I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Archive for October, 2009

Psycho II

Friday, October 30th, 2009

tn_psychoiiPSYCHO II is the best sequel ever made to a Hitchcock movie, better than THE BIRDS II: LAND’S END, NORTH BY NORTHWEST: RETURN TO RUSHMORE or even VERTIGOS. That’s faint praise though, since I actually haven’t seen the first one and the other two don’t exist as far as I know. What I’m trying to say is, no matter how prejudiced you might be against somebody sequelizing a classic like PSYCHO, this is actually a really enjoyable sequel, a clever and suspenseful tribute to Hitchcock and to the character of Norman Bates as portrayed by Anthony Perkins.

It’s 22 years after the events of PSYCHO. Norman Bates has been in an institution, having been found not guilty by reason of insanity, but is now considered fully rehabilitated. Against the petitioning of Lila Loomis (formerly Crane, and still played by Vera Miles) Norman is released. His doctor (Robert Loggia) seems to truly care about and believe in his mental stability, but regrets that cutbacks prevent society from having more social workers to look after him. For Norman’s sake and for ours. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Psycho

Friday, October 30th, 2009

tn_psychoYou guys ever seen this one called PSYCHO? It’s Alfred Hitchcock’s take on PEEPING TOM. Good shit. Check it out.

The weird thing about watching PSYCHO is that after you’ve already seen it (which in my opinion you have) the biggest trick is already given away. I’m not talking about the ending, the solution to the mystery. I’m talking about the fact that about half of the movie is all mis-direction… Marion Crane is unhappy, so she takes off with $40,000 of her boss’s money. Is the cop onto her? Will her boss know where she went? Will she decide to give it back? In a normal Hitchcock movie it might be about the money, but we know it’s not about the money. The money is not even the mcmuffin, it’s the red herring. We know not to really get invested in this because there is a little matter of something that happens in a motel shower that makes the money irrelevant. We know that and we still watch it again and again.

But with this hindsight we can also notice other things going on: the talk of Marion having to turn her mother’s picture around when her boyfriend is there, her co-worker (played by Hitchcock’s daughter) talking about her mother calling to check up on her… everyone has a mother lingering in their life from afar, overseeing things. But not quite like Norman does. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Texas Chain Saw Massacre vs. Contemporary Art

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I was walking downtown the other day when I strolled past one of these fuckin things:

bodiesexhibitionIn the building that used to be The Adidas Store they now have a bunch of plastinated Chinese corpses posed as if they’re playing chess and football and shit. This is one of two very popular travelling exhibits. It’s been through here before, I’m sure most of you have heard of it (or even seen it), and they even had James Bond run through one of these type of exhibits in QUANTUM OF SOLACE. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This Is It

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

tn_thisisitAs a Michael Jackson fan who stuck with him in the later years, I was always dreaming about the comeback he could have some day. I never really believed in my heart that I’d get a chance to see him live, but maybe on DVD. I was so excited for those 50 shows he was gonna do in London, and nervous about what would happen if he wasn’t feeling up to it. There are still a million lingering frustrations about all the possibilities that were cut off when Michael died four months ago. But one of the more dramatic ones was this series of shows he called This Is It. He was so close. And we’ll never get to see the exclamation point on the end of that sentence.

So as a fan it’s a comfort and a blessing to see this almost-concert movie made up of footage taken during his rehearsals in Los Angeles. I mean, I would’ve loved to have seen this even if he hadn’t died, but as the rough draft to his last ambition it takes on extra importance. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Night of the Creeps

Monday, October 26th, 2009

tn_nightofthecreepsMan, I knew everybody loved NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, but the way people talked about it I always figured it was some nostalgic grew-up-in-the-80s thing like GOONIES or heavy metal. No, it turns out NIGHT OF THE CREEPS is truly fucking great! You guys should’ve been more clear!

It’s a movie with a really unique feel. The only thing it reminds me of is RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, but for nerds instead of punks. It has a similar tone of funny-but-serious, similar stylishly cartoonish effects and puppet zombies (see thumbnail), similar confident visual style and storytelling. It lets the horror unfold a piece at a time (aliens, ax-murdering escaped mental patient in the 1950s, cryogenics, zombies, space slugs) and it just seems to know what it’s doing so I never questioned that it would all come together and make sense. And it did. It’s just great writing and directing – Fred Dekker, I forgive you for ROBOCOP III. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

New York Ripper

Monday, October 26th, 2009

tn_newyorkripperMan, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck… oh wait, this guy doesn’t walk like a duck. But the title slasher of NEW YORK RIPPER is a guy who makes quacking noises while killing, and in taunting phone calls.

Franco and Josh both recommended this Lucio Fulci movie to me, and I remember years ago when I first saw MANIAC somebody suggested it to me then. I gotta admit I don’t think it’s exactly good, but it’s definitely unusual and enjoyable to watch once. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Night Brings Charlie

Monday, October 26th, 2009

tn_nightbringscharlieslashersearchI tell ya, I’m as shocked as you are that a movie called THE NIGHT BRINGS CHARLIE doesn’t turn out to be the great unknown slasher gem I’ve been searching for. I mean, people love a killer they can call by his first name, like Jason or Freddy. Informality = terror. And that’s what they got here, they got Charlie. It seemed like they thought of everything, but for some reason the world gave them the cold shoulder. I’m sure around ’88 they were kicking themselves that they didn’t call him Chucky and make him a killer doll and do a way better job.

(Oh wait – I just looked it up and this movie came out in 1990. Are you kidding me? As in the 1990s 1990? Incredible.) (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Mute Witness

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

tn_mutewitnessThere was once a promising new director on the scene named Anthony Waller. This was the ’90s, the Miramax Dynasty, when Hollywood executives searched for promising young directors like prospectors looking for gold, and here’s this Lebanese born British guy who independently made a well reviewed thriller called MUTE WITNESS. Not too arty either, real energetic, funny, violent. Pretty commercial. They scooped him up, signed him on to direct AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS, and for some reason nobody ever talked about him again. Weird.

Okay, he shouldn’t have made that sequel, but actually it had some moments. I always meant to see MUTE WITNESS, but never did until now. So let me be the very last to say “this kid shows promise!” (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Meateater

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

tn_meateater

(this isn't really a slasher movie, but I thought it was gonna be)
(this isn’t really a slasher movie, but I thought it was gonna be)

THE MEATEATER (1979) is a pretty good really bad one I found. I looked up the director, writer and lead actors and none of them have any other credits except the leading man Peter Spitzer had a small part in a Cannon movie the same year called GAS PUMP GIRLS. I can’t vouch for that one, but THE MEATEATER has a certain charm to it because you can tell they’re trying hard but the amateurish acting, dialogue and pacing make it feel more like an Ed Wood movie than like other low budget horror of the era.

The story is about a Florida traveling shoe salesman named Mitford Webster (Spitzer) who comes home one day, makes his wife come out on the porch (maybe they weren’t allowed to film inside?) and complains about being unfulfilled. Then he checks the mail and oh what a surprise, he bought a movie theater in some town somewhere. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

The Hills Run Red (2009)

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

tn_hillsrunredTHE HILLS RUN RED probly isn’t a new classic, but I think it’s a solid DTV horror and a good take on the “meta-slasher” sub-subgenre that includes SCREAM and my unfavorite BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF etc. etc. This is another one about people making a documentary, but thank the Lord Christ it’s not presented as a documentary. Tyler (Tad Hilgenbrink, some guy from DISASTER MOVIE) is a film school nerd obsessed with a 1982 slasher movie called THE HILLS RUN RED (wait a minute… that’s what this movie is called! what on earth is going on here?). It was supposedly so horrifying it was pulled from release. The director and all prints of the movie have been missing for over 20 years. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.