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Posts Tagged ‘Lucky McKee’

All Cheerleaders Die

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

A week or two ago, when I reviewed Lucky McKee’s Lifetime thriller KINDRED SPIRITS, I said I’d watch anything by him because of how much I loved THE WOMAN. But after I wrote that I felt like I was a little full of shit because I knew he did a movie that I hadn’t gotten around to yet. So I got around to it. I watched ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (2013) on Shudder, but I think it’s also on Tubi, if that helps you to watch along at home.

I know I should’ve watched it a long time ago. I guess I hestiated because the title sounds like a comedy, and it sounds like it’s about a thing that’s not all that interesting long before you get to my age. And he’s only co-director and I thought it was some previous unfinished thing because I remembered that title being on his IMDb profile a million years ago. (read the rest of this shit…)

Kindred Spirits

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Note: since many of us are on lockdown I want to make sure some of the things I review are extra accessible. I watched this one streaming for free on Tubi (and I’m sure you can get it without ads elsewhere).

When Lucky McKee directed MAY (2002), he became one of a wave of promising new 21st century horror directors. He hasn’t received as much attention as Eli Roth, Rob Zombie or some of the other guys who started at the same time, maybe because he hasn’t ended up being as prolific. But he’s got a permanent place in my hall of fame because THE WOMAN (2011) is My Favorite Horror Movie of the 2010sTM. So I’m interested when he comes out with a new one.

Last time it was one called BLOOD MONEY in 2017. If you heard about that one, and it wasn’t from me, I’d be surprised. It’s a straight to video/streaming thriller about some young people finding a bunch of money in the woods and trying to get away from the gun-toting hedge fund jerk it belongs to, played by John Cusack. Obviously I prefer the thorough originality of THE WOMAN, but I also dig when a good director can follow a pretty standard genre template and craft it with bits of nuance and personality that you don’t expect. In particular I was impressed by some of its gender themes, by the performance of Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: the tv series) and that the only woman in the movie gets to be the Tupac-in-JUICE character who pushes them into danger. (read the rest of this shit…)

Darlin’

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

So there’s this character called “The Woman.” Growling, feral berserker covered in grime, part of basically a modern day lost tribe, wild cannibals living like savages in forests, hills and caves, occasionally invading civilization to hunt meat or steal children. She was created by Jack Ketchum, I think for the book Offspring, though that’s a sequel to Off Season, which I haven’t read, so maybe she’s in that too. In the 2009 film OFFSPRING she was played by Pollyanna McIntosh, who later played Jadis on The Walking Dead and Angel on Hap and Leonard. I didn’t think OFFSPRING worked, but I’m glad McIntosh was so good in it that they made her survive and let Lucky McKee direct a sequel in 2011. He wrote both the movie THE WOMAN and a book version in collaboration with Ketchum.

In that story, a middle class dad spots The Woman while hunting, captures her, chains her up in his shed, tries to so-called civilize her. It’s an outrageous allegory about misogyny and generational abuse, and when I rewatched it last year I thought it was even better and more relevant than it seemed when it came out. It holds up as one of the best horror movies of the 2000s.

Now The Woman is back in DARLIN’, released today on blu-ray and dvd. It’s another interesting standalone story and it’s written and directed by McIntosh herself. There are some funny behind the scenes shots in the extras with her directing in full costume or in civilian clothes but caked in dirt makeup. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot

Monday, April 8th, 2019

THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT is not the wacky SHARKNADO type bullshit that the title may bring to mind, but instead an odd, humble little character piece about aging, regret, loneliness and sacrifice. Its greatest strength is that it stars Sam Elliott (or as I call him, The Man Who Mentored Dalton and then Fought The Hulk). He plays Calvin Barr, who many decades ago gave up the love of his life (Caitlin FitzGerald, Rectify) for an important WWII tracking, infiltration and assassination mission that he could never tell anyone about, and in his old age has failed to either feel good about what he did or find another purpose for his life. Its second greatest strength is that it attempts the daredevil feat of telling us that outlandish alternate history tale, following it with his being recruited to save the world by finding and killing a sasquatch, and not treating any of it as something to laugh at.

Who does that? And who pulls it off? In this case it’s a first time feature writer/director named Robert D. Krzykowski.  (read the rest of this shit…)

Blood Money

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Lucky McKee is a director who’s been on the radar of horror fans for about fifteen years, since he broke onto the scene with MAY. His second one THE WOODS was only okay from what I remember, but I liked his Jack Ketchum adaptation RED. He probly doesn’t share my affection for it – he was fired for publicly unexplained reasons and a different director finished it – but his Ketchum assocation continued when he produced the adaptation THE LOST and actually co-wrote THE WOMAN with the author, based on one of his OFFSPRING characters. I think THE WOMAN is McKee’s best and most interesting by far, but in the ensuing six years he’s only done a couple silly things (ALL CHEERLEADERS MUST DIE and a segment of TALES OF HALLOWEEN) and I haven’t heard much about him.

Now all the sudden here comes a generically titled thriller for the VOD/DTV market and if you bother to check the credits then sure enough, there’s Lucky McKee. I assume it was never intended for wide theatrical release, because John Cusack (THE CONTRACT, WAR INC., THE FACTORY, THE NUMBERS STATION, THE FROZEN GROUND, THE BAG MAN, DRIVE HARD, THE PRINCE, RECLAIM, CELL, ARSENAL) plays the villain. It ‘s possible that it was a for-hire gig for McKee, since he’s written most of his previous movies, while this one is credited to Jared Butler and Lars Norberg. Both seem to be debuting as writers, but Butler voices the Johnny Depp characters (Jack Sparrow, Mad Hatter, Tonto) in a bunch of Disney video games! As far as I could tell he didn’t bring any of that knowledge to this story.

It concerns three college age kids who grew up together, now reunited for a camping trip, and they find some bags of money. And of course Cusack is the dangerous guy the loot belongs to, who tries to get it back from them. It’s a premise we’ve seen many times, but that’s because it works. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Lost

Friday, October 26th, 2012

THE LOST pulled me in right away. On the screen it says “Once upon a time, a boy named Ray Pye put crushed beer cans in his boots to make himself taller.” And to the tune of what sounds like an old rock ‘n roll tune (but is actually a modern song I guess – the time period of the movie is indistinct) we see these boots strutting awkwardly toward an outhouse. Their owner surprises a buxom young girl (Erin Brown, better known as Misty Mundae) on her way out, buck naked. “I thought we were alone out here,” she says, embarrassed. He asks her if she has a cigarette.

This could go different ways, but since the movie is based on a Jack Ketchum novel I think you can guess it’s gonna be one of the bad ones. After they part ways Ray (Marc Senter) hornily spies on the girl and her female companion (Ruby Larocca) before going back to his two friends Jenn (Shay Astar) and Tim (Alex Frost, who I didn’t recognize as the main kid from Gus Van Sant’s ELEPHANT). And he does that horny thing – he can’t stop thinking about what to do with these girls, but he keeps circling around trying to play nonchalant for a while before he tries to convince them to go look at these girls, which clearly doesn’t please Jenn. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Woman

Monday, February 6th, 2012

tn_womanHonestly all I knew going into THE WOMAN was who made it, that it was supposed to be really good, and that some dude flipped out when he saw it at Sundance and had to be removed as he yelled that the movie had no value and should be burned.

The director is Lucky McKee (MAY) and he wrote it with the novelist Jack Ketchum, who he also collaborated with on RED (the good RED – sorry Bruce). I liked both of those movies quite a bit, but this is McKee’s best work yet. It’s surprising and it’s darkly humorous and it’s the rare horror movie that works without following the template of any previous movie, at least not one that I can think of. So this is one of those reviews that I recommend you don’t read yet unless you either already saw the movie or don’t plan to see it. I didn’t see a trailer or anything and I was glad I didn’t really know what it was about at all. (read the rest of this shit…)