Monday, November 28, 2016

Devil Sorcery - 1988

This belongs next to the Mystics in Bali type of cult horror from the 80's which was made in Asia.  I haven't reviewed that one on here, I think I watched it shortly before I began this blog.  I found it to be highly entertaining though also highly confusing.  In short Mystics in Bali is about a woman who is seeking out a witch in Indonesia, and who gets wrapped up in her spells.  This one is clearly based on similar myths of the witch, which all revolve around what's known as Penanggalan: a flying head with it's internal organs hanging from the neck.

Devil Sorcery is Chinese, and was quite entertaining to cut to the chase.  Mystics in Bali got me lost and confused, from my memory.  I could and should probably watch it again, but short of that my memory of it is that I kinda stopped paying attention around 45 minutes in, because it was just too much WTF.  Devil Sorcery was way more linear, more straight forward in approach.

In Devil Sorcery, which I should say is itself not entirely that linear, a master witch is killed by his understudy Tung.  Tung inherits the witch's power, but he does not intend to use the powers for good.  Tung raises two of the Penanggalan, heads that do his bidding, and Tung also puts a spell on local women, cause he's cool like that.

The witch spells are easily the highlight of the film, which is good cause it's also the majority of the film.  Several girls immediately begin to go missing.  Tung has a couple different powers to kill the girls.  He can burst flames out from candles, he has the two floating heads, and he has vague "other powers" and in short....yeah the movie doesn't really show how he does any of this.  It's all implied.

You know, it's been a while since I saw it, but it was entertaining.  It has an other-worldly quality to it and the characters are likable.  Main character and evil baddy Tung is a great character and has plenty of time on the screen.  He is allowed to be funny, silly, boy-like, angry, and lustful all at the same time, and makes for an enjoyable watching experience.  To cut this short, I give it 3.5.  Plus, the subtitles ranged from fine to laugh out loud.  Here's a good one below:

Arachnid - 2001

What are SyFy original movies if not the old black and white B movies like Ed Wood, et all?  These are the modern version of that.  Of course now we don't have B movies.  "B movie" famously refers to when movies would play double features.  There was the one that people wanted to see, and the one that was tacked on that people essentially got for free.  The second features were the "B" movies meaning they came after the "A" movies.  Once this was no longer common occurrence, the phrase stuck around and now we apply it to a whole lotta stuff.  Its a badge of pride, like so much else, and it's a whole niche, genre, and more.

The essence of these movies is that they're bad.  Yes, you can in fact pride yourself on being bad.  If only that worked in the workplace?  Anyways, these movies tell us that they might not have what you want.... they don't have the actors, the effects, the reasoning and the motive, they do have some action, and they might have some entertainment value though.  But they tell us, straight forward, that they're second rate.  Why is this?  Why is that we're not only allowed to put out second rate material, but we're proud of it?  Perhaps its the same reason McDonald's exists.  No one is going to "go to bat" for McDonald's and support it.  But yet, it's fuckin popular as ever in health conscious 2016.

Did I mention that I accurately guessed the year of this film?  This is the shit that passed for TV entertainment in 2001.  This is the type of movie that eventually begs you to look away from it.  I'm writing this review while I watch it (drunk).  It has no uplifting qualities and it exists only to fill 2 hours on a channel no one watches.  Did this movie break even?  Does this movie exist on DVD with special features?  Are people besides me watching this now in 2016 for the first time and reviewing it, and more importantly will they be reviewing in in 2031, 2067, and 2190?  At what point will this film never be seen again?  I always wonder these types of things.  Take a classic.  Godfather.  Alien.  When is the last time anyone will ever watch that?  It will happen.  Eventually.

What is the part of the human psyche that wants to turn it's mind off?  What's that all about?  We are gifted with an extraordinary thing, the mind, and yet we squander it on SyFy movies and reality TV?  How the fuck does that make sense.  I hate, out of general principal, 90% of the traits of humanity.  Why is it that humanity likes these completely meaningless and destructive things?  We value them?  I own a 50 movie Sci Fi Invasion boxset, and at the risk of fucking up my search for those keywords later, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME?????

Why do I cherish absolute trash and then rate is 5 stars?  Am I, as a critic and a human, missing something?  Or is everyone else?  What is wrong with the species that is mankind that makes these things happen?

Arachnid is part of the problem vs. part of the solution.  I refer to my above paragraphs here.  It revels in its badness and says, hey, accept me.  Why?  Because it's aware it's bad?  Is that good?  Are we now accepting badness as long as someone is aware that it's bad?  But then again, are they aware?  Was Brian Yuizna, one of my favorites, aware of this movie's terrible attraction?  Also, what quantifies it's badness?

The effects are decent.  The location is cool.  The pacing is adequate.  Where this movie fails is the script, acting, cinematography, repetitive nature, and inherent inability to entertain.  And I swear to god if I hear the last name Mercer one more time I might kill someone.

Jungle.  Perpetual midday or night.  Group of rough and tumble GIs that are thrown in, and you struggle to remember their names as they struggle to remain alive.  There's giants spiders on the loose, see, and scientist whats-his-face is gonna figure them out just in time to save the only two characters that matter, while in the meantime the fat will be trimmed in the way of spiders biting people.  Yep, SyFy territory right here.

One thing I will give this, as I said before is that the effects are cool.  Yuzna had effects filled projects and frankly this does not fall short.  There is a particularly memorable dream sequence with the spiders and a girl's missing brother.

But who am I kidding.  This is not a review.  Introspection aside, this movie was chalk full of awful.  It was bland piled with a nut topping and a glass flavored sauce on top.  It was the video equivalent to a Tuesday where we go to work, nothing special happens but it's not the worst ever, and then you come home, eat leftovers for dinner, and go to bed early.  It was dull, and frankly un-challenging in any way.  I'm not taking a colossal dump on this film, I'm just saying that there is no reason for it to exist in the first place.  In an existence made up of artworks both gorgeous and overpowering, in a world where humankind has walked on the moon and can talk with the click of a button, there was never a need for Arachnid to exist.

I just came up with an awesome idea:  have Buzz Aldrin be part of a review show.  Cause you could literally have him judge movies based on his experience of walking on the moon.  "So Buzz Aldrin, how does Arachnid compare with walking on the moon?"  I can just see it now.  I feel like he'd give this no stars, but I'll give it one for decent effects.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Frankenstein Unbound - 1990

No updates for almost a month, and then a double whammy?  What the fuck kinda unprofessional blog is this?  Enough self indulgence.  This is the last movie directed by Roger Corman as of now, 2016, and he's 90 years old this year so we just might not get another if you get my drift.  So 4 years after I was born, Roger Corman directed his last movie, and it was a bizarre alternate story of Frankenstein.  A sci fi fantasy reworking of Frankenstein, and a movie which I can actually say was, if nothing else, pretty interesting.

This movie made me think a bit, mostly about the Frankenstein franchise, and also about one of my own ideas I have for a sequel to Predator.  I think it's interesting when people take classic storylines, and then they write about them and reinterpret them in a different vein.  Frankenstein, as we all know is the the classic monster come to life film, the book paints the monster in a sympathetic way.  Alone, abandoned, Frankenstein lashes out almost accidentally at first, and things go from there.  It's been a long time since I read the book.

In the movie, John Hurt travels back in time accidentally from the year 2036 to the 1800's when Mary Shelley wrote the book.  In the 1800's, John Hurt meets a scientist while he's trying to figure out where and when he is.  After an initial talk, he then asks the man's name.  The man replies, casually, Frankenstein.  Raul Julia, of Overdrawn at the Memory Bank fame, plays Frankenstein.  John Hurt follows Frankenstein after situating himself a bit, and soon enough runs into Frankenstein's monster.

I'm sitting here writing this, and I get to the end of that paragraph, and my mind goes.  "What happened after that....?"  Hm.  I watched this movie on Friday I guess, today is Monday, and yet I literally don't remember at all what happened in this movie.  To be honest, the plot is not really a strong point to this movie.  I know things happened, I just question how many of them were important, and how many of them were interesting.

I wanted to like this movie, and spoiler warning, I did like this movie, but it wasn't exactly that entertaining.  Primarily the idea is good.  A time traveler discovering that Frankenstein is real, and following him around, and witnessing all this.  Ah!  For some reason that made me remember.  Frankenstein wanted a mate, so a lot of the movie was the good doctor Franky going about to make the monster a bride.  He decided to bring back one of the girls he loved instead though.  Yeah.  Okay.

As a last feature, I guess it'll do.  It doesn't exactly feel "classic" in any way, and I think a completely average rating is coming up, but it was still a fun thing to watch.  It made me think about the Frankenstein franchise.  You know, there's a story that basically was a dud.  I mean sure it's classic, the movies are always remade, and there are plenty of sequels to the first set of movies.  But it's not exactly a goldmine and/or idea mine in terms or what else to do with the characters.  This is the only re-imaging reinterpretation I have seen that's kept anything original about the story and built on it. However, credit shouldn't go to Corman on that front and rather to the author of the book upon which this movie is based.

Like I said, it serves it's purpose, but I doubt this movie would ever be called a classic, and if it wasn't Corman's last movie, I doubt anyone would ever watch it again.

Don't Go in the House - 1979

I'm continuing my Don't.... marathon here, taking a long break from bloggin about movies, and also taking a long break from my sci fi boxset.  Why?  There a lots of reasons for it, a lot of answers to that question, but suffice to say that The Reason is because no one reads this, it doesn't matter, and it's just a thing I do to waste time.  Wow, that felt interesting to say/type.

Don't Go in the House is a Psycho meets Texas Chainsaw type of horror slasher, influenced by both those and Halloween, but still pretty ahead of it's time since it was yet another slasher flick before the prevalence and popularity in the 80's.  At this point I'm convinced the only reason that people make assumptions about a genre like slashers that was defined in the 80's is because those people don't do any fucking research.  They don't investigate, dig into the movies that were coming out before that, and they reach natural assumptions based on "what's popular".  Fuck people, man.

Psycho: a movie in which the main villain has a hotel that he lives at with his (spoilers) dead mother who he dresses up as and kills people.  Who hasn't seen Psycho?  Well, since people apparently don't do research any more, I'm going to guess "a lot of people".  Fuck people, man.

Don't Go in the House: a movie wherein the main villain has a house that he lives at with his (spoilers) dead mother who he keeps in the upstairs.  He abducts random girls from different situations, comes up with a reason to take them to his house, and proceeds to kill them.  The "hook" if you will of this movie, not unlike an overplayed radio song, is that the killer is wackier, nuttier, and more ridiculous that Psycho, and occasionally barbecues these girls to death with a flamethrower.  I think we literally see one flamethrower death, but that enough to justify this movie putting the word flamethrower on it, which was a major reason to see it for me besides the name.

Mr. Flame, as we'll call the villain, is very prevalent in this movie, and serves as the main character.  His rationale is that he was abandoned by his dad, his mom abused him, and he turned into a serial killer.  You know, I have to say that I liked that reasoning.  At least they explained it, and based on what I have read on Wikipedia (a lot) a lot of true to life serial killers have similar upbringings.  Seriously, abused kids often go into serial killing, it's like their number one job choice.  Some ambitious parent out there should run a scientific study with their own kids: hurt the hell out the him/her, rape them several times, and then see if they grow up to be one.  Then, get back to me about the results.

So I'm feeling a little bit hungover and tired and I'm also riding my initial caffeine wave, it's influencing this entry a lot as I'm sure you can guess.  I'm also relistening to Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, the overly dream pop-esque entry from M83.

Don't Go in the House does at least justify it's name, unlike that fucking Don't Look in the Basement bullshit.  That movie, by the way, had a recent sequel, which was way worst than the first one and also had one of the worst soundtracks I've ever heard.

This one was pretty good for what it was I guess, it didn't greatly impress me in any way, but the movie went by pretty quickly, especially nice cause it had so little happen in it. I guess I'll give it 3 stars.