Friday, December 25, 2009

Jennifer's Body

Though I felt like I was in the minority here, I actually liked the premise of this film going into it. Granted, I was a little nervous about Diablo Cody's quippy writing, but I thought it was great that we might get the latest sex-symbol starlet as the antagonist in a sort of monstrous-bodily-transformation slasher movie.

While part of me doesn't want to allow people like Meghan Fox into my horror, the much larger part of me is a fan of fun slashers, so I didn't have a very hard time talking me into giving her a shot.

In about the same way, as much as I hate to say it, when I see Paris Hilton in a horror movie, it doesn't usually hurt the movie, sometimes it's just the opposite in fact. I was expecting, or at least willing, to hope for the same sort of enjoyable performance from Megan Fox.

Unfortunately, the whole thing was pretty much just a big disappointment. The movie just didn't try hard enough to be the great horror film I think it could have been, and didn't even come close to being whatever other teen movie genres it flirted with to try to gain acceptance with more general young audiences.

For a moment, I thought it might be headed in the right direction. The movie was taking Meghan Fox on a pretty nice progression from here... to here.

Perfect. Or almost... there's a lot of filler in between, but this is exactly what I want to see happen to her... the main reason I expect the movie could be interesting.

One problem though, the filler makes up most of the movie. As is pretty obvious up there, the one shot showing her fancy new smile is not something that we ever really get to see. That one blurry still is about the best I can do to show the quick glimpse we get, and then it's gone... ah well, I'm sure they're just teasing us for the big reveal later on...

As it turns out, no, they're not.

I had to spend the whole movie dealing with the development of the silly rockstar-demon premise, eagerly awaiting the big reveal where I'd finally get to see Megan Fox devour someone in a shower of gore. My reward at the end? I get to see her shadow while she eats some emo kid. What a letdown.

If only we'd gotten to see Megan Fox in full makeup as the misshapen monster seen only by way of its shadows in the movie (seen in the trailer at the bottom, 45 seconds in), not only would it have been a much better movie... it would have generated more media buzz than that lackluster lesbian liplock they fell back on instead.

Speaking of which, this movie just needed more sex. It spent an awful lot of time hinting at sexual things, with no exploration of them. In a genre well-known for gratuitous nudity and teenage sex-romps, why wouldn't you go all the way with themes like that? Normally I'm the one rolling my eyes at the ridiculous amounts of tits in the old teen slashers, but here, the absence of anything sexual is just one more thing that the movie started, but then let sputter out before it got anywhere with it.

In conclusion, this Fangoria picture, because it's better than the actual movie.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flesh Eating Mothers

When the cover to a movie is a picture of a person who's not actually in the film and the case shows no screenshots, there's a good chance that there just wasn't actually anything in there exciting enough to put anywhere on the case.

This is one of those. And as usual with these sorts of things, the movie's cover is the best part about this one.

In this movie, a weird STD turns every adulterous mom into a crazed cannibal. A group of highschool kids head out to solve the mystery, and to our dismay, after too few cases of infanticide and little kid eating, the movie's over.

This movie has some of the worst production you'll find. The acting is painfully awful, there's barely a plot, even the lighting is terrible... These things cause a perfectly good horror movie idea to go to waste.

Actually, the amount of terrible in this movie is the only thing that makes it significant at all, so if you feel like putting yourself through agonies to see that for yourself, go ahead, otherwise, I'd just give this one a pass.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


With a name like Rodentz, and a tagline of "Hide the cheese!," my my hopes were about as high as possible when I popped this one in. That all quickly fizzled away unfortunately, as this is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

One constant problem is that they insist on using CG rats all the time. Only it seems like they only got about 10 seconds of CG rat footage to work with, so you just see the same CG rats running by over and over. Keep in mind, these are not dragons or giant fighting robots... they're rats, and real rats can be had for cheap. I just don't get it. The only real reason I could come up with for them to even bother was that in the few scenes they do use real rats for close-ups, and need them to look menacing, they can only seem to pull off looking cute and curious.

As bad as that CG rats clip is, it begins to become apparent that that took up the whole effects budget, as elsewhere we see characters seemingly attacked by brown fuzzy slippers and the like.

Not to mention the guy in a brown barney suit, which is nearly falling to pieces, who's supposed to be a giant rat.

In most cases, I'd probably find a lot of these little flaws endearing to a film if it was still somewhat enjoyable, but this wasn't even close. The story moves glacially, the characters are not interesting at all, you spend the movie hoping that they'll all just die as soon as possible. One of the best characters is the drunken janitor, who we are introduced to right as he passes through on his way to the basement to be killed by the rats.

The "hot-girl" character is annoying, but is a little more of a caricature than the other generic horror movie characters, and as such lends a slightly amusing meta-quality to the film. She spends the movie in a pair of very tight jeans which, as the movie progresses, sink lower and lower down her hips, while at the same time her thong straps creep higher and higher up her torso. This is actually sort of funny, and the sort of thing that could have made the movie more interesting if it had explored a little more, but in the end, everything else about her and all the other characters is just painful to witness.

One more thing, the DVD case states on the front, "Formatted from the original aspect ratio to fit your television screen," and then puts a picture below that showing exactly what the ratio changes would be to accomodate a regular television's ratio, and a widescreen television's ratio... But then below all that it says "Presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sex and Fury

In the late 60's, Japanese box office sales were dwindling, largely because of the television market. The only thing many movie studios knew to do was to add extreme violence and/or sex to their films... The things that viewers wouldn't be able to see on television. Here we have a very good example of both in the appropriately titled, Sex and Fury.

The first notable thing about this film is the introductory montage, although the opening scenes give you an introduction to some of the important imagery for the film, for some reason they do it by having the cast reinact the intro of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

This is a Japanese Pinky Violence at its best and happens to be one of the movies Quentin Tarantino drew from in making Kill Bill. Only 12 minutes or so into the movie you'll see a slightly smaller-scale Crazy 88 style fight, complete with lost limbs and blood that sprays out of their very high pressure circulatory system.

And when this infamous fight scene moves outside into the snow it's almost exactly the same as the O-ren Ishii fight setting... Except here the protagonist is completely nude as this was an assassination attempt which came while she was having a bath. This is quite the sexploitation setup, but somehow a long scene of a wet naked woman, violently killing a dozen or so assassins, is made into something quite tasteful and beautiful to see.

While it's hard to consider that there might be such a thing as a highbrow and artistic action/sexploitation film... it is what it is.

So keep that sort of thing in mind. While it is sexploitation, it's not quite something Russ Meyer could have come up with. There are a lot of very nice shots here, and some strange 70's music once in a while to mix it up. In fact, the last fight has a bunch of the characters dying to something that sounds very much like a some sort of Jimi Hendrix cover.

Final scene:

Also, oddly enough, the voices are all dubbed except for the one white girl in the movie (Christina Lindberg of the One-Eye series).

Only she's from Sweden, and doesn't seem to do the English thing too well herself either.

In spite of this little oddity, and the occasional story hiccup when some things just don't seem to make sense... this is among the best of Japanese sexploitation films you'll find.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Polish Vampire in Burbank

Here's a little gem produced on a budget of just $2500, and one which has gone on to earn over two million dollars from home video sales and cable television. At times, the production value suffers, and the budgetary handicaps become very obvious, but even so, they've really stretched the limits here and produced something that far outshines their restraints.

This film is the story of Dupah, the Polish Vampire, who has never bitten anyone in his life because he feels that his fangs are too small. His family grows tired of supporting him and eventually send him out on his own finally "hunt" successfully in the city.

Dream Sequence:

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Though there are plenty of references to giant piranha here, you hardly ever see them and when you do, they're of normal size.

They do however make bird noises every time you see them. Really. They combine loud bird screeches and parrot calls and that's just the noise the fish are shown to make... it's ridiculous.

There are a few little dialog gems though, so it does get a little credit for that.

"The fish, sir! They're eating the guests, sir!"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Machine Girl

Machine Girl is a Japanese action/horror film about a highschool girl, Ami, who's life gets flipped, turned upside down when her family is attacked by another family of ninjas/Yakuza. She loses an arm in the process. Soon after she decides to go for her revenge, so she gets a bit of Evil-Dead-style arm enhancement gadgetry and goes to work.

These sorts of things aren't for everyone, but seeing the cover is probably enough to decide one way or the other. Either you're on board for machine gun arms, drill bras, and enjoy a good 20 foot arterial spray... or not.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'd assume Robert Rodriguez must've liked the idea too since he made his own and called it Planet Terror.

Available on Amazon: The Machine Girl

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Slime City

This turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I picked up this DVD because it was cheap and had an amusing case. I was also intrigued that this was an 80's creature/slasher film that I'd somehow never even heard of. Now that I've seen it, I'm not sure why there's not a bigger following for it.

The story is oddly captivating, and once things really get going, we eventually reach a great final climax. The last 10 minutes or so are just wonderful, with the main character turning into a monstrous zombie, attacking his girlfriend, being decapitated, and then attacking again sans-head, with the severed head attacking on its own.

The movie makes constant attempts at gore, but doesn't really arrive there in the usual way. It certainly has a distinctive repulsion-free style of body mutilation, and often ends up looking more like the effects department from 90's era Nickelodeon studios provided the trademark slime... but all of this somehow works.

If you'd like to pick up a copy of the DVD, the director sells them himself. They're $10, including s&h, and come signed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Howling 3: The Marsupials

While the story setup (about a reluctantly werewolf-y woman trying to run away from that side of herself, leaving her family, being found by a couple of guys on a park bench, etc.) is something I remember seeing almost verbatim in an old Creepshow magazine, that's not all that unusual in these kinds of movies and the little things they add really make this their own. The whole idea of were-marsupials for instance, including a couple of marsupial births... leading to marsupial killer women with little hairy babies peaking from their pouches... Yes, that's as great as it sounds. How many horror movie fight scenes contain shots of monster fetuses? Hmm... After I wrote that I did actually think of at least 3 other movies that contain monster fetuses... which is equal parts surprising and not. But you know what? All of them are pretty good.

One of the real strong points of this film is that it perfectly balances the right amount of craftsmanship and attention to detail and at the same time not taking itself too seriously. The makeup effects aren't half-bad. Presumably they didn't really have to go all out with this, as though if they made the monsters real enough you'd find yourself having were-marsupial nightmares and considering the possibility that they might be around every corner. The idea is just silly. Yet they really made the things surprisingly detailed. There really is nothing like a trio of nuns with comically convincing Tasmanian tiger snouts.

In a nod to Troll 2's "Nilbog," the name of the were-marsupial town that Jerboa, the main character is from, is FLOW (Wolf, backwards).

This one really seems to have found the right formula for an entertaining and watchable humor/horror film. My only criticism was that it starts to drag a bit towards the end as though they had to make sure every little possible present and future problem for all the characters gets resolved. After the "ending" firefight, the movie goes on a little awkwardly for another 15 minutes or so showing the characters lives as they progressed through the next decade or so from there.