Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quick Reviews: Valerie on the Stairs (Masters of Horror)

After a short break, let me return to the Showtime Show.  Once again, Mick Garris has decided that his work on Sleepwalkers makes him a 'Master of Horror'...
In this Episode/Movie, a House for Writers holds many strange secrets...
An unpublished Author moves into a House for unpublished Authors, since that is a thing.

Incidentally, this is a Clive Barker Story (originally), so is this how we should picture a young Barker?
He starts to see visions of a woman named Valerie, but she's not real...Is she?
She's being followed by a mysterious black creature.  What is the Story here?
Oh, it is a literal Story.

See what I did there?
Basically, three of the Residents made a Story and the energy in the Hotel made it come real...or something.  It is all just a bunch of silliness.

Ultimately, our Hero defeats the Monster and takes Valerie outside...where she evaporates.
As the Police show up (since three people died in like 20 minutes), we learn that our Hero isn't real either- he's just part of the Story.  The End.
Decent stuff, but nothing great.  I'm not going to pick on Mick Garris too much here, but this is nothing too remarkable.  To be clear, he has a Screenplay and Directing Credit here, so you shouldn't disconnect him too much from the final product.  The Story is decent enough, but hinges upon the twist of the Story.  If you don't buy it into, nothing really works.  It was so-so for me.  They made sure to explain plenty, but I'm still not sure how 'the energy of the Hotel' made the Story come to life.  I'm not going to pretend to be a full-on Novel Writer, but I can at least get behind the idea of Fantasy being affected by Reality.  I just didn't 'feel' the connection they were going for- if that makes any sense.  The basic concept of Valerie on the Stairs- interesting.  The execution- hit-or-miss.  There is some fun in trying to diagram what is and isn't commentary from the original Story by Barker about himself.  Is he Lloyd's Character- the one who wrote a 'bad' Novel and had it made into a 'worse' Film- or is he the new guy's?  Decide for yourself, I suppose.  I'm sorry, but Garris continues to give me more so-so Films in this Series than people like Argento, Dante or Carpenter.  Speaking of so-so, is anyone else getting a bit of a Wishmaster vibe from the creature (especially if you think of the gray version from 3 and 4)?
Eh, I've seen better and worse on this Series.  It still isn't good enough for me to not give Garris crap for calling himself a 'Master of Horror.'

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New Flix: Yoga Hosers

I've liked Kevin Smith Films since I was very young, but he doesn't always make it easy.  Case in point...
In Canada, two Teens (Kevin Smith's Daughter and Johnny Depp's Daughter, right to left) are wannabe Singers and Convenience Store Workers.
Meanwhile, random people are being killed by...something.
Even though they are minor Celebrities (due to Tusk), they still live with their Parents.  In this case, quite literally...
One night, they are stuck at work when the strange menace from earlier rears its...odd head.

Was this really worth shaving your beard off, Kevin?  Was it really?
It all has to do with Canadian Nazis...led by the kid from A.I.  In present day, they are Sausage Men.
Can our Heroes (teamed up with Depp, for no good reason) win the day?  Can they do it without their phones?  To find out, watch the Film.
I wanted to like it.  Kevin Smith has always had an odd and quirky sense of Humor.  Not to make him feel old, but I grew up watching his stuff.  Seeing Clerks as a Teenager is still a strong memory, as is sticking with his later works like Mallrats and Dogma.  Despite all of the outside stuff that affected, Jersey Girl is still a pretty good Film, as is Zack and Miri Make a Porno.  I like stuff like Clerks 2 and Red State too, even if I'm kind of torn on Tusk and his part in Holidays.  The problem with Yoga Hosers as it feels like an odd vanity project and isn't quite good enough to overcome that.  The whole thing is a family affair- since it features him, his wife, his Daughter, Depp, Depp's ex-Wife, Depp's Daughter and Jason Mewes- and that sure is nice.  Like with Tusk, this is a mix of Horror and really-dumb Comedy.  There are good moments of both.  In the Film's defense, it is less jarring in how it handles the Horror elements.  The problem- it is all just so damn silly.  Relentlessly-silly at that!  I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't laugh all that much.  You can do better than this.  So who did she spawn to get a Speaking Role in this Film?
Not the death of Comedy as many people have called it...but not particularly-good either.  I know that you can do better, Kevin.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Honest DVD Cover Art: Hackers (1995)

Hackers is a Film that many people know, although most just know it ironically at this point.

Ha ha ha- their stuff is old compared to ours!

In any event, it has had numerous variations on the Cover over the years.  In lieu of some crazy Ghanese one, here is one that is honest...although in a different way...
Look at the disparity in size!

While he still gets first billing, Miller is a much smaller focus of this Poster.  In contrast, most Cover Art is the pair together or occasionally with the group.

This one was just 'F--k it, she's more famous.'

Honesty is rare, so let us applaud it.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

TV on the Internet: Ash vs Evil Dead- 'Ashy Slashy'

As Ash and company try to save the World, I try to keep up.  Before the next Episode, catch up with me now...
With Ash in the clutches of evil, his, his companions show up to rescue him.
Familiar faces keep popping up as the mystery of last Episode is illuminated- pun fully intended.
They don't find Ash too easily, but there are definitely signs of him around...
Unfortunately, when he does show up, he seems far too gone to help.  If anything, it is the opposite!
Oh and the Puppet is back.  The Internet will surely be happy.
With Pablo as the key to victory, can our Heroes survive and stop Evil in its tracks?
Good, good stuff.  This one was definitely the climax of the Story this Season.  Ash goes full-on crazy.  Ba'al is the master manipulator.  Pedro steps up as the confident Hero.  Kelly gets her face shoved in piss.  Okay, maybe not that last part, although that does happen.  They go all out this Episode with the big moments.  Everyone may not be happy with what all happens here, but that is just how this show works.  I'm still a bit disappointed that Amanda didn't make it out of last Season, but I'm mostly over it.  The Show generally has their reasons for who lives and who dies here.  I obviously won't SPOIL this any more than the Internet has.  On the plus side, Deadite Ashy Slashy is both adorable and evil.  All in all, this one goes big and nails it.  Can the Show nail the landing?  It was a bit shaky last Season, so we'll see.  In lieu of 'human' blood, here is Ash's face covered in something similar...
Next time, in the wake of the many deaths this Season, Ash does something stupid.  Can he top last year's bad choice?  See you then.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

VHS For the Win: Blood Freak

This Holiday is all about meeting up with Family and Friends that you don't see much of the rest of the year.  In that spirit, here is the first VHS For the Win since August (and one of only three since 2014!).

Ah, Blood Freak.  You sucked.

While I reviewed you long ago, I somehow *didn't* mention your intentionally-misleading VHS Box Art (as far as I can tell).

In a nutshell, someone realized that you wouldn't sell honestly, as the 'Ironic Horror Community' wasn't in full force at the time.  As such, you got this...
What in the what?!?

To be fair, the Box does kind of relate the Plot of the Film, but omits some key parts like 'giant Turkey head' and 'Christian Morality Tale.'

Plus, 'A Dracula on Drugs'- who came up with that Tagline?!?

Holiday Flix: Jive Turkey

I've avoided Thankskilling for another year.  The trend continues!  Today's Film is Jive Turkey, a 1974 Blaxploitation Film that I've apparently owned for years.  It is part of a 50 Film Drive-In Collection whose most notable Films include Invasion of the Bee Girls, The Werewolf vs The Vampire Woman and The Guy From Harlem.  It also has some random ones like the U.S. Cut of Tenebre (as Unsane), Night Train to Terror and Savage Journey- the tale of the Mormons traveling to Utah.  Yes, the same set with Voodoo Black Exorcist and Black Hooker has the tale of the Mormons.  You're oh so random, Movie Set!  So how festive is this Film?  It is a Pun- get over it!  The Film is oddly-presented as an Historical Tale- go figure.  It is all about Crime in the Ghetto and how a guy from F-Troop is an evil Mobster.  Let's just get this over with, alright?
Just to get this out of the way: the Film is set in 1956 for no apparent reason.  It is not a real Historical Tale as far as I can tell, plus they say this...
All good?  Okay.

So The Blues Brothers shoot some people as war wages between Numbers Men in the Black Community and the Mobsters in the same area.
During an intentionally-hilarious montage, we see the lead guy going around and pulling money out of all sorts of places.

What are the odds that nobody else finds this?  Oh and I'm still not entirely sure what he even does!
We get a Focal Point Character in the form of some guy who looks alot like Billy Dee Williams, but mostly just focus on random bits as the Film literally starts to melt.
Oh and this lady shows up.  Still less random than a Scene involving Della Reese arguing about Racism at a Deli that they added to Psychic Killer though.
Oh look- our Focal Point Character is dead.  How ever will I care?

Seriously, this Film gave us a Transvestite cutting a Mobster's throat in the first 20 minutes.  Where did it have to go from there?
The two Bosses finally meet up (as our Special Guest Star is back!) and F-Troop Guy is killed.
In the aftermath, this other guy is killed while someone nearby laughs.  The (Dead) End.
Was it worth the pun?  Well, I didn't watch Thankskilling or Free Birds, so yes.  Other than that, it is pretty forgettable.  The Acting is pretty amateurish, but never quite bad enough to be funny.  The production values are pretty low.  The whole thing looks and feels cheap.  The whole thing is very dated.  If you love this kind of 70s stuff, it has *some* moments to make you laugh, but is pretty forgettable.  It needed more Dolemite- clearly!  On the plus side, I get to point out how this kid has a Hat from the future.  After all, the Dodgers didn't come to Los Angeles until 1958.  It is either that or this Movie didn't give a crap.  Take your pick, I guess.
Seriously, give thanks for all the good Thanksgiving Films you can watch but Pocahauntus.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

TV on the Internet: Ash vs Evil Dead- 'Delusion'

Why not get a little less behind this time and go early?  I can't see why not, voices in my head.
Ash is suddenly in an Institution.  What in the what?!?
Who is this weird guy and who is the one holding the adorable Puppet?

More importantly, how long until Bruce Campbell starts signing these at Conventions?
Is Ash really crazy?  Is that Puppet going to be the voice of reason?
With his world unraveling around him, even Ash's friends seem to have gone crazy.
Can Ash escape this place with his sanity or is it about 20 years too late for that?
Signs point to 'No.'  To find out, watch the Show.
Crazy fun.  This Episode is an interesting departure, as it takes you away from where you've been for quite a while.  The whole thing is designed to make you question reality in the same way that Ash is.  Was he just crazy all these years?  Was any of this Evil even real?  They really commit in this one, whereas other Shows might half-ass this.  They don't cross-cut between other people- it is all Ash.  There is no exit.  There is no escape.  Kudos to all involved for really nailing the look and feel of this location.  It looks like a place that you don't want to be.  All in all, this Episode is an odd one, but a good one.  Even in the 2nd Season, they still know how to mix things up- nice.  Since this one goes Old School, I might as well give you an Old School shot of Ash's face coated in blood...
Next time, things get even crazier as more people get dragged in.  Will anyone escape with their sanity?  See you then....

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Quick Reviews: Red State (2011)

Far be it from me to talk about Politics here, but it is kind of hard not to say anything when you're talking about...
In a small Town, three Teens are lured to a stranger's RV for some random sex.  What could go wrong?
Right-Wing Christians!

Oh and they're also crazy, hate-mongering psychos that will kill you for being Gay...or whatever they don't like.
These crazies kidnap the Teens and some random guy to kill them.  They don't seem neighborly.
Can our Teens make it out alive and preferably with some of those hilariously-silly Jack Chick Pamphlets?
Can this group of crazies survive the inevitable siege by the ATF?  Will they ever meet a Black guy?
No matter what happens, it won't be pretty.  Since this is a Kevin Smith, it sure will be weird though.

To find out, watch the Film.  The End.
Deeper and more dramatic than you might think.  Kevin Smith is not known for his dark, serious Dramas.  Yes, he has dealt with some Drama in Films like Jersey Girl and Clerks 2.  In this case, he does so much more emphatically.  Red State is definitely not your usual Kevin Smith Film.  He has crazy Characters and bizarre situations, but it is always grounded in the dark reality of Religious Extremism.  Is it controversial to say that a bunch of people on a Compound that set-up, kidnap and kill Teenagers are a bunch of psychos?  I didn't think so.  To be fair, State actually gives both sides of the issues a chance to say their peace.  The crazy Preacher is still crazy, but parts of what he says are what people still say today.  The ATF Agent driven to kill them because of his orders is kind of bad here, but you can also see his point of view.  You also get some Viewpoint Characters for other facets of the Story- neat.   The Film doesn't completely-villainize either side, which is nice.  One side is a bunch of murderers, while the other is...the Cult?  Seeing how much more interesting this one was than I expected makes me sad to hear how bad Yoga Hosers apparently is.  I'll leave you with a glimpse of how your average Texan sees themselves on any given day...
Considering his strange, recent work, it is neat to see something like this from Kevin Smith.  It sure won't be for everyone, especially if you are easily-offended.