Monday, October 29, 2018

Halloween (2018) is the greatest movie of all time

Halloween (2018). Yes. Not a masterpiece. In fact, one of the worst twists of all time. But almost certainly the best sequel (although I may make a case for Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch). Believe at least that part of the hype. But that is a low fucking bar. We will see if it holds up on the second viewing before I definitively rank the films in order. Sort of love/hate the franchise as a whole even when it goes off the rails. Maybe because it does. This is one of only a couple of them that are genuinely not terrible. If you haven't seen it, you probably shouldn't read this unless, like me, you don't give a shit about spoilers. I'm generally of the "oh man, I've got to see this shit!" when I get a spoiler. I will also read Wikipedia pages before I go see a movie to get the plot. So you get spoilers. Respect that, as Spike Lee would say. Anyway. Danny McBride surprising me again. This time with his writing abilities. He is a pretty underrated talent IMO because he is so goofy and iconic in his comedic work, namely as Kenny Powers in Eastbound and Down. Sort of like how you couldn't cast Ed O'Neill in anything without the audience LOLing because he is Al Bundy to everyone. So yeah, better than all the other sequels, probably, but it totally should be. Those others were generally written but just some random guy and directed by some cheap first-timer. This is David Gordon fucking Green and Danny mother fucking McBride. It should almost certainly be better but this is what we got and it is serviceable. So focus on the good. It is scary, funny (occasionally when it shouldn't be), and is a genuinely alright movie. Yeah, greatest film of all time.

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic - yet still effective - ingredients.

Pros: Doesn't fuck around. Gets into it and doesn't do a lot of exposition. The opening credits with the pumpkin. John Carpenter score is fucking sick. Child dancer is sweet. So are the kills. That long tracking shot is perfection. Actually, several really dope scenes. Same look as the original. It is legit scary at times. Lots of tension and he doesn't pop out a lot. Opening jack-o-lantern scene. Black watching Repo Man was a sweet little easter egg.

Cons: Tone is sort of off. Too much random comedy thrown out there. The podcasters are stupid. Not my favorite opening. Basically everything with Dr. Sartain is fucking unwatchable and takes you out of the experience. It almost ruined the movie. Also, although there a lot of solid scenes, they are kind of disjointed. Doesn't flow all that well. Black kid is funny but throws off the tone. You laugh when it should be scary and shit.

"Remember... THIS?!?" What could go wrong
The gist... Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode who squares off against Michael Myers, again. In this incarnation Myers killed a mechanic and three of her friends before getting captured on Halloween night in 1978. The hospital stuff in Halloween II didn't happen in this universe as it is a direct sequel to John Carpenter's original Halloween from 40 years ago. Here Laurie has some serious PTSD issues that cost her a relationship with her daughter Karen, played by Judy Greer from Arrested Development, and granddaughter Allyson, played by newcomer Andi Matichak. So we have three generations of Strode woman all affected by Myers, all traumatized, yet strong, in their own ways. Myers, for his part, aged incredibly well. I guess homicidal rage works for him.

A Blumhouse production directed by David Gordon Green who also did Pineapple Express and Prince Avalanche among other shit, and written by Jeff Fradley, Green, and McBride. This is the second retconning after Halloween H20: 20 Years Later did it back in 1998. Nick Castle, who played Michael Myers aka The Shape in the original, reprises the role was word on the street but all but one scene had out of work stuntman James Jude Courtney, who did a wonderful job, putting on the mask. Others in the film include Haluk Bilginer (never seen him) as Sartain, Toby Huss who will always be The Wiz from Seinfeld (he was also Felix in Carnivale and Artie in The Adventures of Pete & Pete) as Judy Greer's husband, Virginia Gardner as the pretty, blonde friend Vicky who dies horribly, Will Patton who is one of those whats-his-faces as Officer Hawkins, and Miles Robbins who plays Vicky's boyfriend who is a stoner nice guy and basically the same role he played in Blockers.

Couple of other characters of note are Cameron, the boyfriend of Allyson played by Dylan Arnold, and his buddy Oscar played by Drew Scheid. Cameron is possibly the biggest douche-bag in the entire 11 movie franchise. It's implied that he is cheating on Allyson with a chick who goes to the Halloween school dance as a sexy tiger and then acts incredulous when he gets caught blaming it on her being on her phone. He throws it in dip or pudding or whatever and she can no longer get calls. It's a plot device that movies employ that explains away lack of cellular telephone technology. You think he is going to die like most bad boyfriends but we never see him again. Spends the rest of the movie balls deep in the sexy tiger chick most likely. Anyway, so after Allyson storms off, Cameron's best bud Oscar starts to walk her home. This is the setup for one of the best scenes in the movie. It is a close second to the long tracking shot that I'll get to in a moment. Here, Oscar tells Allyson that she is the coolest and prettiest and nicest girl in the school. See where this is going. He tries to bang her. WTF, dude? She shuts it down and storms off. He doesn't get rapey, thank fuck, but he is an idiot and says as much. They are taking a shortcut to wherever and Allyson is gone by that point. He sort just lays there berating himself when Myers shows up. There is this motion light there that kicks on and off conveniently. Shit was dope by the way. He sees Myers and thinks it is Mr. Elrod (a reference to Halloween II, Mr. and Mrs. Elrod were the old couple he steals the knife from that are watching the original The Thing movie at the beginning of the movie). Myers creeps him out more and more as he gets closer and closer to him every time the light goes off and comes back on again. He eventually gets killed horribly.

Favorite line of the movie is from Hawkins, Will Patton's character. That line, which is some dope shit to say and true, is: "There's a reason we're supposed to be afraid of this night." Other than that nothing really stands out except for the funny ass shit the little black kid says.

References in this movie are more or less constant. They are retconning the movie because they think all of them are shit but then they pay constant homage to them which is weird but ultimately pretty cool. There are probably double-digit references to the original and II--the classroom scene where a teacher drones on with the main teen sitting in the back right corner looking out the window [also in Halloween H20], the three teens walking Laurie falling off the roof [roles reversed as it was Michael that fell in the first {this also happened in Halloween: Resurrection}], the ending with the fire was basically the same as II (also that they mention people thinking Laurie and Michael are brother and sister), the escape from Smiths Grove, the kill with the hammer, the woman that gets stabbed in the neck talking to Sally on the phone that lived next door to the Elrods, and I am sure several others--a lot of which have been referenced in other movies within the franchise. The main one we get for III were the masks that the kids were wearing were the Silver Shamrock masks from that film. From Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers we get a very similar brutal scene in a gas station/garage that looks more or less exactly the same. From Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers you get the comic relief cops, these legitimately funny unlike 5. From Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers you get the evil doctor, I guess. Bunch of stuff from H20, most notably the bathroom scene where Michael goes into the lady's room, which looks exactly the same, and confronts a lady taking a shit. From Resurrection we get the falling off a roof and the lady in the truck at the gas station that says "Resurrection" on the side of it. Not sure about the Rob Zombie movies as it has been a long while but I do recall a guy getting his head stomped which spoiler happens in this one and is probably the coolest kill.

Speaking of kills, lots of carnage in this flick. Off of memory, so I may be missing one or two, I can recall 17 kills, 16 by Myers. What can you say? Dude just wants to kill. He is pure evil. In this universe he doesn't necessarily need to kill Laurie but there she is so he might as well go for it. She is chasing him around and what not which is she is on his radar. If she didn't show up and try to stop him, then he would have just been out there rampaging and what have you. Most of these deaths are head smashings and neck breakings. But he sort of levels up as the movie goes along. When he first escapes from the bus as he is being transferred to another hospital, they say the one he is being transferred to is a real piece of shit compared to the one he is at which is truly disturbing considering what that one looks like, on the 40th anniversary of his murder spree, which is fucking bananas that they would do it then, he kills the first dude on the scene by breaking his neck. This guy is some hunter who is taking his little kid to go shoot defenseless animals in the face. The kid tells him he just wants to dance, which was endearing. That is when they come to the bus crash and Myers somewhere in the vicinity. The dad goes out and, as mentioned, his neck gets broke. After some time, the kid goes out and investigates. This kid is maybe 10. He finds a cop on the ground and is told to run. Instead he gets on the bus where Michael's doctor is chilling. He says not to shoot him but the kid must have thought he said to shoot him because that is what happens. The dancing boy goes ape shit and runs to the SUV and tries to peace the fuck out even though he, you know, probably can't drive because he is 10. But before he can figure out how to put that bitch in drive, Michael gives him the old reach around and chokes the shit out of him before snapping his neck. Yeah, they fucking go for it and straight up murder a child. Don't see a lot of child murders these days but this movie is all like fuck it. It was a seriously shocking death but I was on board with it.

Later it is implied that the doctor freed Myers which brings us to the shit. Basically everything with this doctor character is fucking stupid. The first we see of him is at the asylum where he lets those podcasters break out the mask which seems to have awakened something in Myers. Then he gets shot. Then we see him in the hospital where he makes the worst joke ever. The Will Patton sheriff character doesn't want to take the doctor along to help find Myers but this other black cowboy sheriff guy who is maybe in charge or something who might be a throwback to "The Man in Black" from Halloween 5 but disappears after the first half hour of the movie convinces him otherwise. Well while they are driving around at one point he says he wants to see Michael in his own element which is insane and dumb. Something like, "I want to know his pleasure." Think we know where this is going. Should have kicked the guy out of the car right then. But instead, after the Will Patton character picks up Allyson (which he is cool with her riding around with them for whatever reason), they roll up on Myers who is just walking around in the country. Patton is all, fuck this, and runs him over with his SUV which is a bold move. Thought it was going to be another Ben Tramer situation from Halloween II when they run over the wrong dude but it is not and is instead like Halloween 4 and H20 when they run his ass over which results in momentary loss of consciousness and slight irritation. But when they get out of the car, Sartain says that Patton killed him even though Myers is property of the state. Patton is going to finish the job and blow his head off when suddenly Sartain suddenly breaks out this weird knife thing and slits Patton's throat. What the fuck? What. In. The. Actual. Fuck. So let me get this straight. He goes to medical school, treats patients in Smiths Grove for however long, studying insane people and what not. And now he just starts killing cops so he can keep studying this guy that was getting transferred to another hospital anyway? What the shit is that? Yeah, this is the dumbest fucking thing I've maybe ever seen in my life. I almost fucking left the movie. This was surprisingly predictable considering how fucking stupid it was and the worst thing in the movie. That this movie easily breaks the top three dumbest things in the franchise is infuriating. It is very hard not to focus on this. It almost transformed the movie into the worst of all time. But when you take that out it isn't half bad. Try not to let it taint the movie which will be hard. He then puts on the mask and throws Myers in the back of the police cruiser with the girl. Watched this at the Starlite Drive-in here in Bloomington, Sammy Terry was there, it was dope, so watched it in the car with two other folk. We thought Sartain was going to be the killer now. "Oh, fuck," was the reaction in our car. All agreed this was fucking dumb.

But this brings us to the best kill. Again, 16ish from Myers. Most of them brutal. About half of them onscreen. Several of them on the periphery. But the most satisfying and most brutal is Sartain. So after Sartain makes his kill and throws Myers in the back with Allyson, she is all, "I need the fuck out of here, he is going to wake up and kill me." Sartain gist here is something like, "if only Michael would talk to me. He can talk but chooses not to. I know what he wants to say, I know the other side of murder." Uh, ok. So the girl is like, "oh, he said something to me when he was trying to kill me." Doctor is like, "do wha?" She tells him to let her out and he'll tell her which is all bull shit. But Michael wakes up and kicks his way out of squad car by breaking through the cage and pinning Sartain between the driver's seat and the steering wheel. He crashes or whatever, Allyson Scream 2's her way out of the cop car, and Sartain falls out of the car onto the street. Michael eventually gets out and stands over Sartain. Sartain, who threw his life/career away for this is all like, "say something, Michael." Michael looks down on him, says "something" (j/k, he doesn't really say that), and then stomps on his head so that his brain explodes out onto the street. It was fucking gnarly. 

Another solid couple of kills come right after that and are off screen. Two cops see the crash or whatever and go over to investigate. Basically there to pad his stats late in the game. They are endearing and funny. One of them is trying to turn the other onto banh mi sandwiches, which are to die for with the aoli, pickled veggies, mushrooms, and cilantro and what not, but the guy wants no part. Just wants his PB&J. Other guy thought he would say that, and explains that the term "banh mi" refers to the bread, not what is inside, and had them make him a banh mi PB&J. Don't find out if it is any good or not though as they have to go investigate this shit which leads them to good ole murdering Mikey Myers. Next time we see them the sandwich enthusiast's throat is slashed and the other cop, the sad one who lives off of trash and homemade brownies, his decapitated head is in the other guy's hands and all his shit is hollowed out and he has a flashlight shoved up his neck hole, making it look like he is a human jack-o-lantern. It's pretty sweet but would have taken so fucking long to execute. 

There is another group of dope kills early in the movie that is fucking sweet and ends up being, IMO the best scene of the movie. That scene comes not long after Myers escapes and gets his mask. It is early evening and trick-or-treaters are out in the town. It is about the only time we really get a sense of Haddonfield, when Myers is out there stalking the neighborhood. Again, he is a dude here, just some nut who kills. Never is that more apparent than in this scene where he is walking down the street and these kids bump into him, like the ones from the original that we learn did peyote with The Wiz back in high school. That sort of kicks it off. Its the long tracking shot where he goes from being out on the prowl to committing a bunch of silent rage kills that call back to the first two flicks. It was the one we get almost in its entirety in the second trailer. It is intense and cray. Hear a baby cry and you are sure Michael is going to kill it. The whole thing is nuts and it never gets better than that.

So... Who's the MVP of this film? Really tough decision between The Shape and JLC. Judy Greer would have definitely been in contention here but I feel she is underutilized. The ending though was super solid for her though when she acts all scared, saying"Mom, I can't do it," and cries and acts all weak and stuff even though she has been trained like John Conner from Terminator, I was sort of angry here thinking this was fucking dumb when Myers pops out and she is all, "Gotcha" and shoots him. It was an "oh shit" moment for sure. That shit was cool. The actor playing The Shape, one James Jude Courtney, whose acting credits include Biker #2, Man in Bar, Mafia Goon, Huge Goon, Thug, so forth, hasn't done shit since 2002. Not a fucking thing. Fucking nails it. I'd put him at third best among the various actors that put on the mask. Dick Warlock, not touching that performance from Halloween II, he basically defined the movements for the rest of the films. Nick Castle, the original, also can't fuck with that. To quote Sidney Prescott in Scream 4, this is from before I had a best quote section or this would have been it, "Don't fuck with the original." BTW, all that Nick Castle returning to the role of The Shape was fucking horseshit. One fucking scene was Castle on camera. When Laurie sees Myers in the mirror and takes a shot at him. That is it. Yeah, a who gives a fuck, bullshit second and a half of footage. Anyway, mostly basing Courtney's performance on a couple of scenes. The best scene of the movie where he is pretty much moving like a shark: deliberate, focused, with efficiency. Then the scene at the end when he gets shot and falls down the stairs. When he pops up. That shit was dope.

But ultimately, gotta give it to JLC. Overall she does a good job of selling her character as a bad ass that is severally traumatized. Most apparent when she goes to Smiths Grove to kill Myers when he is being transferred but doesn't and then goes to her granddaughter's National Honor's Society or whatever dinner that she isn't entirely welcome at. This dinner is nuts. She immediately grabs her daughter's wine glass, her daughter really didn't want her there, chugs it, and then freaks out which ultimately leads her to breaking down in tears and almost walking into traffic. In the ending she really shines as well where she actually goes on the offensive and hunts Myers throughout the house. There is a pretty cool scene, much like one in The Prowler and also Tourist Trap, where there are these manakins all over the place. She uses them as target practice in her backyard (there is an awful, stupid scene when Allyson is making her way there when and she sees all this and just screams in terror even though she probably knows they are there and that shit isn't scary anyway). You think Myers is hiding amongst them. This is indeed what happens but it is a pretty effective scare nonetheless, IMO. BTW, this whole ending, which we are getting into, is pretty polarizing. Laurie lives alone in the woods and has converted her basement into this bunker with an arsenal of weapons. To enter you have move this motorized island in the kitchen. Eventually Myers rips that shit off its tracks or whatever. That is when you get Greer's character shooting him and him falling down the stairs. He does pop up, as mentioned, and Laurie is there to help her daughter and granddaughter escape. But Michael grabs onto one of them. At that point Allyson stabs Myers in the hand with a butcher's knife which causes him to let go. Here Laurie hits some button and these spikes bars block the exit in the floor. It wasn't a hideout, as Akbar would say, "it's a trap", and they pump flammable gas down there and light that shit on fire. The floor is wood meaning they probably wouldn't be able to watch it burn and get out alive, which they do, "happy Halloween, Michael." The end. But we don't see Myers die and during the closing credits we hear him breathing. So they kill him but might be more. Of course there will be. That shit is already confirmed, son. But yeah. This was no Halloween. Probably no Hallow

Friday, October 19, 2018

Night of the Creeps is the greatest movie of all time

Night of the Creeps. An all-time fave. Female companion loved it as well. Watched this last the night before the eclipse with an unwanted house guest. Wanted a weird space invader movie and this fit the bill, for me at least. The guest was not into it. Too crazy for him. Had to turn it off. Punished him with Detention instead which he also wasn't really able to handle. Time to revisit. Better than I remembered. Greatest film of all time indeed.

Something cool about the flick is that all the character names pay homage to other horror directors. These include characters named after James Cameron, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg who did Jeff Goldblum The Fly movie, Joe Dante of The 'Burbs and Gremlins fame, Tobe Hooper who's most remembered for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (going to be watching all of those flicks soon) who also did Funhouse and Lifeforce which I called "the worst movie of all time" but am seriously reconsidering as maybe the greatest movie of all time as I remember it fondly (it is a naked, space-vampire movie after all),  John Landis who did An American Werewolf in London among other things, Steve Miner who directed Friday the 13th: Part 2 and Part 3 as well as Halloween H20, Sam Raimi of The Evil Dead and Drag Me to Hell fame among other awesome shits, and George A. Romero who more or less invented the zombie movie. I'm not really sure why the director of this flick, one Jeff Dekker, never made it to the level of the directors he pays homage here. After this movie, Dekker's second film was 1987's Monster Squad which is universally loved. Other than that he directed an episode of Tales from the Crypt and the film Robocop 3 which he co-wrote with Frank Miller and is not remembered fondly.  He also wrote the story that would be used for the basis of the film House from 1985 directed by the aforementioned Steve Miner. He has a couple of producer credits for stuff I've never seen and a handful of writing credits, most recently for The Predator from earlier this year which was not well received. Does get much better than this or Monster Squad. Would have totally watched anything else horror related he would have made but alas. There is basically none.

Oh, wow
Pros: Extra cheese here. Over-the-top and doesn't take itself seriously though it obviously loves the genre. The worms and gore are great. The first zombie/alien movie that I know of, it is a pretty unique crossover film with an interesting/engaging plot. Cast is surprisingly solid and features Tom Atkins from Halloween III: Season of the Witch (among other things). What I consider a perfect self-aware, horror/comedy film.

Cons: Aliens in the opening scene look pretty stupid. There are also some dead animals.

Gist of the movie is that to impress a girl, dweeby college student Chris and best bud JC pledge a fraternity full of douche bags and are forced to steal a body from the college morgue when shit goes wrong. Must be a different breed of chick than I am used to that would be impressed by what frat a dude would join or whatever. The movie opens with a bunch of aliens chasing this other alien who ejects a weird canister out into space. The canister crashes to earth in the 1950s and a coed couple goes to investigate. Meanwhile, there is an axe murder on the loose who is in the area. When the dude leaves his date in the car, the murderer shows up and hacks her to bits. We later see that a cop named Ray Cameron, who had dated the girl when they were in high school, stumbled upon the scene and shot the killer to death. Fast forward 30 years in the future and the male coed in the car is the body that the dudes try to steal. Turns out the guy is infested with these sentient worms that turn people into zombies by flying into their mouths. The first person to discover the issue ends up being the female crush, Cynthia, who ends up working with the pledge to stop the college from getting overrun with these worms/zombies. Eventually the axe murderer gets possessed and shit is fucking on. On the whole, the film is an early kitchen sink type movie that throws everything out there and sees if sticks. Parasitic alien worms, B movie alien spacemen, slasher madmen, teen comedy, cop/medical drama, this film has basically everything and enjoys something of a cult following these days.

The Bradster
It stars Tom Atkins who fucking goes for it in this flick as Ray Cameron, Jason Lively who was Rusty in one of the National Lampoon's Vacation movies (European Vacation) plays Chris Romero, Steve Marshall as James Carpenter "J.C." Hooper who is the handicapped best bud of Chris, and Jill Whitlow as Cynthia Cronenberg who is the semi-rare attractive survivor girl that shows a little boob. Also appearing in the film are cutie Elizabeth Cox from Intruder as Kathy, Allan Kayser who was Bubba in Mama's Family as Brad with the vanity plate "BRADSTER" on his whip who is the generic dickhead frat douche who dates the character Cynthia before he kicks the crutch of the crippled kid which prompts her to do the classic crank flipping the bird and then later (once he has turned to an alien zombie which she doesn't notice for an insanely long time) break up with him, Robert Kino as the Asian janitor Mr. Miner who barely speaks English and just keeps repeating "screaming like banshees" which he thinks is the funniest thing he has ever heard in his whole fucking life, Dick Miller from Gremlins and The 'Burbs and a million other things has a small part, David Paymer who is a guy you sort of recognize but have no idea where from as a medical student that gets murdered, Vic Polizos (another I-sort-of-recognize-that-guy guy) who plays this coroner that is constantly eating while poking around horribly murdered individuals, David Oliver who died of AIDS in the early 1990s as Steve with the uni-brow who is basically just a generic meathead, and the very attractive Suzanne Snyder from Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Return of the Living Dead II, and Weird Science. Lot of people you sort of know, I guess.

The zombie ax murderer. Lot going on here
Best line of the movie is a tough one with this flick and Atkins going a mile a minute. The first thing he says, something of a swing and miss, came after a guy asks him if he is the detective when he replies, "No, Bullwinkle Moose." Later that same scene we get "That's fine. Candy-ass, but fine." and when talking about a body that suddenly wasn't there he says "What, did he have a date? Whaddya mean it isn't here?" and later "Zombies, exploding heads, creepy-crawlies... and a date for the formal. This is classic, Spanky." Chris also has a pretty good one. Atkins basically out of nowhere starts telling Chris, a college freshman whom he calls "Spanky", before they really know much of what was going down, that he shot and killed that ax murderer though he didn't need to. Chris then replies, shocked, "detective, other than confessing to a murder, is there a point to this conversation," which is bold. Also of note here, Cameron buried the guy under the floor of the sorority mother's home. The guy ends up coming back to life and they have a zombie ax murderer situation on their hands that they have deal with. But my fave line is probably, from Cameron, "What I'm going to need is your standard flame thrower."

"Your date's here! And he's looking good!"
Best scene of the movie is easily the zombie formal. The sorority girls at this point know shit is going down. Cameron, Chris, and Cynthia have let them know what's up. Meanwhile, down the way, the Beta Frat that they seem to have some sort of thing with, had a bus crash because of a possessed dog and all of them end up getting infected. Once they show up shit really hits the fan and it becomes your typical zombie/home invasion flick. Well sort of. It kicks off with a Cameron zinger, "I got good news and bad news, girls," he says, "The good news is your dates are here." "What's the bad news?" one of the girls asks, taking the bait. Cameron tells her, "They're dead." At that point one of the dead guys breaks into the sorority house and attacks a chick. Atkins unnecessarily pushes her down after she breaks free from the guy and tells her to duck. He then looks the zombie guy in the eye, says "it's Miller time", and shoots him in the face. When the worms come crawling out, he takes an aerosol can to his cigarette and lights those shits on fire. Bad ass. From there all hell breaks loose and it descends in complete chaos. Sort of like Re-Animator. Dope ass scene.

It is during that best scene that we get the best kill as well. While Cameron is busy flame throwing people to death, Chris and Cynthia remain outside, getting overwhelmed by the zombie hoard. But they end up making their way over to this little shed with all the sorority's landscaping equipment. It's then that Steve, with his unibrow and all, among other Beta zombies comes at the pair and breaks through the shed's walls. Steve eventually grabs Cynthia and is going to turn her when Chris grabs a lawnmower and fires it up, saying "later dude" as he mows the guy down. While not nearly as insane as when the main character in Peter Jackson's Dead Alive does it several years later, but this put that instrument on the map as a viable and gruesome tool to dispatch zombies with.

MVP of the movie is 100% Tom Atkins. It's not even close. As you can see from best scene and best line, he is all over this movie. He really swings for the fences in this flick. Every damn line from the moment he is on screen is quotable and absurd. As someone at Horror Freak News put it, "Tom Atkins steals scenes with one-liners like there was a prize for it," one JC Richardson wrote. Pretty much as every damn line is a joke. Sort of like how Deadpool 2 was. They just keep coming at you. This was also Atkins favorite of his 81 movies according to the source. That's saying a lot considering he was a huge overachiever for his shtick being an over-the-top chain-smoking drunk that cracks wise whilst looking hungover. He was Michael Hunsaker, the guy who got involved over his head with paramilitaries in Lethal Weapon, for god's sake. "Never before has a C Level actor risen so high."

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Houses October Built 2 is the worst movie of all time

The Houses October Built 2. Trash. Like the first one which I watched last year, the idea is interesting--check out and show us some cool haunts from around the country, go to one that ends up being too extreme, so forth--but ends up being sort of boring and lame. Like watching someone else play a video game, I don't really get into watching other people do something I'd rather be doing. I want to go to a haunted house, one way less extreme than The Blue Skeleton or anagram Find Hellbent from this one, I don't really want to see someone else do it. That is sort of related to why I think it is sort of trash as it's barely a movie. More just showing people go to these things and then loosely tying it to a plot. This one is way less ambiguous than the first which is something that flick had going for it. First it tells us what happened at the end of the first one, they all survived, then the ending of this one it is obvious that they all live and the extreme haunt isn't out to do them any physical harm (they they may have killed off the friendship). Not really all that crazy, really. Sort of just a meh documentary that's fake. It's whatever, I guess. But hey. They made a movie. Better than the one I did in college. But it's still trash and the worst movie of all time.

Still lame
Pros: Sort of inspiring for the Halloween season. Gets you in that mood and what not.

Cons: Basically the same movie as the first one only more boring. Not much happens. Less intriguing of an ending than the first as well. The ending is weak. The stakes are obviously much lower than in the first one since we find out nothing happened to anyone at the end of the first one. The one lame doll chick is back now only taller. She is wearing a mask so why not use a different child? IDK.

Gist of the alleged film... Getting over being buried alive by a called "The Blue Skeleton" in the first film, a group of 30 somethings that are into extreme haunts go around the country going to more haunted houses, this time with something of a celebrity status from after going viral because of their nearly getting killed for their love of haunts. They go to haunted hayrides and meh haunted houses before doing another "extreme haunt", this one titled "Find Hellbent" which later we see is an anagram for "The Blue Skeleton" which is stupid. This time the extreme haunt is more focused on the dudes of the bunch as we find out that they set up the lone chick in the first one. But where they psychologically scared her, they made the dudes feel uncomfortable for like an afternoon. Yeah. They need her to do the haunts with them as she went most viral or whatever and she is an attractive lady and they are all gross dudes. I thought for sure she was going to freak out and kill someone at the end and then they would reveal it was fake but that did not happen. I thought this, in part, because of this newscast that is supposed to be the last thing to happen chronologically that stays vague but says there was a huge tragedy this time around. I have no idea what that was referring to or what that possibly could have been.

To be clear, this film is much worse than the previous one which was also a Worst Movie of All Time but that one was a close call. It was directed by one Bobby Roe who plays the role of Bobby and produced by Zack Andrews who plays the role of Zack. The other three actors that roll around in the motor-home going from haunt to haunt, all playing the characters with their real first names, are Jeff Larson, Mikey Roe, and Brandy Schaefer as the chick.

No deaths so that shit is easy. Though they twice coming pretty damn close. The first is when the Blue Skeleton or whatever pumps in sleeping gas to the RV. If you are old enough to remember the Moscow theater hostage crisis from back in 2002 or the 2003 documentary Terror In Moscow, then you know that shit doesn't always end well. So yeah. Lucky to not have died here. Then there is a scene where Brandy fakes her own death by putting a gun in her mouth, it firing a blank, and then a blood pack or squib or whatever going off in the back of her head to make it look like she had blown her brains out. There was a shitty high school mystery novel I read as a child that I somehow remember vividly about a high school stage production where a murder goes down with blanks in the gun because the hot wax or whatever is in there can actually shoot out and what not. I'm just going to assume that is bullshit though as I've only heard that that one time from this book whose name I don't recall. She is still putting a lot of trust in this group that buried her alive the previous year. They could have put a real bullet in there and, boom, you've a dead chick that appears to have committed suicide. I sure as shit wouldn't have done that shit.

Yeah, that guy who eats a lot
As far as the scenes go, I'll focus on the haunts and how bad they made me want to go to some similar shit. Of the haunts they go to the coolest one looked to be the zombie escape room where they had to find a cure before getting turned. The zombie 5K also looked fucking sick and is definitely something I want to do. The haunted hayride was pretty whatever but I do love hayride even though they are traditionally weak. Though the owner jokes about burying them alive which I'm sure was hilarious for Brandy. The big zombie party in Minneapolis looked sweet too. World's largest zombie pub crawl or some such shit. They also participate in a brain taco eating contest against the great competitive eater Kobayashi. This sounds like a great way to get a prion disease and have a horrible death. Kobayashi destroys them, BTW, and they, as amateurs who can't eat for shit, spill the groceries on camera. On a related note, may have to go to there for Halloween some time.

Only line that stuck for me was something an actor at a haunted house said when trying to scare them. It was "You smell different when you are awake," which is pretty freaky. By the way, several people, just random haunt actors, talk about the haunted house network which I'm pretty sure isn't really a thing. I worked at a haunted and know someone who owns a pretty decent one. Never have I heard of this which they act like is last great American union or something.

MVP is I guess Halloween. While this movie wasn't all that great, it did inspire me to go out and do some holiday related shit (once I get time). Likely that weekend before Halloween and the days leading up as I'm taking vacation time to enjoy the holiday. Why watch this trash when you can go to a haunted house yourself though my success rate with them are one in four or so are worth a shit. Plus I didn't know how dope Minneapolis looked or how fun a zombie 5K would be before seeing this shit. So yeah, Halloween celebrations are the real MVP, yo, in this POS, the worst movie of all time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Dead & Breakfast is the greatest movie of all time

Dead & Breakfast. Became aware of this when I was a teacher and I took a student to Walmart to pick up some shit, it was a boarding school, and my student stole this movie because he thought it looked ridiculous. When he got caught, because you can't steal DVDs because of the sensors, I vouched for the kid, saying "I brought him here and he wouldn't do that to me." The lady let us go. On the way home the kid was like, "Oh man, Coach Brew, that was great thinking! I'm going to take you with me whenever I go shoplift!" I fucking lost my mind on this kid and took his DVD and the shit CD he had stolen. I mean, I do consider it sort of a moral duty to steal from corporations like that and all but I wasn't going to tell him that. So I just held onto this shit, eventually watching this flick with the fellow teacher chick I was dating at the time. She kept eyeing it and saying stuff like "we should go to a 'dead & breakfast' sometime." It was cute and funny but she was Satan. We did eventually watch it though. Jury was split as I loved it and she thought it was trash. My sweet babe now, however, loved it. We have similar tastes in over-the-top comedy/horror though sooooooo annnywwwayy. Great dark comedy with some solid gore and a dope cast. Greatest movie of all time? I say it is.

Pros: Campy and fun. Creative use of a decapitated head. Rockabilly soundtrack is solid and pretty funny lyrically (they also keep performing after getting turned to zombies). Cast is serviceable. Extremely engaging.

Cons: Pretty low brow (not that I really mind). Has this look that is made-for-TV esque that I'm not crazy about. Kind of all over the place and has some developments that don't really go anywhere. Otherwise dope.

Gist of the ting... An incredibly rude group travelling to a friend's wedding in a Winnebago stop at a bed and breakfast for a night's rest when the proprietors are murdered in the night. They are then forced to stay in town as suspects/witnesses to the slaying which is getting pinned on this nomad Buddhist dude who bums cigarettes but never smokes them. While there, they discover that the killings were supernatural in origin and the result of opening a Tibetan version of Pandora's Box and turns most of the town, including a few of the travelers, into evil zombie versions of themselves (these are the more possessed, cognizant undead than bran-munchers). They, along with the help of the local sheriff, must survive the night locked in the B&B by fashioning together crude weapons as the hoard tries to break in and murder them.

Maybe it's just me
Directed by one Matthew Leutwyler who has done nothing else I've ever seen or heard of. It stars Ever Carradine who is sort of an Uma Thurman lookalike except more attractive (she is very pretty) who plays the role of Naomi Putnam The Handmaid's Tale but nothing else I've ever seen her in, Brent David Fraser (never seen him), Bianca Lawson who does a lot of shows on the electric TV machine that I've never seen including Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries, Jeffrey Dean Morgan who is amazing in everything whom you may remember most recently from his role of Negan from The Walking Dead, Gina Philips from Jeepers Creepers, Erik Palladino a poor man's Tony Danza who is one of those that guys if you know what I mean, Oz Perkins the son of Anthony Perkins (whom I mistakenly thought was childless and gay [he was actually bisexual] and his widow died on one of the planes on 9/11), and Jeremy Sisto from Clueless and Six Feet Under. You also get cameos from Diedrich Bader from The Drew Carey Show and a million other things, David Carradine who likely needs no introduction, and Portia de Rossi who plays Lindsay in Arrested Development and is partners with Ellen DeGeneres.

The best line, in my opinion, comes when Fraser, who plays "The Drifter", encounters this records keeper in the town hall who takes her job super seriously, staying behind to protect the records even during this whole demon possession zombie bullshit. The records keeper asks what is going down. Fraser says something like "you wouldn't believe me" and she replies with "After what I've seen tonight you could tell me an evil spirit rose up from the dead and decided to posses the entire town and I would believe you" which is funny because it is exactly what happened. Other than that there were a bunch of low-hanging, make fun of vegans quotes which I fucking love--not. Here's my response to all that shit. How do you know you're talking to a meat eater? They'll fucking tell you! Totes true.

Best scene of the movie comes early in the flick. It is when the Tony Danza looking dude gets up in the middle of the night to eat some pie during the groups first night at the B&B. He sits down there at the table and just munches away like an idiot even though there is a dead body next to him. He is just crazy unobservant basically. I can relate. Finally some comes in and freaks out and he finally notices. He gets up and tries to run but doesn't get anywhere because of all the blood on the floor. It is very Dead Alive. BTW, once JDM, who plays the sheriff, comes out and investigates the murders, he tells the bunch that they aren't going anywhere and makes them stay at the scene of the crime while he figures shit out which is insane.

Despite several heads exploding from homemade pipe shotguns, the best kill comes when Perkins's character decapitates Sisto's character, Christian. It isn't so much the kill itself as what he does to him after he kills him. What he does is take the head and put it on his hand and uses it as a puppet. This is when the movie becomes your typical home invasion movie. Perkins is sort of the zombie/demon leader and stands outside taunting the people inside by talking to the head. At one point he asks the head what it thinks. The head replies "Well... I think we should..." and then he yells "shut the fuck up!" at it. Love it when they are all disrespectful and funny like that.

MVP is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the sheriff who wasn't on the radar at all until this movie came out. You can sort of tell he is something special in this movie and destined for stardom. He looks all cool and rugged and shit and is an excellent actor. Up until then he wasn't really in much. It wasn't long after though that his career really took off, first playing the role of John Winchester in Supernatural which was fucking dope and and then playing The Comedian in Watchmen which is still one of my favorite movies despite all the hate. Now the dude is the main bad guy, Negan, in The Walking Dead. So yeah, super famous. And this was the first place I ever saw him which came about because he, Fraser, and director Matthew Leutwyler were homies growing up originally meeting in an underage Seattle nightclub called "Skoochies" which is a fucking horrible name for a club. They remained buds through the 1990s and worked together on an even lower budget movie called Road Kill in 1999. Then comes this, the greatest movie of all time, and stardom. Boom.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Halloween: Resurrection is the worst movie of all time

Halloween: Resurrection. Trick or treat, mother fuckers! Direct sequel to Halloween H20The stuff of myth. Was it as bad as everyone says? Yeah. It was. Probably not as legendarily awful as I was led to believe. It was in no way good but it was on occasionally entertaining and technically sound. I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be campy so some of it was sort of humorous but never what I'd call funny. When looking at where the franchise has gone, from one of the greatest horror movies of all time in the original Halloween to this POS, it is easy to see all the outrage. Looking at the franchise as a whole, which I'm going to officially do after the new Halloween comes out, I'd put this at the bottom with Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Maybe below it. It is trash and is the worst movie of all time...

This was actually my first viewing of the movie. When it came out my parents tried to get me to watch it but I was pretty good with the way they ended H20and wasn't interested. I assumed, wrongly, that Myers indeed was dead and this was his ghost or whatever coming to kill folk. Sort of a Michael Myers tulpa. But no. He managed to outsmart Laurie, we see that she actually killed an EMT that Myers choked out and changed clothes with. Fucking dumb. But here I am. Finishing up the franchise. No more Halloween until the new one. Thank fuck. Thinking I'll do the universally hated Rob Zombie remakes next year. Watched that by my lonesome in grad school. Snuck into it after 3:10 to Yuma, another remake. Little secrete for ya. Actually liked it. Though I thought the second one sucked.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: The only thing this tired slasher flick may resurrect is nostalgia for when the genre was still fresh and scary.

Pros: Slightly funner than I want to admit. Decent body count but the kills are generally terrible.  Myers looks cool. Like the mask and the way he moves. That's about it.

Cons: The way they kill off the iconic Laurie Strode is offensive. So many why-is-this-happening and no-one-would-ever-do that moments. The technology aspect is insane. People at a party stopping to watch a live stream of ghost hunters at the Myers's house. The dude calling 911 convinced, rightly, that it is real. Because he is right it doesn't seem that stupid but it totally is. What else. Many of the characters are irritating. Busta Rhymes's character is pretty awful. Tyra's is the worst.

The gist, if you will... Starting in an insane asylum, Michael Myers finally kills his sister, Laurie Strode played by Jamie Lee Curtis, before going back home where a documentary film crew has set up shop and plans on doing a reality show with teams trying to find (planted) clues and spend the night for cash while their exploits are broadcast live on the internet. He comes back to the house, which we see he has been living in in this secret tunnel for the last 23 years, and is all, WTF, and does him some stand your grounding, killing a bunch of old ass and irritating college kids as well as people working on the documentary including Tyra Banks who is like co-owner of "Dangertainment" along with Busta Rhymes.

This chick
Directed by Rick Rosenthal who also directed Halloween II but pretty much nothing else that anyone has seen. Besides the three aforementioned, the movie stars the following who play the various archetypes: Bianca Kajlich as survivor girl Sara, Luke Kirby as the dark artist dude Jim, Daisy McCrackin as the I guess sort of slutty chick Donna, Thomas Ian Nicholas who is the loser Kevin in the American Pie films as hornball Bill, Katee Sackhoff as irritating blonde Jen who is sort of the clown of the bunch, Sean Patrick Thomas from Save the Last Dance as black dude Rudy, and Brad Loree as Myers. Quick fact about McCrackin, the one who gets neked and plays redheaded Donna. She and buddy/actor Joseph Capone were kidnapped out of her home by three psychopaths in 2017. Capone seemed to have gotten the worst of it as he was pistol-whipped, stripped naked, and tied up and thrown in the bathtub for 30 hours while the assailants drove McCrackin around demanding she withdraw $10,000 for them to release her friend. She ended up writing them a check, eventually, and once they dropped her off at her home, she went to the police. Capone was saved and the kidnappers caught. Here are some of the details as told by Capone if you are interested. Most of the articles sort of imply that McCrackin might have been involved, which is fucked and shite journalism.

Best line of the movie has to be "trick or treat, mother fucker" uttered by Busta Rhymes. The dialogue in this movie is pretty awful. Looking back over some of the memorable quotes, they are indeed garbage. Especially the shit that Busta Rhymes says. Three random examples include "Looking a little crispy over there, Mikey. Like some chicken-fried motherfucker. Well, may he never, ever rest in peace." after electrocuting Myers; and "Hey Mikey, happy fucking Halloween!"; and "Let the dangertainment begin up in this motherfucker!" That isn't even getting into the part where he berates Myers for like three minutes when he thinks he is his employee. Side note, I really wouldn't want to work for Busta Rhymes. Which brings me to the shit of which the berating is a part.

There is indeed a decent amount of shit in this movie. First, there is this unexplained freshmen in college duo that shows up at the beginning. They are going to a Halloween party later where one of them ends up posting up in someone's dad's office where he watches the live stream. He says his online girl friend is going to be on the show. Total catfish situation but she ends up being the survivor girl and he sends texts to her palm pilot telling her where Myers. Occasionally someone will walk into the room this kid is hunkered down in and will be like, "what the fuck are you doing?" He will say something like, "watching Dangertainment," and the person will be "cool" and then start watching said horseshit. When people start dying he is convinced it is real which is the dumbest fucking shit I have ever heard. This kid shouldn't be allowed to watch TV. There is also this infuriating scene where the camera guy is setting shit up in the Myers's House and Tyra is talking to him and what not. The camera is on and she can see everything that is going on. Except when Myers shows up and kills the guy she dances around her trailer making coffee. "What the fuck is happening?" is all I can say. Then there is the scene where Busta kung fus Myers and then shocks his balls in the final fight at the end. It was almost funny, and sort of is remembering it, but at the time I watched it, it was just infuriating.

This chick is cray
Best kill is the kid from American Pie. He was trying to get laid by the annoying crazy blonde girl who later gets decapitated in front of everyone when they think this is still a goof. She previously screamed in a crying wolf situation which is fucking cliche and fucking stupid to get everyone's attention I guess and pisses everyone off (though it doesn't come back to bite her in the end or anything) and then sort of acts like she is into American Pie dude and that she is going to show him some tit. She pulls her shirt up a little and then laughs like an idiot. American Pie dude goes to the bathroom to bitch in front of the mirror when out of nowhere Myers busts through, scaring the piss out of me, and stabbing dude. It is a legit scare.

MVP, god, IDK. Probably JLC. She is a fucking pro and all and does fine for the little she is in the movie and what she has to work with. She catches Myers in one of those snare traps that loops around your leg and hangs you upside down. So there he is swinging and what have you when she remembers that other guy she killed. She goes to rip his mask off to be sure when he grabs and stabs her. She kisses him and falls to her death. Ladies and gents, the death of Laurie Strode. The movie is a huge piece of shit but she is fine. Also, the guy that plays Myers, Brad Loree, does a pretty serviceable job. People that were not awesome include everyone else. Especially Tyra. Jesus fuck, man, is she worthless.

Overall, the movie is so bad that they had to reboot. I'd just ignore this film altogether. Even if you are a completist, you'll still better off leaving this out and treating H20 as the true ending of the film which this completely undoes, making the guy Laurie kills some dipshit EMT. And we are done with the Halloween francise until the new one comes out here in a couple of weeks and then next year when I rewatch the Rob Zombie movies.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Re-Animator is the greatest film of all time

Re-Animator. Remember seeing bits of it as a very small child but didn't know what it was for close to a decade. Remember the headless guy wearing a fake plastic head (why wouldn't he just put his real head back on if he was going to go through all the trouble?) and the scene where the body puts the head between the chick's legs to commit a sex crime. This highly disturbed me but I remembered it though had no idea what the name of the movie was. That was until 1999 when American Beauty came out and sex offender Kevin Spacey talks about that scene with another character. "Oh yeah, that's the name of that movie," I thought. Years went by before I finally watched it all the way through. That came in 2007 when I was in grad school living with a bunch of weird kids in a home like the one the two main characters share in the flick. Only it was the international house, no idea how I ended up there, and there were like eight of us. And no one was banging the Dean's daughter, at least in our house, to my knowledge. But I related to these adult students out there doing their research while on financial aid and all that. Special Edition of the movie had just been released. Bought it on a whim with money I didn't have. Needed to see that shit. Came with a glowing highlighter that looked like a syringe. Came in handy as I was in grad school and all. Humble brag. But I an awful student. Complain-a-brag. Although it disturbed me even more as an adult with that sex crime and all. But overall it was weirder and better than I expected. In fact, greatest film of all time.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.

Pros: Totally groundbreaking in terms of gore. Jeffrey Combs is over-the-top and makes the film with his odd hilarity. Barbara Crampton is a pretty lady (unfortunately, bad sexual things happen to her). The zombies and kills are pretty solid. As are the performances. Started the whole HP Lovecraft renaissance (I don't know enough about him to say this for sure but I'm pretty sure he was an antisemite and without him we wouldn't have Scientology so maybe not such a good thing... But Cthulhu!).

Cons: Some disturbing sexual stuff. Also some animal violence.

Here's the gist... Medical student Herbert West, played expertly by Jeffrey Combs, creates a serum that reanimates dead brain tissue. His roommate, one Dan Cain played by Bruce Abbott, and his roommate's girlfriend, the daughter of the Dean, Megan played by the lovely Barbara Crampton, eventually discover that West has killed and is experimenting on Cain's dead cat, bringing it back to life. Impressed, Cain goes to the Dean with the research which gets his student loan revoked and West kicked out of school resulting in them sneaking into the morgue to bring a corpse back to life. Once the corpse kills the Dean, their medical professor, Dr. Carl Hill played by David Gale, who is jealous of West and Cain , West for his invention and Cain because he wants to bone Crampton, tries to steal the serum which gets him killed. For some reason West decides to bring Hill back which results in him immediately attacking West and creating his own undead army, resulting in some wild ass shit.

Directed by Stuart Gordon who did go on to do some other shit, most notably Castle Freak, he hasn't directed a film in over a decade, which is fucking bananas. Regardless, "creator of Re-Animator" will surely be on his tombstone, which sure as shit is nothing to be ashamed of. Loosely based on the 1922 Lovecraft novelette Herbert West–Reanimator, it was originally supposed to a theatrical stage production which all the actors rehearsed for, knowing their roles extremely well that totally shows through in their various performances, but was revised as a television pilot before getting retooled into a feature film at the last minute.

Some shit I'm not about in this movie is that cat that is dead in the fridge is a real dead cat. Way too much for my sensitive ass. I'm hopeful it died naturally and what have you. But still. No like. I love little kitties, especially my Richard Parker. West, who did the killing, is just like "what are you doing in my room" when they catch him. They are all "what the fuck, bro, you killed my cat" but don't really flip out like they should, sort of buying his story about her getting her head stuck in a jar and suffocating. I'd probably be throwing him out of the house forcibly if I were in said situation. 

Several candidates for the best line. One comes when Hill is going on about how humans are "dead" after the brain has been depleted of oxygen for 11 minutes or whatever and West is getting all pissed, which would be weird. As Hill goes on, West keeps snapping pencils, pissing Hill off and breaking his concentration every time he does it. Finally, raging, screams out, "Mr. West, I suggest you get yourself a pen!" Or when West finally kills Hill and tells Cain "I had to kill him." Cain: "He's dead?" West: "Not anymore." But my fave is when the disembodied head of Hill is talking shit to West about how he is going to win the Nobel Prize by stealing West's invention. West has two killer lines here. They are: "Who is going to believe a talking head? Get a job in a sideshow." Burn.

Best kill, for me, is not only the most gruesome, it's also the most satisfying. It's the one at the endish when the Dean, a crazed reanimated corpse himself, smashes Hill's head with his bare hands, ripping it apart at the eye sockets, and then throws it against the wall for good measure. The one with Arnold
Schwarzenegger’s real stunt double, the beast they turn in the morgue played by one Peter Kent, is also pretty solid. After he kills the Dean, Combs takes one of those surgery buzz saw things and puts it through his chest.

Best scene is not the most memorable. Most memorable you know before I even mention it. It's the one where Hill's decapitated head goes down on a screaming Crampton. It's a hard scene to watch. First, the Dean, her father, now undead, plops her onto a gurney and removes her clothing so that that could happen. Then it does and she is fucking screaming as he licks his way down from her breasts to her vagina before it finally stops. It is fucked. If you listen to the audio commentary for the movie everyone--the one I listened to featured stars Abbott, Combs, Crampton, Robert Sampson who plays the Dean, and producer Brian Yuzna. In it Sampson said that Gale "felt spiritually bereft" after the scene and expressed how awful the whole thing made him feel. His wife, however, didn't think he felt bad enough according to Yuzna who said "after the first screening she split on him" and never came home after seeing the film. That, IMO, though, is not the best scene. That would be when West, Cain, and Megan think they have the upper hand on Hill and are about to put an end to his out of control murder spree and what not when Hill reveals that he has reanimated all the corpses in the morgue and lobotomized them to better control their minds. All hell breaks loose here. Shit gets cray with gore and chaos everywhere. Easily my favorite scene in the movie. And though it is something you know is going to happen, it still comes as sort of a surprise with the way they set it up. Spoiler. But I shan't give away how it concludes which you can probably figure out.

Combs is the obvious choice for MVP though Gale gives him a run for his money. Also Crampton, like Combs, has some real horror chops and is great in this, but she is no Combs. Honestly, I think everyone is great in this as Abbott is pretty much perfect too. But it is Combs that delivers all the great one-liners and is so fucking believably weird and neurotic. Perfect creep, this guy, and has been used as such in every film he's been in ever since. Just saw him do his dog and pony show in the show Stan Against Evil which I highly recommend. It's a show about these a retired New Hampshire sheriff, played by John C. McGinley who was Dr. Cox on Scrubs, who teams up with his replacement, a lovely actress I've never seen before named Janet Varney, to battle evil in their tiny New England town. Made me love it even more that they bring in people like Combs and other guest stars from cult horror flicks. Love that guy. Also, this movie.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Ritual is the greatest movie of all time

The Ritual. Netflix original. Brittish film. Based on a book of the same name. Imagine it works pretty well as a book. But who the fuck has time for that. Genuinely pretty scary in a slow burn sort of way at first and then in a completely different way at the end. In more of an awed "oh shit" way at the end. So completely different levels; both work equally well in this flick. We get isolation, witchcraft, cults, a terrifying creature. Plus it's a pretty good fucked up male friendship movie. A lot like Deliverance and The Blair Witch Project with a bigger budget and better effects. Great little flick, this movie. Greatest film of all time even.

Rotten Tomato Consensus: Director David Bruckner makes evocative use of the Scandinavian setting and a dedicated cast to deliver a handsome -- if familiar -- horror story.

Pros: Pretty solid tension. A lot going on but it all comes together and makes sense in the end. Does a good job of putting us there with the group by presenting various mysteries and such that we figure out with the hikers. The creature at the end is dope AF and completely original/unexpected.

Cons: I've read some pretty polarizing takes on the end. I thought it was solid minus the way they creature treats the survivor dude which I'll get to below. Have a little weirdness in there for what feels like it's own sake that they don't explain at all.

Gist of the thing... Also, since this is newer, spoilers. Four buddies (with what appears to be no hiking experience) get together for a multiple day hike in backwoods Sweden after the fifth among them, Robert (Paul Reid) was killed in a robbery gone bad. One of them, Luke played by Rafe Spall (he was the guy that got his arm broke by the worm in Prometheus and was Yann Martel in Life of Pi [shout out to my cat, Richard Parker]), was present for the killing and there are lot of bad vibes among them based on the guy not doing more, both from the group and his own guilt. Whilst on the trip they discover some unsettling shit that should have sent them right back from whence they came before spending the night in a creepy house with some obvious cult stuff going on in it. From there they are stalked by some sort of forest creature and picked off one by one until two of them, Luke and Dom played by Sam Troughton whom no idea, survive. Those two end up in a rural community that worships the creature that ends up being part Norse deity.

Staring in the film are Spall and Troughton as Luke and Dom (who is the biggest bitch I've ever seen) respectively, with Arsher Ali (who was one of the main tourists, Hassan, in Four Lions) as Phil and Robert James-Collier (who looks like a sexy Jaime Lannister that was in Downton Abbey, which I hear is popular) as Hutch rounding out the last of the group. The was directed by a seemingly up and coming director in David Bruckner who previously worked on segments for the anthology films Southbound and V/H/S and previously directed a film called SiREN which I haven't seen but is supposed to be solid.

It's a pretty good premise, this movie. I liked the way the movie flowed as you go farther and farther from where you'd think this movie would take you. At first it seems like an isolated in the woods movie. Then a cult movie. Then a Predator type movie. Then a torture porn type movie. And, finally, an insanely cool monster movie... And all of it worked. Plus the monster looks and is amazing. More on that later as it is definitely the MVP of the flick.

Best quote of the movie comes from good old worthless Dom. Early in the movie when one of the dudes wants to take a shortcut, he says "My old scoutmaster used to say 'If the shortcut was a shortcut, it wouldn't be called a shortcut, it would be called a route'." Words to live by right there.

All the kills are more or less the same. Only difference is that in some of them we see the creature and in others we don't. Best of these, I'd say, is probably the one we see full frontal at the end when the village is burning down. Luke, having escaped and set fire to everything, including these little human avatar things in the attic that are unexplained and creepy as shit, watches it from afar. This lady bows down to worship the god, an act that usually saves them, but in this case the demigod lifts the her up with his little arms and gently impales her on a tree and we see it. All it's terrifying and awful glory.

Favorite scene of the movie is at the very end when survivor dude Luke is out in the woods with the monster. The monster, actually half Norse god, is keeps trying to force Luke to worship him which is a bit petty for a god but whatever. It keeps forcing him down on his hands and knees but Luke keeps getting up and fighting it which is pretty much suicidal. This keeps happening until Luke gets a weapon, an ax, and attacks the thing, pissing it off. But it buys him enough time to separate himself from the god and gets to the outskirt of the forest which the god cannot cross into. Luke, triumphant after just besting a fucking god, is fucking amped. Screaming at it all like fuck yeah. After all the shit he has been through it is pretty satisfying, intense scene.

MVP is 100%, as stated, the monster which is not a monster at all but the child of Norse mythological's Loki. First decent look we get at the thing is when the insufferable Dom is tied up, on a stake as an offering to the demigod, and he has a vision that his wife has come up to the camp looking for him. He is all, "what the hell" and she is sweet to him and stuff. But then, suddenly, it's not the wife but this truly horrifying thing (we don't get 100% clean shot here yet). And it does the thing and that's the end of Dom. It is creepy as shit, Dom is tied up on the little stake thing, thinking he is fucked with all the village people down in a prayer type position. He is simultaneously incredulous and terrified when suddenly his wife shows up. He relaxes and is like, "what are you doing here?" She grabs his face and acts sort of sweet to him when he sees that this is actually the monster or whatever and starts screaming. It is fucked and terrifying. It then picks him up and kills him. Picking him up and impaling him on a tree. And we still don't know what the fuck.

If you want a solid explanation of the mythology behind the demigod, this Forbes article is pretty thorough. Below is probably the most pertinent section:  
Characters in Norse mythology tend to shapeshift with alarming frequency, and the only defining trait of the jötunn seems to be that they are enemies of the gods. But not always. 
Either way, the beast is also described as the spawn of Loki, which is interesting in itself, as the Loki in Norse mythology is way more intense than Tom Hiddleston. The real Loki is completely chaotic - a malicious, mischievous, shape-shifting trickster who sometimes plays the hero, often the villain, and usually, is just messing with the nature of reality. 
Loki fathered a menagerie of nightmarish creatures - his children include Fenrir, the monstrous wolf that is destined to devour Odin during the apocalyptic battle of Ragnarok, Hel, the half-rotting goddess of the Underworld, and Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, which is long enough to wrap itself around the world and bite its own tail.