Monday, March 15, 2010

The Unborn - 1991 - Dir. Rodman Flender
Location: Micah's Home Theater
Horror Movie Night

Kicking off the apparent "babies in pods" theme of Horror Movie Night for March is this wonderful little film from the early 90s. The story centers around a woman and her husband who are trying to get pregnant and go to a fertilization specialist. After the success strange things begin to happen in Virginia's (Brooke Adams) body and surrounding the clinic. This is an entry into the killer kid subgenre and while it starts off kind of slow it really picks up the pace and rocks it to the end. Nothing too crazy happens after the opening until almost halfway through when a hysterical patient of the clinic starts plunging a chef's knife into her bloated belly. Awesome! After that point the insanity grows and grows to an wonderful climax and some great animatronics, for what otherwise appears to be a rather low budget film.

There is a ton of man hating in this film. Most all of the male characters have bad qualities and are chastised by the females. A rather young Kathy Griffin plays one part of a man-hating lesbian couple who teach a birthing class. This gives way to a wonderful line of dialog when a woman storms out of their feminist meeting by telling Griffin and her lover to suck her dick. There is so much anti-penis in this film that Marcus rightfully labeled it a Lifetime horror flick.

I really enjoyed watching this and will definitely revisit in the future. In a couple of weeks we'll be watching the sequel and I hear it's even better. I can't wait!

Mad Dog Morgan - 1976 - Dir. Philippe Mora
Location: Micah's Home Theater
Weird Wednesday

From splatter and killer babies we switched to Australia in 1865 for a killer western-ish film about an infamous bush ranger named Daniel "Mad Dog" Morgan (Dennis Hopper). He was an Irish immigrant and criminal who gets out of prison and makes his way across the county robbing and excessively drinking alongside his aboriginal partner. The story of Morgan is rather interesting - too bad it's contained within this snoozefest. Hopper is nearly certifiable here and the choices by the director and editor are not much different. From scene one they wave goodbye to any sense of transition or interesting composition. I have heard many things about this and how difficult Hopper was to work with, but all of that was more interesting and entertaining than the actual film. A real shame since I had such high hopes.

The Killer Must Kill Again (L'assassino è costretto ad uccidere ancora) - 1975 - Dir. Luigi Cozzi
Location: The Comfort of My House

An adulterer catches a killer disposing of his latest victim but instead of turning him in he hires the man to get rid of his wealthy wife. While the husband is away the killer does his business but a young couple steal his car with the woman in the trunk. Sounds like a pretty standard giallo, right? It does have killing, vivid colors, stylish cinematography, a funky score, weird title and plenty of sex but one major thing is missing - the mystery. In most giallos the killer is a mystery and red herrings are thrown around to take you off their tracks. With this film you know the offender from the very beginning so you get the same thrill of the chase feeling without the mystery. I wasn't too sure how this was going to work out, since I love trying to solve the mystery myself, but Cozzi's picture pleasantly surprises.

Taking away the puzzle in a giallo is like pulling away a crutch. Now instead of just making people guess it's all about the hunt and the killer's revenge against the couple who screwed up his sacred act. I'm sure some might find the lengthy chase for the middle portion of the film a tad slow but it does nothing but add tension. I highly recommend giallo, thriller or Italian horror fans check out this film right away.

Alternate Titles
- The Killer Must Strike Again
- The Dark is Death's Friend

Transylvania Twist - 1989 - Dir. Jim Wynorski
Location: The Comfort of My House

Long before there was Scary Movie there was this little flick. Not to say this is the first horror spoof, but it goes in a very goofy direction. A young man travels to Transylvania to retrieve a 200 year old book with great powers. What I really like about this film is the broad horror spectrum parodied. There are some typical scenes with Freddy, Jason, Pinhead and the more mainstream crew, but there are also major events revolving around events Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, the film Nosferatu (with some characters named Orlok) and a ton of Lovecraft influence - the book calls the Elder Gods, main character is named Dexter Ward (Lovecraft has a novel entitled The Case of Charles Dexter Ward) and other minor shout-outs. Aside from the great references many great cameos in the film including Angus Scrimm, Brinke Stevens and Forrest J. Ackerman.

The downside are the laughs aren't really there. You will chuckle here and there but no real belly laughs. I was also surprised to see a Wynorski film without any nudity. I know, shocking! This film isn't for everyone but horror aficionados will get a kick out of all the references.

The Crazies - 2010 - Dir. Breck Eisner
Location: Theater - Hulen Movie Tavern - Ft. Worth

I was in Ft. Worth and had a few hours to kill so I checked the trusty iPhone for movie times and saw that I could book it over to Hulen Mall area and catch this latest remake to fill my time. I have been to this theater many times, but not in years. Since my last trip it was transformed from the dingy UA theater into a movie tavern and it is quite a makeover. I still hate that most of the newer movie taverns and the Studio Movie Grills in Dallas all have office style chairs on wheels. They might be a little more comfortable than regular old movie seats but they creak and you end up rolling into others. I'm not a fan.

It has been a while since I watched Romero's original film from 1973 but the same basic premise is there. A small town is put under a high level quarantine and clean suited agents infiltrate terminating anyone in their path. There is nothing really special about this film but it has some fun, tense and startling moments. Olyphant in the lead role of the town sheriff is great but a tad underused. One thing that really bugged me is the odd moments the writers chose to have the deputy make his wisecracking remarks. Many times it takes you right out of the tension and atmosphere of the moment.

The Rift - 1990 - Dir. Juan Piquer Simón
Location: Mi Casa
Horror Movie Night

This week Marcus was busy with bagpipe and drum stuff and Micah was busy working before heading off to SXSW so I watched the film at home alone. I really think having people to make fun of this with would have helped enormously. Unfortunately I was alone, confused and bored.

An submarine, Siren II, is sent to see what happened to the crew of its predecessor, the Siren I, when it disappeared. Strange things happen underwater and people die. When I saw Juan Piquer Simón directed this and it stars R. Lee Ermey and Ray Wise I figured I was in for a treat. I love both of those actors, and Simón's film Pieces kicks much ass. Soon I found out this was not going to be a fun hour and a half. The logic of their sea knowledge was very confusing. At one point I swore they said they were over 45,000 feet down when the Mariana Trench is only around 36,000. At the extreme depths a diver was sent out of the submarine in a fairly standard looking suit with no decompression. Right. I'm sure if I were surrounded with friends and beer fun could have been had but I just wasn't into it by myself. Ermey and Wise were great but they could not save me.

Alas there is no Horror Movie Night this week so I have to wait much longer for the next fun time. Hopefully we can all get together again.


btsjunkie said...

The irony of the anti-peen sentiment that permeates THE UNBORN is that it has TWO male writers and a male director. Bunch of pansy ninnies the lot of 'em.

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