Category Archives: Non-Slash

Ranty Monday: I watched TWILIGHT

Maybe this should be under ‘Today I HATE…’

twilight

Rarely, will you find me taking such a vitriolic stand about a bad film – hey, I liked Jason X - but this… Jesus wept, why has this franchise become so inexplicably popular!? I wouldn’t normally waste precious bandwidth on a non-slasher film but I was kinda angry!

The “story” concerns a girl called Bella, who moves to a new town. Bella is moodiness personified: sullen, glum, dull as the weather in her new town and yet a vegetarian vampire falls in love with her…because he cannot eat her. Other vampires want to eat her, so her love-vamp, Edward, hides her to protect her (God knows why, she’s so damn boring), kills bad vampire. The end.

Vegetarian Vampires? Someone call Buffy… NOW!

So, not only does the “story” in fact feature no story, indeed in a two hour film rarely has so little actually happened, but it’s just so insultingly inoffensive, tip-toeing around issues of sex and violence, raping vampire lore by having them freely wander around in the daylight and observe their own reflections – it’s an absolute affront to be included in the horror genre at all.

A bland, banal, upsettingly sub-mediocre story that has somehow struck gold on the book front, now it’s set to poison the box office too… Pass me a razor, I’m going to need to self-harm if I want to see any excitement.

“All my troubles seemed so far away…”

Yesterday I found some much-needed me-time and settled down with a few films. But in some karmic revelation, my choice of cinema seemed cursed. Cursed to tell me I’d have been better off at work! This is evidently my fault for watching SyFy ‘originals’…

First up was OPEN GRAVES

ogsmall

2 Stars  2009/85m

Director: Álvaro de Arminán / Writers: Bruce A. Taylor & Roderick Taylor / Cast: Mike Vogel, Eliza Dushku, Ethan Rains, Lindsay Caroline Robba, Naike Rivelli, Ander Pardo, Boris Martinez, Alex O’Dogherty, Gary Piquer.

Body Count: 7


There was a trailer hanging around for this at least a year ago. It looked pretty good. It started pretty good with American surfer buddies Jason and Tomas trying to pick up Eliza Dushku, whilst on an extended break in Spain.

They and four others sit down to play a board game called Mamba, which is, of course, cursed. They roll the dice, pick cards, cards have cryptic messages about their fate. They’re out. The eventual winner will be granted whatever he/she most desires… Once the game is over, those who were ‘killed’ start dying for real.

Naturally, the non-Americans all die first: one guy falls over a cliff edge (after sliding down barbed wire – ouch!), lands on the rocks and is immobilised so that the resident crabs scamper over and start eating him. The next guy is chased by ten-dozen Black Mamba snakes and resolves that climbing a stack of logs will save him until he falls back into them.

A model turns old over night and another chick dies in a fiery car crash. It’s all kinds of Final Destination-lite with a fraction of the flair and imagination and it’s down to leads Mike Vogel and Dushku to play the game till the end in order to win it and wish everything un-happened.

Open Graves was tolerable enough but just doesn’t go anywhere… The CGI effects are dreadful and the ending is naff, plus the cheating guy never really gets his just desserts, which is all we’ve been waiting for.

With that done, I turned to the sorta-remake, CHILDREN OF THE CORN, alleging a ‘proper’ screen treatment of Stephen King’s tale.

poster_children-corn-syfy

1 Stars  2009/92m

Director/Writer: Donald P. Borchers / Cast: David Anders, Kandyse McClure, Daniel Newman, Preston Bailey.

Body Count: 8


King apparently disliked the cheesecake 1984 attempt to make his short opus into a horror film. Christ knows what he’d make of this shite.

David Anders and Kandyse McClure are married couple Burt and Vicki, driving through Nebraska in 1975, arguing about everything when they mow down a kid in the road. They end up stranded in the deserted town of Gatlin where the children have slain all the adults in tribute to He Who Walks Behind the Rows, a god living in the corn field.

Unlike the ’84 film, there are no good kids, no flashbacks to the murders and zero sympathy for anyone involved. Anders does alright with Burt but McClure is cast as such an unpleasant bitch that it’s impossible to care at all when she is killed by the army of brats.

Afterwards, Burt runs around the corn for ages (but gets to slay a couple of the corn-sprogs), the kids murmur endlessly about dreams in their stupid, forced accents. Little Preston Bailey – stepson of Dexter - not only drowns in his ridiculously oversized hat but also under the weight of the role of Isaac, apparent preacher of adult-icide. Henchman Malichai is also pretty lame, not a patch on Courtney Gains’ take in the original.

Burt dies too but we don’t see how or know why and the credits roll. I stared open-mouthed questioning why the last 90 minutes existed and there was a two-minute coda after the credits showing some of the kids blah-ing on about the corn some more but still nothing happened.

If King’s story is this boring, it’s no wonder they tried to spruce it up back in the 80’s. All of the straight-to-video sequels are better than this crap. Check out Final Girl for some other reviews on this pinnacle of filmmaking.

I’d class neither of these flicks as slasher films per se, although both shared some turf.

This summarises my Thursday, hereafter referred to as Black Thursday. Actually, I watched Bring It On: Fight to the Finish (with Christina Milian!) as well but that doesn’t really belong here…

August Face-Off: Films we wish had psycho killers in them…

I go to the movies a lot, sometimes to see a good ol’ slasher flick but, alas, there aren’t enough of them about to fill the schedules. It’s not 1981 anymore… I like other genres too, a good comedy, thriller, even a happy-clappy musical is good for the soul – but there are times when I’m bored or I don’t like the cast and I just wish that Jason Voorhees had a cameo…

OCEAN’S ELEVEN

oceans11

Tagline: “They were having so much fun it was illegal – now…they must pay!”

Why it needs a psycho: Ugh…just the pretension of it all, “look at us, we’ve got the biggest stars ponsing around in suits acting so smart, wah wah wah!” Clooney and Damon, I don’t mind so much in their other roles but this heist was in need of a duffel bag full of blades.

What should happen: feeling the thieves have transgressed the accepted commandment of “thou shalt not steal”, one of Ocean’s Eleven decides the only way to stop the sin is to kill off the others one by one!

Who survives? Being that Julia Roberts is the only female cast member, technically she should be the heroine here, but maybe, to save us from the even worse sequels, they should all just die.

First-rate Fatality: a severed head spinning on a Roulette Wheel. Ideally Pitt’s.

*

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL

hsmTagline: “Singing… Dancing… Slashing!”

Why it needs a psycho: The merchandising is the main sin here, everywhere you look there’s High School Musical books, cards, games, clothes… I’m pretty sure I saw HSM toilet paper recently… And, oh God, all those primary colours! My eyes!

What should happen: Troy and Gabriella fall in love, sing songs, play basketball etc. and Sharpay’s jealousy brims over into a homicidal rage and she starts by offing their latch-on friends, turning those pearly-white grins into screams of fear!

Who survives? The dorky girl Kelsi and Sharpay have an Alice vs. Mrs Voorhees-style fight centre stage in the auditorium and Gabriella maims Sharpay, believing she has killed her…but no… Zac Efron, however, is gone.

First-rate Fatality: During a super-happy, mega-energy basketball song n’ dance, Sharpay scissors off Troy’s head and slam dunks it, bringing a decisive end to the song.

*

DISTURBIA

disturbiaTagline: “Everyone who lives next door to Shia LaBeouf becomes a killer…”

Why it needs a psycho: Shia LaBeouf is in it.

What should happen: Kale (!?) and his Mom move to a new house, Sarah Roemer lives next door. David Morse lives across the street and kills various extras and, it turns out, killed Shia’s dad in the prologue. Somehow. Despite not knowing who they were.

Who survives? Aaron Yoo and Shia’s Mom (as a favour to her).

First-rate Fatality: in-between takes, Shia hangs around trying to be noticed by fans, enraging David Morse, who, still in character, suffocates Shia with a facefull of Curly Kale in a twist of vege-centric irony.

*

AMERICAN PIE

americanpieTagline: “There’s something about your first time… It’s also your last!”

Why it needs a psycho: Great film it maybe, but it kick-started the endless parade of naff rip-offs. Also, these teens are all trying to get laid and we know what that means to your common-or-garden maniac killer…

What should happen: The Sherminator is pushed too far after he pisses his pants at the prom and crashes the after party at Stifler’s house, stalking and killing those caught with their pants down…

Who survives? Alyson Hannigan.

First-rate Fatality: after striking out with Alison, Jim tries it on with a handy apple pie, only Sherman has made a surprise filling of acid leading to penile meltdown.

*

CAMP ROCK

camprock

Tagline: “Don’t fit in. Stand out. Then DIE!”

Why it needs a psycho: I’ve not seen this film but it looks like it wants to be High School Musical: The Next Generation, plus it’s set at a summer camp!

What should happen: a masked psycho discovers the Jonas Brothers’ claims of purity are ruses to bed the girls at camp, takes exception to this and decides to kill everybody.

Who survives? I dunno, some nice but dorky girl nobody talks to.

First-rate Fatality: The main Jonas Brother is subject to thrash metal blasted into his ears until we see a gooey headsplosion!

*

MEAN GIRLS

meangirlsTagline: “Where blood is pink and filled with glitter!”

Why it needs a psycho: The girls are mean, super mean. They should die. Well… any film that features a clip from Friday the 13th Part 2 earns some respect. Plus Rachel McAdams is great and Lacey Chabert attempted a slasher in the “hmmm”-worthy Black Christmas remake.

What should happen: a dorky girl who’s been made fun of one too many times and features prominently in the Burn Book decides to eliminate the Plastics and their respective boy-toys.

First-rate Fatality: lip gloss laced with acid.

*

Victor: despite wanting to see Shia LaBeouf’s grim demise on screen, I like the Camp Rock idea the best…

May Face-off: Almost but not-quite slasher flicks

This month, let’s take a look at those films that either pretend to be slasher films and then turn out not to be and those that tip-toe through the gardens of slasherdom and beat a hasty retreat…

boo

BOO 2005

Setting up like another photocopy of Halloween, a group of teens go to party in an abandoned and ‘haunted’ hospital on All Hallows’ Eve where they are tormented by creepy hallucinations and turned into zombies with sloppy insides. It’s a little bit Session 9, complete with backstory revealed in segments by the inexplicably psychic heroine – something do with with a child-molesting patient and the nurse (Dee Wallace) who sacrificed herself to stop him escaping. There’s some good atmos in the first third but come the end, everything has been over-explained the way American supernatural horror films tend to do. Only a handful of eerie images – look out for that balloon clown – make a good film not.

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: the one-by-one schtick is intact but the zombies and ghosts swallow too much of the plot.

deathproofDEATH PROOF 2007

During the early hype for Grindhouse, Quentin Tarantino stated that his half of the feature would be “a slasher film at 200 m.p.h.” with nutjob stuntman Kurt Russell offing pretty young women. The final product has a few shots that bring back memories of Halloween and its ilk, but this turns out to be anything but a stalk n’ slasher. While it’s a fun romp once – albeit bogged down with way too much of QT’s ‘trademark’ dialogue – none of the slashers I’ve ever seen were edited this badly, had this sort of narrative or as much talking. It’s sky-high budget is visible through the cracks, making it look only pretentious, with annoying characters with oversized egos, all of whom talk like frat boys. The singular car accident is the high point and the stunts and cast are good but if anything, Death Proof shows that perhaps the director everyone has a boner for is a one-trick pony unable to create anything original, only add tiresome, irrelevant dialogue.

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: opposite case to Boo here, maniac killer on site but no one-by-one opus and way too much self-indulgence.

hillshaveeyes2THE HILLS HAVE EYES II 2007

The original 1977 Hills Have Eyes wasn’t a slasher flick either, more a survivalist horror film, as was it’s pretty faithful but grisly-as-hell 2006 remake, this sequel to that remake is not a remake of the cheesefest 1983 Hills Have Eyes Part II, which is a slasher flick… Confused? You will be.

Wes Craven penned this with his son and, considering how much flack the ’83 film took, he’s managed to create something far worse here… An Aliens vibe pervades, with a group of National Guard trainees (all male, bar two) investigating some missing scientists in the desert. Dipping its toes in the torture-porn sub-genre with a brutal rape scene needlessly included (as in the ’06 film) and ample gore. Dialogue consists only of ‘fuck this’, ‘fuck that’, ‘fuck you’ and we don’t give a fuck about any of them anyway… The dog-flashback alone in Craven’s version outdoes this entire film.

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: it’s a siege-fest with no real pattern emerging for the sequence of deaths, though interestingly both the female characters survive…

hostelHOSTEL 2005

The granddaddy of the torture-porn (or gorno) movement, it’s not the done thing to say you like it, but Hostel is a genuinely good film, sometimes included in lists of slasher flicks. Tarantino protege Eli Roth directed the less interesting Cabin Fever and waxes lyrical about putting T&A back into horror blah blah blah…

Interestingly, the main victims here are a trio of boys who fall foul of a Slovakian operation that allows rich psychopaths to torture and kill captured youngsters for their own sadistic pleasure. Lead character Paxton is an unpleasant fellow to say the least and would be killed with prejudice in any other film. This turn-around on the standard gender politics of horror attempts to blot out any accusations of misogyny, although it’s littered with naked girls and it’s even grislier sequel traded out boys for girls and so took this as permission to show sexualised violence and get away with it.

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: there’s no single killer and more emphasis on Paxton’s escape and revenge.

tamara TAMARA 2005

Geeky wiccan Tamara is the victim of a cruel prank by a group of popular kids that ends in her death – or does it? Back at school, after burying her, the guilty party are surprised to find that Tamara’s back as a sexy siren with psychic powers at her disposal – and she’ll do anything for the love of her sympathetic English teacher.

After this I Know What You Did Last Summer-lite beginning, we expect the new foxy Tamara to start offing the other teens. However, Tamara doesn’t kill all of those who ‘killed’ her, she makes them insane, suicidal or homicidal puppets who do her bidding for her and finally corners the object of her desire and nice girl Chloe, who manage to defeat her.

Why it’s not a slasher flick really: hardly anybody is murdered, which is a waste when you’re dealing with asshole jocks and nasty cheerleaders…

Victor: Hostel is the best non-slasher film here. See it if you can deal with all manner of torture devices being used and an eyeball being cut loose.

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