Category Archives: Movie Madness Monday

Snowtown

So. It’s not Monday, and yet, here I am. Posting about a movie. Utterly shocking.

Anyway, I just (literally just) finished watching a film called “The Snowtown Murders.” It is the true story of one of Australia’s more recent and worst serial killers, John Bunting, who killed 11 people and convinced a few other people to help him do so.

Basically, on May 20th, 1999, police found a bunch of bodies in barrels in an abandoned bank in Snowtown. Later, they found two more bodies buried in one of the killer’s backyard. The very next day they arrested several people, and four people in all were convicted of killing a bunch of people together.

John Bunting was the ring-leader, and he convinced these guys to help him kill people because he was like Hitler – murder-y, but very personable and relatable and therefore convincing.

The movie itself delivers some great performances, and won quite a few awards on the festival circuit. It’s a very tense film, building up to the first on-screen kill for quite sometime. The set-up, as well as the beautiful-yet-desolate setting of Australia, lends a gloomy, creepy air to the whole film. Some parts of the movie made me feel gross just for watching, even though I wasn’t taking part in them. And, no, I’m not talking about the murder scenes, although the murder of his step-brother is intense and gross and twisted, and really just a pitch-perfect portrayal of a sociopathic serial killer controlling people and killing those he doesn’t deem “important.” There is a bit of a Dexter-ish thing going on at first with the kills, in that Bunting’s character claims to only kill people who are bad or who hurt children, but that pretty quickly goes out the window, as those claims so often do when it comes to serial murder.

One of the best parts of the movie is that a majority of the actors are all unknowns and this is their film debut. That said, they are all sick actors, and deserve every credit for their performances. Seriously, the acting is pretty amazing in this film. It’s also an entirely Australian movie, which I’m beginning to love more and more. Oz horror is definitely it’s own genre, usually featuring people as the monsters as opposed to vampires or zombies or what have you. Similar to French and Asian horror in that way. This film isn’t necessarily horror, but it is pretty horrifying, so I’ll count it.

I will say that if you are in any way easily triggered, or are triggered by violence, talk of sexual abuse, or scenes of sexual abuse, then you probably shouldn’t watch this. It will probably also give you a slimy feeling, and it’s pretty #dark to watch the descent of a fairly normal kid who has had some seriously shitty things happen to him into a (mostly) cold-blooded killer. I just felt really bad for Jaime (that’s the kid’s name who is basically the protagonist) throughout, even though he does kill people. He really just wants the approval and love of an adult who is using him because, while his mother does love him, she also kind of puts him and his younger brothers into situations where they get hurt. She doesn’t do it knowingly, but it seems that it is a trend, that her boyfriends are shitty and her friends aren’t much better.

Anyway, I highly recommend this film if you enjoy dark, unflinching, taut thrillers with tons of moodiness and set-up. The movie definitely takes us into a weird world where “typical” morals (murder = bad, etc.) are turned on their head and lets us see what happens when everything that we think of as “good” is taken away and twisted into something very dark and very “bad.” It’s a very good story and it’s told in a really unique way, I think. Here’s the trailer! It’s a bit off with how it portrays the film, but it’s got the mood right, for sure. Enjoy.

Groovy

Hey, y’all! It’s been a while, huh? I’m now safely ensconced in Asheville and in a new job and life is pretty damn good. So, of course, to celebrate my first week here (and also because it came out on Friday), I went to see the new Evil Dead remake with Riley, Mike, and Tio.

Now, y’all may not have noticed, but I am a HUGE fan of the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness movies. Sam Raimi is brilliant, and the things that man did on a shoestring budget still make me cringe and laugh every time I see it. Also, Bruce Campbell. ‘Nuff said.

The Chin (courtesy of imdb.com)

The new remake was produced by both Raimi and Campbell, so I felt good about going to see it and seeing a movie that the OGs were involved with and felt good about. Sometimes I get all high-and-mighty about remakes.

ANYWAY! Onward, onward. The new cast involves quite a few unknowns, though I’m fairly certain I’ve seen the main character played by Shiloh Fernandez (re-christened “David”) in something. Also, they totally dress him in the classic blue button down shirt and jeans that Ash wears so well. There is also a backstory to this film, which is pretty cool. Not only does it add depth to the characters and make you care more about them, it also increases the creepy darkness-level of the atmosphere. Trust me, once you see the first 5-10 minutes, you’ll be creeped out. And also totally into the movie.

(courtesy of grizzlybomb.com)

It does an amazing job of capturing the same intensity and black humour of the original two Evil Dead flicks while still being entirely it’s own film. It’s a lot darker, for certain, and more “horror” than either of the two originals, but that’s certainly not a bad thing! I predict that we will be seeing more of Fede Alvarez, the film’s director.

Let me just say that one thing this film does NOT skimp on is gore. This movie, once the awesome demon-crashing-through-the-forest thing happens, is a gorefest for the ages. In that respect, it is certainly an apt descendent of the original films. There is also the infamous chainsaw and the cutting-off-an-arm business, which delighted me to no end. I’m pretty sure I spent the last half hour of the movie (at least) grinning like a fool. But, it was so fun!

I do recommend seeing the Bruce Campbell version(s) of Evil Dead before seeing this one, but if you can’t, that’s okay! It’s certainly not necessary. I saw it with three people who have never seen (or even heard of! blasphemy!) the originals, and I think they liked it. To wit, one of them gave this one an 8.5/10. I would rate it higher, just because of the awesomeness of it all, but I might rate it lower based on the fact that I wasn’t “terrified” as all the ads were claiming I’d be.

See? (courtesy of the gaming gang)

However, it did have a few really good jump scares, and enough gore to satiate even the thirstiest gore hound. I don’t really want to give too much away, but it is an awesome allegory about drugs and addiction, and the main female character (“Mia,” David’s brother) is a junkie who’s come to the cabin to go all cold-turkey after her most recent OD. There is also a really interesting undercurrent of madness and the fear of becoming mad, especially when it already is in your DNA. Which is something I’m sure many can relate to, especially in this day and age, post-Prozac Nation.

Oh! Be sure to stay through the final credits for the quickest Bruce Campbell cameo EVER, I’m sure. Plus, they totally play the recording of the book from the original film during the credits, so it’s no hardship to sit through them.

I’m going to leave y’all with the trailer, and just say go see it! See y’all tomorrow for an installation of Tarot Tuesday!

Hillbilly Horror (it’s not what you think)

Hey y’all! Sorry this post is so late; I completely forgot that today is Monday and not Sunday. Anwyay, upward and onward, right?

So, for this week’s incarnation of Movie Madness Monday, I’d love to tell you guys about Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. It’s a very campy, sarcastic, hilarious, minimally gory, comedy-horror flick. Com-or? Hor-edy? Anyway.

You guys! It has Alan Tudyk! I mean, he’s not the main character, in my opinion, but he is one of the titular characters who are facing down pure evil (he’s Tucker). It also stars Katrina Bowden as the main beautiful girl and Tyler Labine as the lovable Dale.

The basic premise is that these two good ol’ boys are headed to their new cabin in the woods (sound familiar?) and run into these crazy co-eds along the way. The adorable, cuddly Dale sees a beautiful blonde in this group of co-eds and tries to talk to her. He fails. It probably would have gone better if he wasn’t holding a scythe. But what do I know?

Clearly, completely normal

So, these hillbillies continue on their way to this dilapidated old cabin with plans to spend the weekend fixing it up, fishing, and drink some PBR. Unluckily for them, when they decide to go night fishing (which is totally a thing, okay), they see the object of Dale’s affection fall and hit her head. When they rescue her from drowning, hilarity and misunderstanding ensues.

Katrina Bowden

The college kids think Tucker and Dale kidnapping her because they’ve seen way too many horror films, clearly. Tucker and Dale can’t understand why the college kids run away screaming from them. They’re just trying to help! So, the movie is pretty much what happens when these college kids get it in their heads that the kindly Tucker and Dale are actually crazy, psychopathic serial killers. It also doesn’t help that these woods did have an incident 20 years previously involving a crazy, psychopathic, hillbilly serial killer. Of course.

Anyway, I don’t want to completely ruin the movie for y’all, but it is truly hilarious and a pretty good statement on horror culture and the danger of stereotypes as well as being a fairly good little horror film. It definitely has it’s tense moments, but really not too much gore. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of Alan Tudyk, spoofs like Shaun of the Dead, or movies that explore horror tropes and comedic misunderstandings gone awry. Also, there are some scenes with hot, scantily clad chicks, if you’re into that. It basically hits every good horror stereotype it can, which is pretty awesome, especially given how it all unfolds.

I love this outfit

Also, if you’re AT ALL southern, you will love the fact that the southern hillbillies aren’t the killers, FOR ONCE. Also, I’d say they’re more redneck than hillbilly. If you understand the difference, I’m sure you’ll agree. It might also make you want to drink PBR or moonshine. Which is totally fine! Embrace your inner redneck! Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, y’all.

Here’s the trailer. Anything you guys want to see me review next week? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you watch this and like it (or hate it!) let me know why! I would love to hear from y’all more.

Warm Bodies

Hey, y’all! I know it’s been a while. I’m sorry, but I was in Asheville visiting my boyfriend and planning my move there (yeah, I’m moving). And I got snowed in and didn’t get on my computer the WHOLE TIME, which is pretty huge.

Anyway! While I was there, I went and saw Warm Bodies with Riley. Finally. It’s so good, you guys! It’s a really good combination of love story, comedy, and a bit of horror. It is a zombie film, of course, but it’s not really gory or scary or anything.

So good

Also, if you’re a fan of John Malkovich, guess what?! Yeah, he’s totally in it. If you’re a fan of the UK Skins or X-Men First Class, you may have already noticed that Nicholas Hoult (aka Tony and Beast, respectively) is the main zombie/protagonist. He’s very good, and has a wonderful presence and ability to be both very alive and very dead all at once, and makes a sexy decaying person.

The main antagonists are both the militant humans and also the scary-looking boneys, or zombies who have decayed to the point of losing all humanity. It’s actually a very interesting dichotomy between the zombies and the boneys, and also it’s a very unique perspective because you’re seeing the whole thing from the zombie’s perspective. I’m actually kinda pissed about it, because I’ve totally been working on a zombie love story for a while now. Blegh.

A boney

Oh well! Point being, it’s quite a good statement on humanity and society and technology and all of that. It’s definitely not subtle with its standpoint on the evils of tech and cell phones and such. However, it is a very successful discussion (assuming a give-and-take between the film and the audience, and the idea that both most be present for it to work) of society, while still being extremely funny and interesting. I can’t say I saw it coming, but it also wasn’t a total twist of a film. It was just amazing. I had absolutely no trouble getting sucked in and munching on my popcorn while watching, which is always the sign of a good film.

Anyway, the tension between the humans, and the tension between the militant humans who really remember and fear the zombie apocalypse — represented by John Malkovich — and the younger humans who have grown up in this armed culture — represented by Teresa Palmer (the blonde love interest, Julie) and Analeigh Tipton (whom I ADORE) — is very interesting and vibrant and necessary. The tension between the mostly human-looking zombies and the boneys is also pretty frightening and necessary, even if Nicholas Hoult’s character kind of writes them off as completely unintelligent and bestial. Plus, the final showdown is totally heart-racingly good. And there is totally a twist in that showdown that I did NOT see coming.

I do wish that the best friend character (Nora, played by Analeigh Tiption) could have her own movie, though. I totally identify with her. I think that if I were a movie character, I’d be the best friend, hands down.

Nora, my favorite

I definitely recommend this film for anyone who loves zombies and zombie theory, and who loves to discuss the sociological and cultural implications of monster movies and/or “horror” films (I use the term horror very loosely here). Also, the music is very appropriate for the movie. It definitely made me and Riley laugh out loud at some moments, and it’s so good!

I leave you with the trailer and the command to go see it immediately! Are there any other movies you guys want to hear about? I think next week I’m going to tell you a bit about Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, which features Alan Tudyk, y’all! And we all know how much I OBSESS over Firefly, right?

À l’intérieur

So, for this edition of Movie Madness Monday, I’m going to tell you guys about one of my favorite horror movies ever. It’s called Inside or À l’intérieur, if you want to go with the original French title. It came out in 2007, and is basically just a big, giant f-you to your emotions.

The least offensive poster

So, this movie starts out with a car crash superimposed by the credits. It’s pretty crazy to experience a car crash from inside a person’s uterus, but that’s the French for you. Anyway, it segues pretty quickly from devastating car crash to Christmas Eve a few months later. The protagonist is 9 months pregnant and on the eve of both Christmas and an early-morning induced labor, and her fiancé has died in the beginning car crash. We also find out that she’s a photographer, which is kind of important later.

Anyway! It starts out as a sort-of typical French film, which is to say it makes no real sense and there’s a weird ghost-nude-sexy-times scene. But, that changes pretty quickly, y’all. Once the action starts, it’s pretty much a full-on gorefest for the most completely devastating, utterly despondent 82 minutes of any movie I’ve ever seen. It feels much longer. Trust.

Beatrice Dalle and Alysson Paradis

You guys. Béatrice Dalle is terrifying as the evil woman. Alysson Paradis is a revelation as the terrified pregnant woman. One of the characters describes it best when he says the set is like a charnel house.

Of course, there are some parts that are utterly incomprehensible to me. The fact that Paradis decides to take a bunch of pictures of the creeper outside of her house before calling the cops. I mean, I know she’s a photographer and it would be nice to have photographic evidence of the trespasser, but it still seems odd when she sees someone outside her house, and reaches for her camera instead of her phone.

Also, there will be a moment in which you wonder if the movie has suddenly become a zombie flick. It has not.

The film is set during the crazy mobs and bombings and protests that happened in France in 2006, which also adds a nice air of unrest and mystery to the film. Is this happening because she’s a news photographer? Why is Dalle trying to cut the baby out of Paradis? What is going on? It’s got a great twist ending that will make you believe in twist endings again, and is also reminiscent of other horror films coming out of France at that time (Haute Tension comes to mind).

I could (and have) write an entire essay about this film, delving into the psychological terror imparted by the movie, not to mention the physical discomfort one feels watching it, especially as a person with a uterus. It’s kind of like Teeth for women.

Also a really good, mostly feminist film about vagina dentata

Inside is perfect for Women in Horror month because it features two bad-ass women, including the inimitable Béatrice Dalle, who, seriously you guys, google her. It also features some pretty awesome gore effects and some seriously epic death scenes, which can only make a movie better, in my opinion. Really, there is a reason I make all of my friends watch this movie. It’s just that amazing. I can’t in good conscience recommend it without telling you that you will lose all faith in humanity by the end of the film, but that’s just because it’s such a well-crafted story that you believe it. Seriously. It’s very claustrophobic and it’s mostly all set in one house, with very close shots and crazy angles that make you feel like you’re part of the action and maybe you’ll be attacked next. It’s really so good, y’all.

So, that’s it for my review of Inside. I hope you guys enjoyed it! I think I’m starting to get better at this whole reviewing thing. If you have any suggestions for future Movie Madness Mondays posts, let me know! I’ll be glad to watch or review anything, it doesn’t have to be horror!

And now, the trailer. Not for the faint of heart. You’ve been warned.

Star Beast

So, I alluded to this last week, but the movie this week is Alien! I LOVE Alien. Seriously. It’s one of my favorite movies of ALL TIME and ALL GENRES. I mean, how can you beat Sigourney Weaver going up against one of the most badass villains in all of science fiction? Also, it’s the perfect representation for week 2 of Women in Horror month!

 

Disagree? Take it up with her

So, basically I just want to rave about this movie. If you haven’t seen it, really, go see it right now. It doesn’t have one slow part. The beginning may take a while to get to the INTENSE ACTION, but once it starts, it does NOT let up. Also, the tension just builds and builds from the first second of the first scene to the moment the “chest burster” scene happens.

First! A little history. The alien is based off of a character H.R. Giger created in his piece “Necronom IV,” which writer Dan O’Bannon and director Ridley Scott saw and fell in love with.

This one

Also, the movie was originally called Star Beast, thus this post’s title. Anyway, the writer had worked on an aborted Dune adaptation together, which is how they ended up doing Alien together, along with Scott, who is an awesome director and really a great choice for the film. The movie actually ended up getting made because Star Wars came out a year or two before Alien, and the studio wanted to capitalize on the sudden popularity of science fiction films. So, y’all basically all have Star Wars to thank for this:

You’re welcome

Anyway, enough fanservice. On to the movie! You WILL yell at the movie. You will yell and scream and jump and triumph and possibly get upset over the character death. And, even if the death of the xenomorph (the titular alien) is kinda one of those badass bitch, girl power moments, I was still a little sad to see her go. The ‘morph is such a cool, beautiful creature. Scary as hell, yes, but beautifully designed. I know, I know, the phallic thing. I mean, it is Giger. But, the chitinous shell and the double mouth and the lack of eyes and the whipping tail … I seriously could wax rhapsodic about the ‘morph.

Also, the super cool thing is that it’s a beautiful creature and it’s also not in any way modern/CG/whatever. It’s just classic movie effects greatness. All of the different creatures, from the face hugger to the baby ‘morph (aka “Chest Burster) to the fully grown bad mamajama, are so fully realized and beautifully conceptualized and I just … unf. I mean, seriously. Beautiful. Also, I totally recommend checking out some of Giger’s other work if you haven’t. He’s seriously fantastic.

Look at this beautiful drawing

Anyway, I also love love love Ripley, Sigourney Weaver’s character. She was originally written to be played by a male actor, but obviously that changed and lead to one of the most badass female protagonists in the history of movies. I am very comfortable making that statement because it’s Ripley. She’s beautiful, obviously fit, and manages to be the last person standing while still allowing the audience to not really think about her in terms of gender, as opposed to some of the other characters. Plus, I mean, it’s Ripley.

Anyway, seriously you guys, this movie is amazing. I love the characters, I love the ‘morph, I love the damn cat, even! I actually also love Aliens and I like Alien 3. Aliens is a pretty kickass sequel that I do recommend seeing. It doesn’t really fall into that terrible sequel category, but Alien 3 kinda does. At least, according to some people. I still think it’s pretty good, but a lot of people don’t appreciate the lack of guns. However, Sigourney was heavily involved in the third movie, and she is very against guns. So, she wanted to prove that guns aren’t necessary, even against the seemingly unbeatable ‘morphs.

So, the movie is a really cool example of female vs. female (I think the ‘morphs are female, anyway), and it’s one of the best modern Hollywood monster movies which I’ve seen. Admittedly, I haven’t seen every movie ever, but still, I’ve seen a lot and this one is definitely up there.

So, next week, I’m gonna explore the female vs. female theme in horror more thoroughly, so get ready for that! As always, if y’all have a movie you want me to see and/or review, please do let me know in the comments! I hope you enjoyed this edition of Move Madness Mondays.

Happy Women in Horror Month!

So, for those of you who don’t know, February is Women in Horror month! This is very exciting for me because I am a self-described feminist and I also LOVE horror movies. Seriously. So, any time I get to celebrate the accomplishments of women, especially within a genre that I adore, I’m a very happy camper. Unlike the kids at Camp Crystal Lake. Poor kids.

Anyway! For this month, I’ll be featuring my favorite women in horror and their efforts and accomplishments. And, if you don’t like that? Door’s that-a-way.

Or, you could make your own door

So, anyway, this edition of Movie Madness Monday is gonna be about the Twisted Twins, y’all. If you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry. You will. Jen and Sylvia Soska of Twisted Twins Productions are two Canadian sisters (twins, don’tcha know) who make AWESOME horror movies. Their first movie, the amazing, gory, funny, smart, intense, crazy-as-shit, grindhouse-esque Dead Hooker in a Trunk is one of my absolute favorite horror movies I’ve seen. And that’s definitely saying something, especially for a first-time effort made on a shoestring budget.

The effects are gore-geous (ha!) and add just the right amount of surrealism to the ultra-violence. I really loved the blood in the movie, it was free-flowing and had a gorgeous shine and dark vibrancy to it. Also, for a tiny-ass-budget, the effects are damn good. That’s probably because of the people they met in film school, the DIY ethic of two stubborn-as-hell sisters, and the contacts they made just from being ridiculously good at what they do.

 

The bloody faces of true visionaries

The film is, obviously, about what happens when a group of friends find a dead chick, who happens to be a hooker, in their trunk. Of course, absolute madness ensues. I don’t want to tell you too much, but the movie feels short because it’s so action-packed and has so many twists and turns. Nothing Shyamalan-y or anything, just madcap plot points.

I think my favorite scene (of which there are many in this film, but this is definitely in the top 10) is when the sisters’ junkie friend shoots up and has an intense philosophical discussion with the dead chick. Or the scene where the geeky sister looses an eye and goes all anime up on a bitch. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Actually, the film has quite a lot in common with Japanese genre films, especially the gore, ultra-violence, and awesome chicks kicking ass.

I also adore the characters, which I remember more for their character archetypes than their names. There’s the Badass, the Geek, the Goody Two Shoes, and the Junkie. The ways that these characters face their predicament, and face down everything thrown at them, including pervy cops, pimp killers, losing body parts, and epically gory showdowns really make you fall in love with the characters. Of course, I love the Badass because she’s just so … badass! But, I also adore the quiet strength of the Geek and the courage the Goody Two Shoes finds in himself and the deeper emotions within the Junkie.

The main cast

Apparently, the sisters made the trailer the film is based on as their final project in film school. They created it in honour of exploitation films and ended up making a trailer that earned them an even split of disgust and adoration among viewers at the screening. They also managed to turn the idea into a wonderful full-length that has garnered attention from many genre heavies, such as Eli Roth, and has gotten them featured in some of my favorite horror magazines, including Rue Morgue (which is also Canadian!).

Because they are from Canada, Dead Hooker is set in Vancouver, and has really pumped up the Canadian horror genre, I think. It seems that many films are made in Canada, but most are not actually set there (see Cabin in the Woods, for example), so it’s pretty cool to have a Canadian-made movie set in Canada. I hope to see more from Canada, especially if the Twisted Twins are an example of what the country can produce!

I can’t wait to see their next film, American Mary, which is a horror film that explores body modification and the lengths some people will go to in order to be beautiful. It looks awesome. 

Here’s the trailer for Dead Hooker, which I really can’t recommend enough.

So, next week, I’m gonna look at one of my favorite movies, which features some badass, SCARY women. What’d you think of this review? Are you going to go watch the movie now? You totally should.