Friday, December 13, 2019

Y'Know, Freddy...

If you could transform into Mrs. Voorhees in Jason's dreams...
Wouldn't it be easier if you, I dunno, transform into Mrs. Voorhees again and not antagonize Jason by calling him a dumb dog and then fighting him? 

Why not, just hear me out, just tell him to stop the killing as Mrs. Voorhees and go back home to sleep? So you could avoid getting, well...
This is the reason you're only my Top 2 Slasher Villain, Freddy. 

Happy Friday the 13th, Jason Voorhees! 
And, yes, my dear readers. I'm quite aware without Freddy fucking up, we wouldn't have a movie to watch. Eitherways,  here's hoping you all have a lucky day!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A God Among Cleaners: One Must Fall (2018)

One Must Fall (2018) (AKA "1 Must Fall")
Rating: ***1/2
Starring:  Vincent Lee Alston, Daniel de Weldon, Rebekah Lynn Dow

First heard about One Must Fall (2018) through a Youtube recommendation and is probably one of the few times that site recommended something that actually hits my interest. (For my gods' sake, NO! I do NOT want Epic Rap Battle of Histories, Youtube mods!) The trailer looked gooey in gore and teased the plot enough to get my attention so I noted myself to keep an eye for it and thankfully, it's an alright film once I finally get to see it.

Accused of fraud by her pig of a boss, Sarah (Julie Streble) is fired from her high rise office job and her gay best friend Alton (Andrew Yackal) gets the chopping block too for sticking up for her. Keeping their spirits up, the pair join forces and sign up for a new job as crime scene cleaners, which is recently getting a lot of work due to a suspected serial killer making their way through 1986 Louisville, Kentucky. Unbeknownst to Sarah and Alton, their crew is about to be this killer's new target when one day, they're called in to clean up an abandoned paint factory that law officials assume as just another crime scene, not knowing that the maniac responsible for the sticky and chunky mess is still lurking around the place, looking for fresh victims.

One of the things I came to like about One Must Fall (2018) is how it utilizes satirical comedy and playful writing to build around its premise and characters, to the point that it barely felt like a horror film and more of an indie comedy-drama with all of the banter thrown around the first half of the plot, save for some snippets of our nameless killer torturing and killing random victims in a span of a minute or two. This pun-filled direction did quite a lot of good in regards to the chemistry between the actors and even more once the film decided to shift gears into full-on slasher horror, which is by all means equally interesting and undoubtedly blood-red messy, making their demise reasonably cathartic and even worrying.

Regarding the horror elements, One Must Fall (2018) amalgamates tropes from slashers, torture porn and even serial killer movies, dropping most of the established comedic tone and replace it with a mean and sadistic run with an unnamed killer (played by Barry Piacente with an exotic suaveness) filling the scenes with monologues pertaining himself as God and why what he does is good for the behalf of everybody involved, whenever he's not making mince meat out of people. It could have been cringy for all of the dark preaching, but Piacante delivers his line with so much dry humor and confidence that his character comes out as both cruel and badass despite the simplicity of his appearance. In turn, the gore effects here are phenomenally done mostly in practical effects and sparing almost no one from the carnage, leading to a truly shocking finale that had me thinking this is one of those film that would end with no one left alive and kicking.

Minor spoilers, we do have some survivors and this is where I have a small gripe; with all of that carnage, I was egging to see a fair chance our protagonists would put up at least a decent fight and, yes, they somewhat did, but it was done and over so quickly that the ending felt a tad rushed. The only complimentary note to make up for the lack of a longer and more exciting exit is a certain douche's comeuppance and the quick-fix done to a character's uber-severe injury, the latter so hilarious looking for how bad it is, yet fitting with the movie''s more comical tone.

Hopefully, we get to see more of One Must Fall (2018) given the kind of ending it implies but, for now, it's safe to say this movie at least delivers what it promises, a fair and easy slasher-comedy that's rich in gore and characters you can mostly side with, neatly built around an interesting premise.

1 female seen murdered
1 female seen disemboweled, bashed with a hammer
1 male implied suicide via shotgun, scalp and brain matter seen
1 male had his throat cut with a machete
1 male eviscerated with a concrete saw
1 male stabbed through the head with a garden shears
1 male garroted with a winched rope
1 male gets a thrown machete through the back, impaled
1 male scalped and stabbed on the groin with a machete, dies from wounds
Total: 9*

(*I left out the chunks of victims being cleaned out at the killer's lair as there's barely any full body to count and God knows how many dead folks make up that pile.)

Is that the Ecto-1 siren I hear?

Halloween Kills, Godzilla vs Kong and now this?! I'm Gonna have Nostalgic Feels this 2020, aren't I?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Beauties and Beasts: The Furies (2019)

The Furies (Australia/United Arab Emirates, 2019) (AKA "Killer Instinct")
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Airlie Dodds, Linda Ngo, Taylor Ferguson

Kidnapped and let loose in the middle of nowhere, Kayla finds herself in a sinister survival game where girls are hunted down by a group of masked killers, with the resulting carnage getting broadcast for the viewing pleasure of shadowy patrons. As she attempts to make her way to save a fellow kidnapped friend as well as stay alive herself, Kayla will soon understand that the game's rules are about to get as macabre as her fiends prowling around and that the line between friend and foe isn't as black-and-white as she expected.
The Furies (2019), for a good chunk of it, is pure eye candy for gorehounds and slasher fans as apart from delivering some credible backwoods stalk-and-stab fun that often leads to a gloriously gory murder scene done wholesomely in practical effects, there's also a sweet slice of ghastliness given to the designs of the plentiful killers featured here, ranging from the ghoulishly simple to the ridiculously creative. (Skincrow and Rotface for the win, baby! Dirty Ken can have a honorable mention, too!) The twist of this whole shebang being a death game, however, complicate matters as it added elements to The Furies (2019)'s otherwise simplistic survival horror route, deconstructing it into something both unique and frustrating.
On one end, it is nice to see something different being done to what could have been another backwoods bodycounter, even if said difference is nothing new with movies like $LA$HER$ (2001) and Paintball (2007) already bagging have the whole "we kill people for sport and viewers" thing within the slasher subgenre. (Among many, I assume) The game's rules did give our characters an interesting strategy to survive, doubling as a source of drama and conflict that eventually blurs the line between allies and monsters. Sadly, the story's deconstructive writing couldn't pick whether it wanted to be serious or outrageously exploitative, so it hardly elevated its tone and characters from more than one to two notes, thus making it hard to genuinely root for anyone (Save for Airlie Dodds, who did her most to make a sympathetic final girl out of Kayla) and the attempted seriousness forced upon us just feels laughable.
For its worth, The Furies (2019) is mercifully quick in pacing and it at least looks capable with the rest of its production past the gore effects; the abandoned gold mine oasis in the middle of a desert is a nice backdrop that we don't often see used around slashers, captured and used well enough through a competent camera work. Its expressively booming score may have the tendency to sound a wee bit cartoonish at times, but it works quite alright with the cheesier parts of the movie. All in all, if you can look beyond the lackluster world building and satire, this is a film one can well enjoy for its silliness and strong showcase of gore given they don't mind their slashers lean and swift.

1 male eviscerated with a scythe
1 female had her face sliced off with an axe
1 female had her arms torn off
1 male had his head explode
1 female hacked on the neck with a machete
1 male impaled with a screw
1 female had her head hacked in half
1 male had his head explode
1 male axed on the chest
1 female had her throat cut
1 male had his head explode
1 male tortured with a hunting knife, killed
Total: 12

Friday, November 29, 2019

Ole' McDonald had a Punk: Maniac Farmer (2018)

Maniac Farmer (2018)
Rating: **
Starring: Jake Roark, Tyler Caldwell, Jeremy Snead

Looking at this film's poster, I wouldn't blame you if you thought this is going to be a splashy-red slasher film about a literal maniac farmer. I know I did, until I get to see the movie and man, oh man, this is far from the fun bodycounter I expected.

At a small rural Kentucky town, a punk calling himself "Blasphemous Rex" has gathered his own little group of delinquents to terrorize anybody he could under a twisted philosophy of embracing violence for the sake of violence, as if he's Alex from A Clockwork Orange only attired in a leather jacket, tight pants and black mascara. He pretty much sets himself serious for this cause by invading a house to murder its two occupants and killing off a rival gang leader.

So where does the Maniac Farmer-part come in? Well, lil' Rexy here just had to be a cocky cock one night and decided to sneak into the property of a very silent and rotund farmer. Despite getting the upper hand at first, Rex and his little merry band of mischief makers soon get their asses handed to them and most of them gets the bad end of the knife. Expect for Rex, who the farmer plans to break in spirit by keeping him alive yet isolated inside a barn, with nothing to eat but the mushed remains of not-beef.

All the while, we got two bumbling detectives looking into Rex's rap sheet which the movie implies to be so bad that it makes Rex "evil embodied". And here we are, watching said "evil embodied" ironically sniveling snot and crying for mercy, reliving horrid memories like a suggested male-on-male incestuous rape and the times he goes by the name "Carl".

As you can tell, Maniac Farmer (2018) doesn't stick to one horror trope and would rather juggle everything from hicksploitation, slasher, crime thriller and psychological torture porn. Writer and director Matthew Williams definitely wrote a script that works well enough with this idea to keep my attention for its unexpected twist, but there are many moments in the film that felt way too overplayed that it borderlines predictable and its message overcooked. Add the matter that the movie is dry on the blood and gore aisle despite having bucket loads of opportunities to be violent onscreen (Y'know? To show off Blasphemous Rex's infamous reputation and why we should root for his demise for the right reason?), the film is unsurprisingly flawed and can get a tad tiresome in its short seventy-plus minute run.

Thankfully, we got some mostly fair acting from Maniac Farmer (2018)'s slow run to keep my attention occupied, even if it's through the "so-bad-it's-hilarious" mindset, like Rex's actor Tyler Caldwell's cheesy take on a savage punk-turned-horror victim whose highlights include a roaring monologue about the nature of violence to entice a crowd, as well as his character getting a talk to and even tormented by his own psyches. Jake Roark as the titular maniac farmer doesn't really have much to say in his role, but he does acted his silent role well enough to be somewhat alright, while Jeremy Snead and Alexander Davis hits a few right comic relief punches to keep their talkative cop duo Lenhardt and Dunigan far from being totally annoying.

No doubt about Maniac Farmer (2018) being a lackluster mess, but I will commend its attempt to make a name for itself by twisting the rules and expectations, as well as showing some sort of effort in its production despite the small budget and the do-it-yourself quality of the final product. As, however, some guy who prefers his hicksploitation chainsaw-wielding and/or consists of deformed cannibal mutants residing in Virginia, this is still far from being in par with my favorite cup of slasher tea.

1 male gets a switchblade to the gut, later implied stabbed to death
1 female murdered offcamera, later implied beaten
1 female seen killed
1 male had his throat slashed with a switchblade
1 male had his throat cut with a knife
1 victim beaten to death with a toilet seat
1 victim smothered with a pillow
1 female had her throat cut with a knife
1 female seen killed, method unknown
1 female skeleton found
1 male presumably killed with a hatchet
Total: 11*

*An early scene mentioned three possible additional victims to Rex's murder spree, but not enough implications are given to conclude this. In addition, a scene at the near end shows Rex popping out of a couple of hiding places and seems to implied possible murders but, again, with no bodies or direct indication given, I had to leave them out.

Blasphemous Rex. Sounds like a Mad Max character... 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

That Fantasy Island (2020) Trailer...

First The Banana Splits (2019), now Fantasy Island? If we're gonna rebranding normal TV shows into horror films, may I suggest Love Boat next? It can be like that skit from Family Guy with the Somali pirates. Only, maybe, a murder mystery instead?

Yeah, that'll be funny...