He Never Died
This was one we had been thinking about watching for a while, but didn't know much about other than "Henry Rollins is in it" Other than anticipating a solid performance from Rollins, it was not what we were expecting, at all. It was way, way better. If you like black humor, watch it. If you like deadpan humor, that goes double. If you like understated humor watch it. You might not be ROFLMAO, but you will thoroughly enjoy it.
Pet Sematary II
Nostalgia strikes again. Many many years ago, a boy and a girl went to see this (along with "Innocent Blood" and "Hellraiser III") at one of those vanishing "Drive In Movie Theatre" things. (That would be me, a boy named Glenn, and we've now been married for almost 21 years.)
I can not remember where this fell in the scheme of the triple feature, but it was the one I remembered the least about. We had since re-watched the other two, and this one was on Amazon Prime, so we thought we'd give it a re-watch. There was apparently a good reason I had not remembered much about this one.
Much like the first Pet Sematary, this one strives to achieve emotional resonance with tragic deaths. And fails almost completely. None of the characters are very likeable or memorable. We have two completely one dimensional (And therefore boring) "bully" characters. Although the actor playing Gus did seem to be having fun chewing scenery once his character had come back from the dead. This one has a solitary character with the folksy Maine accent, and there is not a trace of it in any of the other locals. (Maybe everybody else just moved to town as well?) This one has a bit more in the way of creepy visuals and special effects than the preceding movie, but not much else to recommend it. This one also earns a solid "Meh."
It had been a long time since I had seen this filmic adaptation of Stephen King's novel. I watched it in high school, so well over twenty years ago. I remembered it as being creepy and a little heartbreaking. I had been a little reluctant to re-watch it since I knew it revolved around the death of a child, and being a parent sometimes those things hit me harder now.
I needn't have worried. I didn't care about or believe in any of the characters enough to be emotionally affected. I'm not sure if it was bad directing, bad dialogue, bad acting, or an unholy combination of all three, but unfortunately my emotional state could mostly be described as "bored." The plot is so ridiculous and so lacking in motivation from the characters at certain points as to be nonsensical. Nothing that is supposed to be creepy ever quite gets there. The depiction of Zelda (the deceased sister of Rachel Creed) perpetuates illness/disability as something frightening, and is pretty damn dehumanizing. (I remember being thoroughly creeped out by the depiction as a teenager. As a hopefully more knowledgeable and compassionate adult, it just strikes me as gross.) It's kind of fun to see Fred Gwynne in a performance as the folksy next door neighbor, and Brad Greenquist is somewhat entertaining as the ghost character (who fails to have any actual impact on the plot) but other than that? meh.
Apologies for the boring screen shot of the cover art- technology is not cooperating, so that might be what we get from here on out.
And we are back to anthology land! This one has a fairly clever wraparound story about a group of film students who don't seem to actually want to put in the work to, you know, make films. But burn effigies of cameras to get spooky films from beyond the grave? What could possibly go wrong?
All of the shorts are stylish and visually interesting, although they come across a bit as more "For The Aesthetic" rather than the visuals supporting compelling storytelling. Nothing deeply memorable for me, but nothing that I hated either. The wrap up at the end felt a bit rushed and forced.
Oh, this one hurt. This one made me ugly cry. Heart wrenching performances. Difficult to watch, but so good. That's all I have to say.
We were scrolling through Amazon,, watching the trailers of terrible looking movies (because that is the sort of thing we do for fun,) when we came across this truly execrable cover art:
I mean- awful, right? So we watched the trailer, and...it did not look bad. at all. It had Allison Scagliotti in it, who I had enjoyed in Warehouse 13. We thought it might be fun to watch after "Once Bitten" since we have similar themes presented at different times. We expected it would be way better than "Once Bitten" We were hoping for a funny and feminist film. And then we watched it, and...
Oh you were so so disappointing, Chastity Bites. Now, so many of us have gone through that "I'm not like other girls!" stage. Internalized misogyny is a helluva thing. We have felt secretly superior because we weren't that into makeup, or boys, or...whatever. A lot of that tends to be a useless defense mechanism against the attitudes and treatment we see towards women/femmes in our society. But hopefully, we outgrow that and realize that even if we have different interests, other women can be awesome. Liking makeup doesn't mean you are shallow. Calling other women "sluts" is shit behavior and perpetuates misogyny. And running like hell from anything coded "feminine" unfortunately does not mean you will not also be subject to the exact same rain of crap from the patriarchy. Skills coded "feminine" are not less-than those coded "masculine." Even Xena, Warrior Princess could do embroidery, for hell's sake.
Our main character oozes her own sense of superiority over the "shallow, slutty, popular" girls. Despite the fact that this movie thinks it is skewering the whole "abstinence education" thing, there is slut shaming like whoa. Having sex is okay if you can spout feminist philosophy while you're doing it, apparently. (Oh, and your life is in danger. That too. )
The dialogue from the "popular" teenagers is painful and unrealistic. I'm pretty sure whoever wrote it was yelling at kids to Get Off Their Lawn in between looking up slang on urban dictionary. Sure, teenagers can be mean and teenagers can be selfish and self-absorbed. I get that. (For that matter, adults can be mean and selfish and self absorbed.) But they are also human beings with all the complexity that brings, and if you want to write them successfully, even if they are the villains, you need to realize that. (And they are not even the true villains of the piece, just convenient victims.)
There are just so many damaging tropes - we have a lonely, single, desperate cat lady. (Who dies. I'm not sure how you write that scene and still think you have pretensions to feminism.)
We have a giggling group of "mean girls" with stereotypically feminine interests.(Yup. Every single one of them dies. every. single. one. But they are not "cool" like our main character, so we are very obviously not supposed to care. In fact, it's fairly obvious that this movie wants us to think they "deserved" their fate, which...victim blaming much?)
There is a line from the main character about perpetuating the Madonna/Whore complex, but - this entire movie is basically just another form of that. If you are smart and snarky (especially about the mean girls) you get to live. If not, you apparently deserve to die. The whole thing ends up coming across more like a revenge fantasy against the girls who were mean to you in junior high or high school than any sort of feminist statement. But hey, we have the main character strut about in a "this is what a feminist looks like" shirt, and quote Simone de Beauvoir so it's all good, right? (barf)
Oooh boy. I had watched this a million years ago when it came out in the 80s. I had fond memories of it as a goofy horror comedy with a young Jim Carrey, a smoldering Lauren Hutton, and (be still my heart!) a dance battle in the middle of it all.
I still loved the slapstick humor. I still guiltily enjoyed the ridiculous dance battle. I was prepared to cringe for the homophobic and sexist humor that was prevalent during the 80s. I was pleasantly surprised by the butler/chauffer character Sebastian (played delightfully by Cleavon Little) who was quite clearly gay and treated with respect and affection (and silly but not hurtful "closet" jokes.) And then we turn right around and use really nasty homophobia for laughs. Looking back it's hard to get that disconnect. I suppose we could assume that it goes along with the queer coding of "evil" characters- but Sebastian is always a very sympathetic character, and he has one of the sweetest moments in the film when he promises to take care of the Countess after she loses her youth and beauty. It's just a really weird contrast, even though homophobia for laughs was an unfortunate staple in the 80s.
"We're going to travel around the world and make a documentary!" goes terribly, terribly wrong. But this movie goes terribly, terribly right. I like and care about the two main characters within the first couple of minutes of the movie (and also suspect this might end up being one of those horror movies that ends with me in tears. Spoilers: no tears, but I came close.) A unique twist and shift of point-of-view for a vampire movie. Really good use of the modern day trope of posting EVERY THING on YouTube. The best thing about this is the open and loving friendship between the two men.
BRB, I'm writing fanfic where these two run off together.
The lighting in this thing is ridiculous, but I sort of loved it. It would have worked better had they pushed the unrealistic atmosphere even more. I actually liked a lot about this one, although the "older man mentoring a tough young girl" with romantic overtones is a little played out. And this feels like a bit of a Buffy clone, although it was a fun ride.
This one kept popping up as I was scrolling through the Amazon Prime movies, and I kept scrolling right on by. The name is absolutely ridiculous. It's been around long enough that if it was something special, we would know. (And there would possibly be Pumpkinhead 4,5,6, and a reboot) But, out of curiosity we watched the trailer. It did not look terrible. And the effects looked cool. (It is from Stan Winston after all.) So, with a shrug and a "Well, it can't be worse than Prom Night!" we watched it.
Okay, so the name is ridiculous but apparently comes from a poem. I still think I might have tried find a different name for the movie, because it just does not quite do the job of inspiring fear. It's not quite a bad movie (and oh my, it is pretty.) It's disappointing because it just could have been so so good- an interesting exploration of tensions between "city folk" and "country folk" and responsibility and forgiveness, and all that - and it never quite fulfills that promise. This came out in the 80s, so almost every horror movie of this ilk had to have a final girl (and I LOVE me a final girl,) but the choice in this one felt forced, and a different choice for the lone survivor could have been much better.
I enjoy scary things. Well, as long as I have a pair of fuzzy socks to keep me safe from the monsters!