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Showing posts from November, 2013

Among Friends

A group of school friends (their friend, Lily, is noticeably absent…for a reason) are gathered together (well, I use the word, friends, loosely) for a specific purpose, and it isn’t what they think…far from an amicable party to celebrate their co-existence, why they are in the same house together will soon be revealed. This revelation will not be to their liking. Far from it.
**½

Warm Bodies

Came home from work totally exhausted and kicked back on the bed to watch Warm Bodies (2013) a film I have had in my possession for several months but hadn’t gotten around to viewing. It was right at the start on Cinemax West so I decided to give it a go. About what I expected, a Romeo and Juliet zombie film with the violence off screen; the graphic bloodletting of Walking Dead, on cable television has more visible, explicit gore than Warm Bodies. This has a few touches that differentiate it from the typical zombie films we are accustomed to, but Romero was getting to the end results of Warm Bodies with his last few (not well received) Living Dead pictures.
**

Moon 44

Moon 44 has a mining colony that contains ore that is extracted by ongoing machinery for a company who turns it into fuel. It is the last colony available to the company since robot-manned drones attack them by order through thieves who use them for their own financial purposes. An Internal Affairs agent (Michael  ParĂ©) is sent to the colony to investigate why mining shuttles were going missing (he doesn’t know that the company sending him understand he’ll possibly not be able to leave, and that the prisoners he will be transporting with (he’ll be undercover as a prisoner) are to fight the robot-manned drones attacking the moon without a way off!) The company chairman obviously won’t tell him this, pretending that once the mission is accomplished (finding out if the person in his file can give him information on who has commandeered those shuttles) he’ll be free from employ at the IA division…just not off the planet! That’s the rub: this agent will be stuck on the moon, even in an inv…

Moontrap

While on a routine space mission, two astronauts (Walter Koenig and Bruce Campbell) encounter an ancient space ship, derelict, with the remains of a humanoid lifeform soon startling them. On board the ship, Koenig removes an alloy-based "cocoon" which we later observe holds a robotic entity that can take spare parts (mechanical or human) and build itself into a killer machine of enormous strength with laser weaponry quite dangerous tohuman civilization. There seems to be only malicious intent; this is proven when a NASA scientist attempts to communicate and reason with it. A moon mission is soon on the horizon after NASA soldiers do battle with the killer robot (Koenig eventually travels in a crawlspace above it to blast its head apart with a shotgun, ending the shootout), and Koenig and Campbell will finally be able to complete the astronaut dream. Both the ship and lifeform were 1400 years old!
***½

Galaxy of Terror

For a long time, it irked me that Galaxy of Terror was considered a rip off of Alien. I often wondered if those who claim this ever watched Galaxy of Terror. This little New World B-movie indie maintained a nice cult following among us low budget sci-fi horror aficionados. I actually own a VHS copy I rented numerous times and before that I watched a second hand recording from my uncle (he recorded it off of late night HBO, I assume) on multiple occasions. This isn’t a movie where a decent budget was available, and Corman didn’t necessarily equip filmmakers with a lot to work with. I think that is an endorsement for Galaxy of Terror because despite of the limitations, I think this has a rather interesting premise and with all that darkness and the nightmares unleashed, the film at least appears inspired.
****

Heavy Metal

It is sad to say, but I didn’t grow up with Heavy Metal like my 80s brethren and I ache because of it. This would have been on VHS rotation had I been in access of it. It just never come across my attention (I’m not even sure why) or was visible to my eyes at the rental store. It wasn’t really until 2007, when I noticed it on VHS in a mom-and-pop (now gone, replaced with a clothing store (*sigh*)) called Movietyme (I drop this from time to time because it was a reminder of the old days when aisles and rows of VHS tapes were all over the place; they had DVDs all over the place, too, though), that Heavy Metal finally caught my happy attention. I rented it three times (!) when Movietyme was in business (it wasn’t in business but maybe four/five years tops; it was a late attempt to appeal to old school movie fans, but the economy was in the absolute shitter during their small era) and fell in love with it. It was exactly what I would have cherished as a nerdy kid who loved loud rock music…

Hell Baby

Horror comedies are incredibly difficult to pull off. Sometimes movies try hard to be funny and that air of desperation seems alarmingly obvious. Sometimes no restraint can and cannot work. Sometimes it seems as if they are scattershot (or maybe buckshot is better) and the laughs hit paydirt or land with a loud, resounding thud. And people’s sense of humor varies so what works for some doesn’t others. I have seen reactions vary towards the likes of American Werewolf in London and Return of the Living Dead, with some not drinking their Kool-Aid. Sometimes films are just so bizarre they elicit laughs because of dialogue that seem random, daft, and out-there. Sometimes, like in the case of Hellbaby, those involved find themselves funny, make their movie based on how they laugh at each other’s gags/jokes and the product that comes out of them fails to rub off on the audience. That’s not to say the hard work to tickle our funnybone isn’t a lack of trying. Sometimes those in front of the ca…

Tightrope

“There’s a darkness inside all of us, Wes. You, me, the man down the street. Some have it under control, others act it out. The rest of us try to walk a tightrope between the two.”

This comes from a psychologist Eastwood’s Wes Block talks to about his current serial killer in Nawlins. It does aid the obvious focus on Block’s darkness. The emphasis on sexual kink is rather surprising considering Eastwood’s involvement in such lurid subject matter.

You know how you watch films about law enforcement where the question is posited regarding the full moon out in the sky, “You think it brings the crazies out?” I like Eastwood’s (he is a detective) reaction to partner Dan Hedaya in Tightrope: “They’re always out.” In New Orleans a psychopath is stalking and strangling pretty women and it will be up to Eastwood to find him.
****

Haunter

This “if you blinked, you missed it” horror film that emerged briefly in October of 2013 (maybe, you saw a Direct Tv commercial for its VOD, “catch it the same time as it appears in theaters” release, which brought this to my attention) has teenager Abigail Breslin (some consider her a rising star in the horror genre after her hit film (starring Halle Berry), The Call actually made surprise box office bank) starring as a victim of a serial killer in 1985 reliving a specific day with her father, mother, and brother over and over.

**½

A Thing of the Past

When Movie Gallery was located where I live in my hometown, there was this really cute blond who noticed I always rented horror movies and would talk with me about them (and rec some to me as well). I thought about this a little while after another rental store (Movietyme, it was called) closed its doors as the Great Recession in 2008 reared its fucking ugly head and roared with a ferocity and rumbled through the country like Godzilla leveling Tokyo--still felt--during the period when I learned I was losing my job at the factory after 12 years (it would actually lead to me getting a college degree and a nice office job, so ultimately I was better off, but that’s a whole other topic altogether). At Movietyme (a mom-and-pop that felt like a holdover from the rental stores that left the town due to various factors), there was a female owner who also noticed I rented a lot of horror movies and admitted she liked them, recommending some to me as well. The cute blond told me about Blackwate…

The Rental Store Will Be No More

The death of the brick and mortar has been weighing on my mind over the past few years, but it definitely entrenched itself within my mind when the announcement of Blockbuster came out a couple days ago. Extinction of an industry that was such a part of my teenage years leaves a melancholy that harvests itself and causes this state of overwhelming sadness. Some will probably cheer the demise of Blockbuster because of how the chain worked as a type of Walmart, popping up and causing the closing of mom-and-pop rental stores everywhere. However, there’s just something special to me about perusing aisles at a rental store and eyeballing an old release you haven’t seen or thought of in some time, taking it home for a spin in the video/dvd player. Redboxes (with very limited product that beckon immediate attention) and Netflix (sure streaming is available, but for many of us where fiber optics still haven’t become readily available, we have dvds to rent in order to watch product not of the …