Friday, December 15, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Hatchet (2006)

A few thoughts: I always enjoy slasher movies with a decent sense of humor, and this one handles the balance of comedy and horror pretty well. Victor Crowley is a great blend of 'The Hills Have Eyes'-style mutated killer with the unstoppable hulking Jason Voorhees type. He may not be a classic slasher villain yet, but hopefully within the next few years people will be able to look back on this as the beginning of a horror legend. Now, as fun as I found the movie, it suffers from a weird issue that usually only plagues action movies: the music is too damn loud. It drowns out the dialogue, and in a movie like this where the dialogue is pretty funny, that is a big problem. Sadly, this movie throws out Tony Todd and Robert Englund just for tiny cameos, both of which I was hoping might be used a bit more, but they are just cameos after all. Oh well. I love the practical effects, and the moments involving Victor Crowley ripping limbs off of bodies, twisting people's heads off, etc. It's pretty self-aware, funny when it needs to be, and super gory. I had fun.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

200 Items Or Less: The Witch (2016)

A few thoughts: It's hard for me to try to talk about this movie in less than 200 words, as I recently spent about an hour having a conversation about it and still felt certain aspects were left mostly unmentioned. So, I'm just gonna cover a few points. One, the set, costume design, and dialogue is very period appropriate. Nothing stood out to me as false in this department at all. Two, the acting, while decidedly stiff and ye olde, was all-round pretty fantastic. Three, the music is haunting and perfectly punctuates actions, as well as helping add to the overarching sense of dread. And four, they do a fantastic job with the characters at establishing motivation, making every action hold up as perfectly understandable and justified within the context of the film. This isn't some sort of non-stop thrill ride, it's an atmospheric horror film that puts a great deal of emphasis on characters, setting, and a feeling of dread instead of being all about things popping out at the screen and giving the audience the spooks. It's far, far better than that.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Vampire's Kiss (1988)

A few thoughts: One of the most bizarrely entertaining movies of the 1980s, 'Vampire's Kiss' walks that fine line between intentional and unintentional humor, flips off that line, calls it some filthy names, and then pees all over it. My point is, by the time it's done, you won't be sure what was intended at any point throughout the entire film, but you'll almost certainly never be able to forget it. I like to try my hardest to get in the mindset of the director, writer, producers, or virtually anyone else involved in making this film, but I have the distinct feeling I'd have to experiment with cocaine in order to achieve the desired enlightenment, and that's just too expensive and dangerous for 'lil old me. To adequately sum this movie up, I'll have to reference an episode of the TV series 'Community' that poses the question: "is Nicolas Cage good or evil?" The answer to this question sadly cannot be found here, but this performance is a prime example of how a question like that could be asked of an actor's entire career. Prepare for an unforgettable, hilarious experience.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Black Sheep (2006)

A few thoughts: This is a movie that knows exactly what it is and what it wants to be. Tonally, this film could have easily been a mess, never taking itself seriously enough to work as a horror film in any capacity, or funny enough to live up to its absurd subject matter. Instead, it does a remarkable job at balancing both, offering up an inspired 'Shaun Of The Dead'-like film that is funny enough to be a comedy, and bizarrely grotesque enough to work as some variety of body horror. No, it never hits the highs of that particular example, but I don't think bringing them up in the same conversation is by any means an insult. The characters are well-handled, the gore effects are almost shockingly good, and the movie knows better than to make a complete mockery of itself, even when it sometimes wants to do just that. It lets the absurdity speak for itself and allows the characters to be rightfully afraid -- in spite of how dumb it all is. In no other movie could you watch a guy get humped by a sheep in a field while wearing a wool blanket and have that somehow work.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Theatre Of Blood (1973)

A few thoughts: When talking about a movie like this, it's virtually impossible to even attempt separating it from the film's main star, Vincent Price. And why would you want to? Not only was the screenplay clearly tailored specifically for him, but as one of the greatest horror film stars of all time, he would be hard to ignore either way. A comedic and dramatic film, centered around a niche actor known for his hammy and overwrought performances, who decides in the twilight of his years to take revenge on the critics who so long denied him his precious accolades. Like I said before, this film was clearly built around him. And what it also does is provide him ample opportunities for costume changes and sinister character moments, allowing him to display all the range he ever needed. I see it as a giant middle finger to snobby film critics everywhere, and I love it. It's big, dramatic, tons of fun, and gives an older Vincent Price some career-best material to work with. Sometimes all an actor needs is to be himself.