Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Horror without end

Besides being alone with a barking, whining dog, I started watching a horror movie a day (this is instead of working, as a sort of informal protest), trying to see if I could do it for a week straight.  I'm almost tempted to blog about them. 

1.  HATCHET 2.  Hopelessly gory sequel to an alright throwback Slasher film.  The story/premise was excellent (the lone survivor of the first film goes back to where it occurred, this time with a group of armed men, none of whom end up prepared for what's coming, Copyright 20th Century Fox, 1986), but the budget and the priorities (slow, mean-spirited splatter effects, including castrations, debrainings, beheadings, and debreastings, rather that scares and trying to make the best out of the script) kept this from reaching its potential.  But I understand that the target audience would hate a good story getting in the way of all their gore.
2.  THE DARK.  Nice ghost story with Maria Bello and Sean Bean.  Scary, with interesting Gaelic backstory.  Unfortunately, the ending was a head-scratcher, that I still don't entirely get (par for the course, kids).
3.  OPEN WATER 2.  A bunch of pals end up stuck in the ocean outside their yacht because the ladder wasn't lowered.  One by one they succumb to drowning or each other.  Unfortunately, the ending was so confusing as to ruin the whole rest of the movie.  (I looked it up and the director claims he couldn't decide whether to have it end happily or sadly, so he shot both endings . . . and included both.  Motherfucker)
4.  SLAUGHTER HIGH.  A delightful Eighties Slasher done by an English cast and crew, but with American accents.  Fun, kind of clever, and starring the then-35 year old Caroline Munroe, playing a high school student.  Unfortunately, the ending was a big cop-out, revealing everything to have been in the imagination of the institutionalized killer.  Or maybe it wasn't.  Except that it was.
5.  NEEDLE.  Well-made Australian film with a great premise and the best-looking girls possible.  There's some French mechanical device (probably designed by Clive Barker) that can kill your enemies from afar, except when the script decides not to.  It sort of didn't work, but compared to the others, the ending was actually alright.
6.  RISKY BUSINESS.  I saw this as a kid and never forgot a couple of the images (yes, naked Rebecca De Mornay was one of them).  Watching it all these years later brought back some nostaligic Eighties memories, and had me cognisant that you couldn't get away with some of this stuff today.  I know it's not a horror movie, but I watched it anyway, and enjoyed it more than all of the above.
7.  DAUGHTERS OF SATAN.  This was one of the (hundreds of?) movies made in the early Seventies dealing with demonic possession and/or devil-worship.  It starred Tom Selleck (looking as he always did, leading me to wonder if he might not be one of those Immortal dudes from HIGHLANDER), who buys a painting at a flea market featuring the burning of historical three witches, one of which bears an uncanny resemblance to his wife.  This decade was amazing in both the pessimistic endings of its movies and gratuitous nudity, and this flick had both, except they end up having their cake and eating it too by having a miraculously happy revelation at the end, only to undo it one second before the credits roll.*
8.  Three episodes of "Tales From The Crypt."  I stopped watching the show after the second season, and was surprised to see that these were from the seventh.  Apparently, they moved the whole damn production to England, and shot with British casts.  The first episode was so hard to follow, I suspected it had been an hour long show cut to thirty minutes.  The second was pretty good, but only had story enough for ten minutes.  The third had Ewan McGregor doing an American accent . .  ish.  I decided about halfway through that two episodes would've been enough.
9.  DETENTION.  If I described this movie to you, you'd be as excited to see it as I was when I read the description.  Basically, it's a high school movie, but the students are made up of characters from other high school movies.  It's really snarky and starts out quite hilarious, but something went wrong somehow and it becomes a disjointed, confusing mess.  By the halfway point, I had forgotten that there's a SPIDER-MAN parody, a SCREAM parody, a BREAKFAST CLUB parody, and a DONNIE DARKO parody, and simply struggled to figure out what the filmmaker was trying to pull off.  There were some funny parts, but a lot of the jokes were not delivered well, or were thrown away instead of given their due.  This one was more disappointing than all the others, simply because it seemed to have the most potential (at least from reading the synopsis).  Also, it had Dane Cook in it.
10.  THE DEVIL WITHIN HER. (aka I DON'T WANT TO BE BORN, aka IT'S GROWING INSIDE HER, aka THE MONSTER, aka SHARON'S BABY [despite the main character being named Lucy])  This was the last one I watched (though I did start a Korean horror flick and gave up on it because I'm a terrible, small-minded, racist person).  It starred Joan Collins as a woman who gives birth to a baby who is cute when onscreen, but when offscreen is able to kill and maim and lift a grown man into the air.  She seems confused as to how this child could be so evil, but then flashes back to when a dwarf cursed her firstborn child to be a demon, and then she continues to disbelieve.  In the end, the baby has killed pretty much every single character in the film (including the doctor who birthed him, played by Donald Pleasance), and is undone by the world's longest exorcism.  If it really took that extended a shrieking invocation to un-possess a person, the world would be nothing but demons . . . unless it already is.

I have no idea why I wrote all this up, except that I used to love watching horror films, and watching ten in as many days would not have been extraordinary for me.

Also, I have editing to do and have not worked on it in almost a week now.  So there.

Rish Outfield, One-Time Horror Afficionado

P.S.  Blogger tells me this is my 800th published post (sixteen are still floating in the ether).  That's a lot of words.

*I met Mister Selleck when I first moved to Los Angeles, and it would have been great to pretend I recognized him only from DAUGHTERS OF SATAN.

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