Archive for 2007

Eaten Alive

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

2-disc special edition DVD review

NOTE: If there are out-of-place references in this review it’s because I originally submitted it to The Ain’t It Cool News. However, due to its controversial nature (i.e. nobody gives a shit) they didn’t run it so here it is.

This week the 25th anniversary edition of Tobe Hooper’s POLTERGEIST comes out, you may have seen that mentioned once or twice. But this week also marks another important landmark for Tobe Hooper: the two week anniversary of the release of Dark Sky’s EATEN ALIVE (aka DEATH TRAP) special edition. (read the rest of this shit…)

Someone’s Watching Me!

Friday, October 5th, 2007

John Carpenter is on my list of top directors. HALLOWEEN, THE THING, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THEY LIVE – all by the same guy? Not to mention DARK STAR, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA… well, you have IMDb. Point is the guy has done a tone of what I consider classics, and most of the rest are real good or at least pretty interesting. I’ll watch any of them. I watched BODY BAGS last year. I watched MEMOIRS OF AN INVISIBLE MAN, and it wasn’t too bad actually. The two MASTERS OF HORROR episodes he did with my internet buds Moriarty and Scott Swan were cool as far as TV goes. Even VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, I was surprised, that was pretty good too. And CHRISTINE. The guy is good.

So a couple weeks ago I realized, shit, I’ve seen all of ’em except ELVIS: THE MOVIE. I’d been meaning to rent that one and so that day I finally decided to do it, get everything on the John Carpenter list crossed off. It was a 3 hour TV movie originally but the VHS release is a 2 hour theatrical cut. It’s slick and well made and it’s basically every musician biopic cliche all lined up in a row: the discovery of talent, the loyalty to old friends, spending money on the naive parents, the first girlfriend who leaves him, the new love, winning over her parents, the honeymoon is over (why the fuck you gonna marry Elvis and then ask him to stop doing music!?), the fall from grace, the amazing comeback. (read the rest of this shit…)

Eastern Promises

Friday, October 5th, 2007

Viggo Mortensen is a damn contortionist of the face. He stretches and twists that motherfucker from regular Viggo face into badass Russian gangster face. His eyebrows and the lines on his forehead turn into an arch. His mouth twists and curls into an arrogant smirk. The slash-like lines on his cheekbones suck extra deep into his skull. I could’ve sworn the motherfucker even created a dimple on his chin somehow, like through some weird breathing technique, but I checked photos and it turns out he already had that. But it fits his character well. That’s just the chin dimple a Russian gangster like that would have.

After all those years of great supporting performances, and then hitting the lottery by being the king that returned in RETURN OF THE KING, now he is getting the roles he was born for. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE is my favorite of his movies so far, so I’m glad he’s reteaming with Dave Cronenberg here. Hopefully they will continue to collaborate for at least one more movie, it could be known as “the Viggronenberg Gangster Trilogy.” (read the rest of this shit…)

The Apartment Complex

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

It’s October 1st, when I like to start binging on horror movies to prepare me mentally and spiritually for my annual wishing I had something to do on Halloween. But this time I’m in a new apartment building so I decided to watch this Tobe Hooper picture I never seen called THE APARTMENT COMPLEX. It’s made-for-cable and only on VHS but it’s also the start of Hooper’s recent “doesn’t suck as bad as you’d think it would” period. So it’s historical.

Chad Lowe plays some dipshit psychology student who becomes the manager of a weird apartment building with strange goings on. It’s not eerie, atmospheric horror but that goofy post-Twin Peaks thing where all the characters are eccentric and it’s supposed to be dark and funny. There’s some twins, a police psychic, a possible murderer (Patrick Warburton), a shut-in, a crazy but possibly wise homeless man, a pair of insane stuntwomen, R. Lee Ermey, etc. Also there’s an ordinary young black couple, I’m not sure where they fit in, except maybe to show that white people are crazy. The previous manager was obsessive compulsive and he disappeared, so Lowe has to dig through all the crazy shit he left to try to solve the mystery. John Polito plays the sleazy slumlord who hires him and obviously he’s the right guy to play that character but then his name is “Dr. Caligari” which is just stupid. (read the rest of this shit…)

Death Sentence

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Kevin Bacon plays a regular ol’ businessman guy whose son is randomly murdered in a gang initiation killing/convenience story robbery by tattoo-having, muscle car-driving, meth-dealing fantasy skinhead gangsters. When it becomes clear that the killer will only get a few years in prison he decides not to testify so that the case will be dropped and then he hunts the guy down and murders him. That is why it is called DEATH SENTENCE. The end.

Wait, no. My mistake. There’s more. Even if it’s obvious, even if it’s corny, what makes this movie cool is the gimmick that the good guys and bad guys reflect each other. In the scene where Bacon’s son is murdered, the older gangsters call the killer “my boy,” like Bacon would’ve at his son’s hockey game. They’re proud of the little guy. You know what they say about gangs, even phony movie gangs like this: they’re like a family. Bacon has a family member murdered, so he gets revenge. But that means the gang has their family member murdered, they must get revenge on him, so they come after him and his other son and his wife, and then he has to get revenge on them for trying to get revenge on him for getting revenge on them. (read the rest of this shit…)


Friday, September 28th, 2007

Well, I guess now it’s officially a pattern. The pattern goes like this:

  1. small independent horror movie plays a few small film festivals.
  2. People on the internet go ape shit because they got to see it first.
  3. Buzz spreads for a year or so.
  4. Anchor Bay (#1 releaser of horror movies in the VHS days) buys rights, gives tiny theatrical release.
  5. I see it on DVD.
  6. god damn it, why don’t they make good ones anymore

This pattern started with BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON and fortunately this one is not as asinine as that one. It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t cut the mustard. Believe me, I wish it did. I see mustard everywhere and I want nothing more than for that mustard to be cut by a movie like this. But just being above the standards of the DTV giant snake movies is not a horror resurgence. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Reviews The DEATH PROOF DVD!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Since this showed up at my house, I’ve screened it three times. I hate that they are not putting out GRINDHOUSE together, but I really like the international cut of DEATH PROOF, and I know that sooner or later, I’ll be able to own the same thing I saw in theaters this spring. It’s just not right now, and I guess that’s just the way it fucking goes.

Vern’s got a typically strong write-up of the disc for you today, and it was nearly as much fun to read this as it was to watch the disc:

For me GRINDHOUSE was one of the great theatrical experiences of 2007. A rare modern instance of filmatists trying to put on a real show, and giving you more than your money’s worth. Two movies for the price of one, plus fake trailers – an affordable night or afternoon out. Yeah, I read about how it failed to make money for the Weinsteins, but guess what? That’s what happens when you spend decades buying other people’s movies so you can cut them, dub them, retitle them, sit them on a shelf for years, and then only allow them to be rented at Blockbuster. When you spend that long doing that many cruel and unusual things eventually your bi-yearly good deed will fail for you too. Because you are an asshole. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern is sympathetic to those in ZOO – the yearnings, the love… the bestiality.

Monday, September 10th, 2007


ZOO, directed by Robinson Devor, is a movie you might’ve heard of when it played Sundance last January. For some reason it had a very limited theatrical run, it was not really given the same chance a SPIDER-MAN or a SHREK would get to catch on with the public, but fortunately THINKFilm releases the DVD September 18th.

I really liked Devor’s first movie THE WOMAN CHASER. That one, COCKFIGHTER and MIAMI BLUES are the only movie adaptations of my favorite writer, Charles Willeford. Patrick Warburton is so good playing a bored used car salesman turned desperate embezzler/nihilistic independent filmmaker that I have a hard time not picturing him as the lead in other Willeford books as I’m reading them. I can’t recommend that movie enough, but unfortunately it’s never been released on DVD, and good luck finding the VHS. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Vs. SHOOT ‘EM UP!

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007


Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Perhaps the single most important piece of film criticism we’ll publish this month. You don’t have to like me or Harry in any way to love Vern. He’s always been one of the most distinct voices we publish here, and there are certain films where I look forward to his opinion in particular.

I know a lot of you wanted to read a HALLOWEEN review from him, and he’s published one at his fantastic world-famous blog now. But I think it’s more important to be able to present his review of the film by Michael Davis that we’ve been talking about for a while now. Vern’s a stubborn, passionate fan of action films, and I knew that he’d approach this movie wide open to it. Seems like he really got it, too, enjoying it for any number of reasons and on several levels. This was a great read, Vern. Thanks for always raising the bar with each review.

We all know HARDBOILED is one of the greatest action movies of all time. This has been discussed, voted and agreed upon officially. But for all the time dedicated to honoring that movie, not much has been set aside for the HARDBOILED poster. Remember the first time you saw that, before you saw the movie? What more did you need to see? That simple, perfect, iconic image of Chow Yun Fat (whether you knew who he was then or not) holding a gun in one hand and a baby in the other – that should’ve been enough. It doesn’t tell you everything about HARDBOILED, but it tells you alot. The theory of badass juxtaposition at its most basic symbolic level – one man holding life and death. Good and evil. Innocence and violence. Machine and flesh. Yin and yang.

More importantly, the guy is holding a baby in one hand and a gun in the other. Forget what it means. Concentrate on what it is. (read the rest of this shit…)

Halloween (2007)

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

please deliver to:
Michael Meyers
Spooky old Meyers house
Haddonfield, IL 61764

Dear Michael Meyers,

Vern here. Big fan. Going way back. I watch HALLOWEEN once or twice a year. Part 2 once every couple years. Part 3 every once in a while, even though it’s lame that they wouldn’t pay you enough to come back for that one. 4 and 5 I watch once every 3 or 4 blue moons. Part 6 I watched once in a theater and once on producer’s cut video and that’s quite enough of that shit, thank you very much. Part 7 I actually like, mainly because of Laurie getting away, deciding she can’t run for her whole life, going back, chasing you down and lopping your god damn head off. No offense. And then part 8 I saw on DVD and if I could I would become a child, dress up as a clown and sneak into that movie’s bedroom with a knife. Not that I would get off on that or anything, it would just be the right thing to do. You would hate that one too because they burn down your house. (read the rest of this shit…)