Tag Archives: Unrated

Review of Wrong Turn 4 (2011)

14 May

Wrong Turn 4 also known as Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011) is a direct-to-video horror/slasher/thriller film and the fourth film in the Wrong Turn film franchise.

Directed by Declan O’Brien (Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009), Sharktopus (2010)).

Written by Declan O’Brien (The Snake King (2005), Savage Planet (2007)).

Starring: Scott Johnson, Sean Skene, Tenika Davis, Victor Zinck Jr., Terra Vnesa, Jennifer Pudavick, Dean Armstrong, Dan Skene and others.

You know what I really wanted while watching the previous Wrong Turn movies? To know how the inbred freaks started out. I guess, that’s what the filmmakers thought, but who the fuck cares? They’re not interesting characters and you know what they did before they killed people? They killed other people. I didn’t need another movie to make it clear.

So the inbred kids are taken to some asylum, but, as we know, in movies every lock can be picked with a hair-pin. The inbreds break free and turn the place upside down.

You might think this is going to be some trashy horror flick after the previous movie being pretty shitty, but this one is way classier, since we get to see the gratuitous nudity only after 11 minutes. But the wait is rewarded by some interracial lesbian sex. Definitely worth it.

For some reason the budget looks bigger than in Wrong Turn 3, I guess, it’s just that the HD cameras have improved in the two years. It can’t be anyone put high hopes for this movie. I must give it credit, there’s some scenes in snowy landscapes, where the photography is beautiful, it’s sad that the movie keeps getting into the shot. Also the gore effects are much better.

By now I really care what happens to these important inbreds and I hope to god they won’t get hurt. Wait. It’s a prequel, so they’re going to survive. And to think I was getting worried.

So it’s like 30 years later and a bunch of college kids go skiing or something, but they take the „wrong turn” and have to stay at this asylum I mentioned earlier. Thankfully, it has been kept tidy for all this time and the kids get to have some fun. There is the one douchebag, who scares his friends, so we can get some false jump scares as well. I thought to myself „None of my friends is that guy. Oh dear god. I’m that guy.” You know what? I probably am, but since me and my friends don’t usually stay in some desolate, creepy places, I hopefully will never know.

I’m also a positive guy, when I’m watching a slasher movie, I always think „Maybe this group of young people doesn’t consist from total morons.” And then one of them says „Hey, guys, I think we should split up in this spooky abandoned hospital.” and everyone is like „Ok.” and then Shaggy is like „Zoinks, Scoobie!” as eventually the cannibalistic inbred freaks appear.

They continue to make the most idiotic decisions possible. They get the freaks locked up. But they decide they wouldn’t be able to live with themselves if they killed them. Sure I would definitely be rolling around during sleepless nights thinking „Oh, my conscience is eating me alive, I killed these human eating psycho mutants, that killed my friends.” They leave a guy to guard them, but apparently it is incredibly easy to fall asleep when you’re sitting right in front of a cell full of crazy, disfigured people full of your dead friend.

And the girl who delivered the speech about not becoming monsters like them and being humane needs just 5 minutes to completely change her mind and go stabbing one of them like he’s Janet Leigh.

What I did like about it, was that I didn’t know who the final survivor(s) will be right from the start.

Overall, it’s a bland and idiotic movie in an unconventional setting for a redneck killers flick. Definitely not recommended.

“Oh, what have you been up to, you rascals? Three Fingers? Did you rape your sister again? Who put you up to this? Saw Tooth, how could you?”

Review of Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009)

10 May

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009) is a direct-to-DVD horror/thriller/slasher film and the third film in the Wrong Turn film franchise.

Directed by Declan O’Brien (Rock Monster (2008), Wrong Turn 4 (2011)).

Written by Connor James Delaney, who hasn’t done anything before or after.

Starring: Tom Frederic, Tamer Hassan, Gil Kolirin, Borislav Iliev, Jake Curran,  Janet Montgomery and others.

Let’s jump ahead 3 minutes into the movie. We get naked boobs. Already a mark of a quality film. There’s other marks as well. For example, it was released straight to DVD, which means you shouldn’t be fooled by the shitty “shot on digital video” look into believing that it is going to be the worst part of the movie. Because once you get used to it, there’s a whole lot of crap in the movie itself.

The effects are sometimes practical, but don’t worry,  because you still get to see a guy getting CG sliced in 3 pieces and another guy getting his face sliced off in effects shots, that even The Asylum would work harder on. But don’t get me wrong, the practical effects suck as well, one guy cuts another one’s leg off, because the inmates are chained together and he just goes through it like he was slicing a big cucumber. The inbred make-up also doesn’t look very good.

Of course, there’s the typical slasher movie set-up, where a group of characterless teenagers appear for a few minutes, just to be killed. Then we switch to our actual characters. In prison. I’ll give the movie that, it is an interesting concept than just some young people, I didn’t expect it. In this prison the inmates seem to be allowed to wear whatever they want, yet they all dress in the same prisony way. Then a group of them is transported in a bus by three prison guards, one of them being our bland protagonist. And we can enjoy some awful green-screen bus driving.

We get to see Three Fingers again, although he got shotgun-blasted in the chest in the last movie, shit, those inbreds sure know how to heal fast, due to the shitty make-up he looks like some kind of goblin. They are actually some amazing creatures. They’re all like idiot savants. They can’t really talk (or choose not to?), but they can master archery, trap-making, knife-throwing and be inhumanly strong and not feel pain. Three Fingers is an amazing archer, he shoots people in eyes all the time, he even shot a chick in the nipple, so when they decide he should miss someone completely, it instantly feel very unconvincing.

However, the interesting thing is that Three Fingers and the gang aren’t the villains of the movie, they’re like zombies, a big threat, but the real villain is one of the prisoners, who at one point is unconscious and everyone hates him, but do they kill him? Of course, not, because otherwise he couldn’t be back a few minutes later and keep being evil.

The bus falls of a cliff, the prisoners gain control and so they all just walk through the woods in search of a truck containing bags of money (no, they didn’t have huge dollar signs on them). Oh, no, that isn’t true, they just walk through the woods and stumble upon the truck. I think I’ll have to go exploring the woods.

They throw in a final little twist, which had me fooled for one second and I thought “Oh, ok, that happened.”, but then I realized how incredibly idiotic it was and got pretty pissed off..

Overall, a stupid and badly made movie, but it isn’t totally awful, if you for some reason like the Wrong Turn franchise (although, I did like Wrong Turn 2), then you might find it almost competent entry in the series. Still, not recommended.

Hey, turn a bit, at least then I’d feel like I’m watching Friday the 13th Part III !

Review of The 39 Steps (1935)

5 May

The 39 Steps (1935) is a British mystery/thriller/romance film based on the adventure novel The Thirty-nine Steps by John Buchan.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Frenzy (1972), The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)).

Written by Charles Bennett (The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961)).

Starring: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Peggy Ashcroft, Godfrey Tearle, John Laurie Frank Cellier and others.

Here’s an early Hitchcock classic, with the familiar theme of an innocent man on the run.

Our hero is a Canadian man, who displays neither a Canadian accent or exceptional hockey skills, but other than that he is very happy-go-lucky type of guy, quite kind, jokes a lot, is totally unsuspicious and stays calm even after a woman is stabbed during the night in his apartment. This is kind of odd, since the stabbers leave after killing the woman. They probably got out of the house and were like „Oh, shit, we forgot to kill the guy! I swear, we’d forget our heads if they weren’t attached to our necks. Oh well, let’s just wait for him on the street, he’ll walk right out of there after he finds the chick with a knife in her back.”

Of course he knows he has to bail and we get a cool transition from a screaming woman, who finds the girl’s body to a train blowing it’s horn. The guy is now on train and the police gets on that train. He escapes and goes to some crofter’s house and the police find him, sure, it’s interesting that they are able to find him this quickly all the time, but even more amazing is the fact that characters keep reading about the developments of this investigation in the newspapers. Multiple times, even during one day. In 1930’s newspapers knew how to work, no wonder now printed press is dying.

Some negative aspects creep up here and there. There’s some sped-up shots during a foot chase, which look just cheesy. We also have the age-old „saved from a bullet by a book” trick, which was even getting old by the 1930’s. It’s not exactly a smart movie, but it is fast-paced and entertaining one and we still this kind of action romances today pretty often.

Robert Donat is very charismatic as the lead. He acts and looks something like a blend of Clark Gable and Brendan Fraser. Kind of goofy, but at the same time very suave and at times malicious. And he has a nice chemistry with Madeleine Carroll as the romantically reluctant female lead.

The last shot is just perfect. Not that Hitchcock’s movies lack perfect shots. Although some film critics tribute Hitchcock with calculating and polishing every single shot of his movie to perfection and knowing exactly what emotion that will bring out in the viewer. I don’t think I necessarily agree, I think it’s more that he was so talented that his intuition was what told him the exactly right way to film scenes. Of course, with years of experience he also developed masterful technique, but this movie was still made quite early in Hitchcock’s career.

Overall, I wouldn’t count this as one of Hitchcock’s definitive works, but it still is a nice little romantic man-on-the-run flick. However, I don’t recommend this as an introduction to Hitchcock’s work and suggest picking up some of his later, more refined classics.

“Shit, man! Though, it would’ve been more impressive if I hadn’t seen that War-vet missing both legs there by the punch bowl.”

Review of Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922)

27 Mar

Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922) is a Danish/Swedish silent horror/documentary film, that shows how superstition led to witch-hunting.

Directed by Benjamin Christensen (House of Horror (1929), Mockery (1927)).

Written by Benjamin Christensen (The Devil’s Circus (1926), Seven Footprints to Satan (1929)).

Starring: Benjamin Christensen, Clara Pontoppidan, Oscar Stribolt, Astrid Holm, Maren Pedersen and others.

So this early horror classic is actually a weird documentary consisting of various ways of portraying witchcraft myths and truths, while adding up to a creepy piece of silent cinema.

There are some strange illustrations while some facts about the way authorities have dealt with witches are told. This feels like an odd educational film for kids, that kids shouldn’t be watching.

When we actually get to the live-action stuff, they show both the portrayal of people thinking everything is black magic and re-enactments of the myths about witches. The movie has a sort of dark sense of humor as it shows us witchcraft rituals that might ask for a figurative interpretation. Like „all the witches had to kiss devil’s behind” gives us a rather amusing sight of witches lining up behind the devil (played by the director in make-up), who has bent over. I don’t think the filmmakers took these parts too seriously themselves.

Seeing this early example I noticed that often I’ve seen monks portrayed as morbidly obese, gross pigs, eating like whole  cow-legs. Does that mean they are corrupt or just into gluttony? I guess the first option is better since corruption is not a deadly sin. Here the monks are total assholes and one example of a witch-myth actually made sense. Why did this fat monk just rape some girl? Of course! A witch must have slipped him some love potion.

Another great example is a totally absurd way of making sure if a girl is a witch. You tie her up and throw her in the water. If she comes up, it means she is a witch and they kill her, if she does not and drowns, then you should thank God for her innocence. One thing is for sure, they knew a fool-proof plan, when they came up with one. It is an interesting commentary on how people afraid of some things actually create the myths about the existence of such things.

At times I felt like the movie is just throwing examples and concepts at me, but doesn’t do anything with them, they’re just there and don’t lead anywhere. After a while I started wondering what’s the point of all this. I get that people were gullible and stupid, move on!

Some of the imagery is really creepy and for 1920’s the make-up and costumes are pretty decent. Out of the context those scenes are even nightmarishly unsettling. Back then the audiences must have been terrified by this stuff.

Then there’s some presentations of various torture devices, they just show them to you, tell you what they do and almost show you them in action. Sounds boring, but actually was my favourite part, because it is done in the classic horror movie way. They set up how they work and just before you see them deliver the crippling they cut away and you’re left there imagining what did happen.

I wonder why nowadays there are so few mainstream witch movies? I guess we are so PC that they would be instantly considered sexist. Yet having the lead of a vampire/werewolf movie be a blank, selfish and unlikable human girl isn’t a disservice to women.

The score is really great, having some nice classical pieces, like one of my favourites – Beethoven’s „Moonlight Sonata”. On the other hand I’m not sure if they aren’t just randomly thrown on or do they in fact add to the idea of scenes.

Also it concludes with some scenes showing how the alleged „witchcraft” is now recognized as various mental illnesses and they are being treated instead of persecuted.

Overall, it is an interesting piece of cinema history and I would recommend it as such, but it doesn’t really work as conventional movie due to the constant changes of narrative style and it doesn’t work as a documentary, because it spends too much time on just dramatically portraying various myths. Still, recommended for enthusiasts of cinema history, other than that it doesn’t offer much for a modern viewer.

SLUT

Pictured: Probably the illustration for the phrase "what the fuck?" in the Danish dictionary.

Review of Freaks (1932)

17 Feb

Freaks (1932) is a horror/drama film, that actually used real sideshow performers as actors.

Directed by Tod Browning (Dracula (1931), Mark of the Vampire (1935)), best known for directing the horror classic Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi.

Based on Tod Robbins’ short story Spurs.

Starring: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Harry Earles, Daisy  Earles and others.

We open up to a text crawl. Already I feel almost like I’m watching Star Wars and, to be fair, that had it’s fair share of freaks as well. But still it doesn’t prepare you for what you’re about to see.

I’m a person that can watch horror movies where a person’s mouths are stitched to another person’s anus or a guy is raping a recently decapitated girl, but seeing real disfigured people really ”freaks” me out (see what I did there?) so I just don’t get why people ever wanted to go see some freaks at the circus.

I mean a lot of people call horror films perverse and sick, but the thing about them is that they’re fake, so you know the actors are safe, you are safe and there’s little probability of getting yourself into a real life slasher film scenario. However, when I hear someone telling me that they stubbed their toe and the nail came off, well that shit makes me cringe.

And in this film, although the plot is fictional all the disfigured people are real circus performers and that I find disturbing. And I’m torn about the reasons why. Because, while I do feel sorry for them, I also kind of find them disgusting and at the same time don’t want them to be shunned from society. Since I knew this is incredibly not-PC, I’ll stop right there.

So what we get is an incredibly mean-spirited story about a guy with some sort of midget-type disease (this is the medical term for it) and a good-looking completely normal woman who tries to scam him. From this we get the hilariously inappropriate tagline „Can a full-grown woman truly love a midget?”, the answer turns out to be no.

While the movie is very mean, it’s not really demeaning to the „freaks” , yet it also doesn’t present them as the most pleasant people to have around, their little society resembles more of a bizarre cult, than a quiet group of just regular people. I mean sitting around a table and chanting „one of us, one of us, gooble gobble, gooble gobble!” isn’t really a normal thing to do. Also the scene by the end where the freaks are crawling through mud in a storm, attacking people, while a powerful image doesn’t really portray them as nice people.

The acting is decent for an early 30’s „horror” flick.

I’d say this just might be the most disturbing 1930’s movie. Allegedly a woman claimed to have had a miscarriage from seeing this film, which is hilarious. But really I’d say this film should be rated R, because if I saw it as a kid, I’d have nightmares and most 13-year-olds would misinterpret this movie. Although, even I don’t get what this movie is trying to say, you’d think it would say freaks are just people like us, but here it seems like they’re really not.

Overall, I don’t even know. It’s a decent movie, but I don’t know if I’d recommend this to anyone, if you want something along similar themes I’d suggest choosing The Elephant Man.  But it is a peculiar piece of cinema history.

To be fair, all group photos tend to be a bit wacky.

Review of Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

19 Jan

Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) is an Italian exploitation/horror/mockumentary film, because of its graphic portrayal of civilized people interacting with an indigenous tribe, it was charged for being a snuff film.

Directed by Italian director Ruggero Deodato (The House on the Edge of the Park (1980), Last Cannibal World (1977)), who is best-known for doing various gory genre films.

Written by Gianfranco Clerici (The New York Ripper (1982), The Bloodstained Butterfly (1971)).

Starring: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi, Carl Gabriel Yorke, Ricardo Fuentes and others.

The movie was highly controversial, because of its relatively realistic semi-documentary format and graphic violence and this is one instance (unlike A Serbian Film or Human Centipede) where I actually can see why it’s controversial. It has some really quite disturbing shit and since they used real indigenous people as the tribe members and as we now know the animal killings are real.

It starts with some overhead shots of landscapes with a romantic music in the background, which makes it seem like some made-for-TV romance flick, which it really is not.

For such a low-budget movie the acting is pretty good, which might have also helped the controversy. Robert Kerman is great, he has an awesome pornstache. You know why? That’s right, he’s been a porn actor previously. Also he looks like Thomas Jane. And I really believed all those documentary crew characters were assholes.

The animal killings were just incredibly hard to watch, and especially that turtle gutting scene (spoilers?), I actually had to turn away, for me animal cruelty is really sickening. Well, I didn’t care much for the killing of the tarantula. I guess I would have been fine if I didn’t know they were real, I’d just be sitting there and thinking how awesome the special effects are. So in a way it is a snuff film. And the special effects are great as well.

I think all the animal violence was really unnecessary and after this the characters became irredeemable to me. Definitely one of the most graphic and cruel movies ever, even not counting the animal killings.

I feel bad, but I really liked the film. I thought it went out to shock the audiences and shock it did, 30 years later I was still amazed at its total rawness. And it is also surprisingly well-made, really solid.

And what most exploitation films miss, this actually had a message. You could argue it was unintentional, but I’d like to think it was on purpose. Because it really does serve as a commentary on how journalism and documentary filmmaking have a tendency to concentrate on violence, it was true then and it is even truer today.

Overall, a good movie, but I recommend it only to exploitation fans, because it’s not a film for the faint-hearted.

"Oh, I think I've got something in my eye."

Review of Paranoia (2011)

14 Jan

Paranoia (2011) is a straight-to-DVD thriller/film noir/mystery film, made by people associated with the comedy/movie review site thecinemasnob.com, which is great, I recommend checking it out.

Directed by Ryan Mitchelle, this being his directorial debut, he is the founder of Walkaway Entertainment, an independent movie production company.

Written by Brad Jones (Cheap (2005), The Hooker With A Heart Of Gold (2011)), better known as his character Cinema Snob, parodying snobby film critics.

Starring: Brad Jones, Brian Lewis, Sarah Lewis, Brian Irving, Jillian Zurawski and others.

I don’t think anyone, who’s not a fan of The Cinema Snob even knows about this movie’s existence. Obviously it barely has any budget so, that should really be taken into consideration when judging the film. It is really sad how shitty low-budget movies look nowadays, because for some reason digital video just looks unnatural and does not have the same presence as film. And it would have worked so much better on grainy film stock and set in like the late 80’s/early 90’s. I wish I had watched the writer’s cut, because the movie works better in black & white.

Mostly the music is very good and adds to the atmosphere of the film, which is very dark and suspenseful, but then there’s a club scene where the music is so weirdly generic, it’s a bit jarring. This illustrates how throughout the film I kept being pleasantly surprised by how some things are executed and then suddenly something cheesy would take me out of the film. Like the lighting being messy and illogical.

As much as I’m a fan of Brad Jones and his friends, so I was ready to forgive the shortcomings of the film, it was also hard to separate the actual people from their characters.

Of course, I don’t want to be too harsh towards the acting, because none of them are actual actors, but at times it was really painful. Sarah is a very likable person, but the acting at the start of the movie was so cringeworthy, I was glad she soon disappeared for rest of the film. On the other hand Jerrid Foiles, who I was surprised to see not hamming it up in his little cameo, which was really funny. Brian Lewis is somewhat ok as a police officer. Brad’s wife also does an ok job. Brian Irving is miscast and his acting is so unbearable, that I found myself with a furrowed brow every time he appeared on-screen. Brad Jones, of course, did the best acting in the movie, which sort of makes sense, because he wrote the character and understood him the best.

Covering blood with ketchup? Not a bad idea. People smoke a lot in this movie, which is something you don’t see very much in major studio movies nowadays.

The film was a bit confusing, but I guess the ending explains it. In a way this created some suspense and I was pretty entertained most of the time.

Overall, it’s not a great movie, but also not too bad for a no-budget indie thriller. Recommend mostly for Brad Jones & Co. fans, because others might not be invested enough to see it.

Sadly, this is how I felt at times watching this movie.

Review of The Last Man On Earth (1964)

29 Dec

The Last Man On Earth (1964) is an Italian sci-fi/thriller/horror film, based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend. Yes, it was also adapted as The Omega Man (1971), I Am Legend (2007) and I Am Omega (2007).

Directed by the Italian director Ubaldo Ragona (Una vergine per un bastardo (1966), Baldoria nei Caraibi (1961)).

Written by William F. Leicester (The High Chaparral (1967 TV), Bonanza (1959 TV)), some work was done by Matheson himself, but because he wasn’t satisfied with the results, so he was credited as Logan Swanson.

Starring: Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and others.

Richard Matheson’s novel has been brought to the screen more than enough times, and as far as I can tell we can stop expecting a film that would do it justice. All the adaptations work best at the beginning where it follows the heroes while they have (a quote from this film) “Another day to live through. Better get started.”, but start falling apart when they try to do something different.

However, this could be considered the closest adaptation and maybe for that reason it is also my favourite one.

It used to not be uncommon for Italians to make horror movies for American market and this is one of those Italian-produced “cheap” horror flicks in English. And it kind of suffers from this aspect. It isn’t a conventional 60’s horror b-movie, so the opening credits in spooky fonts and over-the-top dramatic score add unnecessary cheesiness to an otherwise pretty subtle movie. It has a certain mood, that is just perfect but then, when it gets interrupted by the inappropriate score I got pretty pissed off. It does improve later on, but mostly because the film becomes more dramatic.

Some subtle music cues and even total silence would be much better suited for the post-apocalyptic feel. At one point Vincent Price puts on an LP and that serves as a lot better soundtrack.

I don’t know what happened there, but there are some montages of Price killing vampires by hammering stakes into their chests, but it shows it from a low angle so you only see him hammering away in what seems like totally random directions.

Vincent Price isn’t bad as Neville, but is miscast and I guess was cast mostly because of his horror-cred. He’s a good actor, but has this vibe about him that is just too elegant and not enough everyman-like. Franca Bettoia is ok, is it just me or does she look a lot like Jenna Elfman?

The “vampires” are portrayed pretty accurately as they are basically a bit more intelligent zombies, I suppose the term just wasn’t that well-known when the book was written.

It’s amusing how Neville’s home video looks like a 50’s TV show, when it is shown being shot with a Super 8 camera.

Overall  a good movie, best I Am Legend adaptation yet and totally recommended.

"I'm here to kill vampires and grow pencil moustaches. And my moustache is fully grown."

Review of The Stand (1994)

12 Dec

The Stand (1994) is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy/drama TV mini series, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, consisting of 4 90-minute episodes.

Directed by Mick Garris (Critters 2 (1988), Riding The Bullet (2004)), best known for his adaptations of Stephen King’s works.

Written by Stephen King (Sleepwalkers (1992), Pet Sematary (1989)), that’s right, King wrote the teleplay himself.

Starring: Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, Ruby Dee, Rob Lowe, Miguel Ferrer, Corin Nemec, Matt Fewer, Ossie Davis and others.

I must say that I am a big fan of Stephen King, even though his writing style isn’t always perfect, I seem to mostly enjoy it. He’s a huge part of horror fiction and the huge amount of screen adaptations is a testament to his talent. Most of it is total rubbish, but some of it successfully captures the greatness of King’s work. I can gladly say that in this case it’s the latter one.

I haven’t seen all of the adaptations, because that’s almost impossible, but I’ve seen quite a few and this just might be my favourite. But keep in mind, that it is my favourite translation of his work to the screen and not the best movie based on his novels. I’ve read the novel and I loved it and the mini series is more faithful to the source material than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it takes some significant liberties, but overall it’s forgivable.

Mini series is what everyone would like adaptations to be, because you can’t do 500 pages justice in 90-minutes. I mean, hell yeah, I wanted The Stand to be 6 hours long, I noticed the time I had spent watching it, but it felt like a standard 2-hour film.

I think I’ve mentioned before that there’s something I love about post-apocalyptic fiction, so I loved the premise. For those who don’t know, it’s about a superflu destroying like 99% of the world’s population and how the survivors gather together through some supernatural (it’s King after all) ways.

This is going to be a longer review, so I better move on.

Gary Sinise is the perfect casting for Stu, yet I would have never thought the role would suit him so much.

I pretty much hated the changes made to Harold’s character, instead of this disgusting slob, he was just a nerdy guy, who’s obviously good-looking, which is hidden by glasses and some bad make-up pimples.

Larry’s story arc was all screwed up, but Adam Storke is good in this role, because what he lacks in acting skills, he makes up for with his rock star presence.

Jamey Sheridan is a very odd choice to play the main villain. He’s ridiculously early 90’s redneck looking. He has this ugly jean suit and either the most stupid or bad-ass looking mullet I’ve ever seen. Also there’s some demon make-up scenes that were totally unnecessary and those also featured some CG transformations, which were… well 90’s CGI, ’nuff said.

Rob Lowe isn’t what I would imagine to play Nick, but he does a good job.

Bill Fagerbakke handles the role of Tom pretty well. Sometimes when actors play mentally handicapped characters it comes across a bit too forced, but he more or less captured the feel of the character in the novel.

I guess 90’s was a time when Molly Ringwald was considered attractive? Ok, she’s not that awful, Fran wasn’t the best character in the novel too, but I can’t say anything good about her performance either.

Another perfect casting choice was Miguel Ferrer as Lloyd. He’s just so great, bringing the subtlety the script had left out, but the book had.

They decided to blend two female characters into one, portrayed by the very unattractive Laura San Giacomo.

Stephen King himself appears a couple of times, even has some lines, some people find things like that distracting, but I liked that.

And one that is less a weird casting and more just an odd performance is by Shawnee Smith (Amanda from the Saw series), who gives an absurdly ridiculous, over-the-top, spoiled, bitchy teenage slut character performance. I wasn’t sure if I was entertained by it or hated it. She must have been overacting so much on purpose.

Casting is overall very good, except maybe for Harold and maybe some others, but, with a cast this huge, that’s forgivable.

If they remade it as it was planned, a trilogy of theatrical films, it might benefit by not being so toned down, but I don’t see it being much better than this,

Some of the minor changes are really pointless and I don’t really understand.

I loved this “movie”. Although, the first episode was the best one and then it went downwards, I enjoyed it throughout. But I can’t really recommend it to anyone. I enjoyed it mostly, because I was already invested in the characters, but for someone who hasn’t read the novel it might seem too draggy and silly. So I recommend this mostly to the fans of the novel.

"What do you mean "MacGyver isn't on TV anymore"? Eh, I guess, I'll have to go and listen to some Michael Bolton records."

Review of The Last House On The Left (1972)

3 Dec

The Last House On The Left (1972) is an exploitation/revenge thriller/horror film, inspired by The Virgin Spring, a Swedish film, directed by Ingrid Bergman.

Directed by Wes Craven (The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Swamp Thing (1982)). This film is his directorial debut, which led to his highly succesful career as a horror filmmaker.

Written by Wes Craven (My Soul to Take (2010), The People Under the Stairs (1991)). He is one of those directors, who, more often than not, write their own movies.

Starring: Sandra Peabody, David Hess, Fred J. Lincoln, Jeramie Rain, Marc Sheffler, Richard Towers, Cynthia Carr and others.

This is a fairly typical exploitation film, not really crossing borders too much. It is graphic at times, but mostly it’s not that explicit. Although if it had an NC-17 rating it wouldn’t surprise me and I don’t really understand why they tried to get the R rating, because it is obvious they wouldn’t get it in 1972.

The start of the movie is the worst part. It shows all the worst acting the actors are able to do and the worst writing Craven can do. Wes Craven shows his deep insight into both the hippie culture and female psychology. He shows us that there is no greater purpose in the life of a young hippie woman than to be amazed how her breasts have grown. They have grown big enough for her to stop wearing bras and go around saying “tits”. Also important is their enjoyment of ice-cream and trying to buy drugs. At this point the movie takes a dark turn.

Well, at least half of the movie does. The two hippie girls walk into an apartment, where a bunch of criminals are hanging out. So now they are screwed and can’t leave. But then there’s the other part of the movie that takes place at the same time, but at our protagonists house. There we see her parents messing around with a cake, while some silly music is playing. And then we cut back to the criminal apartment where one of the girls gets punched in the gut and Sandra Peabody gives an awful mess of unsure acting, which left me wondering, what emotions were she trying to express.

Further on, I don’t want to get into spoilers, but since it is a revenge thriller, you can guess that something bad happens and then the revenge happens.

Also all the scenes, that don’t have the criminals anywhere near is in one way or another comedic. I really don’t get this decision on Craven’s part. The cops are two idiots, one of them is almost unrecognisably young Martin Kove. They run into different shenanigans, at one point having to sit on a roof of a truck full of chickens, that’s driven by a crazy, old, 4-toothed black woman. Again, there is wacky music in the background, that really seems inappropriate. Most of the music is cool, especially the part when the criminals have done their worst, a slow ballad starts playing. That’s the only part where the good, but out of the place music works.

The acting is not that great for the most part. David Hess is pretty awesome, with his robust, yet handsome facial features, adding to his intimidating performance. Also Fred J. Lincoln is perfect as a despicable, sleazy asshole. No wonder he went on to do porn movies.

They managed to make the fake blood’s color uncommonly realistic for the time.

Overall, I liked the movie. It isn’t great and if I have to recommend, there’s other, both exploitation and revenge, films I’d recommend over this, but this is a decent one too.

And for some reason he's acted in only two movies.