Monday, October 31, 2011

*Holiday* VHS for the Win: Halloween Night

Who needs Michael Meyers, Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger when you can have this random horror movie that most people have never heard of?  I know I don't.  Especially on...
Either that guy is threatening to kill that pumpkin or the pumpkin just killed a guy with it's mental powers.  Hey, if tires have them, I'm sure that all objects do.

Next up, the real update planned last week.  Stupid holidays- getting in the way of my schedule.

Mexican't: Halloween- Dia De Muertos

Viva la Halloween!  I'm a bit late with this one, but the time works out for the best really.  Everybody loves double-features and they're great to play at 'spooky' parties.  Any excuse to watch the Waxwork or Dr. Phibes films is good enough for me!  Early this year, I came across two films with Halloween in the title that didn't feature Michael Meyers or robots made by Druids.  Naturally, I kept them around in my Netflix Queue until the time came.  That's not unusual, especially when you consider how long I held on to Peter Rottentail before I actually watched it!  I figured that I'd watch them both and see which one worked.  As it turns out, they both have some merits to speak of, so I'm doing them both.  It was that or do Halloween 4- suck it, normal idea that everyone else is already doing!  This film comes to us, as you probably guessed, from Mexico.  If you've watched any of the major Spanish channels like Telemundo, you'll see some familiar stuff here.  The film is a horror tale, although it's about 75% Telenovela, which is certainly odd.  Hell's Trap avoided that cliche, so I guess I was due.  It also stinks of 'TV movie,' which is almost always bad.  To see how odd a Spanish Soap Opera and Slasher film mix, read on...
The film takes place on Halloween at a party.  Did I say 'Halloween?'  The film doesn't- save for one Subtitle- and the title sure doesn't.  I mean, look at that title care above!
As I said, most of the film is Telenovela stuff.  In this case, it's a love-triangle involving one of our heroines, this guy she's liked and a slut.  What- that's what she's called the whole movie!
A long bit of the movie is just drawing out the characters.  One five-minute section involves two of the women making a new costume!  Get to killing, Random Guy in the Shadows!
As the party goes on, the group gets smaller and smaller.  Do they seem aware of this?  No- not really.
Finally, our heroes figure out that someone is killing them.  This comes after they find some real blood and think that it's fake, covering one girl in it as part of a prank.  Ew.
Who is the killer?  What is his motivation?  Do you really want to know?
Okay, it's some guy who's mom was going to marry the father of two of our heroes.  In a sepia-toned flashback, he reveals that the sister accidentally killed her.  That's it.  No build-up.  Nothing.
In The End, they take out the killer, but feel bad about the deaths of their friends.  This dramatic finale is Spoiled, mind you, but the film's opening Menu screen!  The End.
Don't drink this water.  Putting aside terrible cliches, the plot of this movie is not bad.  The actual production of the movie, however, sucks.  They draw the thing out longer than Hands Across America.  This movie makes the production cycle of Duke Nukem Forever feel short.  The film is just about 80 minutes long, but feels like 800.  Do I care about the Soap Opera crap?  No.  Do I care about the stock characters?  No.  Does this movie make it all feel worthwhile?  Again, no.  The film is certainly interesting to look at in theory.  The problem is that it has no budget, sub-par acting and moves slower than a one-legged fat guy in mud who is pulling a monster truck by this teeth.  It's not really about Halloween either- at least, not really.  If you ever wanted to see what it would be like if Telemundo remade The Prowler though, this is it.  Take us away, fat guy who is always in this stuff...
Next up, Halloween goes back to America for an obscure horror film from the '90s.  Who's afraid of the big, bad doll?  Stay tuned...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Little Mikey: Halloween 5- The Revenge of Michael Meyers

All Hallow's Eve is a day for family!  Today's film is the fifth film in the Halloween series.  Bucking conventions (as usual), I've covered this series pretty much backwards.  I've done Resurrection, skipped H2O (since it doesn't suck) and done Part 6.  It's only natural that this film would come up then.  The tricky part here is that this film ties together very tightly with Part 4 (future review, no doubt) and, to a certain extent, it's sequel.  Of course, the connection also gets a bit silly when you consider certain things that happen.  Plus, the films are always set during the same time of the year, so this film has to kind of cheat a little.  On the plus side, Donald Pleasance is here to continually class up this series and there's no Paul (Stephen) Rudd this time.  Will this film turn the tide in the series' favor and actually make it good?  Probably not, but I'm game to find out.  If you are too, then read on...
Halloween 4 ends with Michael Meyers being shot, dropped into a well and having dynamite tossed in after him.  Naturally, for this sequel to exist, he has to escape in an improbable way...
After finding a Hermit, Meyers heals up for a whole year to prepare for another round of random stalking and killing...
Using the rule of slasher films, this Strode family member has to die this time, as she survived the last time.  Damn you, recurring roles!
Meyers' whole 'standing around and nobody seeing him' shtick reaches a climax of silliness here as he is standing next to a tree by a main road.  How do they not see you when they drive by?!?
Speaking of silly, he finds his way towards his victim- the Strode niece with a psychic connection- by killing one girl's boyfriend, putting on his mask (over his own, mind you) and driving to where she'll be.  Wouldn't that be really uncomfortable?
Since we're 5 films in, we were due for the 'People dress up like the killer for a joke' trope.  It's really, really obvious and just sets up more kills later.  Hey jerks, not only do you get killed, but you get two cops killed too!
During the film's climax back at the old Meyers home, the psychic girl actually gets Meyers' mask off.  It's not the first time, but it is notable that you see so much here.
Ultimately, Meyers gets a metal net dropped on him, shot up with tranquilizers and beaten with a bat.  Enjoy your victory, Loomis, because...
...that random person in the black shoes shows up, shoots up the police station and frees Meyers, thus setting up Part 6.  The Cult of Thorn cannot be ignored, no matter how much we try!  The End.
The fifth time is not the charm.  The plot of this movie is certainly decent, but never does enough to make itself seem special.  All of the elements are there, but it has no soul.  The big problem is that this is the second part of a story.  It only serves to continue what was already put in place before.  There's nothing wrong with connecting your films, in fact, I encourage it.  This film just can't stand on its own though.  Putting those complaints aside, there is some good tension and fresh batch of 'murder bait' on display.  I would love if they weren't so stock and predictable though.  Is it too much to ask for real people in a slasher film?  If you're a fan of the series, you'll like this movie.  If you aren't, it's pretty dry and predictable.  By the way, what happened to Loomis' scar between this film and Part 6?  People want to know!
Next up, I celebrate Halloween with not one, but two films.  The first one comes to us from Mexico via some cheap Subtitle work.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

(Better Left) Forgotten Sequels : Blair Witch 2- Book of Shadows

If you think I'm picking on Blair Witch now, just wait!  Within a year of the original film's surprise success, a sequel was made.  A lot of parallels could be made between this film series and the Paranormal Activity one.  I should have done that last year...and would have, if the film had been available to rent then.  Sure would have been nice, huh?  With a third film- a random prequel in the middle of the series- out now, this still works.  The film is an amazing mess, trying to blend reality and fantasy.  The problem- they can't commit.  They want to tease the idea of the film being real, but also want to avoid the potential lawsuits coming their way.  Confused?  You should be.  That feeling will not subside as we delve further into the Book of Shadows with...
See what I mean yet?  This movie is fiction?  Thanks a load!  Next you're going to tell me that Dan Rey didn't make a Time Paradox in Paranormal Activity 2 with a 'Release the Kraken' joke, despite the film being set in 2006!
Immediately following this, they show us real news- and talk show- footage about the Blair Witch film.  We're confusingly-Meta and the film is only in the opening few minutes!
Immediately following the film telling us that it's not real and then showing us real footage, we see an actor- Jeffrey Donovan- playing a 'real person' complaining about the film bringing people to town.  Confused as hell?  Now realize that this is intermixed with the MTV footage!
Now fully in the film, we see Jeffrey- the character's name too- leading The Blair Witch Hunt with a bunch of people, including a Wiccan, two authors and the world's most Goth chick.  She couldn't be more Goth if she was the lead singer in Turbulence 3!
The film randomly cuts back to the group- barring some people, which spoils the surprises- being interrogated about some crime.  Does this help push the narrative forward at all?
How about if they randomly cut back to it again?  That help?  No, still no.  It's just pretentious and annoying, you say?  True.
After a bender and the discovery that everything but their tapes were destroyed ,the group watches them.  Yes, you get to watch people watch videos.  I haven't been this excited since Jaws in Japan!
Nobody is quite sure who to trust...or what is going on.  Someone was apparently possessed by a Witch- presumably the title one- and did a ritual while the others danced around naked.  Of course, the Goth Girl is conveniently Edited around, since only the actress playing the Wiccan girl agreed to do nudity here.
As it turns out, our heroes killed a bunch of people while under the spell.  That was the random death they kept cutting to throughout the film.  When presented with the tapes, they see things differently- they're all killers.  Unless the tapes were faked...or they're crazy...or, um, magic.  The End.
Seriously, who thought that this was a good idea?!?  The plot of this film is a bigger mess than a giant baby's diaper!  The movie wants to have its cake, eat it too and then tell you that it never ate the cake.  Is the movie supposed to be real?  No.  Do they try to make you think it's real seconds later?  Yes.  Pick one!  On top of that, the movie is Edited to hell.  The film is presented out of order, constantly cutting to footage of either their interrogation, the deaths or anything else that they could think of.  This makes a simple plot incredibly hard to follow and even harder to care about.  It's a confusing mess- plain and simple.  Here's a fun fact for you: the word 'Book of Shadows' is never said once here, nor does the object appear.  When a film fails to get that simple thing right, was there ever hope for it?  Look what you did to poor Jeffrey Donovan, movie!
Next up, I go backwards further through the Halloween series.  This time, Michael Meyers wants revenge...for his constant murdering.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fan Service Time! : Freddy vs. Jason

There's no way that the hype could overshadow the actual film!  After years of hype and expectations, the film was finally made.  Back in the day, a film was planned that would pit Michael Meyers against Jason Voorhees.  Eventually, someone realized that neither character did anything other than kill people, so that was scrapped.  If you're going to keep Jason, you need someone with attitude and, you know, functional vocal chords.  That led to Freddy getting the nod, a move helped by New Line Cinema owning both character rights.  Even so, the film took years to get made, originally being planned in place of Friday the 13th, Part 7.  The film is notable for re-casting Jason Voorhees,- in lieu of a taller actor- getting Ronnie Yu as the Director and trying to tie the two characters together awkwardly.  Oh yeah, they also re-cast Jason's Mom- lame.  To see how this mess came together, read on...
Freddy Krueger has been gone for some years and his threat has been forgotten.  Remember when he had literally killed the town's teenage population in Part 6?  How does that fit in here?
If you don't know, Jason is used by Freddy to scare people.  His deaths were designed to make the police think of Freddy and, by extension, mention him off-hand near a teenager.  That's right- his plan hinges upon this random coincidence!

By the way, how does a guy being hacked to death make people think of Freddy Krueger?  Did he ever do that?!?
Random throwback to the Boiler Room- nice.  The whole scene being forcibly tinted red like it's Sin City- not so much.
Jason Voorhees angers Freddy by killing the above girl while she was in a dream.  Even worse, he stumbles throw a corn field while on fire.  That's how you escape a corn maze- stupid movie!
Freddy continues to make me question how his powers work and, to a serious extent, how his murders ever looked normal.  How do those scars appear from his dreams?  How was he talking to them if he was asleep?
BIG-LIPPED ALLIGATOR MOMENT: Freddy turns into a pot-smoking worm creature before taking over the stoner's body.  Holy Nightmare on Elm Street 2 reference, Batman!
Demon Freddy finally picks a fight with Jason for real, knocking Jason out with some drugs and kicking his ass in the dream world.  By the way, that whole plot point about a permanent, anti-sleep drug- entirely pointless.
Through some more contrivances and silliness, our heroes bring Freddy into the real world- how does that work and why can some people do it, bu not others?- and the fight goes more evenly.  Trailer shot!
After all is said and done, Jason kills real-life Freddy after our heroes are gone, but the head is still alive.  How?  Oh yeah, the Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash comic completely pisses away that continuity to, by the way!  The End.
Eat it, fans!  The plot of this movie is just too goofy and uneven for me.  These crossover films often fail when a silly explanation has to be given for why the characters must interact.  Freddy needs Jason to kill people on Elm Street to bring his name back to life- okay.  So Freddy was never really dead and could come back at any time?  Doesn't that kill the drama behind every film previously, including the last real film WHERE HE EXPLODED?!?  While it's true that Jason's mask was pulled into the ground by Freddy at the end of Jason Goes to Hell, he did come back in Jason X and proved that he could never really die.  Of course, he did die several times throughout the series, including that one time where he came back as a worm!  So much of the film feels like it was written years earlier, which is probably true.  Would it have killed you to match the continuity of Jason X at all though?  Yes, I do realize how silly that sounds.  We're talking about a film where Freddy Krueger turns into a pot-smoking, CG worm though!  The film has a lot of gore, but no soul or real drive to it.  It's a lame cash-in that people paid to see out of love for the characters.  That will show you!  Take us away, silly physics...
Up next, one of the biggest sequel debacles of all-time is here- a year after I meant to review it.  This review will also be based on a real-fake story.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lost in Translation: An American Werewolf in London (again!)

After last week's poster, there's no way that I can top it.  Well, except with this..
There's London, there's our heroes and- HOLY CRAP RED DEMON WOLF!!!  What?  Where?  When?  How?

Okay, I'm done now.  Honest.

Next up, I fooled you!  There's still one more of these pieces of random art!  Stay tuned...

Decology: Jason X

When in doubt, go to space!  After 9 films with Jason Voorhees (or his mother), the studio was just plain out of ideas.  'Screw it,' they said, 'Just shoot him into outer space!'  Thus the final, pre-remake Friday the 13th film was made (not counting tomorrow's film, obviously), was made.  The film takes some liberties with the franchise and, depending on who you ask, establishes the end of the character's timeline.  That gets screwed with a bit by Freddy vs. Jason and the 'Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash' comics, but whatever.  This film takes the character onto a spaceship, where more people are waiting to be led to the slaughter.  The film has a cult following among a lot of people, while a bigger majority just kind of ignores it.  Where do I stand?  To find out, read on...
Sometime in the near future, a government group prepares to freeze-dry Jason Voorhees since he can't die.  Hi, David Cronenberg!

By the way, how was he un-melted from Part 8 and un-in Hell from Part 9?!?
 Having escaped from his restraints...somehow, he kills everyone save for a lady scientist.  She manages to get him into Deep Freeze, but he stabs her...through the metal door and they are both frozen.
Hundreds of years later, Earth is unlivable and salvage crews take stuff from there- including Voorhees and the lady.  Hey, that ship front looks like Jason's mask- subtle!
Now on the ship, the woman is revived, as is Jason.  Will he break out and kill people?  Gee- I wonder.
Hey look- he does just that.  I would never have guessed.
Among the victims are two of the crew members, who get interrupted during their V.R. session.  I hope you like, indiscriminate death and murder.
Finally, someone- without psychic powers- stands up to Jason.  This time, it's the robot chick, packing some serious heat!
The invincible, relentless killer needs an upgrade, so he conveniently falls into a machine that mixes humans with robots, creating Jason 4.0!
As our desperate heroes try to escape, the killer nearly takes them out.  Thankfully, Heroic Black Guy pulls Jason away, causing him to fall to some planet to kill again...or not.  See you in Jason XI!  The End.
In space, nobody can hear this series tread water.  The plot of this movie takes some unique steps, but never strays too far from the path.  Hell, they still have a stoner character- in the future!  Other than a lot of window dressing- the ship for the lake area, the Security Officer for a Cop- the movie is pretty much the same.  Granted, the climax involving the ship crashing towards a planet is not in the other films.  The Producers did make sure to give the film a more humorous tone, which certainly either works or it doesn't.  On one hand, the dark humor has its moments.  On the other hand, it is puns based around people being killed violently!  Unlike the darker, more serious tone, this film plays it light, assuming that anyone that would see Jason X is probably not interested in a serious movie.  They may actually be right there.  Either way, this film is certainly interesting.  Suck on that, Friday the 13th, Part 5!  Take us away, random trip to Hell...
Up next, the crossover film that everyone was waiting for.  It can't be worse than Alien vs. Predator, can it?  Stay tuned...