Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

by Andrew Mooney

Antichrist (2009) – Lars Von Trier (Dir.), Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, 

I will never look at Ents the same way ever again.

I will never look at Ents the same way ever again.

When I began this humble blog in twenty-aught-twelve Anno Domini ACDC Esquire, I decided I needed to expand my cinematic repertoire with a little more Film. That’s ‘Film’ with a capital ‘F’ for ‘Fucking Pretentious’. How appropriate was it, then, when my first course of many was the Lars Von Trier delight: Melancholia. And by delight I mean, “Bizarre dreamy fog of boobs and sadness”. Since that fateful day, locked in my room, my pajamas practically melting into my epidermis to become some kind of magical hangover-bark, I slogged my way through that 2.5 hour epic of wanton women and Kiefer Sutherland wearing glasses in severe not-torturing-people-to-save-the-world mode. It was a thing. Since then, I have also joked and jested about reaching into the Netflix Roulette jar and plucking out one of the more ‘rapey’ affairs, my main target and fear: Antichrist. Well, the fates of ordained it, the planets have aligned and chance has punched me in the dick once more, for, on that Halloween night in twenty-aught-thirteen in the year of our iPad, I drew the rapiest of the rapey. SPOILERS: it isn’t the lady who gets raped this time.

Before we begin, let me say, in these last few years wandering the sordid display of cinematic gems on display in the Flix of Net, I have grown a good deal. I have shifted from a wide-eyed moronic 23 year-old, practically still soaking in amniotic fluid (that metaphor is terrifyingly apt for this movie) to a fully grown Critique (it’s in French because it’s, you know, fancy ‘n’ shit) who grandly opines, tying the disparate threads of auteur imagination into a bundle of throbbing and mesmerizing humanity, a web of such intellectual and emotional gravity that would murder even Sandra Bullock. With that said, I would like begin with a simple statement of journalistic integrity:

EEEWEWWWWEEWWWWEEEWWWWEEWWWWW AAHA AHA AHHA MAKE IT STOP, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP, MOMMY!

Just be aware there are SPOILERS in this bad boy. But then again, this movie has been out for almost 5 years. Deal with it.

Dafoe don't give no fucks about no chestnuts

Dafoe don’t give no fucks about no chestnuts

What is Antichrist? Is it a horror film? Is it smut? Is it Lars Von Trier’s wet nightmare? Is it the weirdest and least catchy Charlotte Gainsbourg music video ever made? Is it Willem Dafoe atoning for playing the stupidest incarnation of the Green Goblin ever known to man? Who the fucking fuck knows? Because Lars Von Trier sure as shit doesn’t. We begin, as you do, in super slow motion sex between a middle aged couple in the shower. And, as you do, you see full penetration. Then, while the aria peaks and both Mr. and Mrs. blow their so-called wads, their baby does its best impression of the kid from Ghostbusters 2 and tries walking out on the window ledge. Stupid baby. Much like Orlando Bloom’s career after the final Pirates of the Caribbean, the kid falls to its death. THAT’S IN THE FIRST FIVE FUCKING MINUTES. Granted, every movie could begin this way, apropos of nothing, and I’d be happy. Love Actually? Well, before the Hugh Grant gives his speech about Heathrow kissing, HOW ABOUT SOME FULL PENETRATION BABY SUICIDE. But it’s to classical music, so, you know, fancy ‘n’ shit. Wouldn’t Legally Blonde have benefitted from the terrifying countenance of Willem Dafoe’s vinegar strokes as a child hits the pavement face-first, skateboarder-style, before breaking into its overly pink beginning number? What about Monster’s Inc.? First we have to see the monsters in the real world before we can see the monsters in the their own world. And by monster, I am, of course, talking about Dafoe’s thrusting peen.

Well, after that, Gainsbourg, only credited as ‘Her’ in the credits (if you watch that far) has a mental breakdown. Dafoe (say his name like a bird call: will-em da-FOOOOOE) plays the eponymous ‘He’, a therapist who is, apparently, perturbed by NOTHING. Seriously, the entirety of Tim Burton’s Halloween Town could parade through his underpants and he’d be like, “Hmm, interesting. Where does it go on your pyramid?” THAT FUCKING PYRAMID. Anyhoo, Gainsbourg spends a majority of the film kicking, screaming, sobbing, wilting, walking in slow motion in the woods, mood-swinging, masturbating, leg-drilling, chasing her husband down like the dog he is and calling him a bastard for leaving after he painstakingly dragged his wound half-corpse of a body into a fox hole to hide. You know, like all woman. Dafoe, on the other hand, seems to have not read any of the script past that day of filming and is consistently horrified by what’s coming next…but sticks around because…well, fuck it, contract probably. That expressive half-mutant mug of his wears a look of half-interested bemusement the entire length of the film.

"I IMMEDIATELY REGRET THIS DECISION!"

“I IMMEDIATELY REGRET THIS DECISION!”

Anyways, after realizing that neither hospital nor home will cure the beleaguered Her, Him decides to take her to the place she fears, the completely-subtly-named and not-at-all-ironic “Eden” out in the middle of nowhere. Here, Dafoe envisions snowballing fragments of insanity, from a still-born deer hanging out of another deer’s vagina to a rather erudite fox covered in a mixture of amniotic sludge and gore (I assume he’s played by James Earl Jones because that would be AMAZING). Meanwhile, Gainsbourg goes from “understandably upset” to “genital mutilation” in fewer steps than one would expect. Everything about the movie is fairly surreal, with slow motion images of Dafoe getting rained on by chestnuts and random shots of hands coming out of tree roots as Dafoe’s flexing buttocks rhythmically ram his randy and rowdy spouse after she sprinted into nature to begin servicing herself with the fury of teen girl dry humping a cardboard cut out of Justin Bieber. I think the film piqued when Gainsbourg slams her husband in the dick with a 2×4 and then proceeds to jerk him off until he comes blood (I told you there were spoilers). I wish I was making that up. I think, at that very moment, my testicles decided “you know, this just ain’t worth it anymore” and crawled back into my lower abdomen, thus destroying any chance of actually growing any chest hair. Oh yes, then she cuts off her clitoris with a pair of rusty scissors. I can foresee this becoming a family holiday favorite. It just isn’t Christmas until someone is in the corner curled in the fetal position.

I wish I could take a brillo pad to my brain and scour that shit right off. I think it will be a couple of days before I can have sex without envisaging sanguine ejaculations or babies falling out of windows. I have seen horror movies aplenty. I am affected by precisely none of them. The Conjuring? Yeah, freaky until bitch-face-mc-witch-a-lot appears and you’re reminded this is just a silly excuse for a haunted house ride. The Shining? Granted, there is very little more terrifying than Shelley Duvall’s explosive fucking eyeballs…but the rest of it wasn’t particularly perturbing. This movie, however…I had to start icing my genitals just from sympathetic pain. Perhaps its effectiveness is tied directly to its quality.

"Bitch, what you say about my mama?" ~ Text from the Urbanized version of Bambi

“Bitch, what you say about my mama?” ~ Text from the Urbanized version of Bambi

It’s from Lars Von Trier, and Lars Von Trier is a Director with a capital D. Incidentally, that D stands for “Dear God, You’re an Asshole”. He is the genius, nay, the sadistic auteur responsible for this clit-rip-fest of a horror film. He’s also crazy (no, really, he was committed). He is, on the other hand, extremely talented and skilled. Every art form has a craft and a vision. While his vision is something so demented I would encourage a visit to the ophthalmologist, he’s insanely adept at filming things. This was the guy who came up with Dogme 95…95 rules for making movies, essentially stripping filmmaking to its essential parts. That’s like writing a novel without being allowed to use metaphors or more than two adjectives. Sure, it’s boring as a day old turd, but it requires thought and skill. There is no moment in Antichrist where you lose the awareness of the fact that this is a movie made by a Director. Shots and techniques run the gamut of modern technology, cutting back and forth through styles faster than Tim Gunn’s wit can cut through a Project Runway prep room. We’re given juxtaposition, simplicity, overt symbolism, metaphor, slow motion, black and white, disconnected soundtrack, sound-mixing tricks and treats…everything. It’s as though the man is simply content to wave his dong at the filmmaking community while spitting a raspberry at their unimpressed faces; he has to dip it in whipped cream and personally dick-wich each and every one of them. Both Gainsbourg and Dafoe give shockingly believable performances even though a good deal of that is screaming in each others’ faces while attempting to reach orgasm. Both actors draw you in with harshly naturalistic portrayals of a couple trying to come back from the brink of insanity. So, when Her drives off the crazy-bitch cliff with the zeal of a dick-punching Thelma and Louise, one can only watch with a gaping jaw and allow the ensuring chaos roll over you.

What is the movie about? Why did Von Trier make it? I haven’t been able to deduce anything close to an answer. Does he hate women? Does he see himself as the woman? Initially it certainly seems as though the film sympathizes with her plight and Dafoe’s maddening need to calm and logic his way through the emotions turns him into something of an antagonist. But then satanic texts appear, Gainsbourg goes into full Witches of Eastwick mode and all semblance of sympathy goes the way of the drill she uses to attach a 30lb weight to her husband’s shin to stop him from running away. It’s amusing to note that when Von Trier submitted this film to Cannes before it was released, they didn’t give it an award but rather an Anti-award (see what they did there? Those pretentious hilarious pricks). Cannes is a festival celebrating humanistic values and they seemed to believe this film portrayed nothing of the sort. I believe it was at this point that Von Trier said something along the lines of “Hitler wasn’t so bad.” So, yes, asshole to completion. However, as much of a throbbing dong as he is, he’s still one of the most talented filmmakers out there. I almost wish Spielberg or Del Toro could tame the beast and lock him up Marquis De Sade-style, forcing him to craft the basics of their at least mildly human visions.

He's my spirit animal.

He’s my spirit animal.

In the end, Antichrist is a confusing mess of a movie. On the one hand, it is supremely made and shockingly far more coherent than the slop that was the latter half of Melancholia. But what can be said for a movie where a wife is driven to murderous rage by the elements of nature to the point that we cheer when her husband chokes her to death? It is an exhausting quagmire of a movie, one that requires patience and endurance to complete. However, what is the reward once we do so? A flood of women a la some kind of documentary about Auschwitz, flooding down the hills and flocking to their about to be Vader funeral-ed comrade-in-vag? Dafoe limping into the sunset smiling at the previously aborted woodland creatures who are now so happy the bitch is dead that it looks as though they might break into a rendition of Bambi?

Note to self: get Lars Von Trier to direct the remake of Bambi. It begins with Bambi’s mom getting rammed in the shower and ends with Thumper looking into the camera and declaring “CHAOS REIGNS” before having rage-sex with Flower.

Happy Halloween, guys. I’m going to go weep now.

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by Andrew Mooney

Children of the Corn (1984) – Fritz Kiersch (Dir.), Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton, a bunch of stupid children and one or two not stupid children

Is it a reference to communism? Nope? It's just stupid.

Is it a reference to communism? Nope? It’s just stupid.

Sometimes in life, all you want to do on a Sunday, the looming specter of a fierce head cold working its infectious way throughout your mucous-making passages, is to curl up in bed with a silly movie and allow the dulcet tones of women getting stabbed in the naughty bits while people ask dumb questions like “Is that you, Connie?” as a chainsaw revs up in the shadows lull you into a restorative and peaceful sleep. Sometimes you want to tell the world, “You know what? I give up. I can’t take it anymore.” With the pressures of work and watching Species with your girlfriend’s grandfather (article forthcoming), you beg the universe to stop the Earth on its eternal celestial cycle and offer even a sliver of respite in this cataclysmic life. So, I did. I did just that. And let me just say, for all the Internet to hear, as God and that weird golden cow statue as my witnesses:

CHILDREN OF THE CORN CAN GO FUCK ITSELF

All I wanted…all I begged for was a simplistic silly horror film with enough competency to simply say goodbye as I set off on the USS Forty Winks to the land of Go-The-Fuck-To-Sleep. I could have chosen The Avengers. I could have watched Thor. Or maybe some House M.D. But NOOOOO Andrew had to be an asshole and go into the fucking Halloween section of Netflix and think to himself, “Huh, I’ve never seen Children of the Corn, that sounds fun.” I’m a goddamn idiot. This movie filled me with such abhorrent and pestilent rage that I am now in a fucking bar, my cold be damned, drinking and fuming over a keyboard. Seriously, no, like, seriously, Children of the Corn might just be the stupidest fucking movie I have ever encountered. Like, there are middleschoolers who cannot point out the US on a world map who have a higher IQ than this turd. I think I have vomited more intelligence after 10 Irish Car Bombs than that travesty that just burned its hole in my iPad Netflix app. What cruel God, what demon in control of this pitiful universe was responsible for the existence of this fecal excuse for filmic flimsiness?

Alright, background. The movie starts on an incredibly promising foot. A bunch of kids murder a diner filled with old people. Sweet. Some dude gets his hand in a meat slicer and a kid’s milkshake gets covered in gore. Awesome sauce. Great start. I wish every movie could begin this way. You know, Love Actually, But Here Is Some Good Old Patricide (which opens with a sure-to-be-iconic shot of Hugh Grant being shoved into a sausage grinder). We then precede to the obligatory Stephen King “Prescient Child” character and are offered a hilarious, yet surprisingly effective history of the children taking over the town of Gatlin for the purpose of…um…corn. I guess. And this is where the film goes downhill: the main characters. Yes, I understand that the leads in any horror film are usually cursed with the wits of a mentally dilapidated duck, but COME ON. Linda “The Chick Who Killed The Terminator” Hamilton is a woman who wants to get married. Peter “He Came to Life Out of a Sears Catalogue – Kill it – Kill It With Fire” Horton is the man she wants to marry. He is a penis. Not a dick. Not an asshole. Not a pussy or any other derogatory term we have for opening through which fluids/solids/children pass, but a penis. He is tall, erect, constantly inappropriately dressed and seems to only be able to move forward. Like a penis. Well, Johnson Trouser-Snake is driving to Seattle, or somewhere, to be a doctor. Now, we are informed of this repeatedly because he keeps stating it. However, throughout the course of the movie, meeting dead kids, or getting stabbed, or watching his wife’s face get cut, he never does anything a self-respecting MD-having penile quack would do. In fact, when he sees his wife’s face, gouged by an incensed zealot ginger (IZG), he goes, “You got one too!” and they both laugh. That didn’t happen, but this movie is so fucking stupid IT MIGHT AS WELL HAVE.

Spot the difference! One of these is a stoned creature known for eating poop and licking its own genitals...and the other is a dog.

Spot the difference! One of these is a stoned creature known for eating poop and licking its own genitals…and the other is a dog.

So, Shit-For-Brains and the Mighty Doctor Dong travel through Nebraska in the longest “Driving to a location where the rest of the movie has to happen” since Terry Gilliam forgot to turn off the camera during Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and accidentally filmed Johnny Depp yawning for 6 hours. Now, our director, Fritz Kiersch, gradually guides his two lifeless meat puppets of humans towards their inevitable clashing with a town filled with religious crazies with the urgency of slug on methadone. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he weren’t actually a human being, but just a bunch of sloths sitting on each other’s shoulders in a trench coat. And all of them are addicted to horse tranquilizers. From the lingering shots of fuck-all to the incredibly awkward extended takes of Linda Hamilton looking at things without any actual agency.

So Tweedle Dumb and soon-to-be Mrs. Tweedle Dipshit hit a child. In broad daylight. On a straight road. A child, yes, a child covered in blood. What does Dr. Dong say? “I hope that was an animal!” Yes, you must have a PhD in Human Fucking Anatomy because when did humans not classify as animals? Not only that, but he then takes twenty fucking minutes to figure out that the red stuff on the suitcase, obviously carried by the dead toddler, is blood. He seems bemused by the simplest of visual stimuli, like a child wandering into his parent’s bedroom while they’re engaged in cross-gender c. This is my impression of Dr. Dickwitch for the length of this movie:

“Huh. I’m surrounded by murderous children armed with farming implements. Let’s have a chat about religion. DEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRPPPPPP.”

Linda after she finally read the script.

Linda after she finally read the script.

It’s pretty fucking perfect. You see, this story might have been chilling on the page. While his actual literary novellas are shockingly decent (the book versions of The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, pretty much everything in Four Seasons) Stephen King has written precisely two horror books: girl has destructive mental abilities and kills many people (Carrie, Firestarter) OR child can see into the future and religious zealots try to murder everyone (The Shining, Desperation, Children of the Corn etc. etc.)…oh, and another book about alien snakes coming out of people’s anuses (what the fuck were you thinking with Dreamcatcher?). In all these years of repackaging the same worn pair of scary socks, he knows how to wrap a fucking present. We have creepy this, atmosphere that, boobies here and swearing there, add a dash of biblical verse and VOILA…you have a King novel. He ain’t perfect, but he knows what he’s doing and what the people want. Here’s the problem with this sewage system of an excuse of a movie…maybe a horde of children with weaponry is scary on the page…but when shot by a sloth-filled-coat as director and Helen Keller as your cinematographer (totally in daylight, zero usage of shadows, dynamic lighting or shot framing of any kind), you realize the reality of this tale: if children attack you…you punch them in the face BECAUSE YOU ARE AN ADULT AND HAVE ADULT STRENGTH. Por example: the ending where Dr. Derp-a-lot fights the evil ginger kid…he kicks the kid in the fucking shin and the kid goes down like a sack of potatoes. OH. THAT WAS TENSE, GUYS. WHO’S GONNA WIN IN A FIGHT? A 16-YEAR-OLD CHILD WHO ALREADY HAS ENOUGH SOCIAL DISABILITIES WITH GINGER HAIR AND A FACE SHAPED LIKE A DRIED TOMATO OR A FULLY MUSCLED 30-SOMETHING MAN?

Ultimately, the movie deviates from the original tale. Apparently, in the short story, both of the adults are murdered because, well, it’s supposed to be the story of adult hubris and the assumption of child weakness. I guess. But…in this…well…here is a rundown of what occurs in the final scenes: Linda Hamilton is going to be sacrificed on a corn crucifix because, well, why the fuck not? Also, Ginger-Face-McGee usurps Isaac, the Corn God’s prophet and sticks the little kid (an amalgam of Haley Joel Osmet’s unfortunate inhuman acting style and premature Dave Thomas-esque jowl-age). The child is then attacked by, what I have assume is the cinematic embodiment of David Lee Roth’s libido, and turns into a zombie. Then they spray the fields with Gas-o-hol which, is that even a thing? I don’t even care anymore. And then everything blows up.

Is that the end? Fuck no! Because this piece of smegma isn’t done yet. If I could sum up the entirety of this exercise in utter incompetency, I would do so by showing you this, the final scene of the film:

DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE? I WITNESSED AN HOUR AND A HALF OF THAT? HE PUNCHES A LITTLE GIRL IN THE FUCKING FACE AND SAYS: “Oh, what are we going to do now?” YOU ARE GOING TO DIE IN HELLFIRE YOU IDIOTIC PIECE OF HORROR MISERY.

WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE THIS MOVIE? WHY? WHY DOES IT STILL EXIST? I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!

URGE TO KILL STEPHEN KING RISING…

Now…if you will excuse me, I have to sleep the sleep of the dead. Mucous. Blech.

Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Drew Goddard (Dir.), Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Kristen Connelly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Bradley Whitford

Ticket sales were bloated when fans believed this was the sequel to the finale of the David Bowie Opus: Labyrinth

Ah, a return to my roots. Yes, this was the ultimate choice for my Spooktacular Hallow-Mooney Watch-a-thon 2012. Like the prodigal son returning to his homestead, bearing the bounties which he has reaped after hours upon hours of watching both brilliant and turd-ilicious films, I came back to Cabin in the Woods. To those of you who read this blog with some regularity, you might know that this is the film that encouraged me to begin writing on the Interwebs in the first place. Unfortunately, it’s faint praise. When this movie, the brain child of Joss “King of Hollywood, Apparently” Whedon and Drew “That Other Guy” Goddard, appeared on my radar a couple of years ago, sporting several rather uninspired, blood-red posters, I looked at it. I mehed. I moved on. And then, my hetero-life-mate managed to steal himself a seat (perhaps at the demise of other unbeknownst theater-goers, I haven’t asked and he hasn’t told) at a preview of this glorious batshit experiment in meta-film. He returned declaring one thing, “YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE IMMEDIATELY” and whet my palette with only a single, nonsensical spoiler: “There is a scene where Richard Jenkins is staring at a TV showing a bunch of Japanese girls and yells, ‘Fuck you, fuck you and fuck YOU.'” Well. How could my critical testes not wet themselves with anticipation? And why do my balls get wet? Is that something I should see a doctor about? Is it just sweat or some kind of unhealthy discharge? Anybody who has an medical advice, please don’t share it because it is embarrassing. Moving along…

If this is a face for radio, I vote to burn all radios.

When it came out, I saw this movie twice in three days. That’s right, TWICE IN THREE DAYS. It was at that moment, on my return from the second viewing, that I realized I had seen nothing of substance in months and, thus, in my pitiful delightfully whimsical singlehood, I turned on Melancholia and have never looked back. How appropriate then, should this movie be for viewing on Halloween night, surrounded by my movie-junkies and other assorted nutcases friends? Like the old dude in the Seven Samurai, or Yul Brynner, or some other bald gentleman of gravitas, I marched from village to village, recruiting the greatest warriors this land had to offer! (Translation: I made a Facebook event). We had the original, Alex “Steve “The Hurricane” McQueen” Huntsberger; his companion, the Queen of Snark, the Surfer of Internets, the Uncomfortably Knowledgable about Game of Thrones Meg; Vanessa: The Bearded Lady;  Theora: Frida “Holy Unibrow Batman!” Kahlo; Alex “Stranded Because of a Hurricane” Lubischer; Zack: The English; Erin “Ladies Who Lunch” Coleman; and of course, my lady of Vanderbilt. It was a crew worthy of a motion picture! But, instead, we settled for snacks and copious amounts of wine. As the libations flowed, the popcorn was nommed, and the candy, OH THE CANDY, was stuffed into mouths, we pressed play on this modern classic, sat back, and watched.

The baseball game was going fine until Eli Roth showed up. Then it took a very sharp, very ‘Heart of Darkness’ turn for the worse.

Alright, there will be spoilers. But if you don’t know what this movie is about already, shut up. Cabin in the Woods follows a quintet of college pretties on a clandestine weekend in, that’s right! A CABIN IN THE WOODS. Of course nobody has been there before, nor does it show up on any maps, and it is blatantly guarded by a man who makes every creepy-Deliverance-obsessed uncle seem like a Corgi that farts candy and dreams. But they don’t care. They want to get high, hang out and have SEX. Shock! Horror! Well, he’s the twist. Apparently, the whole thing is being engineered from an underground super-sci-fi and white-collar-as-my-pale-butt facility. We are treated to the sweetest of candied cuckoos, Mr. Bradford “Yes I know He Was in the West Wing, Now Shut Up” Whitford and Richard Jennings: BAMF Extraordinaire. These two gentlemen herd the unsuspecting coeds into situations stickier than a jam explosion at a glue factory. After inadvertently raising a family of pain-worshipping zombies from the dead, the kids have to survive cliche after cliche, all the while being picked off in a terrifyingly specific order to appease the bosses down below. It’s a clever, hilarious and completely surface examination of the horror genre in general. Goddard and Whedon attempt to unravel horror storytelling from country to country by giving it a supernatural overtone, but, like my latest alibi for ‘Who Ate the Cookie in the Cookie Jar?’, it all falls apart under close scrutiny. It’s fun, it’s dumb in its witticisms. But, and this is a big ‘but’, it is ALWAYS entertaining. From making out with wolf heads, attack bongs, Chris Hemsworth’s speech before biting it, mermen, unicorns and dismemberment goblins, this is a movie that offers up more gems of pure enjoyment than a mine staffed by Christopher Walken impersonators. I believe, upon every viewing, I never cease giggling for the final twenty minutes. For some, it’s too much. For others it’s 20,000 Leagues up Whedon’s Asshole. For me, it is a wonderful simultaneous send-up and homage to a genre that I both adore and detest depending on the time of day.

As you may have read in my ‘review’ of Tommy Wiseau’s work of genius, The Room, there is an incredible sense of ritual, of snark-tastic community, of joined souls fighting against and for a greater good, in viewing a film with a group. This movie, on it’s own, is great. But, in a crowd, half of which have seen it and the other half haven’t, it is a fucking blast. Soon, catch-phrases are born, the squeamish ones hide during beheadings while those in the know chuckle with abandon. This is what I truly love about movies. With a thing such as this, everyone knows when to be quiet, when to joke, when to laugh and when to hide. It’s a roller coaster that doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it sure has some amazing stops along the way. And, watching people who have never seen it trying to figure out what the fuck is going on during the opening scenes is a sport that reaps greater rewards than anything involving balls or bats or grown men piling on top of each other in a massive group hug in order to… Okay, side bar, I don’t get American football. I really don’t. What the fuck are they doing? Why are they doing it? And what about this sport involves feet?

‘Read ’em and weep’ has never had such a jovial connotation.

Knowing that Cabin in the Woods received a less than lackluster opening at the box office and that it’s fandom, though small, is fervent, I hope it lives on in the greater pantheon of cult films. It shall earn its place beside Nightmare Before Christmas, Troll 2, Rocky Horror Picture Show and all the rest of the motley crew. And, though it is neither as brilliant nor as revolutionary as it might think it is, it’s one fuck of a ride. Get friends. Get drinks. Get dumb. Let the bodies hit the floor and laugh when they do. Because, I don’t know about you, but I find grievous bodily harm fucking hilarious. Maybe I should talk to someone about that.

Oh! Also, I dressed up as Doctor Who with my lady as River Song. He is a picture of us being pretty and dorky in equal measures. Thank god High School is over and those two things are no longer mutually exclusive.

“I’ll sonic your screwdriver!”

Carrie (1976) – Brian De Palma (Dir.), Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, John Travolta

“I just love what Carrie’s doing with that dress. Pig’s Blood? Genius. Not even Lady Gaga has thought that one up!” ~ Ryan Seacrest, as always, not getting it.

Last, and certainly not least, we have the final winner of the Hallow-Mooney Spook-tacular Watch-a-thon 2012. This little ditty of a sexual-education-film-gone-wrong is the beginning of so many things. It was the first book to bear the moniker ‘Stephen King’ below its inscription, the first of, apparently, an infinite number of tomes. It was also Sissy “Dirty Pillows” Spacek’s first big movie. In addition, it’s the greatest origin story of an X-Man ever. I wish the new Brian Singer movies had more vaginal bleeding, bitch slaps and John Travolta before losing his hair and becoming a cult leader. This is a classic for so many reasons and, with my ladyblogger Erin at my side, the libations flowed, so did the callbacks, the witticisms and the unbridled “What the fuck???”s. Yes, this movie wins several awards in my eyes, such as “Most Educational Film for Young Boys About Periods”, “Most Travolta As the Bad Guy” (eking out the uproarious Face/Off, which, in turn, wins for ‘Most Bad Guy Impaled with a Harpoon’) and, the highly coveted, ‘Most Pig’s Blood-Themed Prom’. Holy Lord. Where to begin?

Carrie. Oh, poor, sad, delirious, confused, eye-liner-challenged Carrie. Carrie White is a girl with the mother from Hell. Ironically, other than giving into men who taste supremely of bourbon, Mrs. Margaret White (a superb and frizzy Piper “Yes, She Was in the Faculty As Well, I Had No Idea!” Laurie) happens to be a fanatic of almost Paul Ryan levels of misogyny (ELECTION BURN!). Poor little Carrie White. She doesn’t get her first period until senior year of high school and the fallout is one of perplexing proportions…in that all the other girls begin pelting her with tampons and maxipads. Then the unfortunately Farah Fawcett-ed gym teacher (badass, Betty Buckley) breaks it up. This was confusing to me. Isn’t the maxi-pad pelting an accepted moon-cycle ritual, accompanied closely by the never-ending fountain of chocolate, uncontrollable crying competitions and a sacrifice of a live goat to Artemis? (My understanding of the female reproductive system is relegated to my purely abstinence-only upbringing and my British Pagan rites. I apologize, that was redundant. Everything in England is Pagan). After winning the ‘Batshit Crazy Screaming and Offering her Secreted Uterine Lining to Other Girls’ contest, Miss Carrie receives the first bitch-slap of the film and a light explodes. Interestingly, De Palma, a man not known for either horror movies or general subtlety (Scarface, anyone?), borrows from several other classics in the horror genre, both past and future. Whenever Carrie turns into an unhinged Professor X (without the gravitas or the Star Trek ties) De Palma plays the classic Psycho sound cue. Also, I believe her period, in terms of both heft and flow, was a direct reference to the scene where the Noah’s Arc sized flood of human gore rushes out of the elevator in The Sining. I might be wrong on that one.

“JAM! I FUCKING HATE JAM!” ~ Carrie, uninformed.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. Carrie is the social pariah of the school, what with her uncomfortably pale eyelashes and a disposition more nervous than Mitt Romney at a Gay Pride Parade (ANOTHER ELECTION BURN!). Due to her indiscretion and awkwardly shaped boobs in the initial scene, the rest of the girls are punished to detention with Miss Collins. From that point on, Carrie, and the rest of the school are doomed. What entails is perhaps the most straight-forward Kingian tale ever told, a whole lot of glow-in-the-dark Jesus statues, screaming, crying, lack of mascara, frizz, pig’s blood, flipping muscle cars, split-screens, impalements, people getting repeatedly slapped and general high school hijinks. Anyone who knows anything about pop culture is perfectly aware of where the tale culminates. It’s all pretty by the numbers, with a few religiously repressed flourishes here and there (DIRTY PILLOWS, DIRTY PILLOWS, DIRTY PILLOWS. I guffawed). And, though the general plot and theme of the tale were nothing new or surprising, I discovered a number of things as the film sauntered by. Firstly: the Seventies were apparently a lawless era, a wasteland of moral depravity and emotional anarchy that it would have made even Mad Max blush. We have teachers smoking in the Principal’s office. Miss Collins repeatedly slaps one of her students. No fucking joke. The girl is giving her lip, and like a pimp, Collins just backhands the shit out of her. For a moment, I thought she’d through some leopard print fur around her shoulders, take out a bejeweled cane, walk down the line, ripping out benjamins from bra-straps and telling her students they, “be some trippin’-ass hoes”. It was that level of pimpdom. Uncomfortable for everyone.

Bitch, it’s called a diffuser. Get one.

Secondly: When a horror movie, even one as thematically basic as this one, is placed in the hands of an actual film director, some odd things occur. You care about characters. Let that sink in. I know. It’s fucked up. Usually, horror film pieces of cardboard caricatures can be filed into their absurd tropes and the timing of their death is inversely proportional to the size of their mammaries. However, when Brian “I Made Kevin Costner Palatable” De Palma, who has given the world such greats as The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way, and the dithyrambic insanity that was Dionysus, gets his meaty claws on a script that is actually about the horrors of high school and the active terror most girls find in their growing bodies, we end up with something worth watching. The most interesting aspect of the script, moving past the unhinged mother and slap-happy pimp queen gym teacher, one of the main ‘Mean Girls’ actually relinquishes her duties of being a Cee U Next Tuesday and reaches out to little Miss White. Up until the ending, you aren’t clear on whether the more brunette (and therefore better person, that’s just science) girl is actually setting Carrie up for further ridicule or if she really does want to give her a night to remember with her boyfriend on Carrie’s arm. I literally began freaking out when Nancy, who is unable to attend prom without a date, leaves dinner to sprint to the event. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it…but I actually cared if this girl was evil or not. That’s a big fucking deal for me. Thank you Mr. De Palma.

And then everyone dies. Some deaths are more hilarious than others. Mostly it’s just horrifying.

Hey, dude, Fabio called. He wants his pubes back.

The question that I was forced to ask once it was all said and done was simple: is this a feminist movie? It’s a bizarre catch-22 that we find. On the one hand, it’s about the unnatural act of repressing female sexuality to the point of literal ignition (we all know those all consuming flames at the end were sex fires. You can’t pull the wool over our eyes, Mr. De Palma!). That, in essence, is feminist. On the other hand, though, what is it that is so supernatural about the female form that it has the ability to break the laws of physics in almost witch-like terms? What is one of the more compelling aspects of King’s world is that he never explains why or where the telekinesis came from. Is it heaven sent? Borne of Satan? The prequel to an extremely lucrative film franchise (ignoring Wolverine)? Though it is a tale about a girl having girl problems with other girls, it is still written by a gentleman who, though empathetic, obviously sees said issues as otherish. Perhaps it is driven home by Mr. De Palma, who isn’t really known for doing anything other than have men point penises guns at other men. A remake is going to arrive in theaters fairly soon featuring the adorable and murderous Chloe “Hit Girl” Moretz and Julianne “The Dude is so Lucky” Moore. What intrigues me is that, at the helm is the totally awesome Kimberly Pierce, famous for Boys Don’t Cry and kicking ass one of my favorite documentaries of all time: This Film is Not Yet Rated. Will we be treated to a far less-70s, far more in-depth and sympathetic view of the character? Will budgetary constraints sterilize what could be a bitchin’ brutal gore fest into a tame Twilight-era snore-a-thon? Will it simply be a whorish mess, soaking up the dollar bills so Miss Collins can waltz by and slap out a wad? Who knows?

All I can say is this: if John Travolta ever suggests dumping pig’s blood on someone, don’t do it. Get in the car, clean up the cocaine, grab the adrenaline shot for the passed-out hooker and put the pedal to the metal. You can wake the girl up later. Travolta is mutherfucking crazy.

Drive! Just get away! No good can ever come of the TRAVOLTA.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – Daniel Myrick/Eduardo Sanchez (Dir.), Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams

Apparently 1994 was also a bad year for people other than OJ Simpson

We have reached it. Like Alice descending back into the madness that is Wonderland, we have come upon our own world through the looking glass. However, instead of demanding and size-altering cakes, Jesus allegories and caterpillars with severe opiate addictions, we have handheld cameras, horrible cinematography, worse acting, predictable plots and night vision, OH THE NIGHT VISION! Yes, my intrepid readers, after my years of waltzing around the desolate wasteland that is handheld-horror, witnessing the sagging and putrid corpses of The Last Exorcism, the maggot infested Paranormal Activity, the bloated remains of Paranormal Activity 2 and the unfortunately puss-spewing, self-defecated, smells-like-that-one-time-at-my-grandmother’s-place-that-we-don’t-like-to-talk-about-in-polite-company mess that was Quarantine, we have come to the epicenter of it all, the ground zero of crud, the patient zero of virulent cinematic laziness: The Blair Witch Project. Believe it or not, I had never taken the Kurtzian plunge into this ‘Found Footage’ Heart of Darkness. I remember when it was released back in the late 90’s, how it took the world by storm, how everyone naive enough to believe the epitaph at the beginning of Fargo thought that these three kids had been murdered in the woods, how this thing, which cost around $20K to make, ended up breaking the $240 million barrier. It was an event. An event to which I hadn’t been invited.

Now, like an aging and sagging Sylvester Stallone, I’ve been called into the field for one last mission (with the added bonus that I can actually form sentences instead of treating words as though my mouth is a verbal pulverizer). Yes, armed with an old fashioned in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other, my favorite lady-blogger at my side, we took the first, regrettable steps into the world of Burkittsville, Maryland. And oh, the horror…the horror… Well, actually, let’s be frank. It wasn’t that bad. Maybe I was drunk. Maybe I passed out. I’m not responsible for my actions. But in between snotty close-ups, constant screaming of the some permutation of ‘fucking man’, ‘man fucking’, ‘fuck man fuck’, ‘man, man fuck, fuck’ and the immortal, ‘fuckity man in the man with the fucking fucked fuck man fuck balls’, this thing has certainly earned its place on the shelf of classic horror. As a connoisseur of the ‘Found Footage’ horror genre (is ‘connoisseur’ the right word? Can one have a refined palate for the sewage run-off of an old-folks home intended for people with IBS?) I’ve seen pretty much everything they have to offer. From the in-part wonderfully crafted The Last Exorcism that ended with the filmmakers ejaculating acid into the eyes of their viewers in the final minutes, to the utterly useless and boring Paranormal Activity 2I’ve seen ‘Documentaries Gone Awry’, ‘Surveillance Cameras Seeing Weird Things’ and ‘Hot News Reporter Interrupts Her Oncoming Porno Featuring a Number of Well-Hung Firemen with a Zombie Outbreak’ but I’ve never observed the seed from which all things grew. Now, I have spent many, many an evening sitting through these things, shakier than a coin-operated bed, dumber than cat with its head stuck up its own ass, and jumpier than Marilyn Monroe at a ‘Butt-Squeezing’ convention and, honestly, I’ve never been scared. HEAR THAT, INTERNET? I’VE NEVER BEEN SCARED. Yes, Paranormal Activity, that poster-child of ‘new horror’ was duller than a paint drying competition. Oh no! It’s JUMPY! Fuck that. And Quarantine had about 3 legitimate nerve-wracking moments in its entire 90 minute runtime. Even The Last Exorcism (which is the cause of perhaps my longest and bluest-of-face rants) had a truly fascinating idea at its core, leaping back and forth over the line of creepy ambiguity…until the mutherfuckers pull a Rosemary’s Baby in the last 2 minutes of the film and murder EVERYONE. I was infuriated. What may have begun as an edgy and new take on a tired formula has become an industry norm, a crutch, the reality television of movie making. It requires no real cinematographer and a director with only the most basic visual sense. Even the plotting at this point has simply flittered out the window. And the question that fails each and every one of these fucking movies (let’s be clear, here is a list of ‘these fucking movies’: The Last Exorcism, Apollo 17, The Devil Inside, Cloverfield, Chronicle Quarantine, Rec, Rec 2, Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2, Paranormal Activity 3, Paranormal Activity 4, Paranormal If-The-Make-Another-One-I’m-Going-To-Burn-This-Place-To-The-Ground) is a simple one. Why is the camera there? Perhaps it makes sense and thematically fits during the first act, but by the time there’s screaming and running and dark spaces and people getting murdered…why doesn’t the camera man think to DROP THE CAMERA AND RUN? What is this? National Fucking Geographic? Are they looking for the Nobel Prize in Dumb Shit Nobody Cares About (I think Denise Richards won that once…OH WILD THINGS BURN!)? Movie after movie, the suspension of disbelief is drawn so taught, it might as well be Kirstie Alley’s thong. It’s a cheap art form. It’s an easy art form. And it’s a dumb art form.

“All aboard the Bongtown Express! Stopping at Weedsville, Stonerbridge, Tokestown and Holy-Fuck-Pink-Ffloyd-is-the-Best-berg”

So, like Dorothy approaching the man behind the curtain, I had some questions for this mother of movie mongoloids. The Blair Witch Project, if it didn’t begin the entire subgenre, it certainly made it more appealing than bacon to a, well, anyone. Because it’s bacon. If you don’t love it; you don’t have a soul. So, to the uninitiated, The Blair Witch Project was touted as raw footage found left behind by three students creating a documentary about the super spooky Blair Witch of Burkittsville, MD. What begins as an incredibly, annoying, amateurish series of murky shots sprinkled with the ass-juice of complete ineptitude, soon becomes, well, more of exactly that and continues for the length of these boring-ass 81 minutes. It felt like 3 hours. I believe that Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity needs a new caveat. Time dilates when you approach the speed of light or if you turn on this fucking movie. But, that said, I didn’t not-enjoy it. There are a number of reasons why this is remembered and why it was so ground-breaking at the time. Firstly, it plays with the concept of American Folklore. As a country, the US has borrowed from every culture on the planet, stealing whatever mythological past it can to fill its story-telling tradition with color. There are shockingly few legitimate American folk tales. Other than guys who sleep too long and oxen that ate too many blueberry Wonka bubblegum, there isn’t a whole lot of tales to tell the kiddly-winks. The initial pieces of the documentary where they aren’t in the woods does an excellent job of generating this collective oral history of this thing living in Burkittsville. You never really are offered a coherent version of the witch. Sometimes she’s hairy, sometimes she floats, sometimes she encourages people to murder other people…instead of crafting a fully-formed image of this never-seen malevolence, you’re only offered disparate coordinates of an unfinished mosaic. And so, as the events of the movie unfold, the unknowability of what is going to occur builds by the second. There are little stone piles here and there, shouts in the woods, KY jelly on backpacks and little straw dudes littering the trees. Then, when it’s all said and done, everyone dies. It’s cute.

Ah, the iconic shot of the movie. Your boogers shall be remembered, Headband Girl.

Here’s the question: is it scary? That requires an easy and emphatic: NO. Granted, it plays the game of less is more with the creepiness of the forest. They also do an incredible job of keeping the verite style in tact throughout the runtime. You never seen anything explicit, CGI-ed or false. These kids were literally lost in the woods and chased around by the directors, a sick Hunger Games-esque escapade ending with them trapped in a deserted house and running around using camera night-vision like idiots. The dialogue is painful. The characters are unlikeable, especially Head-Band Girl (I think her name was Heather, but her egregious practice of uncovering her forehead at all times required a different moniker). They’re all idiots. They’re all grating. And they all feel like real people. Though at first I wanted to push Head-Band Girl through a plate-glass window, it became abundantly clear throughout the film that this was the filmmaker’s intention. With the pretense of jumpy scares removed, the possibility of seeing creepy things practically nil, The Blair Witch Project endeavors to be about more than simply wetting some date-night panties (and not in the good way…unless you’re into that kind of thing) and about the nature of US folklore and filmmaking itself. Pretty much all of the uneasy stuff occurs at night without any visual aid…so all we’re offered is constant audio of people weeping and asking over and over, “What the fuck is that, man?” (If I hear someone call another person ‘man’ and his name isn’t ‘The Dude’ I will push their dangly bits into a sausage maker. ARGH). And nothing really happens. Ever. It’s like Waiting For Godot, with a lot more swearing, a lot less existentialism and 100% more terrible headbands. When asked why Head-Band girl constantly films everything that is occurring, one of her ill-fated comrades posits that perhaps she is constantly trying to keep the reality away using the camera as a barrier. While these terrifying and dangerous events unfold, she’s hiding and pretending it’s all a fantasy. We, as a country, secretly strive for more folklore, what with our men with hooks for hands and everything that was the basis for that turd-bucket of a Jared Leto vehicle that was Urban Legend, we want these scary tales to be true…but when they are, we’re not emotionally prepared to face the horror. We are no Theseus, charging against the minotaur…we’re one of those damn virgins who, let’s be honest, probably did the dirty Sanchez the first dude they could find before being tossed into the Labyrinth.

So, no, The Blair Witch Project, isn’t particularly good, or enjoyable, or watchable, or worthwhile…but it is a fascinating piece of filmmaking simply from a historical perspective. They did something new and, for their meager goals, they succeeded. Every imitator that has come since has failed to capitalize on the basic principles that made this what it is. Perhaps Paranormal Activity came close but, seriously, that movie was about as shocking as that time I thought I wasn’t wearing matching socks when, really, they were actually matching. It’s about a ‘2’ on the scare-o-meter. Give me The Shining or The Ring or The Thing any day. But Hollywood never learns. I mean, this is the place that made FOUR Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Paranormal Activity 4 hasn’t even finished its opening weekend and they’re already projecting movies and 6. It took Saw, a series where EVERY CHARACTER DIES IN EVERY INSTALLMENT, seven, that’s right, folks, seven mutherfucking films before it finally died. And guess what? They’ll probably reboot it in 2 years. They’re already rebooting the reboot of the sequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So, carry on, you reckless fools, continue on your charge into the Tartarus of cinematic sludge. Bombard us with tale after tale of the purest mediocrity and banal boredom. Suck from that already drying teat as long as you can, until your gums bleed and your tongue is rougher than moldy sandpaper. Just as bullet-time eventually died out after The Matrix so will this infuriating Found Footage fad. Perhaps you can finally make some good horror movies. Assholes.

The team was nonplussed to discover that their missing friend had really only been looking for a private place to masturbate.

But until then, I’m sure you will hear my screams of fury from here to Timbuktu. Or…until my next article on Sinister.

Ugh. What am I doing with my life?

The Faculty (1998) – Robert Rodriguez (Dir.), Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Famke Janssen, Clea Duvall, Robert Partick, Bebe Neuwirth, Jon Stewart, Usher, Salma Hayek, OMG everybody

Oh yes, Usher is in this. You know what no movie ever needs? Usher.

Apparently, Halloween is terrible for my personal growth, both the physical and the metaphysical. Every goddamn place has goddamn candy every goddamn where I goddamn go and I have to eat it. You know why? Because I have a soul, people. Also, the horror genre becomes required, repugnant viewing for the entirety of the October season. Thus more abject cinematic ass-sludge glosses across my gaze. All I can do is sigh and allow wave after wave of nonsensical plot twists, colon-based art direction, and massive blood-brazed breasts to wash over me. Yes, I was meant to watch The Blair Witch Project last night, according to the poll…but I decided to wait around to see it with my lady friend. Instead, I got trashed with a fellow lady-blogger (not that I’m a lady-blogger, that ‘fellow’ was only in reference to the ‘blogger’ part. I’m not insecure, I promise). Whilst in the throes of a madness brought about my mediocre Trader Joe’s wine, the Mark of the Maker and, of course, beer (the potatoes of alcohol, which are, in turn, the meat of vegetables – look it up), we scoured the ‘Horror’ tab of the Flix of Net. There, we discovered a gem, a time capsule if you will, an artifact from the nineties saved in pristine condition. Much like a mammoth dumb enough to stand in the same place long enough to be frozen and preserved like the asshole it is, we found this shiny little asshole glinting in the midst of genre-whorish nonsense. All we had to do was remember Josh Hartnett’s haircut and the decision to watch was unanimous.

Ah, the 90s. A simpler time. A gentler time. A time when all I had to worry about was good grades and not sticking my private parts in a blender (almost happened a surprising number of times). A time when girls had cooties and punches in the crotch were a commonplace condoned social activity. A time when Michael Bay could only boast The Rock and Bad Boys on his resume. A time of innocence. I wandered into The Faculty, not knowing my elbow from a specific area of my rectum and I was dazzled, enthralled, entranced, enraptured and enbiggened (I discovered the amazingness that is Famke Janssen…even when she has a decapitated squid-head). It was shiny, sweary, bloody, scary, pretty and goofy. Everything an 11-year-old could ever want. Does it hold up to the scrutiny of hindsight? Does it survive the test of time? Is it, in truth, a worthless collection of absurdities threaded together into a quilt of such horrifying incompetence that it literally causes momentary blood clots in the brain?

The answer might surprise you…but it probably won’t: This movie isn’t good.

Things no one is ever meant to see: the T-1000 mixed with alien squid monster. That is the stuff of bed-wetting nightmares.

BUT. And that’s a big ‘but’. Not like J-Lo big (you know, enough to have its own gravitational field) but maybe a Jessica Biel (shockingly large for a white girl with no talent). It ain’t that bad. This will take a lot of qualification. Let’s start at the beginning. This movie is about stars before they were famous doing things that they probably omit from their storied resumes. We have Josh Hartnett as the bad-boy genius drug-dealer wearing FAR too many t-shirts and sporting a haircut that, in silhouette, looks suspiciously like Daffy Duck’s behind (we later learned that ‘he cut it himself’ according to my lady-blogger’s far-too-Hartnett-informed friend. The 90s were a time of choices); there’s pre-Frodo Elijah “DOES THAT KID EVER AGE?” Wood as the nebbish newspaper photographer, Jordana “Why does her face look like it’s made of moldy clay?” Brewster as the hot one, Clea Duvall as the lesbian punk chick, some dude with pubic hair on his head as the jock, and the suspiciously new/naive/hot/apple-pie/oh-my-god-it’s-so-obvious-she’s-the-bad-guy girl. This rag-tag bunch of miscreants uncover a plot by the T-1000 (Robert “If He Were My Girlfriend’s Father I Would Jump Out a Window” Patrick) to infect the entirety of the school, Faculty first (eh? Eh? See what they did there?) with evil squid puppeteer monsters that turn the afflicted into invincible, serenely psychotic killing machines. It’s up to these idiots to find the queen (SPOILERS: it’s the new girl) and kill her with caffeine pills while classic rock songs of the 70s and 80s are cannibalized by Creed… Yes. Creed. Alice Cooper…by Creed. CREED! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? GODDAMN YOU! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL! (Not sure where that came from. I guess I have some unresolved issues with Creed. They are the Nickleback of Christian Rock…well all of Christian Rock is the Nickleback of Christian Rock. It has that je ne se pas…that sine qua non…that aurally-abortive quality we look for in all rage-inducing terribleness. *Shudder*).

“I’ve NEVER witnessed a milkshake explosion. I don’t think it’s even possible.” ~ Famous last words.

So…on the surface, this is a fairly by-the-numbers vehicle for a star who crashed and burned with the rest of the US fleet after Pearl Harbor (too soon?). However, beneath the sheen of awful late-century soundtrack choices there’s a little more humming under the hood. This was the first real studio picture after the nonsense that was From Dusk ‘Til Dawn (side note: everyone see that movie. It is terrible, batshit insane and one of the most beautiful acts of cinematic defecation you will ever witness) by Mr. Robert “Bitch, Please” Rodriguez. For all of his ridiculousness of sophomoric inclinations, the man knows how to construct a movie. For science-fiction/horror, this thing has more characters and relationships than a Shakespearean Key-Party (Benedick would totes do all the ladies). We’ve got satire tip-tapping it’s sneaky little digits across the piano of human distress and bleakness that is made of disenfranchised teachers, each of them stripped of their humanity one by one. We have the intersection of high school social strata, from the jock wishing to be reevaluated for his intelligence to the nerd falling for the hot girl. All things considered, Rodriguez achieves something almost fascinating. What seems to shallow on the surface, subtly subverts expectation, both of character and theme, and attempts to use its frame of an Invasion-of-the-Body-Snatchers-equse tale to unearth some uncomfortable truths pertaining to totalitarianism, gender relations and their place in our education system.

So, beyond the ear-bleedingly terrible covers of great songs, what is going on here? We’ve got ‘Every-School-Ever’ in ‘Some-Town’ Ohio. Now, based on the choice of our villain being a water-based, shape-shifting, tentacle-flinging, ear-rapey squid monster, it’s odd that its selected target is an almost land-locked state in the middle of fucking nowhere (and I know this because I went to school there. If Samuel Beckett’s plays could be a state, they’d be Ohio. Or Indiana. Seriously.) Though nerds would contend that this would be a lapse in logic on the part of the nefarious Squidworth, it seems that the selection is one that sets you off. This is meant to be any school anywhere. This thing could have appeared in the middle of Seattle (and murdered some Twilight suckers) or Nevada (squid-hookers anyone?) and the end result would have been the same. As someone who is deathly afraid of any kind of mental-nomming invasion (be it zombie, infection, pod-people, spores or herpes) that shit gives me the willies! The willies, I tell you!  In terms of the social commentary, we’ve got a few other minute threads caught in the Creed-tainted wind flittering about. Schools have no money. Teachers hate their jobs. Students hate school. Students and teachers have inappropriate relationships. PUBLIC SCHOOL IS MISERABLE. That is, until an overlord of the ‘ignorance is bliss’ ilk decides to give it a shot. And you know what? They look super happy! Suckin’ on their water bottles and vomiting parasites into ear-holes, they’re all just so content. It almost makes you question, is humanity really all that great? Wouldn’t it be simpler to just sacrifice ourselves to the placidity of a hive mind and relieve our lives of the burden of choice? Why can’t we all just become human batteries fueling a perpetual dream of awesome fight sequences with Hugo Weaving? I mean, come on, we are responsible for poverty, the collapse of public education, global warming, nuclear weapons, slavery and, of course, Creed. For the love of sweet baby Jesus, CREED.

And that was the moment Jon Stewart’s ‘Ping Pong’ demonstration took a dark and inappropriate turn…

Those odd musings aside, perhaps the must unsettling and perturbing element of this film involves a certain lifeless, talentless, goateed science teacher who gets his fingers removed with a paper cutter and his eye impaled with a caffeinated ball-point. Yes, that teacher is none other than Jon Fucking Stewart. It is so jarring, so unpleasant, so fucking strange to see him with facial hair that I felt the overwhelming liberal segment of my brain headdesk itself inside my own skull. It’s as though his evil twin had come through to this universe from one where Sarah Palin is president and Donald Trump’s antics go un-ridiculed to spread the malevolent nature of Jon Stewart’s acting career. Have you seen that guy try to say lines he hasn’t written? It’s like a stoned piece of wood deciding to play dead. It’s worse than Keanu Reeves. Consider that, plebs. The poor guy stumbles his way through scene after scene of not hosting his own show but rather saying words while pretending to be another human being who has a squid parasite living in his brain and making him invulnerable all Stepford Wife-ish. You know. ACTING. I love you Jon Stewart. I love how you make the political world made sense. You digest the swarming maelstroms of bovine crappery and distill it into a foul, yet funny, commentary on the disintegration of civil discourse and modern journalism. But please, please, PLEASE for the love of all that is good in the world: the birds, the bees, babies giggling and farting at the same time, dogs chasing their own tails and that one video about a gentleman not sure about the things going into his butt…never, never, NEVER act in anything ever again. God, it’s almost as bad as Creed.

CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED! (Dramatic fist shake)

CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!

An American Werewolf in London (2012) – John Landis (Dir.), David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher

Or: Two Idiots Who Look The Same Get Their Shit Wrecked in the UK

Thus it begins. Much like the leaves of Autumn, the decor of numerous commercial ventures begins decaying from vibrant pastels to orange, only holding off the onslaught of greens, reds, silvers and obligatory shining crap that follows the start of the holiday season. Yes, it is October so America has decided to stuff its children to the brim with candy in the hopes that their non-stop hyperactivity will drive parents to purchase every goddamn Transformers toy Mattel has to offer over the next few months. Halloween or, All Hallows Eve, if you’re pretentious, is upon us. In the tradition of most movie sites, I’ve decided to dip my dick into the diseased depths of the ‘Horror’ genre. If you are a reader of this site, you know that I’ve compiled a list of classic/specifically non-classic horror films that have mildly tickled my fancy over the past few years. I gave my fate to my readers and allowed you to decide, you slobbering, illiterate mutts of such basal taste delightful patrons of my site. Well, the votes are in for the first viewing and with a landslide of 9…that’s right NINE WHOLE VOTES was John Landis’ borderline insane An American Werewolf in London.

Alright, alright, I’m telling a few porky pies here. I’d already seen half of the movie previous to the vote and, due to various circumstances (I have no idea what…probably alcohol and or ninja-related infestations – probably alcohol) I never got past the midpoint. This is certainly a classic of the supernatural lexicon for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most exciting and ball-tingling of all is the director. At the helm is the insatiably wonderful and would-ask-him-to-be-my-dad-if-my-dad-wasn’t-already-a-badass-and-looks-like-Omar-Sharif-also-several-legal-hang-ups John “I Made the Blues Brothers So Shut the Fuck Up” Landis. That man is a living legend (he’s still alive right? If not, just regular legend shall suffice). If you haven’t already seen BB (yes I shorten the title because I am a dick) slap yourself. Then watch it. If you can’t, slap yourself again. It is a family rule that The Blues Brothers must never be more than five minutes away in any direction. I have a copy of the DVD stapled to my scrotum (true story. It makes sex confusing at first. But only at first.) He is a comedic director of the toppest of shelves, the highest of brows, the bee-est of the knees. And so, one can imagine, his first ever ‘scary’ directorial effort is one to be questioned…

Holy shit. This movie is fucking ridiculous.

MUST…MOISTURIZE…IMMEDIATELY…

Let’s start at the beginning. We have two dumb Americans who look exactly the same and love penises in women (preferably their own, but they’re openminded). Both of these home-grown fucking Einsteins decide that before heading to Italy for some world famous Poon (TM) (perhaps tossed with a rich vodka sauce, a side of fresh mozzarella and just a hint soccer clubs stealing English players) they go for a walk through the moors. Now, to those of you who aren’t British, walking through the moors in England in the spring at night is akin to going white water rafting with Burt Reynolds through butt-fuck country. They show up in a tavern and all the locals start acting weird, or British, whichever you choose. Well, they wander back out into the realm of lycanthrope Buttrapington, lose the road and then get their shit wrecked by a werewolf. Huzzah! The survivor, David, is transferred to London where he heals and fucks a nurse. Man, the NHS really does come through. Universal Healthcare, guys…a binding for every wound, and a British nurse for every peen. Anyhoo, Jack returns a few grievous wounds short of a face as an undead vision to warn David that he’s now a creature of the night. After that, well, what happens is anyone’s guess.

“I said I wanted my best friend MEDIUM RARE. This is unacceptable. TAKE IT BACK.” ~ The pickiest werewolf.

Perhaps what’s most enjoyable about this little ditty is that one can never be sure if Mr. Landis is entirely convinced that the horror genre isn’t just a little bit silly. His soundtrack is mottled with upbeat ballads concerning various lunar movements (a crooning Blue Moon bookends the film), the dialogue is cheesy as a Packer fan’s bowels after gameday and the thing just sort of…well…ends. I kept thinking, “Oh! How are they going to get out of this pickle!” Well, they don’t. Everyone just sort of gets fucked. They are decidedly stuck within the pickle…and then the credits roll. Huh. Shockingly, however, the injection of intentional humor suddenly tears away the option for any jeering and jibing in which a viewer might engage. By poking fun at himself, Landis completely disarms assholes like me from doing it for him. It’s like a nerd, playing D&D whilst wearing his tin foil hat in the lunch room, yelling about challenges to Paladin faith and tossing about excessively-sided dice, seeing a horde of bullies coming his way and decides to give himself a wedgie. The bullies stand there, stunned, unsure of how to proceed. I mean, you can’t wedgie him more. He’s already so damn pitiful that you can’t help yourself but chuckle with hidden anxiety and wander off. And that nerd, he continues with his game, his undies hiked WAY too high and a champion in his own right. In this movie, when the special effects get dumb, you giggle…but then you think “Wait…Landis wants me to giggle!” and you sink into your seat, mouth agape, because the Landis has buried himself into you psyche. You cannot escape the Landis.

The wit is my favorite aspect of this thing. Story-wise it’s about as dense as a Stephanie Meyer book (OH! TWILIGHT BURN!). However, through comedy, you immediately enjoy his characters. Granted, when they get their entrails dragged about like the strings of a retarded puppet, you giggle with glee…but you still want them around. Not once is the thing boring. it’s 87 minutes of pure, uncut, Columbian goof. And nothing else. Whilst in the throes of his transformation, David undergoes numerous titter-tastic visions, the most brilliant of which involves his family being gunned down by inexplicably nazi-uniformed wolf-troopers. What the fuck? Also, Jack keeps the banter light along with the rest of the poor bastards David kills after his first foray into lycanthropy. That is probably the most surreal and brilliant scene I have witnessed in years. With the backdrop of a porno that seems to have been written by Harold Pinter’s learning-disabled brother, David’s blood-drenched victims attempt to convince him of suicide, the best of which being an engaged couple cheerily encouraging him to suck on a car exhaust pipe. As an audience member you sit back and ask “What the blue-assed-titty-balled fuck is going on?”

And then a dude gets his head bitten the fuck off. And it is amazing.

Side note: I assumed for the length of the feature that the wolves could only be killed by silver/belladonna or whatever so I didn’t understand why David was the ‘last of the bloodline’. It wasn’t until I awkwardly yelled “OH. It’s because the werewolf who bit him got shot at the beginning and THAT was the naked dead dude!” that it all became clear. The statement was awkward. The fact that I was in the middle of making out with my ladyfriend is where the awkward part comes in. She demanded, “Why are you thinking about werewolves while we’re making out?” To which I, quite rightly, replied, “WE JUST FUCKING WATCHED A MOVIE ABOUT WEREWOLVES. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? I AM A BOY.” Shockingly, this was the exonerating argument that eeked me out of that turd-based maelstrom.

I didn’t know Andre the Giant was in this!

This movie is a conundrum of sorts. In ways, it’s a thumb-bitten tongue-in-cheek send-up of a  filmic breed prevalent decades before. Landis is keenly aware of his predecessors, repeatedly doing service to the Lon Chaney classics of old. In others it’s an homage, both borrowing and building upon time-tested tropes and groan-worthy cliches. Hilariously, it’s become revered itself, allowing others to parody its parody, reference its references. And so, the snake continues eating its tale on and on, both consuming and spitting out the same brilliant and terrible crap over and over, turning itself inside out so many goddamn times, you’re not even surprised when Leo DiCaprio and Joe Levitt appear in suits screaming “WE HAVE TO GO DEEPER”; but deeper into what, how, where and why do they keep propagating the same banal bullshit and reducing a beloved medium to a Sisyphean crapfest of recycled mental fecal matter, a repeated rehashing of refuse, a muddled mess more exhausted than a stripper’s ass after ‘Charlie Sheen Month’ at the MGM Grand? Why can’t we pull our thumbs out of the incestuous asses of self-reflexivity and create something new? Something shocking? Something great?

Speaking of asses, I guess The Human Centipede is still on the list. *Shudder*.

Tune in this weekend for the next installment of my Spook-Tastic Halloow-Mooney Watch-a-Thon (TM) where I will watch the movie with the second most votes. Keep on voting, dear readers (and do it from different devices because I accidentally allowed it to inhibit repeat voting by way of cookies. Oops. Also, ‘Internet cookies’ sound, in equal parts, intriguing and fucking terrifying). Voting closes the morning of Friday October 12th.

Also, don’t forget to vote in real life because…I guess it’s important. Or something.