Saturday, May 27, 2017

Recent Bloomington addition to 3rd

Pretty colors added to downtown Bloomington on 3rd between Madison and College. Sprang up right before graduation.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Why Horror? is the greatest movie of all time

Great documentary that is totally recommended from one horror fan to another. This is director’s Tal Zimerman love letter to the genre and is much appreciated. A lot of it delves into horror’s popularity and why it has remained so popular from its origins in art and the written word to video games, comics, and film. He goes to great pains to show how fans are misunderstood. We are generally not the psychos that some of us appear. We just like being freaked out in a completely safe environment.

Something funny that Zimerman brings up is the movie Summer School with Mark Harmon which features these two horror fans that are basically the weird kids. In the film they do a lot of special effects and freak people out. It was a lot cooler than I am making it out to be. But I totally wanted to do that shit when I was a kid. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one as these characters were universally beloved among horror directors growing up at that time. Something else that is not quite as surprising but is cool is when they talk about the first movies that scared the shit out of them. Seems like more often than not that movie is The Exorcist. Yeah, I thought I was immune to horror before they rereleased it while I was in high school. No, I was not. 

Not only does Zimerman speculate on why we like getting scared, he even talks to scientists and psychologists about the phenomenon. The most interesting part of his research is what one professor calls the “Snuggle Theory” which explains why its good to go to a horror movie on a date. Your endorphins get amped up and you tend to seek comfort from the one that is closest, in essence. Sounds like pseudoscience but I’ll roll with it. 

The cameos he gets for the film are insane. big names like Eli Roth, John Carpenter, and George A. Romero do interviews, Elijah Wood does some narration, he also has lots of up-and-comers and many big names in foreign markets all talking about the “only genre that affects you the rest of your life.” Really makes me want to check out a con this summer and decorate my room with horror memorabilia. If you are fan of the genre, you’ll probably dig it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Alien: Covenant is the greatest movie of all time

Aw shit. Covenant is easily the scariest installment of the series since Alien. It was fucking tense, yo. It's no Alien or Aliens but it's really, really good. Like any good horror movie I was pretty uncomfortable at times. But what makes it dope is how much it has stuck with me and made me think about it. The ending is totally something you see coming from a mile away, but then you don't, but then you do, so forth. Like most the movie, it’s predictable, but not. Sure it’s more people going to a planet and getting themselves picked off, but it is also the origin of an old testament god. Here be massive spoilers. 

Pros: Casting was flawless. Fassbender is amazing. Lots of beautiful people including the chick that is in all Ti West's movies. Has made me think more than any other movie in recent memory. 

Cons: Total bummer of a movie. Couple of cliches. Some unreasonable idiocy. Not much in the way of character development with a few exceptions. 

Disclaimer: There are massive spoilers below.

Notes: First off, it is good to know in 100 years people still know John Denver songs and use GoPro 3s. Siri, by that point, is also pretty advanced. As we see in the opening scene, the droid from Prometheus, David, Michael Fassbender, comes online in an Adam meeting god moment. Except the god here is Guy Pierce, founder of the Weyland Corporation. They talk about how he created David and what not and David is all like, “isn’t it weird you are going to die and I will live forever.” Guy Pierce is like, “get my tea, bitch.” Implications here are clear. Essentially: “you are here serve me. I made you for this purpose.” But David has ambition. 

Basically, David is the secrete protagonist of Prometheus. If you think you understood Prometheus, well we think that shit. In retrospect, that movie is bleak as fuck. In Covenant, we are seeing the origin of a godlike power. And he is a vengeful god. He'd rather make his own life rather than play with what’s already around. He is on some next level shit. That is Covenant's big mistake. Not recognizing that his ambitions are godly. He is the robot version of Kurt Russell in Guardians Vol 2. My favorite part in Prometheus was when David met the space jockey and spoke to him in his native tongue, the space jockey is then like, “aw” and pats his head but then totally just rips it off. It was fucking hilarious. David, however, did not think that shit funny. He is basically above all this shit. He obviously had no respect for his creator and by extension humanity. Now, moving on to mankind’s creator, no respect for them either. So now when he goes with Elizabeth Shaw, who he kills and experiments on after she put him back together, to the planet inhabited by the architects and literally reigns shit down, their own bioweapon, on top of them, killing all nonbotanical life on the planet.

During his alone time on the architect planet, David keeps busy by cultivating facehuggers which he finally gets to use on Dr. Manhattan to make the first xenomorph. That scene is fucked. Right before we have this Neomorph, the product of the bioweapon alone, which is now airborne, infecting a host. It has killed at least a couple of people at this point but David talks to it and sort of calms it’s murderous rage for a moment. At that time the guy who played Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen shows up and mows the thing down. David is PISSED. “He trusted me!” he screams. Dr. Manhattan is all, “I need to know what the fuck is going on.” David is like, “well alrighty then.” Takes him to see the pods. One opens up. David is like, “don’t worry, it won’t hurt you,” and he is looking down into it and of course the facehugger is swirling around. All 10 or so people in the matinee showing I was at were like, “you fucking idiot!” We know what comes next, you see. And it does. Dr. Manhattan is passed out with a chestburster ready to go. David wakes him by chucking rocks at his face. He wakes. David acts like a dick and then we get the first xenomorph. It’s cheesy as fuck with David teaching it to raise it’s arms like an asshole. If I know one thing about xenomorphs, it is that they are not trainable.

The Weyland-Yutani Corporation is all over the place with these robots. Covenant has it’s own iteration of the David robot, this one named Walter. He is also played by Fassbender, who I stress was fucking amazing in these roles. Walter is the less insane, more predictable model. He is stronger and less murderous as he does not have the ability to create. It's like if every other generation of iPhone were pure evil. Except instead of spamming your contacts, it kills everyone on the planet and tortures you to death for fun. That too is my idea of a good time. Me and David should party. I could teach him about Shelley (I was a Romantic poetry scholar in a past life). He could teach me about the flute. We can listen to Wagner together. Good times. Won't let him pour my drink though. 

Anyway, David sees Walter as a brother that too lets him down. When they get together we get some Fassbender on Fassbender action. They kiss, which was weird, and David teaches Walter to play the flute, saying something like “you blow and I’ll do the fingering,” which was hilarious. But they end up fighting over David’s desire to “kill all humans” Bender style. It should be no contest, Walter is the updated model after all, but they are basically even, to my annoyance, which causes shit to get complicated at the end. 

Katherine Waterston, the survivor girl whose recent credits include the Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice (where she is blonde and tan) and that Harry Potter prequel, is a pretty lady that they make look as much like Ripley as they can. Actually everyone in the movie is flawless looking with the exception of maybe Danny McBride, but even he isn’t normal person hideous or anything. She is solid and the first half of the movie more or less follows her.

I’d say McBride sort of steals the show but with Fassbender that is not possible. When I saw him and James Franco were in it, Franco for all of like 10 seconds, I thought it might turn out to be a hilarious comedy which did not happen and McBride does a fucking great job. I was legitimately moved by his character which is crazy pants. 

Other than that, you don't really see them develop any of the characters. They're just red shirts. We see them long enough to learn one cliché about them and then they're dead. Some of those death scenes are fucking spectacular though. The best of the bunch is the shower death scene. It was fucking sick. 
Potentially hilarious?
All in all, great fucking movie. It’s so good it’s been hard to watch anything else. They totally shit on the Alien vs. Predator universe, which thank fuck, the xenomorphs and their precursors look fucking dope, good kills, gets you thinking, performances are amazing. This is a must own for me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare is the worst movie of all time

Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Holy shit. Why did I fucking sit through all this shit for a second time (I originally saw it when I was 10ish). The movie features a fake-son, real daughter storyline and has a few interesting cameos. It does a terrible job of world building and shits all over the continuity of that universe. Basically, New Line, the production company that put out all these movies, had more or less run the character into the ground by this point with six movies in seven years, most of them terrible. It was time to kill him off, so they thought.

There was a lot of weird shit surrounding Freddy’s Dead. Peter Jackson wrote an early script that feature a loser Freddy that kids took sleeping pills to go fuck with him. This is what they went with instead. The crew had also just come from working on Cry Baby and the director had worked extensively with John Waters. As a result of that, I’ve seen the movie described as John Waters presents Freddy Krueger. We should be so lucky.

This also really marks the turn from quasi horror to straight up slap stick comedy. But it ain’t funny. Freddy had become a joke. New Line staged a literal public funeral for the character and the City of Los Angeles declared the day before the movie’s release, September 12, 1991, “Freddy Krueger Day.” Should have been dealing with the LAPD’s systemic racism and gearing up for the soon to come Rodney King riots, I guess, but what do I know.

Pros: It’s corny enough that it is almost enjoyable. But not really. I shan’t watch this again.

Cons: Choppy as fuck. Shitty world building. Kills are weak. Freddy’s death is uncreative.

Notes: Opens with a kid on a plane. Is sort of freaking out as he doesn’t like flying. Or heights. Lady next to him tells him not to be such a pussy. She immediately gets sucked out of the plane. So does he eventually. Falls forever. Hits his house. Wakes up in the house. Looks out the window. The house is falling now. This exact scene happens another time later on. It feels like it happens so many more times than that. Freddy is flying around like the Wicked Witch of the West. “I'll get you my pretty, and your little soul, too.” House crashes into the ground. He’s fine though. Now he's running around. Falls down this hill. He falls forever yelling like, “wah, oh, woah, wowah,” so forth. Comes to a theater. Bob Shaye is the ticket taker. Freddy hits him with a bus. Knocks him back into the real world. Hits his head on a rock. Gets amnesia. Goes by John Doe for the rest of the movie. There is a cutout of him in the dream world. This is our setup. We are watching a cartoon.

Optional musical accompany: The Looney Tunes theme

Meet the cast of kids who live a few towns over in a group home. Deaf kid named Carlos. Kickboxer (which is equated with kung fu) chick named Tracy. Breckin Meyer, the dude from Road Trip and Clueless who is that same stoner in this film as well. This social worker chick, Maggie, who has Freddy the man dreams, it’s obvious from the beginning it’s his daughter. Parker from Alien who is a live-in doctor of some kind.

Hoping John Doe might remember more about his past, Maggie and him road trip to Springwood where Fredddy has killed all the kids. Breckin Meyer, Carlos, and Tracy all snuck in the back of the van. Life in Springwood basically revolves around the dead kids as everyone is going to fair and the high school and such. Roseanne and Tom Arnold show up at the fair. Roseanne freaks out. Is all, “I want my kids back,” and rubs her head all over them. Tom is like, “uh, don't pay attention to her, kids.” They are like, “uh, okay.”

Maggie and JD are off to the high school while the others are supposed to go back to the group home. They immediately get lost as they are living in some sort of weird looping bubble. While they are driving around aimlessly, Carlos is put in charge of the map. He falls asleep, of course. Still dealing with the map like a champ though. Keeps unfolding and unfolding until it fills the back. Once he gets to the center it says, “You're fucked.” He wakes up. Tracy is like, “what the hell does the map say.” Carlos retorts, “It says we're fucked,” which was actually great.

Meanwhile, over at Springwood High, Maggie and JD visit a history lecture that is ongoing but without children in the classroom. Here Maggie looks at all these newspaper clippings on the wall that are all child murders. She is like, “huh, they happen every 10 years” which doesn't make any sense. Here though, I was like, “wait, that is sort of interesting. Maybe it's like It where Pennywise is like forever old and comes back and kills or whatever.” It's here that the history teacher is all, “time for some Freddy 101, 'fourteen-hundred and ninety-two, Freddy sailed the ocean blue.'” My reaction is still like, “huh, that could be pretty cool.” Then he goes on, “fourteen-hundred and ninety-three, Freddy sailed across the sea.” Here I am like, “oh, this stupid.” Yet he goes on, “fourteen-hundred and ninety-four, Freddy came back for more.” Maggie acts like this is totally normal.

We get some kills around then. Everyone ends up at the Freddy house for some reason which shockingly still for sale. Hearing aid kid, Carlos, gets killed. It sucks. His head explodes when Freddy gives him an evil hearing aid and scratches a chalkboard. He does it like such an idiot. Looks like he is on ecstasy. Carlos disappears. Tracy is freaking out. Breckin Meyer is high as balls on the couch. Tracy can't deal with his incompetence and leaves. He passes out on the couch watching a smashed TV. Johnny Depp pops up. Giving a PSA. “This is your brain; this is your brain on drugs,” one. Freddy shows up at the end and kills him. Says to Breckin Meyer, “let's trip out, man.” It's lame. Sucks him into the TV and they are basically in this fighting game against each other. This fucking scene. Straight up cartoon. Total slapstick. Breckin Meyer is actually in the game while Freddy plays it from outside. When jumps Breckin Meyer jumps he makes that “boingy, boingy, boingy,” from cartoons as well as other Looney Toons type noises. It's doing this shit that I tried to ignore before where what he does in the dream happens in the real world. It happened with Carlos too as he was walking up stairs in the dream that weren't there IRL. It's obvious this can't be ignored at this point as Breckin Meyer is boinging up to the ceiling and flipping around and stuff. Here Freddy starts using all these Nintendo slogans which they were apparently not thrilled about. While playing the game with a joystick Freddy says, “Now I'm playing with power.” But he sort of loses to Breckin Meyer that when he whips out the “power glove” which was a product Nintendo really had at the time. With that he is able to murder Breckin Meyer, finally. Oh course he says dumb shit like “great graphics” and “I beat my high score.” Lame. While this happens, IRL, Breckin Meyer jumps down a flight of stairs and falls into a bottomless hole at the bottom. Maggie is standing right there but puts forth no effort to save him. This is the point I ask myself, why am I watching this shit?

At some point Tracy kicks Freddy in the crotch and he gets a whole vendetta thing going with her. Freddy has a lot going on here. Also find out that Maggie is Freddy's daughter, which has been so telegraphed. Kills John Doe in a replay of that house falling scene, then Freddy sort of like possesses Maggie. Not this shit again. We also keep hearing this song that irritatingly similar to "Mars, The Bringer of War but is not in fact that song. Feels almost over but there are 35 minutes left.

Back at the group home no one remembers the people that died even though there are like half a dozen people there. The doctor though, he can control his dreams and remembers. Cool. Maggie finds out she was adopted for real this time. Didn't this already get confirmed. She starts getting flashbacks of childhood when Freddy was raising her. She also remembers him killing her mom by repeatedly hitting her head on a tree. The dream becomes real and she is all like, “you can't leave Springwood.” But through some loophole where he entered her earlier he can now. Says to her “Every town has an Elm Street,” which based on the seven different cities I have lived is true in my experience.

Freddy gets in Tracy's dream. She was sexually abused by her dad and Freddy uses that against her. It is low, even for Freddy. Freddy and her get it on. He says to her “Kung fu this, bitch,” as you'd expect, but she lives. Gets in the doctor's dream, too. This is the first time I can remember him getting into someone's head that was past the early 20's age range. Freddy cartwheels about the room and kung fus him. It's weird. He then cuts off his fingers again. Must really like this effect. Just as dumb as when they did it in the original. The doc rips off a piece of his sweater. Tracy and Maggie wake him up. He has the sweater. They get the idea to bring him into the real world and kill him “for good.” This is the most inconsistent universe. Just roll with it I guess. Best not to think too much about it because it's dumb.

Making the movie lamer
They work 3D glasses into the plot. Maggie uses them in the dream world somehow. I don't know. The point was that when she put them on, the movie turned 3D when you watched it in the theater. They have a lot of just obvious perspective shit to use for the 3D. Maggie somehow gets in Freddy's dreams, what, and we start seeing what he dreams about. We see him getting taunted at school for being a fucking sociopath and killing animals and shit. Yeah, fuck that kid. Now we see Freddy in high school. Alice Cooper is Freddy's adopted dad. He beats him for some reason. Whips off his belt and smacks him over the chest, saying “it's time to take your medicine, boy.” Freddy laughs and responds with the obligatory “thank you sir, may I have another” line from Animal House. We eventually get to where the towns folk burn Freddy to death. Earlier in the movie Freddy talks about how demons came to him and offered him eternal life if he kills kids in their dreams. Here we see that happen. You'd it would provide some detail. Maybe at the very least explain some of what they are about and shit. Nurp. When Freddy is on fire the shittiest CGI pieces of shit like swim up to him and pretty much verbatim say “hey, wanna live forever and kill kids? Then let us inside you.” He says ok and there you have it.

Eventually we get to the end, finally, and they pull Freddy into the real world and finally fucking kill him in the most absurd way possible: they stab him with a stick of dynamite and it blows his head off. There is so much horrible CGI in this ending it is incredible. You may think you know shitty CGI. You know nothing without seeing this movie. And that is it. So ends the run of shitty Nightmare on Elm Street movies... Just kidding! There are three more! One is actually good though and one is a reboot. But you get what I mean. 

Visual representation of what I mean