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February 21, 2020

Clownado (2019) Movie Review


I’m not exactly sure when the tipping point came in the horror/comedy genre, where filmmakers felt the need to incorporate weather phenomena into EVERY FUCKING STORYLINE that involved some kind of predatory animal, usually sharks. Well, not to be outdone, the carnival circuit wants in on the fun, too, and so we have...

CLOWNADO.

I. Shit. You. Not.

Writer, director, and editor, Todd Sheets, brings us the tale of a traveling circus and its troupe of murderous clowns. Head clown, and circus owner, Big Ronnie, finds his darling wife, Savanna,  having an affair with Cash (a guy, not a pile of currency). The two are planning to rob the circus, then run away to start a new life together with their unborn baby. As you might imagine, Ronnie has a problem with that plan. He murders Cash, but keeps Savanna around to humiliate and abuse her.

Well, Savanna ain’t having that shit, so she asks her friend to perform a spell to trap Ronnie and his clown crew in a giant tornado. Might have been more generic, as in ‘get rid of that asshole for me’ but that’s how the magic interpreted it. Either way...it’s a weird way to go. However, it works. The group is swept up into Mother Nature’s vacuum cleaner, and Savanna hits the road, hoping to never see Ronnie again.

Unfortunately, she can’t run far enough. The clownado rips across the country, wreaking havoc and killing everyone, as the clowns seek revenge against the woman who cursed them.



*wipes hand across face*  Where do I begin...

The problem with films that have a multitasking crew member (writer, director, and editor comes to mind...) is that one, or all, of those jobs are weaker for it. To me, the editing and writing have suffered here. The film looks and feels choppy, particularly during the kills. Editing is a great way to save funds on special effects and whatnot, but maybe a separately dedicated editor could have done a better job, and made me feel less seasick.

What the hell are we watching, dude?

The general story itself is clear, but Todd adds in way too many moving parts. Character  development is rushed and incomplete; plot holes abound, or aspects to the cursed clowns are brought up once then never explored; and the whole idea that the heroes need to stop the tornado itself to end the killer clowns’ destructive spree, but once the clowns are killed off by good old-fashioned guns or some stabby-stabby with a knife, then the absolutely ridiculous “scientific” method of ending the tornado becomes a moot point, doesn’t it?

The dialogue is so cringe worthy. A lot of similes and metaphors are thrown around, and the cadence is more in line with the noir gangster films of the 1940s (or Rocky from Bugs Bunny). In line with that, the acting is (wait for it....) less than stellar. It’s not the most horrible I’ve seen; I never felt the need to turn off the film because the performances were so terrible, except perhaps during Big Ronnie’s scenes. I don’t know if he was trying to channel The Joker (whichever incarnation you want to imagine, or maybe all of them) but he chewed up his scenes with more gusto than a rabid hyena.

And, unfortunately, the ninety seconds of screen time Linnea Quigley brought to the bar owner character was not enough to save...anything. Neither did the gratuitous naked titties, nor the lesbian make-out sesh.

Now, all that said, there are a few things I did enjoy. The kills are about 95% practical effects. There are a few blood splatters that are CGI, along with the storm footage and the final kill, but the rest is a good mixture of rubber, silicone, fake blood, and gooshy stuff to entertain, even in their “that’s not how the human body is built or works but whatevs” extremity.

The Gacy Fan Club Board of Directors

And there were two points in the film where I laughed out loud. This is a comedy, so it was planned that way, I’m sure, though most of the humor was more dad than pro comedian. One joke: “This storm is nastier than a $2 hooker on $1 Thursdays.” And just near the end, as the survivors each pop out from behind a wall, in time with an accent in the music, felt very Three Stooges - and I mean that in the best way possible.

Overall, this is a pretty shit film. Maybe if the clowns had been left on the ground and just traveled around being nefarious, it would have been better. I feel like the tornado aspect put a damper on something that could have been more interesting and less trend-whoring. The dissonance between the subject matter and dialogue was too jarring to work well. And the underdeveloped characters floundered in an over complicated and unbelievable story (and that’s leaving out the clowns-traveling-in-a-tornado thing).

I say skip it.

1/2 hatchet (out of 5)





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February 1, 2020

Static Age #8: The Flash (1990 – 1991)

John Wesley Shipp as The Flash (19990 - 1991)
This Static Age is focusing on The Flash (1990 – 1991) which lasted for one season only and 21 episodes in total (not including its awesome pilot episode). It is of course about the titular superhero (John Wesley Shipp), a cop (coming from a family of cops) that gained his super power – i.e. running faster than anybody (and eating insane amounts of food) – during an accident and fighting since then against it as well as several criminal elements. He is approached by scientist Christina McGee (Amanda Pays) who is doing research on the effects of the accident. Based upon the comic books from DC, this is amazing and quite reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s and Tim Burton’s superhero epics from the era. The theme song was composed by Danny Elfman.

The feature-length pilot episode is about a gang of bikers led by a maniac ex-cop who wants to get revenge from the force that betrayed him and in order to do that he organizes a series of terrorist attacks within the city and most of them targeted towards police officers. ‘Out of Control’ is about a series of disappearances of homeless people that may be connected with a mutated monster that resembles a werewolf. In ‘Watching the Detectives’, Flash is recruited against his will by the mob; starring Dick Miller. ‘Honor Among Thieves’ is about a bunch of professional thieves that target a museum. ‘Double Vision’ finds Flash experiencing blackouts that may be connected with black magic. In ‘Sins of the Father’, Barry Allen’s father (M. Emmet Walsh) is in trouble because a bank robber that he had convicted escapes and is looking for revenge. ‘Child’s Play’ is about two homeless kids that get involved with the drug-pushing underworld. In ‘Shroud of Death’ a judge is killed while the murderer leaves behind a piece of a medal; is a female ninja involved? ‘Ghost in the Machine’ is about the titular villain from the 1950s (the episode goes on the extra mile in order to provide some atmosphere by recreating that cherished decade for a scene or two) that comes back and intends to use technology (video and computer in particular) in order to blackmail his way of getting millions of dollars by the city council. ‘Sight Unseen’ is about Star Lab’s (the science lab in which Christina is working) latest problem, namely the sudden appearance of a murderous invisible man that is offing scientists related with the facilities. ‘The Trickster’ is about the eponymous illusionist that became an arch villain. ‘Tina, Is That You?’ is about the Christina, Flash’s sidekick, that starts acting weird and for a brief amount of time becomes the superhero’s enemy. In ‘Be My Baby’ The Flash ends up babysitting. In ‘Fast Forward’ Barry Allen goes to the future only to find out that he’s not The Flash anymore and that Central City has been taken over by the order of Nicholas Pike (Michael Nader). ‘Deadly Nightshade’ is about the titular vigilante that takes out criminals, until The Flash teams with the original Nightshade in order to stop the panic in the streets, but he also finds the time to flirt with a psychologist weirdo (Denise Crosby) and kidnap Fosnight (Dick Miller).

And now, let’s switch our focus towards some recent shows…

The Handmaid's Tale - Season 3 art
The 3rd season of The Handmaid’s Tale (2017 – ongoing) is offering further dystopian aesthetics when the plot is following American women and children immigrating to Canada in search for a better life, away from the Trump-ish nightmares of their homeland in which they have to surround their bodies to an ultra-conservative and religious system that turns them into birth-giving machines. Although creator Bruce Miller’s is one of the most astounding series we have seen the last decade, it is still a bit problematic in its politics; its heart seems to be in the right place, but plot choices such as the sanctification of Canada (a country that has been not entirely innocent in regards to its handling of immigration), or the depiction of futuristic supermarket and faceless and soulless consumerist institutions (as if they are not already like that in the present day and haven’t been since their beginning), or the implication that Darwin’s ‘The Descent of Man’ may be a tool for people of power (why not for people of the resistance that seems to be around the corner?), seem a bit biased. Maybe the series’ most thoughtful idea is when the main characters visit Washington where the handmaids are forced to wear a bounding veil on their faces that is covering their shut-by-rings mouths, essentially completely silencing them (both figuratively and practically), which is a clear nod to the world of Islamic fascism. The series would be better off without its endless flashbacks that provide origin stories of most members of the cast. Living in Greece and writing for a U.S. blog during these dark times when insane conservatism have taken over both countries, I unfortunately am in the position to understand that this is science fiction, but it is not that far away from the realities that may be coming. Let’s hope that the series become a warning textbook for the people, rather than an instruction manual for governments.

Dracula - Season 1 art
Consisting of 3 episodes (all of them of feature length), Dracula (2020), broadcasted on BBC and now streaming on Netflix, is offering a brand new spin on the classic book by Bram Stoker (the screenplay was written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat) but maintains its beautiful atmosphere as well. By being scary most of the times and also occasionally gory, not to mention Claes Bang’s excellent performance as the Count, it is a great addition to the endless list of vampire shows. Plus, it may be the first time we see the de-aging progress on Dracula, since Jess Franco’s filmic version.

And finally, please allow me to speak a word or two about some recent mainstream films…

Director Johannes Roberts’ (who also penned the screenplay with Ernest Riera) 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019) is about four girls that decide to go scuba diving in an gorgeous but secluded location, that once they enter a cave they are attacked by a bunch of great white sharks. This sequel to the unexpected 2017 hit is boring, but thankfully lasts for less than 90 minutes so it doesn’t really outstay its welcome.

And finally I caught up with a couple of Blaxploitation revival films from Netflix [Craig Brewer’s Dolemite is My Name (2019) with Eddie Murphy in the title role (as well as an array of excellent supporting players that include Snoop Dogg and Wesley Snipes; and Tim Story’s Shaft (2019), in which the titular legend (Samuel L. Jackson) is now a hard-boiled detective, whose softy son (Jessie T. Usher) works as a data analyst for the FBI and is now working (against the orders from his superiors) on the case of a synagogue that might be involved with the death of his veteran friend and drug smuggling from Afghanistan].

In the Tall Grass (2019) poster
Speaking of Netflix, director Vincenzo Natali’s (who also penned the screenplay, based on a novel by Stephen King and Joe Hill) In the Tall Grass (2019) is about, well, people that get lost in a tall grass field and they cannot get out. This horror programmer invests in the excellent act one’s build-up, it loses steam when twist after twist take away its potential.

Still speaking of Netflix, the best film they have produced so far is definitely Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (2019), in which aged mob hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro, acting with great maturity) recalls his days in the ranks of organized crime, when he was ordered by his mentor Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci, coming out of retirement for this particular film only) to watch out for union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino, better than ever); whereas Scorsese’s previous gangster epics were mostly about the fun these people had with killing and stealing, and living the life in general, this one is about loss and grief (a very dark picture indeed), and how if you don’t  lose everything by the force of law, you will lose them thanks to your choices, and you will die a lonely piece of shit – a true masterpiece that comes highly recommended.

Joker (2019) poster
And speaking of Robert De Niro, he of course is co-starring as Murray Franklin in Todd Philips’ Joker (2019), an origin story of the titular villain (Joaquin Phoenix). We get to see how Arthur Fleck (Joker’s real name) went from a trouble childhood (there is a question of whether he was adopted or not) to being bullied on the streets of a faceless city (New York posing as Gotham) that has space only for Wall Street scumbags and none that doesn’t fit into the normativity’s rules. Sure, the Joker is psychotic, but there really is no need in pointing a finger to him; if you are still a human being, you must point the finger towards the people that made him one. After all, the Joker’s ever-relevant motives for revolution of the oppressed are much more ethical than the motives of rich and corrupted idiots such as the Wayne people. A lot of controversy has surrounded the film since its release, but although the people that staged such reactions are claiming that they found its violence needless and meaningless, in reality those people are afraid of the film’s message, which is that we will fight back! And guess what, if society rejects us, we will become kings of the misfits.

The Addams Family (2019) art
In the animated The Addams Family (2019), the titular family is forced (by torch-wielding rednecks) to relocate to a New Jersey haunted Castle. Their new home is satisfactorily horrible, but their problems start when a nearby town’s real estate television star wants the dark family’s aesthetics to vanish. Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, this is the perfect homage to both the series and the films that preceded it, and of course the comic strips, but it had me wondering, who’d be its audience in this day and age.

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) poster
In director Tim Miller’s Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) is hunted by an advanced robot model (Gabriel Luna), and a half-human/half-robot (Mackenzie Davis) is there to protect her. It seems that they will need all the help in the world and that comes in the form of old-timers Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, hamming it up like there’s no tomorrow) and a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Quite possibly the most meaningless film in its cannon, it is not even good enough to count as a decent fan-pleaser; no wonder it put the final nail in the franchise’s coffin.

Directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing (the duo that also penned the screenplay), Blumhouse’s The Gallows Act II (2019) is a rehash of the first film’s storyline (Charlie is haunting the titular stage-play which results to the death of its cast), but it is much better than its predecessor (a task that wasn’t that difficult, considering that the original was a subpar ‘found footage’ programmer that became a hit for reasons I cannot understand).


Set in the industry fashion (the clothes on display are particularly stunning), the Soska sisters’ Rabid (2019) is following the young wannabe Rose (the immensely beautiful Laura Vandervoort), whose career is seemingly cut short when she is badly hurt in a car accident. Disfigured and suffering she agrees to become part of an experimental steam cell project that essentially gives her life a much-needed reboot, but there are consequences. This remake of the same-titled David Cronenberg body horror classic is visceral and gory but it is also pretty much needless, although it makes for a decent enough viewing experience to not make you angry.

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January 1, 2020

A Binge too Far #8: Jack Frost duo (1997 – 2000)

The titular killer snowman from Jack Frost (1997).
This column is reserved for (somewhat) popular films that I had not seen previously, but this time I made an exception and re-visited the Jack Frost duo (1997 – 2000) for the purposes of the Christmas spirit. Because, you know, who doesn’t love a murderous snowman?

Reviews:
Jack Frost (1997) VHS box art.

Jack Frost (1997)

During a snowy winter night, the titular serial killer [Scott MacDonald from Jarhead (2005)] is transferred from prison to medical facilities in order to become a guinea pig of a scheduled experiment. Combining the forces of the weather and his own evil nature he manages to kill the guards and escape, but a terrible accident mutate him into a snowman creature. He is now after the people that caused him his troubles and will murder his way into destroying them.

Based upon a story by Michael Cooney (who also penned the screenplay and directed) and Jeremy Paige, this is boasting hilarious one-liners and it combines the Christmas spirit with inventive snowman kills. It is actually so much fun that I couldn’t help thinking that Troma would love to have done a movie like this. Also starring Shannon Elizabeth, who later became famous via American Pie (1999).

Jack Frost 2... (2000) DVD box art.
Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000)

Jack Frost (the voice is provided by returning Scott MacDonald) returns in order to get revenge from the people that wronged him and this time he has for support his little snow children as well that are as much murderous.

Writer/director Michael Cooney returns with an insane sequel in which the kills become even more inventive than those of the original. Some primitive CGI are employed as well (mostly in the form of mutant snow children) but the main work is still achieved by the aid of good old-fashioned practical effects (something that was becoming a rarity already in early 2000s low budget genre cinema). The snowman looks more menacing than the first time around which is mostly due to its appearance resembling the original film’s poster which was not the case in the first film. The end result resembles an homage to Critters (1986), Child’s Play (1988), and The Blob (1958), and as such it is very welcome.

Conclusion:


While nowhere near as good as I remembered them from when I first watched them almost twenty years ago, the Jack Frost (1997 – 2000) films are a worthy addition to b-movie outrageousness and more than fun enough to guarantee an entertaining one-view experience. There is a sequence during the sequel’s end credits that left the door open for another sequel that would feature a gigantic snowman, and that was indeed the intention of Michael Cooney, but – much to our disappointment – the plans failed to materialize.

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December 1, 2019

Static Age #7

Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) in a frame from Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974 - 1975)
This Static Age is focusing on Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974 – 1975) which lasted for one season only and 20 episodes in total. It continues the story of the two well-known TV-movies that became a phenomenon and bears the same aesthetics. Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin, who played the same character in the movies as well) is a reporter who investigates a series of crimes or events in Chicago that may be or may be not supernatural. The only issue I have with the series is that in most episodes the conclusion is lasting for only a few seconds, and you may miss something if you blink; but that was a common thing in television series back then anyway.

The first episode, called ‘The Ripper’, is pretty much a rehash of the first film, but this should be expected as viewers that had not seen the films would have wanted a bit of familiarizing. ‘The Zombie’ is about voodoo and the resurrection of the dead, although the most jaw-dropping scene is the one in which the protagonist puts a female reporter in the trunk of his car, in order to get rid of her after the suggestion of a police officer; man, the 1970s were weird. ‘They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be…’ is a very clever episode about a series of murders of both humans and animals whose bone marrow is missing, what could possibly be the connection between those hideous crimes and a series of metal deposits thefts by an invisible force? ‘The Vampire’ is an excellent episode about a super strong female vampire. ‘The Werewolf’ is set on a ship and it is about a – you guessed it – werewolf that causes mayhem for no apparent reason; Paul Naschy would be proud. ‘Firefall’ is about the ghost of a gangster that has a taste for classical music and a series of bizarre explosions that trouble the protagonist. ‘The Devil’s Platform’ is about a dog that is involved in a political conspiracy that includes several suspicious explosions (and maybe a bit of good old-fashioned Satanism). ‘Bad Medicine’ is a really boring episode about a Native American that can turn into a crow, and the connection he may have with some stolen diamonds. ‘The Spanish Moss Murders’ is about a sleep clinic that accidentally unleashed a Cajun monster that lurks in Chicago’s wells. ‘The Energy Eater’ is about the eponymous ghost that feeds on the energy of a hospital that was built upon its grave. ‘Horror in the Heights’ is about swastikas that mysteriously appeared in the walls of a Jewish neighborhood, while its streets are terrorized by a demon that can be transformed into your most-trusted person. ‘Mr. R.I.N.G.’ is about an A.I. anthropomorphic robot that is malfunctioning and quite accidentally kills people. ‘Primal Scream’ is about an ape that goes into a killing spree. ‘The Trevi Collection’ is about a series of murders that are happening in the fashion world (it was so fashionable back then anyway) that may be connected to witchcraft. ‘Chopper’ is about a headless biker ghost that is beheading its victims with a sword! ‘Demon in Lace’ is a particularly scary episode about a succubus. ‘Legacy of Terror’ is about a bunch of Aztecs that remove the hearts of their victims. ‘The Knightly Murders’ is about a medieval museum that when it is about to be turned into a discothèque, a knight is resurrected and kills people. ‘The Youth Killer’ is about a lady that sacrifices people to ancient Greek gods in order to stay young and beautiful. The final episode, ‘The Sentry’, is one of the best, and it is about a human-sized reptile monster that is killing construction workers in a miles-long underground tunnel site.

And now, let’s switch our focus towards some recent shows…

Black Mirror - Season 5
The 5th season of renowned British series Black Mirror (2011 – ongoing) consists of 3 masterful episodes. ‘Striking Vipers’ is about two childhood friends that have moved on with their lives, until they meet again within an updated version of their favorite video game, in which instead of fighting they discover their sexuality, that is being gay and having an attraction for each other. ‘Smithereens’ is about a bitter man (that is high in intelligence and low on income), that kidnaps a man, but it will take a while for the authorities to figure out his motives. ‘Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too’ is about pop star Ashley O (the gorgeous, real-life pop star Miley Cyrus) and her evil aunt that controls her life and career via the aid of pills and manipulation, but it is also about fandom and how it can save the people it worships. Highly recommended.

Genny Savastano (Salvatore Esposito) in Gomorrah
The 4th season of Gomorrah (2014 – ongoing) continues from where the last one ended, with Genny Savastano (Salvatore Esposito) mourning the death of his childhood friend Ciro and haunted by nightmares. Additionally, with pretty much all the older crime bosses dead as well, the landscape of power and control in Naples and its provinces will change, with Genny’s messenger Patrizia (Cristiana Dell’Anna) now appointed the head of his businesses, while help from the gangster’s broader family will be sought; that is, in order for the crime boss to purse more high profile projects, such as the construction of an airport and other endeavors that require influence in the Italian government. Italy’s ultra-successful series continues its drama of backstabbing and murder, proving that the illicit businessmen are no different at all to employees of a company that try to put each other down if only to merely win a little more money, and the only reason we don’t get to sympathize with the gangsters, is because we – the civilians – are as much terrible human beings as they are. Combining art-house sensibilities and the practicality of the television format, this is a unique experience that is highly recommended to all fans of the genre.

Set in a world where superheroes are a commodity, generating millions from appearing in movies and saving the world in general, the 1st season of The Boys (2019 – ongoing) is about store clerk Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) who lost the love of his life by one of the costume-wearing freaks. He is approached by mystery man and overall tough guy Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) who wants to take down the Supes and have them pay for all the collateral damage they cause and expose the life of excess that they live in secret. After so much superhero mythology from Marvel and DC and the billions they made for the film industry, it was inevitable that something like this would get made, namely a high profile comedy with glorious special effects and splatter. What’s more, the soundtrack employs classics such as ‘Neat, Neat, Neat’ by The Damned, and ‘Cherry Bomb’ by The Runaways. It is fun, and maybe more so than many of the myriad brand superhero series that are out there right now. Simon Pegg plays the protagonist’s father.

Iron Fist - Season 2
Set in New York, the 2nd (and thankfully final) season of Marvel’s Iron Fist (2017 – 2018) is only barely better than the previous one and it finds the eponymous superhero, battling Chinese organized criminals, as well as the scum that have taken over his father’s company, while employing martial arts and his superpowers. The main arch villain is Davos (Sacha Dhawan), essentially another iron fisted (a double one at that) warrior with whom the protagonist was affiliated in the past. A strong contester for becoming Netflix worst series ever.

In the 5th season of Peaky Blinders (2013 – ongoing) the titular gang’s head, Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) doubts himself in regards of his power and control, and goes as far as having suicidal thoughts. Taking place amidst the Wall Street Clash and the impact this has, the Black Country criminals get involved with politics (taking a socialist stance in particular, of all things), but their problems come in the form of Billy Boys, a Scottish gang of criminals that is known for backing up fascists, as well as putting their dead enemies on a cross. The series, taking the approach that tells us that the other gangsters are worse than the protagonist ones creates the expected interesting dramaturgy, but not much else. So, will the good bad guys win the baddie bad guys this time around? On a final note, the soundtrack is excellent as always, and aside of the title song (Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s ‘Red Right Hand’), it also includes Black Sabbath’s ‘Planet Caravan’.

And finally, please allow me to speak a word or two about some recent mainstream films…

Dark Phoenix (2019)
Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) develops unmatchable powers and becomes the titular menace in Marvel’s Dark Phoenix (2019), and it is now up to the X-Men, and Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) in particular, to control her before she becomes a greater danger to herself and others. This is nowhere near as bad as mainstream reviewers wanted you to believe it is, and it is quite unfair that it didn’t do well at the box-office (it grossed $252.4 million, on a $200 million budget), because in reality it is an excellent superhero drama that is very often enjoyable too. Sure, the special effects are the standard stuff you expect from this sort of thing and they had me thinking that they could have been achieved by any of Marvel’s TV series on half the budget the present film had, but what we have here is still above average.

Distributed by Blumhouse, The Gallows (2015) is awful, but clocking at 80 minutes (including end credits) it is short enough to not become a torturous experience. An introductory video lets us know that during a school play in 1993 tragedy ensued leaving one actor hanged. Fast forward to the present day (i.e. 2013), a bunch of students of the same school attempt to perform the same stage-play, and as it is to be expected by such fare, the consequences will be deadly. This employs the dreadful ‘found footage’ format, which is fine for 1 minute long Instagram videos (especially when the subject matter is cute cats or funny dogs), but it is simply way too boring when it is stretched to feature length. I really don’t understand how this blending of conventional narrative with amateur video aesthetics could appeal to anybody, but what do I know, as the film grossed $43 million on a $100,000 budget, which means that – you guessed it – a sequel is in the works. Maybe the best thing about it is the validation that happy endings are now passé.

Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019)
A sequel to the same-titled film 2012, Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019) is set twenty years later and after the near extinction of human kind which resulted to the inhabitation of a base in the moon that was previously under Nazi ownership. If you find plots about evil Nazis that were secretly refuging in the dark side of the moon (and why should you not, if you tend to like fare that is similar to the usual SyFy material), you may like this, but I couldn’t help myself thinking that all this massive budget (17 million euros – the film does indeed look like a super-production) was wasted on crap like this. The best thing about it is Udo Kier, playing once again a German.

Happily married couple of successful professionals Scott (Michael Ealy) and Annie (Meagan Good) buy a house from Charlie Peck (Dennis Quaid), in The Intruder (2019), but the problem is that the seller has a sketchy past and will not let go of his house at any cost, even if this means murder. Although it is actually well-cast, this standard thriller is laughable at times (the plot is often unbelievable) and the end result is nearly unwatchable.

Ma (2019) poster
The titular middle-aged lady (Octavia Spencer) in Blumhouse Productions’ Ma (2019) lures a bunch of teenagers from the local high school to party at her house, but it soon becomes apparent that her motives are not that innocent. Inducting discussion about bullying and its consequences as well as being left out and the desire to fit in, this horror film is both intelligent and entertaining. Plus it stars Diana Silvers (quite possibly her generation’s cutest girl) and Juliette Lewis (actually her generation’s hottest woman). Made on a modest budget of $5 million, this proved a winner at the box-office as it went on to gross $60.6 million.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) poster
The titular superhero (Tom Holland, excellently cast, despite complaints by many fans) of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) travels to Europe, where he will fight with (at first) and against (finally) Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), assisted of course by the ever-knowledgeable Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). This is tedious at times (at over 2 hours long it is oftentimes boring) but the fights are Marvel-ous and they feature the best CGI money can buy, which only makes sense when your budget is $160 million.

Crawl (2019) poster
Ultimately though, the coolest film of the year is Crawl (2019), which is set in Florida, amidst a Category 5 hurricane. The story is focusing on Haley (a very gorgeous Kaya Scodelario), who ignores the police’s orders and goes on a mission to save her estranged father Dave (Barry Pepper); the duo will join forces in order to fight against the many hungry alligators. Produced by Alexandre Aja (who also directed), Sam Raimi (no introduction needed), and Craig J. Flores, this is expectedly full of impressive visuals, but what was not expected was that a little ‘nature attacks’ horror flick that cost $13.5 million to make, would gross $88.5 million! If you fancy crocodile movies, you really can’t find anything better these days, and the crocodiles do indeed look amazing here.


There really is no plot to speak of in writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019), which is essentially a movie about 1969 (a setting) and not much else. However, the cast is great (Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino, Michael Madsen, and so many others) and the overall aesthetics employed are so pleasing, that you can’t take your eyes of it for its two and a half hours. The ending is bananas as well.

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November 28, 2019

Thankskilling (2009) Movie Review

I did notice that this film was reviewed back in 2011. But as Thanksgiving is upon us (hopefully I upload this on the holiday proper), I thought it might be a good time to revisit this gem. And by gem I mean pile of crap that gives me the proper excuse to start my holiday drinking early.

Here’s the breakdown (and I don’t mean mine after watching this). Five unlucky college kids are headed home for Thanksgiving break. On the way, they’re gonna go party somewhere because reasons, then go home for the holiday. Unfortunately, Johnny’s Jeep breaks down and they’re all stranded for the night. But that’s okay! We have camping gear (why again?) and beer. Let’s just drink and be young and free and do what we want because we’re in college!

Unfortunately, again, the breakdown strands them in Crawberg, the infamous town where, in 1621, some jack ass pilgrim raped a local Indian chief’s daughter. The chief calls a curse down upon the white man via a murderous turkey (okkaaaay). In fact, all whites are in danger now as the bird slaughters his way through the population. And every 505 years, it will rise again to kill any white folks that cross its path.

And because math sucks harder than your mom trying to earn enough cash for that Gucci handbag she’s always wanted, no one wants to wait that long. Cue the local redneck’s dog who pees on the dollar store decoration - I mean, ancient tribal totem pole - thereby resurrecting said turkey a tad early.

I mean, wouldn’t you rise from the dark realm if someone peed on your grave, or sacred lawn ornament? I think you would.

Now officially pissed on, and off, the turkey is hell bent on finding the closest white people he can to exact revenge, murder, and some convenient bestiality (yes, that’s what I said) to fulfill the Indian curse.

Will the kids survive long enough to end the terror? Do we care? Probably not.

It's NOT a phase! I'm a hooman on the inside!
Here’s what’s wrong with this movie. I don’t mind horror and comedy together, but when the writers want to fit in every fucking *winkwink* and nod and pointed finger, acknowledging they’re in a movie or ridiculous reasoning or cliched theme/character, it honestly worsens the whole thing. Once you’ve jammed that 47th elbow to the ribs over yet another double entendre or trope, no one gives a shit about how clever and funny you are(n’t).

Along with that are the cliched characters: jock, fat slob, slut, nerd, and good girl. Not to mention the redneck, the clueless sheriff dad, and the father who only loves his son when he’s first string quarterback. Let’s not forget the gratuitous boobie shot and the big boobie Pilgrim attached to them (played by porn actress Wanda Lust) who’s chased down, bouncing titties and all, and killed after the curse is first created.

And if all that wasn’t ham-fisted enough for you, after the turkey is defeated, he’s thrown on top of some radioactive waste, that just happens to be in an open garbage can out in the middle of the woods (because where else would it be). That, naturally, brings our dastardly villain back to life so he can keep killing. Well, at least one more character before our virginal heroine chops off its head and throws it on the fire.

Fin, where the credits tell us “to be continued…in space.”

I think I rolled my eyes so hard that I kinked my optic nerve.

Mama?

Now, all that said, as I was writing up this review, I actually found a few redeeming aspects. The original music ain’t half bad. Add in those turkey gobbling noises, and it’s rather amusing. The kills are epic. Practical effects, nice and sloppy with the gore. The killer turkey is obviously a hand puppet, which is hilarious. Seems impossible, but any low budget CGI would have made this flick worse, so the practical effects and character are very much appreciated. But the main saving grace of this movie is it’s just over an hour long.

There aren’t a lot of Thanksgiving horror films out there so we have to take what we can get. And while this isn’t a great film, I appreciate the creators taking the time to show some horror love to an underrepresented, and many times overlooked, holiday.

1.5 hatchets (out of 5)





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November 20, 2019

Movie Review: SHHHH (2018)

I understand the appeal of horror and comedy mashing it up. I also understand the absolute HATRED of the mixed genre, because it’s either very good or fucking awful. I’m gonna have to go with the latter for my review of this flick.

SHHHH stars James Henderson as Harris, a struggling film maker in Los Angeles (how original and unexpected.) While trying to make ends meet with his job at a crappy video store—do those still exist?—he spends most of his spare time, when not making movies, with his mom at the theater. They love to go see films together, even lesbian vampires feeling each other up and licking each other’s nipples. And while they do have fun, there’s always some asshole ruining the experience: the food wrapper crinkler, the guy on his phone the whole time, the talkers, the super tall people who sit RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU despite all the other empty seats...it’s enough to drive Harris to murder.

Movie Review: Space Boobs in Space (2017)

I actually volunteered to review this. I just don’t know who I am anymore...

Space Boobs in Space begins with a blonde, busty, plastic-bustier wearing crew person, I guess, reviewing a missive from...wherever. The message is pretty clear: don’t watch the file we’ve included on this disc.

THEN WHY INCLUDE IT???

Anyway, she watches it. It’s basically a copy of an alien talk show, Space Talk, hosted by the green skinned Zee Zee Poof. This particular episode is all about the film, Space Boobs in Space, a collaboration between her species and Earthlings. But not just that! Included are a handful of short films, again made with the Earthlings, as well as interviews with cast and crew.

SBiS tells us the alien race is desperate for human breast milk because their own green titty drink makes them live longer with less fine lines and wrinkles. They’ve had to curb their sexual reproduction, for crying out loud! They lure Earthlings to their planet where they reap the benefits of Earth’s dirty pillows and in exchange, Earth gets the Irilidian green boobie juice and all its health benefits.

The short films in between the talk show’s interviews include: "Operate" (a woman hires a hooker to play the game, Operation, against her hoo-ha), "A Killer Deal" (real estate agent trying to sell some land to Jason Voorhees), "Horror Hands" (woman gets a call from a killer in her house then her hands create dramatic music with everything she touches), "Cheesecake" (woman eating cheesecake seductively in a bathtub shot exploitation style), "Horror of Sandy Creek" (guy filming a documentary about a mud monster), "Ghosted" (dead woman helps living woman NOT become a victim), and finally "Lapdance at the Gates of Hell" (stripper gives vampire a lapdance).

Then we return to the opening mammary madame, she finishes watching the file, grabs some kind of laser rifle, and walks off screen.

I, uh...yeah.

Oh, wait. Can't forget the final wrap up with Grand Dame Muff Tit (Ming Vase Dynasty) with 10 minutes of absolutely annoying, useless, rage-inducing filler of bullshit just so she can have more screen time (that's my guess anyway because there's nothing funny or entertaining about it at all).

The entire premise is completely ridiculous, silly, asinine, campy, tongue-in-cheek, satirical, and boobilicious. But there’s no nudity. If you’re looking for full-frontal, simulated sex, or anything above PG-13, you won’t find it here. I couldn’t find a lot of info on the cast of SBiS but I’m 98% sure they’re all Burlesque performers. It’s all about the tease and the titillation, not the reveal.

Starring actresses like Dee Flowered (also one of the writers), Pandora Disaster, Tittiana Sprinkles, and Cocquette De Jour, you just KNOW this is gonna be fun. Mostly, anyway.

While the acting is horrendous, especially from Ming Vase Dynasty (the lone drag queen as far as I could tell), the stories were mostly enjoyable. My favorite had to be "A Killer Deal". Best acting and probably the funniest premise of all the shorts. "Ghosted" was a little predictable and "Horror Hands" just made me shake my head. The rest were pretty good.

The overall film’s pace was decent but it did start to slow down around the Mud Monster vignette. I found myself getting a bit bored as the same style played out over and over in each section (short, major film, talk show). I mean it’s nice to have ice cream every night but what would be even better is to throw in a brownie or maybe some pie (heh) every now and again.

Overall, this was kind of fun to watch. The jokes were silly, the ideas playful, and the titties WERE glorious. 

2.5 hatchets (out of 5)


(Sorry - can't find a trailer anywhere for this. It's basically just on Amazon Prime.)




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