Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Home Invasion Reborn?: The Purge (2013)

The Purge (2013) (AKA Vigilandia)
rating: **
starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder

Well, glad that I have my hype really low for this one.

Set in future America in 2022, a country "reborn" with an incredibly low crime rate and unemployment thanks to an annual event that had people vent out their negative emotions under the approval of the law. An event known as the Annual Purge. Set in one night for twelve running hours, the Purge had every willing individual set out for the night to do whatever criminal activity they wanted, murder most popularly, without any authoritorial restraint, given that they do not use weapons that are above the agreed classification (no nukes) as well as no high class officials should be harmed. (as in the President and his cohorts)

A top seller of a high-tech security system, James Sandins and his family prepares for the night under the comfort of the same system he had been selling, which locks them in behind heavy metal door and barred windows, preventing any "purgers" from attacking them. While initially safe inside their home, all's not too well in the family; Zoey, their eldest daughter, going through her rebellious stage, is dating a boy believed to be older than her, their tween son Charlie is doubting the need of the Purge, and Mary, mother and wife, had been told there have been gossips circulating around the gated community on how her family had been making money out of their neighbors. Things had gone for the worse when a bloodied stranger rocks the conscience of their youngest, leading him to letting the man in, and unknowingly getting his family involved with a group of masked "freaks" who have targeted the stranger for their purge.

Now pressured to give up the bloody man or be killed along with him, the Sandins had to make the ultimate choice to whether stood down to the purgers' level, or die fighting back.

It would have been a big movie; with a concept of a free-for-all crime spree with no consequential drawbacks, you would actually expect a chaotic movie with a lot of taboo breaking, murder, rape, robbery, etc. But instead, we have here instead a rather dull and basic home invasion thriller with a bunch of over-hyped killers and one family with poor decision making skills. I mean, for all honesty, who would had let a man like that in during that one night where all crime is legal, given the possibility that the bloody stranger might have been a killer himself? As far as I can tell, The Purge is a very clich├ęd movie that's overusing its hype promising something rather new into the fray, as in the unusual concept which was presumably to provoke some thought.

Problem was, this crisis-in-morality gag's been done loads of time in better home invasion movies prior to this; with films like Funny Games (both Austrian and American versions) and Man Bites Dog already showing us the psychological creepiness of people breaking into homes and how, out of force or sheer willingness, it can get us into involving ourselves in it without noticing it. The Purge never got into this level; with a sorta interesting hunting scene in the middle of the movie, it slowly devolves into a tired and easy shoot-em-up thriller, with the family (most of them) finally deciding to fight back some bad guys who's bark is worse than their bite.

Which leads to another misfire for me; the masked "freaks" that was supposed to be the film's main group of antagonists are probably the worse kind of home invaders I've seen. The concept of a large group of killers hunting down a family in their own home was a recipe for a bloody good time given that we got some good grue and action going on, but all these masked jokers did was look menacing and wield their weapons like badasses, which did very little to help them against the gun-packing Sandins. (Which killed them all in less than fifteen minutes. It's embarrassing) There's a little twist in the near end, but that barely pushed any limits in terms of shock factor, or originality for that matter.

I would had given it a lower rating if I didn't enjoy it at some point. Any positives I can get out from this one would be nothing more than my praise for the idea, how the killers looked, and the climax having some good action on it, but apart from that, this film was forgettable as heck. It somehow pitched a sequel already, so I guess we're gonna see more of this so called "Purge"? I really hope so, cuz this movie really felt like it's holding back on us.

A number of victims seen being in opening
1 male shot
1 male shot on the head
1 male shot dead
1 male shot on the chest with shotgun
1 female shot on the chest with shotgun
1 male head bashed against pinball machine, shot
1 male axed on the back
1 male and 1 female shot dead
1 female shot on the head
1 male shot dead
2 males shot dead offcamera
1 male shot dead
1 male stabbed on the gut with hunting knife, bled to death
1 male shot dead
total: 16+

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sex to Death. Death by Sex: Someone's Knocking at the Door (2009)

Someone's Knocking At The Door (2009)
rating: ***
starring: Noah Segan, Andrea Rueda, Ezra Buzzington

Slasher films are infamously known to be the key horror sub-genre to mark sex as a big no-no for its "survival rules"; screw someone and you'll be skewered with a big pointy spear or electrocuted alive while copulating, but it's sortah rare for one to use the subject of sex as a mean of murder. Last time we had a slasher film doing this was that of the underrated cheese classic Incubus (1981), so I guess someone decided to try this approach again as this appears to be the main theme of Someone's Knocking At The Door, a film featuring two oversexed supernatural maniacs raping their victims to death.

An original idea, but how well can they play along?

A med student shooting up some drugs finds his session cut short after a fully nude lady greets him at his front door. This gal made it clear that she wants him in her, but after a few humps, said lady reveals what she really is: a horribly diseased-looking, nude gentleman with a monstrous dick. Guy's colons are ripped, he bled to death and his five friends are placed under suspicion due to their history of drug use.

After the group was interrogated, one of them reveals that sometime before their friend's murder, they were researching about two criminally deviant couple who use their groins to murder their victims. An experimental drug came with the reports, something that was used to treat the psycho pair, which the group (save one girl who's obviously gonna survive all this) proceeds to use. Could this have brought the two rapists back from the dead? And if so, who will survive their lustful rampage as they savagely abuse one teen's sexual organ to the next?

A bit of a look back to the trippy, sex-filled horror movies of the 70s, Someone's knocking at the Door, (which is a real mouthful of a title if I may get it out) is a real odd duck among slasher films: it's a good movie with a weird plot point that works as both a pro and a con.

Some of the scripting, editing and scoring made the movie unbalanced in terms of tone; we have scenes that were intense, but then we also have parts that were too obscure and laughable to be anything but intense, so unless it expects its viewers to find scenes like that of a fat undead man chasing, in a pace, a victim to rape with his huge (and I mean huge) latex dick under the score of country music (no less) entertaining, the movie will have a hard time approaching a large mass of following.

Narrative-wise, it doesn't tell a straight story either, but rather it looked more like a series of scenes thinly connected to one another, with a spread of characters for us to follow that aren't likable and redeemable at all. This gave  me a hard time trying to care for them once they're starting to drop down dead covered in blood and semen. (with an obvious exception for the surviving character played by Andrea Rueda)

Then there's the ending; not bad all in all, just been done dozens of times already so it really adds nothing for the story.

Still, if we're going to put the entertainment factor into this movie, it does win for the idea of having two demonic rapists as our main baddie; while rape is still a big taboo even for horror films (unless you're the kind who's all hardcore and shit), the strangeness of this film did help tone it down, more to add to the fact that these two appears to be more interested in raping a victim of their own gender. (Which is sorta okay? No, not really. It's still nasty, but at least it's something we don't usually see everyday in a horror movie!)  Plus, they do have a creepy vibe to them, mostly from the male of the pair, John Hopper, whose creepy monologues brought the serial rapist to life. (the female rapist just...growls and screams a lot...yeah...) The film looks crisp and expertly shot with some good camerawork here and there, bloody good latex work for the gore effects, and it's budgeted enough to snag some cool cameos like that of Joe Pilato from Day of the Dead (1985)!

Nothing outrageously big, Someone's Knocking at The Door's a fastfood version of a horror movie: big on visuals, but little on the nutrients. It's down and dirty, but that's it. So if you're that one kind of person who likes to try out a newly opened food establishment around the corner of your street without a damn clue what they'll be serving, pretty much just put that mentality in watching a horror movie and I'm sure you'll do just fine. Real. Fine.

1 male raped to death
1 female bitten on the face, killed (flashback)
1 male bitten on the throat (flashback)
1 female suffocated inside the killer's groin
1 male had his jaw fisted open and choked on killer's groin
1 male shot on the neck
1 male raped until killer's groin broke out of his gut
1 male shot
1 male shot to death
1 male shot through the mouth
3 males and 1 female seen dead from drug overdose
Total: 14

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Killer's POV. The Artistic Way: Maniac (2012)

Maniac (France, 2012 Remake)
rating: ****1/2
starring: Elijah Wood, America Olivo, Nora Arnezeder

When I heard about Alexandre Aja's involvement in remaking Maniac, the one movie I was really hoping no one would touch, I was excited yet somewhat terrified; I know that under his supervision, a film wouldn't be that bad, (like P2. Yes, I like P2) but with all the remake hype having a 50/50 chance of working or not, I can't help but have second thoughts since they are, again, redoing a genuine horror classic here. One with a large cult following with rabid fans ready to tear someone apart once this film ends a complete mess. So can this new Maniac hold out to the original, or at least have a stable hand to the torch?

Surprisingly, yes. Yes it can.

The film follows Frank, an estranged loner who lives in his late father's mannequin store, doing restoration works and gets repeating episodes of migraine-inducing hot flashes wherein he remembers the neglect and abuse he had with his mother. At night, he vents out these memories as a serial killer hunting women for their scalps, hoping to place them over the mannequins he keeps as he pretends they're alive. But after meeting a beautiful photographer who took interest to his restoration works, Frank finds himself in conflict with his inner demons, hoping to change his life for the better. But can he really do it?Just how long can he last being normal before he wields the knife again?

Frank the Monster
The original Maniac rolls with relentless gore, misogynic view and a very bleak portrayal of a man's deranged psyche. The remake here did very little difference from that as it's still as bleak and misogynic as the original wanted it to be, and though the creativity of the kill has been reduced to brutal hunting knife stabbings (and scalping) the gore is still gleefully present.

Although, what was interesting here in the remake is that we got more close and personal with the killer than what the 1980s version did. In the original, we watch Frank go through his horribly traumatized serial killer life as an audience, but with the POV gimmick of the remake, we get to see, feel and hear what's really going on with his mind. His fantasies and his turmoils are shared to us like an open book, and so does his troubled childhood which the 80s version only implied. It's distressing as an approach, really, since it taps into the audience's understanding of the killer, albeit this idea might be more gender approached due to it looking more into masculine needs and/or wants. It may divide attention and intention, but all in all the film really works in terms of creeping us out psychologically as we experience the minds of a demented individual, who is surprisingly more a sympathetic character than Joe Spinell's portrayal from the original thanks to the younger and once-questionable casted Elijah Wood. (Not bashing Spinell's performance, mind you! That guy made the original Maniac a classic to remember. God rest his soul)

This is quite a trick that I came to like a lot, as it really gave the movie a real art house feel to it, and the only chances we seen Wood's character was either through his reflections and/or, in one surreal moment, when the film slowly shifts to a third person's point of view. And speaking of casts, I love how almost all of the them were well acted; Nora Arnezeder plays the female lead, Anna, which was a real doll in this film as she befriends Frank without bias. She's this one shred of hope for Frank leading an otherwise normal life, but with Frank's haunted pasts coming back and forth, her presence somewhat brought some worthy tension the movie needed.

I'm still wondering how this can kill someone?
What I also like about this remake is that it managed to adjust everything that made the original a successful horror movie to our time without completely messing it up; as I mentioned before, the kills were reduced to simple hunting knife murders with little variations here and there, as oppose to the wide variety of murders done in the 80s version, such as the now infamous head decimation ala shotgun and my personal favorite sword kill, but this proves to be quite necessary as it gave the film a realistic feel to it, and, for all honesty, the gore is still vicious with all the scalping done and the bloody-brutal climax.

Cinematography had us looking as a random city which can be paralleled to our gloomy yet contrastingly vibrant world, and too some cool fantasy symbolism. The scoring for this movie adds up to the nihilistic tone and also gave it a bit of retro-feel through the use of synthesizer music and one soundtrack played that pays a lot of tribute to another movie with a skin-obsessed serial killer. (It's Goodbye Horses by Lazarus Q, which was played in Silence of the Lambs) It's a real ear of a score, so that's one more point up as a remake.

I really don't know what e;se to say; this movie caught me off guard to how well made it is. I try to find a flaw from it, but as far as I can see, Alexandre Aja's Maniac is as near-perfection as the original Maniac! Perhaps they can be twins? If yes, then look out, world, the impossible happened again with great results!

1 female gets a hunting knife through under her jaw, scalped
1 female strangled to death, scalped
1 female stabbed to death with hunting knife, scalped
1 female scalped with hunting knife
1 male had his mouth split with meat cleaver, beaten through door
1 male killed in car crash
1 female smashes through car windshield, scalped
1 male gets a mannequin's arm stabbed on his gut, later ran over and dies
total: 8

Friday, June 21, 2013

Attack of The 15 Foot Lumberjack: Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2013)

Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan (2013)
Rating: **1/2
Starring:  Joe Estevez, Dan Haggerty, Thomas Downey                         

Coming from the director who brought you the scifi creature feature fest Mosquito (1994) and Spiders (2000) comes a giant monster movie in the likes you never seen before! A Slasher!

Some several decades ago, in what appears to be Old Timey-Whimey Western-y 1800s, it's winter and a small group of people are enjoying an outdoor barbecue, feasting on the remains of a huge ox. One of them leaves to the woods to get something, only to come back and finds his friends hacked to bits. The culprit? A deformed lumberjack who then proceeds to slice him in half through a saw mill in pure, horrible CG display.

Flashforward to our modern times and a group of five petty delinquents find out that their only alternative for jail time is to attend a special backwoods program under the supervision of a counselor and a sergeant. Though obviously not excited about this, the group still try their best to get along and enjoy their stay; but after desecrating an animal's grave, they unknowingly riled up a 15-foot giant mutant who is none other than Paul Bunyan himself! Angry (and, well, lonely), Paul sets out to seek the hooligans responsible for this, with bloody vengeance in his mind.

While generally terrible, Axe Giant is really more of a horror movie trying to poke fun at itself with an outrageous story and a cheesy approach, setting an aim to be a fun film for those who can learn to switch off.

The technical department here might be a set off for many; the special effects rely a lot on CG which is, looking at the quality of it, disappointing. One particular attack has us watching Paul lift up a woman from a cabin and you can tell how robotic the CG victim moves. Same can be said on a computer generated Ox that's a part of Paul's backstory, which would have made a cheap Animal Planet Special proud.

Some cruddy computer effects are also thrown in to the kills here, gore-wise and execution, but the results are still as imaginative and creative with its use however, enough to forgive at least some of the wreck. Besides, any movie that has a man cut down in half surviving long enough to distract and taunt a giant (only to be killed, of course) is a bad film worthy of our attention.

Acting is really stiff for most of these no-name inexperienced casts but, as I've mentioned, with the film's direction, it fits the film's charm nonetheless. There's this one scene where we're supposed to feel bad for Bunyan as he watches his ox buddy gets killed and eaten right in front of him, but the actor's "horrified" expression, plus the editing which had us intercutting between him being shocked and the hunters eating made me laugh so hard instead that I almost ran out of air and I had to step out of my room to get a breather. Thankfully we got a few genre regulars to enlighten us genre fans; Thomas Downey, a familiar face within the God-awful mockbuster-spewing DTV company Asylum, did a fair role as Sgt. Hoke, a hard-as-nails sergeant who's ready to make a living hell out of these kid's stay with them. And then there's the cooky, old doomsayer played by Joe Estevez adding up to the cheddar of the movie as a fun drunk-out hermit who knows a thing or two about Bunyan. 

Speaking of which, the big dude himself is played by a guy in a large, bulky, latex suit; nothing much to say on his part as all he really did is growl his way through the cast, looking mean and scary, and lumber around pretending to be huge. (Which works, by the way)

I can't say that this is a good film, far from it, but as an entertainingly good "bad movie" heap, there's a lot to love about Axe Giant. It never really tries to be anything else but cheap and easy junkfood horror, so if you can spot a glossy copy of this low-budget, creature-slasher-hybrid, be sure to try it out and meet the giant cheeseball that is Paul Bunyan!

1 male sliced in half through logging mill
1 bear had its neck broken
1 female split down in half with axe
1 male sliced in half with axe, crushed underfoot
1 ox shot on the head (flashback)
1 male hacked on the chest with axe (flashback)
1 male decapitated with axe (flashback)
1 male hacked with axe (flashback)
1 male axed on the face (flashback)
1 male had an arm hacked off with axe, killed (flashback)
1 male gets an axe thrown to back (flashback)
1 female killed (flashback)
1 male impaled through the gut with a thrown ox's horn, killed
1 female thrown to a tree, mangled
1 male shot on the gut with shotgun
1 male decapitated with thrown axe
1 male shot to death
Total: 17

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Be Unkind. Rewind: V/H/S/2 (2013)

V/H/S/2 (2013) (AKA S-V/H/S)
rating: ****
starring: Kelsy Abbott, Hannah Al Rashid, Fachry Albar

Guess how many times I actually re-watched this movie? Three times. Almost after I finished watching it for the first time!

It's really rare for a movie to out-do an original, may it be a remake or a sequel; if I recall correctly, the only movies that I believe out-did their predecessors were 28 Weeks Later (the sequel to 28 Days Later), The Blob (1988), Tobe Hooper's Toolbox Murders and, in my opinion at least, Hostel 2. Cases differ from movie to movie; some would do better cuz the original was met with mixed criticisms so they tried re-tweaking a few things (as in bigger looks, better actors, fresher mythology, etc.), others would be because it actually did well enough to put some thought into it, so fans of the first would have something to look forward to.

The original V/H/S was a mixed bag; the segments are uneven with their strengths, leaving us with an unsatisfied aftertaste once the film was over and hinder us from enjoying the entire movie as a whole. At least two segments there were worth the money, two others were so-so, and the rest were turds. Should we be expecting the same for V/H/S/2? Nope, in fact, let's just pretend V/H/S doesn't exist and consider this the true V/H/S movie!

Originally called S-V/H/S, which sounded a lot cooler until they decided to change it in case a third movie is in talks, V/H/S/2 outdone everything the first was trying to do, starting with its wrap-around titled Tape 49, where we follow two private investigators looking for a missing college student last seen inside his own house. The two manage to break in and find the abode a mess, littered with VHS tapes, VCRs and TVs. While one checks out the rooms for some clues, the other was left to watch the tapes in case something recorded there can help. What improved here compared to the one from V/H/S is that this wraparound explained at least a bit of what's going on. It actually hinted some of mythology behind these tapes, something supernatural and rather organized as there maybe more people out there collecting these recording and getting affected by whatever force lingers in each tape. The idea is a good build compared to the first movie's and it's still bizarre enough to creep us out a bit, with an ending shot that is graphically comic.

The first of the four tapes is titled Phase 1 Clinical Trail, about a car crash survivor receiving an experimental robotic eye that records whatever he is seeing as a part of the eye's trial testing. However, this also leads to the man seeing murderous ghosts that are getting more violent the more he notices them. A bit scifi-ish but it's a smart variation of the typical haunted house plot with a slightly convenient but creative reason to as why the character is recording all this. It could have worked a little better if it was longer as it did create a pretty interesting idea of artificial organs as a way to see (or hear) ghostly apparitions, but the quick scares and the tone of the segment was a good start for the movie. (I also love the ending in this one, too! Real nasty work!)

A Ride in the Park, the film's second tape, had us following a man taking a bike ride around the woods while wearing a "Go-Pro" cam on his helmet, only to encounter the living dead. The twist here is that, after a few minutes of said encounter, the man devolves into a zombie himself and we soon follows his gory search for fresh meat, which means bad news for a nearby children's birthday party as the now infected man joins the rest of the horde for an all-you-can-eat flesh buffet! The short is a mix of the old and new, often than not we do have mockumentary/found footage style zombie films but not one that was done through a zombie's POV. The gore here is awesome, a lot of cannibal scenes (one of them I found extremely funny), plus we got some great shots of first person injuries to an undead. (The "hit and ran-over" was really cool) The only thing I felt a bit awkward with was the ending, where we get to see some "humanity" in the zombie; not that I don't like it, it's just a little rushed, but overall this segment brought me back some love for the zombie sub-genre.

The third tape is probably the best of the bunch; Safe Haven has a documentary crew doing a piece on a strange Indonesian cult suspected of doing taboo practices such as child rape. Things go from intense to balls-out crazy when members begin killing each other, themselves and the crew one by one, in one bloody rampage to the next. Then comes strange births, spontaneous combustions, zombies walking and singing, and even the arrival of a horned god. It started like an ordinary killer cult movie, but it soon becomes this crazy climax that I can't even explain how messed-up it was. With all that gory and strange things going one left and right, you can't help but enjoy this unrestrained piece of mayhem by the time this shit hits the fan!

The last of the bunch, which is also my personal fave here, is called Summer Party Alien Abduction. As the title suggests, it's a simple story of a group of youngsters playing a prank on one of their friends' older sister and her boyfriend when a horde of Greys (or plainly aliens for you non-SciFi folks) arrive and start abducting them, one victim to the next. The short is quick in pace, with well executed villains making quite a show by keeping them obscured by silhouettes and strobe-light effects. (Even freakier when we get a good look at them Those large gaping mouths unnerved me a lot) The whole short is shown through a camera attached to a small dog so, in a way, this really help built the menacing tone of the segment as we see it through various angles, much to obscure the events further, and it actually helped focus on each of the character in just one POV. For some reason, many considers this the weakest of all the segments and I still yet to understand why, but for me this is one freaky found footage with an equally haunting ending.

So with all of these segments showing more strength that flaws, V/H/S/2 is a rare anthology where in all of its segments works. It's still far from perfect, as some of the shorts have their bits of cheesiness and plot holes to their lackluster writing, but comparing this with the first movie, it's a spiritual transcendence in terms of tone, humor and, yes, scares. I'm just glad that my hype for this movie wasn't for nothing and I can really recommend this to anyone who's looking for a new horror anthology to enjoy! (Plus a head-banging ending montage to boot!)

1 female drowned
1 male gets an artificial eye shoved down his throat
1 female succumbs to infection
1 male bitten on the neck, bled to death
1 male disemboweled, eaten by zombie
1 female succumbs to infection
1 male had an eye bitten off
1 female eaten by zombies
1 male eaten by zombies
1 male eaten by zombies
1 male eaten by zombies
1 male seen killed
1 female found eviscerated
1 male gets a throat cut with Stanley knife
1 male, 1 female and 10 children ingests poison
10 males shot themselves on the head
1 male shot with shotgun
1 male had his head shot off with shotgun
3 males shot on the head with shotgun
1 male shot on the head with shotgun
1 male shot himself on the head with shotgun
4 females killed in explosion
1 male spontaneous combusts
1 female brained to death with lead pipe
1 female had her womb torn open
1 male presumably killed
1 male attacked, presumably taken
1 male and 1 boy missing, presumably taken
1 male taken
1 female taken
1 boy taken
1 dog fell to its death
1 female had her neck broken
1 male strangled to death
total: 59

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ashes to Ashes. Sludge to Sludge: Hatchet 3 (2013)

Hatchet 3 (2013)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan

And so here we are again back in the swamps after three years of waiting from the last film. All those murky, slimy things that'll crawl out to bite you in the arse are out for the night again, but here in Honey Island Swamp stirs something, or someone, that everyone ought to look out for: the infamous legendary killer Victor Crowley! But wait! Last time we've left him, his face was smashed into a gaping hole and got a blastful of lead shot into it! So have we seen the last of Crowley? Apparently not.

Taking place minutes after the previous installment, Hatchet 3 has Danielle Harris reprising her role as Marybeth, a deeply exhausted survivor who just came back to the same swamp to finally finish off the hulking killer, but finds herself attacked no sooner by the faceless Crowley himself, somehow surviving overkill. After a brief struggle, Marybeth manages to topple him down into his own 6 foot long chainsaw, slicing the big guy in half down the middle, seemingly (again) ending him for real. Feeling triumphant, she then proceeds to walk back to town, with a shotgun and a piece of Crowley's scalp at hand, claiming the nightmare is over. But telling this story to the cops proves to be a rather questionable move as they dismissed her tale as delusions. Not that she seems to mind, though.

A clean-up operation is then sent out to the massacre site, hoping to find all the bodies of each victim, including that of Crowley's split body, and find some answers to this bloody situation. As night falls, we soon find out that Crowley's really all voodoo mojo, forming himself back in one piece and ticking alive again, not promising the same for anyone that he'll grab hold to.

It isn't long before the big guns are called for back-up and a SWAT team (with a leader played by Friday the 13th reboot's Derek Mears) gets called in to dispatch the threat. But as they all begin to drop off like flies, the sheriff's estranged journalist ex-wife (played by Caroline Williams!) finally decided to step in and gets a reluctant MaryBeth (and a guard) tagged along to grab something that may end the curse once and for all! But after all those previous attempts to end said curse, will this be any different? Or will history repeat itself and more blood will be shed?

Comparing this with the fun yet inferior previous installment, Hatchet 3 managed to bring back the same energy the first movie have, although missing a lot of things that made the previous two such a hoot; technically, the Hatchet series is supposed to be a throwback to old 80s slasher movies, which meant it's supposed to be cheesy, fast paced and very, very, very gory without relying on cheap CG. While Hatchet 3 kept the pace, it lost some of the morbid humor and the kills are very uninspired.

In the previous movies, the humor was on both the characterization of the casts and the scenes that happen right before they were killed, normally involving one or two cast doing or saying something awfully funny to relieve us some tension, as well as give a bit more character to them. That's kinda absent here, with only a few casts actually standing out and the rest merely for the picking. Thankfully, that didn't stop said stand outs to do something really worthwhile every now and then, including an awkwardly hilarious scene involving a Sid Haig cameo as a deaf, racist redneck who may hold the last remaining key on destroying the man-monster for good.

As for the kills, I'm standing in-between lines here; while the bodycount is still huge and the gore's as splashy as ever, it didn't do much to re-invent the story and nearly all of them are the same style of Crowley tearing people apart in twos, threes and quarters even. Even a notable encounter here between two horror-role legends, Hodder and Mears, who both played Jason Voorhees in the 80s and in the remake respectively, ended with little to spice up the fight.

But, issues aside, Hatchet 3 isn't a bad movie. Far from it really! Harris's character is still badass, though she did took down a few screen time in favor of a cult favorite Caroline Williams to take in some spotlight. (God, how I miss this woman!) I find it ironic that her character here, a journalist trying to prove the existence of Crowley, is sortah parallel to her media- connected role as a radio DJ in her (in)famous role as Stretch in Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2! She has a lot more spunk here so I'm not complaining on the lack of Harris. Kane Hodder's Crowley's still as menacing as ever, a little more of a serious man-monster here than a lumbering maniac that he was in the first two films, however, and the character's design really improved. There's more action so it's never boring, some fun surprises here and there, and it never lost it's momentum.

The ending's also very intriguing; now, I'm not sure if this is the last Hatchet movie, as Adam Green, the director of the first two and producer of this third, promised at least two sequels after the second, although he seems to be hinting this is the last recently. So if this is the final entre' to this film series, I'm cool with it, but the way this film ended is just one big head-scratcher for all of us as, not gonna spoil, it isn't perfect. Still, Hatchet 3 has at least the decency to end it with its head held up high and putting it all up in full circle. Sort of.

Overall, Hatchet 3's a fun, dumb slasher movie for the fans (dubbed the Hatchet Army) despite offering very little of the new. It looks bigger, badder and definitely bloodier, but it's all about Crowley in the end!

1 male had his head fried with a defibrillator
1 male had his head split in half with a hatchet
1 male gets an arm torn off
1 female gets a hatchet to the chest
1 male disemboweled
1 male had his face smashed in against tree bark
A number of victims presumably killed offscreen
1 male impaled through the chest with a fence post
1 female hooked on the chest with a gardening claw, mauled offcamera
1 male hacked repeatedly on the back with a hatchet, torn in half
1 male decapitated with a hatchet
1 male had his face hacked with a hatchet
1 male had a leg severed with a hatchet
1 male gets a hatchet to the gut
1 male had his face stomped in
1 male had his skull and spine ripped off from his gut
1 male decimated with a missile launcher
1 male torn armless and had his entire head stepped into the mud
1 male gets a hatchet thrown into his forehead
1 male mauled to death by an alligator
1 male had his head shredded down in half with a belt-sander
1 female pulled through against a torn metal door, shredded
1 male had his chest torn open
1 female had her head torn off
Total: 24+
9 years of swamp boogies...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Random Non-Horror Post: Toycon 2013

So it's that time of the year again! My second year attending the Annual Philippine ToyCon, where collectors gather for collectibles, cosplayers do cosplays and everyone who's a geek is always welcome!

The convention took place at SM Megamall nearby a branch of the company I work in, and it was supposed to had started last Friday, June 14, running on for three days, so I had my day-offs from work changed for the week so I can have the weekends off and have some nerdy fun! I may have a headache or two for this coming Monday, but it was worth it~
Ten minutes after the mall just opened (I came there as early as I could. The mall opens at 10:00 am and I got there around 9:58), and this line had already formed. I got in around five to ten minutes later and even by then the line's still piling up!

 First thing I got to do around once I got in the convention was take all the pictures I want. There's a bunch load of figures and stuff that I can't just miss. Here's one featuring some cool Avengers toys, including what I believe to be a 12-inch Loki, and a 9 inch for Agent Phil Coulson. (The one minor character I really came to like)

Here's another one featuring ole' Cap'n himself! All four versions including his pre-Twinkle Toe costumed version!
 In a Non-Marvel note, here's some cool Legendary licensed Batman figures featuring the Dark Knight himself, and the four villains from all three movies: Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, Joker and Bane
Now some PVC figures of a (classic) Predator and a Xenomorph...
And some Real Steel Midas taking the spotlight, while a T-model (from Terminator) looms in the shades...
...and these guys.

 I got around seeing some pretty neat busts as well. Check the details out of these babies! I would love me a Predalien one but I think these guys are gonna cost more than my spending money that time! haha...

 There was a booth there selling these groovy retro masterpieces including some rare Vinyl records and 3D posters; I was thinking of buying my folks one of these (plus one for myself. Love Uma Thurman in that movie!) but these mean meat cost about ten thousands or something. Maybe I was unprepared for this...
Everybody seems to be in the DC spirit lately, as I stumble upon these life-size wax statues and busts of Adam West as Batman and Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel himself.
And sharing with the convention's focus is the new upcoming Del Toro movie, Pacific Rim. Mmmmm...kaiju movies....*gurgle*

So...after cruising through the convention for some memorable memories-
-and this guy. He was awesome-
I finally did what I was saving for two months for; shopping spree! Two months worth of paycheck, and I'm free to spend half of it in this con! God, if you can read this right now, you've done good!
 But why the heck did you make it hard for me to choose what to get?!
Too! Many! Good! Shit!

 After two hours of walking, stalking, eyeing, eyeballing, talking to a cute brony girl that I met randomly (If you're reading this right now, Hi! 'm Paul!), I snagged what I can afford, and what I believe will look good in my room, and after another hour or two eating Shawarma, Apple Turners, Beef Turners, a Rootbeer Float and an ice cream sandwich, and actually traveling back home cuz it's getting dark with rain (which didn't even came through. Stupid heavy rain signals worrying me in paranoia), I got stuff:
They were giving away free Man of Steel bookmarks to promote the film that's currently playing on our theatres. I've yet to see it but it looks pretty promising. Plus: Freebie! Why not?

 There's some cool discounts on some Magic The Gathering cards there, so I tried my luck with the new expansion and see if I can find some useful red burners or black leechers for my Burn-Drain deck. Sadly, nothing of useful...

 But holy shit I have my first Planeswalker...

I got me some slasher stuffs there too; this cute lil' mini-plush of Chucky, based on the promo art for Child's Play 2...
and a Movie Maniac figure of Uber-Jason!
(I find this strange, but everytime I try to get a figure of Jason Voorhees in his classic hockey masked form, I always end up with something close instead...)

This here's a little lucky pick of mine. A booth was selling baseball cards and this lady was just sticking out of the pile. Mine to collect? Don't mind if I do~ (and it's just P20.00, which is like 8 cents in US dollars) Don't know if this card's a throw-away or not, but if it's the last in the pile, I'll consider it lucky!
 I also snagged a mini-plush of Finn the Human from Adventure Time. There's actually a larger version of him, but I was on a very tight budget and savings, so I went for the cheaper one, which is surprisingly more adorable.

And speaking of cartoon fandoms, I found some hard to get comics in the convention. (except the Adventure Time comics you see here in the pic. Those were given to me by my loving sister) My geeky side had gone the best of me when I saw these, but again, thinking in a budget (which is reasonable to me around the time I got these since I was getting dangerously low in disposable income after my spree), I gotten only two issues of each comic series AND my first DVD copy of MLP:FIM.

But none of these had something to compare my greatest find in that convention: thanks to that brony girl who pointed it out for me, I finally have her...
Derpy f*^)(ng Hooves!

I didn't even know we import these figures in this island!
Nor should I even post something so sugary sweet as this in a SLASHER Blog~!
...then again, I did put this as a Non-Horror post so...

Now, not entirely something I got from ToyCon, I found and helped myself with a copy of Imagine Dragons's album. Looks like I'm On Top of The World today!...yeah, title pun... EH!

 Plus, I got this weird book they're selling on that record store where I got my CD. So far I'm laughing my head off! (It's like  printed version of my favorite TV show 1000 Ways o Die!)

 It was the longest and most fangasmic four hours of my life so far, So, if it's okay with you, I'm gonna lie on my bed now and watch some Saturday Night Live, cuz my leg's are this close on breaking off from my knees and walk away after all that. If they did, I would probably hunt them down in a wheelchair and force them back cuz I'M GONNA DO THIS AGAIN NEXT YEAR!