Friday, February 28, 2014

Lo (2009) [The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense's The Shortening]

A guy named Justin travels to hell to find his girlfriend April, who was kidnapped by demons. Justin summons demon Lo, and asks it to find April, a request the creature finds laughable. Despite Lo's attempts to dissuade him from his search, Justin is adamant about finding April, and may find out more than he bargained for...

Lo, a 2009 black comedy-horror by Travis Betz of the internet comedy troupe The Babyeaters, is definitely a film I enjoyed from beginning to end!

The film is very minimalistic, as it's all set in the same place, with total pitch blackness surrounding the character of Justin. There are a couple of flashbacks, and a musical number,but they're very play-like, and still shot in the same place as the rest of the movie. When we do finally see a real location at the very end, it's a bit trippy. The play feel for Lo is effective and different than what one usually sees in movies.

The film has a disturbing tinge to it, what with being set in hell and all, but it's also very funny, and full of dark humour. The demons are hilarious, from the dialogue, to the delivery. Actors Jeremiah Birkett (Lo) and Devin Barry (Jeez) do great jobs!

The rest of the acting is definitely good. Ward Roberts makes for a likeable lead, and Sarah Lassez is good at being both quirky and serious.

Lo's voice is a little hard to understand sometimes, but mostly, he's fine. The same goes for the kickass song sung by demon Jeez. It's hard to make out what's being sung at first, but you'll be able to understand most of it just fine, and you'll want to. It's great fun!

The demon effects (practical-no CGI on display here) look great! They're seriously on par with the likes of Hellraiser, which is especially impressive, given the seemingly micro-sized!

Unfortunately, not all the effects in Lo are good. The props in the curtain scenes of the musical number were less than convincing, even for the play-like nature of the film, and that scene in particular.

The plot is great! The ending doubly so! This film manages to be funny, disturbing, and sad, and it never feels confused or cluttered with its tones.

That's all I have to say about Lo. Given the kind of film it is, it's not really one I can talk about at length. I recommend it wholeheartedly. You need to watch it! Right away! And then watch it again!

This post is for The Shortening, a blogathon set up by Emily of  The Deadly Dolls House of Horror Nonsense.

Frogs (1972) [The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense's The Shortening]

Frogs is a 1972 killer-animals film wherein nature is angry at us for what we've done to the planet, and wants us all fucking dead! Granted, I don't know why they're singling out humans-Nature is a dick to itself!

Freelance photographer Pickett Smith (Sam Eliott) is out in the swamplands/everglades of wherever, doing his job when siblings Karen (Joan van Ark) and Clint (Adam Roarke) accidentally knock him out of his canoe with their motorboat. They invite Smith back to their nearby family estate, where family patriarch Jason Crockett is celebrating his birthday.

Despite odd things that start happening, and the discovery of a corpse, Old Man Crockett is still dead set on going through with his birthday celebrations. The build-up of frogs is getting out of hand though. But there's no trouble, they'll be gone for migration by next year...if there is a next year...

There's evil in his eyes...rr-r-ibbit DUN-DUN-DUN!

As hilarious and absurd as the idea of frogs killing people sounds, this movie doesn't pay off in that regard, but I still found Frogs to be an enjoyable sit. Unfortunately by the time the horror starts going into gear, the movie's almost over. It's not like the film's ever boring (to me at least), but I wish that the good stuff would have started sooner. Also...

...I wish the damn frogs actually killed people! They don't kill anyone! They seem to be in control of all the other animals (and apparently went for to the same supernatural electronics apprenticeship that Jason Voorhees took), but the only thing they do is ribbit around a guy until he falls over...wherein nothing happens to him! According to Wikipedia, said character has a heart attack, but there's no indication in the movie that that's what happens, especially since this character wasn't indicated at all to be Sweet Dee capable to heart attacks.

While I did like the movie, I agree that is is Ed Wood-ian at times, like with the constant shots of breathing corpses, people turning blue and rotting even though they've only been dead a minute, a fake plaster hand when someone gets biten by a snake, and the hilarious death scenes! Unlike, say, Plan 9 or Bride of the Monster though, the effects (that is, the animals) are all great! Nowadays, a nature-run-amok film would probably pussy out and go all CGI (There's no reason the makers of Life of Pi couldn't have vetoed spending several million dollars on subpar CGI in favour of just getting a trained tiger!), but here, the animals are all real, and they look great! And as far as I know, this movie didn't pull a kingdom of the Spiders and kill the animals for the movie. Though maybe the froggie cast members were afraid if such an eventuality, because most of them escaped during filming...Could it be they were massing to enact a real life plan of evil?!...

Like I said, the death scenes are pretty funny. In one, when running away, one character trips and accidentally shoots himself in the leg! Then he gets killed by evil moss that smothers him alive. And when another guy is in a greenhouse, a group of lizards knock down several glass jars of poison, creating a deadly cloud. Instead of just going to the door and, I don't know, opening it and leaving, he instead goes over to the fumes, leans down, and practically breaths them in as I can only assume the script said he had to try and fan it away! There's another which is so poorly staged that it looks like the guy is successfully wrestling the crocodile, rather than being rolled and eaten.

The characters here aren't exactly dickheads (well, minus Mr. Crockett) but they are pretty bland, and I can't say I went "GOOOOOSSEEE!! YOU WERE TOO YOUNG!" when they died horribly.

There are a group of characters near the end who go off on their own attempt to escape, and they're vaguely implied to have died, but it could be taken either way.

As for Mr. Crockett. he's a goddamn idiot! A corpse is discovered, and he wants it covered up 'till his birthday's over with. His grandson is discovered dead, and uncaring, he still wants to celebrate his birthday party. The whole island is being atacked by nature and he still wants to! His characterization goes beyond stupid and into just plain bad writing.

While the music can be a bit repetitive at times, Frogs has good scoring, which helps build up an eerie feel. It's just a shame that by the time 'eerie' stuff starts happening, the climax is already here, and BAMmovie over... The opening credits, which are of Sam Elliott snappng up picture of wildlife for four minutes, are boring at first, but they pick up when he starts taking pictures of various pollutants in the river, which is thematically nifty...and then it promptly gets boring again soon after, and stays that way.

Sam Elliot is a decent lead, and shockingly doesn't have the bear known as his moustache on his face at all! Without it, his face, doesn't look natural!

Joan van Ark is a good actress here, and she's super-hot!...And no, I haven't seen photos of her in recent years, with all the horrible plastic surgery she's gotten, nor do I plan on doing soWHOOPSTOOLATE! Dammit, van Ark, why couldn't you have aged gracefully?!

*By the way, when getting screenshots, I went scouring through this movie looking for a good shot of Joan van Ark's ass to snap up (I am a guy, yes), but unfortunately I couldn't really find any that made for good screenshots.*

Ray Milland is also good as the asshole alpha male, although he doesn't look old enough to be a grandfather of anyone over ten/fifteen, let alone thirty and over! The rest of the acting is decent. Nothing bad, nor was I ever annoyed by any of them.

I recommend Frogs. While the script is a missed opportunity, as is the lack of killer frogs, the film is still good for a laugh. So, to conclude, the moral of the day is be kind to all nature, all creatures great and small!...Except for snakes. Fuck them.

This post is for The Shortening, a blogathon set up by Emily of  The Deadly Dolls House of Horror Nonsense.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dead and Deader (2006) [The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense's The Shortening]

Since appearing in Lois and Clark's All New Adventures, Superman has had a prolific film career in the Direct to Video market, and for good reason-he's fun, charismatic, and he picks entertaining movies to be in! If you want to watch a recent Jim Wynorski (Deathstalker II, Chopping Mall, etc.) film that's not a mindless sexploitation flick, then watch his offerings with Superman!

And so I come to the movie I'll be talking about tonight, 2006's almost House of the Dead sequel Dead and Deader...

A military team comprised of Lt. Bobby Quinn (Superman) and three others have been deployed in Cambodia to investigate an aid facility, which they find mysteriously dilapidated. Soon enough, they're attacked by flesh-eating zombies. The squad holds them off at bay, but a lone survivor of the camp lets off a grenade to kill the undead, and everyone dies. Later, as Bobby, now in American military base Fort Preston, is about to be autopsied, he suddenly wakes up. Despite all his vitals telling him he's dead, he's alive and perfectly fine, and even has enhanced abilities, like super strength. He almost loses it all when a strange scorpion inside him tries to burrow to his heart, but he cuts it out in time and kills it. Sensing that his comrades weren't so lucky, he locates one of his squad, now a zombie, who's in the kitchen attacking cook Judson (Guy Torry). Together they kill the zombie and the people it's bitten and turned, but the head of the base thinks the two are murderers, and they go on the run. Now fugitives, Quinn, Judson, and new accomplice, barmaid Holly (Susan Ward) have to find the last source zombies, and get to the bottom of what's going on...

I had a lot of fun with Dead and Deader. It's an extremely entertaining watch!

The movie's sort-of a horror-comedy. The movie's plot is serious, but characters are jokey and pretty lighthearted, in a good way. I especially like humour like this as it's exactly how I write crime stories-The plots are always serious, but I always have fun with the characters.

Some people feel that the movie is full of weak jokes, but I disagree. True, the lines never put me into hysterics, but I felt they were moreso lighthearted than outright ha ha funny. It kinda reminded me of comic series The Second Life of Dr. Mirage in that way. There are some pop culture references, which I didn't mind, even if they aren't exactly subtle sometimes (heat vision, Dawn of the Dead comparisons).

The plot is relatively simplistic. Point A, to Point B, to Point C, and back again full circle to Point A. Though Dead and Deader's biggest problem lies with the plot. Why don't the high-ups of Fort Preston believe Bobby's report on what happened with the zombie soldier and the mini-outbreak. It doesn't make sense why they don't believe him-There's three zombie corpses, weird dead infecto-scorpions, the coroner's report, the other coroner's report, the coroner (remember him? He ain't dead!), and Superman himself-just check his pulse!

One thing I definitely liked is a subtle (and I do mean subtle) foreshadowing to the film's climax, which I found very effective!

Bobby Quinn is an entertaining lead, and a well-written character. Nothing Shakespearean, but still good. Obviously Superman's good in the role. He's always fun to watch. Especially funny is the goofy voice he gets when he goes meat hungry (a nasty side-effect to Quinn's living dead-ism).

As for other characters, the villain isn't it the movie until the last third or so, but there was good dialogue, story, and implied backstory behind the character.

Also, I think it sucks that a...certain character...dies near the end. I liked her. I felt she was a good fourth person to the team.

The acting's all good. As I said before, Superman makes for a likeable lead, Guy Torry is a fun sidekick, as is Susan Ward as Holly (and we see her in her panties, so, *wolf whistles*!). Armin Shimerman is in the film briefly and his character just vanishes without mention, and Natassia Malthe is ok. Also, apparently Brent Huff is in this movie somewhere-hot damn, I'll have to keep out a sharp eye next time I watch this!

The zombie make-up is good, and the gore is fine. There's plenty of it! Not a lot, but enough.

The score is pretty great, although I didn't much like the song that played over the ending credits.

As this is a made-for-TV movie, a lot of the scene transitions are TV style fade to commercial break. Some are awkward, but they're fine for the most part. Also, this film has an opening credits sequence! And I don't mean just blank text over the movie, but an actual credits sequence! Good for a TV movie, and impressive for this day and age! Granted, this movie was made eight years ago, so maybe opening credits were still a thing back then. They sure aren't now! There's nothing, no credits or title cards, in movies these days (maybe a credit sequence at the end), and with DVD releases, they just add a clumsily edited title card.

I highly recommend Dead and Deader. It may be no Shaun of the Dead, but I'll take zombie action comedy any day of the week! I love action! Another thing I'd like to recommend is that you watch this along with Dead Heat! They're a perfect double feature!

Oh, and I suppose I should probably refer to Dean Cain by his real name at some point....

This post is for The Shortening, a blogathon set up by Emily of The Deadly Dolls House of Horror Nonsense.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Seven-Percent Solution (1976)

My past review of these two TV movies, as well as this will indicate, I am a 'slight' Sherlock Holmes fan. I've read and loved the stories, I've seen all fourteen Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce movies, I've  watched Sherlock, waited for Sherlock, gave up on Sherlock, and have just discovered the fantastic Elementary! As for today, I'll be talking about 1976 Nicholas Myer (based on his own novel) film The Seven-Percent Solution...

The movie is about Dr Watson's concerns about his friend and colleague Sherlock Holmes, who is dangerously addicted to drugs, to the point where he's delusional, and thinking his old maths tutor Professor Moriarty is an evil criminal mastermind. Watson, with the help of Holmes' brother Mycroft, lures Holmes on a false trail to Vienna (as Watson knows that Holmes would only go to 'the continent' at this time if he thought he was following Moriarty), where addiction specialist Dr. Sigmund Freud lives.

As Holmes struggles with his addiction, and tries to find a kidnapped starlet, what repressed memory is responsible for his feverish obsession with Professor Moriarty?...

The Seven Percent Solution is not only a great Sherlock Holmes story, but it's also a well-written deconstructive take on the series, which focuses on Holmes' dependence on cocaine (present in the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories).

If you've read The Final Problem, then you'll find this movie to be extremely intelligent. You see, Professor Moriarty doesn't actually appear in The Final Problem, other than a flashback recounted by Holmes. Even the final fight between the two arch-enemies happens entirely offscreen*. And Holmes' paranoid ravings in Seven-Percent are word-for-word the same as what he says to Watson at the start of Final Problem. And come the end, the film also has a fine explanation of not only why Holmes became a detective, but also what the source of his indifference to women is.

*Wow, The Final Problem was really poorly written, wasn't it! Especially since it was meant to be the permanent conclusion to the Sherlock Holmes series. Funny how it only becomes a well-written story if you take the continuity of a movie made 90 years later into account

Nicol Williamson makes a fine Sherlock Holmes, although his voice is a bit grating at times around the start, when he's erratic, but that goes away after the first ten or so minutes. His is one of the best Holmes' portrayals out there, thanks in no small part to his portrayal of a side to the detective not often seen in iterations of Sherlock Holmes, if anywhere else at all (I'm not counting Elementary, since in that, he's already recovered from drugs).

Robert Duvall is a strange choice for the role of Dr. Watson, but he impresses, and his English accent even sounds convincing (Not that I had to tell you that. He is Robert Duvall after all!).

And Alan Arkin is definitely good as Dr. Freud. Though I imagine you'd have a hard time watching his performance here if you've seen his starring role in 1968 non-Pink Panther Pink Panther movie Inspector Clouseau.

The rest of the acting, from Charles Grey as Mycroft Holmes, to Laurence Olivier as Moriarty, is fine, although Vanessa Redgrave, who plays kidnapped starlet Lola Devereaux, isn't very good in the film's final scene. Also, I wish that particular character had gotten more screentime. It would have helped the story, and the character (especially given the movie's ending), better.

As for the characters, Dr. Watson is fine here, and Dr. Freud is an interesting addition. He's a good character and contributes to the plot.

When it comes to the story, there are some feel that the adventure/mystery storyline halfway through the movie gets in the way of the 'Holmes' drug problems' story but I don't, because not only is said adventure/mystery a lot of fun, not only would it be a bit of a downer having a whole Sherlock Holmes film be about his serious detox struggle, but I think the two halves complement each-other, and go together well. The first half is the detoxification, and the second half is the afootness of the game, and why shouldn't this story have an adventurous mystery? It is a Sherlock Holmes story after all. And anyway, the adventure does have themes of drugs, what with the former-addict Lola Devereaux and everything to do with her, and there's the fact that the mystery and adventure is part of what helps Holmes beat his own addiction.

The film does have one aspect that might be, ah, how you say, fucking stupid. Holmes trails Moriarty to Vienna by making sure he steps in vanilla, and thanks to Toby the bloodhound, he's able to track the professor's train journey all the way from London to Austria! I have no idea if that'd work, but to a layman, it sounds like bullshit. It might be possible though, who knows.

Also, at the end (this isn't really a spoiler), when Holmes is going on an extended 'vacation' to fully conquer his addiction, Watson asks what to say in his stories (the accounts of he and Holmes' cases), and Holmes says to say that he was murdered by his old maths tutor. That's really going to screw over the innocent Professor Moriarty, given how in this universe, Watson's published accounts are fact, rather than Conan Doyle's fiction!

There are a couple of near "Oh, man, I shot Marvin in the face!" moments, given how Holmes questions a suspect while training his gun close up at the crim's head, and there's one point where he's talking with Freud, and the gun's pointed at the psychoanalyst's chest. Nicol, put the prop down!

Ad the final problem is...damn green screens! The actors at one point are in a train, and you can see that there's a green screen out the window projecting the 'outside world'. Twentieth Century, they're in a train! You can actually film them on a train, because while you're too cheap to build camera contraptions to stick on the front or sides of cars (Come on, Twentieth Century, be a Man and build a goddamn camera holder, and a sturdy one too! I could easily if you just gave me twenty minutes. Because I'm a Man!), you have all the room in the world to hold a tripod when in a friggin' carriage! There are also many obvious green screen shots during the final sword fight on top of the train, which is more understandable. Hilarious, but understandable-ish.

*By the way, this post, like some others, is imageless. This can either mean two things. Either I saw said movie on video, or, as is in this case, I taped the movie on TV. Once I procure the DVD, I shall add images accordingly.*

So, to finish, I absolutely recommend The Seven-Percent Solution. I remember the first time I saw this movie. Come the end, I had a big smile on my face! It's a great romp, and a fantastic take on Sherlock Holmes!...

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Night to Dismember (1983)

A Night to Dismember! Ain't that a fun title! But does this 1983 film made by notable sexploitation director Doris Wishman live up to that title? Not really, as there are no dismemberments, but otherwise...

According to Wishman, a disgruntled employee who just got laid off from his job at a film processing lab went back there and destroyed a whole heap of film, like he'd just seen Ju On: The Grudge 2. Because of this, only about half of A Night to Dismember survived, and Wishman cobbled together the remaining footage, got the actors back for voiceovers, filmed a couple of new scenes. With a backstory like that, you'd think that no matter what, this film would be dead on arrival, but surprisingly, it isn't!

A Night to Dismember is about the Kent family, which over the years, has been struck by several murders as various members of the family went homicidal. One such member, Vicki (Samantha Fox) is sent to an asylum after she supposedly committed two murders, and a few years later, she's released into the custody of her parents. Vicki's unlikeable brother and sister don't like the fact that she's been released, and scheme to have Vicki driven back to insanity. Meanwhile,  a new series of vicious murders crops up...

For a film with very little in the way of dialogue, the actor playing Detective O'Malley (IMDb doesn't credit him, so I don't know his name) who narrates over nearly the entire film, has a lot of weight on his shoulders, and thankfully he pulls it off.

The movie's editing is decent. A bit scattershot at times, which is understandable, given the circumstances.

The film tries to make up for the large lack of dialogue by having there be the musical score playing all the time, and it's WAY tonally off most times! For example, one scene has Vicki coming home for the first time in years, and she's nervous and highly strung-and thanks to the music that plays, it's the equivalent of hearing the theme of Welcome Back, Kotter! as Joe Zito goes crazy and gets torn apart by mannequins!

The scoring, while unsuitable for most scenes, is decent. In one part, there's a soundalike to the Caligula and Drusilla theme from Caligula, and in another, there's some good music during chase scene about half-an-hour in. Tonally fucked compared to what's onscreen at that time, but still, good...I wonder if it was original to the movie...

The gore is ok, and the editing in those scenes is so quick-cut that it doesn't focus on the effects long enough for you to have a giggle fit or anything.

It's a bid hard to gauge the acting, given that this was a film shot without sound that later got partially destroyed, but from the dubbed-in voices there are, they're ok, most of the time. Samantha Fox is a hammy as the sympathetic Vicki, but not bad. There is some terrible voice acting when Billy discovers his dead ====.

There are a couple of strange things about the movie, like when Detective O'Malley comes across a murder scene, and comes to the conclusion that Only a scorned lover/spouse could have murdered someone in such a brutal manner. What?!

Also, is the real identity of the killer supposed to be a mystery? Either there was a lighting fuck-up, because we can see the killer's face through the shadows (And even if we couldn't, we could still see the silhouette of her distinctive hair shape a few seconds prior) or said killer's identity was deliberately shown at that point. It's hard to tell

There are a couple of trippy dream sequences, which you'd probably think were made for a David Lynch movie. They're pretty decent.

And finally, call it the sap in me, but I didn't like what happens to Vicki in the end.

Ultimately, for a movie that was as screwed over as it was, A Night to Dismember holds up as a somewhat enjoyable horror flick. It's not great, but you could certainly do worse. Ever see the Crazy Fat Ethel quadrilogy?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Requiem for a Vampire (1971)

Here I am again with another Jean Rollin film. For those not in the know, Rollin was a French filmmaker who made numerous films involving vampires. His films, almost always full of nudity and sex, are noted for their slow-paces and dreamlike atmospheres.

Today I'll be looking at his 1974 movie, Requiem for a Vampire...

Requiem for a Vampire opens with two women dressed as clowns, and their male friend, who are in a car chase, driving away from people. The friend is shot and killed, but the two women manage to escape. After torching their car, the duo come across a graveyard, and a nearby castle, and soon it becomes apparent that the local gravediggers had the right idea to not stick around during the night...

Your first thoughts as you watch this movie are likely to be "Who are these people, why are they running, and who's chasing them?" and "I get it! The friggin' car is burning! Cut away!".

Requiem for a Vampire is never boring, because things are actually happening, but the lack of dialogue, and drawn-out scenes to not help. The only scenes I would call boring would be the long sex torture scene, and the initiation ceremony at the end.

There's next to no dialogue for the first fifty minutes of the movie, which some say gives the movie a surreal quality, but to me, it just makes the movie a bit of a drag.

I've heard from many reviews that this is a disturbing film with a second half full of brutal rape and torture, ain't that bad. The movie's pretty tame, and I was never disturbed (although that might just be me, because I'm me).

A few things in Requiem thematically tie in with others of Rollin's works. As for the writing, for what there is, it's okay-ish, though the reveal from the head vampire near the end comes pretty out of left field. With the story, it's barely there. This movie has the same issue that I've had with many other Jean Rollin films I've seen, and it all comes down to this-It seems that Rollin was a much better director than he ever was a writer.

One positive is the scenery. It's absolutely gorgeous! And the film is very well directed, too.

Given its lush, historic countrysde and landscape, France, as well as other European countries, are perfect for historical, or gothic horror films, like how Australia and America are perfect for locations when you're shooting a post-apocalypse movie. When in France, you just need to drive down a country road, and BAM! Old castle!

The film has an ooky atmosphere and location, but unfortunately the script doesn't complement it.

And another positive is the two main actresses, Marie-Pierre Castel and Mireille D'Argent are both gorgeous, and look just as awesome clothed as they do unclothed, which they are often, as this is a Jean Rollin film. This is akin to Leather and Whips, aka Amuck, the boring semi-giallo starring the uber sexay duo of Barbara Bouchet (Moneypenny!) and Rosalba Neri.

The acting in Requiem is fine. Nothing amazing (although Mireille D'Argent is pretty good during the whipping scene), but it's definitely passable, and never cringeworthy.

The vampire lord is an interesting but underused character, played well by whoever IMDb refuses to credit a character name to.

There's one pretty noticeable goof early on when an actor playing a corpse is obviously moving when the 'gasoline' is being poured on him.

And there are a couple of stupid character moments, like when Mireille falls into an open grave when running from gravediggers, neither of whom see her. Then they start filling in the grave, and they don't notice the woman in it! What, are they blind?! It's obvious that from where they're standing, they'd easily be able to see her.

And there's when the two leads first notice something wrong with the castle. They see a rotting corpse hanging from a noose, and when they run outside, there's a bloodied-up arm poking out of a hole in the wall, and what do they do? They go back into the castle, into a chapel with skeletal monks with bloody skullcap wounds! Dumbasses!

Rock pose!

Also-While on one hand, I could complain the the subtitler got the meaning of 'chateau' wrong, who could blame them. Chateau means castle in French, but in English, chateau means chateau, kinda like a villa, and sometimes, I think the English word of chateau can be used to mean a castle. Confused yet?

The film has one dialogue exchange between the two leads and one of the vampire chicks that I liked. "Castel: We got lost."-Vampire Chick: "Eternally lost!"

There is one stupid line in the movie, however. Vampire Chick: "Meanwhile, we'll have these two"-Vampire Lord: "No, they will be ours", Um, isn't that what she just said,  Vampire Lord?

The musical score here is decent. Nothing awesome, like Fiancee of Dracula, but serviceable.

There's practically zero blood in this movie. As for the look of the vampires...

OhmigodHAHAHAHAHAHHAHATHOSETEETH! What are those, paper scraps glued to the actor's lips?!

One little issue was with the DVD of the film (or at least, this particular DVD print). It has a weird slight rainbow interference when characters move some of the some. It looks much more pronounced when paused, but it's still an annoyance.

By the way, the UK was weird with horror films! They used to be so absurdly militant about horror films, censorship, and 'video nasties', yet back then they retitled a film with the normal, 'tasteful' title of Requiem for a Vampire to a more exploitative one-Caged Virgins, and Haute Tension, a Hitchockian title gets switched out with Switchblade Romance. What the hell, censor fuckfaces?!

So, in closing, if you want to watch a vampire film where something actually happens, then Requiem for a Vampire is definitely not the movie for you...

The review has been for Holly Horrorland's Third Annual Vampire Soiree.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

"Hey Cinderella, step in your shoe. I'll be your non-stop lover. Get it while you can. Your non-stop miracle, I'm your man. Get outta my dreams, get into my car"...Excuse me? What was I saying? Oh, A Nightmare On Elm Street! This is technically my first foray into reviewing this series. Technically in that I've reviewed two Bollywood ripoffs, but none of the official entries. Tonight, I'll be talking about second entry and series' black sheep, Freddy's Revenge...

Teenager Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) and his family have just moved into 1425 Elm Street, former house of Nancy Thompson from the first movie. Jesse immediately begins having nightmares about the sinister Freddy Krueger, who starts to take over Jesse's body...

This is a good horror film and a decent entry in the Elm Street franchise, and it got a pretty bad rap when it first came out.

There are very few dream sequences, which is the main reason why this is considered to be the black sheep of the series. While dreams are the staple of the series, I don't mind that this movie tried to be different, as that's always the better option than doing a xerox sequel. Pretty much the only dream sequence is at the start, with the bus. It's a decent opener, but a bit too over the top.

Freddy's Revenge is noted for is supposedly homoerotic subtext (with Freddy representing withheld homosexual desires). While the cast and crew deny this was the intent (the gay Mark Patton says "I don't think that Jesse was originally written as a gay character. I think it's something that happened along the line by serendipity."), one of the writers says that he deliberately put in the homoerotic subtext. The film is definitely homoerotic, and its themes would be good, but...

...Unfortunately Freddy's Revenge suffers from what I like to call Dracula's Daughter syndrome. You see, Dracula's Daughter too was a film with homosexual undertones, but it was about the vampire trying to rid herself of her 'wrong urges'. Guh, goddamn 30's! The same thing happens with this film, as in the end, Jesse is broken free from Freddy's power by the love of a girl. *sigh*

The plot here is good. There are a few issues (mainly the forced 'love' aspect at the climax), and the movie isn't a total scarefest, but it definitely has a few scenes one would find creepy.

The acting's all good. Mark Patton is good, even if his character is a non-proactive whiner with a terrible haircut. Robert Ruster is good is Grady, and Meryl Streep lookalike Kim Meyers is the best actor in the film. not counting Robert Englund. That's not to say that say that she's amazing though, she's just pretty good. Clu Gulager is unrecognizable-unrecognizable because I'm an idiot who got him confused with James Karen (his co-star in Return of the Living Dead).

The standout is definitely Robert Englund. He isn't the joking clown Freddy here, he's scary demon Freddy who you really don't wanna mess with! No one-liners here. "You are all my children now!".

When it comes to screentime, Freddy's a bit of a double edged sword. On one hand, having Freddy only sparsely appear is effective, but on the other hand, 'He only appears for a few minutes in total?!'. Thankfully while he's not used a whole lot for a while, he gets plenty to do in the last half-hour, so he doesn't feel underused or wasted.

The death scenes are pretty tame. There's some blood, but nothing as brutal and elaborate as Tina's death scene from the first movie, and nothing as gory as Glen's. Really, the death scenes are basically all just Freddy stabbing people.

The effects in this movie are great! From Freddy's brain reveal, to when he forces his way out of Jesse, they're definitely impressive! The factory at the end also looks great!

There are a couple of confusing scenes, like when Jesse, unable to sleep, goes down to the kitchen, and lightning strikes through a window and shatters some dishes, then for no discernible reason, Jesse goes into town to an S&M club. Wha?!

And there's when a scared Jesse goes to Grady's house in the middle of the night. Grady's just sleeping away when he's suddenly forced awake by Jesse. "What the fuck are you doing in my room?!"-I myself would have asked the much better question of "What the fuck are you doing in my house?!".

One weird aspect is that the early Elm Street films almost entirely call everyone's favourite dreamscape slasher Fred Krueger, not Freddy. I'm guessing the later sequels got his more iconic name down pat.

Speaking of weird, there's a big "ew! Ew! EW!!" moment at the end. You'll know it when you see it

One part that had me laughing was Jesse's dance scene to Touch Me Baby by Wish. Also, Grady's 'Yeauh!' is a word I strive to use as much as possible!

I hate the ending. It's bullshit! For one, it goes from Jesse and Lisa hugging in the factory, then abruptly cuts to sometime later, and everything is better for some unexplained reason (granted, I'm sure the Elm St. police believe in Freddy, but any other cops who read their reports of 'ghostly slasher maniac'?!) and everyone's happy. Then there's an 'Oh shit, Freddy's not really dead!' moment, which makes no sense, as 1, Freddy just fucking died, and 2, the whole point of the ending was Jesse realizing this his fear was feeding Freddy's power, and him conquering his fear. But, uh, guess not, so says this pointless shock ending.

By the way, there are two great reviews of this film that I want to recommend. There's Freddie Young's (of Full Moon Reviews), and Maynard Morrissey's (of Maynard Morrissey's Horror Movie Diary).

So, in closing, I recommend A Nightmare on Elm Street 2. It may not be the best, or the scariest entry in the series, but it's a better watch than Parts 4, 5, and 6!...