everything about it was just so awful. Horrible acting, absolutely godawful effects…what’s to like? Oh, the shit I watch…

Back to Dario Argento so I could go out on a high note (I hoped). This was Argento‘s second step away from his usual giallo stuff, into the world of weird supernatural horror (Suspiria being the first, but I already watched that again for the dozenth time not that long ago). It’s also the second in the “Three Mothers” trilogy of bizarre witch stories. Much like Suspiria, it’s very cryptic, slow-moving, and strange. The scenery isn’t bad, but it’s not as impressive as Suspiria. It didn’t have the catchy, haunting music of Suspiria going for it either. Very weird and requires a lot of patience, but mostly likable in that crazy Argento way.

Watchin’ Stuff

Haven’t watched the original in, oh I don’t know, 15 years at least. Still a fun movie. It’s a pretty slow-paced and reserved movie, so it’s awfully strange that so many “hardcore fans” are complaining about those aspects of the new one, but let’s not even get into that. I always get a kick out of these 80’s visions of the future where future tech is just like an old CRT tv with clocks and fax machines glued to it.

What a fucking great movie. Villeneuve continues to show why he’s the greatest modern director out there. Yes, it’s a very long movie and like its predecessor it takes its own sweet time getting where it wants to go, but man, it’s so worth the investment of your time and patience. It’s definitely a strange and unconventional film, which unfortunately seems to already be driving the mainstream audience away pretty quickly, but that’s their loss. It’s hard to say much more about it without getting into spoilers. Let’s just say that Ryan Gosling’s character, K, and the evolution he undergoes in the process of the film are both exceptionally acted and directed. There’s so much more depth here than people are giving it credit for, simply because it doesn’t hold your hand and spell everything out for you. See for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

Checked this out after reading about it at Jordan and EddieThey were right, it is pretty good for one of those found footage films, which is quite rare. I had kind of hoped that the ultimate secret of what happened in the basement would have been a little creepier somehow, but then again, it was pretty unlikely that anything they did could have lived up to the sense of dread they built up surrounding that incident. Enjoyable overall.

The new non-X-Men X-Men show has begun. It was ok. Not amazing, not bad. We’ll have to see where it goes. I will never understand Bryan Singer’s tendency to take famous character names and then slap them on completely unrelated characters. Like the Strucker family here, who are the sympathetic good guy family that are for some inexplicable reason named after a famous family of evil Nazi terrorists in the comics. Oh well. We’ll see, but it’s sure no Legion.

Wooooo, Curb Your Enthusiasm has returned! Everyone involved looks noticeably older, but it doesn’t seem to have affected anyone’s performance one bit. Still the same old  hilariously awkwardly offensive show.

Man, I really need to try to fit in some more horror movies this week. My horror intake has been pathetic for October so far! I’ll try to make it up to…you, me, Samhain, or whoever the fuck.

Watchin’ Stuff

TURTLES ON THE BRAIN! Man, I haven’t seen this in many, many years. It’s actually not a bad movie, surprisingly. Holds up a lot better than many other cartoon/video game live action movies of the 80’s. The turtle costumes were surprisingly good looking for the time too. It’s still completely ridiculous, but still much less cheesy than the awful cartoon. Fun fact: a big portion of the story in this movie was actually taken directly from the original comics for some reason. If you haven’t read the original comics, they were muuuuuuch more dark and violent than the popular cartoon versions. They were actually quite good, but that’s a tale for another time…

Secret of the Ooze was…not quite as good. It starts trying to be more similar to the cartoons and is full of horribly cheesy nonsense and weird, goofy action sound effects. It was actually still pretty amusing though, despite it being so campy and nonsensical. Really, this is one fucked up production. There are some massive continuity issues going on here that I guess our dumb child minds never noticed somehow. For instance, the turtles go attack the Foot Clan‘s base near the end, the base looks to be some kind of abandoned warehouse. A fight ensues and the turtles are thrown through the door of the warehouse. They are now suddenly in the middle of a loud Vanilla Ice concert in-progress, which you couldn’t hear at all before, naturally. The whole infamous Ninja Rap scene takes place and ends with Shredder being thrown out of a window. The turtles follow him out the window and now we’re suddenly on some docks. What the fuck. I suppose it’s a credit to the editors’ skills that most people didn’t seem to notice how strange this all was.

I’d never seen this one before, it having come out when the turtle craze back in the day was already in the late stages of dying down. This movie is about April O’Neil buying an ancient Japanese time travel artifact at a flea market. I am dead serious. She brings it as a gift to Splinter and it suddenly makes her switch places with a Japanese prince in the 1500’s, and also they switch clothes, but she keeps her jewelry and walkman because why not. So the turtles have to go back in time and rescue her and then she pretty much spends the rest of the movie whining about how they aren’t rescuing her properly and are taking too long to get them all back home, even though it’s entirely her fault that they’re all there in the first place. Again, it’s incredibly cheesy and dumb, but it still made me laugh. Easily the worst of the 3 movies, but I enjoyed it in that guilty pleasure kind of way (the vodka probably helped too).

Another Child’s Play movie you say? This one is the 7th in the series. Usually once a horror series like this gets up into numbers this high things start getting really, really bad until the series crashes and burns into obscurity (at least until someone decides to reboot it again in the future), so I wasn’t expecting much from this at all. I was very surprised to find that it was actually pretty damn good. I don’t want to give it away, but there is a new spin put on the old formula of Chucky, the murderous doll, one that brings some really interesting twists to the story and opens the door for a lot of possibilities for the future of the franchise. It actually had a really cool story that made me more excited for this series than I’ve been since I was a little kid watching the first two movies. I guess the only downside is that not much is resolved in the end. It has that “this is almost all just setup for another sequel or sequels” feeling to it, and I was a little sad to see it end so soon, right when it was getting really good. This could be great if they pick right up where this left off though, as this one really shows a lot of potential and proves that Chucky still has some life left in him after all.

So this is the story of a woman whose husband takes her out to the country for some wacky bondage/rape fantasies to revive their dying marriage, who then keels over and dies almost immediately, leaving her trapped and trying to figure out how the hell she’s going to survive. This really doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time at all. This doesn’t seem like something that would be particularly pleasant to watch for 90+ minutes, but it’s based on a Stephen King story and directed by Mike Flanagan, so I thought I should give it a chance. I give Flanagan credit for a great effort, but in the end it just didn’t work for me. To be fair, everything I had problems with was apparently part of the original story, so I can’t fault Flanagan for that, but this was a story that really could have used a few changes. It’s hard enough to find enjoyment in watching the slow decline of this woman as she sits there having conversations with hallucinations and having miserable flashbacks about her horrible dead husband and her childhood sexual abuse, because this stuff bothers me a lot more than watching Chucky graphically put a power drill through someone’s eye for some reason, but there were so many bad contrivances required for this to all play out too.

For instance, she’s menaced by a hungry wild dog for most of the movie. How did this hungry wild dog get in the bedroom of the house? Why, because they left the front door wide fucking open when they went to start their kinky sex session, and I don’t mean one of those things where some random accident caused the door to be open without their knowledge. They go out and give the dog (who is blatantly wild and dangerous looking) some food out in front of their house then turn around, go inside, leave the door wide open, and she even looks back and has a concerned look on her face when she notices that the door’s wide open, but then just shrugs it off and gets right to the handcuff sex. Who the fuck does that? Even if the dog wasn’t there, who the fuck does that? The worst part was the last 10-15 minutes though. I won’t give it away, but there is a very strange twist introduced in the end that just feels like it was tacked on to the story after the fact and doesn’t really feel like it fit with the rest at all, to me at least. I don’t know. I guess this is the first Mike Flanagan film that I just don’t really like, because I can’t imagine ever sitting through this one again.

This was apparently the sequel to the previous CG animated Starship Troopers movie, Invasion. I honestly can’t remember a thing about Invasion other than liking the animation. I imagine this will go down in history in much the same way. The story is ridiculous and generic. The characters strangely feel like they’re straight out of a bad anime, which I suppose isn’t too surprising given that it was directed by a pair of Japanese dudes with long histories of working on animes. It’s an absolutely mindless action movie with some decent effects, and that’s about all there is to say about it, for better or worse.

I don’t think this was anywhere near as bad as everyone’s saying. It wasn’t amazing, there were even a few brief moments where it awkwardly stumbled a bit, but it’s far from being outright bad. The obligatory “introduce everyone” first episode was a little slow and dry, but once the premise and characters were established, it all started growing on me in the second episode (of a double episode premiere). People seem to forget that Agents of SHIELD started the same way, with an average-at-best beginning that took a few episodes to find its footing, but it became amazing once it took off. Hopefully this can survive long enough to do the same, or at least long enough for them to do a fancy crossover between the two.

The Exorcist is back! A surprisingly good horror drama for being on a mainstream public channel. Too soon to say, but hopefully this season will be as good as the last one, though it seems that Father Tomas is already back to having issues with too much pride, something we thought was shaken out of his dumb ass in the first season. Looks like he’s going to foolishly get himself and others in trouble over it again. We’ll see.

Watchin’ stuff

Is it not even October yet? Well too bad. I can’t wait any more! Need more horror movie intake, STAT!

Death Spa, apparently also known in some places as Witch Bitch, is an awful movie, but it’s that special kind of awful that’s hilarious to watch. This “futuristic” semi-automated health spa seems to be undergoing acts of sabotage that may or may not be the act of an angry ghost. The future tech of the spa is ridiculous and nonsensical and the story is so all over the place and bizarrely paced, and by all rights, it should not be fun to watch at all, but holy shit it’s just so dumb and insane that I can’t look away.

This was the previous (and only) movie by the director of the recent IT remake. You can see little moments of potential here and there, but it’s not surprising at all that no one seems to have heard of this one. There’s a surprisingly good cast and it’s filmed well enough, but the script and the CGI are pretty lacking. This is one of those movies where they show the audience almost immediately that there is unquestionably something supernatural going on, but it takes the idiot main characters most of the movie to figure it out, no matter how many blatant signs there are. The only real thing of interest here is that the Mama creature is very clearly the same model that they refined and reused as the crooked woman creature in IT, but this isn’t something worth watching this whole movie for.

I probably never would have seen this if Mrs. Fotchenstein hadn’t suddenly insisted on seeing the movie that this popular YouTube meme was taken from:

Wow. This is another special one like Death Spa. It’s so very ridiculous and crazy that it’s thoroughly entertaining, despite being so very bad. There are a lot of memorable scenes and it actually has some pretty good over the top synth music. This is definitely a hidden gem of the 80’s horror craze that I’d recommend to anyone that likes this kind of junk. Luckily you don’t need to see the first one to understand this one either, because that one was just embarrassingly bad.

Saw this a while back on Netflix and had mixed feelings about it, but thought I’d try it again since a new sequel just came out, which I was told (falsely!) was good. It’s one of those found footage/fake documentary movies, which I don’t usually like, but this one was somewhat interesting as it involved touring the country in search of the most extreme haunted house. Seeing all the different haunted houses was interesting and the characters being increasingly followed and harassed by mysterious masked people was compelling when it seemed to *SPOILERS* be something supernatural, but then it turns out that it’s all just something very ordinary going on, which isn’t explained at all, and the motivations of the baddies and plausibility of their actions all kind of fall apart once you realize they were just normal people all along. The ending kind of soured it for me, but since it was decent up until that point I figured I’d give the sequel a chance, hoping that it would make sense of it all.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t. This one actually makes even less sense than the first one and features a lot of confusing and completely unrealistic acts by the mysterious baddies, as well as dropping a lot of the haunted house content of the first one in favor of strange things like zombie runs and zombie eating contests. Most of the time you just feel like you’re watching someone’s travel videos, with little to no story behind any of it, until near the end when of course they do the exact same stupid things they did in the last one and seem to find themselves in trouble again. This one doesn’t even bother to try to pretend that there’s anything supernatural going on. We’re clearly shown that these guys in masks are following them around in a car, and then later, strangely following them in a helicopter, and then even more strangely, physically dangling from the bottom of their vehicle. Why would they be doing that when they’ve got the vehicle bugged and are tracking them with cars and helicopters already? Why is a secret underground haunted house club that is so extreme that they have to change to a different secret location every year spending what would have to be huge amounts of money to be employing dozens of people to travel across the country following small groups of people in helicopters and such all so they can get more mainstream recognition so they can provide this same unfeasible experience for everyone all the time at what must be a huge monetary loss to them? None of it really makes sense. Oh well.

Now I have to turn to an old classic to cleanse my palate. SLUGS! A sadly overlooked classic from the 80’s. This is yet another so-bad-it’s-good one. It kind of feels like a made-for-tv movie, except it has some surprisingly grisly death scenes for being a low budget movie about killer slugs. Pretty good gore effects for a low budget movie of its time. A pleasure that I should probably feel guilty for, but don’t, because I love this shit. Again, check this one out if you’re into ridiculous 80’s horror and more impossibly deadly animals!

Watchin’ stuff

Just got back from seeing IT, and it was pretty damn good. It was very similar to the old mini-series (this being just the first half still) in a lot of ways, but of course with everything turned up to R-rated levels. There were one or two iffy CG parts, but the majority of the effects were very well done. Well paced, creepy, consistently entertaining, and some surprisingly funny moments, mostly coming out of the mouth of that kid from Stranger Things. Definitely a winner of a remake.

Back to yesterday though, it was time to watch some of these recent new Netflix movies. I hadn’t been planning on watching this. I never saw the show or read the comic. I’ve heard all the praise about it, but it always just sounded too teen drama for my liking, so I had zero interest in seeing this version of it either. Then I heard that Adam Wingard (GO WATCH THE GUEST RIGHT NOW!) directed it, so I had to check it out. I thought it was pretty good. I’m sure it’s very different than the originals, because of course an overseas movie adaptation of a much longer story is going to be, but I don’t know anything about that, I just know that this was an enjoyable movie and that it’s made me interested in checking out the original stories, so that seems like a job well done from my perspective. My wife saw the show and told me it’s been changed quite a bit, referring to this version as “not Death Note”, but also saying that it was still good for what it was (so it’s not just me and my Adam Wingard fan bias!).

This wasn’t bad. It’s a goofy concept, with Noomi Rapace playing the part of 7 identical sisters, which is the kind of premise you’d expect to come out in the 80’s or 90’s. The core plot is pretty predictable, but it’s still a solid enough light-sci-fi/action/thriller to be enjoyable.

Black Panther runs around L.A. beating the shit out of people with a bicycle chain while trying to find out who killed his sister. Who wouldn’t want to see that? Some nice performances from a pretty good cast and some pretty graphic violence.

An action/thriller that actually has very little action in it. It’s kind of a bait and switch, really. You go in expecting Steven Seagal to be beating everyone up, but in reality (INCOMING SPOILER FOR 20+ YEAR OLD MOVIE) the plan to save the hijacked plane goes wrong almost immediately and Seagal dies, leaving a leaderless, wounded crew that’s missing most of their gear to figure out how to complete the mission before the government just shoots the plane down. It’s from the 90’s, so of course it gets a little goofy at times, but it’s still a pretty good thriller.

And finally, David Mitchell and Robert Webb‘s new comedy series has begun. It’s not really a “laugh out loud a lot” kind of comedy. It’s more on the dry and awkward side, sort of like Peepshow, but not quite as goofy so far. It’s off to a good start though.

Watchin’ Stuff

Despite the title giving me a grammatical itch, this was actually a pretty good movie. It’s sold as a near-future murder mystery involving memory recording tech that’s slightly reminiscent of Strange Days, but the interesting thing was that the murder mystery isn’t the real mystery. No, the real enigma here are the cryptic motivations of Dinklage‘s character, who is a professional model maker who just kind of appears and starts investigating this crime for vague reasons that sound suspiciously like a pack of lies. What is he really getting involved in this case for? What is it he’s really after? His character is very compelling and the performances from the various characters he questions in the course of the investigation are pretty good too. All-in-all it’s a pretty solid light-sci-fi drama.

I really should have known better (or just paid more attention at least) than to see a blurb like that and think “OH GOOD, FROM THE GUY WHO MADE YOU’RE NEXT? OH, I LOVE ADAM WINGARD, I BETTER CHECK THIS OUT!”, because nope, he had nothing to do with this movie. No, this is referring to the guy who WROTE You’re Next, and actually upon looking into it even further, that guy didn’t direct this either. This was actually directed by the writer’s brother, who has nothing but cinematography credits to his name. Urgh. Well, I guess that explains why this was filmed so well, but that’s the only nice thing to say about it. This movie is 78 minutes long and over 60 of those minutes are made up entirely of empty build-up to a few minutes of jumbled, forgettable “scary” scenes in the end. Waste of time.

Another knockoff of The Strangers, apparently. I didn’t like that movie and I don’t like this one much better. Mysterious masked killers who like to alternate between posing menacingly in the dark and arbitrarily torturing and killing anyone in their way. Bad guys attack family in cabin in the woods, bad guys kill everyone for reasons, the end. It’s just not my thing, these anarchic “realistic” slashers who have no motivation at all. Also found it strange that this movie is set in the early 80’s, which you only know because it tells you so at the beginning, and you see a framed picture of Ronald Reagan on a fireplace mantle and an old-timey TV for a few seconds in the beginning, but other than these two things, you would have no idea that this was happening in the 80’s because those are literally the only references to the time period. Nothing about this feels like the 80’s in any way and I’m guessing that they only slapped that on there to create an excuse for no one to have phones, which they could have used to end this whole stupid story immediately.

Argh. It’s another critic-beloved non-horror horror movie! What is with all the praise for these kinds of movies these days, where they take a drama movie, paste it into a horror setting, but then go out of their way to avoid any actual horror content (despite the fact that they heavily market it as a straight out horror movie)? “Oh, but you see, Richenbaum, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONSTERS, IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE, WHO ARE THE REAL MONSTERS!”. Give me a break. We’ve all seen that one a hundred times before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case there was very little dialogue or characterization going on, mostly just a lot of random dream sequences and slow, ponderous moments where I guess we’re supposed to be in dread of the thing that we’re told comes at night, but never actually seems to come. I didn’t care about any of the characters or anything that was going on. My wife was sitting there yelling at the characters for how stupid they were. Eventually we just turned it off and moved on.

Boy, this is not our lucky night. This is another one that by all rights should have been at least somewhat entertaining, but just couldn’t keep my interest. This movie is an action comedy, but supposedly it started out as a serious drama and was changed later to become more of a comedy buddy-“cop” film, and it really shows. Neither the drama or the action or the comedy are particularly good. How the hell do you have Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson teamed up in a movie like this and have the comedy be so very weak? They obviously both have the personality for it, but the script just isn’t that good. There are a few mild chuckles in there, but more often it was just tame eye-rolling stuff, and some occasional cringey stuff like the running joke of “oh man, Salma Hayek‘s character sure yells and swears a lot!”. It all felt strangely like a mediocre 90’s action movie. What the fuck was with the music in this too? You’d be watching some big action chase scene where shit’s exploding left and right and a dozen people are being graphically murdered and in the background is some crap that sounds like it’s trying to be a mix of an old Guy Ritchie movie and Austin Powers or something, just really cheesy, generic, and upbeat music that didn’t match what was happening on screen at all. Finally just tuned out about 3/4 of the way in and just turned it off, not really caring what happened in the end. Oh well. Better luck next week, I hope.