Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Mess of Reviews



I have a bunch of movies on my “to see” spreadsheet, so there has to be some time set aside to eventually clear some space. Films like “Axeman at Cutter’s Creek”, “Bloody Homecoming”, and “Camp Dread” seem like contenders to be suitable for removal.
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7-7-2014 - 7-9-2014
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Axeman (2013) was the first film and like many lo-fi slasher flicks, it was quite the endurance test. The characters are an assemblage of the worst kind of obnoxious characters often seen in the slasher genre. 

There’s a heavy dude who serves as that old example of goofy, rotund, horny character that one should pity but when his mouth is open, little can be done to salvage any sort of attachment to him. I am often rooting for misfits because they can be likable even in slasher films, but his unfortunately crude vernacular (the same for another character: the bodybuilding douchebag dude-bro who has nothing to say at all in the film except comments/statements that reduce him to a putrid creep with only his looks that allows him to land a girl of any consequence. He throws around cunt towards every female character he addresses. He’s a vile jerk who can’t die quick enough) leaves much to be desired. 

Sadly you do have a lesbian couple here that is provided not as interesting characters with an appeal and a chance to be a standout from the cast but they exist merely for titillation purposes. I don't mind titillation, but there's always a chance for something more, but expecting that in something like this would be futile.

“My purple rocket is ready to rage!” Yes, this comment comes from the big boy with a hard on and no lady to feed his need for a little lovin’. The vile jerk-bro drinks some water and comments, “Better than mama’s breast milk.” Meanwhile, the lesbians hit the bedroom to make out. Later on, the “head guy” that leads the camping trip asks one of the lesbians when she started screwing around with her lover, using the finger through the hand hole gesture, applying extra distaste to what could have been an honest conversation about hook-ups and the like. “She’s my sunshine. The sun sets and the sun rises in that woman’s ass.” This the comment from the lesbian discussing her new lover. This movie is plagued with one crude character after another. In the past (the 80s), I might have given a little leverage to slasher films with a fair share of silly characters with little to share of any worth. But there always seems to be that one or two characters that have a semblance of value to them. There’s another golden line: “I hear you are the new ‘scissors-fest’ champ.” Here’s another valuable gem: “I should cunt punt you both off this porch.” When “cunt” isn’t being thrown around, there’s nice talk from the rotund goofball about “sucking milk jugs all night.” “Your box lunches made you grumpy. Remember when you used to like the weiner.” I could keep going on and on providing nuggets of profound dialogue from Axeman, but I’m sure the point’s been made.



In the film, it seems that the African American character—not a bad cat, actually, and at least he’s tolerable—has a hard time talking to this girl that he has liked for years (since they were teenagers). She has said that because he’s always been timid and nimble-tongued around her the guy doesn’t have a chance. She realizes he would like nothing more than to “stick his little twinkie in her Suzy Q” but she simply wants none of him. Why he’d bother with her is anyone’s guess. Being such a bitch to him—playing hard to get and uninterested—you’d think he’d just find another potential conquest. I would get the point and hit the road jack. Even when the dude does open up and tell how he feels, the tease still disintegrates his pride. Playing hard to get and just crushing a guy’s pride are two different things altogether. If he at any point had found his balls in her jar and been able to redeem himself, perhaps the character could have rose above the other impossibly annoying characters in the cast.

There are two instances of why this film at least left me a tiny bit interested. The African American character is actually a survivor to the end (even though, the filmmakers insist on neutering him of any sort of magnetism, charisma, or heroism), and the final female character puts up one hell of a fight, withstands multiple attempts of the psychopath to suffocate her, and gets in some shots of her own (despite being overpowered, lifted off her feet, head-butted, and slammed against walls, this girl still keeps fighting back even as the abuse would typically clean the clock of most slasher victims). What this film, however, does is rain on the parade of the usual outcome of the killer and prey: she may avoid destruction numerous times, eventually the size and strength of the brute pursuing her becomes just too much. She tries to escape and makes a valid attempt to get away. But he’s persistent.
 
This does provide a small level of suspense in the lesbian couple trying to drag themselves away after one of them is stabbed by the killer. Dying in her lover’s arms, the victim slowly vanishes into death. Before any sort of emotional impact could even resonate, the devastated lover is herself taken out by the killer.

Friday the 13th did this a lot. Relationships between characters after love-making end abruptly by Jason (or mama), so the lesbian couple, devoutly adoring each other and the life ahead together, have their union crushed by a tall, massive boogeyman. This film does try to establish their love connection at some point besides their "having fun" and kissy-kissy/lovey-dovey , but with the excremental dialogue, any attempt to humanize and make their bond carry over to the viewer is squashed. Their demise, and how it is carried out, is right out of Friday the 13th in that once they're "dismissed", the couple is forgotten. You need talent in the writing and acting to emphasize a need to connect and care. Epic fail in this movie in that regard.

What sinks the ship to the bottom is the rubber knife. Blades protruding out of bodies look of the novelty-shop variety. Without convincing attack sequences, I imagine you either laugh or groan. While I get why many will find entertainment in the laughable gore, I was lamenting the film's limitations. Even The Mutilator (1985), with its lack of creative writing and variable acting, had good gore effects to lessen the woe of sitting through it. Axeman has next to nothing to save it. I would mention Tiffany Shepis, but she's such a non-factor in the film (why not make her the lead? she at least could bring some star power to this cast), her name in the credits would indicate a greater presence in it.


http://brianscarecrow88.tumblr.com/post/91113876031/a-victim-loses-his-head-axeman-at-cutters-creek
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“To our last homecoming….and surviving the night”
--said by a couple high schoolers during a toast.

Basic slasher formula for Bloody Homecoming: an event regarding the death of a quarterback locked in a room after he attempts to force sex on a current girlfriend serves as the reasoning behind a psychopath in a fireman’s outfit using a sharpened stick (the stolen “spirit baton”) to stab students who were nearby the victim that night. The first to go is the girlfriend because she is seen as the culprit behind the locked door that led to his death…burned alive. The burning provides the motivation behind the fireman’s outfit, by the way. The film is what it is. We spend time with the cast of “high school kids” and some faculty. The death of the quarterback is held over the film like a thundercloud so we don’t ever forget. The pervy principal has the hots for the lead cheerleader, is a bit too unfiltered with some harsh comments about the kids and everyone, and the sheriff is intent on seeing that the high schoolers pay for the “death of his boy”. The “death baton” is the weapon of destruction for the “fireman killer” and so you know what kind of ultraviolence was inflicted on the teens. The stick stabbing in the eye or through the skull does allow the low budget to be used effectively. You see the killer lift up the stabbing tool and the camera cut to it coming out of the victim’s mouth (Annie, the girlfriend). A simple puncture to the eye with some blood can be shot in a way where the filmmakers (much the way they shot Annie’s murder) avoid showing a full screen execution, once again applying the cheaper cutaway edit as to show the weapon up close for only a few seconds. The most interesting death sequence puts to use a tiara on the homecoming queen (the lead cheerleader, all sunny smiles with her pearly whites and curly locks), a clever kill in that the very desirable crown by girls in their senior year is used to slit the recipient’s throat.


Among the group are couplings, a gay “stylist”, and the cheerleader. One by one, per the formula, they are dwindled until the killer is revealed to the survivor (s). Typically, and this film is no different, the emphasis behind why the killer stabs and slashes is almost laughable. The murdered quarterback had a particular impact on someone to the sexual degree that it motivated a psychopathic rage to get even against all who took him away. Besides the tiara, there’s a scene right out of CSI: Miami where a victim is trapped by bleachers in the school gym folding when the killer cuts the machine on. And once again there’s the “room full of bodies” scene where the victims are assembled and set up as the final girl (s) must look on in distraught as the killer explains the meaning behind the madness. Then the killer fumbles the ball as the clock runs out with the remaining survivor (s) capitalizing. So Bloody Homecoming follows the usual structure and stays faithful all the way. If you want same-ole, same-ole, then this will give you just that.

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