CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS is the new one from writer/director Joe Begos. I previously reviewed his first two features, ALMOST HUMAN (2013) and THE MIND’S EYE (2015), but I’ve been sleeping on his 2019 double whammy of BLISS and VFW. Nevertheless I had to see his new one as soon as it hit Shudder because it’s Christmas horror. There’s a timeliness factor.
It’s a low budget movie but seems huge and lush compared to those other two I mentioned. It continues in the same tradition of filtering a specific ‘80s horror aesthetic through Begos’ brain, now with more dialogue and humor. But I wouldn’t call it a comedy. After the comical advertisements that open the movie and introduce the absurd horror premise, there aren’t really jokes. The laughs come from the characters themselves being funny. Otherwise it comes across as very serious – an odd choice that I like. (read the rest of this shit…)
This year I celebrated Halloween by taking the day off of work and watching a witch-themed triple feature. This is not something I ever thought I’d do, because I’ve always had that issue with historical witch movies where it kinda bothers me to pretend there’s a such thing as witches, since that’s the superstitious bullshit that real life tyrants used as an excuse to torture and murder many innocent people in this country and elsewhere. But there were a couple witch-related movies I’d been thinking I’d like to rewatch, and at the same time I’d been thinking about my late mother, who loved to dress as a witch every Halloween. She painted her face green and glued on a warty latex nose with spirit gum. Some of the younger kids in the neighborhood were terrified of her, but she got a kick out of it. So I dedicate this witch-a-thon to her.
I chose to view them in order of when they take place: first Rob Eggers’ THE WITCH (1630s), then George A. Romero’s SEASON OF THE WITCH (1970s), and finally Robert Zombie’s THE LORDS OF SALEM (twenty-teens). (read the rest of this shit…)
Well whaddya know, Rob Zombie made a PG-rated movie version of The Munsters. It’s a Universal direct-to-DVD-and-blu-ray movie, also released to Netflix on the same day, and to be honest the trailer looked pretty cheesy to me. Pre-release word I’d seen had been dire, and a pretty dull opening stretch had me worried, despite it immediately capturing a strong classic horror look.
But hot damn, by the end I really liked this one. In fact I might’ve loved it. It has that thing I always respect in a movie: it’s something that no other director would’ve thought to make, or would’ve wanted to make, or would’ve known how to make. This is an idiosyncratic horror auteur reviving his childhood favorite sitcom in defiance of the fact that it’s a style of show and humor that are completely out of fashion. He doesn’t feel the need to turn it into something hipper or grittier or more modern. It’s just shameless cornball humor. But also he doesn’t tone down anything about his cinematic style (other than excluding the foul-mouthed redneck stereotypes talking about skull fucking or whatever). It’s very much the same The Munsters we know but also it’s also the Rob Zombiest Rob Zombie movie possible – a beautiful two-headed beast of a thing. (read the rest of this shit…)
The psychotic Firefly clan – introduced in Rob Zombie’s HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003) and made more vivid in THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005) are finally back in 3 FROM HELL, another mix of sun-soaked fugitive murder spree and stylized cartoon that’s at least a little bit of a comeback for Zombie after the crowd-sourced 31 (2016). That one had nice cinematography and performances but it was such a limp “I guess this is the kind of shit you expect from me?” greatest hits throwaway I couldn’t even muster the enthusiasm to write a review.
Since 3 FROM HELL is not as good as REJECTS, and not as big of a leap from its previous chapter, it doesn’t feel entirely necessary. And that makes it harder to ignore the hollowness of these movies. As far as I can tell they’re not saying much, just trying to be provocatively inappropriate, and they’re less about human beings than about Zombie’s fetishes: weird clowns, redneck chic, tattoos, bushy beards, satanic symbols, Manson Family nostalgia, ’70s rock montages, kitschy western gear over cheeky retro-t-shirts, black and white monster movies playing on old TVs. But I can appreciate most of that stuff, so I can enjoy an occasional dip into Zombie’s distinct mix of uncomfortably fucked up shit, cool visuals, some laughs and some stretches where you realize you’re too invested in these terrible people and feel like an asshole. (read the rest of this shit…)
I didn’t even realize THE LORDS OF SALEM was coming out this week until somebody told me. I never saw an ad or saw the trailer play before another movie. When I saw the Anchor Bay logo at the beginning I thought, “That’s weird, why is the new Rob Zombie movie being distributed by the company that only does barely-released-or-advertised horror like HATCHET or BEHIND THE MASK?” After the movie was over it kinda made more sense.
There are many things I liked about this one. Oddly enough I like that it stars Zombie’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie. She was a major character in all his other movies, but in this one she’s the center of the whole story and often alone on screen. I like that because it’s unusual to see an adult, tattooed, dreadlocked white lady as a lead. You see ’em around but they don’t usually make movies about them. Nice to have something different sometimes. (read the rest of this shit…)
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