Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dark Harvest 2 The Maize: The Movie (2004)

Never in my life had I been more aware that I had wasted my time on this earth than when I watched this movie. Within five seconds, you painfully realize that you are living a mistake by seeing this thing. Here's the plot:

A man named Shy Walker (whyyyyy?) with psychic powers (oh no) looks for his two daughters in a corn maze (use your powers, idiot).

That's it.

The two hours are filled with him saying "Girls?" over and over, scenes of corn, scenes of mud, sound effects of beasts that never show up, and a five minute scene of one of the lost girls screaming into the camera. Watch the screaming scene and try to keep your sanity, I dare you. I beg you. Please, I don't want to be the only person in this world that has endured that horror. And at one point in time, the camera zooms in to a bag of apples. At another time, you can hear someone say "Get off my property!" I think it was real, not part of the movie.

There is no scarecrow, there is no murder, there is no suspense. The only thing this film offers is corn and pain. If you want to watch a movie with scenes of corn and a man saying "Girls?" over and over, then boy have I got news for you. This is that movie. But beware, the sound quality is agonizingly bad.

I am dead inside from this movie.

Next movie: Dark Harvest 3: Skarecrow

KB

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hammer Films

I just picked up a bunch of Hammer films from the Seattle Public Library:

  • Never Take Candy From A Stranger
  • These Are The Damned
  • The Snorkel
  • Maniac
  • Stop Me Before I Kill
  • Cash On Demand

You Have All Been Warned!

MWAhahahaHAhAhAahah. Stay tuned for the awesome.

The Awakening (2011)

The dishes are done, the laundry is (almost all) folded, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the wind is blowing - like crazy and distributing pollen, dust, and other evils around, crippling everyone's sinuses, patience, and love for Spring.

Time for a movie!

Let's see, let's see - yes, Netflix will have a plan. This plan is The Awakening.


I love classic ghost stories, especially British paranormal tales. They are generally very scary without bloodshed and provoke thought without loosing the audience's attention. A nice mix of spine chill and mind blown. This is one of those films.

The scenery and setting are great, the characters engaging, and the story line really kept me guessing. Half way through the movie I clucked to myself that there could be NO WAY this story will be tied up at the end. I was wrong, okay - really really wrong (and I'm not usually really really wrong).

The Awakening is a lovely, scary movie that will also capture your heart, much like The Others and The Orphanage. If you loved those films then I can guarantee that you'll love this movie.

Watch this movie on a dark story night, or a bright and cheery Monday afternoon (although a dark stormy night would be really nice when your head is exploding from pollen infiltration), this is sure to entertain. Recommend pairing: bourbon (on the rocks) or tea (strong) and a complicated but ridiculously delicious sandwich.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Relic (1997)

You know what sucks? Your luggage getting lost at the airport.

You know what sucks more? Getting your ancient, evil, and suspiciously obtained tribal statue lost in a South American shady ship port. Count your blessings, whiners.

So, I was going to clean out my entry hallway closet tonight but decided to watch The Relic instead.


This 1997 creature feature starts in South America and ends in a Chicago natural history museum, as you do. When the ship arrived in the Chicago port, near the beginning of the film, I started thinking about what route this massive cargo ship would have taken to make it from Brazil to Chicago. I went so far as to pull out maps. I was examining them so much that I missed a good portion of the movie - and I still wasn't sure what route this ship would have taken.

By the time I tossed the maps aside things were happening in the film and they weren't really making much sense. Such as: I thought the relic was left in Brazil - apparently it made it on the ship (and to Chicago) somehow.

In any case, I tried to catch up without rewinding the film but just fell asleep on the couch instead.

Nearly a week later...

I put on the film again but grew a little bored, so I finally cleaned that closet and made homemade bread. When I looked up from my activities I did notice the monster looked rather impressive, pretty gross and a little scary.

There you go folks.

The Relic. I movie I tried to watch but wound up reviewing maps, going to sleep, letting life happen for about a week, cleaning the closet, and making bread instead.

Perhaps if the story line explained what route this cargo ship took from South America to Chicago, it wouldn't be getting this review. Then again...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dark Harvest (2003)

The summer of 2005 was a summer of learning. Rather than waste your time with all my stories of beach endeavors, or alcoholic adventures of a 19 year old, instead I will relate to you the most important lesson of my life:
Do not approach

Beware any DVD that bears the mark Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

When I first laid eyes on this movie those many years ago, I thought I was in for a Children of the Corn type of film. At least a laughable slasher flick set in the Midwest. Nope. What I got was a harsh lesson in life of always looking for the LGHE mark. 

This movie starts out with a hint of promise. Newspaper clippings from the 1930's floating across the screen, narration about the Dustbowl, the opening is almost a good intro. Twenty seconds later it derails.

I dare not go into any depth about this plot. This movie is completely bad as soon as the intro is done. The worst acting I've ever seen. Picture and sound quality unbelievably atrocious. The story lays out like this: A man finds out he has long lost relatives, and they left him a farm as inheritance (oh boy). He brings along his coed, clich├ęd friends along (here we go again). For some reason there is a British girl with them (what). They all get drunk and high (great idea). Scarecrows (that look like zombies) show up and start killing (thank god). End of movie. And for some reason, during the end credits, they also show bloopers. bloopers that reveal just how crappy this movie is. Spackled here and there are funny red flashes of scarecrow eyes, nudity, and an old woman with a weird face that has no bearing on the storyline. This movie is not so bad it's good. There is nothing memorable about this. This is not a hidden gem. Stay away from this.

Now, there is a distinct difference between Lions Gate Films, and LGHE. LGF has churned out movies like Saw, which I enjoy. LGHE is the branch the picks up low-budget trash from the gutter, dusts it off, and puts it on decaying Blockbuster shelves. This is scientific fact that I have tested time and time again since 2005, when that company reared it's fearful head.

The only reason I don't call this the worst movie of all time is because I know what lurks in the shadows behind this film. This is not a standalone movie. This is part of a trilogy. I have been to hell and back, and it's called Dark Harvest 2. If this is my one and only movie review, it is because I did not survive my second viewing of DH2.

Next review: Dark Harvest 2 (and my doom)

Sincerely, KB



















Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Card Player (2004)

Hello everyone, my name is Matthew, and I'm an alcoholic.  I'm also an avid movie watcher and will be writing words and stuff on the blog about movies that I watch that I find scary and frightening, which I believe is step one of my twelve step process for that other problem I have.  I hope we can all have a fun time and I promise my debilitating addiction to nature's sweetest nectar will only be a problem no more that 50% of the time.  Cheers!

Tonight's terror tale is a little gem called The Card Player, a 2004 movie written and directed by Dario Argento, and starring a bunch of Italians horribly dubbed into English.  FYI, is used the word gem ironically, which is also ironic, because both gems and iron are mined, so you'd think...oh, never mind, stupid tangent.  Anyways, The Card Player is basically about a serial killer who kidnaps women, then hosts an online poker game with the police for the life of the girl.  The police win, girl gets let go, killer wins...well, he is a killer after all.

For the first half hour, I wasn't really feeling too good about the movie, but I started wondering if maybe I was being to harsh on it and should just ignore it's flaws.  The acting was pretty poor (at least the dubbing was), dialog was crap, storyline kind of lame, but was it really any worse that Argento's 70's and 80's films?  I love Suspira, Deep Red, Bird with the Crystal Plummage, and a bunch of his others, why wasn't I liking this one as much.  It may have not had the great style of those film, but it's got a lot of other things in common with his other movies, and lots of other 70's Giallo for that matter. 
(If you don't know what Giallo is, you're probably a moron)  Luckily, the first "poker" scene happened and I knew I wouldn't have to dig to deep to analyze this one cuz the terrible movie juice just exploded all over the screen like a volcano.

Earlier, I told you that the Killer hosts and online poker game for the life of the girl.  What comes to your 2004 mind when poker is brought up?  TEXAS HOLD 'EM, that's what.  Casino Royale came out two years after this one, celebrity tournaments where coming out the yin yang, all that good stuff.  Too bad Dario decided to not go that route, and instead decided to literally just have each player dealt five cards, discard, and draw back up to five and whoever has the better hand wins! Isn't that exciting, everyone?  It's just like that haggard old smoking woman at the casino, cool!  Congratulations on having your finger on the pulse of the gaming world, Dario, unfortunately you misdiagnosed your dead uncle and now you have a rotting corpse in the house.  So now you have a room full of policemen standing around a computer screen watch electronic cards flip over, and let me tell you, the graphical effects of the flipping cards is so lame and takes so long that I couldn't stop laughing at this stupid crap.  I mean, this concept is bungled so badly its embarrassing.  Not only that, they recruit this young man, because they see him winning at a computer poker machine in some bar.  What???  Uh, he's got nothing to bring to this scenario, guys.  All the policemen start clapping when he holds a pair of 2's, then get's another 2 on the draw and wins the hand.  Holy Jesus, what would they have done without him??

My sponsor is telling me not to be so negative, so here's somethings I actually liked.  During on of the poker scenes, the kidnapped girl gets out of her restraints and tries to get away.  The police are all watching this on webcam  and start rooting for the girl when she attacks the killer.  I found a room full of completely helpless trained police men cheering on a potential murder victim to get away to be really hilarious.  Also, wouldn't it have been some much funner if they were actually betting on each hand?  Maybe the cops raise the killer a finger of toe or something, so the killer then raises them his own foot, then the cops raise him the girls head or something?  How much more exciting would that have been?

Anyways, spoiler alert: the movie sucks.  The final scene is literally the main girl and the killer handcuffed to the railroad tracks (with the key right in front of them, btw), playing poker together on a laptop as a speeding train is coming.  And get this, the bad guy gets a ROYAL FLUSH, but the girl gets a A-1-2-3-4 straight flush and exclaims that she won, uncuffs herself, and the bad guy gets run over.  Uh, how does her straight flush beat his royal flush?  Maybe they were playing Sicily Hold 'Em or something.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wake Wood (2010)

Work nicely suggested I go home today. I used up all my co-worker's Kleenex, rolled around the office as a giant blob of phlegm, and tried to act and sound normal but was fooling no one.

So... back to the health tea, soup, couch time - and horror movies. There are worse things in life...

This time, I'm turning to my Netflix Instant Queue for: Wake Wood. This is a 2011 Irish film that has received mixed reviews, from what I can see. The plot revolves around mourning parents who get a chance to spend some time with their deceased young daughter. I'm sure this will not be a heart warmer, and I suspect it will not be a hair raiser. Then again! I've been wrong before. Still, the plot is already very sad to me.

My husband is 'shoveling' me (his words, I assuming he's referring my mass of phlegminess) into bed, and I'm sneaking the lap top in with me. See you after the show!

Update:

This film is not bad, not bad at all. There were cheeky moments, and times where the editing office may have made one too many cuts, but over all I found it very entertaining, quite disturbing.

It felt like a little mix of opposite-day-Wicker Man and before-the-ground-turned-sour-Pet Semetary. And although this was a rather sad film in the beginning, by the end it was pretty full on horror. It was more bloody and less psychological than I expected. The characters were interesting but many still poked me with the "Why Did You Do That - What Are You Thinking?!" stick.

Absolutely not a good film for anyone who has lost a child. No. Really good film for anyone who likes The Wicker Man, Pet Semetary, and evil children movies.

Suggested pairing, ah...eh...you might not want to eat during this film, actually.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Golem (1920)

I'm in the library almost everyday. Seriously.

Although I'm there almost always to pick up books or conduct research, when there is not a line in the movie section I take a gander to see what classics (or surprises) I can find.

The other day I found the German silent 1920's film, The Golem. I generally enjoy silent films - because they always surprise me - but I was actually hesitant about this film because I wasn't sure what it would stir up in me.

I love history as much (perhaps...more...?) than I love horror movies, and throughout my life I've managed to stumble across a great deal of German history prior to WWII. I blame Indiana Jones. No really, I've managed to learn a lot more about Germany between WWI and WWII than I ever meant to. This is not a bad thing, by any means, I mention it because I knew my knowledge of Germany during this time would effect how I would view this film. And it did, in a very positive way. To summarize, I believe it helped me appreciate (more so) the grandiose accomplishment this film brought to the moving-picture world at the time - and to this day.

The opening scene blew me away. It was so beautiful and creative, mesmerizing - and that was just the background of the night sky! As the movie continued and the characters formed, I became enchanted by everything; by the character's movements, their clothes, the lighting upon their faces, and the horrors they all face including the Golem's.

And the set! The homes, the streets, the sky, the fire! Marvelous. I don't believe CGI could ever accomplish what this movie accomplished. It felt like I was watching a moving avant garde painting, and it was always walking away from me right down a crooked cobblestone street into a dark alley.

The Golem character was fascinating because I never trusted it, and this movie captured your heart every step of the way as you traveled with this clay creation. Although it may capture your heart, this is still a horror movie, so there will be lessons to be learned while watching the film. That lesson continues to this day and applies to everyone, always: Be careful of what you ask for - you might just get it.

Watch this film. Watch it with movie junkies. Watch it with kids. Watch it with history junkies. Watch it with the elderly. Watch it with those interested in learning anything they can get their hands on. Suggested pairing: anything that you've always wanted to try but haven't yet.

In fact, watch this movie now through the Internet Archive!!





Kwaidan (1964)

Well, still sick and still a sick day - so on to another movie!

This one also comes from Netflix and they promised me that I would really really really really like it. Well, not exactly promise but they were pretty sure. 

In any case this film, Kwaidan, is a collection of four short Japanese ghost stories. It won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes film festival in 1964 and I think it looks promising! I doubt I'll see the now commonplace vengeful ghost girl/boy with jerky movements and who crawl on ceilings (yawn). Instead I suspect I'll see minimal special effects and good story telling (yay!).

Ginger ale, couch [move cat over to make room on said couch], here I come!

Update:

My vocabulary can not come up with enough beautiful words to describe this little masterpiece. Wonderful. Lovely. Enchanting. Marvelous. (running out here...) Superb. Excellent. The list continues.

This film is haunting, magical, peaceful and disturbing. It is absolutely not a film for people who enjoy slow moving tales of horror, revenge, and lost love. This is absolutely a film for people who enjoy spooky, ancient tales, folklore, unexplained mysteries, and it would help to love foreign films.

I really enjoy foreign films. Especially foreign horror films. I enjoy learning about the cultures, history, and legends. This movie has that and more!

The costumes are amazing. The music and sound effects are spine chilling. The stories will get into your brain and fester there for the rest of your life! That is why I am not surprised these particular tales have been passed down through Japanese song and legend for centuries.

The movie is apparently based on a collection of ghost stories written in 1904 titled "Kwaidan: Stories and studies of strange things". Read more about it here! I've got it on hold at the local library now.

I love this film. Please watch it - it will be time well spent and a treasure in your day. I do not recommend this film for people with a short attention span, or for those too young to appreciate the tenderness, heartbreak, and various lessons this film relays.


Route 666 (2001)

Came home sick from work today because I was - well, sick. More precisely, my face was a geyser of phlegm.

After a hot bath and some soup I decided the next remedy should be an unfamiliar horror movie. I got Route 666 from Netflix and it has been sitting next to the DVD player for some time now. I'm not sure why... perhaps because I suspect the film will be a great disappointment and I will curse at the time lost and then curse at the time lost cursing at the time lost. Or maybe I'm lazy.


But now that I'm home sick, no time will be lost and I can be lazy. Also, if it is an excellent movie then I am sure it will alleviate some of the pain In My Face. Win win.

This film stars Lou Diamond Phillips and Lori Petty as federal agents hunting someone down along a treacherousness highway. Apparently zombies and mobsters are involved too. Can you see why I hesitated watching this movie while in prime health?

Be back shortly after I grab our big fat cat and snuggle up on the couch to watch: Route 666!

Update:

Okay, well - let me first say that I have not yet taken any cold medicine. I prefer not to take that stuff, but after watching this film I think I might at least take some aspirin - for the headache.

This film wasn't terrible. In fact, I rather liked the directing and cinematography - except for the really strange jerky camera movements meant to enhance trauma and fear but only left me feeling like I was repeatably falling on a trampoline in slow motion.

The writing was terrible, however. I got the impression that it was written by a bunch of 14 year olds who just spent a marathon weekend watching Die Hard films, playing video games, and eating sugar straight out of the bag. There was a rather heavy absentee father influence throughout the film, which made me sad and not want to picture a gaggle of fatherless 14 year olds with sugar and time on their hands. Still, that is what the writing felt like to me. So really, the film made me kinda sad.

First, there were no zombies. Not the traditional idea of zombies, anyway. They were more like angry ghosts. The mobsters were only in the first 15 minutes of the film, and the federal agents were not tracking someone down along the spooky highway, they were transporting someone down the highway. Although the advertising was off, it really doesn't change the story or the horrible, laughable writing.

THAT SAID: the idea for the story was pretty good, nice and original. I think the director did a good job grabbing scary shots of deserted places (abandoned drive-ins, and cemeteries) and capturing moments to keep you interested (opening scene was clever, until the shooting started anyway...).

Perhaps that story was originally written for a class project, and it was loved and cherished until someone was able to make a movie out of it. If so, I really wish it was edited before the filming began because I think the story had some neat potential. Still, it is not horrible and I would actually recommend it for teenagers with nothing to do on a Saturday night. Adults can enjoy it too, but I recommend waiting for a sick day.

Trailer:

Recommend pairing: Cold Medicine