April 5, 2009
Watched April 4, 2009
A man goes to an old mansion to see his love, but his visit is interrupted by his love's parents turning into mutants because of a glowing green meteor they keep in their basement.
You've seen better. You've seen worse. Overall, it's not a huge waste of your time, but it's not that great, either.
"Die, Monster, Die!" is a misleading title. If you sat down to watch a movie called "Die, Monster, Die" with no idea what the movie was about, you'd think there would be a monster and a courageous monster hunter that really wants said monster to die. But, no. There isn't anything close to a monster until the last 15-20 minutes or so, and even then there's no one yelling "Die!" It's all quite disappointing.
The vast majority of the movie is actually spent following some dude around who demands that someone tell him what is going on. I swear, this guy must tell everyone in the goddamn movie to tell him what's going on. It's actually quite annoying. And when he's not demanding answers, he's snooping around a mansion looking for answers. What is it with 60s horror movies and giant, creepy mansions? It's like every 60s horror had a checklist of things to have to make it good.
- A creepy mansion.
- A creepy dude that owns the creepy mansion.
- The creepy mansion burning down in the end.
And "Die, Monster, Die!" delivers all three of those in spades. But, I still don't understand where all the monsters were. There were only two "monsters" in the film (not counting the deformed rubber animals in a pretty laughable scene) and neither of them are that imposing. One is just a glowing dude who slowly walks towards his victims but never really does anything. The other is a old lady whose face melts as soon as it tries to attack anyone. Again, not exactly the most imposing creatures in cinema history. I have to say, the pretty poorly done face melting is pretty fun to watch though.
The movie is based on an H.P. Lovecraft short story, which I can't say I've ever read. I need to catch up on my Lovecraft. Interestingly, this film is made by the same company who distributed all of the Poe adaptations in the 60s. They must have felt that they were running out of good Poe stories to make films out of, so they decided to move on to Lovecraft. But, back to the subject, I can't vouch for how good of an adaptation of the story the movie is, so I'll move on.
"Die, Monster, Die!" is a little too slow-moving for its own good and takes too long to get to the not-even-that-amazing climax. But, I have to admit, the film kept me somewhat entertained its entire running time, so that's a good thing. It's one of those movies that I guess I went in some sort of "movie trance" while watching it, so I can't even remember that much about it. That's usually a sign that the film isn't that memorable and not that special, which is exactly how I feel about "Die!" I don't really have anything else to even say about it. I give "Die, Monster, Die!" an average score of:
3 out of 5 chainsaws (AVERAGE)
April 2, 2009
Watched March 31, 2009 (April Fool's! I watched it on April Fool's Day. Man. That may be a candidate for worst April Fool's Day joke of all time. I'm sorry.)
Suicide after suicide is happening in a small Christian town, and who's to blame? Well, maybe the witches!
This Horrorfest entry isn't that great, but the delightfully grim ending and the crazy Christians who love burning people alive made me enjoy it somewhat.
And so it begins... After Dark Horrorfest 3! I've seen 8 of the past 16 Horrorfest films, and they're basically a mixed bag. We've had the good ("Borderland", "The Gravedancers"), the average ("Reincarnation", "Mulberry St.") and the god-awful (how I despise thee, "Unearthed"). Well, the first one I've watched from 2009 fits in with the other average entries.
"From Within" is actually pretty entertaining, due to the consistent number of suicide scenes, which range from people drinking drain cleaner to people shooting themselves. It's not like the kills were that memorable or anything, but there's so many of them that there's barely a 15-minute period without you getting to see someone else bite the dust. The kills lose some of their effect due to annoying direction and sound effects, however. I just don't understand why directors feel the need to change camera angles every half a second, because it's annoying as hell. Kills are more gruesome and interesting when you actually get to SEE the kill instead of some random flashing and camera movement.
But the film doesn't just depend on the kills to deliver a good horror, no, they focus on story. But, the story is pretty predictable and stupid, which is unfortunate, as the plot line is pretty interesting. The characters are compete caricatures. We've got the good girl, we've got the misunderstood emo kid, we've even got the good girl's boyfriend who turns out to be a big douche. Not only that, they felt the need to make the "good girl" have the obligatory "bad home life", which includes the constantly drunk mother and the nonexistent father. It's just ridiculous how many cliche characters there are in this one movie. Ridiculous.
The only interesting characters are all the Christians. I think it's pretty funny how badly Christians are portrayed in this. They are all crazy nutcases who talk like they came right out of the Bible ("Thy pain is thy salvation" who the hell says that?) and basically cause all of the conflict in the entire movie.
They are also responsible for every death in the freaking movie. The suicides are all explained to be a curse started by one of the brothers that are supposedly witches (they are actually witches). The reason the curse was started was because all the Christians killed the guy's mother. And then, when the other brother tries to stop the curse, the Christians just kill him and so the curse lives on to kill everyone in the town. It's just awesome. SIDE NOTE: I find it interesting that the entire movie, the one person blamed for all the suicides is actually the person that is responsible for all of them. Usually, when it's a mystery of who is causing all the deaths, the filmmakers choose someone that ISN'T the main suspect. Strange.
The ending to the movie is also deliciously downbeat and grim. I won't give it away (well I guess I kind of did in that spoiler paragraph above), but it definitely made me like the film just a little bit more.
In the end, "From Within" really isn't anything that special, but then again, it's not bad either. At the very least, it's better than "Unearthed". God damn, I hated "Unearthed". Overall, this one is a good start to the 3rd Horrorfest, and I hope the rest of this year's entries are at least as good as this one. They probably won't be, but at least this one's pretty good. I give "From Within":
3 out of 5 chainsaws (ALRIGHT)
April 1, 2009
Watched March 31, 2009
While trying to score some drugs, two teens get kidnapped, raped and murdered. After all the raping, the kidnappers need some place to stay, and unknowingly stay in the house of the girl they just killed. Needless to say, her parents aren't happy.
While "Last House" is somewhat disturbing and ahead of its time, it suffers from a over-abundance of unneeded comic relief and the fact that it really isn't that good of a film.
I had planned to watch the original "Last House on the Left" before seeing the remake. It was even on my Netflix queue. Fortunately, the good people at MGM-HD decided to play the film, so I recorded it and planned to watch it. I also planned to watch the remake when it came out on DVD, so I figured I had plenty of time to watch the original. But, things happen and I found myself going to see the remake in theaters, while the rest of my family went and saw "Knowing". I figured I'd save myself over two hours of Nicolas Cage acting, and choose the "LHOTL" remake instead. So, I saw the remake before the original, which I don't like to do, because it may make me enjoy the original less because I'll know what happens. Well, I never thought I'd actually be saying this, but it didn't really matter that I knew what happens, because the remake is a better film. Gah, I still can't believe I prefer a remake. I'm supposed to despise remakes! But, so far, 2009 is making me rethink my stand on remakes.
Enough remake talk! We're talking about the original "Last House" (not really original as it is a remake of "The Virgin Spring"); the one that started Wes Craven's career, the one that is supposed to be one of the most shocking, disturbing and hard-to-watch horror movies in history. To make a long story short, I think it's lost a lot of its shock value. I mean, it's not hard to see how this was shocking in the 1970s. People in the 70s weren't desensitized to extreme violence. But, in this day and age, we have more films that out-shock this one by far.
And since really the only thing going for this movie was its controversy, it makes it even more evident that this really isn't a very good movie.
The main thing wrong with it is that there is a distinct lack of consistent tone. The entire movie is basically teenagers getting humiliated and raped, but for some reason, there's some pretty happy, upbeat music playing during all of it. And in between all of the raping, there's some cops who drive right past the killers' car, drive back to arrest the killers only to find they didn't fill up their car with gas and then try to hitch a ride with some creepy black lady who loves chickens. At the very least, it's just distracting; but sometimes it's just incredibly annoying. Craven probably felt that the film was too grim (that's the only explanation for this crap I can think of), but c'mon. He couldn't think of another way to lighten up the tone without having fat cops falling off of cars? Really? C'mon.
Also, after the young girls are disposed of, we are "treated" to the parents getting their revenge on the rapists. This "revenge" basically amounts to smearing shaving cream on the floor and an awkwardly long and badly done chainsaw kill. Oh, and who can forget the mother giving one of the rapists a BJ, only to conclude by biting his penis off? This part of the movie isn't really even that gory, and is mostly just stupid. The best part of this half of the movie is actually a dream sequence, that unfortunately doesn't amount to anything. Damn. The remake does this a lot better, as it at least has exploding heads. I am a sucker for exploding heads.
And the acting is bad. Just a quick note.
Hmm... there's really no reason to watch this film unless you want to see how Craven got his start and/or you want to see the film that spawned the (superior) remake. I still can't believe I'm saying the remake is superior, but unfortunately the original "Last House" hasn't aged that well, and it's not as shocking as it was back in the day. If you're uninitiated with disturbing horror movies, this one's a pretty good starting point, though. But for the rest of you, eh. You can skip it, unless the curiosity gets the best of you or you really want to hear about how Mari's breasts developed over the summer. I think I give the film 2 chainsaws, but I'll give it the "Honorary Important Film" chainsaw, as it is actually a pretty important and ahead-of-its-time film. So, "Last House" gets a:
3 out of 5 chainsaws (AVERAGE)
Watched March 29, 2009
Evil teens from Hell return to finish unfinished business with a teacher who has just moved back to his old town many years after his brother’s tragic death.
I enjoyed “Sometimes They Come Back”, but I’m not completely sure I understand what happened, and it was pretty stupid at times.
I think just about every Stephen King novel or short story has a film adaptation. It's ridiculous how many of them there are. On his IMDb page, King is credited as "Writer" for 108 films, and I'm guessing he was credited on the majority of those because he wrote whatever the film was based on. 108. That's amazing.
"Sometimes They Come Back" definitely isn't one of the most well-known adaptations of King's work, and it's definitely not the best, either. "The Shining", "Carrie", "It", "The Mist" and many more are all far superior to this film. But "Sometimes They Come Back" is still pretty good, just not to the level of those previously mentioned movies.
First off, the movie's actually kind of scary, especially for a movie that was made for TV. It's got its moments of scares. It's also pretty lame at times, but like I said, it has its moments. The movie's pretty dark, also, with the victims all being kids that didn't do anything wrong. All they really did was get along with their teacher. That'll teach them to get along with people. But, sometimes, it's pretty funny when I don't think it was supposed to be.
King seems to do a very good job of developing his characters, and making you care about them throughout the story, and "Sometimes They Come Back" is no exception. All the characters are pretty good and you care about their fate, which is rare in horror movies, to be honest. Mostly you're just cheering for them to die. Or maybe that's just me. Oh well.
But, honestly, I really have no idea why the teens from Hell actually came back. I know "sometimes they come back", but why? I don't really know what kind of unfinished business they had, because it's their own fault that they were hit by a speeding train. It's not like the protagonist pushed them in front of said train and then covered it up as an accident. It was basically their own stupidity. So apparently, the moral of the story is that if you stupidly decide to head back to your car and get hit by a train when you easily could have just ran away and lived, you get to come back from the dead and blame your death on some school teacher that never really said or did anything. Interesting.
Overall, it was kind of just an average movie that I actually recommend seeing, but I wouldn't go out of your way to see it or anything. It's not on Netflix for some reason, so you'd have to either rent it some other way, buy it or wait for it to be on TV (I saw it on MGM-HD), and unless you're in love with the short story or Stephen King in general, there's better movies for you to see. But, hey, it was well-acted, kind of scary and even kind of sad. So, I give "Sometimes They Come Back":
3 out of 5 chainsaws (IT'S ALRIGHT)
Watched March 29, 2009
It's a story about an endless war between werewolves and vampires.
For a really mainstream horror movie, "Underworld" is better than you'd expect.
Well, the third "Underworld" is coming out on DVD in a month or two, so I figured I'd catch up on the series so I could watch that one. And I gotta say, it's pretty good. At the very least, it's pretty entertaining. I thought it looked pretty stupid, because the main selling point seems to be Kate Beckinsale in skin-tight suits, and that's never really a good sign that the movie will be any good. But, to my surprise, it wasn't half-bad.
First off, not a horror movie. I start a lot of reviews by saying that the horror movie I'm watching isn't really a horror movie. Anyways, it's just an action movie with vampires and werewolves. But, since there's vampires, and there's werewolves, the movie is tagged as a horror. Exactly the reason that "Twilight" is somehow considered horror, and so my favorite horror news sites are inundated with "Twilight" crap I couldn't care less about. Ah well. That's how it goes.
But, yeah, the entire movie's just ridiculous action scene after ridiculous action scene. Not that I'm against that kind of stuff, I'm just tellin' ya. Completely off-topic, doesn't it bother you when people dislike action movies because they weren't believable? I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a believable popcorn movie... ever. On topic now.
The special effects are pretty good, even if they're all CGI. The werewolf transformations are pretty average, but at least they aren't cheap cut-away transformations as in most werewolf movies these days. What ever happened to days of "An American Werewolf"? What ever happened?
I'm like three to four days behind on horror reviews, and I basically have nothing to say about "Underworld", so I'm going to keep this pretty damn short. "Underworld" has a pretty good plot with a number of twists, great action scenes, and Kate Beckinsale in skin-tight suits. Constantly in skin-tight suits. I wonder if you become a vampire, you also just become sexy? It's just like part of the transformation. Because I'm pretty sure that there hasn't been an ugly male or female vampire in the last five years of vampire movies. Not once. It's ridiculous. I'm just nitpicking though. Short review. Over. I give Underworld probably 3.5 chainsaws, but since listening to Static-X puts me in a good mood, I'd say...
4 out of 5 chainsaws (VERY GOOD, SEE IT)