Friday, October 28, 2016

The Children - 1980

"Look at that hair"
"You look at that hair"
"I'm looking at the hair"
"Yeah I'm not looking at the hair"
"She got pretty hair"

Yes, inane dialogue like this can be yours if you watch this movie!  Actually, this movie was a blast.  I almost want to rewatch it again, because I didn't do it in one sitting (too hungover and distractable today) and this movie deserves a one sitting approach.  Pretty much everything deserves to be watched in one sitting, shitty or not, just my opinion.

The Children was super ahead of it's time.  In my ritual of trying to guess the year of the movie, I guessed 1983.  Now, granted I also guessed 1981 and was only off a year from that guess, this movie looks and feels like mid 80's rather than 80.  The thing that gives it away the most is the clothes, which are dated.

Filmed in almost a real time approach, The Children is your classic story of kids that get some sort of infection from toxic waste.  There is a leak at a plant from faulty maintenance, and the school bus holding kids drives through a cloud of toxic vapor.  Of course, that makes the kids turn into sadistic killers.  Also, they can kill people just by touching them.  The deaths are a radiation-looking effect, so I guess we'll assume that the kids are infected with radiation of a sort.

The movie was smart because it threw a bit of humor into the story line, like that quote that I opened with and more.  They seemingly knew that a movie with killer kids might not be super good, so they got a few jokes and general entertainment going on as well.  There is a random topless girl, but there is only one, so boo.  Also, the pacing is slightly on a slower note than usual, just mentioning that here btw.

One thing that I thought was clever is that they don't skimp on the small details with the script and characters.  The characters are all quite likable, whether its the young cop who just wants to make out with his girlfriend, the nice older cop, the pregnant woman and her husband, etc.  Every character has a little bit of depth to them, and all of them have their own "thing".  Also, you wouldn't expect a horror movie to be touching in any way, but with killer children that means these people are losing their kids.  It actually got really emotional a time or two, and it was refreshing and nice to have that be included.

The effects pretty much suck.  I mean, okay, I've seen worse, but it wasn't a highlight of the film.  They wisely chose not to dwell on the effects, but when you see em, this is a pretty good of example of the best makeup job in the flick:
Not too great.  But all in all, a good movie and I was surprised.  It's not like, amazing, but it was a good change, and I love movies that are linear, movies that are real time, and of course, zombie films.
I give it 3.5 stars

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Incubus - 1966

A change might have been coming, or not coming, to this blog.  Basically, I can't decide what's going to happen with it.  Suppose it doesn't matter since I honestly doubt anyone ever read it.  I'm slowing down again, and I also might stop at my 2 year mark.  No big depressing speeches, just sayin.

Incubus stars a pre-Star Trek William Shatner as an average good guy.  The story follows a succubus who is tired of seducing the villains, the flawed people, and the dredge of society.  She decides she wants to seduce a genuinely good guy, and she sets off to find one.  She happens upon Shatner, who's living with his sister.  Succubus enters the scene, tries to seduce Shatner, and he remains a good guy.  Convinced she can do it, she persists, and an incubus is raised in the meantime to seduce Shatner's sister.

Filmed in black and white, the cinematography is easily the best thing about this movie.  I knew, somehow, that the cinematographer had won an Oscar just by looking at this movie.  Sure enough, actually the dude has won 3 Oscars for cinematography!  So this movie is fuckin fantastic to look at. It has a style that's unique to itself, which brings us to the whole "language" thing.

Perhaps the best known piece of knowledge about this movie is that it was filmed in the language of Esperanto, with English subtitles.  Esperanto is a language that was created as an idea to bridge the European languages which are all similar but have their differences: English, Italian, French, Spanish, etc.  It remained alive for a little while, in fact there are probably some people still speaking it today, however it never really took off in any way and obviously we aren't speaking it today in good ol' USA.  The "reason" besides for art's sake was because Esperanto, although not widely spoken, is at least semi present throughout most of the world, thus some people would understand it and......yeah, you know what, it was done for art's sake.  Explanation over.

I can say it's easily one of Shatner's best.  Being not his own voice, inflections and language, we are forced to not take him as so "Shatner-esque" and that helps.  Also, I dunno if you know this, but he wasn't in a shitload of great movies.  Haha.  Amiright? My favorite movie of his would most likely be 1964's The Outrage, based on Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon.  But this is easily second place.

The plot is pretty cool and easy to follow, and the setting and the movie is all minimal.  It has those classic ingredients that a movie lover should love:  good camera woork, straight story, bizarre quality to it.  Somehow, though, I wasn't terribly impressed.  It is good, I just was perhaps not in the right mood for it. I dunno, you can crucify me later though if you want.
I'll give it 4 stars though, cause I know it's good, I just wasn't too sure 'bout it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Star Pilot - 1966

It seems like it's been a little bit since I reviewed something off the sci fi invasion boxset.  So I took in Star Pilot, at some point, and got about 45 minutes into it.  Then I went to watch the rest, and discovered I didn't know what was going on in the film.  So I rewound it (do you still call it rewinding it on a DVD?) still didn't know what was going on, and in the end I actually restarted the entire movie.

This is one of those, this is one of those movies where it's pretty unclear what the actual plot is.  It starts out pretty good too.  Some guys are digging, and they find a weird cave, and then a spaceship that's buried in this ancient cave.  Onboard the ship is Kaena, the vaguely evil alien, and her cohorts.  The scientists who find the thing somehow get some Asian men involved, and some of the aliens and humans start to fall in love or whatever, and it goes from there.  Eventually, we discover that maybe the scientists have something to hide.

I wasn't too sure what happened between finding the ship and the plot twist near the end.  It seems at some point, they take off from the planet, and are simply flying through space for no reason with no destination.  I will admit to being quite drunk during a lot of this movie.

The spoiler warning and odd ending was that near the end, the aliens are like, okay, let's go back to Earth.  They link up to the humans mind, and determine the humans are hiding something.  Find out pretty soon that the humans knew that the Earth was about to be destroyed by a series of vague montages.  It was this, and several set pieces and characters, and basically a lot of other stuff, that made me remember Doomsday Machine a lot.  This one and that are like, first cousins or something in terms of plot and feel.

This one was a lot more confusing, and I didn't exactly like it.  It felt like the kind of movie that was heavily edited down from something else, though apparently this was not the case.

One good thing about it, at one point my wife was like, "Their dubbing is off." and I said it was not originally in English.  She asked what language it was and where it was filmed.  Now, keep in mind I had no idea cause I hadn't checked, but I intuitively said "Italy".  Yep.  I was right, filmed in Italy in Italian.  It just had that "I was filmed in Italy" feel to it that I picked up on, apparently.  1.5 star.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Prey - 1977

Also known as Alien Prey, this movie was directed by one of my favorites from that other boxset I reviewed, Gorehouse Greats.  Terror was the name of that movie, and I loved it.  It had a fast pace, plenty of original kills, and a great soundtrack.  Directed by Norman J. Warren, I thought for sure that I'd uncovered a new cult director.  I was set back a bit when Satan's Slave disappointed me, but it changed in scope a lot and was a lot more of a stuffy classic British film than the sci-fi action of Terror.

This is one of about 5 sci fi and horror movies that Warren directed in his relatively small filmography.  He was a obscure director in his tenure, never quite made it big or anything.  Satan's Slave was probably his highest budget flick.  This one, Prey, was very low budget, and very minimal.

Prey is a simple story.  One night an alien ship lands, waking up Jessica from her sleep.  She tells her lover and roommate Jo, who doesn't really believe her.  Shortly after this, a stranger named Anderson shows up on their property while they were out for a walk.  Jessica quickly takes a liking to Anderson, and Jo immediately dislikes him.  Something seems very off about Anderson.  He exhibits a misunderstanding about common things, and doesn't communicate very well.

Jessica finds a reason to keep Anderson around for a while, to the dislike of Jo.  That is when things start dying.  First it's Jo's chickens, then a fox, then more.  In the meantime, Anderson won't eat any of their food, continues to act weird, and the relationship between Jo and Jessica becomes strained.

This movie was ahead of it's time in many ways.  First off all there are multiple extremely bizarre factors to it.  The minimalist and bizarre soundtrack was really cool.  The fact that it was two lesbian girls as the main characters was super ahead of it's time.  Then there's the really long, strange slow-mo scene of Anderson when he falls in a creek.  Strange music plays as he and the two girls flounder about in the water....  I liked that segment a lot.

There's a fair bit of nudity, one scene of lesbian sex, and sexuality in general is one of the focuses of this film.  The film takes a interesting perspective look on relationships, and it shows us a semi-abusive lesbian relationship, the interaction of a male alien with a female human, and in general three people who represent an unusual love triangle.

When it's time for Anderson to become an alien, the movie doesn't do so well.  He usually just has weird looking eyes, but sometimes it goes full makeup and he looks like a cat.  It doesn't do super awesome, but it does represent him as more of an animal.  And essentially that's what this movie is, it's a grown up story of Red Riding Hood, an animal that disguises itself as a human and infiltrates our security, is invited right into our homes where we're weakest.

It was weird, it was good, and the characters were likable.  It had a lot of different things it brought to the table, and for that alone I'd give it high marks.  I end with a good review of 3.5, and a decision to watch the rest of Norman J. Warren's films.