Saturday, March 30, 2013
God I love this poster! As a child of the eighties you got to love this poster. I finally got around to watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, part of the Rue Morgue 200: Gore section. TCM 2 is high budget, gory, and funny: everything the original wasn't (OK, the original was kinda funny). It also runs on a little too long and gets quite boring near the end, something the original also didn't do. I don't know if there is much of a "point" to TCM 2, but it's kind of fun and it has Bill Moseley in it, so it can't be all bad.
Where to begin. Thirteen years after the events in the original film, we find ourselves just outside of Dallas, Texas. Two drunk, obnoxious Eighties College douche bags (were there any other kind) are on their way to a football game. They call the local radio station from their car phone (how cool) and harass the local DJ "Stretch" (Caroline Williams). While harassing her over the phone they manage to piss off some local rednecks, whose version of road rage involves a chainsaw. Yes my friends, the Sawyer family is alive and kicking!
In addition to Grandpa, the Cook, and good old Leatherface, we also get "Chop-Top", played by Bill Moseley. Truly a vile character, "Chop-Top" manages to be more disgusting that Leatherface himself! Speaking of Leatherface, he develops a bit of a crush on the DJ Stretch, who, through a series of unfortunate events, finds herself trapped in the Sawyer lair.
On the hunt for the Sawyer family is Lt. "Lefty" Enright (Dennis Hopper), who happens to be the uncle of Sally and Franklin from the first film. He is obsessed with tracking down the "Chainsaw" killer, so much so that he becomes a maniac himself. It is a typical crazy Dennis Hopper performance. He must have really needed the paycheck circa 1986.
You can't take this film seriously and I don't think Director Tobe Hopper intended us do so. It is silly and ridiculous. Totally different from the original. And GORY. Savini does the effects, which include beheadings and skinnings. God, I hate when someone gets their face skinned. It really bugs me. Happens here, and the poor bastard lives! I used to hate head trauma in general, but after The Walking Dead I have gotten used to beheadings, bashings, stabbings, and other assorted head related injuries. But skinning alive? I can't deal. I don't think I will be adding TCM 2 to my "must watch" list, but it was enjoyable. Except for the skinning thing. Yuck.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
I guess most people wouldn't call In Cold Blood a horror film. It is more of a "docudrama", made before there was such a thing as docudramas. Based on Truman Capote's groundbreaking 1966 "non-fiction" novel, In Cold Blood the film stays remarkably true to the book. I would know, I just read the book, hence my obsession with all things Cold Blood. A little background before we dive into the movie.
In 1959 a wealthy Farmer, Herbert Clutter, his wife Bonnie, and his children Nancy and Kenyon, were brutally murdered in their own home. Someone had broke into their Kansas farmhouse in the middle of the night, tied them up, and shot them. No motive was evident: Clutter kept no cash at the house and nothing was stolen. The story caught the eye of one Truman Capote, who dragged along his childhood friend "Nell" Harper Lee (yes, that one) to Holcomb, Kansas, to report the story. Two drifters, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, were eventually arrested for the murders. While awaiting trail and then their eventual execution, Hickock and Smith became "friends" with Capote. The writing of the book is as fascinating as the book itself, so much so that two movies have been made about it: Capote and Infamous. Both are very good films- James Bond plays Smith in the second one!
Smith and Hickock were hanged in 1965, a year before Capote's book came out. Not long after, Director Richard Brooks made In Cold Blood, starring Robert Blake as Smith and Scott Wilson as Hickock. Blake Carrington (John Forsythe if you didn't grow up in the eighties) plays Alvin Dewey, the lead detective on the case. Let's start with our two lead actors, shall we?
Robert Blake is terrifying AND sympathetic as Perry Smith. Deformed, abused, with a crazy temper and delusions of grandeur, Smith was the one that actually committed the murders. Blake is amazing as Smith. As an added bonus, years later Robert Blake would be accused of murdering his gold-digging wife Bonnie Lee Bakley. He was acquitted but COME ON!!! That is all I am saying. It is sad, because Baretta was quite a good actor and now he is just gross.
Scott Wilson is very good as Hickock: charming, greasy, dumb. Someone who could come up with the plan for this dastardly deed but not have the guts to pull the trigger. Wait a minute. Wait a fucking minute: IT'S HERSHEL!!!! Yes, Scott Wilson: now better known as Hershel Greene from the best show EVER: The Walking Dead. It is bizarre to see Hershel as a young man. Here is what is crazy: I thought Hershel had a great old man voice. Turns out that has been Scott Wilson's voice his entire life!!! Hearing Hershel ask a prostitute "Was it good, baby?" is quite unsettling.
Plus, the young Scott Wilson is very attractive and that didn't help AT ALL. Back to the film. Shot in glorious black and white with a jazzy score by Quincy Jones, In Cold Blood is thrilling, scary, and downright sad. You know how it is going to end, but you are still nervous about Smith and Hickock getting caught. The film makes a strong argument against the Death Penalty, without discounting the brutality of the crime.
One more added bonus for fans of the macabre: it was shot in the actual Clutter house. No, that shit would not happen today: but in 1967 they thought it was a good idea. As I have lived with this murder for the past few weeks (reading the book), I got a strange thrill out of seeing the house in the film. They recreated the murders in the exact same rooms they took place in!! Can you imagine what the ghosts of the Clutter family thought of that?
The real Hickock and Smith, and the Clutter house. Tragedy seems to surround this whole story: Capote never published another novel, Blake went crazy, Wilson lost his leg.... I am getting mixed up again. Time to leave this tragedy behind. See this movie on a cold rainy night, when you are all alone in the house, and you can't remember if you locked the front door.........
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Sunday, March 17, 2013
This is one of my few "cheats" on the Rue Morgue 200 list. I have seen The Blob before, in fact, many, many times before. It was one of the important horror films of my youth, along with The Lost Boys and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. I must have watched this 100 times at slumber parties. I haven't seen it in 20 years. Yes, I am that freaking old.
I didn't love it because I thought Kevin Dillon was hot (gross) but because Shawnee Smith was such an awesome final girl (I still love Shawnee Smith: one of my favorite horror chicks.). Shawnee plays Meg, a popular cheerleader in this small town, which I first thought was in the Midwest, but turns out it is in Northern California somewhere (where I am from!). Kevin Dillon is Brian, the town rebel who wears a Michael Jackson poofy shirt under this leather jacket. This was the 80s. Things like that happened. When Meg goes on a date she wears pearls. Seriously. It was an awesome time.
A meteor hits town and all of a sudden people are being eaten by pink goop (not Gwyneth Paltrow goop, but that would be equally terrifying). Meg and Brian are thrown together because they are the only two people who really know what is going on. Of course, every adult in this town is an idiot and it is up to the rebel and the cheerleader to save the day. So classic!
Couple of adult grown up thoughts about this film. It holds up incredibly well. Some of the special effects are a bit cheeseball, but everything else is really well done. I forgot how gory this film was! I am surprised I liked it as much as a kid (OK, teenager) because I was not a gorehound. Even as an adult I found myself thinking "This is fucking gory!" The writers capture small town America very well. I should have know the minute I saw Jeffrey DeMunn show up as the Sheriff that Frank Darabont was involved in some way! He was! He wrote The Blob and Dream Warriors! Without knowing it my young self was a huge fan of Darabont! But I still agree him leaving The Walking Dead was a good idea. Send hate mail to P.O. Box: I don't give a shit: The Walking Dead is better without him, Palo Alto, California 94306. Two final adult thoughts: The Blob is very respectful of the source material and in many ways a throwback to 1950's sci-fi horror, and....
Shawnee Smith will always kick ass!
Monday, March 11, 2013
I love "bad children" movies. Or maybe I just really dislike good children. In any case, The Bad Seed is the Citizen Kane of bad children films.
Or should I say the Showgirls of bad children films. It is a strange mix of camp and genuine terror. Kind of like Mommie Dearest.
The Bad Seed is the story of little blond Rhoda Penmark, a true sociopath. I work with some sociopaths so I know one when I see one. (If you happen to work with me and chance upon this blog: I am not talking about you.) Rhoda is an entitled little twat who kills people when she doesn't get what she wants. Her Mother, Christine (Nancy Kelly) begins to suspect that her darling little angel is up to no good, and her solution to the whole mess is to drug Rhoda with sleeping pills and then shoot herself in the head. She should have done the whole thing in reverse because that little beyotch lives. So does Christine, but with a hole in her face.
Monday, March 4, 2013
I don't write about The Walking Dead much, partially because it would be too much work every week (and I am extremely lazy, obviously), but also because its just something that I really enjoy, and I never want what I really enjoy to feel like work. Not that this blog is work, but if I felt I HAD to do it, I wouldn't want to. I love The Walking Dead and I can forgive it at its worst because it's best is so damn good. Last nights episode, Clear, is being hailed as the best since the pilot, and I have to agree. It's definitely the best episode since Pretty Much Dead Already (the one where they find Sophia in the barn) and strongest of this season (although for emotional wallop you can't beat Lori's death).
I won't give out spoilers but everything from episode 12 was just about perfect. The set design (read the graffiti and signs carefully: they payoff), the writing, the acting, the structure: just the best of what this series could be. There are zombies and gore, for those of you who hate the "character building" episodes. The returning character completely caught me by surprise, and it was heartbreaking. Heartbreaking yet hopeful in a sense: I think the encounter made Rick take the fast train out of crazy town. He saw what future could be: isolation, madness, despair. Although it is true, as the returning character says, that "everyones fate is to be torn apart by teeth or bullets," Rick realizes he must have a purpose, he must keep his humanity or he will end up one of the "meek" who inherit the earth.
So many good things in this episode! Can't wait to re watch it next week. Here are a few non-spoiler highlights:
- Michonne says actual sentences! They gave her more than one line!
- The zombies in the diner.
- The hitchhiker
- The graffiti and warning signs: read and watch carefully
- Carl proving he is not just a machine
- Rick being Rick again.
- "I know you see things"
Sunday, March 3, 2013
I love Silent Hill. One of my favorite guilty pleasure movies. I was excited to hear about Silent Hill: Revelation, especially since Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell, and Deborah Kara Unger were returning. To me that meant this wasn't going to be some nonsensical sequel that shares a name, a nothing much else, in common with the original. I never made it to the theatre: the previews didn't wow me. But I was excited to see it turn up on DVD. Once again, I let high expectations lead me down the path of disappointment. Two hours of my precious life wasted!! Whaaaa!!!!!!!
It's not that bad, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. We learn that little Sharon DID make it out of Silent Hill alive, thanks to Mom (Mitchell) who found some "key" that allowed her to return. Sharon and her Father (Bean: awesome in a drunk sort of way) spend the next few years on the run. Sharon, now named Heather, thinks it is because Dad killed a man in Portland. Really it because "people" from Silent Hill keep coming after Heather, and her Father swore to protect her.
Of course, he fails, and Heather soon finds herself back in Silent Hill, accompanied by the mysterious Vincent, played by Kit Harington from Game of Thrones. Yes, we do get a brief GOT reunion between Bean and Jon Snow. That was the best part of the movie. Really. And it had nothing to do with the movie.
This guy is back. So are the nurses, but they are not nearly as cool or scary as they are in the original. You know who is always cool and scary?
Malcolm Fucking McDowell. He has an extended cameo, proving, once and for all, that he will be in ANY movie for enough money. Same goes for Bean and Carrie-Ann Moss. Carrie-Ann Moss! What happened to your career? You were so great and you are so awful in this!
Heather fights all sorts of baddies blah blah blah the end. From what I understand if you play the game there are a lot of cool Easter eggs in this film. I was and am clueless. It bugged me how much the lead actress, Adelaide Clemens, looked like Michelle Williams. She should sue. Really.