Halloween Scene: Old School Round-Up

bride-of-frankensteinAs I mentioned yesterday, I got to an early start when it came to watching horror movies this fall. So, I’ve got a lot to talk about! First, if you haven’t already, check out a pair of lists I wrote for CBR. One’s about movies and shows to follow Stranger Things up with while the other focused on the best classic horror movies to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime!

Continue reading Halloween Scene: Old School Round-Up

Three Movies & A Book I Quit On Recently

As much as I’d like to say I finish everything I start, that’s just not the case. Well, it is professionally speaking, but not when it comes to watching movies and reading books. I can sit through some pretty bad nonsense when it comes to movies, but there has to be something keeping my interest for the hour and a half or more of time it takes to sit there and absorb the damn thing. The same goes for books, which I have an even shorter attention span for and take me longer to absorb. That being said, there are times when I give up and these movies and this book have made me give up…for now.

I was really interested in Demon Warriors (2007) for two reasons. 1) It’s a Thai movie and from the producers of Tony Jaa’s Ong-Bak and The Protector, two of the best action movies ever (even if they share very similar stories). And 2) It’s about people with superpowers. Seems like a pretty damn awesome combination to me. But, hey, it’s not. The story is overly convoluted with a story involving people who commit suicide only to come back with these fantastic, yet cursed powers. Most of them seem to be pretty bad dudes, but the most recent one is trying to recruit them for…something or other.

Between the story being nearly incomprehensible, having to sit through melodramatic subtitles (I watched it on Instant, so there’s no option of dubbing) and the complete lack of action, I had to turn this one off. I really gave this one the old college try. After falling asleep one night, I tried it again last night and just could not get into it. I couldn’t focus and the action was mostly uninteresting special effects and gun play, not the usual knock down, drag out fights I expect from the Thai action movies I’ve seen. It wasn’t as bad as Mercury Man, but way too boring to keep me invested.

I thought after watching the first four movies from my 50 movie drive-in collection it would be smooth sailing from there. Hell, Count Dracula And His Vampire Bride (1973) is a Hammer horror flick starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing set in 70s London, how could it be bad? Jesus, how could this boring turd by good? I should have read up on Hammer’s horror history on Wiki BEFORE I started the movie, because, thanks to that reading, I found out that this was Lee’s last Drac movie because he found it ridiculous. Here, here Lee!

The movie jumps from dudes wearing furry vests to women being seemingly tortured to old dudes hanging out to women being chained in basements to Van Helsing and eventually to Dracula, but by the time he finally showed up, I was so lost that I didn’t really care anymore.

It’s funny that I like vampire movies, but have yet to see a Dracula movie I liked, including the Frank Langella one. I definitely didn’t give this movie much of a chance thanks to it losing me so early and not showing me the main character, but I’ve got 45 more movies to get through and even after quitting I couldn’t think of enough to say for a Drive-In Couchfest write up.

The Card Player (2004) was yet another movie I was looking forward to watching. This time, it was because it’s a Dario Argento movie. I didn’t know anything else aside from that and the box art. After seeing Suspiria and Mother Of Tears and having, shall we say mixed feelings about both, I figured I’d be in for, if nothing else, one hell of a weird ride. Instead, Card Player turned out to be an overly long episode of CSI or Bones that seemed to telegraph the ending. I can’t tell you if that ending came to pass, but I would bet a small amount of money on it.

See, the idea is that there’s a serial killer who kidnaps random women and then gambles with their lives on online poker. For the most part, our POV is on the European cops’ side as they try to figure out who the guy is after not wanting to play the game the first time around and watching the girl get killed. It really does play out like a TV show you’ve seen a thousand times. They track down the best online poker player around and it turns out to be a kid. Later, the killer attacks the female cop in home. I’m guessing the killer succeeds and grabs her, then the male cop has to race to find her. Aside from not having any of Argento’s typical batshit elements, the film just seemed to plod along, never being better than any of the hour long TV dramas you can find anywhere on cable. The only Argento thing about the movie is that the corpses came floating up naked and they didn’t shy away from showing it. Though, after watching Bones, I’m pretty sure they could have gotten away with most of it on TV nowadays.

Slow burn books and I aren’t the best of friends. I’m a slow reader as it is, so if your book takes a while to really pick up and get interesting, then it might not be the best for me. Sometimes I’ll stick through a book like Brad Meltzer’s The Zero Game and come out loving the whole experience, but other times, I find myself in what I will now be calling a Michael Chabon situational where my love of a previous work can’t propel me through the murk of the current work.

Like every other geek who reads books without pictures I loved Chabon’s Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay. Eventually I found his book for kids called Summerland on sale at Building 19 and picked it up. I tried getting into it and it just never grabbed me. I chalked it  up to me not really being the audience for that book, but I’ve gone back and read Roald Dahl books and really enjoyed them, so maybe that’s not the case. The same thing went for Yiddish Policemen’s Union. I was really jazzed when I saw it on the cheap at Barnes & Noble, but I found even more indecipherable than just about any other book I’ve ever tried to read.

For the first thing, the book’s about a murder in a Jewish settlement in Alaska that will be changing in the near future. The Wikipedia page tells me that this is based on an alternate history. Me not being Jewish and knowing squat about Alaska, I kept wondering what was real and what was made up for the book. That’s okay when in small doses, but when I’m trying to figure out if the entire world the author is building is fictional or just certain parts, it takes me out of the story. Another problem I had with the book is that so many of the terms come from Yiddish and, as I mentioned before, I don’t know Yiddish. Had the book included a kind of glossary or footnotes in the back, I’d be a little more satisfied, but those two things fused the book into a large clump of denseness that I kept wanting to get through to the mystery at the heart of things, but just never could. I haven’t completely quit on this one as the book does still sit on the floor next to my bed, but I have plenty of other books to occupy my attention in the meantime. After quitting on this one, I moved to Terry Prachet’s Soul Music which hasn’t really grabbed me yet either unfortunately. In fact, I’ve moved on again to reading a book of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories that I’ve been really enjoying so far, which is a relief because I was worried I might have been put off books without pictures altogether. Maybe I’ll go back and reread Kavalier And Clay when I’m done with this…or maybe I’ll work on the ever-growing pile under the bed.

Halloween Scene: Mother of Tears (2007)

9:06:42 pm

As regular readers will remember, my review of the first of Dario Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, Suspiria was a bit of a disaster. Well, I made it through Mother of Tears and, while I didn’t necessarily understand it and it took me two nights to actually watch it, it was a crazy movie. Aside from Dario’s daughter Asia running around naked for part of the flick (which has gotta be awkward, I’d assume) there’s plenty of other nudity and gore, all the things you might expect from Dario.

I’m not going to get into the plot too much, but basically people start going crazy after some kind of evil gets released (I assume it’s the Mother of Tears). The main parts I remember are the jerkiest monkey since Pirates of the Caribbean, a woman getting cut open and then strangled with her own intestines and then a woman getting impaled by what looks like the top of the Washington Monument. Oh and a witch girl getting her head smashed in a train door.

I completely admit that I wasn’t really paying that much attention, but my expectations were pretty low after Suspiria. After reading up on the trilogy, I didn’t feel like I missed anything by not seeing Inferno, so don’t worry about that. But I’m also not a huge Argento fan, so I wasn’t really looking forward to it. But it’s definitely worth checking out if for no other reason than the crazy awesome gore. Plus the ladies are hot. What more do you need? A coherent, easy to follow story? Bah.

Halloween Scene: Suspiria (1977)

4:52:04 am

Okay, so I’m watching Suspriria, Dario Argento’s most famous flick (according to something I read online or something) for the first time while I’m drinking my very first 40oz of Big Bear Premium Malt Liquor (thanks to whoever brought this to my house after Oktoberfest a few weeks ago). Now a great combination if you want to actually pay attention to the quintessential Italian horror director’s interpretation of an American at a German dance school.

I’ll be completely honest with you. I have no idea what’s going on in this movie. I am watching it as I write this and I’m probably about halfway through. I’m also fairly in my cups as some folks would say, so thank you again to Big Bear. I read on the interwebs that it’s about an American girl who goes to a German dance school and that Argento based the story on somebody’s stories of witchcraft going on at a dance school. Check IMDb if you want the actual “facts.”

Like I said before I have no freaking idea what’s happening in this movie. Partly because I was writing my Halloween review while watching it. Partly because I’m in my cups pretty bad (the 40’s about 70% empty). And partly because the volume of the freakin movie keeps changing from way-too-quiet to way to loud. Oh, also, I havne’t really been paying attention.

I DO know that I would never spend a second in any location in this movie. As soon as you see all kinds of crazy shapes and/or hallways that are primarily red, RUN. Go sleep on a parkbench. You’re better off in Haddonfield on October 31st cause some crazy Sh!t’s about to go down.

Okay, let me watch a little bit more and get back to you…holy crap, a girl just jumped into a room full of wound-up barbed wire and then got her throat slit. I still have no idea what’s going on (hopefully someone finds this intoxicated stream of consciousness movie review interesting).

Due to some exposition (thanks handsome guy!) we find out that the dance academy was founded by a witch who liked witchcraft AND dancing. They ditched the witchcraft and just stuck with the dance. Or DID THEY? (I’m still waiting to find out myself.)

Strange side note, while watching this flick from beginning to end there was a point where the DVD decided that it wanted to show me the rest of the movie (and the disc menu) in a weird, pixelated version that reminded me of the NES. Luckily I was able to skip ahead to a different chapter and avoid the problem, but it did prolong the watching of this nearly incomprehensible movie. I highly recommend NOT drinking a 40 or blogging while watching Suspiria. That being said, horror fans should check this thing out and then tell me what happened.

Okay, so I’m either going to fall asleep during the end of this movie, get woken up by something scary and go to bed OR actually finishing this thing out and then head to bed. Either way, I do recommend this flick to other horror fans who can someday explain to me what exactly this movie is about.

Thanks, have fun and don’t drink and drive, but do drink and and blog, it’s funner for everyone.