Hump Day Horror – Tucker & Dale vs Evil

It’s that time again. Hump Day is here again, bringing a little horror into our lives. Of course, every Wednesday is scary enough since there’s still two more days until Friday.

Today we’re watching …

 

So, this movie is quite hilarious. And so sweet, with a really deep meaning underneath the gore. Don’t judge a book by its cover. The crazy starts when Dale (Tyler Labine, from Reaper — an amazing cancelled TV show everyone should watch) attempts to talk to a “rich, college” girl at a gas station, and things just go downhill from there. His good friend and lifelong buddy Tucker (Alan Tudyk, from Firefly/Serenity — again amazing.. cancelled.. whatever, go watch it now!) spends most of the film encouraging and supporting Dale in his efforts to win over the sweet Allison (Katrina Bowden . . *crickets* dunno her, so.. whatevs).

Hilarity ensues when Allison’s friends lose their minds and all notion of rationality when attempting to “rescue” her from the hands of “killer hillbillies.” People die, *almost* entirely at their own hands. But, hey, Token Black Guy didn’t die first — that’s always a nice change of pace. Aside from that, not much else makes sense — unless you ascribe to the belief that college kids buy stock in their own brand of stupidity. Then you might just think its as logical as can be.

In the end, as hilarious as the movie is, it also reminds us that a cute funny fat guy is way better than a lunatic frat boy with anger issues.

 

Also, run with care.

Overall, the movie is funny, kind of touching, and I laughed out loud a few times. Not quite barrel rolls but a chuckle now and then is good. Really, I’ll watch anything with Alan Tudyk in it. Have you watched that guy in action?

Oh, Wash, how I miss you.

So, go forth and enjoy, derps and derpettes. It’s worth at least a viewing on Netflix Instant. (Or a buy if you’re into that type of bloody horror comedy. Not quite up to the zom-rom-com standards set by the amazing Simon Pegg, but a close third.. ish.)

 

Hump Day Horror — Double Shot

This special (belated) Hump Day Horror edition is a double shot of goretastic flavorfulness. Half Indie, Half Mainstream. A mix of your two favorite flavors: bloody and terrifying.

bloody and terrifying.. deliciously terrifying...

 

So let’s take this double shot straight to the head!

Hump Day Horror

Double Shot

 

Necromentia

Directed  and Written by Perry Teo; Co-Written by Stephanie Joyce

Starring Layton Matthews as Morbius; Chad Grimes as Travis; Santiago Craig as Hagen; Zelieann Rivera as Elizabeth; Zach Cumer as Thomas; and Nathan Ginn as Mr. Skinny

For an indie film, this one isn’t bad. Fans of the genre will immediately notice a striking similarity to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser in visuals and atmosphere. The premise is interesting: a Ouija board carved into flesh has the ability to open a doorway to Hell, offering a grieving man a chance to recover his lover… and that’s where the cover description ends and after about 45 minutes you realize the movie isn’t exactly all Dante’s Inferno (the game, not the poem). There is far more back story involved, and it isn’t until you reach about the hour mark that you realize the story is being told entirely backwards (alá Irréversible) and that’s when you start catching on to what’s really happening. A disgusting man is searching for his lover; a lost and still living soul seeks his brother; and a … well, that’s supposed to be the surprise part of the end, so I won’t ruin that.

But suffice it to say, the movie overall is good enough for a single-viewing, maybe even a second to understand it better, but I can’t see this film really standing the test of time. I think there was a lot left unsaid that could have really helped the film go past that line, but that’s the burden of the indie film. Low budget done well can be really good, but rare is the low budget film that will last a lifetime.

The best part of the film is a strange dream/hallucination (maybe more?) sequence where a dancing pig named Mr. Skinny manipulates a mentally disabled teenager. The insane song Mr. Skinny sings will definitely be an aspect that stands the test of time, as well as Chad Grimes’ performance as Travis, the living and lost soul searching for his brother. Be prepared for some intense and bloody torture scenes, some disgusting insinuations, and that crazy lullaby. Good job on the song, Mr. Teo. Really good job.

 

My Soul To Take

Directed by Wes Craven

Starring Max Thieriot as Adam “Bug” Hellerman; John Magaro as Alex; Denzel Whitaker as Jerome; Zena Grey as Penelope; Nick Lashaway as Brandon; Paulina Olszynski as Brittany; Jeremy Chu as Jay; Emily Meade as Fang; and Raul Esparza as Abel

For a mainstream teenage pop horror flick, this one isn’t bad, either. Craven is certainly showing that he hasn’t lost his skills. The film is filled with tension from beginning to nearly-end. Unfortunately, for the experienced movie-goer (and plot-writer), the ending is fairly easy to spot, but it’s not too hard to suspend your instinct to keep enjoying the movie anyway. The best part is in the beginning, when the original Riverton Ripper is acting out his .. possession? mental illness? hallucinations? Something like that. Either way, it’s a pretty good scene and well-acted by Raul Esparza. Later in the film, “Bug” has similar scenes and Max Thieriot does the scenes justice as well.

The movie is fairly straightforward. The idea is that there was once this bad guy who swore he’d be back for revenge, and 16 years later to the day, the day turns bloody. Seven kids born that night, one of whom has inherited the soul of the murderer, and no one can be quite sure who it really is. There’s an interesting sub-plot that could have been better developed. Another member of this “group,” Emily Meade as Fang, is revealed to be a crucial character only near the end, and you wonder how she ended up as the school’s female Godfather, running the “Mean Girls + One Idiot Jock Mafia.” Aside from the main character, Fang is the next most interesting character and could have used more development, but it is understandable. There’s only 2 hours and how much can Craven really fit in?

At the very least, the film isn’t Craven’s attempt at a “Jennifer’s Body” type of teenager flick, with some hot girls titillating the movie audience. It’s a sound film with a solid plot that might be obvious at times, but is enjoyable in the end. It’s also not a movie likely to last a lifetime, but it is a fun watch on a stormy spring evening. You might even jump at the shadows when it’s over. Maybe.

 

For a second opinion on Necromentia, try this review at QuietEarth and for another on My Soul To Take, try RottenTomatoes.

Final Tally
Necromentia     Three Bloody Hearts
       My Soul To Take     Three and a Half Bloody Hearts


Hump Day Horror – The Human Centipede

I know it’s been a bit since my last post . . . . . . but that’s Life. The kids are doing fantastic at school. The boy has entered first grade and is impressing his teachers. The girl is finally a Kindergartener, and her teacher has already sworn to never let her advance to first grade. She loves that girl too much!! As a family we’re doing amazingly well with our transition to Texas, and things couldn’t be better.

That said, I could still be blogging and writing more often.

To renew my dessicated website and writing career, let’s pump it full of life-giving primeval ooze and other substances with the consistency of pudding. Starting with a new feature:

Hump Day Horror

With my husband’s new schedule, the old Saturday Night Horror Fest is out. He gets every weekend off, and since he works 4 or 5 graveyard shifts during the week, I am not taking my precious evening time away for a horror fest on Saturday. It’s going to become a Wednesday night thing. I’m going to try to review newer movies, but if I’m short on time (or Netflix is slow), I’ll be giving a taste of the old, too.

This week, to peak your interest, I’m offering my thoughts on The Human Centipede. Which is coincidental to a story I’m currently working on, featuring none other than a crazy German doctor. Odd, no?

the-human-centipede

 

*Spoiler Possibility Alert*

Many apologies, but there could be spoilers below.


 

Taking notes as the film began to roll, I noted a feeling of trepidation, apprehension. Having seen the trailer previously, I knew the basic plot: a German doctor decides to make his fantasy of flesh a reality by creating the first Siamese triplet connected by the gastric system, or in other words – the human centipede. (100% medically accurate, as the tagline informs us.) As much as the thought intrigued me, it was also completely disgusting and I really wasn’t looking forward to that part. Not even in a “I like to watch sick horrific things,” because really… I don’t. I can enjoy visceral, grotesque horror occasionally, but most times my preferences lie in atmospheric horror that keeps you jumping for hours afterward, not hawking up your lunch.

I realized, then, that the reason I’m watching this movie is out of curiosity. I already know what the doctor does; I have an insatiable need to know why.

Disappointingly enough, the creators never really examine what event or idea took hold of Herr Doktor that led him to kidnap and mutilate 3 human beings in such a way. There’s a mild suggestion of his past as a former Siamese separator, and that he has now decided to . . . make a Siamese . . . triplet? I know. It seems a stretch. He does explain his plans, and there may have been a tiny amount of exposition as well, when he’s making his presentation to the victims — uh — test subjects, but it was covered in a ton of Japanese and subtitles. He could barely be heard over A’s racket, and any exposition is tossed into the wind.

Featuring a nearly unknown cast, which isn’t always a bad thing, but here the storyline and graphic nature of the film could have benefited from better acting. The most memorable characters were Doctor Heiter and Katsuro/A, the lead segment. B, the second segment, or middle piece, Lindsay, would fall next on the list, with Jenny, the tail, falling dead last as the worst actor in the bunch. Her emotions were dead pan and she lacked any believable lines, and truly, as the viewer you’re feeling a little guilty and grateful that she got her comeuppance in the end. The same could be said for Lindsay, whose only saving grace is that she doesn’t reveal herself to be an 8 year old who got her hands on some human growth hormones to appear 20-ish.

As far as characterization goes, the only worthwhile character is Katsuro. Having very little time for exposition, his character is still revealed as a leader, both strong and stubborn. He is unwilling to silently obey and works diligently, always seeking that opportunity for escape. The Doctor, while an interesting character, is never given a chance to fully present himself. We see him only in small snippets as the man, and most always as The Doctor.

 

 

the_human_centipede

 

Creepy Alert: Level RED

This keeps his Creepy-Factor high, but since the movie is lacking in meaning already and is just another form of torture-porn, a little more ambiance and presence may have helped salvage the movie’s disturbing lack of substance. The actor playing The Doctor truly does make the character, however. His ability to look upon his subjects as a loving father would look upon his children, but as though he’d decide to finally cook them for dinner and teach them about having mouths to feed, is one of the more truly disturbing moments. The two girls seemed written in a way to deliberately have the viewer think they deserved their fate, if not at the least dislike them as people. This was a blatant attempt to trick the viewer on the writer’s part, and as a one who has already set aside my disbelief to partake in a film about a mad German doctor performing risky and highly unlikely surgery (much less the acrobatics not revealed later in how he transported these delicately attached bodies) for seemingly no real reason at all aside from his own personal aesthetics, I do not enjoy being shown a crappy sleight of hand illusion.

I could begin to list the sadly large amount of plot holes that will be extremely obvious during viewing, but this review seems to be getting long enough as it is. Just play “Spot the Stupidity” while you watch, and then categorize if it is an oversight on the writer’s part or the director’s. It is a fun game.

Ultimately, I spent the first half wondering why the Doctor performs this catastrophic and debilitating surgery, and the other contemplating the various surgeries the victims would need to fix their bodies if they survived. Very little time was spent on wondering about the characters, their suffering, or even the Human Centipede itself. The novelty of a “human centipede” quickly lost its appeal.

There are very few reasons to see this film. Everything is pretty much covered in the trailer, and about 10 minutes after the surgery takes place, the grotesqueness of the situation becomes droll, and you’re looking forward to the end. I would advise wasting money, or the hour and a half to watch it, only if you’re truly curious about what a human centipede would look like crawling around, and … that’s about it.

 

Starring:

Dieter Laser as Doctor Heiter

Ashley C. Williams as Lindsay

Ashlynn Yennie as Jennie

Akihiro Kitamura as Katsuro

 

I give the film two and a half screams out of five.

 

 

 

For other opinions on the film, check out:

THC @ Rotten Tomatoes

THC @ Metacritic

THC @ AllMovie

Don’t forget the awesome (and totally not a 3 minute spoiler)  trailer:

 

File this under more likely to scare you than The Human Centipede:

scarierthanthc

Fickle Readers, Zombieland, and NaNoWriMo

Y’all are horrible, ya know? I put great effort into blogging a lot in September, and my views drop considerably (except for the week I blogged about Megan Fox, but her post was only third highest! Ha!!) … but I don’t blog for yet another month and my views go up and remain a constant 20-30 a day.

What is wrong with you?

No, that was not a rhetorical question! I want answers! Comment them!

But let’s not go into how you never comment…..

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So October 3rd, I went to see Zombieland.

200px-Zombieland-poster

There was one scene where I jumped. That’s it. Aside from that, the story was 90% funny, with a brief 10% of truly emotional back ground. A few scenes were very touching.

The zombies were not of the undead variety, rather they were the diseased living person type from 28 Days Later. They were also not very scary, despite the buckets of blood and creepy costumes. It was difficult to take the zombies seriously, when the opening credits are a slow-mo montage of spectacular zombie chases and attacks. (There’s a particular zombie-stripper moment which truly demonstrates the effect of gravity on breasts.)

The film contains many little flash backs, montages, and cut-aways, which make it obvious the film is going more for laughs than scares. (I really can’t imagine who they were planning to scare with hilarious set-ups like the Zombie Kill of the Week; the rules Columbus comes up with to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, such as “Beware of Bathrooms: Zombies like to attack at vulnerable moments;” as well as Columbus’s irrational fear of… everything. Including clowns. Worst is zombie clowns. Even I have to admit that one would actually scare me if stumbled upon in real life.)

The touching, emotional plot point steps in entirely in Tallahassee’s character, both the strongest and most withdrawn, yet the most emotional and connected to his past. While Wichita, her sister Little Rock and Columbus appear to have accepted the change in the world, as well as lost family and loved ones, with the ease and tolerance of the disconnected-from-people perspective of the young today, Tallahassee is closely tied to what he lost that he loved most dearly. When Columbus realizes just what the strong cowboy is talking about, and reveals the truth to the audience, a tear springs to the corner of your eye.

As such, I feel like standing on a podium in front of a tent decorated with zombie posters from the film, and harking about it’s complete package-ness. It’s touching, there might be a scare or two in it for you (if you’re easy), it’s hilarious, there’s a quest for Twinkies, and a Bill Murray cameo that was for once kept entirely out of the film’s press and took everyone by surprise. It has everything you’ve ever wanted in a zombie comedy!

I can’t wait for this movie to hit DVD shelves everywhere. It will be added to the collection.

Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin, with Bill Murray appearing as himself, this is the extent of the cast, aside from zombified extras.

So run out and see it if it’s in theaters in your area, or wait patiently for it to come on DVD, or steal it in transit to the dollar theater. Whichever option suits you best.

A sequel is possibly in the works, which would include the same returning cast, so keep an eye out for that. As such, I leave you with…

zombieland_photo_08-535x355

 

Zombie Clown. Just a messed up combination.

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NaNoWriMo is coming up. No, that’s not some Mork word. (If no one gets that, maybe I’ve watched too much old, old, OLD Nick at Nite.)

National Novel Writing Month is an event held every November, where thousands (millions?) of writers and wanna-be writers congregate at www.nanowrimo.org to fulfill their dreams of writing a novel in 30 days, at a pace of about 1,367 words per day.

Check it out.

There’s tons of forums to find encouragement and discuss frustrations.

The main idea is to write as much as possible as fast as possible to satisfy the 50,000 words by November 30th deadline.

If you make it through, there’s a prize. I do not recall what it is. Oh, wait, self-esteem and confidence. You wrote a novel. It will probably stink, but you still wrote it.

I’m trying again this year. I say “try” because I’ve yet to make it through the month and finish a 50K novel.

Usually, my problem is I take on too many side projects during the month and don’t leave enough breathing room to work on a novel. I have four days before the month starts again, I’m taking down a few notes and ideas to work on, then we shall see how it goes again this year.

Most of all, it’s about having fun. Not everyone who signs up succeeds, most just have fun getting as far as they can. There’s a lot of wonderful and helpful tips on the website for writing during NaNoWriMo, as well as in general.

So swing by and make yourself at home if you’re a writer. If you’re not, I must ask, who said you weren’t? Take your browser there and sign up. Do something new and different, even if you think you’ll fail, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

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I can’t wait to see how a new blog affects the views. I wonder if they’ll rise or fall? You fickle, fickle readers.

Keep an eye out. I’m going to do a review of Paranormal Activity here in the next few days. (When I find the odd moment of quiet time. Even now I am being smothered in the wee hours of the morning before school. Already the munchkins are up and hovering.)

See you on the flip side!

Wednesday Night Horror Review – Jennifer’s Body

I know it’s Saturday, not Wednesday. But seeing as how Wednesday was my birthday, I figured I deserved a couple days of slack after turning 25.  (I will blog about that later, with pictures of my birthday cake. It was very creatively designed by my mom and sister-in-law, Kristen. With a huge quarter and four candles, and only one lit, to signify the first quarter of my life. Inventive, no?)

So on to….

Jennifer’s Body

jennifers_body_ver2

Written by Diablo Cody, of “Juno” fame, the cast includes Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody and Johnny Simmons, among others. I was readily amused by the appearance of J. K. Simmons in make-up and wig. (Also without a left hand. It was funny.)

First, I’ve read a lot of tweets and Facebook/Myspace updates about the film. For the most part, people didn’t really enjoy the experience.

I have to respectfully disagree. If you went to the theater expecting an actually scary film, then you may have overestimated the trailers.

For those who scare easily at the “jumpy” kind of scenes, you probably will end up a little scared. But if you required a deeper, more intense atmospheric moment to scare you, then you’ll find this movie is heavily more comedy than any other genre.

I sit comfortably in the latter group. I also had no idea the film was written by the same person behind Juno, otherwise I really would’ve expected a straight-ahead comedy. Based entirely on the trailers, I was expecting it to be a B-film, filled with droll, straight faced comedy and one-liners rather than an actual horror film. The “horror” aspect was merely a frame for the amazing pop dialogue and jokes.

So, let’s start with

What I Liked

Most of all, I enjoyed the pop dialogue. As someone who’s been out of the pubescent world for seven years, I find the new slang to be highly amusing. Megan Fox carried most of the interesting “pop” dialogue, using such colloquials as “lime green jello” instead of “jealous.” And others that I can’t really remember. (Never mind. Should’ve written the review when all the dialogue was still fresh in my mind. Next time I’ll remember to bring my journal!)

I personally had a hard time getting into the “scary” moments because I was too busy listening for more interesting dialogue.  I admit, I find dialogue most intriguing. I’m a people watcher and hearing the various ways of saying the same thing have always raised a strong curiosity and interest in me.

However, there were a few good tense scenes. Quickly in the film, when Jennifer first reappears, there’s a repulsive, bloody, smiling Megan Fox who lets her psychopathy shine through. (If there’s ever a Hollywood actress I could believe would snap and murder people, I’d have to say Megan Fox is among the top ten.)

Near the end, Jennifer performs an act, that while not amazing, was certainly unexpected. The surprise in the moment is quickly lost in a one-liner, but I hung on to my surprise and joy as long as I could. (About 30 seconds.)

There’s also a rather shockingly passionate and straight-forward make-out scene between the two main characters. (Yes, the girls.) I was surprised to not hear more hooting and hollering in the theater. (Probably because most of the males in attendance were in the company of women. Couldn’t get caught hollering at a full on girl-girl make-out scene, could they?) If Megan Fox or Amanda Seyfried came out of the closet any time soon, I would not be completely shocked. They pulled off the sexual tension like they had an Ace in the hole.

What I Didn’t Like

There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, I hate more than when a beautiful opportunity is presented by the story to the author. A gift of love and creation, passed on by a benevolent Muse…. and the author refuses, for whatever stubborn reason, and turns it away.

I don’t want to give it all away, now, but there’s mention made of a scientifically interesting waterfall in the area, after which the town is named. At the bottom of the waterfall is a hole that the investigating scientists have been unable to determine where it ends… So where does the water go?

During Jennifer’s murder scene, they place the whole event near the waterfall. One of the villains stares down into the hole, as though contemplating using it. Near the end, we find out just where the water goes and it kind of ties into the plot of the film.

Yet, I can’t help but cringe. Ultimately, the possession of Jennifer’s Body is explained away by a Satanic ritual gone wrong, where the sacrifice’s body is possessed by a demon because it was unpure. (Cliche, no?)

When this is revealed, I wanted to scream at the screen.

The hole presented itself as a perfect excuse. I mean, what else lives in the dark depths of a hole that never ends? I would say demons. Could Jennifer’s body have been tossed down the hole, where it resurfaced, possessed? Forget the screwed up Satanic ritual. This was an interesting and original way of presenting the demonic possession…

Worst of all, the opportunity was gifted upon Cody. But did she recognize it for the gift it was? Apparently not. I can’t offer any theorizes as to why she decided to stick with “screwed up Satanic ritual” except that she may have been too busy coming up with interesting pop dialogue to worry a whole lot about plot.

As for another issue, in the beginning, the people who kidnap Jennifer for the ritual are an indie band, desperate to sign a contract, reaching fame and fortune. Jennifer seems to be entranced by their music and is “zombified” into following along with them docilely to her death.

Yet, I can’t help but be irked by the lack of explanation here.  One, their intended victim was unknown to them. Sure, they obviously have immersed themselves in the occult in order to attain their celebrity, but there is no way they could have woven a musical spell around Jennifer, since they had NO idea which small town girl they were going to ritualize! If all or most of the girls in the bar at their gig had been mesmerized, I could let this slide, but only Jennifer showed any ill effects after listening to their music. So, just how did they manage to hypnotize Jennifer, and her alone, when they had no idea what girl they were going to use?

I despise glaring plot holes. They do occur, I must concede this, but as an author, I can’t help but feel it is our duty to work harder to get rid of the obvious ones. I personally find this, and the above dark hole in the earth, to be glaring plot errors that could have been easily resolved with a few words and adjustments.

As creative beings, we must strive to be better.

The ending itself wasn’t entirely bad. I rather enjoyed watching Seyfried’s transformation and revenge. Though, there is the final reveal of just where the water goes, and what resurfaces at the end. Really, these details were irrelevant. Her revenge could have been carried out without it and would have been better for it.

Overall, if you like a decent B-film that can make you laugh, maybe shiver, and definitely creep you out in a few scenes, go ahead and rent Jennifer’s Body when it’s released on DVD. (Unless you can score a great deal on movie tickets, and you like girl-on-girl make-out scenes, then you might as well see it on the big screen… That’s probably going to be the biggest thrill you get out of the whole movie.)

But to end on a good note, I am incredibly jealous of the dress Jennifer was going to wear to the dance. Check it out.

megan-fox-jennifers-body

I love the way the red makes the black band and white really “pop.”

Oh, wait the red isn’t part of it? Hmm… Guess I’ll have to pre-bloodstain my dress at my next big formal event.