Saturday, September 29, 2012

Best payday evah!

Last Thursday, I received a fatter paycheck since it included my final pay from a division I used to work in the same company as I do right now. (I'm a call center agent, so my company has multiple departments where I can apply to)
Thanks to this, I have a bigger spending money to burn, and I managed to squeeze myself into seeing the opening screening of Hotel Transylvania!
Guess, that ain't no surprise for most of you, as you already know my talent to draw the occasional anime and cartoons.

I was really expecting a mistake, since lately, Adam Sandler's films are very questionable (Jack and Jill. Remember that guys? No? I wouldn't blame you...), and I'm not usually the kind of guy who watches animated movies unless it's free on TV. But I took a jab and I ended up liking it as much as the last time I did this. (Last time was Despicable Me. so how long was ago?...two years? three?) Sure it lacks all the usual big time family substance as those Pixar flicks, but I came for the laughs and it works. That or the other half of my brain is simple enough to be entertained by watching the Invisible Man do charades or watch Dracula criticize Twilight movies...wait, DRAC CRITICIZES TWILIGHT! Oh God! I AIN'T CRAZY!

Alright, so cartoons aside, I also managed to swipe some titles to review while I'm at it. Here's some titles that you'll be seeing reviewed here in Sticky Red sooner or later, and a bit of my own insights about them:

Ripper: Letter from Hell- good, but disappointing
Crowsnest (2012)- finally, some good found footage slasher! It's about damn time
Lake Mungo- Not what I expected, but good enough to be reviewed here
Evil Remains (2002)- good mask, slow story
Shark Night 3D- CG sharks. Generic Plot. Fun? Well...
Home Movie (2008)- If The Children (2008) scared you, this might too
Sick Nurses (2007)- "sexy nurse"? Not quite. Shocks? You bet
Chained (2012)- Debatable. Yet to watch
Playback- Ghoulish fun. but slows down in the near end.
ROT: Reunion of Terror-what the fuck did I just-NIPPLE SLIP!
Alive or Dead (2008)-Debatable. Yet to watch
Dark Angel (1990)-serial killer cop thriller. Meh, guess I can include this

So, Guess it's off for now. I got myself, too, another TPB of Marvel's The Incredible Hercules, plus a Necronomicon Primer! And too, I got to go to work. So, til then, Go see the rest of my blog!
oh, and Hotel Transylvania with yer kids.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mr. Rabbie Loves Chocolate Cake: The Psychopath (1973)

The Psychopath (1973) (AKA "Psychopath", "An Eye for an Eye")
Rating: ***
Starring:  Tom Basham, Gene Carlson and Gretchen Kanne

A rarely seen and awfully obscure proto-slasher,  The Psychopath centers around one Mr. Rabbie, an inept man-child puppeteer and kid show host who stalks abusive parents and murdering them to avenge their children. After snuffing out a suburban couple who got away with man-slaughter after paddling their son too much, Mr. Rabbie's killing spree caught the attention of one Lt. Hayes, who's starting to see the connections between all of these seemingly random slayings, all the while investigating a missing child case. Will Hayes find his killer, or will Mr. Rabbie be triumphant with his mission to avenge battered children?

For what its worth, the film has an interesting concept playing around as the idea of a murderous avenger of abused kids does sound like a very worthy slasher film to tackle, touching quite a sensitive material and twisting it in a way that it could cater to the bodycounting audience. However, the seriousness of this matter often loses its edge thanks to the overall hammy acting and some ineffective directions, which makes some tugging scenes like that of a hospital visit where a nurse explains to Lt. Hayes how a traumatized child can be beaten into submission seem uneven with the cheesy tone. Any scene of child abuse is mostly done offscreen and the adults committing them act so much like pathetic arses that it's near parodic, making it a tad too obvious that the director wanted us to root for these people's demises.

And on that note, Tom Basham as the titular psychopath leads out a performance that ranges from innocent, weird and creepy, but overall a little hilarious given the way he react or depicts his character's man-child behavior. (Check out that "Chocolate Cake" reaction) Moving with a steady pace, the movie eventually gets around to his killings after a thirty or forty minute run which, though a little dry, can be impactful considering how deserving most of the victims are. My only complain about the killings is that Mr. Rabbie could at least made a clear point to his victims why he's doing this to them, make a good eye opener for their mistakes and make them realize it all could be avoided if they hadn't abused their children. But we all can't win it all so I guess running a woman's head over with a lawnmower after towel snapping her unconscious will have to do for now.

It's a silly romp, but The Psychopath is an easy run for a slasher movie; weirdly atmospheric, with an unholy alliance of mean-spirit and biodegradable cheese on a plot that, if worked right, would have given a lot of punch. Now, if only a certain Joe Spinell hadn't passed away in 1989, we could have seen this movie get an unofficial remake under Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2...

1 boy found dead on a ditch, killed
1 female had her face bashed with baseball bat
1 male strangled with cloth
1 female had her face shredded with a lawnmower
1 male and 1 female slashed and hacked to death with kitchen knife
1 male shot
1 female shot
Total: 8

Short Shear Terror: Mr. Robbie: Maniac II (1986)

Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2 (1986 Short) 
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Joe Spinell

Buddy Giovinazzo, the director of the Troma classic Combat Shock, loved Joe Spinell in Maniac (1980) so much that he was willing to help Mr. Spinell fulfill his mission to follow up the title that made him controversial with an idea of an avenging madman who kills for abused children. Spinell was happy, Giovinazzo was happy, we would have been happy. But alas, it was not meant to be.

Shot as a promo at first, hoping to get funded for a full feature only to eventually get cancelled due to Joe's untimely passing,  Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2 would have been a psuedo-remake of a 1970s under-heard slasher title Psychopath (1975), a movie with a similar premise of an avenging murderer of abusive parents. Though, it is said that Robbie was plotted by Zito after all the negative views of concerned women concerning Maniac (1980) and, being a sensitive guy as Giovinazzo put it, Spinell pictured Mr. Robbie to be the contrasting image of Maniac (1980), in which the killer supposed to side with the innocent, killing those he deems guilty of neglect instead of random women.

The short pretty much just have the titular character, halfway in his make-up before his show, reading letters from children who are crying for his help. That night, he joins his comrades in a bar, where he meets up with a dope sniffing cook, who probably is the abusive father of a boy from one of the letters. He joins the man in the kitchen and then brutally murders the cook before going home.

The film pretty much speaks for itself; it's a slasher movie that fits itself in seven measly minutes, with blood, grue and grit paced perfectly to keep it satisfying despite its running time. Crude as it is, it's a treasured gem if you love Maniac (1980) and/or the lovable tub that is Mr. Spinell, then you could treat yourself to one last viewing of the legend.

Let me just say, God rest Spinell and long live Maniac and its legacy.

1 male face scalded in boiling water, kitchen knife top the eye
Total: 1

Golden Title: Maniac (1980)

Maniac (1980)
rating: *****
starring:  Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro and Abigail Clayton

No slasher fan is complete without a single viewing of this prime splatter classic. I mean it, if you hadn't seen Maniac yet, my young prodigies, then you had yet to learn the true meaning of disgust, sleaze and grittiness.

Before I start my review, let me first share you my struggles on seeing this movie for the first time, which was one of my first early 80s addition to my collection; I was fresh out of high school and new to college when I was patching up my way back to slasher movies. My collection was small, mostly modern slashers, and hunting down 80s classics was a task since my country never imports such titles due to very little people interested in them. I was too young to have a bank account, nor do I have the knowledge to do online purchasing, so I had to crawl in the deepest underbellies of my city to find rarer and rarer titles.

Only one shop had a copy of Maniac, but by the time I found out about it, I ran out of spending money so I had to come back some other time. But that other time had the stall raided once again, thus forcing the shop to close. Though I'm aware It'll come back, little hope came to me that time.

It wasn't until one Summer in 2010 that I finally had my copy. I walked pass a street vendor who was stopping by at my street, and there, in his stash, was one, single, bootleg copy of Maniac. By luck, I had loot (my ice cream loot), I bought it, made myself a sandwich instead and popped it in my player straight when I got home. So half of my collection is made up of bootlegs from these underbellies, as pathetic as it is, but I'm willing to go through it all just to see a true classic. Little do I know was that not only Maniac hard to get hold on to, but it's also hard to watch.

The story is simple enough to understand; Frank Zito (the late Joe Spinell), a middle aged, overweight New Yorker lives alone in an apartment complex where he work as a landlord and secretly collects mannequins. Unknown to everybody else, Frank is mentally unwell after years of verbal, emotional and physical abuse from his prostitute mum. He prowls the night for women to kill and scalp in order to decorate his mannequins, which he then will have one-sided conversations with before growing tired and go hunting for another.

His life seems to be going through this single direction everyday, as much as he wants to stop, but it all changes after meeting a fashion photographer named Anna (The fabulous Caroline Munro) whosephotographs impressed Zito enough to start dating her. However, Frank's grip on reality is still deteriorating as the days pass; the need to kill, the voices in his head, the scalps, all of it still beckons to him and further deranges his view on the world. Can Frank overcome his inner suffering? Or will he damn himself to a lifeless cycle of murder?

The untamed power of Maniac stands as one of the most powerful and recognized slasher titles to be released in the 80s. Many a times people tried to capture the same strengths and grittiness as the title had exposed to the world but sadly, most of them fell flat a few more steps as they tried to cover weak stories with grue and shocks. The latter two might be Maniac's technical high lights, but it's performance and character that drives it into full horrors.

While the plot is easy on paper, watching the entire film is an entire challenge for those with a faint of heart; while there is a bit of story going on in between the slayings, the film mainly focuses on Joe Spinell's character and his inner demons which mainly consists of scenes with him talking to himself or his mannequins while nailing bloodied scalps into them.

The first half is actually where most of the slayings occurred, starting as early as the opening when we watch our titular maniac voyeurs, stalk and kill a couple sleeping at the beach, a scene which turns out to be a flashback-nightmare. No soon after, we watch Zito take a stroll out in the night, to "process" a mannequin by strangling a prostitute before scalping her for her hair, all the while crying as if a child who knew he'll be in trouble. Not long after, again, we then get treated to yet another double murder, a scene which many slasher fans, or horror fans in general, would know as one of the best head shots in horror cinema. Special Effects maestro Tom Savini handled makeup and special effects on this film, and made a small, yet unforgettable, cameo; an effort that's quite impressive given to the minuscule budget and the realistic look in them.

After a while, the movie slows down to focus more on Frank's ramblings and his attempt to juggle his moonlight serial killing, evenrtually getting out of hand to a point of macabre. These scenes are dreadful, intense, and very gritty, almost unbearable and unsettling as Spinell rocks back and forth in front of his mother's grave and later gets attacked on a gore-out revenge assault that only a truly sick mind can thought up, giving new boundaries between cliched horror to psychological nightmare.

In the end, I just couldn't explain the intensity and goriness Maniac had shown me; it's depressing, raw and very messy. At some angle, the controversies surrounding the film's misogynistic tone can be considered true as majority of Zito's victims were women and his killings mainly revolve around the fact he was traumatized by an abusive mother.

There's also the ultra violent content, which aggravates the mob even more, much to Joe Spinell's sensitivity to the issue (The same sensitivity that pushed him to try and make a sequel to this movie, known as Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2, where he stars as a popular TV kid show host who murders abusive parents. Sadly, only a promotional short was shot and the movie never got full green-lit due to Spinell's passing) but many people appears to fail to understand that Maniac was a one-man show that never intended to have heroes, just a character study. Yes it focuses solely on our killer in is lowest and yes he's a sympathetic monster beckoning for longing and understanding even from himself, but we need not to clamor for his crimes. There was never anything to clamor about as he was meant to be feared. This was made more effective by giving very little focus on the victims, making them just as random and ordinary as the guy or gal sitting next to you in the bus way home. (though, same can be said for Zito. He is just a landlord, right? I mean, nobody seems to notice these crimes except for the cops. People just go on with their lives.)

A true slasher classic, with a formula and presence so uneven, it's depraved. Tastes may vary but one cannot dismiss Maniac. Whether you're a fresh neophyte to the genre or not, you're not complete if you hadn't experience this movie. You heard me. You don't watch it. You don't read it. You don't take in the words you just hear. In fact, you can dismiss this review if you like, cuz words cannot describe it.

You Experience it.

1 female had her throat slit with box cutter
1 male garroted with piano wire
1 female strangled, scalped with box cutter
1 male had his head decimated with a shotgun
1 female shot on the face with shotgun
1 female gets a sword ran through her chest
1 female had a switchblade pushed into her chest
total: 7

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My thoughts on the new Maniac Trailer

My curiosity on the new Maniac remake got me into looking into this trailer and so far, here are my thoughts:

It seems that the movie's gonna be the gimmicky kind; using POV shots for the murders and perhaps some of the other scenes is enough to actually get my attention. So is this gonna be another one of those "look through the killer's head kind of flicks? Well the original Maniac seems to be handling this approach pretty well even without the need of gimmicks. The whole movie revolves around Frank Zito, the scalping, overweight serial killer star of the flick, and pretty much a linear direction, so is Maniac 2012 gonna be different? 

It's has POV shots, guess we just had to find out.

Now, I'm not gonna be those kinds of peeps who bad mouths remakes before they got released. It's better for me to see it first before i judge, but from what I've seen, it looks decent and pretty much tries to hold the torch (though if they screw up that head shot and sword kill, I'll be pretty judgmental for that.)

Elijah Woods actually looks fair to be our new Zito. He has that "normal" look, which kinda makes him fitting in some way as the original's Spinell also did this approach. Both guys look like random people you'll meet in a train, so stature is no big deal for me.

Aja seems to be involved, which come to ask myself if this genius is gonna be stuck doing remakes forever. Hope that wouldn't happen...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Small Title, Big Story: Some Guy Who Kills People (2011)

Some Guy Who Kills People (2011)
rating: ****
starring:  Kevin Corrigan, Barry Bostwick and Karen Black

Well, with a title like that, I was expecting something different. It may sounds like a pretty straight forwarded satirical comedy but the actual story was more than that.

It tells the life of Ken Boyd, a recently released loonie who embarks on a life of revenge while juggling his personal life as a loner. He works on a malt shop, lives with his mum and spends his free time drawing really good doodles. (Sounds sortah like me save that I work fixing TVs over the phone. Now I'm intrigued!)

A few days gone since his release, the people responsible for putting him in the nut house starts to turn up murdered in quite a brutal fashion. On the case is Sheriff Walt Fuller, whose methods of figuring out these crimes are as estranged as his reactions to them.

All the while, Ken finds out he has a daughter, who recently just ran away from her mom, Ken's old flame, and step-dad hoping to find a better and more promising life with her mysterious father. Now Ken's life begins taking a new turn; with a daughter to take care of, his thirst for vengeance is now at the ritz and Sheriff Fuller, who is seeing his mum, is starting to get suspicious of him. So can Ken fulfill his vengeance, or have a better turn in life instead?

Other than the wittingly straightforward title, the thing that got my attention from Some Guy Who Kills People was John Landis' involvement as its executive producer, which is more of a presence all over the film. It's been a while since I've seen Landis in a horror project and this little number, though directed and produced by an entirely different crew, surely captured something more worthwhile than your average slasher flick.

While labeled as a horror-comedy, one can't deny Some Guy's heart string approach. It's all about family in this one and not the kind that pulls you into their meat shack and cut you up with a gasoline powered saw, but more of a broken kind who lost each other through communication yet doing their best to fix it. There's nothing pretty fancy about the production in general; the cinematography is good, gore effects is quick and cheap, and the pacing's built solely for character development. (As in very steady) In turn, the concept is thought provoking, highlighting on the dangers of living in the past and missing out on the important things in the present.

In a way, Some Guy Who Kills People is a horror movie in vein of serial killer-slasher hybrids like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Maniac (1980), Tony (2009) or even Angst (1983), where the story's general focus is on the anti-hero and his everyday life, both average and not. His love life, his family, his work, all of it given more emphasis than the actual killing spree. I admit that the fatherhood angle isn't entirely new, with the likes of The Stepfather series (and one underrated remake) and Scream for Help (1984), but Some Guy did this in a rather new light: instead of a killer covering up his murderous ways as a dad, we instead have a killer trying to fit in as a father. It's intense, really, but intriguing enough of a premise to have me watching until the end and see the whole outcome, as the rather unsympathetic looking lead slowly tries figuring out this new page in his life. That being said, those expecting a gore-on slasher flick will be mildly disappointed as the film resembles more of a family drama than a hack-a-thon.

Some Guy brought up some familiar faces in the horror industry; one may recognize Lucy Davis, that lovable actress who helped Simon Pegg and Nick Frost act their way through a horde of zombies in Shaun of The Dead, and too Karen Black of the House of 1000 Corpses fame, as Ruth Boyd, Ken's disappointed mother. We also have Rocky Horror Picture Show's Barry Bostwick as the small town sheriff, whose quirky remarks on each murder lightens up the sullen mood one at a time.

The finale gives us a twist that seems to work well with everyone and, honestly, I can't ask for anything more than an ending like that. As a small game-changer, Some Guy Who Kills People is a refreshing take on a slasher; I never knew moral warnings have a place for this sub-genre, but I guess it's possible since we now have a beautifully crafted tale of subtle black humor and family bonding such as this. If you're very open to changes, and very patient, you might find yourself a gem right here.

1 male gets a hatchet to the head
1 male decapitated with machete
1 male knifed to death
1 male had his throat cut with knife
Total: 4

Thursday, September 20, 2012

She wasn't that into you: Kutob (2006)

Kutob (Philippines, 2006)
Starring: Rica Peralejo, Marvin Agustin and Alessandra de Rossi

Slasher flicks from the Philippines. Rare but not impossible as you can see. The main problem with my home country's cinema (and I mean it. It's a problem) is that we never took our horror genre seriously. Sure, campiness is a good excuse for a date movie but for an avid horror fan like me? It gets tiring if all the "horror films" your country makes are ghosts and ghouls over and over again. Not to mention fantasy flicks that feature copyrighted monsters. (Go watch Panday 2 (2011) and you'll see the kraken from The Clash of The Titans (2010) rehash as one of it's main baddies)

Some time ago, in 2006, we got ourselves two slasher titles; one was the shameless plagiarism of Alexandre Aja's cult hit High Tension (2003) called Ligalig (2006), whose director, Cesar Montano, tried to cash in to an American studio for a remake deal. (Yeah right, dumb fuck, we're not effin' stupid) The other was this, a somewhat decent thriller that knows its way around the book.

Kutob starts out like any slasher flick does; a conclusively traumatizing event involving a young boy being beaten repeatedly by his adoptive aunt for something he had done. We're left to guess what was that all about but seeing how pissed off Auntie is, it must have been real bad.

Fading to a couple of years later, we're now switching our attention to one Erica, a working woman whose relationship with her boyfriend, Carlo, is in shambles as she suspects him of hooking up with another girl behind her back. An argument then follows after Erica found a necklace in Carlo's car, leading to them breaking up for a while.

One fateful day, Erica meets Lemuel, the same young lad from the opening now grown up and, in this situation, just helped her hide from Carlo who's desperate to explain that the necklace incident was just a misunderstanding. In gratitude, Erica befriends Lemuel, which he took in as a romantic gesture much to the disagreement of his aunt.

As time passes, Lemuel's psychosis worsens; going from clingy to homicidal, he begins to stalk and kill those who upset Erica, as well as whoever he suspects is talking behind his back and giving him a bad name. Things get worse when Erica, fed up with his clingy attitude and weird personality, starts to patch things up with Carlo, forcing Lemuel to add up his bodycount all for the sake of being together again with his "one true love".

Cheesy, sex-less, and the murders are awfully tame compared to its brethren, Kutob more or less reflects a restrain from exploitative elements but, entertainment wise, still has this watchable quality in a sense of a time-waster rental, with clichés calling for some mediocre fun.

As an influenced production, we can see Lemuel's character is a derivative of Psycho (1960)'s own Norman Bates as both killers have difficulty with socializing thanks to the repressive nature of their guardians, though Lemuel's Aunt is more of  Mrs. White from Carrie (1976) with her religious zealousness. The film's slasher perspective starts halfway towards the whole movie, spending the first half as a love-triangle thriller which is nothing new as we can tell where most of its parts are going; it's filled with enough tropes such as the killer's modus to murder for his love, starting with an impressively gutsy stabbing of a pregnant woman (to the womb, mind you) that marks the film's descent to the hack and slash antics, though the kills are often bloodless despite the high count.

The acting is typical but fair otherwise; Marvin Agustin as Lemuel did a pretty good job as a psycho, bearing an aura of a typical loner though his over-sweating can get a little cheesy and his topless scene is an obvious sell-out to his fan girls. Rica Peralejo plays Erica, an oddity of a final girl since I find myself unfeeling for her character. Yes, it's ordinary for her to be bitter at the beginning but half-way of the movie, I've felt that her character somewhat changed and her easy judgement that her new "friend" is relatively harmless just because he's quiet felt stereotypical. Everybody else is just meat that's meant to be picked off. Either that or my ignorance of my own country's TV and movie personalities deprive me of recognizing one single face in that crowd.

So Kutob may not be the best example of a foreign slasher out there, nor do I have the hopes of it being recognized outside my country, but it's far a better effort compared to most of our horror flicks. I just wish we could do more movies like this instead of wasting our time doing lame monster/ghost flicks involving mythical creature that stopped being scary 20 years ago. Then again, I do have to thank those kind of movies for one thing: pushing me to embrace these bodycount flicks cuz there's nothing scarier than a man with a knife. Whether you rent it or own it, it's a decent movie to see and enjoy in a lonely night.

1 pregnant female repeatedly knifed on the womb
1 male stabbed to death with knife
1 female knifed offscreen
1 female asphyxiated with plastic bag
1 puppy found hanged
1 female pushed down the stairs (flashback)
1 female gets a knife to the gut
1 male hacked to death with hoe
1 male killed offscreen, heart found
1 female found dead
1 male stabbed to death with glass shard
Total: 11

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Oh Shizzums! We finally get to see ole Bubba back! TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE IN 3D! Now I'm friggin excited! NOW I CAN SMILE LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW! COME ON, WADE! SMILE WITH ME! SMILE!
(deep inside, Wade is awfully confused.
I better not tell him that I know what he's thinking
cuz it'll make me an awful admin~)

Insert tape here: V/H/S (2012)

V/H/S (2012)
rating: **1/2
starring: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes and Adam Wingard

With the recent trend of never-ending found footage horror flicks, I struggle to see the whole point of the horror sub-genre: we see random people smile at cameras, look scared at some random shit that we couldn't get a good look at, running, more running, screaming, more screaming, random moment here, people dead. The End.

We know these footages are fake and yet we have one or two indies trying to pass their own realistic vision of horror as real as possible, which is a gimmick that gets tiring real quick nowadays. Perhaps this is one factor that V/H/S succeeds in as it attempts to do something wilder and more unpredictable with its idea of a found footage anthology. Did it work, you may ask? I will say "halfway".

V/H/S is told in a wraparound called Tape 56 involving four hired thugs ransacking a house in search of one VHS tape. The problem is that the guy who owned the house (apart from being found dead in his sleep) had more than one tapes scattered and hidden all over his abode. While the main thug searches the basement, two of his cohorts stay behind with the dead owner, viewing the tapes he left next to the TV which, of course, will be the rest of the movie.

This wraparound is, in all honesty, tedious. It starts rather nasty with the thugs harassing a couple, one group holding back a girl's boyfriend as the rest molest and flash the girl's breast for a porn site, before moving our attention to them messing up another house and then finally proceeding with the segment's "plot". It's hard to root to see this guys get their just desserts in found-footage format coz, well, we never get to see it clearly. Strangely, this segment ended way before the movie itself does, with the fifth tape acting as the film's finale, which not a bad thing since this wraparound hardly matters.
Tape 56
The first segment, Amateur Night, is recorded through a pair of camera glasses and focuses on a group of young and party hungry men who decided to pick up their own one-night stands at a bar. They came home with two, one willing but passes out drunk and the other, um, too big-eyed for my taste, but equally unsettling once she starts to spat out cat-like hisses and animalistic growls. If you know damn well where this is going, then you know she ain't what she is and there's gonna be blood...and flying severed penises.

A fun way to start a decent anthology. I like the director's decision to cut down the party part so we can get to the horror part as soon as possible as gory cannibalism and a disturbing "split face" creature was a sight that gave this segment a good way to set the whole movie up for us, though with a rather messed-up porno angle.
Amateur Night
Our second Segment is Second Honeymoon, about a married couple trying to find some time alone together at an Old West themed community, but finds that one of them is harboring a deep secret that eventually leads to murder and a tooth brush being dipped into a toilet. I wasn't inventing that last part. Ti West directed this segment, which makes a lot of sense given the movie's pacing and creeping nature. Sadly, while the stalker thrills does come with a level of unease, the whatever horror it is trying to strike wasn't memorable as it ended with a dull blade of a twist.
Second Honeymoon
The third has to be my favorite segment, not only because it's a slasher, but also for the villain. Tuesday the 17th records the final moments of four camping teenagers as they fall prey to a supernatural killer known as The Glitch, who has the ability to teleport, distort his whole image from recording devices and apparently immortal. While the kills are good and the villain is an effin' badass, it could have gone a little longer than it was. That, it I might be too familiar with the slasher genre that this segment felt rushed and awfully short, or at least falls short. Still be best for me, though!
Tuesday the 17th
The fourth tape, lengthily titled The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger, is a recorded Skype conversation between long-distanced lovers, one of who begins experiencing supernatural scares at night and receives a strange bump on her arm, which reminds her of the same kind she got on her leg some time ago. One night, she tries to confront the haunting as it continues through out the course of the short, only to be attacked by two child-like figures and a rather unexpected twist. The short is good, heavily inspired by the Paranormal Activity flicks, only with a stranger curve ball thrown at us and more eye-wincing scenes that involves self-bodily mutilations and impromptu operations. While I'm a very little fan of supernatural found footage pictures (save the first Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project), this short is sexy and sick enough for me to enjoy it. Especially the new girl at the end.
The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger
The last tape, which plays after the end of Tape 56, records the events that took place at 10/31/98. A gang of friends heads out to a Halloween party at a stranger's house, thinking it's a haunted attraction, and interrupting what seems to be an Satanic Rite. Soon, they undergo some bizzare haunting (including shrinking doors and arms growing out of the walls) as they escape with a captive woman, only to realize the grave mistake they just made. A funky and silly way to end an anthology, 10/31/98 felt too cartoonish around it's horror half, completely in contrast to its tension filled first half, but it mostly works. While the early scenes had some creepy imagery in it, the latter parts unleashed CG crows and supernatural haunting, while visually good, is far from scary or creepy and just, well, campy.
Overall, the movie has its appeal. While the authentic feel of this style seems to water down over the years, the Found Footage shorts still managed to surprise, shock, titillate and entertain us with some good scares or just plain fun. V/H/S made it work by making sure each of these shorts are, well, short, saving us all the time of over-cooking build-up and give half-and-half of the development and scares. It's a little bit of something for everyone, while not entire in whole chemistry with one segment to another, but a mixed-nuts bowl horror movie that's refreshingly watchable.

1 male found dead
1 male mauled, chest eaten
1 male mauled, groin torn off
1 male killed, method unknown
1 male switchblade to the neck
1 female seen murdered
1 male seen with his back sliced open
1 female kitchen knife through through her head, exit to eye
1 male repeatedly stabbed on the forehead with kitchen knife
1 male throat cut with kitchen knife
1 female gutted with kitchen knife
2 males missing, presumed dead
1 male found decapitated
1 male killed, method not seen
1 male elevated strangling, disappears
1 male elevated strangling, disappears
1 male elevated disappears to the ceilings
1 male presumed killed
4 males ran over by train
total: 23

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Another Backwoods Legend continues: Satan's Blade (1984)

Satan's Blade (1984)
Rating: **
Starring: Tom Bongiorno, Stephanie Leigh Steel and Thomas Cue

If you're the kind of guy who watches the first Friday the 13th so much that you already know your way around it, then you probably know your way around Satan's Blade (1984).

We start with an all-girl robber duo stashing their loot in a cabin way up on a snowy mountain, with one lady double-crossing her partner while she, in turn, gets backstabbed (literally) by a gloved killer wielding the titular weapon. (A lot cheaper and ordinary looking compared to the one in the box arts, mind you) The local cops then arrive to investigate the noises, only to find two dead girls, a symbol done in blood and no killer. As of any law enforcers in these movies, they couldn't do anything without a lead so they just have the whole place cleaned up and left it open for business.

Cue in a bunch of vacationing teens stopping at the cabins and meeting this film's the doomsayer, a more reasonable-looking old lady this time, who tells them of the recent murders in their cabins and connects it with the legend of the Satan's Blade, a wicked weapon given by the dark forces to a protective mountain man who mistook it as a weapon given by the gods against the greedy settlers. Of course, the mountain man ended up killing more than just his enemies and many say that the blade was cast out in the woods, waiting to be found.

The teens say malarkey to the legend as they normally but, true enough, the killer returns to the ski lodge during this movie's hour mark, slicing and stabbing his way through the teens and their guides like there's no tomorrow.

Satan's Blade actually has potential to be a good movie; the plot's easy enough to understand and the filler moments are watchable despite being cheesy and lacking on the imaginative bloodletting, courtesy of the movie's minuscule budget. The badly acted death spasms each of the victims do definitely earned some laughs but, overall, the effect of the movie is very forgettable and easily dismissed as yet another zero-budget horror flick you can find sitting on the top shelf of a video rental.

Awfully optimistic in the first half, downright gloomy in the end, both ways all in all cheesy, Satan's Blade (1984) is a fair catch. While it won't satisfy anyone's horror needs, the zero-budget Friday the 13th rip off does go well as a time-waster cult title that unevenly brought out the goods and the bads in bad horror flicks.

1 female shot to death
1 female shot to death
1 female shot to death
1 female stabbed on the back with dagger
1 female had her throat cut with dagger (dream)
1 female stabbed to death with dagger (dream)
1 female had her throat crushed while being drowned in kitchen sink
1 female gets a dagger to the back
1 female gets a dagger stabbed to her breast
1 female gets a dagger stabbed to her chest
1 male had a throat cut with dagger
1 female gets a dagger thrown into her back
1 male impaled with fire poker
1 female strangled and stabbed with dagger
1 female stabbed to death with dagger
Total: 15