Monday, October 6, 2014

Detention (2011)

I'm going to go out on a limb and say DETENTION is a horror film for smart folks. A modern classic that deserves cult status along side....wait for it....ready? HEATHERS, REPO MAN, RE-ANIMATOR, BRAIN DEAD, JOHN DIES AT THE END and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS.  

THERE! I said it. I liked this film as much as REPO MAN and BRAIN DEAD, gawd damn it! :)

Why? Because it's SO STRANGE and SO GOOD. The writing is amazing and odd - taking the viewer into slasher territory and leading them along through Twilight Zone scenarios and plain wacky bizarreness. It's thick with references that you'll need to Google up on a second viewing to appreciate the many levels of the experience.



There's no explaining the story. It really does start out as a slasher, but then it just runs RIGHT off the rails and and slams through several genres and styles in an amazing way. Stuff happens in here and the world that the flick lives in is so off center and strange that nothing seems wrong when...say....someone has a TV for a hand at one point. :)



Director Joseph Kahn does some amazing stuff in here. His music video background REALLY makes this film a kinetic fun house.

I'm not sure how the film did overall. It came out in 2011 and I could see the masses walking out, scratching their heads and mumbling, "I don't....get it...." while people like me were walking out feeling like kids again with massive smiles on our faces.

And, this was another odd release. Some sites list it as 2011 while others say 2012. The estimated budget was $10,000,000 and it came out in a limited release. Rotten Tomatoes has a very low rating of 38% and MetaCritic has a mixed 45, which makes me sad.  After seeing this film, I was SURE that it had some massive groundswell and that everyone saw it as a special bit of cool. I guess that wasn't the case.

PLEASE check this film out. I thought it was a funtastic horror comedy experience.













Nightmare City

I was an 80s horror kid. VHS tapes rented, junk food purchased...I would snuggle in and watch horror all weekend or stay up late on Friday night watching horror triple features with my pals playing "Who's gonna fall asleep first" as we plowed through gore filled grinders.



NIGHTMARE CITY was one of the 1980s wonders. An Italian gorefest that was filled with the crazy crap we loved to laugh at. It wasn't really scary. Nothing that would have you checking around corners for as you went to bed. This was pure Italian blood spraying at silly levels.

Don't like gore? DO NOT bother with this film! LOL! It's packed with the goo.

Umberto Lenzi has 65 director credits from 1958 to 1992 including fab splatter like EATEN ALIVE!, CANNIBAL FEROX, THE HELL'S GATE and NIGHTMARE BEACH to name a few. He's classic Italian, tossing stuff in all over the place and keeping the action high even if it makes no sense! :) The film had three writers which I find funny because it still really doesn't have a plot! hehehehe  MAN, I LOVE THIS FILM! hahahahaha

NIGHTMARE CITY stars the fab Hugo Stiglitz (...who's name was used in Inglourious Basterds...) who is forced to battle these violent, radiation zombies. They don't only eat people. On NOOooo...they just....LASH OUT and RAMPAGE throughout the movie. Guns, knives and whatever else they can get their crispy little hands on. The movie bounces from scene to scene as people stumble around making little to no effort to avoid the massive plague of radioactive psychos as they kill everything in sight.

In short - a FANTASTIC popcorn movie to put on with fellow gore-hounds!!!  Breakout the adult beverages, pass around the popcorn and have a few "WTF?!?!?!", laugh out loud moments. :)











Friday, October 3, 2014

Plus One


The shorter, more concise reviews continue! :)

I really liked Plus One (+1)
I almost passed it up based on the Netflix art. Again, you can't base much on Netflix streaming artwork. I've seen cool art that's lead me to horrid shite and I've almost passed up cool flicks like this based on artwork that doesn't hit the mark completely.

No, this film isn't about a strip club.



+1 is a cool little sci fi horror time mind F movie that is well written and entirely engaging. I won't spoil too much here. The long and the short is that something hits Earth and time itself has been crashed in and spun around creating loops and doppelgangers. If someone doesn't do something, our whole planet as we know it may disappear.

The film takes place at a giant, "BEST PARTY OF THE YEAR! WHOOOOO!" type party with booze, party gear and strippers on a giant stage. Sure. Why not.




There's a love story element that totally works, taking the classic post teen breakup party meetup and turning it on it's ear. "There she is - the ex. And she's going to hook up with some party dude. You have to get her back. Take action! Oh...wait...there she is again...over by that tree. Wait...who's who?!"  Party guests - like the young lovely to the left - start acting strangely and doing strange things.


I was guessing and guessing at the films outcome and was pleasantly turned around and sent packing - not being able to figure out how things would end up.

The writing and direction carry the film along with some good acting from relative unknowns. Based on his story, Dennis "Last House on the Left Remake" Iliadis makes duplicate people and actions look easy in what must have been a film with a LOT of storyboarding and planning. It's a complex little nugget for sure.

Dig sci fi based, Twilight Zone style goodness? Check this out.














Thursday, October 2, 2014

Contracted





I recently re-watched CONTRACTED from Director / writer Eric England. I'm happy that I did.






My first viewing was fine. I watched and took it all in and enjoyed the film, but I wanted more. I won't say much about the plot here. Suffice it to say that a one-night-stand sends the lead - the wondrous Najarra Townsend - on one bad, bad health issue filled ride. But, I found myself wanting more and railed against certain aspects of the film. I liked it, but wanted to re-write parts.

Here's where the Internet got cool again for me.

I posted my thoughts on Twitter.

"Watching CONTRACTED. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to laugh or not. Odd."  Something like that.

"Some Guy" replied with "You can laugh - there's humor in there for sure! :)"

We had a little "chat" about the film there on Twitter and he seemed really invested in backing the film. Why? BECAUSE IT WAS THE DIRECTOR - ERIC ENGLAND!!!! HA! Pretty cool. He was bringing things up and I was agreeing, then I looked him up and had a laugh. I had no idea. His points were solid and I bookmarked it for a re-watch.



When I did re-watch recently, I got it. England kinda nailed this film and, as a genre fan, I was happy with the results once I was key'd into what England was trying to do.  When I checked out other comments, I could see that I just didn't "get it" at the time and I was one of the few who didn't, really.



Townsend is great as the lead Samantha. Not fully seasoned, as it were, but pretty solid throughout.
Veteran Caroline Williams is Sam's mother and nails that role, of course.


I guess the doctor role and writing is the last bit I didn't like even on second watch. Minor, really, but it just came off silly with lines tossed out like, ":::odd pause::: You have a sexually transmitted disease.:::blink:::"   :)   All in all, not a deal breaker.


This is a must see. Check it if you have not already. Chime in in the comments if you dug it or hated it. I'd love to hear from you!










The Sacrament


I'm doing smaller, quicker posts this round just to get little reviews out. Short, sweet and to the point.
So...






 "Eli Roth presents"....THE SACRAMENT.   I like Eli more when he tosses cash at things to get them made. :)

My boy Ti West is back at it with this found footage nugget which I liked, but not as much as his other work. Let me explain. :::grin:::

SACRAMENT is a great film with some great performances for sure, but I wasn't ready for it.  Up to now, we have ghosts and the devil and all sorts of creepy from West. However, this is just...Jonestown, really. A nutty leader with some nutty followers and some followers who want to leave, but can't due to El Nutters armed "protectors".


Again, grand performances and some gripping scenes, but I kept waiting for...I don't know. A devil? Demon? Ghost?  Nope, not that film. So, here I was, thinking I was going to get a zinger GOT YA! at the end, but...no, it's just a great found footage flick about how people follow a guy to their doom. Honestly, the film was a bit too real for me. Demons and ghosts are highly entertaining to me, but sad, brainwashed followers dying is just too close to nightly news for this to be super entertaining.


I'm glad I saw it. AJ Bowen turns in another fab performance along with fellow regular Joe Swanberg. Kate Lyn Sheil and Amy Seimetz - also fab. Kentucker Audley sells a HORRID little scene...REALLY well. But, Gene Jones takes the cake as the cult leader "Father". He's spot on and perfect in the role. He doesn't overplay it at all. Highly believable.


Great film and well worth the watch. My fault for assuming Ti West would toss a zinger in at the end. :)  Check it out! 










Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fury (1978)



Have you seen THE FURY from 1978?

I remember watching back in the day. It was on SHOWTIME or some such and I had to see it. I looked cool and, I must admit, I thought Amy Irving was gorgeous. :)  De Palma?  ::shrug:::  Director? And I saw Kirk Douglas in all my Mom's old bible movies, right?  But....Amy....she was CUTE.



:)


Two years after CARRIE, we have another mind control, telekinesis story with X-FILES undertones. Amy and Andrew Stevens have mind powers. They can make things happen. And certain people want that kind of power on their side. Douglas plays the Father of the boy (Stevens) and John Cassavetes plays another seeking these mind power folks out.

All in all, it's grand, 70s horror fair - biting CARRIE's style here and there, but...you know...it's friggin De Palma. CARRIE was his, too. :)    It's a fun flick if you can find it. NETFLIX has the disks.

Funny - I wonder when they'll remake this one. Might be cool to see, actually.



All Cheerleaders Die


 Well, Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson make a heck of a directing team. I've always dug McKee, but Sivertson had me shying away, to be honest. Just because of the negative buzz around I KNOW WHO KILLED ME. (...which I still need to watch. It sounds like a wondrous wreck! :) )  But, man, this is a fun film!

  There are these films out lately (JOHN DIES AT THE END, CONTRACTED, DETENTION) that are running free from the norm and it's working really well. They are blazing some new ground on familiar trajectories and I like it. ALL CHEERLEADERS MUST DIE takes a rather standard magical return tale - with cheerleaders - and spins it a little in a fun way. I like.



There are some fun twists and some odd ones, but all in all it was a fun, strange little ride. If you liked items like GINGER SNAPS or JAWBREAKER or HEATHERS - or would like to see what the baby would look like if these three films got together - you'll want to check out ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE. :)