Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Finale of Lethargic's Horrorfest


81. The Missing Juror (1944) - A supposed dead man sent to death row apparently comes back from the dead and starts killing the jurors who wrongly convicted him. Now it's up to the wise cracking, fast talking newspaper reporter to save the day. Not a very original movie from the good old days but still worth watching.

82. The Man They Could Not Hang (1939) - Boris Karloff plays a supposed dead man sent to death row who appears to have come back from the dead and starts killing the jurors who wrongly convicted him. Now it's up to the wise cracking, fast talking newspaper reporter to save the day. Yeah....really. Way better than the first one though. Mostly thanks to Karloff's performance which was amazing. He delivers a monologue in this movie that is as good as anything I've ever seen. This man not having an Oscar in his casket is a shame. The plot was cool too. Karloff's mad scientist character traps all the jurors in a booby trapped house and then tells them exactly what time they will die. He also warns them when something they're fixing to do will kill them but their human nature gets the best of them and leads them to their doom. It's a lot like a 1939 version of a Saw movie only way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way better than a Saw movie.

83. Before I Hang (1940) - Boris Karloff plays a mad scientist who is wrongly convicted of murder and sent to death row and.......ok...look... I never said every movie back then was original. Karloff made like 20 movies a year, they can't all be new and original. But they ARE all awesome.

84. The Butterfly Effect (2004) - That dude from Dude, Where's My Car plays a kid who experiences black outs growing up. He starts keeping journals trying to help remember things that happened during his blackouts. As an adult he discovers that he has the ability to read his journals and then go back in time and take over his body during those black outs and use the time to try to fix things that went wrong in his future. Of course, in true Twilight Zone fashion, every time he goes back and changes something, something else goes wrong and his future life gets worse and worse. I love this movie. No complaints whatsoever. Writing, directing, acting all worked, it keeps you guessing all the way through and demands multiple viewings to catch everything. It really is the Debbie Downer of movies though. It got more and more depressing until you need Calgon to take you away after it's finished. This movie came out when it was very fashionable to hate Ashton Kutcher. Now that that has died down people should give it a second chance.

85. The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006) - Why is there a Butterfly Effect 2? I have no idea. The first one kinda told the whole story and wrapped it up with a nice little bow on it. It wasn't a giant hit that demanded a sequel. Well, it got one anyway. Part 2 tries nothing new or different. It simply retells an inferior version of the original story without the good director, writer or cast. Gone is the entire set up about the black outs as a kid and all that. This dude just has something bad happen to him so he looks at a picture and travels through time without any of the explanation as to how or why. The only thing it has going for it is Erica Durance who plays the best screen version of Lois Lane ever on Smallville. Why see isn't one of the most famous women in the world I'll never know.

86. The Butterfly Effect 3 (2009) - Yep, a third one. Who saw this coming? Even The Butterfly Effect gets beat into the ground?! At least they tried something different this time around. This time they use the whole time travel thing as something of a super power. The guy in this one uses it to go back in time to solve crimes....until half way through the movie all that stops and it goes back to trying to re-create the story from the first one again. Boo.

87. The Dead Pit (1989) - We used to go rent movies in my early teen years at a store called The Video Place in good old Madison Square. It was the greatest place on Earth. I still remember the overwhelming smell of old VHS tapes in that place. I still have a picture of the day I met "Batman" there after his movie came out in 1989. It was the store where I got to rent the Faces of Death movies for the first time. I remember I got a bigfoot movie there called Night of the Hunter. The first scene shows a biker stop on the side of the road to take a leak in the woods. Bigfoot reaches out from some bushes, grabs the guy's thingie and rips it off. I ejected the tape and was scarred for life. I never watched it again until a couple of years ago. It was an awesome place with the coolest horror section you could ever see, which just happened to be right next to the door that hid the adult section. "Daddy, why are you into that room when all the cool movies are right here??"

One of my fondest memories of those days was just standing in that massive horror section and looking at the boxes. Every single box looked terrifying. I used to dream about the day where I finally got every single movie from their horror section watched. Then the store closed and crushed my dream. So now 15 or so years later, every time I see a movie box that I remember seeing at The Video Place I have to get it and watch it. The Dead Pit was one of those movies. Now after seeing The Dead Pit I can genuinely say that I am happy that The Video Place is gone.

88. Re-Cycle (2006) - Another Asian horror movie. Yawn. At least for the first half. It started off as just another ghostly curse thing about an author with writer's block getting haunted by some spooks. But then she got sucked into this magic land where all the bad ideas live. Every story and character people have written but thrown away, live in this crazy place. When she first gets there it is really wild and wacky with brilliant visuals. But then they move away from that and it gets boring again. So if you want to be bored for an hour and ten minutes, but really entertained for twenty minutes, pick up Re-Cycle.

89. The Twonky (1953) - A Professor's TV is possessed by a robot from the future. The TV shoots lasers and mind controls people. Possibly the dumbest movie I've ever seen.

90. Antichrist (2009) - Lars von Trier's latest movie was given an "anti-award" at the Cannes film festival for being "the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world". Reviews have called it the most offensive movie ever made. I don't agree with that at all. (My pick for most offensive movie ever goes to Gutterballs.) Yes, there are a few highly disturbing and graphic scenes but at least the scenes are being filmed by a great director and they serve a purpose to the movie so they don't just come off as cheap exploitation. But ya know, maybe when those scenes happened I was still so shocked at the talking fox that was eating his own intestines that I didn't pay enough attention. People act like the movie is nothing but a confusing mess of insane imagery, but.....it's Lars von Trier. When has he ever made anything easy? I've seen most of his work and I personally think that this is one of his most mainstream and easiest movies to understand since The Kingdom. I used to be way too into the European artsy fartsy movie thing. I've gotten out of it in the past few years, but this one may have brought me back. It's not for everybody, it's a love it or hate it type of movie, but I enjoyed it way more than I expected I would. Note....enjoy is probably the wrong word for it but you know what I mean.

91. The Man with Nine Lives (1940) - A doctor invents a way to freeze patients so that he can operate on them for days or weeks and then revive them to full health. What kind of awesome procedure did he use to do this? He placed bags of ice on their chests to freeze them. To wake them up he removed the bags of ice, put a funnel in their mouth and poured hot coffee in. I'm no doctor but I kinda think that would drown them. I started to think about how in the movies things like this are WAY cooler and more fantastic than they are in real life. How bad was medicine in 1940 that this was the Hollywood version? Oh, yeah....Boris Karloff played another mad scientist in this one.

92. My Super Psycho Sweet 16 (2009) - When I saw MTV was airing a horror movie based on their awful Sweet 16 show I thought I would never watch it in a million years. When I saw it was directed by one of the directors of The Signal I thought dang, now I gotta watch it. I watched The Signal last year and thought it was brilliant and original. Why on Earth would the guy who did that make a MTV movie? It gave me a slight hope that it would be worth seeing. And it was VERY much worth seeing. Just goes to show that even a horrible idea can be salvaged by somebody with real talent. I say this is the best slasher movie I've seen in years. Had THIS been the remake of Prom Night I would have no complaints about it. It really felt like a true 80s slasher movie. It nailed the tone. It wouldn't be one of the big all time classics from that era, but I would say it would fit in very well with the B team of 80s slasher movies like Prom Night, Sleepaway Camp, My Bloody Valentine, etc. Plus the killer looked a lot like the Burger King guy from the commercials. That was quite scary. I give it two thumbs up!

93. Grave of the Vampire (1974) - I probably should've hated this movie but I didn't. I expected to, but the first scene changed my mind. A young couple are hanging in a graveyard but suddenly a vampire comes out of his grave and attacks them. It reminded me a lot of Night of the Living Dead but with a vampire instead of a zombie. The vampire ends up raping the girl and she gets pregnant with a half vampire baby. I know I said before that evil babies aren't scary, but watching this woman give a baby a bottle filled with blood was kinda creepy.

94. The Fatal Hour (1940) and
95. Doomed to Die (1940) - A back to back and a belly to belly of classic 1940s racism as Boris Karloff plays Asian detective James Lee Wong. Would be way more believable had Karloff made any effort whatsoever to attempt a Chinese accent. Just a little? Sorry, Boris, I'll stick with Charlie Chan movies for my racist 1940s movies with white guys playing Asian guys.

96. Saw 5 (2008) - I can now honestly say I completely hate the Saw series. It is without a doubt the worst horror franchise ever. It is beyond tired and worn out. How long will they beat this dead horse? I loved the first movie. It was a very cool little, SIMPLE movie about two guys in a room with a saw. That's it. Easy to follow. Great concept. It left a few open question but they were questions better left NOT answered. Some mysteries should NEVER be solved. But the studio smelled money so they had to make another one, then another one, then another one. The simple little movie that could has now become the most convoluted plot in the history of cinema. There doesn't seem to be any plan from the writers of these movies. They have no idea where they're going, they just make it up as they go and then try in vain in the last 5 minutes to figure out what the hell they just wrote. The plot is so confusing and there is now so many characters that it is impossible to keep straight. Every movie bounces around in time enough to make you dizzy. Present time, flash back, present time, flash forward, present time, flash back, flash forward, flash back, present time, flash back, flash back in a flash back, flash forward, flash back, present time, flash back......it's mind boggling. The series seems like somebody put several jigsaw puzzles into one box and shook it up so now none of the pieces go together anymore. I am absolutely thrilled that Saw 6 was walloped by Paranormal Activity. Hopefully this means the end is near. The sad thing is even when it starts to become less profitable to put them in theaters, they'll just start doing even cheaper direct to DVD Saws. The first Saw movie came out in 2004. By 2009 we already have 6 of them. Just stop.

97. The Vampire Lovers (1970) - At first glance this seems to be just another Peter Cushing vampire flick from Hammer Studios, but it is WAY more than that. 4 words: Ingrid. Pitt. Lesbian. Vampire. Wawaweewa! Sexy time very niiice! I swear I believe that Hammer had some sort of perfect woman making machine. Every single woman in every single movie is insane. How did we get to where we are today? Somebody should sit down today's skin and bone actresses and make them watch this crap. Bring back curves and get rid of the angles! Scarlett Johansson seemed like she was bringing the Hammer look back but then Hollywood forced her to lose weight for Iron Man 2 and now she looks like a 12 year old boy. Thanks a lot, Jon Favreau!

98. Stan Helsing (2009) - Yet another movie from "a producer" of Scary Movie. Is a movie a comedy if it never makes you laugh? I know the movie had jokes, but they weren't funny, so does that count? This movie seemed to be stuck in a time warp. The opening scene had jokes about Titanic and Blair Witch. What year is this? The villains of the movie were some of the lamest things I've ever seen. They had a Pinhead character but his face was painted like a dart board so instead of pins in his head it was darts. HA HA HA HA GET IT??? They had a Jason character but he wore an entire hockey outfit instead of just the mask. HA HA HA HA GET IT??? They had a Michael Myers but his mask had a permanent smile on it. HA HA HA HA GET IT??? They had a Freddy character who looked like Freddy, except that he had a big Flava Flav clock around his neck! HA HA HA HA GET IT??? They had a Leatherface but instead of a human skin mask, he wore a leather purse on his head. HA HA HA HA GET IT??? Yeah, I didn't understand any of it either.

99. Predator: The Quietus (1988) - I finally did it. I broke the internet. I actually watched a movie that is NOT on IMDB at all. I searched every name in the credits and it's nowhere to be found under any name. It doesn't deserve to be on IMDB either.

100. Twins of Evil (1971) - Another Hammer vampire movie with this plot: Peter Cushing must figure out which twin sister has become a vampire. Couldn't this be wrapped up in less than 20 minutes? How about bake some garlic toast? The one who refuses to eat it MIGHT be a vampire. Hold up a mirror, the one who you can't see MIGHT be a vampire. Hold up a cross, the one that goes hiiiisssssss MIGHT be a vampire. Throw some holy water on them, the one that says ouch MIGHT be a vampire. Throw them both in some sticker bushes, the one can't get out MIGHT be a vampire. Raise the blinds during the day, the one that melts MIGHT be a vampire. Take them to a creek, the one who can't cross MIGHT be a vampire. Just some suggestions.

101. Circus of Horrors (1960) - A plastic surgeon performs plastic surgery on people with messed up faces and in return forces them to work in his circus. Do what now? Isn't that kind of backwards? I'd rather go to a circus full of messed up looking people.

102. The Devil Commands (1941) - Boris Karloff plays a mad scientist and does some stuff and some people die and things go bad and he loves his daughter and his wife is dead and wow.....Karloff made a lot of movies.

103. Panga (1991) - Some dumb American broad in Africa stops a witchdoctor from killing a goat and ends up getting cursed by some African tribesman hoojoo. It really goes off the deep end in the last 10 minutes when some guy shows up in a Godzilla suit. Turns out this movie's more popular title is The Curse 3. So I actually think I watched some of it before way back in the day because I liked The Curse movies. This has nothing at all to do with The Curse or The Curse 2 of course. The real sad news is that while watching this I discovered that MGM HD has started showing commercials during their movies. Sure it's only one break per movie but it sure does bring up bad memories of the day AMC started showing commercials. AMC used to be the greatest channel ever and now I can't skip it in the guide fast enough. I just realized Sunday that this is the first year of my life that I didn't even check AMC's Halloween schedule. AMC's MonsterFest used to be the bomb. Now all they do is ChoppedUpFullScreenMoviesFille
dWithCommercialsFest. The ironic thing about MGM is that they only seem to have one sponsor: The Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Their Halloween festival was called Dying for the Weekend. Didn't anybody think Dying for the Weekend, sponsored by Cancer Treatment Centers of America was kind of a bad idea?

104. Nightmare (2000) - Is it racist to say that all Asian horror movies are really starting to look the same?

105. The Old Dark House (1963) - William Castle was tired of critics claiming that people only watched his movie for the gimmicks he used to use. He decided to prove them wrong by doing a gimmickless movie and somehow ended up remaking a classic James Whale/Boris Karloff Universal classic into an awful slapstick comedy starring Tom Poston. He did not prove the critics wrong.

106. My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009) - I first watched this a while back and hated it. I gave the movie a break and said that maybe the annoying and distracting 3D was the reason I didn't like it. So I watched the 2D version.. Nope, it's just really bad.

Fun Fact: The original My Bloody Valentine was the first movie to scare me. When I was a littler feller my Aunt went out of town and asked my Mommy to check on her house. They had more money than we did and had a big fancy VCR that we could only dream of having. We ended up going over there a bunch and watching movies. We decided to watch My Bloody Valentine one night and it didn't take long before I ended up sitting out on the porch while she finished it.

107. Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991) - I had heard about this movie for years and looked for it everywhere. It always sounded like a fun movie where all the famous horror scream queens get together in one movie and hijinks ensue. I wish I had never found it because it's not like that at all and the movie in my head is way better. There is one....count it....ONE name brand scream queen in Brinke Stevens. The rest of the cast are just a bunch of girls who had appeared in shower scenes in one or two bad direct to video movies. And it's not a movie, it's not even an hour long. It's got a very, very, very bare bones plot that leads all these girls to meet up and get in a hot tub and then introduce clips of their shower scenes from their bad direct to video movies. I don't even want to see the movies these clips are from, much less the clips, but.....

108. Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) - Unfortunately I did watch this one. The clips were better because they were shorter.

109. Ghostwatch (1992) - On Halloween Night in 1992 the BBC lost their friggin minds and decided to scare the living crap out of everybody in England and ended up making something now known as one of the most controversial TV moments in British history. The best way to describe it is Paranormal Activity meets Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast. It was a pre-recorded movie presented as a live TV broadcast where a news crew investigates a haunted house. It's very much like Geraldo's famous opening of Al Capone's vault show. The show was divided between two segments. There was an in studio portion featuring a couple of hosts, a ghost hunter type woman and a skeptic. Then there was a crew at the house trying to catch some ghostly stuff on tape. The in studio portion would watch what was going on in the house along with us and comment on it. There was also a phone bank so viewers could call in and discuss what was going on. The thing is, when you called the number you were supposed to get a recording that told you the show was fake, but they got hit with so many phone calls that the thing went down so people didn't hear the message.

It's easy to look back now, 17 years later, and spot all the goofy spots that should've tipped people off that this was fake. Usually I'd call people idiots for buying into something like this, but I have to say, I can understand. This was creepy. It gave me the chills in parts. Just as a normal haunted house movie this thing works. With the BBC not giving any kind of warning disclaimer and this probably being the first time most people were actually exposed to this time of "fake reality" film making...I'm not shocked at the stir it caused. And it's not like they were just showing a haunted house, nope, they were trying to make people think the ghost was using the television equipment to escape and actually haunt the VIEWERS OWN HOMES! Hell, I'm shocked a few old people didn't drop dead watching this. They used tricks like showing one piece of footage several times but using alternate takes to make the viewers think they were seeing stuff the hosts weren't seeing. They also put the ghost into several shots for a split second so he was almost subliminal and of course only the viewers ever noticed any of it. The ghost eventually escapes the house, gets into the studio and possesses the host after it is figured out that by getting so many people to watch this show, they've accidently created the world's biggest séance and given the ghost tremendous power.

In the aftermath of the show one viewer committed suicide, two others were diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and many others had to buy new underwear. The BBC got in all sorts of trouble and placed a ten year ban on re-airing the program. 7 years after that ended, it still hasn't been re-aired and will likely never be, but a documentary about the show is currently in the works. Thankfully you can find anything on the internet if you know where to look.

And I gotta say, it's worth looking for. This is probably the best thing I've watched this year. 1 - Because even as just a normal movie, it's pretty good. 2 - Because the story behind it is so good. The first television show to ever cause somebody to suffer from PTSD?? How can you not love that?

110. The World Gone Mad (1933) - I watched this whole thing and I couldn't even begin to think of anything to say. Did anything happen? I have no idea.

111. Zaat (1969) - Some weird guy who only talks in voice overs discovers a serum that will turn him into a catfish man. After turning into the catfish man he goes out into the woods and starts spraying it with Windex. Then he starts kidnapping women so he can turn them into catfish women so they can mate and create a race of catfish people. While watching this my mind started to wander for some reason. I ended up discovering the secrets of how to make a perpetual motion machine/nuclear fusion generator. But then the catfish man distracted me and I forgot it all.

112. Shocker (1989) - Shocker is a shockingly bad movie from supposed shock master Wes Craven. I don't know what was so shocking about how shockingly bad this movie was though. I would be more shocked if Craven actually made something shockingly good for a change. Seriously, this guy hasn't come up with one good idea since Nightmare on Elm Street and that was in 1984. Why is this guy considered some horror master? The truly shocking thing was that Shocker was a complete and total shockingly bad rip-off of Elm Street.

113. Return to Sleepaway Camp (2008) - This is a movie I watched last year and loved. So I watched it again. I still think it's great. THIS is how you bring classic 80s slashers back. Enough with the stupid generic remakes. Sleepaway Camp features the same writer, director and cast as the original so it easily recaptures everything that was fun about the original movies. I had way more to say last year, I don't feel like repeating myself.

114. A Perfect Getaway (2009) - This one was a OK little thriller. Of course, most of the OK was due to it starring Milla Jovovich. The main issue with it is that it's supposed to be a mystery, yet I successfully deduced exactly who the killers were from the trailer. Then the movie completely gives it away during the opening credits. It would take a real dummy to watch this and actually be shocked at the big reveal.

115. The Devil's Gift (1984) - A woman buys her boyfriend's son one of them goofy cymbal banging monkey toys that just so happens to be possessed by a DEMON!!!! It causes all kinds of horrible things like plants dying. Yet the most unbelievable aspect of the movie is that somebody would think a kid would want a cymbal banging monkey toy for his birthday. But then....the kid LOVES it. He was also given one of the biggest replicas of an AT-AT Imperial Walker I've ever seen and he still just played with this stupid monkey. The fakest thing I've ever seen!!

116. Heart of Midnight (1988) - For some reason people really think Jennifer Jason Leigh should've won the Oscar for this movie. That she was robbed by Jessica Tandy. I don't get it. I saw nothing special about her performance. I'd also say that if you star in a movie alongside people like Brenda Vaccaro and Frank Stallone, an Oscar nomination is not in your future.

117. The Sweet Scent of Death (1986) - Wow. For the second time I have found a movie that IMDB doesn't have listed. I'm awesome!

118. Awake (2007) - This movie has a really freaky description. "The story focuses on a man who suffers "anesthetic awareness" and finds himself awake and aware, but paralyzed, during heart surgery." The thought of being awake during any surgery, much less heart surgery, is scary. That is REAL horror. I was looking forward to this movie very much. It sounded like something very simple and cringe inducing. The first tip that something wasn't right was when it took about 40 minutes before we actually got to the surgery. It sure seemed like a whole lot of back-story and setup for a movie about some dude being awake during surgery. Once the surgery started, it all became clear, the description is a lie. This isn't about that at all. It's some over the top, insanely convoluted, impossible conspiracy to steal the patient's money.

The doctor has malpractice suits he needs money for so him and his team concoct a plan where they have his nurse change her identity and spend months getting this guy with a bad heart to fall in love and marry her. During this time the doctor is bumping the patient down the donor list so she has plenty of time to woo him. The night they get married, ta da, they find a heart. Then the plan is to put in the new heart, inject something to make the body reject it, the guy dies and his fake wife inherits his fortune. But they didn't count on the patient being awake and paralyzed during the operation! Well, that part only lasts for about 5 minutes. After we see those few minutes, his spirit leaves his body. So the entire second half of this movie is this guy's disembodied spirit wandering around the city searching out clues and discovering the plot against him. His mother dies during all this and so then her spirit meets up with his and they solve the mystery. Being awake during heart surgery would be way more fun than watching this.

119. The Tomb (1986) - This could be the most boring mummy movie ever and that's really saying something. It started off very entertaining though. It opened with a shoot out that concluded with a guy aiming a pistol at an airplane and blowing the whole thing up with ONE shot. Then the movie cuts to some fat black woman dressed like King Tut and singing Tutti Frutti. How it went downhill from there I'll never know.

120. Dance of the Dead (2008) - This is another movie I watched last year and liked so much that I watched it again. It's a combination of a teen comedy with a zombie movie about zombies attacking a high school prom. 10 Things I Hate About You + Return of the Living Dead. I love this movie and hate that it didn't get a theatrical release. To me, this zombie comedy completely buries Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland because it works on both levels. You could take the zombies out and it'd still be a good teen comedy. You could take the comedy out and it could still be a good zombie movie. I actually think it was better the second time around. I don't remember laughing out loud as much the first time but this time I laughed all the way through the damn thing. But the thing that makes me like it so much is that the characters are so much more enjoyable than usual horror fare. Nobody is annoying in this. You don't hate anybody. You don't want to see anybody get killed off. Every single teen movie role is here from the anti-hero to the cheerleader to the bad boy to the geek to the bully to the jock and they're all funny and likeable in their own ways. I wish I had more than two thumbs to give this one.

121. House of the Devil (2009) - Another movie I liked last year was The Roost. The movie itself wasn't great due to its low budget and bland actors but I really dug the filmmaking aspect of it. It was made to look like a 70s movie and it really worked. I had no idea the same director did this movie until I started it, once I saw his name pop up I was way more excited about watching it. This time around he has a slightly better budget and a real cast and the movie is way better for it. This time around the movie is made to look like an early 80s horror movie and it is really amazing how good it looks. It looks exactly like an 80s horror movie that has been remastered into high definition. Everything about it looks like it fell out of a time machine. Even the cast looks 80s. The lead character’s best friend seems to be channeling the spirit of PJ Soles. I'm positive that you could play this movie for people, and if they don't know what it is, they'd never say it was made in 2009.

The movie itself will be another love it/hate it type deal. The movie is totally built around suspense, there's no gore or jump scares like most horror movies these days. For much of the movie it's just a girl all alone in a big scary empty house. Nothing happens at all, but that's what was great about it. You know full well that something IS going to happen so watching this girl just wander around this house for a while is constant suspense and tension. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The director, Ti West, has certainly leapt way up to the top of my favorite directors working today. I look forward to the day this guy gets to make a real big budget movie and see what he can do.

(Apparently he was sort of given a chance to make a "real" movie. Lionsgate hired him to direct the direct to DVD Cabin Fever 2. From all accounts he made another really smart movie based in drama, suspense and terror. The studio hated it because they just wanted another gorefest like the first movie. They took the movie from him and completely re-edited it into what they wanted it to be. He's now trying to get his name off the movie and telling everybody that the movie Lionsgate is releasing is no longer his vision. Good job, Hollywood. Ruin somebody else.)

122. Jennifer's Body (2009) - #2 on the list of reasons women should never make horror movies. An indie rock band sacrifices Megan Fox to the devil so they can become rock stars. Instead she comes back to life with demon super powers and starts eating boys. All the while she, and everybody else in the movie, do nothing but spout moronic dialogue filled with idiotic slang words that only a former stripper could write. It took only one movie for Diablo Cody to show what a one hit wonder she is. She'll be back on the pole in no time. Cody's dialogue style worked for Juno because it served the character and the story. Re-using the exact same style for EVERY character in this seems to serve nothing but Diablo's ego.

I probably would've loved this movie had it been a short. If the whole thing was ten minutes long and it was nothing but this rock band killing Megan Fox and she never came back this would be my favorite movie ever. I can't understand, no matter how hard I try, how a movie gets made where Megan Fox is the hot one and Amanda Seyfried is the ugly one. What universe am I in? The sad thing is that as much as I can't stand Megan Fox, she wasn't the problem here. Her wooden, emotionless acting didn't exactly help but even if she channeled Laurence Olivier the movie would still be bad. The cast all did OK, they just had absolutely nothing to work with at all. The story wasn't interesting and the directing was so mediocre that it couldn't elevate the writing. There were a few moments, literally seconds, where the movie would click and I would get my hopes up that we were turning a corner....then nothing.

That was the real kicker. There were so many times where I caught myself thinking, I should like this movie. There were so many chances for it to grab me and make me a fan but it failed at every single one of them. Maybe if the movie had really delivered on it's intended message about the teenage girl's power and sexuality and all that jibber jabber it would've worked, but it failed at even that. There's no message here, just a bunch of blood. A bad movie that can at least deliver a message would at least have some sort of merit. I say skip this non-sense and watch Ginger Snaps instead. It's basically the same exact storyline with a better director, better cast, better writing and it actually delivers its message while still being a fantastic horror movie.

123. Behind the Mask (1932) - Did I actually watch this? I don't remember a thing.

124. Twilight (2008) - #1 on the list of reasons women should never make horror movies.

I do my best to not rip movies before seeing them. That kind of behavior is probably the thing I hate most about the internet. Watching movies or TV shows I love get torn to shreds by people who've never even bothered to watch them drives me absolutely nuts. Too many times I've seen movies get announced and the internet nerd community tears it apart before a director is even attached. Then once the movie is actually released people refuse to see it and give it a chane or they watch it with their pre-concieved notions running through their head. No benefit of the doubt is given, they just watch it so they can talk about how much they hate it. And they cheer when something fails instead of just going oh, that's not for me, so I won't ruin it for the people who DO like it.

I try to give everything a chance and with that in mind I decided to finish off Horrorfest by giving Twilight a shot. I've read all the complaints about it. I know that vampires don't die in sunlight, they just sparkle real pretty. I know they don't have fangs. I know that it’s nothing but a complete and total shameful rip off of True Blood. I was prepared for all that stuff so it wouldn't bother me anymore. Honestly, I really had the feeling that this would be a movie I thought I'd expect to hate but end up really enjoying. I truly wish I could be sitting here and writing about how surprised I was by the movie, but...

I did not enjoy Twilight at all. Not for reasons like sparkly vampires with no fangs who have gone through high school a hundred times. I hated this movie because it was just a really BAD movie. Nothing but cornball hackery from start to finish. When Kristen Stewart walks into class and sees that stupid emo vampire kid for the first time, there just happens to be a fan blowing nearby. The movie goes into slow motion so she can stand there and have her hair blow around like she's in a shampoo commercial. Right then I said are you kidding me?? A movie in the year 2008 actually did that?? And it did with no hint of sarcasm?? The movie was filled with moments like that. Just a bunch of cornball moments that you'd expect to see in a 10 year old Backstreet Boys video but not a Hollywood blockbuster.

Even worse is the fact that this movie is somehow 2 hours long yet NOTHING happens the entire movie. There's no story here. No character development. The big romance? What romance? They see each other and fall in love immediately. It was the movie equivalent of a boy passing a girl a note that says "DO U LIKE ME? Y/N" and then they climb trees together. At one point in the movie the person I was watching it with just started huffing and puffing and yelled "Jesus Christ! Is anything ever going to happen?!" My reply was "the movie has only been on a hour and 11 minutes, give it some time!" Luckily the most exciting scene of the movie was coming up only moments later when the vampires all got together and played a game of vampire super powered baseball. Yay!!!

As much as I hate this movie, I have to defend it. The complaints people have about it don't do it justice. It's not fair to hate this movie because it completely stomps all over the accepted vampire mythology or because it's a silly teen romance movie. Ripping it for those reasons isn't giving the terribleness of this movie the credit it deserves. Even if the vampires were the normal kind we all know and love, this movie is still awful. Nothing but a bunch of annoying, hollow characters with no personality and no motivation doing nothing for two hours. And the very, very, very, very tiny thread of plot it does have will drive you to drink if you think about it for longer than 2 seconds. Jeez, a girl movies to a town, the fifth person she meets is a vampire, she immediately falls in love with him and wants him to bite her so they can be together forever. Really? Why? Why would any sane person think that? You would think it would take at least a couple of dinners before you even got to touch the bra but no, bite me and be together forever!! What? I would think she'd want to spend more time with him before deciding that she should be with him for the rest of time. Maybe she finds out he has really bad BO or something? She wants to be stuck with bad BO vampire guy forever? And if I'm the vampire I'd be like whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!! I just met this chick 3 days ago and she already wants to be with me for eternity? This seems a bit odd and clingy. I think I'm gonna have to pass on this crazy chick. Luckily this high school in the very tiny town of Forks, Washington doesn't have a single ugly person in it so there's plenty of fish in the sea! And if not, I have the rest of time to find somebody better!

And I'm finally done. Thanks to anybody who actually read to all the way down here and thanks to Brandon and Jeremy for letting me take over the site for a few weeks. Now I have to rest for a couple of months before I start my other annual event of trying to see every single movie that gets nominated for the Oscars. Until then I have a DVR full of TV shows to get caught up on, so goodbye internet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lethargic's HorrorFest Part IV


48. Zombieland (2009) - We might as well start right off with the stuff that people will disagree with. Zombieland friggin sucks. It's a movie that does nothing but seem desperate to be cool from start to finish. I enjoyed finally seeing Woody Harrelson play a cool character again and I love Emma Stone enough to watch anything she's in but everything else about the movie was abysmal. The worst was this jerk dude who played the main kid. I fully believe the worst day in history was the day Michael Cera was born. He is the most annoying twit I've ever seen with his stupid emo, alternative rocker, too cool for the room, metrosexual non-sense. The way he talks, the way he walks, the way he looks, it all annoys me to no end and he plays the exact same character in every single movie. I get it! You're the shy, quiet, awkward, clumsy guy who always gets the girl because you're so much cooler than the quarterback. Apparently Zombieland was written with Michael Cera in mind and when they didn't get him they dug up some other annoying dork that looks, acts and talks exactly like him. So now I have TWO Michael Ceras to hate!!!

Outside of hating Michael Cera's clone, there are two more things that keep this horror comedy from working. There are two things that you need to make an enjoyable horror comedy. 1 - Horror. 2 - Comedy. This movie has neither. I laughed three times at this movie. At the Titanic joke, at the Garfield joke and at the.....I don't actually remember the third time, but I'll be generous and act like it happened. As for horror....what horror? For a movie called Zombieland, for a movie where the entire world has apparently turned to zombies except for a few people.....where are they? These people travel half way across the country and encounter about 10 zombies doing it. They drive through downtown L.A. and there's not zombies everywhere? Millions of people turned to zombies in a major city...where are they? Napping? If you promise me a movie where the entire world is zombies, I want to see massive amounts of zombies every-friggin-where! 305 million people live in the U.S. If all of them but 5 turn into zombies I don't think those 5 people will be able to go anywhere without seeing zombies every-friggin-where! But on the plus side, Zombieland was only the 2nd biggest disappointment of this year's horrorfest.....

49. District 9 (2009) - The teaser trailer for District 9 captivated me. It looked amazing and laid out the ground work for an entirely original, fresh take on the alien invasion movie. The full trailer wasn't as great as that teaser was but it still looked really cool. I was sooooooo looking forward to it. Yet.....only 10 minutes into the movie I got that bad feeling in my bowels. Honestly at that point I really wanted to cut the movie off because I did not want to be disappointed. I wanted to cut my losses. The person with me wouldn't let me cut it off so I was forced to sit through the whole thing and every second was painful. All my hopes for this movie crushed a little bit at a time with each passing moment. I honestly can't really say WHY I hated it so much. I really can't. It just didn't work for me at all. Everything rubbed me the wrong way. Like I started wondering what the aliens stranded on Earth ate. The movie soon answered my question by showing they ate cat food. That just annoyed me. It seemed so silly. Cat food? At least ALF ate cats. But I guess the main thing that made it such a disappointment was that all the originality I saw in that teaser trailer, never appeared. There was NOTHING in this movie that hasn't been done before. Take Alien Nation and combine it with Enemy Mine and that is District 9. Nothing original, nothing new, just more of the same old stuff with fancier computers.

50. Paranormal Activity (2009) - If there was ever a movie that should have disappointed me, it's this one. No horror movie has been this hyped up since The Blair Witch. The two movies have lots in common. Both were made for next to nothing but ended up making kajillions and both are shaky cam, fake reality movies. They also have plenty of differences with the most blatant being that I think Paranormal Activity completely blows Blair Witch away in every way possible. I'm not 100% positive, but I'm fairly certain, that this is the scariest movie I've ever seen. As you can probably tell I've watched a LOT of horror movies. Thousands. Yet if I sat down and tried to come up with how many times a horror movie actually scared me I don't think I'd need two hands. This movie not only scared me a couple of times but it actually made my heart rate go up. If a movie can make me think I'm having a heart attack I gotta give it two thumbs up.

I kinda hated Blair Witch and found it very over-rated but there were parts I really liked enough where I have watched it multiple times. I wished it had more of the scares and less of the annoying arguments. That's the main thing Paranormal does right. Instead of just having the one big scare at the end of the movie like Blair Witch did, Paranormal has 4 or 5 big scenes like that throughout its running time. The other improvement is the casting. The acting in Blair Witch was fairly terrible, but not in the usual way. They were OK actors, but they were supposed to be real people on a camcorder. I didn't think they were believable in that aspect. The couple in Paranormal on the other hand nailed it. For almost the entire movie I felt like I was watching real people in found footage and not actors TRYING to be real. That lent so much more realism to the movie than the cast of Blair Witch did.

But I know this will be a love it or hate it movie. People will hate it because of the shaky cam, people will hate it because of the hype, and people will hate it because of its success. If you're the type of person who watches ghost shows on TV or watches ghost clips on YouTube and you get that gnawing little creepy feeling in your stomach, you'll love this movie. If you think ghost shows are stupid, you probably won't like this movie. If you spent the 90s laying in bed, pulling the cover over your head and listening to Art Bell talk about aliens, you'll probably like this movie. If you don't know who Art Bell is, this probably isn't for you. If you think going to a movie is the perfect time to annoy everybody sitting around you by crunching on popcorn, rattling candy wrappers and shaking ice around in a paper cup, you'll hate this movie. If you're the type of person who can just sit there, pay full attention and allow yourself to be sucked into the world of the movie and go with it...you'll love this movie and likely have trouble looking at your bedroom door the same way for the next few nights.

Note: I have seen the movie twice. In the theater and in the home. This movie was actually made in 2006. It spent some time going around festivals and what not before finally becoming the big sensation it is now. The version people are seeing in the theaters now is different from the original version. The DVD of the original version has been readily available for quite a while. A lot people claim the movie was made for under $11,000 which isn't entirely true. The 2006 version was, but once Paramount bought it they spent a few more thousand dollars to re-shoot a new ending for the movie. Now, this isn't going to be another Rob Zombie's Halloween rant.....but it does rub me the wrong way yet again to watch the studio meddle with something that wasn't broke. The original ending was the right ending. It worked. It was scary. The problem? It ended the story. Once again, they can't let a movie just tell a story and finish it. They had to re-shoot the ending to make room for the inevitable inferior sequel, already in the works, where they try to defy logic and actually have lightning strike twice. It's just sickening. Just let this movie stand on its own and quit trying to milk it and run it into the ground. Don't make it another Saw franchise.

Even more aggravating is that they changed it to a very hack ending we've seen many times before. Nearly every single one of these friggin shaky cam movies end with the camera falling to the ground and the last scene is shot at an angle. Blair Witch, Cloverfield, Quarantine, etc all ended with that same damn shot. Paranormal didn't, until the studio felt that the movie was a little bit too original so they had to change it. Screw you Hollywood, I'm tired of your shenanigans. Let the talent create their vision and get out of the friggin way for a while.

51. Kemper: The Co-Ed Killer (2008) - Yet another super cheap direct to DVD serial killer movie. This one, based on Edmund Kemper, is probably one of the most faithful to the actual story. But that's like saying Ashley Olsen is the fat one. In real life Kemper killed several girls and then finished with his own mother and one of her friends. While trying to make his getaway he heard a news report on the radio about his mother's murder which discouraged his escape attempt and led to him turning himself and confessing. The movie version of Kemper is shown to be best friends with a homicide detective who he advises on how to solve murders. When the "co-ed" killings start, Kemper pretends to help the police find the killer until he confesses over the phone and then begins a long, drawn out cat and mouse game with the cop like Hannibal and Clarice. I don't understand why the people who make these serial killer movies can't just tell the true story. You don't need to pump up a serial killer. The true story is much scarier than this over the top master criminal non-sense in the movie. If you want to use a true story as the basis of your own fiction, fine, go for it. Make a movie called Franklin: The College Girl Killer and nobody would care that you changed the story. When they made a movie based on the Zodiac Killer and the cop, Dave Toschi, who was trying to catch him and it became Dirty Harry.....did anybody complain that it wasn't faithful enough? But if they had called the movie The Zodiac Killer you'd kind of expect a different movie.

52. Dark Floors (2009) - I picked this movie because it stars Lordi. Lordi is a big, dumb, horror metal band from Finland. They wear big, dumb rubber monster outfits when they play. They're funny so I figured the movie would be funny. I was wrong. It turns out that this movie was very....VERY....serious. It also turns out that this movie was very good. A group of strangers get on an elevator in a hospital, between floors the elevator stops and the electricity goes out. When the elevator finally comes back on and makes it to the next floor, they step out to discover that everybody else in the building has vanished and time has been frozen. The rest of the movie is this little band of people trying to survive and figure out what's going on. It reminded me a lot of the movie Cube which is one of my favorite movies. Eventually the group ends up battling these ghostly monsters played by members of Lordi and that's when everything goes wrong. When I thought this movie would be stupid fun, Lordi made sense. But this movie was really cool. It was pretty awesome. Then these idiots in their rubber costumes show up and just ruin everything. They don't belong. They are completely out of place. I can't fathom why somebody would ruin their own movie like this. It was still worth watching but Lordi pulled at least 2 or 3 skulls off the rating. Though I did get a kick out of how the Lordi ghosts actually showed up in the order of importance in the band. First the keyboard player, then the drummer, then the bass player, then the guitarist, then the movie ends with the big showdown with the lead singer. Even as monsters, lead singers are jerks.

53. Committed (1988) - I hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie.

54. Eden Lake (2008) - A pretty decent and brutal little movie from the UK about a couple going on vacation to the wrong lake. I will NEVER take another vacation in my life. I've never seen a movie where a vacation goes well. These two run into a group of teenage thugs and the kids end up going all Hostel on them. Some truly amazingly violent stuff in this one. Great family viewing.

55. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) - Another great 70s made-for-TV horror movie. Yet another young couple inherits a mansion which just so happens to be the home to little tiny demons. These little things decide they want to make the wife one of their own so they start annoying her. A pretty bad plan for making her want to be a one foot tall demon that lives in a fireplace. At first she just starts hearing their tiny little whispers. Then she starts catching glimpses of them out of the corner of her eye. Eventually she finally sees one and she's all AHHHHHHHHHH!! And then I'm all AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! And then the movie is over because it's only an hour and thirteen minutes. Very creepy little creatures in this one. Unfortunately it's currently being remade by Guillermo del Toro. I'm sure that'll be great. That was sarcasm.

56. Autopsy (2008) - I had high hopes for this when it started due to the fact that my favorite Clutch song was used in the opening credits. I figured that meant the director had taste. Actually it turns out that the song in the opening credits was the only good part. Watching this movie is like watching your favorite hockey team lose 6-1. Then come back and play another game and lose 6-0. Almost.

57. I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998) - Some people will watch this and think it is one of the worst movies they've ever seen. Some will watch this and think it is one of the greatest movies they've ever seen. I would fall in the second category. This is the final movie by Ed Wood.....sort of. He wrote this script way back in his glory years and always felt it was his best work. He was even quoted in an interview once as saying if his apartment ever caught on fire he'd run inside to save two things: his typewriter and this script. John Carradine and Aldo Ray agreed to star in the movie at one point but funding fell through and Ed never got to make what he considered his masterpiece. Decades later, a bunch of geniuses got together and decided to make Ed's masterpiece for him. But it wasn't enough to just make a movie from a Ed Wood script, nope, they really MADE an Ed Wood movie. If you watch enough Ed Wood movies and watch this you will not be able to tell a difference. It looks exactly like an Ed Wood movie. The same wooden acting, the same horrible camera work, the same bad editing, it's all there and it's all fantastic. It kinda shows you just how talented Ed Wood was when you realize how much effort these guys had to put in to actually match Wood's "bad" movies. Right?

58. Repo: The Genetic Opera (2008) - From the director who ruined Saw by making a bunch of awful sequels to it comes Repo: The Genetic Opera aka The Worst Movie Ever. It's almost sad to watch this. The concept and the visuals would lead one to think this could've been the next Matrix-like phenomenon. But somewhere along the way somebody decided that they'd make it a musical. Not like a decent musical like Moulin Rouge or Chicago where they made a movie that contained a few musical numbers. In this musical every....single....word....is.
...a....song. It is amazingly annoying because the music isn't any good. It's terrible. None of the cast can sing very well. Some, Paris Hilton, can't even act. It's just awful.

59. The House on Hooter Hill (2007) - When you collect movies, sometimes you see a title that you just want to have in your collection. Doesn't matter what the movie is, you just need the title. This is one of those times. This was another of Jim Wynorski's T&A horror parodies but I gotta say....light years better than Cleavagefield was.

60. Drag Me to Hell (2009) - Sam Raimi's return to horror started off pretty good. I didn't expect much so I was surprised by how much I was enjoying myself. He literally used every horror trick in the book in this movie and that's where the problem lies. It was cool at first but it kept ramping up and ramping up and getting more and more ridiculous. It went from a pretty decent, old school, spookfest to an over the top Looney Tunes short. I can tell you the exact moment that I officially gave up on the movie. There was a scene where the main girl was being chased by a ghost and she ran into her garage. Luckily, like most people, she had an old school ACME made anvil hanging from the roof. Not only that but she was also lucky enough to be standing right where the rope was and lucky enough to have something to cut the rope with. The anvil falls from the ceiling, bonks the ghost on the head and the girl lives to see another day. At that second the movie officially became dumb. Only in Scooby Doo could you bonk a ghost on the head and it would actually feel it. Only Bugs Bunny or Wile E. Coyote would ever even have an anvil hanging from a ceiling.

61. Man Made Monster (1941) - Nobody will ever accuse Man Made Monster of being one of the best Universal horror classics but that doesn't stop it from being pretty dang awesome. It's hard not to be awesome when you're a 1940s horror movie made by Universal starring Lon Chaney Jr and Lionel Atwill. It's not going to make anybody leave the room in fright or anything but it still has that classic Universal magic and atmosphere.

62. Pale Blood (1990) - This movie was surprisingly decent. Not some great movie people should run out and see but it was certainly better than most things I've watched lately. The plot of a guy pretending to be a vampire getting stalked by a real vampire made me expect some sort of bad 80s style horror comedy, but it turned out to be a serious movie with a pretty cool performance by Wings Hauser. Maybe my expectations have been eroded by some of the other crap I've watched but I liked it.

63. Black Sabbath (1963) - American International Pictures + Boris Karloff + Italian Schlockmaster Mario Bava = Pure gold. Well.....for the most part. It was another anthology movie. The first two stories were very Italian, awesomely creepy and Twilight Zone-ish. The third story, the one with Karloff, was very boring, slow and bland. But two out of three ain't bad!

64. Troll 2 (1990) - I figured since I watched the fake Troll 3 earlier I'd go ahead and watch the fake Troll 2. BEST. MOVIE. EVER. Proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyophYBP_w4

65. Devil Times Five (1974) - Also known as Peopletoys and The Horrible House on the Hill. You know a movie is gonna be bad when the title on the box and the title in the credit sequence is different. A awful movie about 5 kids escaping from an asylum and killing a house full of grownups. Features a young and recognizable Boss Hog and Leif Garrett....sometimes. It was very confusing. It seems they only had Leif Garrett part of the time or something so instead of shooting around his schedule they just had another kid in a Leif Garrett wig play the part when he wasn't around. The movie should actually be called Devil Times Five and a Half.

66. Swamp Women (1955) - Just when you think you've seen every Roger Corman movie you find another one. This one had some women and some swamp and a lot of boredom.

67. Who Can Kill A Child? (1976) - An Italian flick about a young couple who go to some island for a vacation where it turns out that all the kids have gone insane and killed all the adults. I don't know what I'm sicker of at this point. Child killers or young couples going on vacation and ending up in horror movies. This is literally the 16th movie about a couple going on vacation that I've watched this month. The movie was really bad and slow. It took nearly 90 minutes before the kid stuff started, up until then it was like watching somebody's vacation video. It did have one really cool scene that I didn't see coming. The wife was pregnant and whatever was causing the kids to kill did the same to her unborn baby and it killed her from the inside out. That was kind of different. Oh, and the answer to the question is the husband. Not only can that guy kill a child, he can kill a LOT of childs.

68. Creepshow (1982) - Watching the inferior Trick 'r Treat earlier made me want to watch the real deal. I still love this movie. This is a movie I can find no fault in. Everything works. It's been so long that I forget many of the stories so as I was watching I was oh, yeah, this segment is my favorite. Then the next one would start, oh, wait, no THIS one is my favorite. I think what happened is that they all tied for my favorite. George Romero sure was a great director before he lost his mind.

69. Monkey Shines (1988) - This is AFTER Romero lost his mind. A killer monkey? Really? Every year I get reminded of how sad it is to watch movies by the former great horror directors of the 70s. What happened? What snapped inside his mind? How does the guy who made Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Creepshow turn into the guy who made Monkey Shines, Bruiser and Diary of the Dead? It's sad. But not as sad as.....

70. Prince of Darkness (1986) - I think I have figured out that this is the movie where John Carpenter lost his mojo. It's a really lame movie about a canister that contains the liquefied version of the Antichrist. Somebody decided it would be a good idea to get a bunch of college kids together to study it. Of course, Antichrist liquid ends up killing a bunch of people and trying to bring his daddy to Earth. How would a liquid version of the Antichrist bring Satan to Earth? By pulling him through a mirror of course! How do you stop this from happening? You push Antiliquidchrist through the mirror and then smash it. Duh! Problem solved!

Everything about this movie is bad. The writing, the acting, the casting. This was made right after Big Trouble in Little China so Carpenter decided to just re-use that whole cast. The problem is that he forgot to bring Kurt Russell along to lead the way. Instead of a personality like Russell we get the charisma-less blonde dude from Simon and Simon as our hero. I had the feeling while watching it that this was the turn in Carpenter's career and I was shocked at how right I was when I looked him up on IMDB. Before this movie Carpenter did not make one single bad movie. It was one classic movie after another highlighted by Halloween, Escape from New York and The Thing. AFTER this movie it was nothing but one terrible movie after another highlighted by Ghost of Mars, Escape from LA and Memoirs of an Invisible Man. Carpenter was famous for his awesome synthesizer soundtracks and it seems his ability to make good movies ended around the same time that synthesizer music went out of style.

71. Infestation (2009) - A direct to DVD horror comedy about Earth being invaded by giant bugs. It's not the greatest movie ever or anything but it is certainly a better horror comedy than Zombieland was.

72. The Alphabet Killer (2009) - Yet another real life serial turned into a wacky movie. Everything about the murders is completely based in complete fact, everything else is made up. The lead detective gets haunted by the ghosts of the victims who help lead her to discover that the killer is actually her best friend. Wow. Who saw THAT coming?? I did, 24 minutes into it. As soon as her friend was shown I was like, well.....here we go again. But for a movie based on a real story, the ghosts and the best friend isn't the most unbelievable part. The casting is. Eliza Dushku as a homicide detective? 75% of what I watch on TV is real life crime shows. Crime 360, The First 48...I love em. Let me tell ya, there's not a single homicide detective in the world who looks likes Eliza Dushku. They're all middle aged fat guys with moustaches, not 28 year old girls from Maxim magazine.

73. House (2008) - And the award for the first movie of Horrorfest that I couldn't get all the way through goes to.......................House. And why is it called House? There was already a much better horror movie called House.

74. [REC] (2007) - One of the first movies I watched was Quarantine. I liked it a lot. But I didn't know it was a remake of this so I figured I'd better watch the original and see which one is better. Besides being in Spanish, they're pretty much the exact same movie. Shot for shot. If you see one, you see the other. Though I give the slight edge to the remake. Never underestimate the power of the Hollywood budget.

75. Buried Alive (1990) - This terrible movie was supposed to be based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe but I don't seem to recall Poe ever writing a story about a killer in a Ronald Reagan mask killing people at an all girls boarding school in 1988. Awful movie only worth watching for Donald Pleasance. I've never seen Pleasance in a movie in the 70s or 80s where he didn't just play Dr Loomis from Halloween again. He played the same character in every movie with a different shirt on. Here he changed his look, his voice and his personality and actually played a character! Why he wasted all that effort on this movie I'll never know. It was also the last movie by ohn Carradine. What a way to go out.

76. Black Moon (1934) - It had to be a real letdown for Fay Wray to go from King Kong to Black Moon in less than a year. Not terrible, but it certainly isn't King Kong. And for a 1930s movie set on a voodoo island, it's actually not nearly as racist as you'd think it would be.

77. Naked Fear (2007) - A young girl gets tricked to move to a small town and become a stripper. Yep, tricked. It's like the greatest practical joke ever. Later on she gets tricked into becoming a prostitute but her first john is a psycho who kidnaps her, dumps her naked in the woods and then hunts her down in a Most Dangerous Game type of way. Mediocre movie but I give full props for this girl running through the woods buck naked for so long. I still don't understand girls. Why are so many girls willing to get naked for movies like this? If I was a girl....I might get naked for a Martin Scorcese movie or something, but if the director's name is Thom Eberhardt and the only good movie he ever made was 1984's Night of the Comet, I'm keeping my panties on.

78. Stump the Band (2006) - I like Diff'rent Strokes. This movie stars Danny Cooksey who played Sam on the last couple of seasons. That's the only reason I watched this. I should've just watched Diff'rent Strokes.

79. Spirit Trap (2005) - Snooooooooore. Snooooooooore. Snoooooooooore. Snoooooooooooooore. Snoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooore.

80. The Killing Gene (2007) - The award for worst performance ever by a very good actor goes toooooo.........Stellan Skarsgard for The Killing Gene. He has been good in 104 movies and in this one he was atrocious. But at least he's honest. He knew this movie was terrible and he wasn't even gonna bother. Just give me my check.

And that is all for part 4. I have 4 more movies to watch this weekend. Then I'll be finishing off part 5 and we'll all be done with this long national nightmare.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lethargic Returns

I'm doing something different for this update. Instead of a lot of shorter reviews, I'm doing just a few long ones, and this time we have a theme.....remakes of classic horror movies.

After this I think I'm done with movies that I'll want to talk about at length so I'm planning on two more updates with a lot of quick reviews and then I should be out of everybody's hair for a while. For a year at least. But you'll miss me, right? Right?

42. It’s Alive (2009) - For some reason this remake reminds me of the recent GI Joe movie. I really enjoy the GI Joe movie and all the bad reviews of it made me laugh because all the complaints were about how stupid it was, how over the top it was, how lame it was, how corny it was, how cartoony it was. Yet it was based on a stupid, over the top, lame, corny cartoon! Personally, I thought it was pretty cool to watch a live action version of the garbage I grew up watching. There were problems and things I would’ve done differently, but at the end of the day they simply made the cartoon into a big budget live action blockbuster and it was just as fun, dumb and funny as the show was.

For some reason people now expect every single movie like this to be Batman-ed, but not everything lends itself to be remade into a dark and serious film. The source material for GI Joe and Batman are two radically different things. Batman is dark and serious, so that’s how the movies should be. GI Joe was a stupid cartoon, so that’s how the movie should be. It's based on a cartoon that was based on a toy and you expect to get The Dark Knight 2.0 out of it? That would never work in a million years. A serious GI Joe would movie would just end up being stupid, at least you know this one is stupid as soon as you sit down to watch it.
Much like GI Joe, the original source for It's Alive wasn't all that good of a movie to begin with. It has an appeal thanks to its quirkiness and camp value but it's not like its some great classic horror film. It's a movie about a killer baby. People watch it to laugh, not to shriek. The original movie is tolerable because it seems to know how stupid it is. It doesn't hide from its ridiculousness, it embraces it. The remake doesn't seem to understand how stupid it is whatsoever. It tries to turn a corny storyline about a killer baby into a realistic, VERY serious, horror movie. They tried to turn It's Alive into the next Dark Knight. You're not scaring anybody with a stupid little killer baby!!!

This is a remake they SHOULD have gone nuts with and made it over the top insane. Have the baby doing such ridiculous things that you couldn't help but laugh at the stupidity. Instead they went deadly serious with it and ended up re-making a cool, one of a kind, high concept movie into a carbon copy of a million other direct to DVD horror flicks that take themselves way too seriously and you forget you watched it 30 minutes after you hit stop. I'd rather stick with the original goofy version and get at least a chuckle out of the thing.

43. Children of the Corn (2009) - I never liked the original Children of the Corn movie. While the main kid and the red head kid were kind of creepy, it was still really dumb. That and the fact that this is supposed to be a more direct telling of King's original story (making it not officially a remake) gave me hope that it would be pretty good. But the fact that this movie premiered on the SyFy channel kinda tipped me off that I’d likely not like this version either. And I didn’t. It was terrible.

The female half of the couple who end up stumbling into this evil little kid town is the most hate-able character in the history of movies. Annoying characters have been a staple of horror movies for a long time so that you look forward to seeing them getting offed in whatever imaginative way they get offed in. This wasn't like that. This woman was so annoying that it went WAAAAAY past not liking the character, it made me HAAAAAAAAATE her and HAAAAAAATE the movie. I didn't care at all about seeing her live or die, I didn't want to see her at all. She was written as the most overbearing, whiney, screaming, nagging.....two words come to mind that I won't use here....that I've ever seen. Sure, the couple is supposed to be having marital problems and fighting and all but....AHHHHHHH...I HAAAAAATED HER!!! Every time her mouth opened it was like ice picks shoved into my ears. And that's just the character as written. The actress was just as bad. Terrible overacting and nothing but screaming every single word as if being the most hated person in any movie ever was her true goal. Everything else in this movie could've been absolutely perfect and I'd still hate it because of this woman.

Luckily for her, nothing else really worked either. David Anders was his usual solid self as the husband but the part was terrible and gave him nothing to work with. He was simply the stupid character who had to do all the wrong things to make sure they ended up stuck in a town full of murderous children who worship corn. The kids were also terrible. Some of the kids in the first movie did a great job and were freaky little brats. These new kids felt like all the kids who weren't good enough to act in cereal commercials. Terrible little actors.

Of course, even if all those things worked, Children of the Corn would still suck because it's still Children of the Corn and Children of the Corn sucks. It's not even a good story on the page so why would it make a good movie? Stephen King himself helped write the script for this one because he didn't like the first movie. You know why the first movie wasn't any good? Because the story isn't worth making into a movie!! First of all, the original story is only 27 pages long. There is absolutely nothing to it. If you've never done any screen writing or reading about screen writing here's a fun fact.....one page equals roughly one minute of screen time. So a 90 minute movie should be around 90 pages long. So how would one turn a 27 page story into a 90 minute movie? Lots and lots and lots of padding which mainly involve scenes of people running through corn fields.

And besides that....even if Children of the Corn was a 30 minute short it would STILL suck because it is the most farfetched story line ever. Kids kill every adult in an entire town and nobody notices it? For YEARS??? And why do they do this? For the corn??? KIDS HATE VEGETABLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

44. HALLOWEEN (2007) - I have never been a fan of Rob Zombie. Not of him, his music or his movies. His horror themed image felt like nothing but a cheap gimmick he came up with to market himself. I loved his first movie, House of 1000 Corpses, for the first hour or so but felt the last act ruined the entire thing. I hated his next movie, The Devil's Rejects, for the first hour or so and then really liked the end. Overall his movies felt a lot like his music. Fake and desperate. I don't believe he really loves horror the way he claims. I believe he sees the horror fan base that is willing to drive 50 miles to a horror convention for the privilege of paying an extra from Dawn of the Dead 40 bucks for an autograph to be a cash cow that is begging to be milked. I freely admit that I could be very wrong about the guy but that's just the feeling I get. I’ve given him plenty of chances to change my mind and he hasn’t.

When the remake of Halloween was announced I rolled my eyes right along with everybody else. Why do we need a new Halloween? When Rob Zombie was announced as the director my interest raised a little bit. Even though I'm not a big fan and didn't think his first movies worked, the guy HAS shown that he's not looking to just make a generic studio picture. His first two movies were crazy, violent and weird. There was no way a Rob Zombie Halloween would end up being yet another cookie cutter remake like all the other cookie cutter remakes Hollywood has puked up the past few years. This would at least be something worth seeing even if it was a colossal failure. As the pictures and trailers started coming out I started getting really into it. It looked pretty cool but I still assumed it would be bad. When I finally saw it I went in with my "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" mentality but discovered I didn't need it. This movie was better than my wildest hopes and dreams. It blew me away how much I loved it. Rob Zombie had created his masterpiece. It seemed that doing a remake in a set world with set rules gave him the structure needed to contain and focus the insanity that had always sent his own original movies careening off the rails. The problem is…… I didn't watch the final version of the movie most people watched.

An early cut of the movie, known as the work print edition, leaked online around the same time the movie hit theaters. THIS is the version I watched. When the reviews of the “real” movie started hitting the intrawebz I couldn't believe it. Most people HATED this movie. It made absolutely no sense to me how people could hate this movie that I loved so much. How different could the two cuts really be after all? I started reading what the differences were and it started to make sense. I got the DVD when it came out but I was too afraid to watch it until now. 2…years…later. Now that I've seen what the final product is like I completely understand and agree with the criticism, but it also frustrates me to no end that such a cool movie was absolutely slaughtered by a meddling studio.

A lot of remakes these days aren't called remakes. The studio likes to throw around the word "re-imagined" because they know the word "remake" makes a lot of people sick. The term is usually non-sense but in this case it is absolutely deserved. This IS a re-imagining of Halloween. Zombie didn't just try to make an improved version of the original, he made his own version. He took the basic concepts out of the Carpenter universe and put them in the Zombie universe and made something entirely new out of something old. The work print version of this movie SHOULD have been held up as a shining example of how horror remakes should be done, right alongside Cronenberg's The Fly and Carpenter's The Thing. Instead, the vast majority of people out there didn't get to see it. The work print version is a very detailed, character driven, emotional roller coaster that really changes the entire way you perceive Michael Myers. The final version tried to do the same but only did so in very broad strokes. All the fine details that made the story make sense have been cut. Why does Myers like to wear masks? You understand in the early, but just barely in the final cut. Why does Myers stop talking? Fully explained in the early cut, not explained at ALL in the final cut. When Myers is still a boy we see him kill a nurse. Why? Theatrical version cuts the entire motivation for him doing that out of the movie. Pretty much all the characters in the movie become nothing but caricatures. All their motivations have been left on the cutting room floor, all the small moments which really told us who they are and what they're feeling...gone. Sure, there is a moment in the final version where Loomis screams that he failed Michael at the top of his lungs, but it's just words. In the early version we truly see that Loomis loves Michael and not being able to save him from becoming this monster has ruined his life.

The biggest difference between the original Halloween, the work print version of Zombie's Halloween and the final version of Zombie's Halloween is Michael Myers himself. In the original movie he's really not a person or a character. Much like the characters say, he's the boogeyman. Even in the credits he is not called Michael Myers, he is called The Shape. He's not a person, he's not even an animal, he's just walking death, killing everything in its path. You don't care about him as a person in any way. You don't think about his motivations or wonder why he's doing what he's doing, you just go for the ride.

Rob Zombie did something with his movie that I never thought possible. He made Michael Myers a person. We watch him grow from a boy to a man. We see him as a sweet kid who loves his mom and wants nothing more than to just be with her, yet we also see the darkness growing inside him. We see the conflict going on between his human side and his evil side and we watch as all the people trying to help just end up doing more harm than good. So when he finally puts that mask on and invades Haddonfield it's completely different from the original. You're still scared for the people he's after, but you're also sad that he's been pushed this far. You're sad that the darkness has now almost completely taken him over.

He also has motivation in this version. In the original, he had none. He was just a shark looking for his next meal. Remember, in the original, there was NOTHING about Michael and Laurie being brother and sister, all that stuff was added in later. Originally she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the new version we see from the very start that she is his entire motivation and his intention is NOT to kill her. He is going after her because she's his last connection to humanity, he wants her to save him and love him. When he finally captures her he makes no effort to harm her, he puts down his knife, gets down on his knees and hands her a picture of him holding her as a baby. He's not trying to scare or harm her, he just wants her to know who he is but his mind isn’t right so he knows no other way of doing it. When Laurie can't understand him and just stabs him and tries to escape it's a sad moment. Instead of thinking run, run, run you're think no, don't run, stop, he's trying to tell you something dummy!!! When Loomis shows up and starts begging Michael to stop, pleading with him to surrender so he won't have to shoot him…it's a sad moment. In the original movie Loomis running in and shooting Myers is the big YAY hero moment, here it's just another sad moment because you don't want to see Myers shot and you don't want to see Loomis be the one to do it. But in the released version, almost all of that is lost. We don't have the same connection to Michael so when he starts killing people it just becomes a new version of Carpenter's Halloween. It’s no longer a re-imagining, it's now just another remake.

And when the killing starts, it really starts. Yet another difference between the work print and the released version. The body count is very, very low in the work print and some of the kills that do happen occur off screen. The released version has nearly 10 extra kills in the movie including the off screen deaths now pushed front and center because anybody watching this movie would never be able to go 10 minutes without seeing some blood, right?? And that's where you can obviously see the studio meddling that killed this movie. “Hahrump hahrump, we can't have a Halloween movie were Michael Myers doesn't kill a whole bunch of people! Hahrump hahrump!”

In the early cut, Myers generally only killed people he had to or people who really deserved it. That's something else that keeps the viewer from seeing him as a real villain, he's not killing people left and right for no reason. The best example is his escape from the asylum. In the early cut an annoying orderly, who has been bullying Myers for a while, take a catatonic patient into Myers cell to let his friend rape her. Myers tries to ignore it and mind his own business but once they start messing with him, he goes off, he kills both guys and uses their keys to escape. This scene showed us that Myers wasn't really interested in killing or escaping or anything, he had to be provoked before doing anything, and it was two guys who got what they had coming to them. In the theatrical version 4 guards are transferring Myers to a new prison in the middle of the night. Myers uses his super human powers to break the chains holding him and slaughters all four for no explained reason and no real motivation. He then kills pretty much everybody else working in the place. That is something Carpenter's Myers would've done, not Zombie's. This being the first thing the adult Myers does completely alters the entire way you see the character for the rest of the movie. He's now back to just being The Shape again, rendering all the set up we've been through up until now rather pointless.

The other major place you can see the studio being a problem is the ending. The early cut had a great ending that worked completely thanks to everything that came before it. It wasn't the standard “is he dead or not” cliffhanger ending from a slasher movie. It wasn't the cliché ending where you think the killer is dead and then he pops back up and grabs somebody's leg. It was an emotional impact based more on the drama of the movie than the horror. But the studio wouldn't let that stick, they had to change it so there could be a sequel. Zombie said all along that he didn't want to do a sequel and his original ending showed that. There was no question at all that this story was over. There could never be a sequel to it. But the studios love nothing more than to suck every last dime out of a horror franchise so the ending just HAD to be changed. Pretty much the entire last 15 minutes were changed to just another typical slasher movie killer chasing a girl scene. No more drama, no more emotion, just standard, hack, generic, tired clichés.

Ok, I'm TRYING to end this, I promise. I could literally talk about this all day long. I totally and completely love the work print version of this movie. It works on multiple levels. I totally and completely hate what was released into theaters and what was released on DVD. There's never been a movie that is a more glaring example of what's wrong with the studio system than this one. A great movie was destroyed because by focus groups, test screenings and meddling executives who care nothing about creativity. I gained a LOT of respect for Zombie as a filmmaker when I watched his original version, but the version he actually released took it all back. I wish he would've fought harder for his vision like he seemed to do with House of 1000 Corpses. I wish he would've pushed to have this version released as his director's cut. The director's cut they put out does have a couple of these scenes put back in, but not nearly enough, it's simply a longer version of the theatrical release while the work print is a radically different movie. The fact that he then went back and a made sequel after saying he wouldn't just made all my original thoughts about him come back. At least now I believe the man is capable of making a great movie. I just hope that next time he's willing to fight for his vision and not let the suit and ties ruin it again.

45. Prom Night (2008) - Ya know, I pay a LOT of attention to this stuff and even I didn't know that a remake of Prom Night existed until now. I wish I still didn't know. This movie is a prime example of why there is so much bad connotation behind the word remake. There is just no reason why anybody should remake Prom Night. Prom Night is one of the classics of the 80s slasher craze but it's not iconic. You can justify making a new Jason, Freddy, Leatherface or Michael Myers movie because those are horror icons. They will all four be around for the rest of time in some way, shape or form. Somebody want to name the killer from Prom Night? Anyone? Helloooo?

The major problem is that they really didn't bother to remake the movie at all besides the fact that the movie takes place during a prom. The entire story is completely different and none of the characters are the same. It's nothing but a generic, cookie cutter, paint by numbers script that would be bad for a direct to DVD movie. There's nothing to it. It's as bland and generic as anything. The original Prom Night was well made, fairly original and had Jamie Lee Curtis as she was right in the middle of her scream queen reign. This movie has nothing to like and nothing interesting. Bland actors, bland writing and bland directing. It's like eating a rice cake. You chew it and all you can taste is air. The title Prom Night being on the box for this movie is like if somebody wrote "Cheeseburgers" on the box of rice cakes. Call it whatever you want but when you open the box there's nothing of value inside.

The sad thing is that people still fall for this garbage. Hollywood can make one awful movie after another, throw a classic horror title on the poster, and rubes will line up outside the theater to watch it. This movie was so cheaply made that it made a profit on its first weekend in theaters. I hope everybody who paid money to see this feels real good about themselves. Thanks for encouraging them to make more crap like this.

46. The Last House on the Left (1972) and
47. The Last House on the Left (2009) - The original Last House on the Left is one of my favorite movies of all time. If you had asked me a year or so ago to name a movie that could NEVER be remade I would say, without a doubt, Last House on the Left. The things that make the original effective just can't be re-done in today's PG-13 world, but I still held out hope that the remake would at least be a good movie in its own way and since I try to give everything a chance I had to give it a shot. I decided to watch both versions back to back since it had been a couple of years since I last watched the original. This might not seem fair to the remake but it doesn't really matter, nothing I could've done would make me like this remake and I have a few reasons to explain why I detest it. But in case you've never seen either version let me give a quick synopsis for you. Two girls go out for a night on the town but instead end up being kidnapped by a group of psychos. The gang unmercifully torture and kill the girls and then suffer one of the worst coincidences a gang of psycho killers could ever be faced with, they end up spending the night with the parents of one of the girls. The parents figure out what they've done and then go all Charles Bronson on the group. Now to why I hate it…

A) In the original movie the two victims were likable, normal girls. They made some mistakes that led to their situation but it wasn't like victims in normal horror movies who are complete idiots to the point that you don't care if they die or not. These girls made mistakes but it was the kind of believable mistakes a real person could make. Watching these girls get caught by these maniacs isn't all that much different than seeing security cam footage of a real life maniac taking somebody. Having the girls not be stupid and more realistic lent more realism to the situation and made you feel bad for what the girls would end up going though. The girls are written completely different in the remake. Gone is the realistic depiction of two normal girls and in its place is the usual modern horror movie non-sense. One girl is the typical weed obsessed slut. The other is a stuck up spoiled brat. Both are so annoying that 15 minutes into the movie I couldn't wait to see them bite it.

B) The original movie didn't have 1/10th of the gore that the remake has. The original kept it as realistic as possible. There were no heads exploding in microwaves or anything like that. Much of the torture was more mental than physical. One of the most horrific scenes in the original is when the bad guys force one of the girls to pee in her pants. There's no blood, no guts, it's just a wet stain on a pair of blue jeans but it is just a horrible moment because you're watching something that can really happen. It's simple, it’s about very mean people doing very mean things, it's not about the over the top violence. The remake is nothing BUT over the top violence. Even the difference in the rape scene was a bit staggering. In the original it was very short and the camera focused on their faces. That gave the scene soooo much more of an emotional impact. It wasn't about what was physically happening, it was about the mental aspect, it was about seeing somebody's spirit be broken. That scene in the remake is totally different. It's all about the act and making it as violent and "sexy" as possible. The faces aren't as important as showing the bare butts or the panties getting torn off. It's yet another example of why horror directors don't get it. Movies today can do amazing things with special effects and gore and violence that make even the people of thickest skin go ewwwww. But they will never scare anybody the way movies like Last House or Texas Chainsaw Massacre did because people back then knew the way to get a scare was to hit you emotionally and mentally, not physically.

C) The original has one scene that I've always said is one of my favorite scenes in movie history. The scene is very depressing and awful so I know it's weird to like something like that so much, but it just brings out so much sadness every single time I see it that I just HAVE to consider it a great scene. The scene takes places just after the rape scene. The girl simply gets up and walks into a lake. She gets to about chest deep then just stops and stands there until the head bad guy shoots her. Nobody says anything during any of it, nobody forces her to go down there, she just gets up and goes down there voluntarily and forces him to shoot her. It is one of the most heartbreaking moments in any movie ever because you're watching a girl give up. She no longer has the will to try to escape. She no longer has any interest in going back to her life. There's no chance of going back to who she used to be, everything she's been through has completely broken her and she just wants it to end as quickly as possible. While none of the members of the group say anything afterwards, the actors play it beautifully. You can look at their faces and tell that even these despicable monsters are shocked, they realize that what they've done to these girls has changed something inside them and that there's no going back to who they were before. Whether it be tears running down my face or goose bumps going up my arm, this scene does something to me every single time I see it. I was truly hoping and praying that the new movie wouldn't ruin this moment. The entire climax of the movie really depends on it. You NEED to be in a place where you complete despise these creeps for what they've done. You NEED to hate them completely so when the parents do what they do to them, you are behind them 100% and it seems just. Did they ruin it? Of course they did!! In this version of the movie they made the girl a competitive swimmer. So when she walks out into the water the reasoning is completely different. She's going out there to swim away and escape. The scene has been changed from an amazing emotional impact to just another horror movie cliché where the 90 pound teenage girl defeats evil yet again.

D) And that should REALLY tell you why I don't think this movie lives up to the original. The girl escapes. She doesn't die. Spoiler alert. The entire climax of the movie is rendered meaningless. The girl has been shot, raped and badly injured, but she still somehow makes it home to her parents. Of course, by now the parents have already unknowingly allowed the group of villains to stay in their guest house. The movie tried really, really hard to explain why these people couldn't get their daughter to the hospital but it just wasn't believable at all. I understand how the parents would WANT to kill the people who did this. I really do. I fully support vigilantism. Somebody kills your daughter, you have my full blessing to do what you need to do. That is what I SHOULD have loved about this movie. If the daughter had died and the parents spent half of the movie getting their revenge, it would likely be a movie I'd really enjoy. Instead I couldn't help but think about how stupid it was. A parent may really want to get revenge, but they wouldn't give up on getting their daughter help to do it.

This movie should've been about watching these parents do everything they could to get their daughter to the hospital, instead they spend all night needlessly killing people. It made no sense. In the original it made perfect sense. The parents lost everything when their daughter died. Their reason to live was snuffed out. They had nothing left to lose. When they get their revenge, it just felt so much more logical to believe they'd do what they do. Also, the original movie wasn't about the parents killing the bad guys. It wasn't about their revenge. It was about the girls and what happens to them. The parent's revenge was like an afterthought. The remake put the entire focus of the movie on the parent's revenge killings. In the original that part is maybe 20 minutes long. In the remake it's over half the movie. The fact that they made that part so much MORE important to this version, yet gave it so much LESS motivation was idiotic.

E) The last thing that irritated me about this remake is that it didn't need to be this way. The original Last House on the Left was a remake itself. It was a remake of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring from 1960. Does anybody sit around and complain about it being a stupid remake? No. Why? Well, because most haven’t seen The Virgin Spring, but also because they didn't just take The Virgin Spring and try to redo the exact same story and make it better. Instead they took the plot and turned it into something fresh and new. This remake just takes the original Last House and makes a bad copy. Like they put the original movie through a Xerox machine but the ink was low so it came out kind of weird looking. They could've done what I Am Legend did. They didn't sell it as a remake of Omega Man or Last Man on Earth. They just used the same source material to make a whole new movie. Had they simply made a new, original movie that was "inspired" by Last House on the Left, or instead did a more direct remake of The Virgin Spring, they could have avoided all these comparisons. Instead they tried to fix something that wasn't broke and failed miserably at it. This remake was truly unnecessary.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Part II of Horrorfest

Once again we bring you a full review by guest writer Lethargic. We thank him again.


18. The Pit (1981) - This was one of my favorites as a kid. It was one of those movies that seemed to be on constantly in the early days of cable and was one of the 5 movies available to rent in the early days of VHS. I watched it a lot. While other kids my age were obsessed with E.T., I was obsessed with The Pit. It took FOREVER to finally get this movie out on DVD so I could see it again and the wait was worth it. This is one of the few times where a movie actually held up. It's about a weird, perverted 12 year old boy who is constantly picked on by other kids, miss-understood by adults and ostracized by his community. The kid has all kinds of problems including the fact that his mother "washes him too much" and his only friend is an evil talking teddy bear named Teddy. Eventually he finds a pit in the woods where creatures called Trollalogs live. He decides to take care of the creatures and discovers that all they eat is meat. He starts stealing money to buy meat so he can feed them but the money runs out so he has to find a new source of meat. Per Teddy's advice, he decides to kill two birds with one stone and starts tricking the bullies and people who have wronged him into the pit to feed the Trollalogs. One of my favorite scenes in movie history is when this kid pushes an old lady in a wheel chair into this friggin pit. Wow, does that make me laugh. The thing that's great about this movie is that there is not a second of normalcy in it. It is just weird, creepy and odd from start to finish. You could make a thousand movies about a kid throwing people into pit and 999 of them would stink. You could never recapture whatever it is that makes this one work. It's not a well made movie but it has a vibe and an atmosphere that just makes you feel dirty. You feel like you have to brush your teeth after watching it. I loved every second. And it's not because I completely identify with the main character!!! Not fully at least.

19. Cleavagefield (2009) - I've tried to stick with Jim Wynorski for a long time now but I'm finally tired of hoping for the best with this guy. This is just another in his long line of awful T & A parody flicks that fail to entertain either as a movie OR a skin flick. Wynorski started his career in the 80s with a string of awesome horror movies (Chopping Mall, Not of this Earth, Sorority House Massacre 2) and other B-movie classics (Big Bad Mama 2, Deathstalker 2, Return of Swamp Thing). In the 90's he continued to bounce from low budget horror (976-Evil 2) to low budget kids movies (Munchie) to low budget action (Hard Bounty) to low budget sci-fi (Dinosaur Island) to low budget erotic thrillers (Body Chemistry 3). He became the king of the direct to video market. Things started taking a turn for the worse in 2000 when he made a Blair Witch parody called The Bare Wench. The movie wound up being quite successful and its sequel even more so. While he had now delved into complete and total gratuitous T and A nudity, these movies were also entertaining. As far as I know, this was the first time somebody was making these Skinemax type movies that were actually worth watching even without the nudity. For a while Wynorski continued with his normal career while also cranking out a few more Bare Wench sequels that kept getting more and more unwatchable. The problem is, as they became more and more unwatchable, they made more and more money. Far out doing his serious work. So he apparently decided to sell his soul and has all but abandoned his efforts to make watchable movies and now makes almost NOTHING but soft core pornography parodies such as The Breastford Wives, The Da Vinci Coed and Busty Cops. And he's constantly tricking me. I see a title like Cleavagefield and I think wow, that's a funny concept, maybe this one will recapture the magic of Bare Wench. Then I just end up sitting here fast forwarding through a bunch of awful lesbian scenes to watch the 5 minutes of movie he bothered to make. He no longer parodies the movies, he now only parodies the title. He's sunk so low at this point that he can't even get hot girls in his movies anymore. It's nothing but a bunch of ugly naked girls running from some horrible CG monster that makes SyFy's original movies level of FX look like Transformers. Even Wynorski himself seems to be embarrassed. He has used no less than 16 fake names to direct these pieces of garbage. There's no telling how many more he's made that nobody knows is him. So if you ever see a movie directed by J. Andrews, Jay Andrews, H.R. Blueberry, Harold Blueberry, Bob E. Brown, Daniel Fast, David Gibbs, Heny Henri, Noble Henri, Nobel Henry, Noble Henry, J.R. Mandish, Tom Popatopolous, Arch Stanton, Jamie Wagner or Thaddeus Wickwire.....it's really Jim Wynorski and I urge you to change the channel.

20. Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas (2009) - There has been three movies based on the serial killer Henry Lee Lucas and his partner Ottis Toole. The most famous is Henry. The best is Confessions of a Serial Killer. The absolute worst is Drifter. Confessions attempted to tell the true story as faithfully as they could. They made no effort to sex up the story and make the killers seem cool. They were scumbags in real life and they were scum bags in the movie. Drifter went the other way. This truly horrible script seemed to be written by somebody who read half of Lucas and Toole's Wiki page, watched Natural Born Killers a dozen times, leafed through a how to write a screenplay book and went to town. This movie featured some of the worst dialogue I've ever heard in a movie and the production value was barely above a high school play. Wanna check out a visual representation of how horrible this movie is? Look at the casting choices:

Here is a picture of the real Henry (on the right) and Ottis (on the left): http://tinyurl.com/henryottis
The idiot who made this movie decided this guy should play Henry: http://tinyurl.com/nothenry
And this guy should play Ottis: http://tinyurl.com/notottis
Are you kidding me?

21. Visiting Hours (1982) - This is a pretty good thriller about a female TV personality who begins a campaign against spousal abuse. Unfortunately for her, there's a woman hating psycho on the loose, played by Dude Who Does the Splinter Cell Guy's Voice, who thinks beating your wife is A-OK. So he breaks into her house and kicks the crap out of her in protest. Then once she's in the hospital he decides to go there and menace her a little longer. This guy is less a villain and more a big fat jerk. It's good but it would've been a LOT better if somebody did some editing. It's an hour and 45 minutes long. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin could've made a movie with the same plot in less than 20 minutes and it'd be way funnier.

22. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) - A really awesome 70s horror flick from the people who made The Legend of Boggy Creek. This one is based on the true life case of The Phantom Killer who killed 5 people in Texarkana in 1946. (Fun fact: I will NEVER go to Texarkana.) The killer wears a sack with eye holes cut into it kinda like Jason did in Friday part 2. It goes a long way to proving that you could use a computer to make the freakiest nightmare of a creature possible, but it will never be anywhere near as scary as a redneck with a sack on his head.

23. The Pumpkin Karver (2006) - It was late when I saw this on the guide. I thought the listing said it starred Amy Acker. I thought the title sounded like a pretty bad movie, but Acker is a good enough actress that I wouldn't think she'd be in that crappy of a movie. My hopes were dashed as 2-3 minutes into the movie I realized I had miss-read the listing. The movie did not star the good actress Amy Acker. It starred the former soap opera has been turned former WWE Diva has been turned over the hill scream queen has been....Amy Weber. This movie was utter tripe. I thought the dialogue in Drifter was bad?? Pumpkin Karver makes Drifter look like Glengarry Glen Ross. I don't even believe there WAS a script, it seemed like the whole movie was improvised. The plot was stupid, the characters were stupid, everything was stupid. And TWO people wrote this?? I could see one person writing something this dumb, but two?? There comes a time when you have to look at your buddy and go dude....this really sucks.

24. Skinwalkers (2006) - When FX guru Stan Winston died it was a huge loss to the horror and genre film world. This was one of the last movies he worked on and was apparently pretty important to him as he loved werewolves. After watching this I no longer miss him.

25. Claws (1982) - Claws is the type of movie that makes me want to hunt down everybody who made it and give them a Joker style beating with a crow bar. The film is sold as a horror film, but it's really not. It's about a young boy, and his dog, being left alone to take care of a farm while his parents go to the big city. While they're away a monster shows up and starts terrorizing the boy and killing the farm animals. It turns out the monster isn't a monster, it's just a lynx. Here's the first problem, the movie takes place in South Africa. You ain't going to find no stinking lynx in South Africa. They're in North America, Europe and Asia. The movie is slow and boring but there's something charming and likable about it. It's just a c nice boy and his dog movie. Very reminiscent of the live action boy vs wild movies that used to come on The Wonderful World of Disney. It's in the final act that this movie sent my blood pressure through the roof. I'm one of those people that really doesn't like watching animals get killed. Even if it's faked, I don't like it. It doesn't anger me or anything but as somebody who has had more pets in his life than friends, it's not something I enjoy. Watching animals die for REAL? That's what makes me reach for my crow bar. I started getting a bad feeling about this movie as it went on. When the boy would discover farm animals that had been killed by the lynx, it looked a tad bit too realistic. I started realizing that this movie was not filmed in the U.S. and was probably NOT going to have a "no animals were harmed" tag at the end. The last 15 minutes is all about this kid and his dog hunting down this lynx and boy was I gearing up. I knew for sure he'd end up shooting the lynx on camera and I'd be livid. But they threw a curve at me and killed the dog. For real. Not only that but they forced the lynx and the dog to fight, basically turning the film into a Michael Vick home movie. The lynx tears the dog to bits and we get to see it limp away a bloody mess. The lynx is bloodied too but nothing like the dog. The boy ends up killing the lynx off screen so I guess maybe it was allowed to survive. The ending of the movie sees the boy walking back home to his waiting parents, carrying the actual.....dead......dog. He tells his dad about the lynx and he asks did you get it, son? He says I got it, Pa! And the whole movie climaxes with a that's my boy! Sarcastic happy music starts playing as the parents run to the boy and hug him while he still holds the dead dog and its limp head rolls around in between the hugs. It's played off as the most triumphant happy ending to any movie ever. Even if the dog was just movie dead, Old Yeller dead, Where the Red Fern Grows dead, the ending should not be played off THIS happy. Knowing that the dog they just spent an hour and half getting the audience to love is ACTUALLY dead? Uggh. Did the director really think this movie that only 10 people have seen was worth that? I give this movie -235 skulls!!!!!!!! BOOOOOOO!

26. The Mist (2007) - I kept putting off watching this due to the poor word of mouth. I don't know why I listen to people. People are always wrong. I thought this was very cool. A Stephen King story about a group of people trapped in a grocery store by a bunch of wacky monsters. But it's King so it's not REALLY about the monsters. It's about how people react to the monsters and how in the end it's always us that end up being the real monsters. The good news is that the hero in this one isn't an alcoholic writer. But he IS a painter who just so happens to paint Stephen King book covers.

27. The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (1976) - I got roped into watching this by my friend.....boy.....I don't know. I just don't know. Sometimes you just gotta stop being friends with people.

28. Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009) - Awful acting. Awful writing. Awful sets. Awful special effects. Awful movie title. Awful stock footage. This could be the greatest movie I've ever seen. I'd like to make a trailer for it. SEE! The Mega Shark eat an airplane right out of the sky! SEE! The Mega Shark eat a battleship! SEE! The Mega Shark eat a destroyer! SEE! The Mega Shark eat The Golden Gate bridge! SEE! The Giant Octopus do absolutely nothing because animating those tentacles cost WAY too much money!

29. The Sound of Horror (1964) - The sound of horror is the click the play button made when I pushed it.

30. Dark Knight of the Scarecrow (1981) - This made for TV classic is about a nutty small town mail man who has an insanely over the top hatred for retarded people. Like Dwight Yoakam in Sling Blade but without all the laughs. He gets a group of friends together to hunt down a local retarded man and finds him trying to hide by dressing up like a scarecrow. They shoot him a whole bunch of times and this, of course, leads to the ghost of a retarded scarecrow coming back to haunt these guys. This movie is 100 times better than that made it sound. It also really made me miss TV movies. What happened to the TV movies of the week? There are a bunch of classic horror movies that people don't even realize as this point that they were made for TV. Many of them were better than theatrical movies. Then there were all the "ripped from the headlines" movies of the week. You kids really missed out on that one. It used to be that every single time some scandalous story popped up you could set your watch and warrant that there would be a very awful, but very watchable, TV movie of the week about the story within the month. If this was 1987 we'd have seen at least 5 David Letterman movies this weekend.

31. The Messengers 2: The Scarecrow (2009) - One fun aspect that has been creeping into Horrorfest is how one year I will watch a mediocre, big budget, theatrically released movie and then the following Horrorfest I get to watch its mediocre, low budget, straight to DVD cash grab sequel. Like most D2D sequels The Messengers 2 seems to have almost nothing in common with the original besides both movies taking place on a farm. I figured this was another example of a studio taking a horror script they had laying around, changing a few lines in it and calling it a sequel even though it's not. Plus it's actually a prequel, yet the first movie explained the back story and that story is different than this. After doing some research it turns out that the script for Messengers 2: The Scarecrow was originally a movie simply called The Scarecrow and it was actually supposed to be the FIRST movie. The studio brought in somebody to do some touch up work on The Scarecrow script, instead the new writer turned in a radically different script called The Messengers. Instead of going wait, this isn't the same movie, the studio just made it anyway. So Messengers 2 is actually the first movie in the series even though it's Part 2, while also being a prequel to a movie that it has no real connection to in anyway. Ahhhh, the magic of Hollywood. Fun Fact: The movie stars Norman Reedus. He was one of the front runners to play the Joker in The Dark Knight before Ledger got it. 2 years later Heather Ledger wins an Oscar and is fixing to star in a Terry Gilliam movie even though he's dead and Norman Reedus stars in The Messengers 2.

32. Contamination .7 (1990) - Here's another movie with a convoluted past. The movie itself is about a small town being attacked by evil tree roots. No, you read that right. Toxic waste from a nearby plant caused the tree roots to start killing people. No, you read that right too. The sad thing is that this movie had a lot going for it. It really felt like it should be good......but the acting was HORRIBLE. That totally killed the movie. This movie with a good cast could be pretty decent but with the cast it is has.....yuck. Plus it looked like it was made in the late 70s. To look it up and find out it was made in 1990 was a shocker. The big mess though is with the title. It turns out Contamination .7 is the least known title this movie has used. It was originally released in the U.S. as The Crawlers. Then it was released in the U.K. as Creepers. In 1993 it was released in the U.S. again under the name Troll 3. Obviously, it has nothing to do with Troll. Troll was about an evil troll, not evil tree roots. It had nothing to do with Troll 2 either because Troll 2 was originally a movie called Goblins. It was a movie about goblins, not trolls, and was not actually a sequel to Troll either. The saddest part is that there was already a fake Troll 3 release in 1991. That one was a cheap Italian swords and sorcery flick called Ator IV: Quest for the Mighty Sword. That movie DID have a troll in it, but it wasn't the Troll troll. That didn't stop them from changing its name to Troll 3: The Sword of Power though. So when Contamination .7 was changed to be a Troll sequel that had nothing to do with Troll it should have been called Troll 4. The main problem here is that Troll stunk and didn't deserve a sequel anyway.

33. Monster Hunter (1982) - Well, might as well keep the trend going.... This movie's original Italian title was Rosso Sangue. Translation: Red Blood. It has been released in the U.S. under the titles Absurd, Horrible and Monster Hunter. Ironically enough this movie IS absurd and horrible. It was also released in Germany as Ausgeburt der Holle which even the internet can't seem to translate. In French Canada it was released as Psychose Infernale which seems to be Hellish Psychosis. In Spain it was released as Terror Sin Limite or Terror Without Limit. Now, we get to the really fun stuff. It was also released in Germany as Anthropophagous 2 even though it has nothing to do with Anthropophagous 1. It was also released as The Grim Reaper 2. No relation. Then the best of them it all, it was released as Zombie 6: Monster Hunter. The Zombie series has been famous for sequels that aren't actually sequels. With Monster Hunter coming out in 1982, and Zombie's already convoluted sequel history, this means that Zombie 6 came out only 3 years after the first Zombie movie, 6 years BEFORE Zombie 5 and 6 years before Zombie 4. Yeah, you read that right, part 5 was before part 4.

34. Slaughter (2008) - Slaughter is everything that's right about the low budget horror genre. Usually movies of this ilk just grab a few friends who can't act, write a script filled with horror clichés and try to cover up their complete lack of talent and money with buckets and buckets of red kayo syrup. But every once in a while one goes the other way. They ditch the gore and let storytelling and interesting characters be the star of their movie. That's what Slaughter does. A smart, well written script with twists and turns that aren't seen from a mile away performed by actual actors instead of buddies. It's not perfect by any means. The first half is slow moving and does nothing but scream cliché, cliché, cliché but by time the movie ended I was blown away and it was far away from being just another cliché filled horror flick.

35. From Within (2008) - Just like Slaughter, through much of the first half of this movie I was thinking I was going to hate it but then by the end I really liked it. It has a VERY Japanese horror vibe to it and a very Japanese horror plot about a curse that forces people to kill themselves. But then it also has a plot about a tween girl falling in love with the emo bad boy tween member of a family of witches. If Twilight had sex with The Grudge, From Within would be their unwanted baby. The movie featured Rumer Willis and she confuses me. Is she attractive? I can't tell. Sometimes at the right angle I think well, I wouldn't kick her out of bed. But then other times I see her and she looks like one those Easter Island heads.

36. The Broken (2008) - Another movie that feels like a Japanese horror movie but isn't. Seriously, it's not bad enough that we've been besieged by Japanese horror movies and remakes of Japanese horror movies for the past few years? Now we gotta start making our own Japanese horror movies? This one is about a mirror breaking and cursing some family in way that I couldn't even be bothered to try to understand. Both this movie and From Within had terrible sound mixing. I know, weird complaint, but the dialogue was so hard to hear I had to turn subtitles on for both of them. Broken was so bad that I didn't know the main character was British until 40 minutes into the movie.

37. Trick r Treat (2009) - From the creators of X-men 2 and Superman Returns comes.....this. This one had a lot of hype behind it, but impressive names in front of and behind the camera doesn't always make a good movie. This is an anthology movie so it tells 4 different stories. It started off nice, seemed to be going for a nice old school Creepshow vibe, but as every second passed I found myself becoming more and more disconnected from it. Instead of just telling one story after another, they tried to interweave all the stories together. This lead to making it feel like nothing but a bunch of random scenes strung together. Since the stories were all pretty generic it felt like they just grabbed 4 random episodes of Night Gallery and mixed em all up. Nothing was given enough time to gel. I didn't care about the characters and I didn't care about the stories because every time I starting getting into something the movie switched to something else. That's not to say that there weren't some cool moments but they were few and far between.

38. Dying Breed (2008) - Australia is usually good for at least one good horror movie a year, but not this year apparently. Ya know all those dozens of movies about people going camping in West Virginia and getting stalked by a family of inbred cannibals? Pretend West Virginia is Tasmania and that's this movie. The reason these people went to Tasmania was to try to find a living Tasmanian Tiger which went extinct in 1936. Today this thing is like bigfoot over there. A bunch of weirdos claim it still lives but nobody ever really sees one. The movie itself tells us that people have been trying to find one of these things for years and years and years and years. Millions of dollars have been wasted trying to find one of these creatures and nothing has been found. Yet the 4 goobers in this movie go out there for one day, set up camp and find a Tasmanian Tiger on the very first night as it just comes walking up to their camp site and looks around. Really? It was that easy? It's really bad when the inbred family of cannibals is the most realistic thing in your movie.

39. Rogue (2007) - This evil crocodile movie has quite a bit of tension and suspense in a few scenes but it's ultimately pretty forgettable.

40. Laid to Rest (2009) - One of the worst movies ever made. The only thing that remotely works is the gore and special effects so it was no surprise to find out that this dreck was directed by a makeup artist. The writing is pitiful. I know it's cliché that horror movie characters have to do dumb things to keep the movie going but this took it to a whole new level. There's not a single character in this movie that displays any hint of intelligence. They all do the exact opposite of what any person in the world would do in this situation. The main girl in the movie even TALKS stupid. She calls nothing by its proper name. Here is a sample of crap she actually said in the movie: "I woke up in a dead box at the place where the dead people live. Then the shiny face man tried to make me dead so I grabbed a tire stick." Translation: "I woke up in a casket at the cemetery. Some guy in a mask tried to kill me so I grabbed a tire iron." It IS a laugh riot though! Funny from start to finish. The weird thing is that this movie had lots of name actors in small roles. I have no understanding of how they got these people to do this movie. Mind boggling. The most shocking was Lena Headey. I wondered if she just sat on the set of this horrible movie thinking to herself...."I was in 300.....now I'm in this."

On the IMDB message board for Laid to Rest, they are compiling a "Top 100 things I learned from Laid to Rest" list. Here are a few of my favorites...

When a camera displays "Low Battery", and then shuts down, you act like "what the hell?" and start shaking and hitting it to get it to start.
Sharp knives can slice through skulls like they're butter but you have to put some effort into slicing open a neck.
You just woke up in a coffin, watched a man get killed and don't know who the hell you are? Don't worry! Nice shoes will make you feel better!
If you are the producer and star of the movie, make sure your Missing poster lists you with a completely unrealistic weight (110 lbs, yeah right).
when escaping a killer, hide in the freezer!
Apparently, people only keep 1/8th of a tank of gas for times like these.
Who needs to call the police when you can just send them an email?

41. Danika (2006) - Marisa Tomei stars as a woman going insane with hallucinations. If this movie did not let me look at Marisa Tomei for 80 minutes this is the review I WOULD have written:

And that's all for part two.