Tuesday, November 3, 2015

31 Days of Horror 2015: THE MADNESS - Final Round

Movies 18 & 19
The Hills Have Eyes(1977) - Dir. Wes Craven - Starring Dee Wallace, Michael Berryman, Janus Blythe - Run Time: 89 Min - Rating: Two Stars
The Hills Have Eyes(2006) - Dir. Alexandre Aja - Starring Ted Levine, Emilie de Ravin, Michael Bailey Smith - Run Time: 107 Min - Rating: Four Stars
Here's likely an unpopular opinion: I like the Hills Have Eyes remake more than the original. Despite being(mostly) a shot-for-shot retelling, I like the style of the 2006 version. The family is better. The gore is better. The "final battle" in the abandoned town improved the story tenfold. The only thing that carries over is the mutants; they're great in both films.
Blasphemy perhaps, but this here is one remake that counterpoints the argument.
-Madness Bonus Points: Underground shenanigans.

Movie 20
Dawn of the Mummy - Dir. Frank Agrama - Starring Barry Sattels, George Peck, John Salvo - Run Time: 93 Min - Rating: One Star
Exhumed Films showed the trailer for this terrible gem at this year's 24 Hour Horror-thon, and the crowd loved it. I obviously had to hunt down a copy, and I was not disappointed in the least. Honestly, it's a pretty terrible movie, but it was still very entertaining, and the full film would work really well inserted into the middle-of-the-night slot at next year's Horror-thon.
Bonus Points: There's an pyramid which I think counts as underground caverns.

Movie 21
Halloween III: Season of the Witch - Dir. Tommy Lee Wallace - Starring Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy - Run Time: 98 Min - Rating: Four Stars
There seems to be three films that have fans arguing over whether they're good/terrible: Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Next Generation, and Season of the Witch. The latter is certainly the best of the group. Halloween III's main issues are it's release date and movie title, and that is all. It was released in the middle of of horror's "sequel-mania" of the 1980's, and instead of being an original story with it's own identity, they slap HALLOWEEN 3 on the film reel, hoping that people would just accept a movie without Michael Myers; boy were they wrong.
SOTW seems to have finally found the audience it so desperately wanted 30 years ago, but it still receives opposition from people who simply hate it based souley on the name, which is a real shame.
Bonus Points: Having to watch that kids face melts should be worth something.

Movie 22
The Brain That Wouldn't Die(Mystery Science Theater 3000 edition) - Dir. Joseph Green - Starring Jason Evers, Virginia Leith, Adele Lamont - Run Time: 120 Min - Rating: Four Stars(for the MST3K episode)
MST3K is my favorite tv show, and this episode was a heartbreaker when it aired, because I missed the episode where Joel left(the week prior), so I had no idea who the hell this new guy was and it almost ruined the show for me. Luckily I've always been an open-minded guy, and Mike Nelson ended up being a worthy successor.
As for the movie from this episode, it's an odd one for the aired-on-Saturday-mornings Mystery Science Theater, because of it's sleaze and violence, which makes The Brain That Wouldn't Die stand out as a good start for a new host, and one hell of a funny episode.
Bonus Points: Watched on an old VHS; worth a fist bump?

Ash Vs. Evil Dead - Dir. Sam Raimi - Starring Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Lucy Lawless - Run Time: 30 Min - Rating: Five Stars
I'm going to write a bigger piece on this, as I have a lot to say about it. I'll say right now that if you haven't seen the first episode, it's free to watch online, and it's worth seeking out.
Bonus Points: Lucy Lawless is all the points I need.

Movie 24
Hellraiser - Dir. Clive Barker - Starring Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence - Run Time: 94 Min - Rating: Five Stars
This was a Halloween night choice viewing by a friend of mine, yet we both fell asleep watching it. It's a good movie, obviously.
Bonus Points: Zzzz...

The Simpsons' Scare-A-Thon - Creator: Matt Groening - Starring Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith - Run Time: 120 Min - Rating: Five Stars
While digging out my winter clothes, I discovered an old VHS tape with 2 things on it: the above watched MST3K episode, and the first 9 Simpsons Halloween Specials.
The first 4, recorded WITH original commercials(!!!) on a Sunday night in 1993, were part of a two hour Scare-A-Thon, hosted by Bruce Campbell dressed as Brisco County Jr(!!!). This was an awesome discovery, like finding buried treasure, and it made for the perfect end to 31 Days of Horror.
Bonus Points: The Frogurt contains potassium benzoate. 
Upcoming Blogs:
-2015 Exhumed Films 24 Hour Horror-thon
-Ash vs. Evil Dead full review
-Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box DVD set discussion 

Monday, October 26, 2015

31 Days of Horror 2015: THE MADNESS - Round 3

Movie 15
Invaders from Mars(1986) - Dir. Tobe Hooper - Starring Karen Black, Hunter Carson, James Karen - Run Time: 100 Min - Viewed: 10/20/15 - 8:40PM - Rating: Two Stars
There's a lot wrong with Invaders from Mars, and very little that's good. In fact, the only reason to watch this sci-fi remake is the amazing alien effects from the great Stan Winston. Well, that and the ridiculous, over the top Opening Credits that take forever; they're hilarious.
Watch this while drunk/high with friends, and you'll get the most fun out of it.

MADNESS BONUS POINTS: The alien ship is underground, and there are multiple underground tunnels caused by this. Also, the "final battle" of the story takes place in this underground ship, which may mean ATB(automatic triple bonus).
There is a sand-pit that will suck you underground into the alien spaceship.
Movie 16
The Gate - Dir. Tibor Takacs - Starring Stephen Dorff, Louis Tripp, Christa Denton - Run Time: 85 Min - Viewed: 10/21/15 - 8:44PM Rating: Two and a Half Stars
The Gate is a good mix of The Goonies-style shenanigans, with some genuinely creepy scenes of melting faces and dog people. Why hasn't some enterprising toy manufacturer released a toy version of the little Demons? Seems to me like that's money left on the table.

MADNESS BONUS POINTS: This is a literal gate to Hell in the backyard, and at one point a kid is dragged into it.
Movie 17
Over The Garden Wall: The Complete Mini Series
Created by Patrick McHale - Starring Elijah Wood, Collin Dean, Melanie Lynskey - Run Time: 110 Min - Viewed: 10/22/15 - 7:10PM - Rating: Five Stars
This Cartoon Network mini-series, while not a movie per se, is certainly as long as one when you watch all 10 parts in one sitting. You'll need to check this out just to see what this story about two boys, lost in the woods with a talking blue bird, has to do with Halloween. You won't regret it.

MADNESS BONUS POINTS: The Beast only appears at night, or in the shadows.
Had a busy week, so my movie watching took a hit. I watched 12 movies at the Horrorthon(write up coming this week) and I plan on making up for last week's lack of movies this week.

Monday, October 19, 2015

31 Days of Horror 2015: THE MADNESS - Round 2

Movie 10
High Tension - Dir: Alexandre Aja - Starring Cecile De France, Maiwenn, Philippe Nahon - Run Time: 91 Min - Viewed: 10/11/15 - 8:00PM - Rating: Three Stars
This brutal little nonsensical slice of French horror was part of the last batch of really off-the-wall horror films that got a wide release, back in the mid 2000s. If released today, Haute Tension would've recieved a limited Arthouse Theatre run, while getting a VOD release at the same time. Total rubbish.
I love this film, despite it's flaws. Hilariously, my friend Sean figured out the story's "twist" as he glanced at the huge poster that Lions Gate had on display at the 2005 Wizard World Comic Con in Philly.

Movie 11
The Innkeepers - Dir. Ti West - Starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis - Run Time: 101 Min - Viewed: 10/12/15 - 4:48PM - Rating: Four Stars
I am a patient man, when it comes to my entertainment. Thus, I am a huge fan of the "slow burn" in my movies. Ti West, as previously seen in House of the Devil, is a master of the slow burn, and he continues that success with The Innkeepers.
This reminded me of a modern version of those 1950's ghost movies that my Mother loves, like The Uninvited.

Movie 12
We Are Still Here - Dir. Ted Geohegan - Starring Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Larry Fessenden - Run Time: 84 Min - Viewed: 10/12/15 - 7:36PM - Three Stars
This, along with The Innkeepers, was another first time watch for me. I was only expecting another "haunting" story, so I was taken completely off guard by how violent this film turned out being. This isn't a problem, mind you, just completely unexpected.
This one is riddled with plot holes, but it's still just enjoyable enough that you'll forgive them.

Movie X
Halloween - Dir. Rob Zombie - Starring Tyler Mane, Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton - Run Time: I turned it off after 5 minutes - Viewed: 10/14/15 - 9:00PM Rating: One Star
I just couldn't with this film. It's terrible. Rob Zombie got a little too "Rob Zombie" with this remake. He made so many bad choices with this film that it would take a whole blog of it's own to go over them all. I'll list a few right now:
-Sherry Moon is terrible as Mom Myers.
-Scout Taylor-Compton is terrible as Laurie Strode.
-Malcolm McDowell is terrible as Dr. Loomis(and it worse is the sequel).
-Daeg Farch(or whatever the fuck his name is) is god awful as Baby Myers.
-I absolutely hate the redneck/white-trashiness that clings to everything in this movie.
Tyler Mane as Michael Myers is the only good choice Zombie made.
I know I have a lot of Horror friends who love this movie, so let me say that I'm not trying to push my opinion on anyone here. I really did try to like this film, but I feel it does not hold-up well at all.
Hey, I like all of Rob Zombie's original films, so here's hoping "31" is good.

It was about this point that I starting bingeing Bojack Horseman on Netflix, so that kinda took over all my movie watching time, until...

Movies 13 & 14
A Collection of Universal Monster films
Dir. Castle Films - Starring Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff
Run Time: 120 Min - Viewed: 10/17/15 - 8:00PM - Five Stars
Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman
Dir. Roy William Neill - Starring Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr.
Run Time: 74 Min - Viewed: 10/17/15 - 10:30PM - Three Stars
This was a special Exhumed Films event at PhilaMOCA(a refurbished mausoleum, now a living love-letter to David Lynch), as they were showing Castle Films 8-minute cuts of over a dozen classic Universal Monster movies, screened on 16mm. These were the days BEFORE VHS, where the only way you could watch a movie is to secure a reel-to-reel copy.
The whole evening was an absolute blast, which was kicked-off by a costume contest(The Invisible Man/boy took home the grand prize) and free Halloween candy was available to everyone in the audience.
My only regret is that I did not show up in costume, not to enter the contest, but because I should take every opportunity to play dress up, as they don't come often at my age.
As far as I can tell, I am not up for any bonus points from The Madness this week.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

31 Days of Horror 2015: The Madness! - Round 1

You know the drill by now: let's see how many horror films we can fit into 31 days. This year I'm participating in a contest called The Madness, where movies are worth point values, according to various rules and regulations that are way too in-depth to get into here.

Movie 1
A Nightmare on Elm Street - Dir. Wes Craven - Starring Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Robert Englund
Run Time: 91 Min - Viewed: 10/04/15 - Midnight - Rating: Five Stars
I wached this one twice, so it would count in the contest.
What is there one can say about NOEM at this point that hasn't been covered more eloquently elsewhere? There's no need to explain why Fred Krueger would be every horror fan's first pick for the Horror Mount Rushmore(The other three choices are up for heavy debate), or why many fans are reluctant to accept anyone but Robert Englund slipping on the iconic glove. I myself, was so obsessed with this series back in grade school, that i was banned from watching by my parents. Not because of the violent content, but because it was getting in the way of my schoolwork.
As for the first chapter in the Elm Street series, it's still scary as hell, and I envy any young horror fan who gets to watch it for the first time.

Movie 2
Drag Me To Hell - Dir. Sam Raimi - Starring Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Dileep Rao
Run Time: 99 Min - Viewed: 10/4/15 - 2:57PM - Rating: Four Stars
I completely forgot that you should not eat during this film, as it's very goopy, and has several vomit scenes, one of which goes right into the lovely Alison Lohman's mouth.
Sam Raimi needs to write/direct another horror film asap.

Movie 3
Dawn of the Dead(1978) Dir. George Romero - Starring Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross
Run Time: 127 Min - Viewed: 10/5/15 - 5:23PM - Five Stars
Dawn of the Dead(2004) Dir. Zack Snyder - Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber
Run Time: 110 Min - Viewed: 10/5/15 - 8:41PM - Three Stars
Every year I try to compare and contrast a classic film with it's remake, and this one is easily the most fun double feature I've had in a long time.
If Hollywood insists on remaking every classic horror film(and they do insist), then this is exactly how you do it: take the original film's core concept, and twist it enough that, while still being recognizable, it makes it's own mark on the genre. I can't help but feel that this might've saved the ill-fated, shot-for-shot Psycho remake.
Retelling a story is one thing, but recasting classic characters is a near impossibility. the 2013 Evil Dead "remake" was very smart to not recast Ash, but instead created a new bad-ass female character in Mia(whom I hope pops up in the upcoming Ash Vs. The Evil Dead tv show).
A Day of the Dead remake is not far off, I'm sure, and it would behoove them to find the right people to help the project, ala James Gunn/Zack Snyder on the DOTD remake.

Movie 5
You're Next - Dir. Adam Wingard - Starring: Sharni Vinson, AJ Bowan, Joe Swanberg
Run Time: 95 Min - Viewed: 10/6/15 - 6:08PM - Rating: Three Stars
You're Next gets better and better with each viewing. Even more than the story, I love all the people involved with it. They're the new crop of young horror filmmakers who respect the genre and don't act like entitled children, or wannabe rock-stars(not a Rob Zombie knock; I actually like him).

Movie 6
My Bloody Valentine 3D - Dir. Patrick Lussier - Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Tom Atkins
Running Time: 101 Min - Viewed: 10/6/15 - 9:36PM - Rating: Two & a Half Stars
Another good example of a remake done right. Plus, this is still the only 3D movie that I've seen in cinemas where the 3D was actually really well done, added to the story, and actually lasted the entire film, not just certain action scenes. There's no doubt in my mind that MBV3D was Hollywood's way of testing 3D on audiences, as it now infests every mainstream film that gets released these days.

Movie 7
The 'Burbs - Dir. Joe Dante - Starring: Tom Hanks, Henry Gibson, Carrie Fisher
Running Time: 101 Min - Viewed: 10/8/15 - 7:29PM - Rating: Three Stars
One of the problems with filling the month of October up with nothing but horror films, is that it sometimes leaves me feeling empty, what with all the blood and the viscera bombarding me, and I was kind of feeling that on this night, so I decided to watch The 'Burbs, even though people have argued with me that it's not a horror movie, not even a horror comedy.
False. False false false. While Tom Hanks and company are absolutely not the horror, the Klopeks, who move in next door and are likely cannibals, are the horror. There's nothing comedy about them. The comedy is all the neighbor's reactions to the Klopeks and the oddness they bring.
The 'Burbs perfectly fit the October/Halloween motif, and I recommend everyone give it a watch this month.

Movie 8
The Mist - Dir. Frank Darabont - Starring: Thomas Jane, William Sadler, Marcia Gay Harden
Running Time: 126 Min - Viewed: 10/9/15 - 7:20PM - Rating: Two & a Half Stars
Good, brooding adaptation of a Stephen King short story, that's well acted, and violent as hell, but I can't get past the terrible CGI tentacles that terrorizes the store. This film would've really benefitted from some practical effect monsters, with a CGI-sheen added in post.
I watched this with my Mother, who's a huge fan of King's work. She liked it. We had pizza. I gave the pizza Five Stars.

Movie 9
Frankenhooker - Dir. Frank Henenlotter - Starring: James Lorinz, Patty Mullen, Joseph Gonzalez
Running Time: 85 Min - Viewed: 10/10/15 - 9:15PM - Rating: Three Stars
I had to find a Horror film that I could watch with friends who aren't into Horror films, which normally isn't easy, but when I came across Frankenhooker on Showtime On-Demand, I knew we had a winner.
They enjoyed it enough, based solely on the movie's constant bizarreness. I wonder how they'd respond to one of  Henenlotter's other films, Basket Case?

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Green Inferno review

Ah, Eli Roth. A name in modern horror that truly divides fans of the genre straight down the middle. Some love his work, while it seems others absolutely hate him and his "lame attempts at shock-horror". 
My opinion on Roth: he's a hell of an idea man, a really good filmmaker and does a good job at casting his films. His problem? Eli is dreadful when it comes to dialogue. Absolutely horrific. It's the grace of the talent of the actors that seem to save his films from becoming laughable farces. 
Roth is obviously a fratboy douchebag, so he only knows how to write fratboy douchebags. See literally every character in Cabin Fever and Hostile. 
Ironically enough, I feel that Hostile Part 2 is Roth's best written film, and that features a main cast of female protagonists, juxtaposed to the knobs in the first Hostile, or the mixed nuts of males/females in Cabin Fever. 

This brings us to Eli's latest(and first directorial effort in 7 years), The Green Inferno, a cannibalistic love letter to Italian flesh eater cinema of the Grindhouse era. 
The plot goes as this: upon hearing news of Ugandan Tribes being wiped out by Big Business who want to mine the lands that the Tribes inhabit, a group of college activists fly down to make a difference. Sadly, their plane crashes in the middle of the jungle and the students are captured by the cannibalistic villagers. You can guess what happens next isn't pleasant, and you'd be right. Lots of blood, gore and pooping takes up the remainder of the film, all while what's left of the students try to figure out an escape, before they end up passing through the small intestines of the locals.
I loved The Green Inferno. It moves at a good pace, does an excellent job with the characters(we still have to put up with Roth's lousy dialogue, though it's not as bad here) and the gore is uncomfortable and awesome. 
Sadly, it would seem that Inferno will likely be a box office bomb, although it's still possible for it to recoup it's 5 million dollar budget. This is important, because with the endlessness of found footage exorcism remakes that seem to be glutting main stream horror, the genre needs more diverse films like The Green Inferno to shake things up. 
Hopefully we don't have to wait another 7 years for Eli Roth's next film, because he seems to be growing as a filmmaker*.

*there's a certain diarrhea scene that makes me question this statement. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Uncanny eXfest V: The Case of the Utterly Despicable

One day removed from the 2015 eXfest, and despite the crowd's unfavorable reaction to a few of the films shown, I can't help but feel that this was the strongest Exploitation Festival yet. If you don't agree with that sentiment, I'm sure you can at least agree that it was the most challenging group of films & shorts that Harry and the gang at Exhumed Films has ever put together. Let's get to it!

11:00am: Prizes and announcements.
Dan announced their June show, which is a Massacre Triple Feature of Meat Clever Massacre, Mardi Gras Massacre and Drive-In Massacre. I'm sure it'll be a fun-filled romp.

11:15am: Action/crime fan favorite from an iconic director
-Assault on Precinct 13 (1976 Dir. John Carpenter)
I think most of us were surprised that they started with such a well known film, but I had no complaints as I'd never seen Precinct 13, and this was the best way to experience it for a first time.
It's a bit of an odd film, but it just screams Carpenter, which is probably why it's beloved. I honestly don't see how Precinct 13 is an exploitation film, and I welcome someone to explain it to me.

1:00pm: Kung Fu Comedy never released theatrically, on VHS, or DVD
-Ninja Busters (1984 Dir. Paul Kyriazi)
This. Was. A delight. Ninja Busters is one of those films that you can't believe IS an actual film. It's for people who're fans of the Kung Fu classic Miami Connection, as these two would make a perfect stoner double feature.
I don't remember there being much of a story; Ninja Busters is 70 minutes of montages, with 20 minutes of plot on the side.

2:45pm: Infamous exploitation drama/character study - animal lovers be warned!
-Born to Die aka Cockfighter (1974 Dir. Monte Hellman)
Are ya havin' a good time, audience? A fun shoot-em-up, followed by a wacky Ninja romp? Well, here's a heaping spoonful of graphic animal violence for you. Swallow it whole.
Born to Die is the "Over The Top" of professional cock fighting movies, except featuring up close, slow motion footage of roosters clawing & pecking each other to death, instead of greasy, swollen, arm wrestling men. So both films are equally offensive when you think about it.
The juxtaposition of Born to Die is that it's actually a good movie, outside of the bloodshed. A bluray with an edited version(as well as the unedited original), ala Cannibal Holocaust, would be much appreciated.
As the film ran, I noticed more and more people leaving the theater for it's remaining duration, and I noticed that the young lady behind me had been crying as the lights came on.
Challenging and sadistic? Yes! Quality story and well acted? Yes! Did I keep confusing Harry Dean Stanton with William Devane? ...yes.

4:15pm: Cheech & Chong's Basketball Jones
What the actual fuck.

4:30pm: Silly sexploitation spoof
-Flesh Gordon (1974 Dir. Michael Benveniste & Howard Ziehm)
It's hilarious to realize that the Flash Gordon porn parody pre-dates the 1980 schlock epic by six years, and then you realize how much better Flesh would've been had it been based off the movie, rather than the '50s serial.
I talked this over with my buddy Phil, and we both agreed that nobody over the age of 13 would've used this as any adult would with real pornography. It's funny to think of Flesh Gordon as a Porn Starter Kit for some 8th grader who's just hitting puberty.

6:00pm: Italian action/crime movie
-Street Law (1974 Dir. Enzo G. Castellari)
I watched the first ten minutes. I watched the last ten minutes.
Street Law had an awesome score, from what little of it I heard.

The only downside to eXfest is that it usually falls on the first beautiful, non-rainy weekend of the year. I took this time to go for a nice walk, returning to the theater just in time for some rape/revenge antics.

8:00pm: Trashy, bizarre exploitation film that somewhat defies categorization
-Black Vengeance aka Poor Pretty Eddie(1975 Dir. Richard Robinson & David Worth)
Black Vengeance is a disjointed, but fun, blaxploitation/hixsploitation "black woman lost in the woods and kidnapped by local yocals" film.
While it was enjoyable in an eXfest setting, most people were annoyed that there was little to no actual black vengeance. I mean, she shoots her attacker after he'd already been shot-up by someone else. This film should've been titled "Black Closing the Barn Door after the Cows got Out."
A rape/revenge film is less satisfying when it lacks the key revenge aspect. Imagine Last House on the Left and I Spit on You Grave w/o the final act killing sprees? Without those scenes, you're left with revenge blue balls(and whatever the female equivalent is).

9:45pm: Sleazy, perverse, and unpleasant thriller
-Forced Entry (1975 Dir. Jim Sotos)
Nothing pleases an audience more than following up a rape/revenge film with an even worse rape/revenge film.
I noticed quite a few people leaving during the first on-screen murder, and then even more heading out when you disturbingly see the corpse's face during the aftermath. Sleazy, perverse and unpleasant indeed.
This was the only film of the day that a large portion of the audience "booed" as the credits rolled, just in case you wondered how people felt about this one. I'm interested in finding out what the Exhumed Films guys thought of those boos.
Apparently, this is a toned-down remake of a hardcore porn "roughie," of the same name, from 1973. Just for fun, here's the great Tanner Otoobach reviewing the hardcore version of Forced Entry.

11:00pm: 15 minutes of XXX hardcore porn trailers. Lots and lots of suckin' & fuckin'.

11:15pm: Transgressive streetwalker saga from a beloved/reviled filmmaker
-The Girls of 42nd Street (1973 Dir. Andy Milligan)
Ah, Andy Milligan. A favorite among the Exhumed Films crowd. I'm personally not a huge fan, but I did like this film.
'Girls' is the other side of the softcore coin. While softcore classics like Flesh Gordon are made to be silly and make teen boys laugh, Girls of 42nd Street was the type of film that Mom & Dad would turn on after you've gone to bed. They'd pay an extra $5 a month to the cable company, and get access to the Adult Entertainment. Romance ensued.
Nine months later, I was born. Thanks, Suburban Cable.
Interesting fact, Laura Cannon, who plays Dusty Cole in 'Girls,' also appears in the hardcore version Forced Entry. Coincidence?
I had to leave halfway through the last movie, but I pretty much enjoyed every film that was screened this year. I reiterate this was Exhumed Films strongest eXfest to date, and I look forward to what they have in store for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Other Space Season One Review

We are currently living in a new Golden Age of television, and the Gold is digital. Cable and broadcast TV is slowly going the way of the buffalo, and more and more people are using Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime instead, for all their TV needs. As those streaming services were primarily known for rebroadcasting old programs and movies, they are now developing original content, with shows like House of Cards, Transparent, and some Indian-hating Adam Sandler film that Netflix is producing.

Now the search engine Yahoo is getting into the digital streaming picture with Yahoo! Screen. So far, Yahoo! Screen only has three shows: Sin City Saints, the return of Community(saved from cancellation on NBC) and Other Space, the SciFi/comedy from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.

I wasn't even going to bother with Other Space, as the ad campaign makes the show look awful(see the above picture). It looks like the cast is pogo-ing at a Ska show(i know they're floating in anti-gravity shut up).  It was Yahoo's aggressive YouTube-based advertising that got Other Space my attention.

The best description of Other Space is "Parks & Rec meets Red Dwarf, with a splash of Mystery Science Theater 3000." The ragtag crew, going on their first mission for the UMP, accidently fly through a rip in space that strands them far, far away from home. Now this crew, that barely knows what they're doing, have to survive in an unknown galaxy with nothing but strategy, bravery and boxes and boxes of fudge.

The basic "fish out of water with people who barely like one another" plot may be paint-by-numbers, tv wise, but I think that's the point here, as Other Space is anything but basic. The show never got boring, even after two back to back viewings, and the characters get richer and more detailed as the story progresses, which really kept me engaged.

Sadly, their are only 8 episodes in the first season, and there's no word yet if Yahoo! Screen will do a 2nd one. I'm not worried, as word of mouth spreads about how good Other Space is, I'm sure it'll get picked up a few years, at least.

Google and Yahoo have really stepped up their game, starting as simple search engines, now looking for world domination. We're all properly fucked when Alta Vista and Lycos get their shit together. I'm talking Skynet fucked. *starts humming the love theme from Terminator 2*

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My thoughts on It Follows

Hipster Trash.
This is exactly how one my two friends described It Follows, as we walked through the concession area of the multiplex, being engulfed by a trove of people who had just finished watching Furious 7 at the same time our film finished.
I said that I had no qualms with her disliking the film, as that's anybody's prerogative, but I had no idea where she was coming from with the "hipster" description. Apparently, she doesn't seem to be alone in this thought, as I've noticed a few others since then also describing It Follows with the same jargon.

I was fortunate enough to walk into It Follows knowing nothing about the story. I trust my horror brethren(and sisteren), and when they say SEE THIS FILM IN THEATERS, I try my best to do my part. Sadly, it would be several weeks before it was playing within a 100 mile radius of me, but that wait was well worth it.

I loved this movie. I was drawn in right from the opening moments, and stayed there, eyes glued to the screen, as the end credits rolled. I don't want to go into too much detail about the movie itself, so I'll use one word to describe the feeling i had while watching it: dread.
It Follows is dripping with dread, and it was glorious.

I think the trailers that preceded the main feature really helped in making it look good, because they were piss poor. Some soulless scary kid flick, Insidious 3, a weak looking Poltergeist remake and some shot-on-Skype dreck called Unfriended* had me dreading the future of my favorite genre. Mainstream horror really has become stagnant and lazy, with the last really good horror film I remember seeing in theaters was The Conjuring. This is exactly the reason why we need to support a movie like this when it comes along in theaters.

Luckily, it seems It Follows is doing well enough, although I wish it was pulling in more people, like that overrated snoozefest Paranormal Activity did several years ago.

One problem here, though, is that It Follows will probably bore/go over the head of the average movie goer. It's not flashy, fast paced or in your face with jump scares. No, instead, it has a solid pace that keeps you wondering where It will come from next, and when It does show up OHMYFUCKINGGODRUNFORYOURLIFE. Great stuff.

Happily, I was not the only person who thought "This is totally a John Carpenter joint" while sitting in the theater. Everything from the pace, camera work, and the score(which I'm currently listening to) will remind you of Carpenter's early work.

I would go into more detail, but I want to keep this spoiler free. Come October, I'll go into more detail and theories for 31 Days of Horror.

Quick bullet points:
-It Follows reminded me of The Ring, which you'll understand if you've seen both films.
-I very much enjoyed the cast, and the way they were written. They were dumb kids, but not in an obnoxious way. Just dumb because "Hey We're Teens" lacking life experience, and we can't call the Ghostbusters to fight this malevolent spirit(or whatever It is).
-It Follows has a timeless/throwback feel to it, but one girl was using this odd clamshell shaped eReader or iPod Touch. I'd like more info on that, like why that bit of advanced tech was in a film that was obviously striving to feel older?
-I felt very claustrophobic while watching this, because of the situation of the main character. Did anyone else feel this way, or was that just me?
-I seriously doubt any guy who takes a girl to see this on a first date is getting laid that night. Or that month.

*if Unfriended makes any money, movies as an art form are dead.