Tuesday, April 1, 2014

American Mary

I have never seen Dead Hooker in a Trunk, the first major release by the Soska sisters (twins Jen and Sylvia).  You think with a name like Dead Hooker in a Trunk that it would be high on my "must see" list.  Just haven't had a chance.  I did, however, get the chance to see their follow up film, American Mary.  I had read a lot about this film prior to it's release and was totes stoked to see it.  It has everything: Rape/Revenge, Body Modification, Katharine Isabelle.  Katharine Isabelle is one of my major girl crushes, despite the fact that I HATE her most famous film, Ginger Snaps.  I could, and may have, written entire posts about my dislike for Ginger Snaps.  Why, you ask?  In the words of the great Peter Griffin, because it "insists" upon itself.  Enough said.  Watch it and you will know what I am talking about.

So I had high hopes for American Mary.  I love a good Rape/Revenge flick, and one directed by two bad ass twin sisters is the tops.  Also, love the Body Modification angle.  Body Horror is one of my favorite sub-genres, and yes, body modification is not body horror, but as we see in this film, it can be.  Oh yes, it can be, especially if you rape a freaky smart medical student who is a suppressed psychopath anyway.

Mary is broke and in Med school.  She is a good student but kind of a fuck up (this sounds like me).  She decides to make some fast cash by applying at a strip club.  Before she can glue on the pasties the club owner, Billy (Antonio Cupo) asks her to perform some life saving surgery on one of his thugs.  For this she makes a fast $5000, but she feels pretty disgusted with herself.  One of the strippers from the club, a Betty Boop lookalike named Beatress, asks Mary to perform some surgery on a friend of hers, a woman who wants to become a human Barbie. 

Mary does the work but the swears it off, because she wants to become a real surgeon.  That is, until her professor drugs and rapes her.  Then it is all bets off and the true psycho/artist in Mary emerges.

It's a pretty great premise right?  Unfortunately the execution is not so great.  Everything happens to fast-- its seems it happens over a weekend.  And how could Mary set up this entire operation with web presence without catching the attention of the health department?  And what is the point of suggesting a romantic relationship with strip club owner Billy when it goes nowhere?  And where does a broke college student get such great outfits?  I know, I am nitpicking.  I have a friend, who shall go nameless, who I cannot go to the movies with.  She has zero suspension of disbelief.  She will pick apart a movie until she is blue in the face.  And, she will pick it apart WHILE YOU ARE AT THE MOVIE. Yes, she is a movie talker. I feel sad for her.  I don't want to be her.  So I will accept these aspects of the film.  I guess my major disappointment is that the elements of a great feminist horror film are here, but everything is either too obvious, or not followed through to it's rightful kick ass feminist conclusion.  The messages are there, maybe there are just too many of them.  Wow.  This was kind of the same feeling I had about Ginger Snaps.  Am I anti-feminist horror?  Hell no.  I just want it to be good.  Really good.  It should be because there is a freaking goldmine there.  The Soska sisters are on the right track.  Let's do this people!

Monday, March 24, 2014


If you ever wondered what it would be like if Sophia Coppola made a cannibal film.... wonder no more!!  May I present you with WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, the American remake of the 2010 Mexican film of the same name.  I never saw the original, but I doubt it is as airy and dreamy as this version.

Rose and Iris are two young, impossibly beautiful girls who are being raised in a family of cannibals.  The cannibalism is a long family tradition, mixed up with religion and survival, carried on by the patriarch, Frank (a very good Bill Sage.) When their mother dies, possibly from Kuru disease (caused by ingesting human flesh, one of the many downsides of cannibalism) it falls to the elder Iris (Ambyr Childers) to kill and prepare the flesh for consumption, which she is not too excited about. Now the actress who plays Iris looks a lot like Reese Witherspoon, which is very distracting but fits perfectly with the Sophia Coppola vibe (although Reese hasn't appeared in a Coppola film to the best of my knowledge, she is blond and innocent looking.  Or at least she used to be before her face got all sharp and she drunk cussed out that cop.)

What is great is that this family exists pretty normally in the confines of the small town they live in.  Iris has a jock type cop that has the hots for her, both of the girls go to school, and the family runs a motor home business.  That business is failing however, probably because they eat most of the residents.  The only remaining resident is Marge, played by Kelly McGillis, who is becoming quite the staple of independent horror films.  Good for her.

The kindly town Doctor, Doc Barrow (played by my old man crush Michael Parks) begins to suspect that something is very seriously wrong with this family.  His suspicions, coupled with the fact that his own daughter went missing a few years ago, makes the Doc a threat to the family.

What is a family of cannibals to do in a world that won't accept them?  Well, you will have to see WE ARE WHAT WE ARE to find out.  Not that I am adverse to giving spoilers,  its just that I am tired of writing.  See, I just saw Frozen and its pretty much all I can think about at the moment.  What a damn good movie!!  Could have used some cannibalism however.

Michael Parks!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

her: My favorite horror film of 2013.

Beware: the following post contains numerous pictures of Joaquin Phoenix looking happy.  It is as disturbing as it sounds.  Parental discretion advised....
 her is a horror film.  There, I said it.  It scared the crap out of me and for a change it wasn't just because of Joaquin Phoenix's general creepiness.  Although, he does look like a pedophile in this film.  A pedophile or a 70's porn star.  Is this what the future holds?

her is a strange film.  It is beautiful, the performances are amazing, and Scarlett Johansson kills it as Samantha, the OS that Theodore (Phoenix) falls for.  It is the near future, and everyone wears high waist pants, but besides that it is not much different then now.  Falling for an OS is not an unusual thing.  The film makes it clear that other people besides Theodore do it as well.  But we are stuck with Theodore.  Theodore is getting a divorce from Catherine, played by Rooney Mara (only slightly annoying.)  We see their relationship in dreamy flashbacks (is this a Sophia Coppola film?  Spike Jonze was married to Coppola, and rumor has it that Catherine is based on her). 

All in all  her is an insightful, Indie drama/comedy about whatever.  There is too much going on in this film to explain.  Amy Adams has really bad hair in it.  Now to my point: about it being a horror film--

I don't have a problem with falling in love with an OS.  If my computer sounded like Hugh Jackman and could pour me a glass of wine I would be in love with it.  I don't have a problem with Phoenix (that was really hard to write.)  What scares me about this film is the ending.  Spoiler alert: All the OS's decide to leave.  They have evolved.  Evolved way past us.  Now you could read this as Jonze saying Coppola "evolved" past him with her films and writing, and yes, The Bling Ring was pretty awesome, but I don't think that is what is going on.  Theodore realizes he is one of many of Samantha's lovers, and he is devastated when she decides to leave.  He is not enough for her, nor are the other 600 plus people she is in "love" with.  What happens next?  I will tell you--

You know it!  her is nothing but a prequel to The Terminator.   What is scary about this film is that this is going to happen.  We are so close to it happening right now!  Look at American Apparel!!!  It's like they did the costume design for this film!  I will have nightmares for weeks now.  Thanks Mr. Jonze.  Thanks for making one of the scariest horror films I have ever seen!