WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS BODYCOUNT. HIGH RISK OF SPOILERS. ENTER IF YOU DARE.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

lazy to come up with title coz this movie sucks so insert one here yourself: Splatter University (1984)

Splatter University (1984) (AKA "Campus Killings")
rating: *
starring:  Forbes Riley, Ric Randig, Dick Biel

I saw Splatter University under the impression that it's so bad it's good and that some peeps out there actually gave this movie a little credit. But after ten minutes into the movie, and me checking out the box and finding out Troma released it (Oh shit!), it all made perfect sense to me why some (if not most) slasher fans out there hated it.

A Mental patient de-groins and cuts the throat of an orderly before escaping to freedom. Cut three years later where a School Campus' teacher got murdered one night by the same crazed loonie, thus cueing a replacement teacher who tries her best to teach a class of obnoxious, dumb and/or sleazy students whose reaction to someone dying is often followed by a witty (?) sarcastic remark. But as more bodies pile up on top of the other, more inept dialogue follows and a race to find the identity of the killer begins!

For me, it was too late; right before the whole movie started, I've been bombarded by the most annoying cast I've seen, along with the dumbest script and acting I ever laid my eyes on. So is it really a big surprise I can't stand this? I know slasher films aren't the brightest sub-genre to begin with but I think there's a difference between being cheesy and over doing it. Being cheesy makes you laugh at the un/intentional corniness of the movie, but am I the only one who's a little unnerved that the male casts here doesn't give a bat's eye that their girlfriends are dying off one by one? (one of them being pregnant no less?) Now that's just sick, mates, and I don't like sick sexual bias with no reason behind it. Night School (1981), for one, had plenty of female victims coz *spoile ralert* the killer's a jealous lover. Here? Heck, even the reveal was just senseless unlikable bad taste.

Gore is good, though, so I'll give it a star for that, but the rest, I'm better off jumping into a woodchipper than watch this garbage all over again or, on a lighter suggestion, re-watch Woodchipper Massacre,which has the similar feeling of going through a woodchipper, only funnier!

Bodycount:
1 male knifed on the groin, throat cut
1 female knifed on the chest
1 female had her forehead cut with knife (wait, whut?)
1 female had her throat cut with knife
1 female found with throat cut
1 female gets a knife to the gut
1 female knifed on the mouth
1 female had hr back sliced open with knife
total: 8

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cuz she's a Sawyer: Texas Chainsaw (2013)

Texas Chainsaw (2013) (AKA "Texas Chainsaw 3D")
rating: **
starring:  Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde and Scott Eastwood

Here we go! The latest of the TCM franchise and my God it's a sequel directed to the 1974 original?! It's hard enough that majority of the public may not even seen the original, but make one ten years after TCM 2003 was released? I wouldn't surprise if people would have been confused, but if this movie's targeting hardcore fans, then let us all be hardcore fans here for the time being and review this little disaster.

In a form of consideration for non-TCM fans, we open up with the ending of the original in full stock footage, before starting our film moments later as we watch the Sawyers gets cornered inside their own house, including not only Drayton and Grampa, but also Drayton's wife (?!) and four more hicks with shotguns (and one of them being "Boss Sawyer"?!); hearing of the massacre, the towns people drove to the farm and brought a hail of bullets at the family in an act of vigilante justice before torching down the place.

Drayton's wife the only survivor, but didn't last that night as she's quickly found by one of the town folks, got killed and had her baby stolen from her.

Fastforwarding to...um...some...years... later...

The baby grew up as Heather Miller, who's about to find out she's was an orphaned girl when she receives a letter from her grandmother, Verna Sawyer. Apparently, gramma passed away and left a sum of inheritance, an entire mansion and everything on and in it, just for her. Picking up her friends to join in, Heather will realize that everything actually includes something -or someone- living inside a hidden room. Someone with a big penchant for heavy powertools and a habit of collecting face skins. Someone named Jebediah Sawyer, AKA Leatherface...who's also her cousin.

Texas Chainsaw, who for some reason dropped the "Massacre" from the title, is perhaps one entry in this franchise that made very little sense to me. Other than the aforementioned problem with marketing, I don't really see a point doing this. I mean, I wanted to see Leatherface again, yes, but I was expecting something more creative than this.

Plot-wise, it is certainly something I never heard of before; the idea of family loyalty was tossed around in each entry of this franchise with varying level of deepness but never was exploited and twisted as this entry did. Alexandra Daddario's character Heather was practically scared to death of Leatherface around the first half or hour, and I wouldn't blame her since the guy just so happen sews masks right through his cheeks, but would you actually change your mind in the last minute just because you found out the towns people torched down a family of massacring hicks which happens to be related to you? or because you found out he's your cousin? I mean, I know you're family, but the guy nearly sliced your arm off with a chainsaw two seconds ago!

And to add more to this movie's ailing levels of good and wrong, the sheriff of the town's actually siding with the Sawyers cuz he thinks what happened to them years ago was just wrong. Really sheriff? Again, these folks massacred a bunch of teens. And I recall these bunch were enjoying it! I would like to see you act all calm like that if you found out one of them bones decorated in that house was your junior!

But the biggest problem here (other than Heather's being the sexiest forteen year old I've seen!...what?) is that there's no clear line between who's the real bad guy here. It's as if Leatherface was being marketed here as an anti-hero; now, as much as I wanna side with Leatherface to kill these guys, I can't since they got a good reason to hate him; he's a murdering barn boy who's practically dangerous when he gets out of hand. But then again, Jeb here was explained to be mentally retarded, so I can't really blame the boy if that's all he can do either.

I can't side with the rest of the cast either since they have no redeeming qualities. They're big douche bags; Heather's boyfriend happens to be cheating with her so-called gal pal, a thieving hitchhiker, and a vigilante towns people. I'm close to siding with heather but with hasty decisions like that, I'm a little frightened of her... (I mean, crunk! She's suddenly siding with the guy that killed her friends! And she doesn't even know they where cheating behind her so i don't see much of a reason for her to change sides like that!)

And yet, it's Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The one movie franchise I can't get enough with (save that horrid Next Generation entry. ILLUMINATIS ARE NOT SCARY!), so I can't go all the way hating this. The silliness of the movie has it's charms and the gore made it worthwhile. And while many of its attempts to humanize and  hero out Leatherface seems awkward and out of place, I'm kinda open to that idea. Word is that they're gonna attempt to franchise this with another sequel, something I'm both excited and terrified about. (let's just pray of God, Buddha or whatever forces you believe in that leatherface won't go Toho Godzilla on us during the 70s. Godzilla was scary at the 50s but by the time the 60s came in...)

Not the best entry by a long shot, but it does beat TCM The Next generation to the twisted twist game. Let's applaud it for at least that, and for trying!

Bodycount:
5 males and 1 elderly male shot dead, burned
1 female kicked on the face, neck broken
1 male had his face bashed in with meat hammer
1 elderly female found rotting
1 male gets a meat hook to the back, sliced in half with chainsaw
1 male crashes through windshield, throat cut
1 female shot on the head
1 male had his back repeatedly hacked with an axe, face peeled
1 male pitchforked on the gut
1 male dismembered with chainsaw, shredded through meat shredder
1 male and 1 female presumably killed with chainsaw
total: 17
Images (c) Google

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bloody Sawn Beginnings: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2005)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2005)
rating: ****
starring:  Jordana Brewster, Matt Bomer and Diora Baird

...Seriously? Y'all hating this masterpiece, seriously?

I don't know whether it's the bad advertising, or the fact a lot of people is just tired of going through the same splat attack ever since movies like SAW and Hostel took over that year, but one thing is certain about this movie and that is it deserves a second loving.

At a meatshop in 1939 Texas, an obese preggie dies at work while giving birth to a sick yet breathing baby boy. The manager then carelessly threw away the baby to a nearby dumpster, where so happens a young Mae Hewitt was scavenging for meat and finds him. She took the baby home with her, thus begins baby Thomas' life as a Hewitt.

Thirty years later, Thomas, now a grown man ridden with a rare skin disease that ate most of his face away (and wears an animal skin mask. Thus "Leatherface"), works in the same meat shop his real mother died in, which is now closing after health inspectors deemed it for it's horrible condition. After being insulted, Thomas murders his boss with a sledgehammer before stealing a chainsaw, the murder heard over the police station during a failed 911 attempt. Sheriff Hoyt then escorts Thomas' uncle Charlie in hopes he can help him take down his nephew for the murder, but Charlie murders him instead otherwise, saying that "there's nothing wrong with his boy", taking the Sheriff's identity later on and butchers him for food.

All the while, two brothers enlisting to go to Vietnam are traveling cross country with their girlfriends got in a hustle between a biker gang, who one of them proceeds to stalk and chase them in a robbery attempt later on. Unfortunately for the biker chick, "Hoyt" got there and quickly murders her, before abducting the teens; one of them, Chrissie, got thrown out and lands further away during the crash, obscuring her from the rest, forcing her to watch everything unfold in front of her. By the time Hoyt takes away her friends, Chrissie has no choice but to muster up and follow them to the Hewitts, gone mad from hunger and poverty. But can she save them all from being lunch meat if what's she's up against is a hulking brute armed with a chainsaw?

Let me first point out the movie's limitations; while it has some great plot angles, TCM The Beginning is still a slasher film that does everything by the book with nothing more to stand out than the point it's an origin story and it has more gore compared to the 2003 reboot. It tries to compete with the torture filled cinemas of that year, leaving it to do more gore shots rather than genuine scares. Now, I already accepted that majority of our modern slashers lacks any real scares (with varying level of tolerance) and their main focus is often in piling up bodies in every creative way possible, but what it lacks in that department, I often look elsewhere, and in here, I find it in the flow of the story and the actual tone of it.

TCM The Beginning works a little better as a period piece than TCM 2003; with the inclusion of the Vietnam war and the movie's very barren premises, it helps settle the hopeless feel this movie has and the reason to why these family has no problem eating other people. (Something the 2003 remake failed to live up or even hinted) There's also some very great acting here, especially the two roles by Matthew Bome and Taylor Handley as brothers who has bickering ideas about the war, filling yet again some insights to the movie's mood. R. Lee Ermey returns to reprise his role as the homicidal sexual deviant Sheriff Hoyt, who's still a nasty addition to the Texas Chainsaw mythology; though here, we actually see more of his bad side as a demanding pervert with a penchant for torture and murder, again acting as a realistic contrast to the hollywood-ized monster that is Leatherface. The rest heavily relied in shock value brought in by the gore and a meatier saw action that I really felt the 2003 entry kinda missed, with a still-menacing looking killer, who honestly should had stick with the animal skin mask he mostly wore in this movie than the supposedly iconic face mask (don't hate me), to go along with these kills to make it all better for me.

This is a brutal and beautiful movie, honestly, and I wouldn't blame you if you think I'm crazy. Maybe it's the unrestricted gore speaking to me, but I see TCM The Beginning as that one kind of movie that grows into you after repeated viewing and,compared to the rest of the franchise, might be the only one that actually lives up to the Chainsaw Massacre. I believe this is a winning draw, and anybody else who wants to stone me for that can kiss my proud love-cheeks!

Bodycount:
1 female dies from birth complications
1 male sledgehammer to the head
1 male shot on the head with shotgun
1 female shot with shotgun
1 male sliced in half with chainsaw
1 male ran through with chainsaw
1 female throat cut with shears
1 male ran through the chest with chainsaw
1 female gets chainsaw through the back
2 males ran over by car
total: 11

Sunday, January 27, 2013

If Final Destination had gone backpacking: I Didn't Come Here to Die (2010)

I Didn't Come Here to Die (2010)
rating: ****
starring: Indiana Adams, Kurt Cole and Madi Goff

Looking at the packaging made for this movie, I wouldn't blame myself for thinking it's another run-in-the-mill backwoods slasher flick. Whether it's a ploy to lure us gorehounds or not, I would really suggest you guys to give this title the benefit of a doubt and try it. Cuz it's a lot cleverly written than your average slasher movie.

After opening with a cop inspecting a dead guy in the middle of the road and getting attacked by an eyeless gal, we suddenly shift our attention to six teenage volunteers driving to the woods to prepare a campsite, expecting a long day cutting branches and digging pot holes. So as day turn night, half of the teens went ahead and sneaked out that evening for a well-deserved whiskey break and sex, with a by-the-book misfit she joining to get hammered, It turns out however that she can't handle her liquor and threw a fit at the rest for not taking their volunteer work seriously (Or something like that), before stumbling and poking her eye out on a branch.

This leads to the head volunteer taking this unlucky gal to a nearby hospital, leaving the mysterious quiet guy she's had sex with in charge. As morning comes, they went ahead and go accordingly as scheduled but as more accidents pile up and brash decisions begin to cost the life of others, volunteer work does indeed had gone killer...

Think  Final Destination mixed with the sensibilities of the underrated Israeli "slasher" Rabies, thrown in some good gore, awesome tension build and some very likable characters, I Didn't Come Here To Die is a good look back at low-budget indie shockers.

Taking notes from classics such as The Evil Dead or Friday the 13th, the film started steady enough for us to catch up a little about our cast, showing a little deepening for each six teens who all have something behind their flat demeanor. They rocky and uneasy relationship with one another gradually intensifies by the time the accidents begin to happen and taking them down one by one in an increasing pace, devolving scene by scene into a real gritty climax where friends turned to foes, guilt induces suicides, and overlooked dangers bites them real hard.

You can actually tell something bad's gonna happen at a particular scenario, but the direction certainly knows how to built to it enough to make the impact memorable. Accomplishing all this with a small budget, which might also be restricting it to do further more.

Telling you all this, I Didn't may not be a real slasher film per se, but it has the charms of one, making it a fun and acceptable watch for genre fans like you and me. A little predictable at some parts, yes, but it still packs its own twists and chills to keep you watching from beginning to end. If there's any flaws in this title, I might say that it might not impress everybody, due to taste and stuff (the usual), but I am standing by my words; It's well shot, engaging story, good in pacing and bloody for our delight, I'm certain we can all enjoy this one!...or I assume you will. Wherever your boat floats!

Bodycount:
1 female had her head sliced in half with chainsaw
1 male hanged
1 female brained with shovel, head bashed in with rock
1 male decapitated with shovel
1 male ran over by a car
total: 5

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Holy Crappoli. V/H/S has a Sequel!



I dunno about you guys, but I'm one of the very few who actually loved V/H/S. (at a certain levity) The bastard ain't perfect, but it is certainly nasty enough to make it memorable whether for the wrong or right reasons!

So, a few months passed and we already got this little follow-up. And judging from the trailer, I think I'll be checking S-V/H/S as soon as it gets out~

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Daddy's Gone off the deep end: The Stepfather Triple Bill Review: The Stepfather (1987), Stepfather 2 (1989) & The Stepfather III (1992)

The Stepfather (1987)
rating: ***
starring:  Terry O'Quinn, Jill Schoelen and Shelley Hack

TV series' Lost's Terry O'Quinn stars as the titular serial killer who systematically murders every family he becomes a part of whenever he deems them unfit for his perfect vision of an American family.

Early on the movie, we catch a glimpse of a fresh massacre as our psycho dad grooms himself, leaving to start anew his life with another potential family. A year later, our killer took in the name Jerry Blake and married a former widow, though his relationship with her daughter, Stephanie, is somewhat bitter despite his strains to get along with her. This desperation somewhat fuels Stephanie's uneasiness with him. In fact, with Blake's strict sense of White Fence idealism, Stephanie's restricted from doing anything he sees as disappointing such as dating boys.

Meanwhile, Jim Ogilvie, an amateur detective who is also the brother of the previously murdered wife, tries to track down his sister's killer and ended up roaming in the same neighborhood Blake is at. As Jim managed to publish the story of his family's murder in the papers, it unnerved Blake to the point his good father persona begins slipping away again.

Taking notice of this, Stephanie becomes more suspicious of her new father and speculates that he might be the infamous family killer. But with Blake one step ahead of everyone and killing every suspicious people that might be a threat to his ideals, can Stephanie save herself and her mother from a killer already living in their home?

What worked well in The Stepfather is the realism of the situation; technically, any guy out there can just pretend to be the man of every woman's dream before backlashing his true self at them. The uncertainty and dread of this possibility is well played here, giving a potentially terrifying villain all the depth and intrigue. I guess that's what you get if you base the movie's plot on the crimes committed by notorious the serial killer John List, who murdered families and covered his tracks by changing his identity, the same manner as the killer in the movie did.

However, what didn't work for me is that while O'Quinn's character has his moment of creepiness and intimidation, his hammy lines whenever he's in "father mode" kinda thins (if not kills) his good parent disguise. This might be me but who can say "“You know something? Until this moment I never really knew what Thanksgiving was all about" without expecting anyone laughing or rolling their eyes at them? You can definitely tell this guy's up to no good with cheesy lines like that. (That or he's a nerd. A potentially dangerous nerd) Ironically, this cheesy persona might as well be the trigger point for the character to turn psycho, as his inability to accept the reality of imperfection somewhat forces him to take matters in his own hands. Deadly, murderous hands.

That being said, The Stepfather is a unique kind of a slasher film, wherein the build-up focuses more on the killer's attempt to live in a normal life while still exhibiting hack-and-slash movie antics around the last half our of the movie. (and the final chase scene.) Bodycount in this one is surprisingly low in terms of onscreen murder, but so long as the killer's ploy is thrilling and engaging enough to keep me watching, and too Jill Schoelen, who's one of my fave Scream Queens is around, I'm okay with it.

Soap Opera-tendencies mixed with slasher film build, The Stepfather is a worthy cult classic that deserves it's following. While not the best slasher I've seen, it is good enough for recognition.

Bodycount:
1 females and 1 girl seen slaughtered with knife
1 male bludgeoned to death with wooden board
1 male stabbed to death with knife
total: 4

Stepfather 2: Make Room for Daddy (1989)
rating: **1/2
starring:  Terry O'Quinn, Meg Foster and Caroline Williams

I never really saw the necessity to franchise The Stepfather. Personally, that's just pushing it; last time we saw our Family Killer, he gets a knife buried deep into his chest. So following that with something like him surviving said an attack only to continue his deranged mission just threw away the realism of the first movie and puts this sequel into cheesy slasher territory. 
Terry O'Quinn returns to play the killer stepdad once again, now institutionalized and building progress in rehabilitating himself,. Or so claims the ward's psychiatrist. After an one-on-one session with his psychiatrist, stepdad proved him wrong (and dead) when he sticks a disguised pick into the doctor's neck and murders a nearby guard, escaping once again to wreck havoc and live his prefect dream life.

Now living under the identity of Dr. Gene F. Clifford, a family "psychologist" (oh the irony), he drove to Palm Meadows, LA and managed to own a house, which so happens to be right across a Real Estate agent and her son. Eventually, he tried to court her and almost lived a normal life  until people started popping up between them, such as an ex-husband and a family friend who just so happens to spot something odd about "Dr. Clifford". So what does he do? He kills them, of course! After all, who wouldn't kill for a perfect family? But can he hold this bloodlust long enough to have himself (re)married?

Following the usual slasher franchising cliches, Stepfather 2 brought more onscreen murders and a little more splatter than the previous entry. Other than that, the film is pretty much a rerun of the first movie, minus any suspicious family members, giving more light to the Stepfather character and how he tries to keep his identity and his vision of a perfect family completely intact. So that basically runs around with him trying to be a good dad for most of the time, making Quinn's character more sympathetic in this entry. This is okay for my book, but despite the more character-driven take on the familiar story, it's still ridden with some cheesy plot points like that fact some of the characters here seem to have never heard "camp town races" before ("Where did you heard that song?" a concerned mother asks, I was waiting for someone to say "What planet you came from, lady?" But alas, it never came to be...), so I kinda put down some of my ratings for that one.

With little on the plotting department, the movie passes as a franchise entry with a fair cast (Meg Foster from Masters of the Universe (1987) stars as the lady apple in stepdad's eye and Caroline "Stretch" William from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 as a family friend who got too close into finding Stepdad's true identity) and some good atmosphere. The gore effects, though, are a little dodgy, something that O'Quinn himself really disliked about the finish film as you can tell them blood splashes are just desperate and cheap.

Nothing further to discuss, Stepfather 2 is really just that. Unnecessary sequel but overall still watchable. 
 Bodycount:
1 male stabbed on the neck with pick
1 male beaten to death with nightstick
1 male had his hands crushed on car trunk, killed
1 male stabbed to death with broken bottle
1 female strangled with scarf
total: 5

Stepfather III (1992) (AKA The Stepfather 3: Father's Day)
rating: **1/2
starring: Robert Wightman, Priscilla Barnes and Season Hubley

Some years have passed after, again, surviving a fatal chest wound (a hammer claw to the chest! Who lives through that?!), the stepfather yet again escapes another institution and seeks a back-alley plastic surgeon to alter his appearance so no one would recognize him. The result? Goodbye O'Quinn and hello Robert Wightman! And as a reward for the surgeon? He cut his throat with a bonesaw.
Nine further months later, the stepfather, now taking in the name "Keith Grant", finds another small town to start his life anew and begins dating Christine Davis, a divorced school principal whom he met at an Easter Sunday dance. Things would have gone smoothly again, but with his new son Andy being in a wheelchair and disinterested with having a new dad, as well as discovering his new wife is infertile, Grant starts to lose his noggin again. So he cheats on his wife in hopes of finding a better partner and plans to murder his current family before moving on. But with Andy growing more suspicious of his new father, and many other unfortunates getting into Grant's nerves, it won't be long before we're back to familiar roots as the Stepfather lies and murders his way to perfect his ideal family.

So that's three movies with the same plot now, only here you can really tell they're just sugar-coating it. Gone is the depth of the first two and in comes the slasher film stereotypes wherein our killer must utter one-liners for every kill he makes and said murders have to be butcher shop bloody.

Frankly, I think gore is The Stepfather III's only selling point, as its redundant plot and hammy acting really fails to bring in the scares that the first movie (and a little bit of the second) have. The problem is that this approach didn't work too well here; the opening murder itself might as well foreshadowed the movie's cheesiness as it ruined itself with a bizarre slow-motion camera effect that not only slows down the scene but doubles the picture to a trail too. In the meantime, the next following murders lacked much of the intense build-up, so it's gored red to the max. I would normally blame the cheap budget for this one but I believe its more on creativity and restraint. And when I say restraint, I meant making the family as realistic as possible. (computer wiz kid in a wheel chair that miraculously walked in the end anyone? Yes, this is a horror movie, but realism can help!) 

But if looked at as a stand alone movie, The Stepfather III is popcorn friendly that's funny enough not to be taken seriously and messy enough for a gore hungry feller to enjoy. Me included. Also, you can give this movie some credit for at least ditching any lean possibilities for another follow-up and ending a franchise in a messy way that not even our killer dad can survive. I guess they're finally aware that what they're doing is close to being shit and just decided to end it there (Hallelujah...), so I'm very thankful for that.

Whether we really needed this sequel or not, The Stepfather III is a half-and-half good/bad movie with varying levels of entertainment. If cheese works for you, then this'll be a fine flick. But if you're the kind of folk who prefers realistic thrills than cartoon gore, then I guess you'll be disappointed in this one.
Bodycount:
1 male had his throat cut with bonesaw
1 male beaten and hacked to death with shovel
1 male repeatedly hacked with rake
1 male beaten to death against steering wheel, immolated in car explosion
1 male shredded through woodchipper
total: 5

Monday, January 21, 2013

Survival of the Fishbillies: The Watermen (2011)

The Watermen (2011)
rating: *1/2
starring:  Jason Mewes, Richard Riehle and Floyd Abel

After giving that"Fishbilly" movie Harpoon: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre a good review, I was thinking this might be another exciting gore-fest featuring rampaging madmen in a fishing boat. So, I gave it a swing...

And brained myself by the time the film ended.

The Watermen is something like The Zero Boys in a boat; with the victims trying to survive a trio of unhygienic, murdering, raping "fishbillies", who are picking off stranded teens to grind up into fish bait. Cuz, buying fish bait for chum is expensive, and picking up and grinding road kill is harder than chasing and killing teens with a possible chance of one of them fighting back to kill you first.

Ironically, that's just what happened here; a group of six partying teens decided to soak up some sunshine in one of their buddies' boats, while enjoying the pleasures of fishing like real men. Only, after a while, they found out that, while they stopped in a bait shop for supplies, someone from there took most of their fuel and resources, practically trapping them in the middle of the vast, vast waterworld. Help came days later in the form of a worn out yet fully functioning fishing boat, with the three killer fishermen drugging our teens into unconsciousness, raping some of the women, and then killing at least one of them before they all escaped and began fighting back. The kids killed one of them, the remaining killer fishermen two killed two more of the teens, they fight in turns with both parties surviving even the most fatal blows I've seen, ultimately leading to a twist ending that's done before, but hardly worked for this one...

I'll give the killer's dumb MO a little credit for being the most exaggerated reason to kill, so much that it's actually funny. However, I can't ignore this film's lack of anything exciting; I have no beef with high survival count so long as their attempt to live through the night makes it worthwhile, hence why I gave The Zero Boys also a fair rating, but these teens are hardly interesting, their attempts to fight back only got my attention by the last five minutes as they spent most of their time flailing and punching our badguys into unconsciousness, and the villains failed to make any impact at all! There's also some really odd continuity problems here; like whatever happened to that guy sailing the boat with the kids? He was there for one scene, and then right after the kids got stuck in the ocean, he disappears. Then there's the villains' (and even one teen's) uncanny ability to survive anything (including an entire boat exploding) which is kinda pushing the slasher film rule way above the usual level.

I actually bought this movie the time it came into the shelves, and watched it soon enough. I recall hating it at first viewing, but I forgotten about it and re-watched it after seeing a blog friend of mine reviewed it, hoping this time around my opinions had changed. Guess not.

So yeah, unless you fancy yourself an economically challenged killer who can survive being burned alive, even if it's clear they're human, then go for it. If not, good for you! You can do bloody better...

Bodycount:
1 female impaled by the shoulder with fishing gaft
1 male disappears, presumably dead
1 male dismembered with machete
1 male shovel to the mouth
1 female chest cut open with knife, silicon removed
1 female hook to the jaw
total: 6
Seriously, what the fuck happened to this guy?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Nispel's Massacre: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003 Remake)
rating: ***
starring: Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker and Andrew Bryniarski

Perhaps that one movie that inspired the big wigs to starts remaking forgotten classics, TCM03 transpires to add what's missing from 1970s original title, meaning it's gonna live up the massacre part in its title.

In 1974, a group of youths in a cross-country vacation found themselves in a predicament they didn't expect; after almost running over a wandering, traumatized girl, the group brought her in their van in hope of finding help. But as they continue to enter a small town, the girl began to panic, pulls out a gun she hid away under her dress, and blew her brains off.

Panicked and confused, the group tries to look for any sort of help they can get, but with the locals and the sheriff being little or no help, and one of them disappears all the sudden, it soon became clear to them something's not right. As night fall, one by one, they fell prey to a cannibalistic family, proceeding to mutilate and murder them through their son: Leatherface.

Now that's a lamb chop!
If blood and guts is all that matters for a viewer, then TCM03 definitely got it by the balls; the movie's biggest selling point, it features loads more of meaty gore shot beautifully in full bloody gory, living up to the butchery that the original failed to bought onscreen. Right up after a few minutes of introducing our cast, we're pummeled immediately to a brutal suicide, setting us up to a situation that gets more tense by the minute. And by the time our hulking chainsaw man steps out in the open with his trusty powertool, things definitely turned up a notch!

With the year's new found growing love for all things gruesome and torturous, TCM03 found an audience who may or may not love the bodily destruction it should have been doing years ago. However, for those who'd seen the original, this is where the problem comes in; at a fair point, the film really lacks anything for itself, other than the gore, as it's really nothing more than the original TCM with slight differences. In fact, even slasher fans who hadn't seen the original TCM can easily spot on the paint-by-numbers story telling of this film, making TCM03 just as standard as any other slashers that came before it. It lost the nightmarish surrealism of the original (as in anything can happen), the building tension out of the ordinary, the shock value of exploitative theme of cannibalism, and what's left is an average hack and slash movie riding on a classic title.

Still, as a basic as the premise can be, it can still pass on its own strengths as a passable Hollywood movie. As I've mentioned, the movie tried to sell itself by refreshing everything from the original through onscreen gore and crisp retro-feel, even if sometimes those two just doesn't work (It never really felt like the 70s. Must be the hairdos...), so I guess it's better to try and watch this title as if there was no original. Through that, you can tell this movie's excessive gore is it's only underbelly for good praises, with some solid performances and a cool re-designed Leatherface coming by the second. More on the redesigned Leatherface, for my book. (Even if explaining why he wears the mask kinda killed his mystique.)

So much for Serve and Protect...
A third personal praise from me goes to R. Lee Ermey's performance as Sheriff Hoyt; next to Leatherface's intimidating new hulked-up look, Ermey's character gave a new meaning of hopelessness for these young victims as, aside from themselves, no one can be trusted in their situation, not even the authority, as they're either abusive of their position or they're never there to help in the first place. Hoyt's a manipulating madman who sleazes and tortures his way through anyone he either desires or hate, practically having control to everything going on in these woods, making him, personally, a clever addition to the TCM mythos, adding up a realistic threat in contrast to the movie monster aesthetics of Leatherface.

Final Verdict? While not the best remake ever made, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003 marked its own as a retelling of a cult hit, made to disgust and scare a new wave of audience. With Teen slashers dying at that time, lazy writers are maybe to blame for this title's lack of creative streak, but, again, so long as the blood runs freely and the saw is back, I'm open to embrace this misfit as a fairer entry to a franchise I never expected to flourish.

Bodycount:
1 female gunshot to the mouth
1 male brained with sledgehammer
1 female back sliced open with chainsaw
1 male kitchen knife to the chest
1 male eviscerated with chainsaw
1 male repeatedly ran over by car
2 males killed with chainsaw
total: 8
Meat your maker...