…:::kindertrauma:::… random header image

...:::I Have No Idea What This Is:::...

Crimson Peak, The Pyramid, We Are Still Here and Ash vs The Evil Dead. Plus Stung, Kristy and The Last Shift.

November 13th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Don’t bury me I’m not dead! Sorry I have not been around lately but boy was I sick and not in the cute sniffles and terrycloth slippers way that allows for binging on KATE & ALLIE reruns either but in that way when you can’t even sleep because your body is a sack of stolen silverware and Satan is using your lungs for Jell-0 molds and you spend your time praying to the cenobites to maybe not be so stingy with the oblivion. Luckily I love the taste of medicine and can drink it all day and am actually now starting to fantasize about opening a bar that only serves shots of Robitussin and extra strength liquid Mucinex. Yum. Anyway, here’s some stuff I watched through queasy-colored glasses…


If you can still catch this in the movie theater you should, even though I’m convinced that walking past the poster for JEM and the HOLOGRAMS is how I caught my death-flu. I may even be so bold as to say that CRIMSON might be my favorite Guillermo del Toro movie. I know it’s probably not as worthy as either PAN’S LABYRINTH or THE DEAVIL’S BACKBONE but it has much better re-watch value for me because it’s not emotionally taxing in any way. And let’s face it, I can be super shallow and sometimes I just want to gawk at a movie and bask in its visuals and bypass all the chin music. CRIMSON PEAK’s story is pretty frivolous and inconsequential and it almost got into trouble with me for having a helpful ghost at the end (luckily it didn’t physically interact with anything so I gave it a pass) but it’s an absolute stunner to look at overall (give or take a few gaudy effects) and the entire cast is mostly phenomenal (special shout out to SUPERNATURAL’s much missed JIM BEAVER!). CRIMSON may have stumbled at the box office but I’m here to tell you that once it finds its intended audience, it’s sure to become a cult classic. I want to own it and I want to watch it every time it snows for the rest of my life.


What kind of person watches THE PYRAMID on HBO while chomping on CHEEZ-IT encrusted chicken fingers and left over Halloween candy? A garbage person and that’s me! Dudes, I was at the height of my hallucinating, barely coherent, flipping in and out of consciousness coupled with a ferocious fever/death-dream when I sort of viewed this bucket of why bother and it held my hand and walked me toward the light. Sure, it’s terrible but my brain could only handle soft food anyway. Did you know there is no mummy in this movie? Aren’t you happy to hear that? Instead it’s got BOOGENS-behavin’ CGI kitty cats and a jackal headed ALIEN-esque monster stomping around its halls! That’s not a spoiler, that’s a selling point! I would have seen this mess in the theater if the advertising told me as much! On the down side, PYRAMID is as stupid as a rock, looks like it was filmed in a left over SID & MARTY KROFT LAND OF THE LOST set and is crying like a baby for a more charismatic lead than whoever the hell that blonde lady was. God help me though, I did enjoy heckle-watching this flick and I want to thank it for kindly delivering on the gore and adorable monsters.


At this point nothing gives me more pause than an independent horror movie carting around a satchel of near unanimous positive reviews. Moreover, if it happens to sport a fawning blurb from one of the larger horror websites on its DVD cover I interpret that as more of a red flag warning than an endorsement. I know that’s cynical, I’m just telling you my truth, I almost skipped right on by WE ARE STILL HERE on account of all the moonie-flavored gushing surrounding it. Even more suspicious was the fact that the flick’s got LARRY FESSENDEN in it! I can’t trust reviewers to be clear-headed when he’s around. The guy is a hypnotist!

Anyway, eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I went against my jaded nature and gave it a twirl and guess what? I thought it deserved a pat on the back or maybe a high-five. How was I not going to dig charred gooby-ghoulies with glowing eyes that looked like they fell off THE FOG’s Elizabeth Dane? Plus the flick has got a strong sense of setting and there’s a nifty retro vibe and frankly, a supernatural stew of occult mumbo jumbo was exactly what the doctor ordered. I was also very much impressed with BARBARA CRAMPTON’s glum performance. The rest of the acting ranged from passable to cringe-worthy but I thought CRAMPTON was the bee’s depressed knees. Alright, I’m gonna smoosh a gold star sticker on this movie’s face for setting up a delightfully dismal mood and for delivering the gory goods instead of jerking everybody around but I’m also going to say it’s needlessly convoluted, there’s plenty o’ room for improvement in the dialogue department and (most damning) I could possibly live without owning the DVD. Maybe.

ASH vs EVIL DEAD (2015)

People like to call me on my landline and say “Hey! You’re too nostalgic! Why don’t you like modern stuff? You only like old junk! Get with it Pops!” which is obviously super annoying. I almost started believing those turds until I saw ASH vs EVIL DEAD and was reminded by its brilliant recapturing of the spirit of the original series that movies really were tons better in the eighties. Not my fault. This ASH show is funny, scary (sorry, those possessed deadites still get to me) and most of all, refreshingly buoyant and lively. And get this, I think Ash is even more Ash now that he’s hit curmudgeonly over-the-hill mode! It’s so perfect for him. Sadly I don’t have STARZ so I may have to wait to keep up to date but as for now, the first episode is available free online or as a special cable preview. Now THIS is a godsend folks. The more Ash the better I always say! Now I’m so glad I didn’t die this week!

Being not dead and sparked with new hope for the future thanks to my pal ASH, I decided it was time for me to crawl out of my cave and take a peek at what I was missing on the Internet. What I found was an avalanche of inanities concerning Christmas cups and a couple of dunderheads disrespecting the sad death of beloved horror icon GUNNAR HANSEN who famously portrayed the lucky person who got to kill Franklin Hardesty in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Something deep within my soul said; “Oh, hells no” and so I ran into the strong welcoming arms of NETFLIX streaming where I will always belong…


Nothing can cheer a guy up more than watching a catered event destroyed by a swarm of killer wasps and STUNG is swell enough to overfill my plate by suggesting said wasps also grow to the size of Volkswagens and more than occasionally burst out of people’s skins. If you are a fan of slimy, over-the-top practical effects you’ve just hit pay dirt and then some but stand warned that the characters and story don’t gel any firmer than the rivers of goo. I dunno, I kept feeling like I had caught this flick in the middle even though I hadn’t and I guess I would have appreciated more time to establish things. Still, if you are a fan of say, 1993’s TICKS you are going to want to check this twisted sister out. There’s even a memorable weird-o performance by CLIFTON COLLINS JR. that struck me as possibly inspired by CLINT HOWARD’s turn in that flick. Nope, it’s not nearly as fun as TICKS but it comes a hell of a lot closer to crawling along side it than your standard CGI monster flick.

KRISTY (2014)

Whilst myself and Aunt John were wantonly watching THE UNAUTHORIZED MELROSE PLACE STORY on LIFETIME we were bombarded with ads claiming that a week later we could watch KRISTY, the story of a college lass who skips Thanksgiving break and is fittingly attacked by people wearing aluminum foil masks resembling angry, abandoned baked potatoes. Of course we showed up that very next week but where was KRISTY? She was a no-show and some dumb other thing was presented instead. I figured that was that and I’d never hear of KRISTY again but the fates had different plans and this chilly thriller that concerns itself with random acts of unkindness materialized on our buddy Netflix. The nice thing about KRISTY is that it is a patient movie and it takes it time and it builds some legitimate moments of suspense. The FINAL EXAM campus setting and autumnal atmosphere don’t hurt either. On the minus side, there’s a repetitiveness to the cat and mouse play and when it switches to ye old building weapons and booby traps HOME ALONE-mode, it’s basically paint by numbers. I applaud the build up simmer though and promise to buy it a Mountain Dew and a pumpkin pie for at least being original enough not to utilize tired old livestock masks.


Wait a minute. This movie got to me. Something about working late at night, alone is so unnerving. LAST SHIFT concerns a lady cop on her first night of work having to hang out at a police station that’s preparing to close so it’s sort of like NIGHTWATCH mixed with ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 but with a hell’o bunch of super-yikes supernatural shenanigans going down. There’s one shot that I truly hated involving JACOB’S LADDER-style shaking figures that I felt was way too dated and obvious but otherwise LAST SHIFT is a surprisingly eerie effort and seriously supplies the mind-trippy spooks. The make up is amazing. There’s a demon face that appears in this flick that I felt compelled to turn away from that puts that Bugaboody dude from SINISTER to abject shame. Huh, so I guess as far as actually scaring me, this LAST SHIFT picture takes the prize. Who’d have thunk? Then again, I was watching some sitcom on TBS and they thought it might be a good idea to advertise an upcoming show about bugs by having a giant striped cockroach of some sort crawl over their logo on the corner of the TV screen and it almost made me simultaneously loose my lunch and my feeble sanity so maybe it’s just my state of mind. All right, I’m going back to bed.

EPILOGUE: G.I. JOE episode: There’s No Place Like Springfield

We received a traumafession years ago about this episode of the animated G.I. JOE series concerning sailor extraordinaire “Shipwreck” and his mental unraveling as he discovers he is living in false reality and witnesses trusted allies transforming into wailing blobs of molten gray sludge on several occasions. I’d like to know why it’s being shown at 5 in the morning when I can’t sleep. Why?

NOTE: The very top image is of a painting by artist HUEY CROWLEY and I had zero permission to hang it sideways.

[

Tags: General Horror · I Have No Idea What This Is

DVD Review:: Animal Apocalypse (Featuring Nightwing!)

April 7th, 2015 · 3 Comments

My dreaded birthday rolled around again a little while back and all I could think to want was some Amazon flavored credit to put to use filling the unsightly holes in my DVD collection. Imagine if you dare, an adult human in this day and age living without a physical copy of the 1992 LAMBERTA BAVA-directed JOANA PACULA thriller BODY PUZZLE; it’s enough to make your heart sob. OK, maybe that one is more gravy than essential but really all I’m asking for is a functioning video store within arms reach at all times- is that so wrong? Regardless, I am happy to say I was able to spackle a crack that has been bugging me for years with the acquisition of a 4-movie set horrendously titled ANIMAL APOCALPYSE! It’s one of those unimpressive looking bargain bin MILL CREEK numbers with zero frills, no bell in sight, an absence of whistles and an instantly dated cover but guess what? It’s secretly hiding a snappy and highly coveted by me, widescreen version of ARTHUR (LOVE STORY) HILLER’s 1979 killer bat opus NIGHTWING!!

Yay, I soooo need that! First of all, in my head, it’s the unofficial companion piece to my beloved PROPHECY and secondly I cherish and value it as an important stepping stone in my love of the genre- no matter how hard folks try to convince me it stinks (see also THE HEARSE). I wrote a review for it way back HERE and by reading it, you can see that I’m totally aware that NIGHTWING can be truly long winded and boring at times but is beautifully photographed, has an awesome score, features the irresistible duo of KATHRYN (THE SENDER) HARROLD and NICK (DEATH SHIP) MANCUSO and boasts at least one super exciting scene in which a man cowardly drives over his wife’s head in an effort to save himself. Plus it just takes me back; NIGHTWING will always be bigger in my head than it actually is in the real world and that’s fine by me because I live in my head and not the real world anyway.

Truth told, NIGHTWING has been available on Amazon as one of those made on demand DVD-R doohickeys but I gotta say I’m intuitively suspicious of those things. To be recordable, aren’t they missing some layer that makes them more permanent? I have no idea what I’m talking about and here I am spreading rumors. Oh well, suffice to say the DVD-R version is more expensive and has less content. ANIMAL APOCALPYSE comes with three other free movies and free is a good price for them because they’re not so hot. There’s BATS: HUMAN HARVEST the sequel nobody wanted to 1999’s BATS, FATAL CONTACT: BIRD FLU IN AMERICA an ABC TV movie that’s mostly just depressing and finally SyFy Channel’s KAW (2007). Hey, I actually kinda liked KAW, it has a decent cast with SEAN PATRICK FLANERY, STEPHEN McHATTIE and recently deceased, legendary THE BIRDS star ROD TAYLOR and I thought the effects were pretty cool.

I admit I’ve got a soft spot for cheap-o compilation sets in general but really this bundle is all about NIGHTWING. If you’re a fan too, this is an affordable and decent enough looking option. It’s not anywhere near the HD realm but it’s certainly way beyond crusty old VHS. Why, just check out these picture post card screen shots:

NOTE: And please remember that NIGHTWING, like all killer bat movies, is a goof. In real life bats are super nice and helpful and adorable. They do a zillion times infinity less damage to the world than humans do and are basically flying kittens. There’s a big stupid speech in NIGHTWING that tries to persuade you to think that bats are evil or something so don’t listen to it. Bats are the best and I’ll have you know that in any scenario that concerns bats vs. humans, I’ll be on team bat.

[

Tags: DVD Review · General Horror · I Have No Idea What This Is

Unk’s Homemade Video Store Signage!

March 1st, 2014 · 6 Comments

I was going through an old box of photos and found these sub-genre signs that I made for the horror section of the video store I used to work at. I took them home whenever the joint got all fancy and switched to DVD. What kind of dope gets rid of their “Scary Spinster” section? That’s not progress!

[

Tags: Faux-sters · I Have No Idea What This Is · Kinder-Art

Kindertrauma Horror Mix Tape

January 15th, 2014 · 28 Comments

Sometimes I hate writing because it reminds me so much of talking and talking reminds me so much of a very loud headache factory I wish to demolish. And so I’m off to walk a dog named Nelson. Hey, let’s make a horror mix tape! Here are some songs that I must put on my horror mix tape. Please add as many songs as you can in the comment section so that I have something to listen to when I get back from walking the dog name Nelson. Thank You!



[

Tags: I Have No Idea What This Is

Movie Review Headcheese:: Insidious: Chapter 2, You’re Next, Stoker, Passion, Curse of Chucky, etc.

November 15th, 2013 · 16 Comments

Every once in a while the inside of my head turns into styrofoam. It’s some kind of merciful curse that insures I remain ambivalent enough not to jump off a bridge. The down side is a cluttered desktop! How is one supposed to finish a movie review when they can’t even a finish a…what are those long snake-like things that swallow words called again?…sentence! Usually I’d just sweep these dead leaves into a pile and light the delete button but today I’m making movie review headcheese! Yummy! It tastes like lethargy!


I can’t believe I almost didn’t see INSIDIOUS 2. What a dope I almost was. It’s just that I had warm fuzzy feelings about JAMES WAN’s last two flicks that I wanted to protect and scuttlebutt on the street was that it was shrug-worthy. Not that I ever read reviews for a film before I see it but it’s hard with the Internet not to glean the general consensus through the fine art of skimming out of the corner of your eye. Luckily I remembered that folks are harsh on horror in general and sequels in particular. Besides, WAN had only months previously ridden a wave of approval thanks to THE CONJURING and critics would likely be itching to rain on that parade as soon as possible. So I went, thinking if it did stink, what the hell, at least I’d get to hang out in a dark theater for a while.

I should thank all the braying naysayers because with my expectations in check I enjoyed every minute of it. INSIDIOUS 2 turned out to be one of the better sequels I’ve ever seen. I say that because instead of diluting the occurrences in the first film, INSIDIOUS 2 only enhances them. Both films compliment each other and yet stand on their own. I think you could even watch them in reverse if you wanted. Also whoever decided to cast HOUSE OF THE DEVIL’s JOCELIN DONAHUE as the younger version of BARBARA HERSHEY’s character deserves a meatball hoagie of some sort. Really if you liked the first film, I have no idea why you wouldn’t like the second unless you just hate the number 2. Most importantly, one scene really took me off guard and scared the crap out of me. As I look over at ROTTEN TOMATOES now, I see that although the critics kept their arms crossed, audiences responded mostly favorably so maybe it’s not just me…or maybe it is….


Again, I didn’t read any reviews for this but I kept seeing high grades in magazines and hearing from folks that it was “real horror” and so original and what a tragedy that it didn’t do better at the box office and horror fans need to support scrappy films like this, etc. Basically I was guilt tripped into seeing this movie but it had to be good if my comrades were so passionate about it…right?

I didn’t get it. Was I tired that day? Was I dreaming of meatball hoagies like I sometimes do? I see there’s no number 2 in the title but how is this movie getting praise for being original? They could have called it THE STRANGERS 2 and I sure wouldn’t have noticed. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but were people receiving fruit baskets for every rube they convinced into seeing this movie? Please be honest if you’ve received a fruit basket and don’t read anymore if you don’t like spoilers…

I’m most confused by why I was repeatedly told by people that they could not explain why this movie was so incredible because that would give away its mindboggling twist… but now that I’ve seen it, I have to ask… what the hell is the twist? That the boyfriend is in on it? That’s the hoariest trick in the book. Was the twist that the female character knew how to fight? Really? Are we all still collectively pretending that is an anomaly in horror films? Ugh. Why does a genre capable of exploring the enormity of existence itself keep getting mesmerized into monotony by a subject as mundane as gender? I’m not saying “move on” I’m just asking can I play Candy Crush while everybody rates a female character’s worth based solely on how well she handles herself when being attacked? People can cry about remakes and sequels all they want but if you ask me, what’s really hobbling the genre is the insistence on stuffing it with action movie tropes and audience pandering power fantasies. A large part of my fear while watching a horror movie is derived from my concern for the character’s safety. When you take that away and make everyone a secret ninja, I’ve got nothing.

It’s possible my experience suffered from the corrosive effects of overpraise. Might I have enjoyed YOU’RE NEXT if I had stumbled across it on cable? One thing’s for sure, presented as horror’s great white hope or a bastion of innovation for me, it just doesn’t fly. Furthermore, I don’t think audiences should feel too guilty about not wanting to trudge out and spend 16 bucks to see what basically amounts to a semi more violent, semi less funny version of CLUE: THE MOVIE.


Do you know what I find infinitely more interesting than a gal with secret ninja skills? A character with something provocative going on between their ears. Here’s a movie I wouldn’t mind rallying behind, STOKER, CHAN-WOOK PARK’s phantasmagorical spin on HITCHCOCK’s SHADOW OF A DOUBT. It’s so damn beautiful folks are bound to call it pretentious which is a fancy way to say artsy-fartsy. Go ahead and sue me but it’s been a long time since an image on the screen was enough to make my jaw drop and STOKER delivers more than a few. I didn’t make the connection with HITCH’s flick ‘til well towards the end and even then I swear there was never a moment when I felt I knew what was going to happen next. Powerfully ominous and sinisterly swoony, STOKER left me in a weird gothic trance with a sudden urge to read Victorian poetry and befriend spiders. Wrap it up, I’ll take it. It’s glorious to catch a director so obviously at the peak of his powers.


Aw! Do you know who’s not at the peak of his powers? My beloved BRIAN DE PALMA! That’s O.K. Even B.D.’s less successful work is fascinating to me! This one is a doozie and do bring along your sense of humor or be prepared to bang your head against a wall. Essentially I believe this is the story of two non-ninja but still powerful women fighting over who gets to take the credit for inventing “the butt-cam” and of course such a dispute can only end in murder! All of you who have griped about DE PALMA emulating HITHCOCK can stop now- he’s moved on to ZALMAN KING. This movie is supposed to be based on some French flick but I swear it’s an episode of THE RED SHOE DIARIES. Although if you want to talk about the look of the movie, I’d guess 1984’s never ending venetian blind commercial THIEF OF HEARTS might have been a big inspiration.

It sounds like I’m making fun but I am fine with all of the above and God strike me dead if I ever am such a turd as to not appreciate anything that comes down the pike holding hands with a PINO DONAGGIO score. All of the film’s tone-deaf dialogue and slick artifice is okay in my book too. That’s just my buddy DE-DE doing DE-DE. The real problem is the story is bonkers and nearly every set up is a let down. Also I feel I have to implore DE PALMA’s friends and family- You people need to get together and have a “dream sequence” intervention for the guy. He’s obviously out of control and needs help. I’m not in the position to lend aid, otherwise I would.

Still, I say to love cinema is to love DE PALMA. Even when dancing backwards with a lampshade on his head, it’s clear his romance with the medium is true blue. The PASSION experience is sort of like when you go see a band you loved in college and they sound awesome and you’re having a great time and you applaud for an encore and then they come out and say those dreaded words “This is from our new album!” and everyone starts sliding ever so discretely toward the bar or the bathroom. But it’s DE PALMA and so I’m going to give it a few years. If somebody puts a montage on YouTube of every time one of the two brilliantly game leads (RACHEL McADAMS & NOOMI RAPACE) laughs like a deranged maniac within the film, PASSIONS could easily gather some camp/cult traction.


As long as DON MANCINI is writing and directing you can just keep the CHUCKY movies coming as far as I’m concerned. I say that even while the man has made it abundantly clear he will never accept my friendship on Facebook. He’s like a hero of mine because he’s written every installment and has pushed the series into directions that go against the grain. I’m sure he’s lost a few fans by challenging their expectations and that just makes me respect him more. If you weren’t down with SEED O’ CHUCKY’s meta cartoon take on the material (I was) take heart as instead of inflating things further to the breaking point, MANCINI has done a full U-turn and made CURSE a tighter more intimately grounded affair. The guy does a beautiful job with the atmosphere and rather than the usual carnival tone, half the time I felt I was watching some early eighties Italian psychological thriller like LAMBERTA BAVA’S A BLADE IN THE DARK.

Not only is this box office bypassing sequel visually dark and broody, gone for the most part our Chucky’s trademark winky quips and in their place are uncomfortable existential bon mots like “There is no God” and “Life’s a bitch and then you die bleeding like a stuck pig.” FIONA DOURIF (daughter of the series’ spine BRAD DOURIF) is a natural and a welcome breath of fresh air as Nica, a heroine with a (SCREAM OF FEAR inspired?) physical hurdle (she requires a wheelchair) but more than enough mental determination to become one of Chuck’s most formidable adversaries. I must admit I wasn’t fully satisfied with every revelation uncovered, but for the most part, it’s obvious that an effort was made to reward those who have been loyal to the series total (i.e. stay through the closing credits). I think this release is a hopeful sign of the future for straight-to-home releases. If bypassing box office approval and some advertising costs means directors can have more control over the finished product then that can only be a good thing in my book.


Speaking of straight-to-video sequels, has anyone seen this one? I barely remember the first film it’s barely based on, but I found it for $1.50 in a used bin and took a chance because it had (sci-fi dream couple) NATHAN FILLION and KATEE SACKHOFF in it and was directed by MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009)’s PATRICK LUSSIER. It could have just as easily have been released as a (far less bloody) FINAL DESTINATION installment and even though I’m convinced my mom would have liked it even more than me, I must say I enjoyed it. In fact, I’m know I’m going to watch it again. I definitely liked it better than the first flick and those charismatic leads should be cast together more often.


Hey, check it out! Apparently there is no end to JOHN CASSAVETES & GENA ROWLAND’s contribution to film. Who knew they also kindly gifted us with talented daughter XAN CASSAVETES and she’s just getting started! KISS is XAN’s first feature film and yay, it is chuck full of vampires! XAN doesn’t seem too interested in taking the undead down the bigger, louder, faster road to nowhere. This lyrical flick pays homage to a time when people had attention spans and vampire movies didn’t…(you know it’s going to happen)…suck. Are you a fan of DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS (1971)? Where you noticeably the only person not bored by VAMPYRES (1974) when you watched it at a group sleepover? Would you push your grandmother into traffic for saying an unkind word about THE HUNGER (1983)? This movie is for you (and me)! It’s got lovely cinematography and a gets-under-your-skin score and if there’s absolutely nothing warm beneath its polished surface, welcome to the world of vampires. Sure I’m sad that if it cunningly builds up to what might be a magnificent showdown only to peter out with a whimper! Then again, what better way to salute the artsy fartsy European fang flicks of yesterday?

GHOULIES 3 and 4

I watched and was entertained by GHOULIES 3 and 4 recently so take that into consideration when reading anything I might say. These movies are of course terrible and I have no excuse except that I can’t resist the enjoyable VHS flavored bubble they are able to trap me in (even though I watched them on cheap DVD compilations). I have nothing much to say about either except, the cast for part 3 is astounding (JASON SCOTT LEE, MATHEW LILLARD, DOLLSSTEPHEN LEE, SUMMER SCHOOL’s PATRICK LABYORTEAUX, APRIL FOOL’S DAY’s GRIFFIN O’NEAL, KEVIN McCARTHY, MARCIA (R.I.P.) WALLACE!!!) and that notably in part 4 the Ghoulies cease being puppets and start being costumed dwarves (TONY COX!!). Also part 4 was directed by the guy who did CHOPPING MALL and both films have the power to change lives. Hey, Judgey Mcjudgeystein, I can’t always find something agreeable on Netflix Streaming…


Thank God I didn’t break down and rent MANIAC on demand because lo and behold it finally did appear on Netflix! I almost passed it by because the image they are using to represent it looks surprisingly bland compared to all of the cool poster art I’ve seen floating around. As I expressed HERE I’ve had a long and varied history with WILLIAM LUSTIG’s original. My first viewing left me shell-shocked and that feeling over the years somehow transformed into the type of adoring affection usually reserved for kittens. I’m also on record HERE for supporting remakes and their potential to be worthwhile every now and then. While this particular effort is never going to push the original off the throne in my heart, it did at least capture’s the original’s sense of impending dread. For all its questionable moves, I did find myself properly agitated and worried about how far into the abyss it might go.

My first takeaway is the idea that it’s too bad that ELIJAH WOOD was not old enough to play Norman Bates in the PSYCHO remake as it would have certainly have been less of a disaster. He’s very good in this, even while some of his performance is buried beneath the movie’s too gimmicky POV stance. The POV thing works fine enough and I understand the detached coldness that results was probably what the director was going for but I would have rather it had been used more sparingly as it got in the way of me connecting with the characters. Ultimately this is a no foul, no harm tribute that has a few worthwhile ideas of its own. Plus I have to give points for the retro synth score, hipster baiting though it may be at times. On the other hand, the use of SILENCE OF THE LAMB’s “Goodbye Horses” was just a little too obvious and heavy handed for my taste. Which brings me to…


I laughed at the trailer for this one when I first saw it but when I learned it was directed by SESSION 9’s BRAD ANDERSON I had to give a shot. Guess who had the last laugh? HALLE BERRY of course! THE CALL is a mostly straightforward, surprisingly suspenseful throw back to seventies-era woman in peril thrillers. Its tone and barebones structure make it feel like a TV movie and yeah, that’s a compliment. I think what may have ruined the film for some is that it goes ridiculously off the rails in the third act, BUT I embraced the lunacy and let it flow.

BERRY plays a 911 operator with a history of screwing things up who gets a chance to redeem herself when she gets a call from a girl trapped in the trunk of a car. Eventually, due to the police being incompetent, she must go to the crazy killer’s underground lair(!) to rescue the poor girl herself. Yeah, it’s a little over the top. But I’ll give it this; when the scalping killer begins to go about his torturous business in this movie, he doesn’t play the obvious “Goodbye Horses” instead his tuneage of choice is CULTURE CLUB’s KARMA CHAMELEON. I decree this is a stroke of genius.

I can’t stop thinking about it. On one level, it’s simply funny in an ironic way as the song is about as happy, toe-tappy and benign as they come. Underneath that candy coating though the frightening truth is that KARMA CHAMELEON is also maddeningly nonsensical and ruthlessly repetitive. It is a trickster anthem sung by a Pan-possessed rag doll! Look behind its false mirth camouflage and you will find a chilling condemnation and a call for moral anarchy! Its catchy earworm powers are so evil that they register at levels usually reserved for commercial jingles. Folks of a certain age have had this chant that mocks all that is sane engrained into the deepest level of their psyches where only sleeper agent instructions are meant to be stored. As soon as you hear the first familiar beat from that song it becomes all too hideously clear that all matter of hell is about to break loose!

So now I have a final question for you guys. I babbled on so much today that there’s no way I’m preparing a funhouse so instead, I’ll introduce a new interactive feature entitle The KINDERTRAUMA QUESTIONNAIRE!!!! (Trumpets)

KINDERTRAUMA QUESTIONNAIRE QUESTION #1: What 3 songs would you least like to hear a murderer play while he or she is killing you?

My Answers are…

3. Ce’st La Vie” by Robbie Nevil– because that’s just rude to play that. I wouldn’t want somebody so insensitive to my feelings taking my life.

2. “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride” by Mathew Wilder. I wouldn’t like to hear this song while I was being murdered because I think I’d read the killer’s selection of it as a reflection of his or her alarming determination to accomplish their goals.

1. “Somebody’s Knockin’” by Terri Gibbs. Holy shit, if somebody played this insanely scary song right before they murdered me I would never forgive them. I would damn them to hell forever for making my last moments on Earth such a miserable and harrowing experience! Who would do that? What kind of sick in the head monster plays Terri fucking Gibbs before they kill somebody? It’s like some twisted record executive said, “Can someone please make a song that’s scarier than WING’s “Let ‘em In?” and Terri was all like “Sure, I’ll do it!” and the record guy was like, “Wait, what are you a man or a woman? I can’t even tell.” And Terri was like “What?! What are you blind? I’m a woman you moron! Just for that I’m going to make the song ten times scarier!”

[

Tags: General Horror · I Have No Idea What This Is · Movie Review Headcheese

The Lords of Salem (2013)

May 2nd, 2013 · 19 Comments

In THE LORDS OF SALEM, Heidi Hawthorne (SHERI MOON ZOMBIE), a radio disc jockey, receives a mysterious package with a record inside. A friend attempts to play the record for her but it merely skips until Heidi places the needle upon it herself. The disc produces a haunting wall of sound that puts Heidi in a sort of a Stendhal syndrome trance while her friend remains unmoved. For whatever reason, Heidi then chooses to share her unusual discovery by playing it on her radio show. As the recording howls and booms over the airwaves, we again observe that the music affects different people in vastly different ways, some scowl and shrug and some stop in their tracks mesmerized. The best way to describe ROB ZOMBIE’s THE LORDS OF SALEM is to say that it’s a movie that operates exactly like that record does. It’s a treasure trove for those that respond to visual and audio stimulation and a barren coffer for slaves of clarity and traditional storytelling. If you fall into the latter category, don’t ever see this movie! I beg you! That whole crossed arms, I just ate a lemon, indignant consumer routine you do; it’s not as cute as you think it is.

ROB ZOMBIE is one of the more significant horror directors working today not because he is the most commercially successful but because he has miraculously held on to and honed his own voice (against a tsunami of chattering teeth opponents, I might add). Love it or lump it, he’s now at the artistic level where accessibility is no longer a concern. Think of THE LORDS OF SALEM as his STARDUST MEMORIES, he’s point blank telling anyone still listening that he’s not truncating his journey just because you dig his “earlier, funnier movies.” That could very well irk folks who can’t seem to connect with his work but stand down horror fans; the genre deserves at least one modern director not slavishly beholden to the sensibilities of mall teens. If you don’t like it, good. Welcome to the world of art! Don’t frown; in this joint you can get just as much stimulation from the stuff you don’t like as the stuff you do! Remember, you must be this tall to enter, keep your hands inside the car and stand ready to see things done in ways that you might not have done them yourself! Here is a bullet to bite. I know it’s not what you want but trust me, it’s what you need…

To me, in one way or another, each ROB ZOMBIE movie has been more interesting than the one that came before it. I’m not saying “better,” I’m just saying more thought provoking. (Actually, I could almost say I like each one better than the last except THE LORDS OF SALEM is not dethroning H2 in my heart anytime soon.) Maybe I’m just a very visually oriented person but there are moments in THE LORDS OF SALEM that I think are more potent and valuable then many of ZOMBIE’s directing contemporaries entire output. I’m not kidding. If an alien came to earth and was like “I’m either going to obliterate from existence that frame from LORDS with the orange fur beast or everything that ADAM GREEN and ELI ROTH ever laid a hand on, I would take zero seconds to shamefully respond “Give me the orange fur beast.”

Not that I have anything against those other guys, it’s just that for my needs they’re comparatively disposable and more likely to indulge audiences rather than shepherd them anywhere new. If I ever missed HATCHET, I suppose I’d just watch MADMAN whereas I don’t think there’s anything I could trade ZOMBIE’s imagery for regardless of how much it might be inspired by existing material. He’s just a brilliant visualist, end of story and sorry, that means something to me.

“But Unkle Lancifer!” you might be saying while taking off your spectacles and cleaning them with an embroidered handkerchief, “I don’t care for his writing! His dialogue is trite and like many horror aficionados, I’m an absolute stickler for dialogue!” Here’s the thing, I think his writing is fine and moreover, hold onto your tea cup Oscar Wilde, when it comes to the expression of horror, I don’t think the written word is paramount. “Clay face man walks goat in graveyard” is not much on paper but trust me, visualized it’s a whole different crap-your-pants kettle of fish.

I promise you, I didn’t salute every flag ZOMBIE hoisted. Remember when I was talking about the EVIL DEAD remake and I was saying that it was well built but failed to conjure up a believable presence of malevolent mojo? LORDS is the flip side, its malevolent mojo is indisputable but its structure could stand a few more laps around the gym. I’m not buying the SHINING-style days of the week title cards as framework. As in my actual life, I don’t care what day of the week it is and it’s really no less corny than showing a clock spinning. If you are dubious about SHERI MOON ZOMBIE playing the lead, I’m not going to totally disagree. I think she’s wonderful, a one of a kind character actress, she made an indelible mark in DEVIL’S and she broke my heart in HALLOWEEN. Still, I feel like this movie needed somebody that you didn’t intuitively predict was scrappy enough to wiggle out of whatever. It’s noble to put forth a different type of protagonist but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think some of the film’s erosion themes aren’t blunted by that choice. Do you know who would have been perfect? FAIRUZA BALK! Think about it. Before you agree just know that my answer for every casting quandary is FAIRUZA BALK and I may be subconsciously judging SHERI MOON on her hair.

Here’s the thing though, the most important thing, after the movie was done I went to the restroom in the theater and something about the place felt wrong. The overhead fan was acting up, singing a crazy womp-womp LYNCH-ian dirge and the lights were blinking an indecipherable code. Half my head was still in the movie and that’s my idea of success. True, I missed the emotional punch of H2 (if you didn’t feel anything during Annie’s death scene, congratulations you’re a sociopath) and I admit that I prefer my ZOMBIE a little more stompy. And yet LORDS certainly constructed a hazy, mad malaise that wasn’t so easily wiped off my windshield. Those who get frothy at the mouth minimalizing ZOMBIE’s vision can sleep well, LORDS‘ adamant ambiguity gives you plenty of space to dig in your talons. All I know is that my trusty specter detector was reading some true, undiluted horror on the screen. And when I say “horror,” I don’t mean the pandering power fantasy kind, the giggly, popcorn sleepover kind or the logo strewn, fan bought collectible kind used to spackle over identity chasms and make one feel all safe and special. I mean the unpleasant, corruptive, soul-siphoning kind that has no interest in patting you on the back. No, LORDS doesn’t deliver the rousing cathartic thrills horror fans are looking for instead it offers something most horror fans have little taste for at all, actual horror.

[

Tags: Caution: I break for geniuses! · General Horror · I Have No Idea What This Is · My own personal Jesus

Jury Duty:: Psychophobia!

July 11th, 2012 · 3 Comments

UNK SEZ: Can you believe I have to go to jury duty today? If you were an innocent person would you want me deciding your fate? If what I’ve learned from a zillion sitcoms is true, this could last all day. Worse yet, I have not finished any of the posts I was working on and now you dear reader are screwed and left empty handed. But wait! I wouldn’t do that to you! I’m going to leave you with the horrifying chiller PSYCHOPHOBIA! This movie has the worst (meaning best) dubbing you will ever hear and it is sure to make you as happy as a not very terrified clam! Take care, be good and jump over HERE!!

[

Tags: General Horror · Holidays · I Have No Idea What This Is · I'll watch anything

YellowBrickRoad (2010)

January 7th, 2012 · 10 Comments

I was just saying that although I truly enjoyed THE INKEEPERS, it didn’t really scare me as much as I wanted it to. On the flip side, here is a movie that I didn’t really care for that somehow freaked me out. YELLOW BRICK ROAD sports an an inviting premise; way back in 1940, the entire town of Friar, New Hampshire got it in their heads to abandon their homes and take to a winding trail in the woods. (The assholes even left their pets behind!) They were all later discovered slaughtered or frozen to death with zero explanation. Now, a group of smarty-pants psychologists and the like decide to follow the trail themselves and see what they can find while documenting their journey. Terrible and frustratingly ambiguous things ensue. YELLOW BRICK ROAD is an oddly fascinating movie especially considering that I hated the way it looked, how it was executed and nearly everybody in it. I’d tell it to go climb a tree outright but the damn movie got under my skin even in the face of all my resistance.

I don’t get it. Tacky effects, inconsistent acting, dishwater visuals, moronic behavior, poor and random use of black and white stills, inexplicable wardrobe choices, you name it and it’s present and accounted for and busily agitating me. Still, if you tried to turn YBR off while I was watching it, I would have chopped your arm off. When it finally slunk away after one last dubious image, I realized that remarkably it had left me with a feeling of dread the size of a Rose Bowl float. I was reminded of one of those terribly done reenactment educational films you’d see in Jr. High School about the winter at Valley Forge but laced with grisly f-ed up imagery achieved on a Goth teenager’s laptop. No matter what, the truth remains, it achieved a level of wrongness that made me cringe.

Here are my excuses for being scared by a movie that I found aesthetically appalling; first of all, getting lost in the woods, as I’ve stated before is a real fear of mine. It’s not so much the disorientation that gets to me but the idea that nature itself is an ominous force that is trying to stomp me out that turns my hair white. (This is where most would cite THE BLAIR WITCH but where I, trying to convince you that I read occasionally, cite “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood.) Secondly, in the course of this movie some dum-dums eat poison berries that make them trip their brains out and that idea is a nightmare to me too thanks to GO ASK ALICE and that urban legend about trick or treaters who were given LSD laced candy and are still hallucinating in a mental asylum to this day. Thirdly, this sneaky movie has that SESSION 9-ish vein running through it where you realize that the space between sanity and madness is the length of one thought. I hate that. Lastly, there’s this whole stagnation thing going on where you feel the exhaustion of being in the same place for so long that you forget there was ever any other place. Basically we’re talking about a cinematic K-hole.

I guess I like this movie more than I’m ready to fully admit. I don’t feel like owning it, or seeing it again or hanging a poster of it on my wall and buying the lunch box but it did sufficiently poke my head. On a base level, I still think horror films are like campfire stories and I’m not sure you have to like every sentence the storyteller utters to be taken to the place that you need to go. I’m going to coin my own phrase and call this a “green light bulb movie” in reference to SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT. There’s no rationale why the middle story in that flawed, shabby anthology wigs me out- it just does. I may never use that term again but a “green light bulb” movie is bigger than the sum of its parts. Dissected it looks like nothing but it makes reference to a bigger horror, a horror of indescribable nonsense, of losing your bearings and slipping into a pit where you disinherit yourself completely. I know some people will probably check this one out (it’s on Netflix Streaming) and think, “What are you talking about?” but that’s a big part of what makes a green light bulb movie so unnerving. Frustratingly, not everybody can see it glow. Then again, maybe I’m just creeped out by old-timey forties music.

[

Tags: General Horror · General Insanity · I Have No Idea What This Is · Trauma Au Courant

Burial Ground (1981)

October 19th, 2011 · 13 Comments

If you watch horror movies all year ‘round to begin with, how in the world do you amp up your Halloween viewing pleasure for the month of October? One way I kick things up a notch is by shamelessly watching movies that are extra goofy. BURIAL GROUND: THE NIGHTS OF TERROR is just such a movie. It really is relentlessly daffy and how evil am I for subjecting an unsuspecting Aunt John to it sans warning or explanation? Aunt John asked what year it was from and I guessed ‘73 (I was way off ‘81) not really my fault.

The plot is about as complex as a HENRY comic strip: a professor with a wise beard discovers how to raise the dead. He invites some friends to his cool mansion to talk about his find except he’s already been eaten by zombies and soon they will be too. The entire movie consists of his unfortunate guests failing miserably at escaping peril. Folks cannot even cut across the lawn without stepping in an inconceivably placed bear trap and the only thing missing really is the BENNY HILL theme song. It’s a bad day for the living and a good day for the stunningly resourceful dead. Normally a good zombie movie will make me morbidly depressed, but this one is like a semi-creepy day at the beach.

No post concerning BURIAL GROUND would be complete without singling out scene-stealer extraordinaire PETER BARK. At roughly the age of 26, the diminutive BARK portrays a young child named Michael whose affection for his mother is disturbingly enthusiastic to say the least. The portrayal is lifted to the sublime with the aid of an absolutely unconvincing adult actor supplying his dubbed, puppet show voice. Even if you think you have no interest in seeing BURIAL GROUND, I assure you that once BARK enters the picture that there is no turning around. Even Aunt John rode the film out to its “Did that really just happen?” conclusion.

BURIAL GROUND is above (or below) understanding, speculation or critism. It only wants to bring you joy. It also showcases some of my favorite zombies of all time. The make-up person sort of went with the idea that if something is painted black, then it is invisible to the human eye (even in broad daylight) and I honor this delusion. (At least that’s why I think that some of our zombie pals have black make-up on their noses beneath their masks?)

In any case, I think this calls for a zombie beauty pageant! Check out these teeth that resemble no teeth that ever existed! Look at that crazy hair! How about those cutting edge burlap fashions? Vote for your favorite zombie below and check out this movie if you want to have fun. Trust me, its the only zombie movie in existence whose BARK is better than its bite!

[

Tags: Caution: I break for geniuses! · Halloween · I Have No Idea What This Is · Kids Who Kill · My own personal Jesus · Tykes in Trouble

Friday The 13th Part Clue

September 23rd, 2011 · 10 Comments

UNK SEZ: Somebody has killed Alice in the kitchen with the ice pick!
Using the process of eliminating suspects who don’t look absolutely horrifying, can you solve the case?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

[

Tags: I Have No Idea What This Is · Kindertrauma Funhouse · Mystery Six!