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!

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 as of writing this and my God, it's a sequel directly of the 1974 original?! It's hard enough that majority of the public may not have even seen the original, but make one ten years after TCM 2003 was released? I wouldn't be surprise if there's going to be some confusion 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.

As a form of consideration for non-TCM fans, we open up with the ending of the original in full stock footage, before continuing to our film moments later as we watch the Sawyers get 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 townspeople drive to the farm and brought down a hail of bullets at the family in an act of vigilante justice before torching down the place. Drayton's wife is 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.

Fast forwarding to...um...some...years... later...

The baby grew up as Heather Miller, who's about to find out she 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 skinned faces. 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 its marketing, I don't really see a point doing this movie. 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 and I wouldn't blame her since the guy just so happens to sew masks right through his cheeks, but would you actually change your mind in the last minute just because you found out the townspeople 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 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 and 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 challenged, 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 as well since they have no redeeming qualities. They're big douche bags; Heather's boyfriend happens to be cheating with her so-called gal pal, there's a thieving hitchhiker, and a vigilante town mayor. 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 misplaced, 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.

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!

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 was just tired of going through the same splat attack introduced by films like SAW and Hostel which took over the early 2000s, but one thing is certain about this movie and that is it deserves a second loving.

At a meat shop in 1939 Texas, an obese pregnant woman dies at work while giving birth to a sick yet breathing baby boy. The manager, heartless and disgusted, carelessly throws the baby away in a nearby dumpster where so happens a young Mae Hewitt was scavenging for meat. She finds him and took him home, 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 (forcing him to wear a mask made from animal skins), works in the same meat shop his real mother died in, which is now closing after health inspectors deemed it unsuitable to operate due to it's horrible condition. After being insulted by his boss one last time, Thomas murders the man with a sledgehammer before stealing a chainsaw, the attack heard over by the local police station during a failed 911 attempt. Sheriff Hoyt, the last law enforcer in town, responds and escorts Thomas' uncle Charlie along in hopes he can help him talk his nephew down into complying, only for Charlie to murder the sheriff instead out of his claim that "there's nothing wrong with his boy". Uncle Charlie then takes on the late sheriff's identity and butchers him for food.

All the while, two brothers enlisted to Vietnam were traveling cross country with their girlfriends when they got into a hustle between a biker gang, one of whom proceeding to stalk and chase them in a robbery effort. Unfortunately for this biker chick, "Hoyt" was just around and quickly murders her, abducting the teens for himself; one of these kids, Chrissie, got thrown out and lands further away during a crash, obscuring her from the rest and 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, now gone mad from hunger and poverty. But can she save them all from being lunch meat if who 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 with other than the point it's an origin story and it is gory. While I already accepted the fact that majority of our modern slashers lack any real scares (with varying level of tolerance) and their main focus is often in piling up bodies in every creative way possible, what was missing in that department I often look elsewhere and in this film, 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 subtext and the movie's very barren premises, it helps settle the hopeless feel this movie has and the reason to why the Hoyt family has no problem eating other people. (Something the 2003 remake failed to live up or even hinted) There are also some very great acting here, especially the two roles by Matthew Bome and Taylor Handley as brothers who have bickering ideas about the war, filling yet again some insights into 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 of the movie's horror elements and plot heavily rely in shock value brought in by the gore and meatier saw action that I felt really lacking from the 2003 reboot, with a still-menacing looking killer -  who honestly should have stuck around with the animal skin mask 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!

1 female dies from birth complications
1 male gets a 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 had her 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

Death 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 turns to 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 in to get hammered. It turns out however that she can't handle her liquor that well 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 had sex with in charge. As morning comes, our remaining volunteers go about their day as scheduled, but as more accidents pile up and brash decisions begin to cost the life of others, volunteer work does, indeed, 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 interesting 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!

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 this film's titular serial killer who systematically murders every household he becomes a part of whenever he deems them unfit for his perfect vision of an American family.

Early in the movie, we catch a glimpse of a fresh massacre as our psycho dad grooms himself, leaving to start his life anew with another potential family. A year later, our killer now named himself 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, a suspicious desperation fueling Stephanie's uneasiness with him. In fact, with Blake's strict sense of White Fence idealism, Stephanie's more or less restricted from doing anything he disapproves of such as dating boys, a fact that isn't winning the girl over her new father.

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

Taking notice of this, Stephanie becomes more mistrustful of her new father and speculates that he might be the infamous family killer. But with Blake one step ahead of everyone and killing any people who 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 needed to be a true monster. I guess that's what you get when you base the movie's plot on the crimes committed by notorious serial killer John List, who murdered families and covered his tracks by changing his identity, the same manner as our movie killer's own modus.

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 just 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 into 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. The bodycount is surprisingly low in terms of onscreen murders, but so long as the killer's ploy is thrilling and engaging enough to keep me watching, and too, being graced with the presence of Jill Schoelen, one of my fave Scream Queens around, I'm okay with it.

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

1 females and 1 girl seen slaughtered with knife
1 male bludgeoned to death with a wooden board
1 male stabbed to death with a 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 the 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 a one-on-one session with his psychiatrist, though, stepdad proves him wrong (and dead) when he sticks a disguised pick into the doctor's neck and murders a nearby guard, escaping once again to try living his prefect dream life.

This time, taking in the persona of a family psychologist named Dr. Gene F. Clifford (oh, the irony), he drives to Palm Meadows, LA and manages to own a house, which so happens to be right across a real estate agent and her son. Eventually, he tries courting her and is almost successful of getting the blissful normal life he wanted until, that is, people start popping up between them, such as an ex-husband and a family friend who spots 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? 

Following the usual slasher franchising clich├ęs, 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 it's basically him running around and 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 and complete dumbassery like the 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 did you come from, lady?" But alas, it never came to be)

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 to finding out the stepdad's true identity) and some good atmosphere. The gore effects are a little dodgy, though, 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. 

1 male stabbed on the neck with a pick
1 male beaten to death with a nightstick
1 male had his hands crushed on a car trunk, killed
1 male stabbed to death with a broken bottle
1 female strangled with a 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 passed after, again, surviving a fatal chest wound (a hammer claw to the chest! Who lives through that?!), the stepfather escapes from 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, who proceeds to reward for the surgeon with a throat sliced open with a bonesaw.

Skipping nine months further and the stepfather, now taking in the name "Keith Grant", finds another small town to start his life anew and marries Christine Davis, a divorced school principal he met at an Easter Sunday dance, after a couple of dates. Things would have gone smoothly, 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 dubious 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 the gory kills are 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 opening murder might as well have foreshadowed the movie's cheesiness, too, with the whole slow-motion shtick that just made everything look trippy. The next following murders similarly lack any build-up or intensity, losing any attempt to properly generate a workably terrifying tone. 

But should it be watched as a standalone movie, The Stepfather III is still popcorn-friendly enough to be not taken seriously (computer wiz kid in a wheel chair that miraculously walked in the end anyone?) and its messiness is something gore-hungry fellers can 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 splattery 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 here (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.
1 male had his throat cut with a bonesaw
1 male beaten and hacked to death with a shovel
1 male repeatedly hacked with a rake
1 male beaten to death against a steering wheel, immolated in car explosion
1 male shredded through a 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 for some time so I have to re-watch this dreck hoping the next time around my opinions would have 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...

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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

One Hoyt Summer: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003 Remake)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker and Andrew Bryniarski

Perhaps the movie that inspired Hollywood big wigs to start remaking forgotten classics back in the mid-2000s, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) transpires to add what's missing from 1970s original title: a bonafide gory massacre.

In 1974, a group of cross-country vacationing youths find themselves in a predicament they didn't expect; after almost running over a traumatized girl wandering down a road, they decided to bring her along with them in hopes of finding her some help. But as they continue to enter a small town, the girl begins to panic, pulls out a gun she hid away under her dress and blew her brains off.

Panicked and confused, our gang tries to look for any sort of help they can get, but with the locals and even the town sheriff being sketchy as hell, it soon becomes clear something's not right. As night falls, one by one, the group fall prey to a family of psychopaths who proceeds to torment and put them under the mercy of their chainsaw-wielding hulk of a son, Leatherface.

If blood and guts is all that matters, then TCM03 definitely got it by the balls; undoubtedly the movie's biggest selling point, the film features loads of beautifully shot meaty gore, living up to the butchery that the original failed to bring onscreen. Right up after a few minutes of introducing our casts, we're pummeled immediately with a brutal suicide, setting up 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 are definitely turned up a notch!

With that year's new found growing love for all things gruesome and torturous, TCM03 found an audience within those who crave carnal bodily destruction and Southern fried nihilism. However, for those who'd seen the original, this is where some problems might come in; at a fair point, the film really lacks anything for itself as it's really nothing more than the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre with slight differences and more red. In fact, slasher fans who haven't seen the original can easily spot on the paint-by-numbers story telling of this film, making TCM03 as standard in its plotting as any other slashers that came before it. It lost the nightmarish surrealism of the original (as in anything can happen) and the shock value of exploitative theme of cannibalism and grave robbery, 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, TCM03 can still pass on its own strengths as a workable Hollywood horror movie. As I've mentioned, the movie sells itself by refreshing everything from the original through onscreen gore and a crisp retro-feel so I guess it's better to try and watch this title as its own product, rather than a comparison. Through that, you can ride this movie's excessive gore with some solid performances and a cool re-designed Leatherface for a solid slasher flick that keeps its powertool horror story simple yet thrilling, hitting plenty of right notes to feed one's need for carnage and scares.

In fact, I would like to give this movie a personal praise for 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. The town authority is either abusive of his position or was never there to help these kids in the first place, making him a manipulating madman who sleazes and tortures his way through anyone he desires or hate, practically having control to everything going on in these woods. This makes Hoyt a welcome addition to the TCM mythos, giving us a realistic threat that strangely both contrasts and fits with 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 with a strong intent to disgust and scare a new wave of audience. With teen slashers going through a waning phase at the time, lazy writers might be to blame for this title's overly familiar streak but, again, so long as 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.

1 female shot through the mouth
1 male brained with a sledgehammer
1 female had her back sliced open with a chainsaw
1 male gets a kitchen knife to the chest
1 male eviscerated with a chainsaw
1 male repeatedly ran over with a car
2 males killed with a chainsaw
Total: 8

Meat your maker...