Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wristcutters On The Prowl: Some Kind of Hate (2015)

Some Kind Of Hate (2015)
Rating: ***
Starring: Grace Phipps, Spencer Breslin, Maestro Harrell

Bullying in slasher movies is nothing new when you have films like Evilspeak, Slaughter High, Bad ReputationTormented, and Unfriended flocking around. Each film centers a bullied outcast who will eventually snap and turn their tormentors into mince meat, so what makes Some Kind of Hate any different? Nothing much, but it did feature some neat ideas.

The film centers around Lincoln, a greasy-haired outcast with a slight temper problem, constantly targeted by bullies from his own alcoholic to the gang of jerks at his school. When he decided to fight back and stab one of them in the face with a fork, he is later shipped to a remote desert retreat for troubled teenagers. There, he befriended a decent guy and a girl who is really warming up to him, but he also unfortunately caught the attention of another group of troubled teenagers, who I assume were sent there for being bullies.

Fed up by the constant torment, Lincoln unknowingly summons the ghost of Moira, a bullying victim who may have something to do with the retreat's dark past. Wanting to help the boy by ridding him of his tormentors, Moira began slaughtering everybody she deems a bully, may it be Lincoln's or her's. But when friends and innocent bystanders start getting caught in the mayhem, Lincoln has no choice but to stop his undead avenger.

Some Kind of Hate is an interesting take on a familiar premise of bullied outcasts fighting back as, unlike most slasher movies that tackled this subject, it is not the tormented that gets even with the bullies but somebody or something else that had taken interest on them. Much like how the Lord of the Rink from My Super Psycho Sweet 16 killed off his daughter's tormentors, Lincoln here have Moira, a girl that used to be in his predicament and apparently appears whenever an outcast wish their bullies dead. Her purpose is to make sure these people feel the same pain they inflicted upon their targets and she does this in a rather unique way by turning herself in some sort of humanoid voodoo doll that whatever damage was done to her (may it be by her own doing or her victims'), it happens to whoever she sets her eyes on.

I find this rather clever as it shows an inescapable cycle of violence that reflects bullying in real life; karma will get to those who deserves it and it will hurt those who are in the line of fire. The only way to escape it is to simply walk away and let everybody be, a philosophy that I believe the main character Lincoln knew all along as while he wanted the bullying to stop, he is willing to do anything to save everybody from a danger he unknowingly brought upon them, even the punks who deserved it.

Thankfully, Some Kind of Hate didn't try to shove this idea but rather implicated it in a sort of discreet way. While the first half build around on Lincoln and his troubles, the rest of the movie is this fun bloody ride that sometimes delves into slasher cliches every now and then; cops are useless, random victims are plenty to heighten the kill count, and an obvious twist was made somewhere in the midst of the massacre. The only problem with this is that it has its slow moments, especially around the first act where we focused on the retreat's bullying issues; Lincoln can be a tough character to feel for as his punk-seque personality may not appeal for everyone and the teenage melodrama he engages in can be a drag. There's also the matter of self-harm being glorified, which is a really messed-up thing to imply in a more exploited manner.

Nevertheless, the film looks beautiful with its desert scenery, the scores work, and while the CG effects look cheap, the simple make-up and blood effects fits the film's theme and tone quite nicely. At that, Some Kind of Hate is a decent entry to the bully-themes slashers, one that has a lot to say and offer while not afraid to play around with a bloody piece of razor.

1 female burned alive
1 male slaughtered offcamera, bloodsplash seen
1 male repeatedly cut, throat slashed
1 male had his throat cut
1 male had his mouth crushed
1 male had his throat cut
1 male had his head beaten
1 female found dead with wrist cuts
1 female found dying from cuts
1 female had her head blown open
1 male gets a throat cut
7 victims seen murdered
1 male burned to death
Total: 19

Barcelona Frights: Hooked Up (2013)

Hooked Up (Spain, 2013)
Rating: ***
Starring: Jonah Ehrenreich, JĂșlia Molins, Stephen Ohl

Lo and behold! The first full length horror movie to be filmed with an iPhone! What does that mean for us?

Absolutely nothing!

Friends Peter and Tonio decided to fly all the way to Barcelona for an international one night stand in an attempt to lighten up Peter's recent break up. At first, it was all fun and kinky games as they bar hop and flirt with girls in hopes of getting it on. They eventually got what they came for when a beautiful woman invites them to her house for an evening of pleasure, only to discover that she is a deranged killer and the house gets somehow boarded shut, trapping them inside as they fight to survive or face a fate far worse than dying.

If there is anything this film made me realize is that horror films these days could really use some likable characters; producers need to realize that horror works best if the victims do not deserve the predicament that falls on them, thus making us feel afraid for them. Keeping this in mind, characters like Peter and Tonio could have ruined the majority of the movie for me as they are the kind of people you like to see die at very first minute they are introduced, but certain developments in the plot do make them an intriguing watch.

For a good dose of the first act, we see these two contrasts in personality and yet ultimately agree to think with their dicks and do the most expensive one night stand planned; Tonio is this immature douchebag that was actually responsible for his friends break-up (and more at a reveal during the climax), while Peter, though slightly sympathetic at first, gradually devolves into this hate-filled psycho whose breakdown prolonged the film for an extra 18 minutes. Getting past the movie's rocky direction, plot hole-filled execution, and laughable acting around the latter parts, I find the wait and hobble well worth it as seeing them get mentally and emotionally tormented to the point of whimpering and betrayal has this satisfying sense of grim entertainment.

I honestly enjoy most of the scares and gore scenes here. I like the fact that the house acts like a separate entity and a heavy implication that something supernatural is afoot, plus the masked killer girl is a nice touch as a physical threat, though I really wish we get to see more of her. I'm sure not a lot of folks would agree with me in considering this as a good movie seeing the general unlikability of the two main leads, but the idea of a haunted house with a mad slasher inside is a solid concept and the psychological take of Hooked Up personally did little flaws here, genuinely growing on me as a guilty pleasure of sorts. If you like seeing horrors brewed from friendships-turned-sour and bad one-night stands, then this is a film to try!

1 female pushed unto a statue, impaled
1 male found beheaded
1 female knifed to death
1 female ran through with a pitchfork
1 male beaten to death, tongue torn out
1 male jumped off the stairs, fell to his death
Total: 6

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Patterson-Gimlin FIlm. Slasher Style: Exists (2014)

Exists (2014)
Rating: ***
Starring: Samuel Davis, Dora Madison, Roger Edwards 

Ever since the 1980s gory cheesefest Night of the Demon proved to us that we can have legendary cryptid Bigfoot as a slasher villain, I took an interest in seeking out other possible Bigfoot slashers out there and, despite scarce, we did have a couple of solid attempts; the 1988 horror melting pot Demonwarp featured the big hairy guy as a heavy breathing massacring monster along with aliens and zombies, 2008's The Wildman of The Navidad took tribute to the beast in an atypical Southern style, and then there's the mean-spirited 2009 biker exploitation Dear God No! which had the monster dismembering evil bikers in an odd twist.

Joining in this rowdy little group is 2014's found footage horror Exists, which follows two brothers and their three friends visiting their uncle's remote cabin in the woods, which was off limits to just about anyone as the old coot believes Bigfoot constantly wanders around the site.

Scoffing this as crazy talk, the gang ventures to the cabin to have a good time, only to hit something rather huge while driving there one night. From that point on, weird shadows are seen moving around and angered wailing is heard nearby; true enough, whatever they hit is terribly pissed and its hunting these kids down one by one.

There isn't really anything new that can be said about Exists as it is another found footage horror that ticks off every cliche the sub-genre is known for, the biggest one being the question why exactly the guy with the camera is recording all of this. This fact have been a stable nitpick I came to wonder from these kind of movies and while some scenes did justify the need for the camera (like that one scene where they used the device's night vision option to see what's lurking in the dark), was there a need to record someone being choked to death or see how much the car is totaled? It kills off the believability of the situation as well as any sense of dread and shock that might benefit from an offscreen implication.

And yet, this is the only true flaw I can find from this movie as the rest is pretty okay for my taste; for one, we actually get to have a workable cast of characters that we can feel for. They're nothing overly developed but they are likable and somehow realistic at a level that you can tell they are real friends. None of them are that annoying or distracting, which makes the Bigfoot attacks all that scarier and intense.

And speaking of the creature, the fact that the entire film was shot as a found footage somehow gave the advantage of making Bigfoot more menacing; it's the famous Patterson-Gimlin footage only as a slasher with the hairy monster remarkably featuring a lot of humanoid characteristics, from sabotaging their only escape to throwing objects that once belonged to its victim at the group as a form of foretelling their fate. The creature here could easily pass as another slasher villain with a really reasonable killing spree (All I could say without giving up the surprise is that its really personal and distressing) and some mighty fine make-up effects.

The kills could had used more blood and gore, but the build-up and intensity from these scenes were viable enough to give the murders enough impact. I really dig this one scene where one of the kids hopped on a bike in an attempt to look for help, only to find himself stalked and chased by the creature. It's simply, incredibly tense, and the pay off showed the malicious side of a Bigfoot that none of these kids ever saw coming.

It's not perfect but it's far from bad, Exists is an easy film to sit through as its really no more than kids surviving attacks from an apparently very angry monster. It could have used some more gore and skin seeing how much of the build resembles our favorite hack and slash but I guess if they have little to work with or if it was approaching a certain style, we can't always get what we want from a movie. Still worth a look.

1 female had her neck snapped
1 male thrown head first to a tree
1 male and 1 female crushed inside a toppled van
1 creature seen dead
1 male killed, method unknown
Total: 6

Friday, September 18, 2015

There Goes My Baby: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Rating: ***
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter

How can you tell if your favorite killer may have become too big to fit his own shoes? When they stop being scary and any attempts to do so end up like A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child.

Around the late 80s, Freddy Krueger finds an audience among the growing "MTV" crowd, where teenagers matter and their generation flock the media. Due to this, his cheese factor doubled by the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master, leaving producers wondering what they can do to continue his saga without recycling the same hash. One possible option? Why not make him scary again?

Dream Child takes place some time after the last movie, where lone survivor Alice had finally made Elm street safe from the dream-hopping psycho that is Freddy Krueger and is graduating with her boyfriend and a new set of friends.

And yet, she cannot shake the feeling that something is wrong; after dreaming of an asylum where a nun gets trapped inside with hundreds of maniacs crowding over her, Alice is convinced that Freddy is trying to come back. This fear is proven true when the bastard son finds a way to return from the grave and start stalking and killing teenagers again, apparently through Alice's unborn child.
This puts our heroine in a strange predicament where she is guided by the spirit of a nun, who turns out to be Freddy's mother and possibly the only one who holds the secret of saving Alice, her child and the rest of the Elm street kids from Freddy's fiendish plans.

With talks of abortion and implied rape, Dream Child is noticeably a dark turn for the Nightmare franchise for its time, attempting to capture the olden times when Freddy is still a grim and creepy movie monster that would scare the jeebus out of moviegoers. This seems like a solid idea and at times, it actually shows in the movie as there's more focus on Freddy being a haunting entity; the problem with this, however, is that the star killer grew too comical for his own good and his identity as a pop culture icon among the teenagers certainly didn't help this proposal. Because of this, the resulting product is an odd combination that looks like a live action gothic pop-up book with loads of rubbery special effects and more Freddy Kruger one-liners.

And to further exploit this story-driven approach, Dream Child even boasts the least number of kills from the entire franchise, even less than the psychological horror-focused entry, New Nightmare. With only three kills, the movie makes up for the lack of count by sugar coating these murder scenes with as much special effects as possible which is, interestingly, relatively bloodless.

Truth be told though, they can be a bit fun at times if not sounding a tad shallow; two of my favorite Nightmare kills are actually feature in this film, one involving a victim merging with a motorbike and another being turned into cardboard before being shredded to death.

With Kruger reduced to a mere presence with only a chance to do some actual killings, this leaves us with more scenes of characters that did fare better this time around in terms of development. While the franchise is known to feature some melancholic characters that have their share of sympathetic moments, Dream Child took the time to build around Alice and her new set of friends with much ordeal as possible, may it be supernatural or even in real life as even the idea of unplanned parenting is thrown into the dog pit.

Sadly, the rushed production of the movie and cheesy direction of the Freddy scenes left many of these good characters killed off unsatisfyingly and continues to ham up until the final act where a recycled subplot involving somebody's bones needed to be found gets brought up, leading to a bewildering climax that further involves a mother's touch and souls being used against Krueger.

Not much of it makes sense in the end and one would even wonder how desperate this series went looking at this movie. Still, while it lacks the gore count and the true dark essence of the bastard son of a hundred maniacs, Dream Child manages quite alright and even remains entertaining as a rubbery slasher, thanks to some great performances, wildly imaginative visuals and Freddy being Freddy.

1 male merge to a motorbike, crashes to a incoming truck
1 female choked, razor gloves to the gut
1 male shredded to death
Total: 3

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I Rolled a Seven on Cheese: Skullduggery (1983)

Skullduggery (Canada, 1983) (AKA 'Warlock", Body Puzzle")
Rating: **
Starring: David Calderisi, Wendy Crewson, Thom Haverstock

The closest thing I've done to a role playing game is the massive multiplayer online RPG Ragnarok Online which I obsessed over when I was at grade school, played moderately at high school, and rarely at college until horror movies finally flushed it out of my system. (Which is good as keeping my game account alive was costing me money (and time) way more than other hobbies. Still, I do miss my level 72 gunslinger)

This said, I may not be as acquainted with table top role playing games but I am familiar with the concept; I know games like Dungeons and Dragons have been popular since the early 80s and I am aware of the public backlash against role playing games in which religious nuts accuse the games of promoting Satanism and other forms of occult activities among young people. This idea does sound like a solid plot for a horror movie and Skullduggery is a living proof of this attempt, albeit not a very good one.

Opening around the 1300s, a warlock and his cohort decided to unleash vengeance upon their king as it appears their highness forgot his end of the deal when the warlock guaranteed the king's power over the land. After poisoning the king with a tainted apple and stabbing him with a hairpin (!), the warlock then hexes his bloodline and each of his descendants will be servants of the devil. 

Fast forward to a couple of generations later, we now focus our attention to Adam, a young man who works at a local costume store and enjoys playing a fantasy table top game with his peers. Unfortunately for him, he is starting to notice strange things like odd lights coming from the game's cardboard puzzle, visions of random spells actually working, and even encountering a magician who can make booze and nuts appear out of nowhere during a local talent show. (If Adam made a big deal out of the latter, I'm counting it as "strange".)

The further Adam experience these occurrences, the further he realizes his destiny as one of Satan's damned and goes on a killing spree, often blurring his reality with that of his fantasy game and keeping in character as an evil warlock.

For a movie that was supposed to cash in to the Dungeons and Dragons is Satanism scare, Skullduggery is a rather convoluted and unnecessarily cheesy stab with an interesting plot but outrageous execution. As mentioned, the idea of fantastical escapism juxtaposed to one's slow descent to madness would have called for a thought-provoking story and at some point, the movie seems to be aiming at this idea; the fantasy elements weren't that strong and many of them can be disregarded as nothing more than our killer's out-of-control imagination, a good example would be the scene where Adam witnesses an onstage death as a girl was crushed to death by a python during a play, only for the rest of the people to find her dead from a heart attack.

Unfortunately, the seriousness of this idea can be easily discarded since not only did the film started and ended with heavy implications of the supernatural (thus rendering the concept of  "imagination gone homicidal" useless) but the execution was all over the place, with chock-full of strange tidbits, plot holes, and bad acting even for a standard 80s B-flick. Its outrageous and inept-looking nature shows every now and then, to the point that the film appears unsure whether it wants to be a bad cheesy horror or an arthouse film of the laughable kind; why do every people in this movie seem to have a costume fetish, or how can a whole human body be reduced to a skull via steam are some of the oddities featured here and, for the sake of our own sanity, I dare not question any of it.

This being said, Skullduggery is a film of a selective taste; it does feature a number of great chase scenes and outrageous kills but how well they work as a movie depends on how good one can handle their cheese. With this film's feisty cauldron pot of fondue bubbling its cheddary nightmare everywhere, I believe only seasoned cheese fans, as well as those with a working brain who took 20 shots of Jack Daniels before seeing this can withstand its Gouda-induced banality. (It is that crazy!) A true example of a so-bad-its-good charm, complete with a warning label for those who are not ready to handle the ham-heavy horror that is Skullduggery!

1 male stabbed with a dagger
1 male stabbed with a dagger
1 male poisoned with a tainted apple, stabbed with a hair pin
1 female crushed by a python
1 female stabbed with a pen
1 female stabbed on the temple with a syringe
1 female hacked with a sword
1 female stabbed with a switchblade
1 female hacked on the head with a meat cleaver
1 female burnt into a skeleton with steam (?!)
2 males and 1 female skewered with a thrown spear
1 female found drowned in a fish tank
1 male killed, method unknown
1 male garroted
1 male shot with an arrow
1 male stabbed with a dagger
Total: 18 

"I'll be There": Massacre At Central High (1976)

Massacre At Central High (1976) (AKA "Blackboard Massacre" )
Rating: ****
Starring: Derrel Maury, Andrew Stevens, Robert Carradine

While technically not a teen slasher, Massacre At Central High is an interesting wild card for every dead teenager fanatics as not only can it be regarded as a forerunner to campus-set horror movies like Final Exam (1981), Cutting Class (1989), or even Wes Craven's Scream, but its a special case of a revenge movie that took some unusual turns even for an exploitation film.

David is an aspiring runner and the new guy at Central High, a South Californian campus where a group of four bullies have the say on everything that happens outside of class. Fortunately (of sorts), one of the bullies named Mark knew David for some time now and urges the new student to join his band of thugs, an offer that David is quite unsure of.

As each day passes, David is getting more and more into hot water with the bullies as not only he refuses to join in, but he also befriends the group's victims including a young librarian and a frequented nerd. Things finally set off when David protected a pair of girls from a near-gang rape, a heroic deed that puts him in the bullies' hit list and have their revenge by breaking his leg with the weight of a car.

With his injury ruining his chances from running again, David plots to get even with each of those responsible, unaware that once the bullies are gone, another group of power-hungry students will take their place.

Looking pass the vintage cheese, Massacre at Central High is a celluloid look at what could be a realistic portrayal of victims and monsters, a line that gets blurred the further the story continues. It acts like an allegory of our society where anyone, even the ones that were thought to be the weakest, will grab whatever power they can just to set everything the way they wanted it to be or get even for all the wrongs inflicted upon them. It's a common trait for any individual and this film chooses to portray it without needlessly exploiting a lot of elements.

The murders are realistic in most of the chances, although some of them did get a little overly dramatic and complicated; death by hang glider mishap and unexpected empty pools do sound like neat set-ups for accidents and though the gore is absent, they're pretty fun in a nonsensical sort of manner, nearly making the character committing these crimes reduced into your typical slasher villain. However, once all the bullies are killed off, a new kind of deaths take over and in our age of post-Columbine nightmares, these school attacks are a little unsettling and even bitter as we see the lengths and disillusions David succumbs to in his attempt to keep the campus free of dictatorship.

These latter attacks are thought-provoking and the sacrifices our characters have to make just made it all seems worthwhile of our attention. The only thing that hinders any full sympathy and catharsis to these scenes was the cheese-laced acting of the casts. While I understand that budget is the main culprit to this limit, truth be told it killed off the seriousness some of these situations are trying to show.

Still, with its own effort and message, Massacre at Central High did a wonderful job incorporating these in a B-grade exploitation movie. It's gratifying with its off-beat atmosphere, subtle violence, and ingenious plot turns, a true cult classic well deserving of its title among hardcore genre fans.

1 male had his hang-glider malfunction and falls into live-wires, electrocuted
1 male accidentally dives head-first into an empty pool
1 male crushed inside a toppling van
1 male killed by a rigged walkman
1 male immolated by an exploding locker
1 male immolated inside an exploding car
1 male and 2 females killed by a bomb-induced rockslide
1 male immolated by a bomb
Total: 10

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Vehicular Survival Type: Penny Dreadful (2006)

Penny Dreadful (2006)
Rating: ***
Starring:  Rachel Miner, Mimi Rogers, Chad Todhunter

Penny Deerborn has amaxophobia, the fear of driving inside a car, ever since a childhood accident took the lives of her parents. Now grown-up, she is on a road trip to the mountains with her psychiatrist and friend Orianna, in an attempt to overcome her fear of automobiles. Things would have been good until they accidentally hit a hitchhiker in the middle of the night.

Luckily (or unluckily) for them, the hitcher survives the hit and appears relatively unscathed; feeling responsible, Orianna decided to help the hitcher out and let her ride with them, unknown to her and Penny that the person they are sharing the car with is a deranged murderer. After killing Orianna and wedging the car between trees, Penny finds herself trapped inside the very thing she fears, with a maniac outside physically and psychologically tormenting her as well as killing anyone that tries to get in the way. Could Penny stay sane and alive until day break, or will she succumb to the horrors surrounding her for the night?

Taking cues from Stephen King's Cujo, Penny Dreaful is a slasher movie of the unique kind as most of the action takes place inside and around a car, focusing on its lead character's turmoil in what could be her worst case scenario come true. This little character element made Penny's hysterics plausible to the point that it does make us feel for her, especially when we do see her break down as fears, both old and new, starts to engulf her, and seeing everyone going near the car gets killed off just further made this scenario hopeless.

A lot of this is due to  Penny's actor Rachel Miner (of the Sons of Anarchy TV series) doing a spectacular delivery as an automobile-phobic, a fear not so tackled as a subject among horror movies or other films in general. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most of the other casts as they are simply made to be slaughtered. This is where the movie's flaw draws in and it is that the plot can be a little predictable; once we are introduced to a new set of characters, there is a high expectation they will be killed but the flow has a tendency to slug around in high hope of building suspense.

There isn't much in terms of twists as Penny Dreadful's focus on character deterioration and survival are all there is to it. Still, for its worth, it is a solid entry and it never failed to entertain with some jarring build-up and surprises, even if our main lead can be a wreck and the supposed twist reveal in the end may not be workable for many. (Remember that "killer in the backseat" urban legend? This one has a nifty take on it.)

Creepy, intense, and genuinely claustrophobic, Penny Dreadful deserves a good audience among us slasher fans, particularly those with a thing for backwoods and hitchhiker horrors.

1 male seen killed in car collision
1 female bled to death from a neck wound sustained in car collision
1 female stabbed to death with a hunting knife
1 male stabbed to death with a hunting knife
1 female repeatedly stabbed with a hunting knife, throat cut
1 male stabbed with a hunting knife
Total: 6

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Movies Can Kill: Cut (2000)

Cut (Australia, 2000) (AKA "the Curse")
Rating: ****
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Frank Roberts, Kylie Minogue

Opening with a scene from a fictional slasher called Hot Blooded wherein a cool-looking masked maniac is supposed to slice a victim's throat, an angry director (played by Kylie Minogue) cuts in and openly scolds the actor, Brad, for forgetting to undress the victim before the kill. Unhappy on how he is being treated off-camera, Brad decides to visit the director that night and show her how good he is at killing people. For real.

Stumbling into his murder is the lead actress Vanessa, who then gets attacked and nearly becomes victim number two until she somehow gets the upper hand and stabs Brad with his own weapon. (which curiously surges purple electricity)

Since that night, the unfinished footage of Hot Blooded is rumored to be cursed as anyone who attempted to finish the film ends up dead from freak accidents or mysterious murders. Of course, this talk of curses does not deter a group of present day film students and they choose to finish the film as their final assignment, despite their professor's distaste for the idea.

After reeling in an unamused Vanessa back to the project, the group drives to the movie's original filming location, hoping to bring back life to an obscure classic, all the while unaware that someone in the same slasher mask is out offing casts and crews left and right.

Taking cues from Wes Craven's Scream as a self-aware horror flick, Cut tries to mold the same approach but didn't exactly meet the wit and stylistics as that of Craven's film. It does, however, managed to bring us back to a simpler and bloodier time when slasher films can be both silly and enjoyable.

While the casts' acting isn't the film's strong point, they do have the air of classic slasher victims and still do the same mistakes and cliches the sub-genre is known for, mainly having sex in seemingly abandoned places, finding reasons to go out alone, and warn people of an incoming evil (albeit too late). The pace is fluid enough to keep the story going without dragging around and, always a plus point for us slasher fans, features a rather interesting killer who can actually dish out some bloody murders, even if their weapon is needlessly gimmicky.

And keeping in trend to the cheese-filled 80s slasher, Cut even devised a twist that may either be imaginative or a bit of a cheat; without spoiling much, it involved "creative energy" being materialized, a supernatural element that wasn't fully explained through out the movie and was only hinted that one time in the early scenes. This sort of harks back to the same obscure villain powers/origins similar to Freddy Kreuger's need of "fear" or Candyman's need of "belief" in order to exist, only those movies made this element more workable as it is clear that the killers are otherworldly to begin with. Here, the killer remains as imposing as any normal human slasher can be; nothing paranormal was made to back up their origins, thus making this sudden deviation a bit confusing. Or clever depending on how well you thought about that hinted purple surge.

For for what it is, Cut is a movie well worth seeing and keeping for its strange mix of something old and something new (for its time). It's fun from beginning to end with a decent dose of humor, blood, and cheddar, something us slasher or even genre fans can enjoy from a B-Grade horror flick. If you have the chance to get this, don't waste it! It's well worth the viewing!

1 cat found killed (film)
1 female had her tongue cut off, killed with modified shears
1 male stabbed with modified shears
1 male found with a throat cut (flashback)
1 male electrocuted (flashback)
1 male found disemboweled
1 male beheaded with a meat cleaver
1 female pinned to the door with a thrown meat cleaver
1 male had his throat slashed with modified shears
1 female had her head crushed with a hydraulic wood-splitter
1 male stabbed with modified shears
1 male stabbed through the eye with modified shears
1 female set ablaze
1 male immolated inside an exploding car
1 female suffers through stroke-induced shock
1 male beheaded with modified shears
1 female impaled through a water spout
Total: 17

Vengeance Wasted in Husk: Scarecrow (2002)

Scarecrow (2002)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Tim Young, Todd Rex, Tiffany Shepis

Fun fact: heard of this film since 2010, only get to see it in 2015. Before that, I was made aware of Scarecrow's reputation to be a so-bad-its-good film and that gave me some high hopes seeing I did enjoy some utter garbage like Nailgun Massacre (1986) and The Redeemer: Son of Satan (1978). Unfortunately, upon actually seeing it, I have a lot of questions in mind: How, when, where, why and/or what exactly made this so bad it's effing good?! Cuz I saw more of the bad and nothing else.

The story of Scarecrow focuses on a typical lonely dork named Lester who is pretty much the school's punching bag as bullies and teachers pick on him for being a poor white trash wimp. So when the sheriff's daughter (played by Tifanny Shepis) befriends him out of pity, Lester couldn't be happier until he is emotionally crushed when he saw her drunkenly kiss another guy at a party.

Distraught, Lester unleashes his frustrations at some random drunk his mother was boning that night. Drunkee, of course, didn't like that so he chases Lester into the fields and strangles him to death. Some time after the incident, the dork becomes one with the scarecrow that happens to be next to him when he died, giving him amazing acrobatic skills, immortality, and a bad case of groan-worthy one-liners.

Now, I am going to leave the editing and most of the technical concerns out of my criticisms as this film was shot within 8 days with a budget of $250,000. I guess the main problem I have with Scarecrow is how badly it delivers; the story seems to be building up to "something" by letting a good bulk of the movie's first act focus on our lead being troubled but the effectiveness of this approach is countered by the inability of its casts to emote. This is sad as I can tell these scenes were meant to be serious, but seeing they hired a bunch of 30 somethings to act as teenagers, I'm not overly surprised that the final product has a tone that is completely off the wall and utterly confused.

This went on until it finally shifts into a slasher, with the meek bullied boy transformed into a supernaturally possessed scarecrow that, for some odd reason, suddenly gains the ability to do somersaults but fails to kill all those who bullied him. He is pretty much a cheesy caricature of your classic late 80s slasher villains, one-liner spewing and impervious to nearly all forms of damage. He could have been a cool movie monster if only his lines weren't so ear-splitting terrible and his kills were more impressive. Whenever he appears, there's no build-up or any kind of transition. He simply pops up, do a back-flip or two, say a few cheesy lines, kill the victims and disappears. All of that in routine and it's hardly funny, scary, or any form of entertaining for all honesty.

Perhaps Scarecrow is simply not for me; it's a matter of personal preferences and this film somehow didn't meet mine despite doing all the silly things a trashy slasher like Leprechaun (1993) or Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness would do. And yet many horror fans out there like this film for being so horribly made, like a slasher version of The Room (2003). With that said, I think I'll let the rest of the world do what they want with this movie and I'll just enjoy Scarecrows (1988) or Night of the Scarecrow (1995) instead. Until then, you're tearing me apart, Scarecrow!

1 male ran through with a pipe (story)
1 male beaten with a bat (dream)
1 male strangled to death
1 male decapitated with a scythe
1 male ran through with a pitchfork
2 males hacked on the head with scythes
1 male stabbed on the head with a corn cob
1 female impaled through the head with a baton
1 male brained to death with a frying pan
1 male shoved to a grill, killed
1 male had his heart punched out
1 male hacked on the neck with a shovel
1 male gets a scythe through the chest
1 male pinned to a tree with a spike
2 males killed with a scythe
Total: 17