Saturday, October 18, 2014

See No Evil, Have No Fun.





Jen and Sylvia Soska WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?!

I say all halfheartedly because, believe it or not, I liked their latest piece of horror fluff, See No Evil 2.




Not to tell you too much about the movie, 'cause it's all new and shit, picture it.  A birthday party in a morgue with a recently "deceased" serial killer with religious mommy issues.

And that's all you need to know for now.

It's rectangular and under a sheet in a morgue.  I wonder what it could be?
Now, first let me start by saying that this movie is NOT perfect at all.  We've got some serious Scooby-Doo bullshit going on but that kind of OK.  All peeking around corners and "Hey, gang!  Let's split up!" like that's going to really help anybody because everybody knows that those slasher fuckers can teleport.  Plus, how fucking big is this morgue, anyway?  How many morgues do we know that are made up of miles and miles of fucking corridors and still only have 3 people working in them, let alone not let all of the morticians have access to all of the doors?

She can't even.
Also, if someone can tell me exactly what the giant serrated machete Mr. Goodnight finds when he opens the goddamn Batcave weapons stash, that would be appreciated because I really don't see any reason for a morgue to have that sort of thing lying around.

On the other hand, pretty drunk people get slashed in a goddamn morgue!  Am I right?  That's awesome, yes?  Oh, look.  Death and dismemberment where death gets brought to finish up the paperwork.  Look at all the nifty surgical implements.  Preeeeeeetty.  Too bad none of them get used in favor of the giant serrated machete thingy.

But then there's all of the trope-heavy bullshit that, seriously, Soska sisters?  You need to get over.  You're better than this.

For fuck's sake, just walk toward the door.
BUT!  We also have the lovely and talented Katherine Isabelle who brings some much needed humor and lightness to the movie and she's kind of hilarious.  She reminds us that we shouldn't be taking this 90 minute slab of eye-candy too seriously.

She drunk and doin' crazy shit.
I'm not going to say that this is a masterpiece of horror because it's really not.  The Soska twins know what they're doing and this is an enjoyable watch (but, seriously, don't make a drinking game out of it, you'd be dead in the first half-hour from the stupid) and, thankfully, they don't rely on the religious aspects of the first film too much but it's a little blasé about the whole "Hey, we're stuck in a morgue with quite a few exits but our phones are locked in a safe so we can't go for fucking help 'cause he's EVERYWHERE, man!  EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE!"

It's brain-candy and I appreciate that.  Just don't expect award-winning caliber.

*********

Speaking of Brain Candy!  Y'all should check out Carl Bachmann's Kickstarter for his new project Party Slashers.

It looks like it's gonna be awesome and I like helping.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oddball, Screwball. What's The Difference?



OK, so, I'm going to admit something I've never told anyone before.


I hate Dean Koontz movies. 

His books are OK and I kinda liked some of them but I prefer Stephen King, Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire or Robert McCammon for my horror reading pleasure.

That being said:






Odd Thomas is an absolute delight.

Our main character, Odd Thomas (yes, that is really his name, played by Anton Yelchin), has the ability to see spirits.  He can't talk to them because the dead don't speak, but he can see them and help them let go of whatever fetters they have to this world, whether it's a murder or a lost puppy or what have you.  The movie only shows us the murder bits but I'm assuming that getting them to be able to let go is the majority of his job description.

Along with being a fry cook.
His girlfriend, Stormy (Addison Timlin), is the yin to his yang.  The cobbler to his peach.  The daily dose of what were you thinking to his hairbrained-ness.  (No, really.  Hairbrained-ness.  She calls him Pooh Bear because his head's full of stuffin'.  Not literally but you know what I mean.)  It's all very adorable in that whole "eventually they end up in danger" kind of way.

Awwwwww.
Odd doesn't make his abilities known to everyone but the police chief (Willem Dafoe) knows about it and helps him create more believable tales when he gets involved in the weird in a more physical fashion so he doesn't end up incarcerated.  It's a good arrangement.  They're like family  Again with the "awwwwww."

But then trouble comes in.  BIG trouble in the form of bodachs, evil beings who are drawn to carnage and mayhem (aren't we all)?  The more of them there are, the more carnage there'll be and this one guy in the diner has them dripping off of them like butter at a fuckin' lobster festival.  Odd can't let this one go.  He has to go save the day.

Eeeeew, it touched her!
So, before I give the story away completely, I have to say that this is fun supernatural horror.  It's not dark and it doesn't have to be.  It's a breeze to watch, it's not overly complicated, the dialogue is fun and it's got that right mix of up and down that I like.  It's like a mouse coaster.  Hills and bumps enough to be fun but none of the loops (which are also fun but in a different way).

No, seriously. This is quick-witted and almost perky.  Well, as perky as Anton Yelchin gets.  He's got some comedy chops, though, and he's not your average "Adventureland/Superbad" kind of Judd Apatow nerd in this one like he was in the Fright Night remake.  He's grown and it shows.  There's a maturity to his snarkiness in this one that I really liked.  The interaction between Odd and Stormy is just shy of perfection and, because I'm a weepy nerd, I wattered up a little at the end.  It's a bittersweet one, kids.

This is not a gore-fest.  This is not full of jump-scares.  This is about a Ghostbusters level of creepy which makes for an excellent kids-introduction-to-horror movie.  Yeah, there's some violence but it's no worse than your average police procedure drama.  The more gruesome stuff is implied and not seen.

I really did enjoy this one.  Give it a go.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blood Bath





WOO, it's been a week, kids.

Let's just jump right back in.

HA!  See what I did there?
In any horror fans worldview, blood is a key component of film enjoyment and that's why blood is what TVTropes.org calls a "Super Trope".  Yes, we watch different types of horror movies and, yes, you can have bloodless horror but, for the most part, horror is raw and visceral as fear is wont to be.  Since the word "visceral" comes from "viscera", organs, such as the heart, are bound to take up a large portion of the horror real estate and with organs comes blood.  Buckets and buckets of blood.

See, the thing to remember about blood is that we don't expect to see it at all.  Blood, from a human perspective and regardless of whatever your spiritual beliefs tell you about its power, immediately symbolizes pain and damage.  Our blood is not supposed to be seen, it is supposed to remain all neat and tidy within our fucking veins; supplying our big, beautiful brains and muscles with the oxygen and nutrients they need to, oh, say, RUN FROM THE HATCHET-WIELDING PSYCHOPATH!

Not on the fucking floor.
No, kids.  In horror, blood plays to its strengths.  If you see a smear of it on the floor, it's usually a path to a corpse.  Got a room full of it?  Stabby time.  Got a bathtub full of it?  Suicide/murder victim, idiot with a missing kidney or vampire countess.  Got a bucketful of it hangin' around during Prom season?  Angry, telekinetic teenager.

Blood is what MAKES horror imagery horrific.  By itself, not taking into consideration the circumstances of its actually being visible, it's just salty red liquid.  But seeing it makes us wonder... how did it get out of the person who owned it?  And if it didn't actually COME from a person, where did it come from?  Even haunting stories, which are essentially bloodless, will use blood for that extra kick of macabre that we all love.  Amityville Horror, anyone?

Waaaaaaait for it.
Just to reiterate, we don't like to see blood.  It's a delightful shade of red which makes it visually stunning but it's the visuals our lizard brains are concerned with.  "Oh, hey.  Blood.  Who's hurt and how badly?  I don't believe I'm safe here, anymore.  I don't want to be lunch.  MOMMY!!!"

To mitigate this, particularly in kids' programming, many TV shows will show blood either not at all or with a different color.  Personally, I think this is bullshit because kids like gross stuff but the censors have a different idea. 

American Horror Story is not one of those shows.
And, like a whole lot of other tropes I've covered, Haemophobia is a real thing.  Caused most often by childhood trauma (direct or vicarious), there's not much of a genetic link to the phobia but if you managed to get splattered with blood as a kid, whether or not it's your own, that's bound to do some damage.

On the other hand, blood sausage is actually one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten  (Just a note?  Don't order a sundae in Korea.) and Finnish blood pancakes and Sanguinaccio Dolce actually exist.

Now, I'm not saying that this can't be overdone.  There actually IS such a thing as overkill when it comes to movies.  That doesn't mean that I don't love gallons of gore when it's called for but blood can be one of those "Chanel" moments.

Before you film the set, remove one gallon of blood.  It highlights the surroundings and makes the gore more poignant.

SEE?!?
Oh, and for Great Blogathotep's sake, STOP trying to recreate it with CGI unless you work for fucking PIXAR.

Jeez.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Are You Feeling Randy, Baby?


Day 3 of Pre'Ween, kiddos!  And today is a good day.

It is a good day because Horns is available on-demand!



Thank you modern internet age!

Considering that this is from Joe Hill, son of Stephen King, author of Heart-Shaped Box and writer for the AMAZING comic series Locke and Key (which should have been fucking green-lit for TV because that would have been some amazing shit, yo), you should expect quality and you get it.  In spades.  Pitchforkfuls, really.

So, here's the story.  A grief-stricken young man (Daniel Radcliffe and OH how Harry Potter has grown... I don't normally like 'em thin but I'll make an exception 'cause I'm bi-size-ual) who has been accused of the murder of the love of his life is just trying to get through the trial.  He's being hounded by the press, misunderstood by his friends and family and drowning himself in drink.  Only his lawyer seems to have any faith in him. 

And then this happens:

He calls this Blue Steel.
Yep.  Horns.  And the prosthetics are WONDERFUL.  They give him the power to hear everyone's sins.  Not in a psychic kind of way.  People just tell him.  Like ultimate TM-Fucking-I kind of stuff.  The girl who he just slept with (after a night of drunken broken-heartedness) REALLY wants to eat a box of donuts.  NOW.  A little girl wishes to burn her mommy.  Mommy wishes to drive off and desert the spoiled brat and hook up with her golf instructor.  The reception at the nurses's office REALLY wants to yell at the lady to her her screechy brat to shut the fuck up.  There's this fantastic scene with the doctor after he tries to get them removed that you HAVE to see.

Heather Graham as a lying hose-beast.  BRILLIANT!
And when he touches them, he can SEE their sins. 

He decides, like any sane person would, to use his new powers for good and find his girl's killer.

YAY!!!  REVENGE!

That, right there, is some ominous shit.
Now, I haven't read the book in a while so I can't compare it to the film but I REALLY enjoyed this one.  Even the minor characters and walk-ons were fleshed out in some way.  You knew secrets and lies about EVERYONE.  It was small-town gossip writ large.  It was a little bit like Joe Hill expanded on the idea of his dad's book/movie Needful Things only without the crass commercialism and the "devil" in this was a force for good.and it was delicious.

Plus, there were pretty, pretty snakes.  A lot of them.
About the only thing that I can really dig on with this is that the visual metaphors were kind of over the top but, damn, if you're gonna give the main character literal horns you may as well go big or go home, right?  Besides it all blended nicely with the whole idea that even Satan was once an angel.

I'm not big on religious stuff as a rule but Horns, even with the blatant imagery (Really?  Eve's Diner?  The logo being an apple?), it wasn't ham-handed with it.  None of the characters, barring the priest, were overtly religious and even the scenes in the church were light and poignant to the story of the budding relationship rather than being religious in and of themselves.

Some of this movie is a laugh riot.
And there's really this perfect blend of pathos and humor that makes it a joy to watch.  It feels... real.  It's not a roller coaster of emotions, it's just... life.  Bad things happen to good people.  Bad people get what's coming to them and sometimes karma is a hilarious bitch.  Alexandre Aja knocked this one out of the park.

Truly, if I get the chance to see this in theaters when it comes out on the 29th, I will GLADLY do so but having it come out on-demand first was a glorious treat.  A treat that I can freely engage in without aggravating my pancreas.  I love treats.

HIGHLY fucking recommended.  This is a work of art. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Subtlety... There Can Be Too Much


Day 2 of Pre'Ween and I'm already disappointed.  Not with the event.  With Naya fucking Rivera.

Because At the Devil's Door was sooooo laaaaaame.





It's your standard Rosemary's Baby-esque dealio with a little bit of Fallen tossed in to bitch things up.

It starts with a girl in the 80s playing a game that, seriously, she should have been smart enough to say "no" to.  Fuckin' teenagers.  Why y'all gotta be so fuckin' dumb, for real?  When you see the evil dude with the broken-down aging hooker, you don't play games of chance with them.

Anyway, she gets all possessed and shit and, because this is a body-jumper there's this whole chain of events that leads to Naya Rivera's sister being all dead.  Naya, of course, has to go all Scooby-Doo on it.  Like a moron.

Just an orange sweater away...
She gets all knocked up and shit and bears the anti-christ.  Because duh.

Oh, did I give away the ending?  You really should have seen that coming.  I don't care if you watch this or not because fuck me, I was bored. 

See?  She gets it.
This was some cold boogers on a paper plate.  You want to know what's better than watching this movie?  SEX WITH OTHER PEOPLE.  Do not want.  Sorry this is short but there's really nothing else to say.  Bland and boring and not worth your time.

Ms. Rivera, you're better than this.  Go do better.  Volunteer somewhere.  Whales need help.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A, B, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!


WELCOME TO PRE'WEEN!!!  It's totally a thing that Movies at Dog Farm does and it's TOTALLY FUN!  All countin' down the days to Halloween 'n' shit.  Did I mention I like Halloween?  'Cause I like Halloween .  30 days left, by the way.  Just sayin'.

Nothing's gonna change around here, really, but I love things that give me a reason to write.

ANYWAY!

Oooooooh, kids, I've been WAITING for this one and thanks to the auspices of TWC's On-Demand menu I HAVE WITNESSED THE AWESOME.

AGAIN!

AND AGAIN!

AND A-MUTHAFUCKIN'-GAIN!





'Cause here's another 26 tiny slices of phonetic fear that hurts soooooo gooooooood in the form of The ABCs of Death 2.

Well, not ALL of it.  Frankly, some of these, as with any anthology film, seriously suck, but the gems shine bright and I heart them. 

For real, what was this crap?
Just like the first ABC's of Death, we've got a whole lot of mondo cinema packed into 3-5 minute snippets and we got some awesome talent like Bill Plympton and the Soska sisters bringing us some FUCKED UP SHIT, yo.  "V is for Vacation" is a particularly nasty headtrip but I'M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT.  Because I'm mean and this is MAH house.

No, seriously, there's a lot of whackadoodle shit in here, particularly from the foreign directors but we have some genuine horror, broad themes (homosexuality in not one but TWO of the shorts (not counting the faux-lesbians in A is for Amateur), religion, the plight of the millennial, capital punishment, Thai hookers, vaginal odor), a truly staggering amount of pathos, some fantastically dark humor, some quick, some taking a bit but in all of these the payoff is wonderfully gruesome.

Stone cold bleak, yo.
Some of my favorites?  Well, the Soska sisters' "T is for Torture Porn" is fucking delicious.  It's deeply feminist, pro-person, anti-asshole message is firmly present while, at the same time, being cheeky as hell.  "E is for Equilibrium" plays merry hell with desert island tropes.  "S is for Split" was a short and brilliantly done split-screen home invasion piece.  And my favorite?

C'mere you handsome devil you.  I have candy.
This year's winner for the coveted "26th Director" spot was "M is for Masticate"  a beautiful, High-Def, slow-motion romp in the street with our nearly nekkid hairball up there just a joggin' away.  Fur and sweat glistening in the sun.  Lookin' all happy, like he's gonna catch a frisbee in his teeth.  It's a horror short so it doesn't end well but, seriously, I'm 'bout to divorce reality from fantasy here and say right here and now that:

I.

Fucking.

Call.

Dibs.

Seriously, this man should call me.  My husband would totally understand. Yes, I think with my dick.


Suck it.
Again, there's gonna be shit you hate in this one but, fuck, I'm watching it AGAIN as I type this if that tells you anything.

Much like the first one, this is highly recommended as a case study of mondo micro-cinema and y'all should be watching it right now.  Why are you still here?  Go!  Shoo!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vampires Used to Suck Blood, Not Dicks.

YO!  This post will contain pictures of an adult nature.  Run if the sight of non-sexually explicit peen doesn't do anything for you.  Frankly, what you will see does nothing for me but it's important in context. 

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Today on Tropefest, since we've already covered the vampire's mortal enemy, the werewolf, today I'm going to pick up my own slack and cover vampires themselves.  Evil, bloodsucking, undead purveyors of pestilence.  Mysterious lords of legions of fawning minions.  And, apparently, glittery homosexuals.

With horrific Slavic accents.
Stories of vampires have existed for-fucking-EVER.  Even going back to the early Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans, folklore that contains early versions of the bloodsuckers we know and... not... love... exists but if we want to dig right into the nitty-gritty of vampires as we know them, we need to jump all the way forward to early 18th-century Southeastern Europe. That was when verbal traditions were starting to be recorded and published.

According to those tales, vampires were the undead remains of previously living evil beings; witches, werewolves, suicide victims, etc.,  but they could also be brought about through spiritual possession of a corpse or, of course, being bitten by any of the above.  And, because of the fear of these things, mass hysteria ensued and there were public executions of people believed to be vampires.

Like this handsome fellow. 
Now, there's no way on EARTH we can make a single list of all of the creepy fuckin' traits that vampires possess but let's give the old college try, hmm?  Vampires contained one or more of these common distinctions:

  • Bloated in appearance
  • Ruddy skin (attributed to the recent drinking of blood) or very, very pale skin
  • Long fingernails and hair
  • Fangs (these didn't show up until later in fiction)
  • An absence of reflection in a mirror
  • Evening wear and an attraction to flowing lingerie on balconies (also, much later)
  • Can be killed by sunlight, stake, decapitation, drowning (can't cross running water), fire, Silver or holy symbols.
  • Garlic allergy
  • Arithmomania (must count things)
  • Can't cross running water
  • Must have an invitation to enter your home
  • Immortality
  • Enhanced strength and speed
  • Enhanced senses
  • Enhanced healing, flight
  • shapeshifting
  • Telekinesis or other psychic powers
  • Control of animals
And, apparently, an allergy to vodka and decent haircuts.
And there are a metric ass-ton of culture-specific traits such as those belonging to the Penanggalen of Southeast Asia who separates their top half from their bottom half to go hunting for pregnant ladies all a-trailin' their organs in the dirt behind them.

As for the bat thing?  Bats are just creepy.  Well, creepy-cute.  I think bats are fuckin' adorable.

SEE!?!  They need cuddles.
Keep in mind that a lot of the "symptoms" listed above also apply to sufferers of Porphyria and rabies so if you were that unlucky stiff who happened to have a genetic disorder that made you allergic to sunlight or got bit by Cujo, you may as well have resigned yourself to living in a cave or getting invited to the town bonfire as the fuckin' floor show.

Y'ever get cum in yer eye, Gabriel?  It BUUUUURNS.
So, now that we have the groundwork, let's talk about the Victorians because THEY, of all people seeing as how they appear to be a LOT kinkier than their starched collars and corsets would allow them to be, took the vampire, already a symbol of pestilence and disease, and modified it ever so slightly to become the subtle representation of venereal disease it is today. 

You mean you never noticed that pretty much all vampire stories from Varney the Vampire to Carmilla to Dracula all have sexual overtones?  You haven't been paying attention.  The suave aristocratic sexual predator who is MORE than willing to pass on his condition and you'd never know it unless you know the signs of the disease.  The seductive lure of the nape of your neck or your inner thigh?  The aforementioned affinity for lingerie on moonlit balconies?

Short gym rats with inappropriate tattoos.  (YES, this is a from a vampire movie.  Wait for it.)
Yeah.  Vampires are all about sex.  More specifically, they're all about forbidden sex and its consequences.  Dracula, while using the historical Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, as the basis for his undead nobleman (which was TOTALLY wrong and that connection only grew more accurate in later retellings), still brought us a tale of the appropriate role of women in Victorian society and the bad things that happen to them if they become... wanton.

For decades after that, we were treated to cloaks and waistcoats in both serious and comedic horror films through Universal and Hammer films.  In the 80s, vampires went a little weird, though.  The direct to video market brought us alien vampires (as in Lifeforce) and that was just... off.

And so is she.  Did you know she's a lawyer?  Weird, right?
And then, something shifted.  Rather than being something to be feared, vampires became otherworldy objects of desire.  I can TRY to blame Stephenie Meyer for this but, dammit, I can't.  That shift really started with Anne fucking Rice. 

I'll admit that I'm a fan of Interview with the Vampire and the rest of the Vampire Chronicles but fuck, for real?  Because of her, vampires went from being a disease (one that, at least, her vampires are fully aware of and try to limit) to being fully fleshed out sexual beings who, whether or not they're trying to fight their hungers, just oooooooze sex out of every pore and teenyboppers and soccer moms just eat that shit right up.  I swear, after From Dusk Til Dawn it got harder and harder to find a vampire movie where the vampires are actually monsters and not glitter-infused gay bait. 


And it doesn't even stop at  just a resemblance to gay eroticism.  That picture up there?  The one I warned you about?  That's from a soft-core gay flick called Vampire Boys 2: The New Brood.  So, not only is it soft-core gay porn but it's a goddamn SEQUEL! 

Are you shitting me?
Yes, kids, I long for the days when my monsters can be monsters again.  Please help me do all you can to stop "paranormal romance" from being a thing.  Because right now it's a thing and I kind of hate it with every fiber of my being.  Even the fact that Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended up in romances with not one but TWO vampire characters (both of which I despised because they sucked at being people) could not win me over to the "I'm in love with a vampire" tabloid-fodder.

Urban fantasy can stay.  Just quit with the inter-species, nec-romantic love-fest.