Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So I have been doing pretty well at keeping to my plan to watch horror movies every day in October. Not that I've been writing here about them.
I've been sticking to watching stuff I haven't seen before... so not counting stuff like The Haunting, which played on TCM a few weeks back.
I watched a bunch of older stuff I'd been negligent about... like White Zombie (great atmosphere but the background music needs to shut up)... and I finally watched The Conjuring... which, much as I suspected, just annoyed me with it's Christian-babble.
I don't get why I can watch stuff like The Exorcist, with all its Catholic magic and not be bothered... but add in some Bible-thumpers like the Warrens and I just lose all tolerance. The Conjuring has some stuff that would otherwise strike me as ghoulish fun... but the Warrens (real or acted) just put me right out of the mood.
I don't think it's a flaw with the movie... it's a flaw with me... surely something to do with my previous life as a Christian and subsequent coming to my senses about it all. Kinda like an ex-smoker who becomes an anti-smoking zealot.
Not that I was ever 'super christian' or even a fundamentalist (though I did attend some very fundamentalist churches).
Anyway... enough with my self-analysis.
The two movies I've liked the most so far are kind of similar in that they both feature cute psycho girls on a rampage.
The Love Ones was more from the victim's point of view... but boy, was that driller killer a cute mess of a murderess. I was rooting for her right up to the bitter end... hoping against all likelihood that she and her latest boy-toy would work out their differences and find true crazy love in the Outback.
My other fave is Alyce Kills... which has a slow build up to some solid bloody rampaging in the last quarter hour. Again, the crazy girl is hot stuff... as acknowledged by everyone around her.
I'm not necessarily a fan of woman-on-a-rampage films. I did like Ms. 45 but that was mostly because of the way it looked, the sleazy urban mood it dished out.
The Loved Ones has a cheerfully gruesome thing going on... a bit in the EC end of the pool with it's head drillings and loboto-zombie filled basement.
Alyce Kills is a bit more like Ms. 45. It's got a similar vibe. Even though it's not really a revenge story there's a certain note of justice involved in the killings... and the dark philosophizing of the drug dealer guy is some of my favorite bits. I'm thinking the ending was a bit too cute though... or at least cuter than I wanted it to be.

Hopefully I'll get around to watching the Insidious sequel and Escape From Tomorrow before the month is out.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hey! It's October!

So I'm once again going to try, and most likely fail, to watch a horror movie every day of October and come up up with some lame insight based on what I watched.

Yesterday, October 1st, I went looking for something to start off with...
I had some criteria.
I wanted to start with something somewhat decent, hopefully classic.
I also wanted to watch something I'd never seen.
It's kind of hard to hit both... I've seen most of the good old stuff... that I know of... that's available to be seen.
What I settled on was Dr. Cyclops. I'd never seen it all the way through, it's something of a classic in that it gets name-dropped in several other genre films.
Too bad my internet crashed at the last minute and I couldn't get to it...

So, instead I ignored my rules and just shoved in Undead, the Australian zombie/alien movie from a few years back.
Now, I hadn't seen Undead, so at least that box got checked... but it wasn't 'classic'.
I'm still not sure if it was 'decent'.
For one thing, I went in not knowing it was a comedy. A fairly broad comedy at that. It reminded me a bit of Peter Jackson's early films... though not nearly as gross or funny.
It's definitely one of those movies where people/zombies are big bags of red juice... waiting to be split asunder by any handy implement of destruction. Fists go through heads, a man is split in half by a steering wheel lock, a head is knocked off by a weaponized zombie-arm. All of that in the first several minutes of the movie.

So, lots of red on everyone.
The dialog is very 'wacky'. The characters are obvious archetypes.
I seem to remember reading a bit of chaff about this movie back when it came out... something about it doing a bait-n-switch on viewers by not being a 'real' zombie film. Having watched it though, I don't see how anyone could have gone further than a few minutes into it without it being obvious that some sort of sci-fi mumbo jumbo was going on... 'things from space' doing bad/weird things.
Maybe the complaints I read were about the ending... which does get pretty wild and weird, compared to the early bits of the film which are just kind of silly/dumb. Not that the ending is entirely opaque... but a lot of stuff goes vague or unexplained. It's never made quite clear what the 'aliens' are or what they're up to... what the 'zombies' were or weren't.
None of that bothered me though. I much preferred the second half of the movie over the first.
OK, two things I took from the movie...
First, I still like zombies. Despite the glut of zombie stuff from the past few years, on film I still like them as monsters. Yes, too much damn zombie crap being made... too much zombie merchandise... but when they're done well they make for great creepy monsters. (all of this goes for Cthulhu as well).
Second, despite my ersatz prejudices about Australians, they make some of my favorite movies. Just about always surprising and willing to shift around genres... a bit like Bollywood films in that.
One of my favorite movies is Muriel's Wedding. It's usually marketed as a wacky comedy... but anyone who's seen it knows that it shifts all over the couch... from slapstick to black comedy to tragedy... even a few moments encroaching on horror. It all comes together into something that's a bit surreal... and despite the feel-good ending there is a good bit of badness that remains under the carpet.
Undead has those elements as well... it shifts around. It's never really scary, but it has moments of weird and moments of sad.

Favorite bits:
The running grudge between the small-town beauty pageant contestants.
The scene late in the movie with the 'levitating' van.
The scene where the fisherman fights the zombie fish.

OK, hopefully I can get Dr. Cyclops to work tonight...