Category Archives: American Cinema
If you’ve been a reader of this site for awhile, then there are at least three things you know about me: 1) I love horror 2) I’m a pretty big and pretty dedicated fan of Jeremiah Kipp’s work and 3) I am a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. At least, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my love of Poe before (my memory is just the worst…). I started reading dear old Poe when I was 8 (not sure why my parents allowed that but hey, it gave me my first foray into horror lit and into the horror genre itself!) and “The Cask of Amontillado” was always my favorite. Something about being walled up for eternity just totally creeped me out (that 8 year old imagination probably came into wicked play there…). My friend, Jeremiah, has taken one of Poe’s short stories “Berenice” and turned into an deliciously creepy short film. It’s his little piece of the upcoming horror anthology Creepers, debuting on Blu-ray and VOD on October 7.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, as I was (and thank goodness I didn’t read this one as a child, is all I gotta say), there once was a boy named Edward who had a lovely cousin named Berenice (names updated for our modern audience) who came to live with him and his parents. Edward (Thomas Mendolia) is a bit awkward and obsessive compulsive. He has to turn lamps on a certain number of times and tinkers with small mechanical parts at his desk, alone in his room. Social he is not. Then along comes Berenice (Cheryl Koski) who is everything Edward is not – sociable, graceful, roaming carelessly through life. Except there’s a catch. Isn’t there always? Berenice is ill, dreadfully ill, with a mysterious malaise that we, at best, know causes seizures. And then there’s Edward’s mother (Susan Adriensen), who while being a bit of a stiff actress, manages to be absolutely terrifying. I’ve no idea if she’s in love with her son or just extremely overprotective and overpowering but I would not cross that woman. Edward’s father (Bob Socci) is rather unassuming, although he too comes off as a bit stiff. Edward is eventually told that he must be the one to take care of Berenice as she worsens, which he seems to be fine with as he’s seemingly…charmed by her, shall we say? And from there, I’ll let you either watch the film or go hunt down the story because what happens next is at times gruesome and then creepy.
Is the film good? You betcha. Thomas and Cheryl both embody their characters in such a way that it’s almost painful to watch – which in this particular story is a good thing. I’m far from being squeamish but there were a couple of scenes here that made me squirm just a bit (although it has been a rather long time since I’ve watched anything other than a tv show binge on Netflix…maybe that’s why…). And the ending? It’s not even the ending actually; it’s just the last final shot that got me. *shudders* Pure cinematic horror goodness right there.
If you love Poe, if you’ve liked my reviews of Jeremiah’s other works, if you just like short horror films done well and if you like horror anthologies (cause I hear the other parts are pretty kickawesome as well!), then check out “Berenice” and Creepers on October 7th!
Some of you are familiar with P.j. Starks, some of you are not. But either way, he’s a pretty cool guy who does a lot of fairly cool stuff when it comes to movies. And he just released one of his films online, finally, for the entire world to see. I haven’t had a chance to watch this one yet but hope to soon. It’s only 19 minutes or so, so head on over and check it out!
Whoo boy, you guys were right about All The Boys Love Mandy Lane! I LOVED this movie! So fun and such a trip. I think I’m probably the last one out of everybody to see this one but maybe someone out there still hasn’t seen it and if not, then you definitely need to, got it? ;)
It’s a pretty simple concept. Mandy Lane gets particularly hot over a summer in high school and all the boys are falling all over her. Mandy however is quiet and shy and bff’s with a guy who’s a bit of an outsider and gets to be even more of an outsider when he pulls a prank at a pool party that leaves a boy dead. (He has the boy jump off a roof, even though the guy is wayyyy too drunk, to impress Mandy Lane). Fast forward a bit in time and Mandy is still quiet and shy but no longer friends with Outcast Boy. She’s now friends with the popular crowd. She and a couple of other girls are invited to a weekend at Stoner Dude’s ranch and Mandy talks her aunt into letting her go. Once they get there it’s all drugs, sex, and rock’n’roll until people start dying one by one. But who’s killing them off? And why?
For a slasher film, this one is aces. Amber Heard is gorgeous and perfect as Mandy Lane and every one plays their part here well. The cinematography is aces too. Really, I have no complaints. This is like a perfect slasher flick. It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, it’s a heck of a thrill ride. I didn’t see the ending coming till the very last second and was surprised when it came. It’s rare these days that a movie can do that. So check it out. I promise you won’t regret it!
Omg, why was Sexy Evil Genius so boring???? This had a really good cast – Michelle Trachtenberg, Seth Green, Anthony Michael Hall, William Baldwin, Harold Perrineau. I mean, that’s a pretty darn good cast, right? I love Michelle ever since “Buffy” and c’mon, who doesn’t enjoy Seth Green?? (Okay, to be fair, some people may not). But he’s playing the straight man here and it’s awesome to watch. In fact, everyone does a great job in this movie. Even William Baldwin doesn’t suck. But my gods, was it a boring movie.
So the gist is that Nikki (Katee Sackhoff, who I am NOT familiar with) gathers three of her ex-lovers (Seth, Michelle and Harold) to meet with her and her new fiance (William). But she can’t just have a big group meeting and be straight about it. We find out over the course of the film that Nikki is either a really free spirit or one straight up psychotic bitch (my vote goes to psychotic bitch btw) so the whole evening is one big mind fuck. And the whole movie just spins in circles where you keep thinking one thing will happen but then it never does. And the whole movie is set in a bar and the action rarely leaves the one table the characters are at. Normally, I LOVE talky movies like this but this one I just could not get into.
So really that sums it up – great cast, terrible plot, great acting, very talky with no action which is normally a plus – I should’ve loved this thing…*sighs*
Oh SyFy, are there even words to describe how much I adore your offerings? I’m not sure I can find just the right words to even begin to proclaim my love of your silly so silly and oh so fun movies. The latest being Blast Vegas, of course. *sighs* Such movie perfection. Such movie actors – Frankie Muniz (so THIS is where he went off to!) and Barry Bostwick (man, do I ever love you, Barry!!). Just *sighs*.
Seriously, though this movie is ALL sorts of cray cray fun! This group of college kids goes to Las Vegas on spring break, dragging along one Frankie Muniz and one Andrew Lawrence (and oh, did he ever get that cutie gene like his bros did!). Frankie’s all “I don’t want to be here” and “Who puts ketchup on a hot dog??” (is that a weird thing? I don’t eat hot dogs but I thought people DID put ketchup on them?). Meanwhile, they meet a group of girls including one Olive who was also dragged along and would rather be studying ancient history than partying. She and Frankie meet and it’s almost love at first sight. *le sigh*
And then you have Barry Bostwick as the gin loving, piano playing Vegas singer whose been around the block more than a few times.
But really our story starts with Phil, the SendEx guy who gets robbed and pistol whipped at the very beginning of the movie by two guys who want a precious piece of cargo he’s carting to one casino – an ancient sword. The robbing doesn’t go very well as once the pair of baddies start driving away, a dust storm tears them to pieces then dumps the sword right back by pistol whipped Phil, who apparently goes ahead and delivers it because next time we see it, it’s in said casino. Damn, those SendEx guys are good! Robbed, pistol whipped and you STILL manage to get your delivery in on time??
Next, comes our spring breakers and boys being boys, Andrew Lawrence and the gang, minus Frankie steal the sword and go stick it in the dirt out back. Now, did I mention this sword has an Egyptian curse attached to it?? But then, don’t they all? Anywho, sword in dirt, sword not come out of dirt, boys go back to partying. Boys not too bright.
What follows is an epic dust storm – actually a snakedustnado (a dust tornado made up of dust snakes) that wreaks havoc on Las Vegas while people die left and right and our spring breakers plus Barry look on in despair…will our gang survive? Will they be able to break the curse? Is it really and truly up to Frankie Muniz from “Malcolm in the Middle” to save the day???
Well, boys and girls, I guess you’ll just have to watch and see for yourself the epicness that is “Blast Vegas”! ;)
I have to admit to being a fan of this offering from Red Serial Films and Daniel Benedict. It’s def got an old school slasher feel to it with just the right amount of cheesy goodness to make it pretty damn fun for the whole family. Okay, well, not the whole family. Definitely don’t show this one to the kiddos!
Our story starts with an abused woman fighting with her husband and the whole thing just starts with a BAM! (picture that in comic book style writing, k?). Then we move on to a bunch of college age kids out at a bar for Halloween – we’ve got Dickface (whom I wanted to punch in the balls), his girlfriend, Sweetie and then Honeybee and her boyfriend, Ninja Turtle. No, of course those aren’t their real names in the film but we know how I like to name characters and make them my own. ;)
Honeybee and Ninja Turtle are pretty norms and a cute little couple. Dickface is cheating on his girlfriend and majorly abusive towards her verbally. Again, did I mention the ball punching I wanted to do? Anywho, they decide to leave the bar and on the way home stumble across this old boarded up former sex shop so of COURSE they just have to break in and see what it’s all about. Can’t blame them, I would’ve done the same thing.
Dickface drags Sweetie off so she can give him a bj while Honeybee and Ninja Turtle explore the rest of the place. And that is when the slasher fun begins. I am happy to report that Dickface is the first to die in an EPIC way that includes…well, you just have to see it. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. (Seriously, I hated this character SOOOO much. I was SOOOO happy when he died first!)
Obvis, as it’s a slasher movie, a whole bunch of other people die, so I’m not giving anything away there. There’s also a twist, I actually didn’t see coming, that had me say ‘Wait, what?????’, so that was fun. For such a lo-budget film, the special effects and gore are totally top notch. This is one of the goriest films I’ve watched in awhile (although I haven’t been watching a ton of movies, I know but still). And it seemed to be all old school effects so major ups for that shiz.
The acting varied. The majority of people were pretty good but there were definitely a couple of moments where I wondered if this was some of these guys first film. Nothing so atrocious that it totally took away from the overall effect, just a mild moment here and there where I went, “Huh.” And if it was their first film, then good for them because they picked an excellent one to be a part of.
So what can I say? I dug it, cheesy parts, gory parts, even the couple of parts that made me say “Hey, what?” because this right here is what true indie film is all about especially when it comes to horror. You go Daniel Benedict (writer/director/Dickface) and Red Serial. You guys are rocking it!
So I found this cool app on my Kindle where you could download like 99 classic horror films for $.99. Of course I wasn’t going to pass that up especially since I am severely lacking in the classic horror department of my education – it’s pretty limited to things like Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Haxan. I decided to watch them in the order they appear in the app and this was right after Bucket of Blood (which I’ve already seen and own) so Anatomy Of A Psycho it was.
Meet Chet. Chet here is apparently a teenager…ahem…whose brother has just been executed because he was accused of killing someone. Chet thinks his brother was innocent and is extremely upset about his bro’s execution while everybody else, including Chet’s sister believes the other brother was guilty and got what he deserved. Anyways, Chet gets increasingly delusional and paranoid (or something…really he just starts ranting a lot and getting into fights) until he finally attacks the son of the only witness to his brother’s crime – a boy who happens to be dating his sister. Dum dum DUM!!!! Oh and someone dies. Just fyi.
I don’t watch a lot of classic movies (remember how I was going to try to watch all sorts of classic movies in 2013 and it never happened??) so I dunno how I feel about this movie. Mostly I was confused that everyone was talking about going to school, a school with lockers, when they all looked to be in their 20s – did they not actually use teenagers in movies back in the 60s? Then I was annoyed by the sister because dear lord, all she did was swoon onto couches in hysterics. Seriously, woman, pull yourself together! Oy. And thirdly, I was confused about why this was a horror movie. I’d classify it more as a psychological thriller – a bit of a boring one but still. I also saw elsewhere that it was classified as exploitation…not sure how that one works either. Melodrama, definitely. Horror – not even.
But overall, it was okay. Yes, it was melodramatic at times and silly but it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It was fun to watch something I’m not used to, at any rate and I’m excited to check out the other 97 or so films.
Well, Darkroom is…interesting. And has absolutely nothing to do with photography like I thought it did. Instead, it’s a kind of mixed up tale of a girl who got into a car accident, killing her three friends, who then gets sent to rehab instead of jail and then ends up as a playtoy for three psycho siblings hellbent on purging her of her sins. So yeah…interesting…but I’m not sure how much I liked it.
What I definitely didn’t like was the first thirty minutes or so where the scenes keep switching in a non-linear way from Michelle (the aforementioned girl) being in rehab, hanging with her friends at a club, going on a modeling job and then being in psycho land. Back and forth and back and forth and back again, the scenes switch with me being convinced that she actually died in this car wreck and is in purgatory (she didn’t so no spoilers there) but I was terrifically confused this whole time as to where we stood on the time frame of things.
Essentially, the mother/warden from the rehab clinic or whatever it was, is actually one of the psychos and has two brothers. They grew up with a crazy religious mother who said things like “Confess your sins!” and “You’re a dirty little girl!” so that really fucked them up for life. Not sure how they all landed jobs at this rehab place but whatevs.
And to carry on their mother’s legacy, when girls are let out of the rehab, they tell them they’re getting a job helping out on a modeling gig (helping out with lighting and hair/makeup/etc.) but when the girls arrive, they’re told a model has dropped out and they will need to take her place. And that’s when the real fun begins as the trio of siblings slices and dices and makes mincemeat of the girls all while haranguing them about their sins and being “dirty little girls”.
The acting is far from terrible in this but is just typical of your standard slasher film. There’s a couple of good fight scenes that happen near the end that I really dug. There’s your typical cat and mouse going on – will Michelle escape or won’t she? Overall, pretty standard fare.
Not great and not terrible, this is good rainy day material.
Black Forest is a mostly fun offering from SyFy. Of course, I’m partial to it because it deals with fairy tales and I think we all know how much of a fan of fairy tales I am. ;) When tourists visit a European village and agree to observe a pagan ritual in the forest, they become trapped in an alternate fairy tale dimension. And oh what a fun (mostly) dimension it is.
Our hapless heroes are confronted by a little bit of everything – from the wolf from “Little Red Riding Hood” to a character that essentially passes as Baba Yaga to the seven dwarves from “Snow White” (and those dwarves are MAJOR creepster and MAJOR evil, let me tell you). See, what happens is our little group goes out to a node inside a fairy ring to do this pagan ritual because apparently no one has ever read a fairy tale or anything relating to the fae EVER and thinks it’s a grand idea to do all this. Idiots. Anywho, a fairy shows up and kidnaps the baby from the group (I guess the parents couldn’t get a sitter that night??) and the next thing they know the group is in another land. Dum dum DUM….
They stumble across an inn where they find a young woman who seems to kinda know her way around the place and how to survive – of course this is after the young, hot nanny gets offed by the 7 dwarves (told you they were evil!) and another guy is grabbed by a huge wolf.
What follows is a bunch of mishaps, a bunch of running around trying to figure out how to save the baby and then of course the grand finale in typical SyFy style. Honestly, for SyFy this one ain’t bad. It’s biggest downfall is that there are at least two stretches of time where I was just completely bored because it was all repetition and talk and more repetition. This definitely could’ve been shorter and it was only and hour and a half. Here’s the closest thing I could find to a trailer:
If you’re into fairy tales, I think you’ll dig this one. It’s currently streaming on Netflix so check it out!
I’m going with the assumption that we’ve all seen V/H/S, the original, right? If not, it’s another found footage, a film within a film (or rather several films within a film) and directed by a handful of different directors. And it did well enough that they came out with V/H/S/2.
I liked the original enough that I jumped at the chance for a screener of the second. And I have to say while I don’t remember tons about the first one, I liked the second one a lot better, especially the outside frame story.
Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his abandoned house and find a collection of mysterious VHS tapes. In viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be terrifying motives behind the student’s disappearance.
I dunno about those “terrifying motives” the blurb from the box mentions but there definitely were a couple of scary moments here, a few creepy moments and a whole helluva lot of bloody ones. And at least one sweet one, which probably wasn’t meant to be sweet but it was. Awwww!!!
Our first VHS tape tells the story of a guy with a robotic eye who sees dead people (typical really) and while fun, didn’t do too much for me. The second was, I believe, the zombie one which was the one that had the sweet moment (because zombies just want to be people too y’all!!!). That was also one of the more fun ones because of the way it’s filmed – we see everything from a zombie’s point of view. Def nice. And then we had the one about the cult, which may have been the creepiest but was, in my opinion, the most boring. Full of blood and ick but somehow it still couldn’t quite capture my attention (is this a side effect of getting old???? :( ). And the last was the alien one which was actually super fun and possibly my favorite. Just the action in that one and the energy and oh, the dog, the wee little dog!
Do you need to own V/H/S/2? No. Should you watch it? Def.