Sunday, August 30, 2015

Screams and Nightmares

It is with a heavy heart that I report that Wes Craven has passed away after a battle with brain cancer.

Words and pictures can't really convey what I feel right now.  His movies scared me and thrilled me and he created one of the most iconic horror villains ever.  He was more than just a director.  He was a hero.

A hero to all of the horror fans that were validated when Freddy became a household name and a boogeyman for the ages.  A hero to those who thought the slasher was getting stale and was revived with Scream.  A hero to those who disagreed with Roger Ebert who claimed that The Last House on the Left had no redeeming social value (edit:  A hero to those who got LHotL confused with I Spit on Your Grave... do the research, Bob).  A hero to the folks that said, "I'm going to make monsters because Wes did it and the world thought it was cool."

Craven was a visionary and his dark visions both terrify and comfort us as horror fans.  They are familiar terrors and they are remembered with a fearful love.

Rest in peace, Wes Craven.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Game Fucking Over

Stomach bug day 3:  I'm delirious.  I have to be.  If I weren't delirious, I would not have wasted the last 2 hours of my life watching what is, quite possibly, the biggest piece of multi-million-dollar-budgeted, diamond-studded, horror-adjacent, five-alarm-chili-in-a-porta-john-after-a-Miralax-smoothie SHIT I have ever had the misfortune to witness in my 43 years on this planet, PIXELS.



YES, I'm counting Battlefield Earth.  Don't judge me.

Also, YES, alien invasion movies count as horror-adjacent, even if they DO star Adam "Man-Child" Sandler.

Pixels started out as an internet short.  See Below:





Now that you've witnessed the awesome, let's bring it right back to the suck-tastic world of Adam Sandler's frat-boy money machine.

Let me get this straight.  Adam Sandler plays a person who, in 1982, had the mental acuity to see all the patterns in every video game in existence like some kind of quarter-hoarding Stephen Hawking (along with his friends, the conspiracy nut and the kid who is only good at the claw machine).  He manages to lose the championship with Donkey Kong because there's no patterns at the higher levels and thus begins what is, apparently, the downward spiral that is his life until he's in his late-forties, divorced and unhappy and working as an audio-video installer, a la Geek Squad.  His claw game friend, however, manages to end up as possibly the worst President ever (akin to if Dan Quayle would have won) and the conspiracy theorist still lives in Lainie Kazan's basement pining over a video game character in a manner that would have CSI over there in a goddamned heartbeat if she actually fucking existed.

For real?

Oh, it gets better!

You wouldn't lie to me, would you?  Oh... you would.  Carry on.


Sandler manages to both befriend (for a little while) and offend the female lead who, when she isn't curled up in her closet drinking wine out of a sippy cup (when there is no toddler in sight, sooo...), is a military-esque government official.  He spends 5 minutes of the movie making creepy stalker jokes about her (after attempting to kiss her, unsuccessfully, while she was already intoxicated which tells me he's one of THOSE guys) as she follows him to the WHITE HOUSE where she has a DARPA pass and he, apparently, has an all-access pass to the Oval fucking Office.  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?

The rest of the movie is him and his man-child friends chasing video game characters around the globe without once experiencing exhaustion which is HILARIOUS since the movie takes place over the course of, like, 4 days and part of it is in fucking LONDON.  They are led to these locations first by Conspiracy-Theorist Olaf who shows them the videotaped broadcast of 80s television clips that include such celebrities as Madonna and Ronald Reagan that interrupted his One Tree Hill binge-session... On videotape... Not DVD, not Blu-Ray... Videotape. Which give them the coordinates of their attacks because the best militaries ALWAYS say where they're gonna be like a schoolyard bully.  (I know Ronnie couldn't have voiced himself but if I find out that Madonna did, I'm burning my fan club card. Just kidding.  I don't HAVE a fan club card.  But if I did...)

ENGAGE NOSTALGIA ENGINE!  No, fucking seriously.  Engage it because so far this sucks on toast.
Also, how the hell did DARPA come up with light-based weaponry over the course of 2 days when they haven't been able to in the past ENTIRETY OF HUMAN FUCKING HISTORY?  "Oh, wait.  These little pixel fuckers don't like getting hit with lasers.  Let's just whip up working prototypes out of legos and spit and OHMAHGAWDTHEYWORK!"  Or, oh, hey, let's INVENT FORCE FIELD TECHNOLOGY THE DAY AFTER WE INVENT STAR WARS BLASTERS!

Fuck me.

Meanwhile, they have to bust out the cheesiest motherfucker ever enshrined in celluloid (Peter Dinklage, who, I'm sure, has spent the last month kicking his agent in the dick) from prison.  His demands include a three-way with Serena Williams and Martha Stewart.  This is disturbing.

You can toss those barrels any time you want to, sir.  I accept my fate and am prepared to feel the sweet embrace of death.
Oh, did I mention that every time they won a fight against the aliens, they won a trophy?  Like, "one of their soldiers" trophy?  As in that goddamn dog from Duck Hunt and Q-Bert?  Because slavery is ALWAYS cool.  This becomes relevant in a minute.

NO, I don't wanna build a goddamn snowman, motherfucker!
See her?  That's Lady Lisa.  She doesn't say a damn thing in the 5 minutes she's on screen.  She goes from righteously kicking ass in the name of her alien overlords to falling in love with a doughy stalker who, literally, calls her his fiancee five minutes after he meets her.  Because Red fucking Sonia up there has no more self-worth than Bigfoot's bunions... 'cause they don't exist, see?

They save the goddamn day and all the aliens go home.  Including Lady Lisa.  Awwww... sad Olaf.  But, oh, look.  Q-Bert, one of the trophies they won, TURNS INTO LADY LISA.  She is now LITERALLY a TROPHY.  Not only that but a trophy belonging to the kid voted Most Likely to Go Full Uni-Bomber.  On what planet did the script-writers think this was a good fucking idea?


No longer are the days of Happy Madison, where it was perfectly acceptable for Sandler to act like a baboon who had somehow managed to find a human skin-suit.  Somehow, though, this news has appeared to bypass Sandler entirely because he still thinks that it's open season for grown men to act like sexist asshats with no ambition and less brains and still manage to save the day.  The end of the movie doesn't even show Sandler's character doing anything useful with his life even though he finally does get to kiss the woman who, by all rights, should have reported him to his supervisors the minute he left her home for invading her personal space and attempting sexual advances.

 I know that this movie is supposed to be fantasy but under NO circumstances should this be considered a "family film" unless you want to teach your kids that it's perfectly OK to degrade women who turn them down and that women will automatically fall in their laps and do whatever they want because they're men. No child should be taught that you can get away with not doing anything with your life.  Frankly, no child should be taught that video-gaming is a legitimate career or an actual sport (and I say that as a gamer) but, hey, there are competitions and so forth so that could work for some folks.  I still say get an education.

About the only GOOD lesson, here, is that people CAN be productive members of society after they get out of prison (even if they get released and basically given a government promise of payment in sex because women are commodities).  They couldn't even get "Cheaters Never Prosper" right.  I swear, the more I think about this, the more I'm absolutely certain that Rose McGowan was right and Sandler needs to have his testicles roasted slowly and fed to him.

Seriously, kids, I HATE Adam Sandler and everything he stands for but I wanted to like this one.  I really did.  And it's not badly made from an effects standpoint but in all honesty, the only good thing to happen in this movie is that Sean Bean didn't die.






I don't normally want to wish harm to anyone (OK, that's a damn lie) but Adam Sandler needs to be fed to rabid feminists (like, actual feminists infected with rabies who, I'm sure, have utterly correct arguments for the equal treatment of women when they aren't foaming at the mouth and infecting Saint Bernards) right about now.  Everyone even remotely associated with this movie should be followed around for the rest of their lives by the Shame Septa (Game of Thrones, kids.  Seriously?  I had to tell you that?).  There needs to be several pillories and scheduled whippings.  This is a gigantic, mysogynistic mountain of suck that I can never unsee.

I hate you Adam Sandler.  I hate you with the power of a million suns.  From Hell's heart, I stab at thee.  Grow the fuck up and stop making this trash.

And also FUCK YOU.



Friday, August 7, 2015

The Internet is Forever

So, I'm home with a stomach bug of some sort and, me being me, I decided to catch up with some new friends.

Friends that stabbed me in the goddamn back like the lying, cyberbullying bitches they are.

For you see, my tried and true friends, I watched Unfriended.





Yeah, if that poster tells you anything, it should be telling you "RUN SCREAMING FROM THIS HORRENDOUS SHITSHOW!"

So, this movie is about your standard teenage shenanigans.  Faux sexting.  Skype in the middle of a school night.  Being young and pretty.

Look at them.  Young and Pretty.  And also the bottom of the casting barrel.
Driving a classmate to suicide via a drunk video posted to YouTube which subsequently leads to the haunting murders of 6 assholes who don't think they're horrible people who spend their time faux sexting, Skyping in the middle of a school night and being young and pretty.

Yeah, that's it.  Tease your primary demographic.  You're in a horror movie.  Tits or GTFO.
For fuck's sake, this movie STARTS with the "lead" looking up the video that caused this whole dumpster fire to begin with.  AND the video of the bullied individual shooting themselves in the head on school grounds.  (You'll notice that I'm not naming these characters.  It's best they remain nameless.  I don't feel as bad when they end up shoving a flat iron into their bitchy faceholes.)

Oh, and did I mention that this entire movie takes place on a Mac screen?  Because young, pretty, horrible teenagers don't know how to set up the internet in Windows, apparently.  This is not about Mac vs Windows, it's about the fact that they're just reinforcing the fact that teenagers are stupid.  Except for the fat stoner who, apparently, knows how to write multi-platform anti-virus software that downloads and works in 2 minutes because computers are fucking magic.

And he REALLY likes his salsa.
Don't get me wrong.  I'm kind of OK with the premise of this movie but for real, kids.  If I seriously wanted to watch an hour worth of texting (which is about the total amount of screen time this movie has devoted to instant messaging), I would fucking play World of Warcraft.  At least then, I would have epic loot and game coinage for my troubles and I would have EARNED my death by wandering into an area with high-level monsters wearing nothing but a sword and a smile at level 1 which I would do only because I was trying to be one of the idiot assholes in this movie.

And don't get me started about the "ghost" because that shit was WEAK, yo.  "Let's play a game!"  Seriously?  For real?  You're literally going to play "Never Have I Ever" on the internet to force people to admit that they're more twisted than if an episode of Days of Our Lives managed to have a baby with Cards Against Humanity?  You know that it would actually be easier on both yourself AND the audiences ears if you just went to their fucking houses individually, right?  Plus we wouldn't have to stare at weak computing skills for 2 hours.  How this girl wanted to get any kind of decent job after graduation is completely beyond me.

I'm so sorry I have to look like a reject from Blair Witch.  Please forgive me!
She used CHAT ROULETTE to get a stranger to call the police.  Ugh.

Look, I get that this was a giant, anvilicious means of getting the anti-cyberbullying message out there but come on, now, kids.  This was lazy film making and you know it.  Unfriended is the world telling me that I really need to find the directors and slap them with a medium-sized tuna. For realsies, this movie isn't even "funny" bad.

Skip it, kids.  Make a donation to The Trevor Project instead.  You'll feel better about yourself.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Distinct Lack of Magic Munchkins

Now, you all know how I feel about remakes.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Remakes, in and of themselves, are not a bad thing if they treat the original with the respect that it deserves.  This brings us to today's post.

#notthis

1982's Poltergeist is an amazing film that STILL frightens me.  This new one?

So, the dealio is these folks have to move into a new house but because he just got laid off, they have to take the best one available which, frankly doesn't have a damn thing wrong with it  except for the fact that it's near power lines (and was built on top of a cemetary, duh...) Oh, did I spoil that for you?  Seriously?  Because you watched the first one without watching the original and didn't expect that?  Poor you.  Have some gummie bears.

Sam Rockwell hates spoilers.  He gets pouty and makes impulse purchases.
So, within the first week that they're there, they find the one place on the bannister that always give you an electric shock, a box of creepy-ass clown dolls (because one just wasn't enough), a squirrel in the attic bedroom (where they put the boy who's consistently frightened of EVERYTHING because childhood trauma puts hairs on your chest and, seriously, he's terrified because his mom lost him at the mall... I don't believe in bullying but I really do think that some "buck up, soldier" is kind of called for, here) and a human vertebrae.  They aren't even unpacked yet when the boy has ghosts making card castles out of his comic books, the eldest sister is almost sucked into the basement floor and the Carol Anne analog (because they had to name her "Madison") gets sucked into the closet to talk to us through the TV.

Hello, Duggars.
Cue the paranormal investigators.  One of them is the dude with a TV show who just happens to be a real psychic.  Woooo.  Oh and he's the college investigator's ex husband.  Wooooo. That's actually scarier than the ghosts.  Wooooo, alimony and half-assed "I used to sleep with you" jokes.  Fuckers.

Now, I'm not going to say this is a bad movie because it isn't.  What I WILL say is that it is not a GOOD movie and it's a piss-poor attempt at recreating Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg's almost literal magic.  They left out a lot of the stuff that we liked in the original.  A lot of that touching, heartfelt humor is gone.  Now it's just a family in a haunted house.

With this thing, but still...
They didn't leave ANY of the mystery.  Just because there's technology now that COULD allow us to "see the other side" doesn't mean we should actually USE it.  In the original, we had a rope and a mother's love.  In the remake, we get a remote control drone with a fucking camera.  There's no PASSION in this film.  There's no real sense of danger.  In the original, we had a physical scary tree that required an actual fight to rescue the boy.  In the remake, we get cheesy CGI and the boy just falls out of it with the worst fucking video-game ragdoll physics programming ever written.   We don't even get the damn steak scene, we get ghosts who know how to use a fucking power drill.

You missed.
So, while this is NOT a bad movie and would probably be fine for someone who has not seen the original, I would hope that it would inspire them to go and watch the original which is a far superior film.  I was SUPREMELY unimpressed. 

Fuck you, Sam Raimi.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Not Since The Accident...

So, this TropeFest is gonna be a little odd because I'm talking about a trope that's most often found in comedy but trust me.  I'm a blogger.  I know stuff.

Let's begin.

Let's talk about "The Incident".

You know.  THAT "Incident".

You mean you don't know?

Well, I'm not sure I can tell you...





The Incident, in whatever form it takes, again, usually comedic, is something that happened in the past that, for realsies, is never to be spoken of again.  It is the Lord Voldemort of occurrences.  It was so horrible, embarrassing, ludicrous or just plain insane that words can never be formed in the appropriate syntax to explain it and you will never find out what it is.

Ever.

Maybe.




This trope first came into prominence with, of all things, the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes where it came up a LOT.  Bill Watterson came up with "The Noodle Incident".  A tale so fractured in-universe that Sherlock Holmes and Santa Clause combined could not piece this shit together.  Calvin maintains he was framed.  You know how I feel about children.  Watterson decided that it was best to never say exactly what happened because he couldn't come up with something more awesome than we could.

Now, in comedy, this is amazingness because our imaginations can come up with some pretty hilarious things in the context of schadenfreude.  Perhaps involving whipped cream and inflatable sex toys.

Don't you judge me...




And there are even some times when we figure out what "The Incident" was.  We don't really want to know but if it's over-the-top enough, we'll buy it and it will be all giggle-worthy and shit.

 
He vas... MAH BOYFRIEND!!










And, a lot of times, even in horror movies it's used for comedic effect.  In Aliens, we hear about "Arcturian poontang" which, you have to admit, is imagination-inspiring.  In Escape From New York, everyone keeps saying to Snake that they thought he was dead.  We never find out why.  In Ghostbusters (yes, I'm counting this as a horror movie, horror-comedy counts), we have the Third Reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick Supplicants, whatever the fuck that is.

Fuck you, Axl.  Just... fuck you.
However, it is also sometimes played for NO LAUGHS AT ALL!!!  Because fuck you.

In Predator, there's "that little job in Libya".  In Aliens, "Just another bug hunt".  Billy's lucky backpack in Jurassic Park III.  Hell, we have Butch eating Red's leg in Disney's The Lone Ranger.  WE DON'T EVER NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS! 

Seriously, never. 'Cause eew.

And this also makes me want to slap the bejeezus out of horror directors that try to give us too much villain backstory because STOP IT!

I'm lookin' at YOU, Rob Zombie.  You smug dick.

Cheese and crackers, leave us with some fucking MYSTERY.  Damn.  Give a fucking "Incident" and let us work on our own head-canon.  Fuck.  Just... stop.

All jokes aside, this trope is usually fairly effective.  It engages the audience but not in an overly distracting kind of way.  I've not seen a complete bomb of it's use, yet.

Not since the accident.



Saturday, May 30, 2015

What the Dook?

Today, children, we delve into yet another highly praised, celebrated, critically-acclaimed pile of shit.






The Babadook.  No, really, that's what it's called.  The Babadook.  It's like the writer just kind of hung around heroin addicts and thought that overdose babbling was the coolest sounding thing, ever.

Goddammit, Kristen, you're not allowed to help anymore!
So, anyway, the story starts out as all good Disney movies do, with the death of a parent.  Wait, did I say Disney?  This isn't Disney.  Why did I say Disney?  Oh... because it's true.  ANYWAY, our lead, Amelia (Essie Davis) and Sam (Noah Wiseman) are spending the next two hours reeling over losing Oskar in the automobile accident that killed him on Amelia's drive to the fucking delivery room.  So, Sam is mourning someone he never knew except as the occasional dick poke during his formative months.  I get why Amelia's sad about it but damn.  Seriously?

During the course of all of this grief, Amelia (who is not the sanest crayon in the box to begin with) comes across a pop-up book that she was not previously aware of and reads it to Sam as a bedtime story.  Because this is a horror movie, the book really isn't something that should be read to children.  In this book, the creature described, the titular Babadook, is one that will haunt the fuck out of you for just knowing about it.  Like Jesus.  Or Rush Limbaugh.

I do kinda want a copy, though.  I mean, it would make more sense than the Bible.
And so the haunting begins.  And it's less "haunting" than it's "Shut the fuck up, Sam, before I rip that whiny tongue of yours out and feed it to you because you are the worst."  'Cause, y'see, kids, this movie isn't really about the haunting.  It's about a woman who has never gotten over the death of her husband because she's got a constant, loud, disobedient reminder living in her child's room.  All touching his father's old stuff and making deadly projectiles to protect himself from the monster in the closet and shit.

And screaming.  So much high-pitched screaming.
Now, I say this is a pile of shit because I don't consider it a horror movie.  It's a family drama about the madness of grief and when taken in that context, it's actually quite good.  It's just all of the stupid shit we have to sift through to GET to that little nugget that I don't care for.

Exhibit A.
When taken as a horror movie, though, it falls flat.  It's a slow-burn, first off, and while I LIKE a slow-burn from time to time, I just wasn't feeling it, here.  I didn't need 2 hours of screaming that only dogs should be able to hear over something that got less screen-time than the shark in Jaws.  I wanted to see more of Amelia going through her mental illness paces, since that's the direction the film was heading and I didn't see that.  It was too literal in some spots and not literal enough in others.

Oh, thank Great Blogathotep it's over.
This is another of those "Your Mileage May Vary" numbers.  I, personally, didn't care for it but, then again, consider the source.  I'm much more a "slasher" guy than an "haunter" guy so take this with a grain of salt.

Oh, and stop reading mysterious pop-up books, for real.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A moment of solemnity.

So.  Let's talk about the Hugo awards for a second and what kind of bullshit the Sad Puppies campaign really is.  I know that the Hugos are for "Science Fiction" but without Science Fiction, we wouldn't have Alien and that would be a sad thing indeed.

Larry Correia, a half-assed  "writer" who likes to get all "Halo" in his books about hunting monsters started Sad Puppies three years ago because he was convinced that people were ignoring "Right" fiction because, lo and behold, people like to read books where societal underdogs actually win.  He called it Sad Puppies because “boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness".  (I've read some of Correia's books.  They're kind of "Ooh-Rah" but not utterly horrible.  NOT award-worthy by any stretch.)

Now, a campaign to garner votes is not against the rules but the people behind the campaign, known as the "Rabid Puppies" are led by folks like Vox Day and John C. Wright (Wright, by the way, believes that he's never heard of lesbians being beaten to death with axe handles and crowbars... because, in his very own words from his reaction to The Legend of Korra, that's "the instinctive reaction of men toward fags.")  A short story nominated for a Hugo last year called "If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love", which is playful, haunting and beautiful, garnered 65 votes and STILL ended up in third place because the Sad Puppies folks were offended by the fact that the story turned out to be how science fiction is how some people cope with the tragedies of real life, in this case, a gay bashing.

Don't get me wrong.  The Right has their share of good, award-worthy authors.  I've even read some of them and while I don't agree with their politics and will borrow, rather than buy, their books, they certainly have their share of talent.  This kind of bullshit is straight-out ballot stuffing and it's not fair to ANYONE involved.  No one is winning based on talent.  People are winning based on politics.

So, all of this being said, I'm REALLY fucking tired of hate-sourcing and hate-funding.  I'm tired of being polite to people and "respecting their views" because people like Correia and Wright and Day obviously don't respect mine.  I'm about DONE with political correctness.  You know what?  Call me a fag.  You know you want to.  And I'll call you out on your shit, too.  I no longer have time for pleasantries.  I will SAY to people "Happy Holidays" and if they're offended, that's their problem.  I will BE an out and proud gay man because I am a human being who is deserving of all of the rights and protections this free country has to offer.  I will BE an intelligent atheist and continue to point out the hypocrisies and logical fallacies of religion.  I will BE an outspoken activist for my community and other disenfranchised individuals and I will FIGHT to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.  I will BE myself, inappropriate humor and all.

Above all, I will not tolerate hate.  Period.

Hate is what the Hugos have become.  And that makes me die a little.