Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Road to 500: Aftershocks

See, told you there'd be new stuff, and there's still some other features I'm hoping to start up here. Send me any suggestions or criticisms you may have as any would be appreciated. For now, welcome back to the challenge of the insane.

63. The Baby's Room

Yet another one of the 6 Films to Keep You Awake (don't worry, they're almost done). This was one of the better entries of the set, even if it's full of cliches and rather predictable, but the execution pulls it off. A couple buys a baby monitor for their newborn and the father begins seeing a man lounging in the house when he shouldn't be there, escalating from there. It's not overly flashy but the way it's directed lends itself to some decent chills, especially when the father is running around the house with a baby monitor like it's a weapon in DOOM, though the predictability of the ending takes away some the suspense it manages to sustain up until then. The acting is great and believable, something that's nice to see for a shorter movie when they're typically the victim of Movie-of-the-Week syndrome. A decent movie and probably the third best of the six films.
Sights within:
-Baby monitor abuse.
-Best performance by a magazine editor.
-Come on, you dense bastard. Even if you've only read Bruce Corville stories as a kid, you should know where this is going.
-World's most debonair doppleganger.
-Hitting on the baby-store lady. Shameless.
-Watch it here.
Grade: B-
(And once again...)


64. To Let

Finally, the last of the 6 Films, this one directed by one of my favorite newer director of the last ten years, Jaume Balagueró. Somehow, he's the one director on the same wavelength as to what can actually scare me, with most of his films leaving me on edge and thinking about them later on in the night, even with his lesser films such as Darkness. With To Let, he's not going for fright so much as he is suspense, which it delivers. A couple go out to scout a possible new apartment only to find out that the landlord is a couple bottles short of a six-pack. All of Balagueró's films utilize their setting to deliver a large amount of the film's atmosphere with this one being no different. The apartment building is rundown and broken, bringing to mind rusted industrial areas, without which the film wouldn't be as good as it is. The acting is decent enough to serve the story but only the landlord really stood out, though the leads don't really have enough time to develop anymore than your standard horror protagonists. It's good suspense piece that keeps things moving once it gets going. Probably the second best of the set.
Sights within:
-World's biggest pizza cutter.
-What's with the painting with the baby?
-Loved the theremin music.
-Toaster abuse.
-A mean-ass garbage disposal.
-Best performance by a man on a chain.
Grade: B
(Now I'm just being an asshole.)


65. Primal Rage

Code Red does it again. I had this on VHS, but I didn't realize it until after I ordered the DVD so I can't complain about never knowing about this movie just because I fucking forgot I had already shelled out money for it before. Still, it's one most people must have overlooked because I've never heard anyone, online even, ever mentioning it. Prior to 28 Days Later, a journalist for the university's newspaper breaks into the science professor's lab to document his experiments on animals gets bit by an infected monkey and unleashes a virus that brings out the animalistic rage in its victims. It was obviously made in America, but you can tell it's an Italian production. The tone and style fits hand-in-hand with other mid-80's Italian horrors, such as Demons. Claudio Simonetti even does the music score, causing a double take every time it comes on just because you're not expecting a score like his when there's no one being dubbed anywhere. The characters are surprisingly likable for a film like this and you genuinely don't want anything bad to happen to them. When things do go south, it has a very mean-spirited tone underneath it all that gives the film more bite than it otherwise would. It's still fun but it's not lighthearted fun with many gruesome kills played seriously. It's not a life changing movie or anything, but it is a hell of a lot of fun and never felt boring once. It definitely deserves a larger following than it has and I'd say it's one of the better films Code Red has released thus far.
Sights within:
-Ahhh!! 80's teen-life montage during the opening credits! Run!
-World's oldest man to have a rat-tail. Holy shit, it's Bo Svenson!
-Yeah, man. Fuck waiting rooms!
-Monkey abuse.
-Best performance by a splattered windshield.
-Surprisingly effective skeleton costumes.
-The movie needs to be seen just for the Halloween party scene. There is some crazy-ass costumes going on that puts anything I've seen in the last ten or fifteen years to shame.
Grade: B+


66. Ghost Game

I realized I was having too much fun watching respectable films so I forced myself to watch one of the dozens of DV movies I had picked up for eighty cents a pop once, regretting it almost instantly. A group of teens (whoa! originality!) go to a cabin in the woods (whoa! whoa!) and find themselves haunted by the ghosts of wiccans (kill me now, please) who had died trying to raise some all-powerful she-bitch or something (it's never quite clear). Do I care about any of this? No. Every character is a moron with no grounding in reality, the movie looks like it was shot on a cellphone, and nothing in the story makes any sense. If even one of those aspects had been done adequately it could have maintained some interest. It just drug on and on going through the motions of what's required for the most generic horror plot imaginable. I've already spent more time writing this than it deserves. Run away from this and never look back.
Sights with:
-These broads are what wiccans looked like in the 70's? To me, it just looked like they had bought a bunch of shit from Hot Topic, but what do I know?
-Tail light's out, bub.
-World's worst human interactions.
-Every shot ends 15 seconds later than it should like they're waiting for lines or something.
-Best performance by stock fireplace sound effects even when THERE IS NO FUCKING FIRE IN THE FIREPLACE!
-Why is everyone obsessed with Cousin Ted? He's the dippiest dipshit to grace tv screens in years.
-Canoe photography abuse.
-Acid dirt! NOOOOO!
-Watch it here.
Grade: D-


67. Eater

(There are apparently no individual posters for these films so I'll just post some decent screenshots.)
Just when you end one fucking film series, it turns out you've got another boxset just waiting for you. This is from the first and only series of Fear Itself, which is really just Masters of Horror series 3. Some would argue that these aren't films, but Masters of Horror were originally created as direct-to-video stand alone movies before Showtime offered to throw them some money if they could premiere them before their DVD release. This being the next generation of that plan, I'm still going to go with the idea that they're stand alone movies, even if they run even shorter and are watered-down to meet broadcast standards. Besides, this is Stuart Gordon we're talking about here and anything he touches is worth checking out at least. In this one, a voodoo-endowed cannibal is caught and kept in police lock-up overnight with a minimally staffed crew. The beginning of the movie is full of awful dialog and forced characterization, but the last half is decent even if it's a touch predictable. The cannibal himself is played by a Stephen Hart that you may have seen elsewhere but he always leaves an impression no matter where you see him. It uses the setting to great effect and adds a lot to the movie. Without Hart or the setting this would be pretty forgettable, but as it stands, it's fun, quick little diversion for less than an hour.
Sights within:
-World's most annoying fucking menus that always spends half a minute playing the Eater's chant before you can do anything. And it's the same for all four fucking discs!
-Big-ass cannibal.
-World's worst generalizing of horror fans.
-Pizza abuse.
-Don't waste that heart. Why, you get some water on the stove and you got yourself a stew brewing.
-Best performance by an abused pizza.
-Watch it here.
Grade: B-


68. Spooked

This is Brad Anderson's entry, which was enough reason for me to buy the set. After Session 9, I'll buy whatever his name ends up attached to. This is one of his lesser efforts, but it's still worth checking out. Eric Roberts plays an ex-cop with a past who now works as a private investigator and finds more than he wanted to during an investigation. Despite all the jokes made at his expense, I've always liked Eric Roberts and this whole thing hinges on him, which he manages to hold together by bringing an authentic worn-down aesthetic to the story. It seems as though it wants to go for more atmosphere than the shortened, low budget television format will allow, but the effort is appreciated. It's a fairly predictable once it gets going but some of the minor touches, such as the paintings on the wall, add some effective touches that make it worth watching. It's entertaining, just don't expect anything you haven't seen before.
Sights within:
-World's most graffitied house.
-Best performance by a flashback.
-Eric Roberts, like Julia but less equine.
-A really effective thermal-vision scene.
-Jack Noseworthy abuse.
-Watch it here.
Grade: B
(Can't find any specific clips, so welcome to general trailer town.)


69. Vampyres

Fairly appropriate numbering. One of the films to launch an entire wave of Euro-vamp films, it functions well as a dreamlike excursion into gothic horror. A pair of vamps lure men home to their castle while another couple camping on the castle grounds begin to suspect something's going on. Really though, plot matters very little in films as this. Ideas are presented but never expounded upon, leaving them up to your own interpretations, something I always really enjoy to a reasonable extent but I know others can't stand it, so you should probably know that going in. Are the women really vampires? Ghosts? Or most horrible of all, vampire ghosts? The movie lets you figure it out as it's too busy working a haze around the whole thing. Just who or what some of the other characters are never explained, almost to a frustrating degree, but it all works to create a film that's focused on mood and atmosphere. If you're able to slip out of your typical expectations of films and slide into the movie's groove, it's worth the experience.
Sights within:
-World's most batty credits.
-Best performance by two absolutely disgusting kissers.
-Who would ever think Ted was special enough to keep around?
-It's been three weeks since I watched this and I still have no idea what their attitude with Harriett was.
-I'm doubting we'll see a resurgence of the old-fashioned gothic vampire story of the likes of this one. Lord knows we need our vampires wearing fashionable latex and brandishing automatic weapons.
-Conclusion of a story abuse.
Grade: B

Movies Watched: 7
-The Baby's Room
-To Let
-Primal Rage (VHS)
-Ghost Game
New Movies Bought: 0
Unseen DVDS: 3202
Unseen Blu-rays: 65
Unseen VHS: 119
Unseen DVD-R'S: 5

There's nothin' wrong with goin' nowhere, baby
But we should be goin' nowhere fast

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