Friday, November 23, 2007

Audition (1999)

Director: Takashi Miike

Starring: Ryo Ishibashi, Asami Yamazaki

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: She always gets a part

Plot: A lonely Japanese widower whose son is planning to move out of the house soon expresses his sadness to a friend and fellow film producer, who becomes inspired to hold an audition for a non-existent film so that the widower can select a new potential bride from the resulting audition pool. The widower ultimately becomes enamored with and fascinated by one particular young woman...but first impressions can often be horribly wrong....

My Rating: 7/10
Would I watch it again? Yes

My only previous encounters with Takashi Miike's films are with ICHI THE KILLER and BATTLE ROYALE. Both are violent, cool as hell and 20 minutes too long. AUDITION is different. It's 20 minutes too long, violent and cool as hell - in that order.

The film starts out nice and easy and plays very much like a romantic drama. It's probably about 45 minutes (of the nearly 2 hour running time) into it that the tone changes from "meh" to "uh-oh", 15 minutes later to "I'm going to can" and another 30 minutes later to "Where the hell did this come from?". The audition itself is played for laughs and it's a lot of fun. After that you're in it for the long haul. The courting of the widower and the young girl is nothing special and is surprisingly drab but it's knowing the audition was a scam and wondering how it's all going to pan out that keeps you going. Once we start to discover there's more to this girl than we're let on that I perked up a bit.

Yawn. There's lots of flashbacks to the girl's abused past and, I think, some flash forwards. After a while I started asking myself, "WTF?". Patience. Did you watch the trailer? Notice something in the sack by the phone? Cool, huh? Now we're getting into torture/horror territory. The fun begins....NOW!


This chick's got some serious issues. It turns out that she hates/distrusts men because of her sexually abusive uncle or something. She doesn't trust her new found boyfriend because she believes he's doing to many other girls (who auditioned) what he's doing with her (you know, sex). So she's got to make him depend on her since she can't seem to depend on him.

So what would you do? You'd do what any fucked-up Japanese broad with issues would do and that's slip a little something in his drink to make him immobile yet still able to feel pain. Then you'd put on a leather butcher's apron (cause there's going to be lots of blood and you don't want to muss up your pretty dress you wore especially for the occasion), remove a bundle of 5-inch long acupuncture needles from your leather bag of goodies and proceed to put them into his abdomen. But you wouldn't stop there. Nope. You'd push them in a good inch or two. He's been asking for it and he needs to hurt. Still with me? Of course you are. You've done this before. THEN after you've put a dozen or so into his gut you sit on top of him and work those needles around and around. Ah, to be in love again...and let's not forget to put a few directly below his eyeballs.

But wait, eventually the anesthetic or whatever will wear off. What to do then? Cut off his feet, naturally. But not with a boring old saw. Nope. We're using piano wire with handles on both ends to get that see-saw action going on. It's like a Three Stooges sketch but without the blood, numb guy full of needles, and crazy Japanese broad going to town on some guy's foot so she can use it as an umbrella stand. Pleased with herself, she starts on foot number 2 but doesn't get too far when his son comes home earlier than expected. She darts around the corner after pulling a mace sprayer out of that bag of goodies. The son opens the door, seeing his footless pin cushion father lying on the floor and says with a straight face, not shit, "Are you OK?"!?!

Psycho bitch chases his ass up the stairs and starts spraying the kid like a dog in heat. Sonny, with the full force of both legs, kicks her down the stairs so hard she doesn't even come close to touching anything but air until she hits the floor in the doorway to where pin cushion pops is lying. Is she dead or is it his imagination that allows him to keep her alive as he talks to her? I just don't know. I'll need the Cliff Notes to find out. I'm on my way to Barnes & Noble right now.


OK, so if you didn't read the spoilers you'll probably not want to watch this which is too bad. If you did then it's on, huh? Half way through I had no idea that I would end up liking this movie. If only Steel Magnolias had an ending like this I may have actually enjoyed it. The ending is so out of left field and caught me so off guard that I'll definitely watch this one again; possibly with friends if I could convince any of them to endure what I did the first time through. It might work if I promised to make sushi and wear a geisha outfit.

Payback (1999) & Payback: Straight Up - The Director's Cut (2006)

Director: Brian Helgeland

Staring: Mel Gibson, Maria Bello, William Devane, James Coburn

More Info: (Director's Cut) IMDB
More Info: (Theatrical Cut) IMDB

Tagline: He's back with a vengeance.

Plot: Val Resnick and Porter, two small time bandits, hit a Chinese gang together and manage to get $140,000. But Val Resnick needs 130 grand alone to buy himself back into his syndication. So, Val turns on Porter together with Porter's wife Lynn, who kills him with two shots in the back. But Porter survives and half a year later, he is back, seeking his share of $70,000. When he finally finds Val, Porter quickly learns that he has to go much further up the ladder in order to get his money from the guys who have it: The syndication.

My Rating: Theatrical cut: 8/10 Director's Cut: 9/10

Over the past few years I have seen the Theatrical Cut (TC) probably 4 or 5 times. I've always thoroughly enjoyed the sheer badassness of Gibson (Porter), the blue tint of the film, the double crosses, crooked cops, classy mob bosses, revenge revenge revenge, and the single-mindedness of Porter wanting only what's owed to him and nothing more. I've been quite satisfied.


Gibson is great. The first mob boss he comes to is played with absolute delight by William Devane. What a set of choppers that man has and he flashes them like Pamela Anderson flashing her boobs. He's clearly having a blast in that roll. And then there's THE MAN, James Coburn who delivers my favorite line. After his expensive luggage is shot full of holes by Gibson, Coburn turns back to look at him and says, "Man, that's just mean!" Funny as hell with the delivery. Classic. This movie's full of badasses.



I had heard for years that there was trouble between the director and the studio when it came to the ending. The TC ends nicely with total revenge and with Gibson & the girl (and dog) getting away with the money. Until I saw the new DC that didn't matter too much too me because I really like the TC to begin with. Boy was I surprised when I watched the DC. WOW! Helgeland's cut tightens up the story considerably leaving out some misc plot threads. His blue tint is still there but not as much so. It's an improvement. I never realised the blue tint of the TC could have been improved upon until now. Nice. Very nice. The DC includes the top boss voiced by Sally Kellerman. We never see her; only hear her on the phone. The TC replaced that with filmed scenes with Kris Kristopherson and an additional plot thread involving his son. I dug that plot point. I wasn't cool with seeing it cut from the DC but I REALLY like what Helgeland did instead. And then there's the ending. The last 20 minutes or so of the DC were never used in the TC and it involves a big showdown finale at a train station. Gibson is pretty much dead or close to it at the end when his girl shows up. That leaves some ambiguity as to whether or not he dies. I like the bleak ending but then again, I like Porter way too much to let him go. I REALLY wanted him to win. But then again, I'm always bitching about all the damn happy endings in movies that I shouldn't complain.



Overall, I like the DC better. It's tighter and it delivers the goods. I also like the TC and I'm glad that we have the choice to see both. It's a very interesting experiment to watch the DC first and then the TC and fast forwarding through the bits the two films share. You're likely to find the DC a better film at the same time appreciating what the TC has to contribute.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Charley Varrick (1973)

Director: Don Siegel

Starring: Walter Matthau, Joe Don Baker, John Vernon

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: When he runs out of dumb luck he always has genius to fall back on!

Plot: Charley Varrick and his friends rob a small town bank. Expecting a small sum to divide amongst themselves, they are surprised to discover a very large amount of money. Quickly figuring out that the money belongs to the mob, they must now come up with a plan to throw the mob off their trail.

My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Oh, yeah.

Seeing Matthau as a bad guy, albeit a bad guy that you're rootin' for, is awesome. He plays it cool and smart. He's always one step in front of the law, the mob and the hit man. Hell, he even gets the ladies just like James Bond does. Nice.

I just don't see anything wrong with this movie. It's a great, fun ride. There's plenty of suspense and action. Lots of dark humor and lots of great actors chewing it up and spitting it out. I've never seen Matthau turn in anything short of a marvelous performance in anything. It's just icing on the cake in this picture having him as the bad guy. Then there's John "Double Secret Probation" Vernon. He's always fun and there's a piece of dialogue that stands out. When he's explaining to the bank manager about the consequences of the bank heist and what the mob will do he says, "You know what kind of people they [the mafia] are. They'll strip you naked and go to work on you with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch." Sound familiar? Quentin Tarantino used part of that line in PULP FICTION. Classic.

"I just don't know which girl I want..."

And finally Joe Don Baker is hysterical as the tough-as-nails mob-hired assassin. He just doesn't fuck around. There's one scene in particular where he pops this woman, whom he JUST met, in the chops, after a couple of beats she knows the score, smiles and he closes the door to her bedroom and bangs her. WTF?

"Here, Baker is about to go apeshit on a crippled old man - that's just cool."

It's got a great ending that will leave you very satisfied. I'd be surprised if you've heard of this much less actually seen it. It's out on DVD but it's full frame. I got my copy from Turner Classic Movies a couple of years back in widescreen format. Seek it out. You'll be glad you did. It's worth the search.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)

Dir: John Hough

Starring: Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, Vic Morrow

More Info: IMDB


Plot: Mary and Larry are two lovers who, with Larry's ace mechanic, rob a grocery store and flee the police with hopes of making the professional racing circuit. They are chased over hill, over vale by the cops, who deploy everything from a 426 Hemi to a helicopter to stop Larry's Dodge Charger culminating in a memorable ending.

My Rating: 4/10
Would I watch it again? No

The hype about this movie in the Mondo Movie world I live in HUGE. It's been referenced in films and talked about with fanboy glee so when I finally saw it I couldn't believe my eyes. This movie is an assault on your senses and intelligence.

I've got no problem checking my brains at the door when I go to see certain films. I expected a fun 1970's-era, gear-head, car-chasing, rednexploitation film. What I got was a complete waste of time at the expense of Peter Fonda and Susan George getting their kicks and collecting a paycheck.

The first thing you're going to notice is how much Fonda and George look and sound like a couple of childish idiot low-lifes. You'd probably tell me that that's the point. I can accept that to a degree but the words that come out of their mouths are absolutely some of the worst, if not THE worst, dialogue I've ever heard before. I expect that in some piece of shit B-movie where there's no talent or money involved but with this? I watched a little bit of the interviews after the movie and they WERE PROUD to have improvised this drivel. Unbelievable. Fucking unbelievable.

"Can you spot the REAL actor? It ain't the mongoloid on the left or the skank in the center."

So what worked? SOME of the car chases (although I was STUNNED at how mediocre they were), Vic Morrow over-acting his obviously drunk-ass self in just about every scene he's in, the "third wheel", so-to-speak, actor riding along with Fonda and George - Adam Roarke. Compared to F&G he's Brando. He knows how to play his part. He underplays it. He'd have to compared to the coloring book performances from F&G. And while I'm at it, this is the first time I've seen Susan George and if I never see her in a film again I'll be that much better for it. She's terrible and she's hideous! I'd like to think this is her worst performance but even at that it's a looooong road for her to get to a mediocre one. Woof.

"Ugly Mary"

I gave this film a 4 out of 10, 1 for Roarke and 3 for the coolest fucking ending EVER! It's like a bitch-slap the morning after. It will sober your ass up and fast. I really think that without the film's ending the movie would barely be a blink in any of these film maker's careers. I can't say enough of the ending. It's stunning. BUT it's certainly not worth watching everything else just to get to it. If you watch the last 20 minutes then you will see a pretty decent movie IF that's all you watch. The actors start taking things seriously at that point when the heat is really on so the silliness is almost non-existent. The rest of the movie is absolute crap. If I watch any of this again it will be the final 20 minutes. Skip the empty main course and go straight for desert.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Dir: Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez

Starring: Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Everything you've heard is true.

Plot: Three film students travel to Maryland to make a student film about a local urban legend... The Blair Witch. The three went into the woods on a two day hike to find the Blair Witch, and never came back. One year later, the students film and video was found in the woods. The footage was compiled and made into a movie.

My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Yep

If you haven't seen this I HIGHLY recommend that you watch the documentary on the DVD first. I also recommend that you do not read any further.

Here be spoilers...

When I first saw this I had only heard that the film was a fake documentary and that's it. I wish that I hadn't known that because it would have only heightened the creepyness of the whole thing. I still dug it and upon watching it recently, the things that creeped me out then creep me out now.

I give this film high marks for the unique method of storytelling and film making as well as the few genuine scares it gives me. It dares to be different and it succeeds. I really liked the fact that you don't see the "threat" that is presented to these kids. You hear strange noises in the night which is FAR more effective than seeing what's causing them. For me, that works. The ending inside the house is creepy as hell as well and for the same reason. We are seeing only what the actors are seeing and then eventually what the camera sees after the filmmaker is killed/knocked unconscious. My imagination is far more affected than what I see. If only more horror films would ask more of our imaginations...

There wasn't much that I didn't like, really. Heather is an annoying, bossy bitch for much of the film and she does it so well you don't know if it's the actor or the character. I can only speculate. She also does a great job of projecting fear once the shit starts to go down in the last half hour. It feels genuine and from what I've heard about how it was filmed it is genuine. And the other two actors did a fine job as well. It's really surprising to see that none of them have acted in films much since this came out 8 years ago.

Knowing what I know from the first viewing I was really surprised that it creeped me out a second time. I don't scare/creep-out easily. It really takes a lot to move me in that direction so I always welcome the challenge and appreciate that much more any film that can do that to me.

The Last Boy Scout (1991)

Dir: Tony Scott

Starring: Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Taylor Negron, Halle Berry

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: The goal is to survive.

Plot: A down and out cynical detective teams up with a down and out ex-quarterback to try and solve a murder case involving a pro football team and a politician.

My Rating: 8/10
Would I watch it again? You bet your sweet ass, Sweetheart.

Man, this movie is a total gas from start to finish. It's a completely check-your-brains-at-the-door-and-just-go-along-for-the-ride kind of movie. Bruce Willis is probably the best actor to portray a down-and-out detective ever. He's certainly one of the best at being able to take a beating. He gets a few of those, too. Willis gets LOTS of corny one-liners and just about all of them work as long as you take this film for what it is - an over-the-top action comedy. Wayans is funny, sure, but when he spits out the one-liners it's pretty much hit and miss.

There are very few "eye rolling" moments that usually accompany these types of films. Most of them belong to the kid that plays Willis' daughter. At first I wanted her character to pack her bags and head on over to Ted Bundy's place but eventually she does provide a key roll in Willis' escape from the bad guys. Ooh, and the bad guys...Taylor Negron is GREAT as the enforcer to the big cheese.

"I told you if you touched me again I'd kill you."

I almost forgot about Halle Berry. She sucks so bad in this it hurts. I've never been that fond of her acting to begin with. She was good in MONSTERS BALL but not THAT good. Anyway, the suffering of her poor acting didn't last long, thankfully. Woof.

Director Tony Scott once again delivers the goods with another roller coaster ride of an action film. And, as Scott's pictures go, it looks great. It'll keep a grin on your face from Willis' entrance all the way to the last line. Surf's up.

Man Bites Dog (1992)

Dir: Remy Belvaux & Andre Bonzel

Starring: Benoit Poelvoorde and a crap-load of French

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: A Killer Comedy

Plot: A camera crew follows a serial killer/thief around as he exercises his craft. He expounds on art, music, nature, society, and life as he offs mailmen, pensioners, and random people. Slowly he begins involving the camera crew in his activities, and they begin wondering if what they're doing is such a good idea, particularly when the killer kills a rival and the rival's brother sends a threatening letter.

My Rating: 9/10
Would I watch it again? HELL, YES!

WOW! Why haven't I seen this before? This was amazing; an IN-YOUR-FACE foray into violence and extremely dark humor. I'd heard about this practically since it came out but never got around to it until now. Stunning.

The black & white photography is magnificently stark and cold. The film plays much like a reality TV show insomuch as a three-man camera crew follows this average dorky-looking guy around as he steals and kills. The Killer, Ben, mugs for the camera at every turn and he really sees himself as something of a celebrity. He "plays" to the camera never forgetting that it's all about him. The deaths are brutal. Ben kills without conscience and with a smile.

"Granny Snuff, ever been snuffed out?"

This film is a sucker punch to the gut if you're not prepared for it. With all the crazy and sick shit in films I've seen I'm always pleasantly surprised when something knocks me off my rocker. I watched it with a couple of friends and we were all fucking side blinded by this film. It's amazing. It's beautiful. It's horrific. It's hysterical. It's brutal and it is absolutely worth your time if you've read this far.

True Romance (1993)

Dir: Tony Scott

Starring: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Stealing, Cheating, Killing. Who said romance is dead?

Plot: Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it.

My Rating: 8/10
Would I watch it again? Yup.

I watched this once before probably 12 years ago and I really only remembered one thing: Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken, who all turn in great performances, are in it all too briefly. Make that two things. I can't stand Christian Slater.

12 years later...I still feel the same way except Slater really wasn't too bad in this. For the most part he does a pretty good job. I'm still not a fan of his by any stretch but this movie seems more watchable now then it did then. For me anyway.

If you haven't seen this flick then do so. The cast of names is gigantic. It's great seeing Pitt as a stoner and Gandolfini as a mob enforcer (he's soooo thin) and pretty much everyone else in the picture. Except for Michael Rapaport. I still can't stand guy. He's too much of a spaz. Arquette is surprisingly good, too. Besides, she's pretty easy on the eyes. Director Scott has a nice use of slow motion when Arquette, dressed in a bra, is firing a machine gun. Giggidy!

It's written by Quentin Tarantino and it shows in some spots which is not a bad thing. His characters are very unique and defined and the dialogue is always a star all by itself. There's a now-classic scene where Hopper is being interrogated/beaten by Walken where Hopper tells Walken (of Sicilian ancestry) where Sicilians were bred from. Hysterical and wonderfully acted by everyone involved. And, like all of the Tony Scott pictures I've seen so far, it moves along at a pretty good clip insuring that you don't stay in one place for too long and die of boredom. There's even a great Mexican Standoff at the end that Sam Peckinpah would've been proud of.

It's a fun ride and the 2-disc special edition looks great and had a ton of features including several commentaries with one by Tarantino. I'm looking forward to that one as long as he doesn't spaz out like he usually does. O-Kayyy. O-Kayyy.

Rolling Thunder (1977)

Dir: John Flynn

Starring: William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, James Best

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Major Charles Rane Is Coming Home To War!

Plot: Major Charles Rane (Devane) comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a war hero. Some greedy thugs decide that they want to steal a number of silver dollars from him. In the process they also manage to kill his wife and son and destroy his hand. The Major wants revenge so he enlists the help of his war buddy Johnny (Jones) to meet the thugs in a final showdown.

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Yes

#3 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 2: The Deuce (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Next to westerns my favorite genre film is probably the "Revenge" picture. It's probably because of all the ass-kicking that usually accompanies them. You've got an easily identifiable motive and lots of great violence. The cool thing is that the set-ups to these types of films can often be just as fun as the pursuit/death of the victims.

Devane (as Major Charles Rane) is terrific in this. His Friend, played by Tommy Lee Jones, is great, too. He doesn't say much...he doesn't have to. Devane returns home after being a POW for 8 years in Vietnam. His wife is bangin' one of his best friends and his son, now 8, was just a baby when he went off to war. Devane keeps his cool. He loves his son. His wife? Well, he couldn't give two shits about her. In fact, after the murder of his wife and son he only mentions his son from that point on. The wife never figures into it. COOL!

James Best (Roscoe from THE DUKES OF HAZZARD)(as Texan) plays the main bad guy who steals from Devane. He's just put Charlie's hand in the garbage disposal (and later while recovering in the hospital he gets fitted for a hook!!! We're definitely into badass territory here)and he's got Charlie and his family hostage. He's trying to get Charlie to tell him where the money is when we get treated to this gem of dialogue:

Charlie's Wife: Charlie. why didn't you tell them?
Texan: I'll tell you why, lady. 'Cause he's one macho motherfucker.

Sweet. It sounds corny, and it is, but it's great in the context of the scene with the actors. Great stuff. Just before

Then later, just before the ass-kicking starts, there's a great and understated scene between Charlie (Devane) and Johnny (Jones):

Charlie: I found them.
Johnny: Who?
Charlie: the men who killed my son.
Johnny: I'll just get my gear.
Charlie: They're in a whorehouse over in Juarez right now. there's the four that came into my home and there's 8 or 10 others.
Johnny: Let's go clean 'em up.

Cue up the testosterone.

The final vengeance scene lasts just a few short minutes and it's satisfying. I was sort of left feeling a little let down by the hype on this one. It's not a truly great film but it's certainly a lot of fun and it's definitely going to be watched again at some point. It's also really neat seeing Jones looking so young and Devane kicking some ass. One of my favorites is in it briefly, Dabney Coleman. A beautiful (though not traditionally) actress, Linda Haynes, pulls out a great job as Charlie's love interest, Linda Forchet. She's terrific, down-to-Earth, smart, and down-right HOT! It's too bad she's only been in 9 films. Outstanding.

Friday, November 9, 2007

It's Alive (1974)

Dir: Larry Cohen

Starring: John P. Ryan, Sharon Farrell, Guy Stockwell

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Whatever It Is. It's Alive and Deadly.

Plot: The Davies are expecting a baby which turns out to be a monster with the nasty habit to kill when it's scared. And it's easily scared...

My Rating: 6.5/10

Would I watch it again? Sure, especially with the director's commentary

#195 on Drive-In Delirium Volume 2 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Bernard Herrmann is my favorite film composer. Period. There's a long list of favorites but he's at the top. His musical voice is unlike any other. It's rich, inventive and daring. This is they guy who's first score was for CITIZEN KANE (1941) and later went on to do Alfred Hitchcock's best work including the amazing PSYCHO (1960). In the mid-60s he had a falling out with Hitch and Hollywood in general. He largely scored European movies for the next few years until the early to mid 1970s when he was re-discovered by young, up-and-coming filmmakers here in the U.S.. Independant film makers wanted his talent in a way he hadn't seen in years. So what you have here one of the best film composers EVER signing on to do low budget films, largely horror. He was a master at taking a very limited orchestra and turning it into something much larger and much better than the film it accompanied. Herrmann had just two more scores in him, OBSESSION and TAXI DRIVER (both of which are outstanding scores). Herrmann died hours after recording the final cues for TAXI DRIVER on December 24, 1976.

I was surprised to find that IT'S ALIVE is a pretty good film. It doesn't look as low-budget as it should. I suppose credit goes to Cohen on that one. The performances are fine and nobody really drops the acting ball. Ryan, who plays the titular character's father, is wonderful in the beginning prior to the birth if IT but after that he seems to be overdoing it a bit. The plot point about IT trying to find its way home via the school that ITs' brother goes to is over the top BUT the scene/deaths at the school are fun and carry a good deal of suspense with it so I can overlook all of that. Guy Stockwell does an awesome job as John's boss who has to let him go from the PR firm John works for because of the negative publicity generated by his new kill-happy son (IT).

As for IT, IT's great. Having a killer freak-show baby crawling around killing everything in sight is super-cool. Go IT! There's a nice turn in the story with IT and the father towards the end. I saw it coming but it's still cool. And, naturally, there's a set-up for a sequel but, even though it's a cheap way to do it, it doesn't happen the way you'd expect. Nice.

I'm sure the two sequels it spawned (bwahahaha) get worse with each one but I'll eventually check them out.

And what about Herrmann's music? It's great. It's different. It's out-there. It's Bernard Herrmann and that's why I like him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Vampyres (1974)

Dir: Jose Ramon Larraz

Starring: Marianne Morris, Anulka Dzibinska, Murray Brown, and lots of other people you've never heard of

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: They shared the pleasures of the flesh, and the horrors of the grave!

Plot: A lesbian vampire couple waylay and abduct various passers-by, both male and female, to hold them captive at their rural manor in the English countryside in order to kill and feed on them to satisfy their insatiable thirst for blood.

View trailer: IMDB

My Rating: 7
Would I watch it again? Giggidy Giggidy Giggidy Goo! (Yes)

#49 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Did you read the plot? Let me ask you again. Did you read the plot? How bad can this be? It's not and that's a real shocker, I know. I really dug this flick. The acting was good, the pacing was great considering a film like this can easily drag on forever. The nudity was tasteful. Bwahahahahahahaha. Get it? Tasteful? It's a vampire movie. Hahahaha. But seriously, these vampire broads were smokin'. What could be better than that? They get off'd in the first minute of the movie while doing naughty things in bed! When a movie starts off like that you know you're in for a treat.

I know what you're thinking. But, DAMN, did you read the plot? Sex and vampires go together so well and this movie's got it in spades. There's more than enough kills to satisfy my taste and the sex isn't gratuitous - it's nicely done. The ending was great but a little vague. I had to watch the last minutes with the commentary on to see if I was on the right track. I wasn't but now I know. Those Europeans and their cryptic endings. Geez. It can be a little slow but it's very satisfying.

I've got the Blue Underground DVD release of this film and it's outstanding. Lots of extras including a commentary track with the director and producer, interview with the two female leads AND THEY STILL LOOK HOT after more than 30 years (!), and trailers et al.

Still not convinced that you NEED to see this movie? Did you read the plot?

The Host (2006)

Dir: Joon-ho Bong

Starring: Koreans, South Koreans that is

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: It is Lurking Behind You

Plot: A monster emerges from Seoul's Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people.

My Rating: 6
Would I watch it again? No

What's that? A South Korean monster flick? I'm on it. Well, I was at first. The set-up is good and it doesn't take too too long before the monster shows up. AND WHAT A MONSTER!!! This guy is amazing. The filmmakers did a fantastic job in creating something that feels new and fresh. It's killing people and fast! Huge body count. Nice. What's not to like?

Most of the time the monster isn't on screen, that's what. It's just that the scenes with the monster are sooooooo friggin' cool that the actor's are just filler (and lunch) whenever the monster's not there. I'm cool with that to a degree. It's necessary but the movie clocks one minute shy of 2 hours! That's my biggest issue and the reason I can't give it a better score. I watched it with friends and we were all diggin' it but quickly got figgity after 15 minutes of "no monster" and way too much talking with little movement.

It's fun. I liked it but there were two or three spots where it felt like a chore to sit through. Add a few more shots of the monster in action and lose about 20-30 minutes of the character development and you've got a solid horror movie that I'd watch again and again. Movin' on...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Dir: Tim Story

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Laurence "I'm Better Than This but at Least It's Just My Voice" Fishburne

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Rise

Plot: The Fantastic Four learn that they aren't the only super-powered beings in the universe when they square off against the powerful Silver Surfer and the planet-eating Galactus.

My Rating: 3 (for Chiklis, the SPFX and the fact that I missed the couch when I vomited)
Would I watch it again? Oh, HELL NO.

End of Spoilers.

I am so not spending much time on this one. The lame story, the horrible acting, paper thin characters, great's all here.

Michael Chiklis kicks ass and and should have kicked the asses of the filmmakers and the stars to only leave himself working the camera and acting in front of it doing whatever the hell he wants because ANYTHING would have been better than this.

Oh this was so bad. Fifth-grade boys will like it but that's it. Bottom line: if you've hit puberty then you're too old to enjoy this piece of shit. When you root for the Earth to be destroyed and it doesn't happen fast enough, you know it's time to move on.

Doom (2005)

Dir: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Starring: The Rock and that ugly guy from the last two LORD OF THE RINGS movies

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: No one gets out alive.

Plot: Space Marines are sent to investigate strange events at a research facility on a distant planet but find themselves at the mercy of genetically enhanced killing machines.

My Rating: 6
Would I watch it again? Once was enough.

I liked it better when it was called ALIENS (1986) which is essentially what this is. The plot is set-up very quickly as the Space Marines leap into action to find out what's been going down on Mars where something's happened to the scientists. Next thing you know all hell is breaking loose and our boys and girls in uniform (ALL stereotypes and half of them are complete fuck-ups) are killin' and dyin'. That's really all you need. It's a movie based on a First Person Shooter video game of the same name that, as far as I know, has no plot except to kill to stay alive.

I'm a HUGE fan of the Doom series although I'm not too familiar with Doom III, which this is based on. So, if I get a movie based on this I just want to see a shit-load of killing monsters in dimly-lit corridors and stuff jumping out and scaring the bejesus out me. Unfortunately that didn't happen. Well, it did but not to the sort of satisfaction I would have liked. There was very little in the way of monsters that you'd find in the game. This one is one of the VERY few exceptions:

Towards the tail end of the movie there's a sequence that comes out of nowhere and it is BADASS. Suddenly our hero is seen from the first person perspective which is just like the game, down to the movements and action/reactions. It's only about 2-3 minutes but it's badass.

It's not a very good movie with all of the stereotypical shit that you'd expect but then it's not a bad movie either. There's some cool shit goin' down and that FPS shot in the end is just great. Now that I've seen I don't think I'll ever have to revisit it and I'm OK with that.

The Spiral Staircase (1945)

Dir: Robert Siodmak

Starring: Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore & Kent Smith

More Info: IMDB

Plot: Beautiful young mute Helen is a domestic worker for old ailing Mrs. Warren. Mrs. Warren's two sons, Albert (a professor) and womanizing impudent Steven, also live in the Warren mansion. Mrs. Warren becomes concerned for Helen's safety when a rash of murders involving 'women with afflictions' hits the neighborhood. She implores her physician, Dr. Parry, to take Helen away for her own safety. When another murder occurs inside the Warren mansion, it becomes obvious that Helen is in danger.

My Rating: 6
Would I watch it again? Nah

I was expecting more of an old-time horror movie but it turned out to be more of a murder-mystery. It's not that bad but it ain't that great, either. It's got a lot of what are now cliches. The mute girl speaks for the first time at the end when she screams in terror, keep guessing who the killer is or isn't, the dying old lady who can't move anything but her mouth and she ends up shooting the killer at the end, and so on and so on. The clip from above is one of the creepiest moments in the film.

Because it's an older film and it's a murder-mystery loaded with cliches, it's harder to take seriously. Now, I LOVE old movies. I've got hundreds of films dating before 1950. I'm at home with a 70-year-old movie as I am with one I just saw in the theater last week. With this one it was a bit too lighthearted and the only real fun I had, besides watching some great acting from the character actors (Elsa Lanchester (the Bride in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN) and Rhys Williams in particular) was trying to figure out who the killer is and the plot gives you reason to believe just about everyone.

All the Colors of the Dark (1972)

Dir: Sergio Martino

Starring:George Hilton, Edwige Fenech, Ivan Rassimov

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: They exist. They bear the mark of the devil inside them. They may be your neighbors. They may be your wife, husband, sweetheart. They may even be your children. Their time has come.

Plot: A woman recovering from a car accident in which she lost her unborn child finds herself pursued by a coven of devil worshipers.

My Rating: 5
Would I watch it again? Nope. I'll rather watch the original.

The Italians sure know a good thing when they see it - especially in the theater. This is one of, I'm sure, many ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) clones that came out in the years following its release. RB kicks ass this one just sits there eating all day, playing video games and occasionally getting up to move. It's the first time, I think, I've seen the beautiful Edwige Fenech (as Jane) in anything. She gets naked - A LOT! That accounts for most of the 5 stars I'm giving it. She's got "crazy nipples" and it's awesome. You'll see...or not.

After a WTF opening credit sequence filled with nutso images in a black room and a travelling bed get ready to sit back and wait...and wait...and wait. Going in I didn't know it was a RB clone. I didn't see it as that until about a third of the way through when you get to meet "the gang" of Satan worshipers. Jane gets mixed up with them and the next thing you know, she's bangin' this guy...

How's that for meet-and-greet? Then a few others, that aren't NEARLY as interesting as this guy, join in and why not? Strange things happen to Jane and it becomes obvious that Satan's kids aren't going to let her escape. Is Richard, her husband, in on it? OF SPOILERS. That, besides Fenech's beauty, was something I was pleasantly surprised by. Throughout most of the film, because it reminded me so much of RB, I just wanted to shut it off and watch RB. That's not something you want your movie to do. But then again, it's better that it reminded me of a classic movie than that white dog turd I found while walking through the park last week.

The Brides of Dracula (1960)

Dir: Terence Fisher

Starring: Peter Cushing, Yvonne Monlaur, David Peel

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: He Turned Innocent Beauty Into Unspeakable Horror.

Plot: Vampire hunter Van Helsing returns to Transylvania to destroy handsome bloodsucker Baron Meinster, who has designs on beautiful young schoolteacher Marianne.

My Rating: 5/10

Would I watch it again? No. I'd rather see any of the other Hammer Dracula pictures first.

#9 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

This is the "sequel" of sorts of Terence Fisher's classic HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) with Christopher Lee as the Count. Either Lee didn't want to do another Dracula picture (but he sure came back for 5 or 6 more as the 60's came to a close) or they couldn't figure out how to bring Dracula back since they killed his ass in the first one (but they sure figured it out for a whole shitload of Drac pics over the next 14 years!). This one REALLY needs Lee. Peel does a fine job but Lee had that look and charisma that was so engaging in the Drac pics he did.

The story starts off slow and I REALLY started to get bored with the doe-eyed Mariaane (Monlaur) hoping she would get killed or take us to the vampire castle where somebody else gets killed. Fortunately this old battle-axe of a broad, Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt, looking like Alec Guinness in drag), takes her to her castle. Great. Now we get to see someboby get whacked, right? Wrong. This train's headin' for snoozeville and my ticket says I've got to stay to the end. The Battle-Axe's son, the Baron (Peel), is set free by Marianne and FINALLY someone gets it BUT IT'S OFF CAMERA and it's talked about after-the-fact!!! WTF?

It's at this point Peter Cushing (Van Helsing) shows up to save the day but even his superb performance can't save this picture. The only thing I really dug about this, besides Cushing, was the Count's death (by Van Helsing) although it was kind of weak (The Count has fallen off a windmill and Van Helsing lunges to the dormant windmill and turns it to look like a cross, the shadow of which is cast onto the Count who then dies).

As always the look and feel of the Hammer horror movies is top-notch Gothic goodness but it's the way-too-slow pacing and lack of action that killed it for me. Composer James Bernard must've been too busy to score this one (too bad as his scores often elevated his pictures) 'cause they got Malcolm Williamson instead. He does an OK job but he's not Bernard.

Last year I watched most of the Hammer Dracula flicks but they're all just a jumbled conglomerate in my mush-head brain. I'm looking forward to the third Hammer vampire flick, THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE (1963) as I recall this one's pretty good, although neither Lee nor Cushing are in it.

Here's the list of the Hammer Dracula films:

Horror of Dracula (1958)
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969)
Scars of Dracula (1970)
Dracula AD 1972 (1972)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)