March 31, 2010

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2010)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0961722/
Where in the hell to start with this one... I'm going to skip giving this movie the whole review treatment, as it has me really perplexed.

On one hand, Ti West has a great visual flair and truly makes me believe his movies were made in the 70's, which in Horror terms, adds to the general ambiance for me. He also has an interesting way about his work, which was suited pretty well to this particular sequel, as he made it feel a lot like Eli Roth's predecessor, and yet made it his own.

On the other hand, this movie was a confused mess and baffled me more than would me walking in on my sister giving the family dog a red rocket. I know the studio (Lionsgate) re-shot and reworked a bunch of what Ti West originally put down on film, prompting him to claim "Alan Smithee" and not want a thing to do with his own flick, and it's easy to see why.

Let's leave the fact that the movie basically opens and closes with extended cartoon sequences (the latter bit before the end credits rolled) alone for now, as it's to easy to pick that crap apart.

-It was VERY bloody, and VERY, VERY gross in many places. As a fan of gore, I loved every second of it. -I love Ti West's style. Just dig it tremendously, despite its limitations and flaws.
-I can't help but get a kick out of Winston, the creepy deputy from the first movie.
-The film's soundtrack was really cool, and even clever in places.

That's not toothpaste...
-One of the most unappealing sex scenes ever. I thought at first it was going to be a set up to a "prank the fat girl" type of payoff, but then no... the guy was into it... and it was just all very odd and uncomfortable.
-The plot was a mess, as was the way it was edited together. It's pretty straight forward for the most part (tainted water makes its way to school just in time for prom, everyone drinks it and melts), but much of it felt random and didn't make sense/was left unexplained.
-This movie couldn't decide what it wanted to be; funny or intense. In fact, it jumped back and forth several times in its own confusion.

Random gay characters... for laughs? They didn't even do any funny gay stuff!
The ending. First, the story with the two main characters just kind of ends and that's it, rather abruptly. Second, and what makes the first thing so annoying, is that after the main characters drive off, we get a 10 minute follow up scene with the stripper/hooker (I know, same difference), as if anyone cares what happens to her. Lastly, and worst of all, the hooker sequence turns into a cartoon sequence that last for a few minutes, and closes the movie...

It was all cheap and shoddy, unnecessary, and I don't blame Ti West for taking his name off of the movie.

I should have fucking watched something else.
How does Lionsgate get away with the crap they pull on their own Horror movies? They can mangle this movie into the ball of shit that it is, give us a new, uninspired and tired sequel to Saw every October, give big release treatment to crap like Disaster Movie, 46 new Tyler Perry "Comedies" a year, or some painful-to-watch Dane Cook movies, but they continue to bury movies like Blood Creek and Midnight Meat Train for what seems to be no good reason at all.

I really wonder what in the hell they are doing over there sometimes.

Yeah, us too.
I think I'm being pretty generous with this grade, as the movie is truly a mess, but the stuff in there that was obviously Ti West's was enough to not make this a total loss for me. Some people will probably love this movie, I can just see it coming, but for most others I say skip this one and rent the first Cabin Fever, or even Ti West's House of the Devil instead, and spend your time and money watching a better class of movie.

D-

Alexi Wasser is in this.


March 30, 2010

10 Movies That Shaped My Life, Part 1

So the Warfreak from Olympic Artichoke leveled a challenge at me ( and others) to make a list of 10 movies that changed/shaped my life. Easy task, right? Do I pick horror only, because I could think of 10 movies from the genre that shaped me. Do I just make it a mix of 10 movies that inspired me, or made me who I am today? (Cue dramatic, poignant music.) Let me think on this while I finish up some reviews and updating the release list, and I'll get back to you all shortly...

March 29, 2010

The Collector (2009)

"Now this is how it's done."
THE COLLECTOR
Sub-Genre- Slasher/Torture Porn
Cast Members of Note- Josh Stewart, Andrea Roth, Madeline Zima, Michael Reilly Burke, Karley Scott Collins, and Juan Fernandez as The Collector!


This is a story about a loser named Arkin who is behind on his child support, and decides to steal an expensive uncut gem to catch himself up. He partners with a seedy pimp, scouts out a house, installs their windows, plans a robbery, and basically ruins his entire life in the process. You have to imagine that any guy named Arkin is prone to mess up his life somehow though, right?

Arkin, in red.
After having a tea party with a little girl (at said house he plans to rob) Arkin takes off to downtown Compton for a drank, returns later that night when the house is deserted, and starts safe cracking... only the house isn't deserted! Nope, it seems as if The Collector showed up while Arkin was gone, took the owners of the house hostage, booby trapped everything, and started hurting them in really sick ways.

A really sick way to hurt someone, in Yellow.
With their oldest daughter out on a date, and their littlest girl hiding somewhere in the house, Arkin sets out to free them, find the kid, and get the hell out of the house. Of course that doesn't go so well. The Collector is a pretty smart maniac you see, and once the oldest daughter comes home for a post-date pounding, everything really goes to shit... Not literally to shit, but things do get pretty bad for everyone, which is shitty, so... yeah.

The Collector! (in black)
And so Arkin and The Collector decide to play a game of hide and go seek all throughout the house, with the added challenge of trap dodging thrown in to make things more interesting. Can Arkin find the little girl, save the family, and get the hell out of the house? Are they all screwed? What exactly is The Collector collecting? I won't spoil anything that happens for you here, but suffice it to say that it doesn't quite end the way I figured it would.

What's in the box ?!?
Not often does a movie come along and truly impress us here at THC, and especially when it comes to me. I don't nitpick ruthlessly, and I try to find some good in everything, but so many films just fall short of what they could be, that it has left me a jaded viewer (wink, wink) after seeing so many horror flicks.

The Collector managed to far exceed any expectations that I had for the movie, and left be a bit breathless when all was said and done. I think the cat-and-mouse thing that went on throughout the movie is what really got me, because it was so good and felt natural where many movies use the same device and it feels forced. Tension is the name of the game in this one, and the level of tension the film maintains throughout is fairly palpable.


It also struck me how the director used so many different colors throughout the movie. Reds blues, yellows... I tried to use pictures that showed the color schemes off a bit to illustrate it visually, because I found it all so interesting. Also, I could be way off base, but I swear that one particular scene was a nod to the color-rich cinematography genius of Dario Argento... It just had to be.


Argento tribute, in blue.
I get why he went back for the kid, I mean how could you just leave her to such a grisly fate, but damn he was home free! There may be honor amongst thieves, but that does not include kids! UGH! I would have gone back too, but I still screamed at the screen "No, just run!" He either didn't hear me, or just flat out ignored me.

I have one nagging gripe about this movie, and that is how in the hell did The Collector have time to set up so many effective traps all over the house, between the time our hero leaves and returns to look for the gem? It's a small complaint, but man there were traps everywhere, and some of them weren't so simple, so it just makes me wonder. Maybe he's just had a lot of practice?

Ha! This movie is packed to the rafters with sick, twisted, and copious amounts of blood and gore, and I have to imagine it will satisfy most gore hounds out there.

Oh yes, we get to see the sexy Madeline Zima in all of her boob glory, and it is good. Glorious even. Of course, The Collector's meddling ass had to interrupt the sex scene, ruining what I believe would have been full nudity scrumping, and possibly some bondage, but the boobs were a win none the less.

Oh, sweet Jesus.

Don't steal. Also, never go back for the kid; kids are cunning, they can survive on their own.

 A (9.0/10) This movie was packed with so much nastiness and tension, that all I could say after watching it was "Damn!" Not since the first Saw movie have I been fairly blown away by a "fresh" concept and it's execution equally. I'm sorry I missed this one in theaters last summer, but am glad I caught it on DVD. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to snag a copy when it hits DVD on April 6th.

Andrea Roth and Madeline Zima are special, special girls... in fact, let's take a look at more Madeline in the post below...


I love her on Rescue Me, even though she's a shrew.

More Madeline Zima (The Collector)

You're welcome.

March 24, 2010

Pandorum (2009)

I thought this movie was supposed to be about Pandorum's Box, but I was instead surprised to find that it was about deep-space travel and nervous conditions.

Two spacemen (aliens for all we know) are woken up early from their deep-space sleep, to find that their ship is dark and deserted, and that they have the shakes which in space are called Pandorum.One of the space guys, Bower, decides to crawl through a dark and cramped ventilation shaft (which is always a good idea) in an effort to unlock the door they're trapped behind from the other side, but he never quite gets the job done. Why, you might ask? Because of... Pandorum!

Just kidding. It's really because he discovers that the ship is now populated with insanely strong and agile creatures that want to eat him, and anyone else that isn't one of them. Along the way he meets a Tahitian Ninja, a hot ninja-like German chick, and a black dude that doesn't trust white people. Who can blame him though? I'm white and I rarely, if ever, trust myself. True story.

She trusts no one! That's how she survives.
The other space guy, Dennis Quaid, stays behind in the locked room and tries to navigate Bower to wherever he needs to go, but he fails too because he finds some crazy guy that wants them to launch themselves into space because he's claustrophobic. I'm not kidding on that one. guy wants to launch himself into space because he's claustrophobic... I may be wrong here, but floating endlessly through space in an escape tube seems really, really claustrophobic to me too...

"I've got your tube hanging, punk!"
So, Dennis Quaid and Bower both have their hands full, and it doesn't look like either of them are going to be around long. Will Bower and his band or ragtag misfits get to the power core and save the ship in time? Will Dennis Quaid launch himself into space on the whim of a madman? Will any of them survive... Pandorum?!? Yes, no , and maybe. Also, the ending threw me for a loop, although it was a pretty cool one.

This is a space waterfall. They actually exist.
I don't know why, but aspects of this movie reminded me of Ghosts of Mars a little bit, which I also loved. That's fairly misleading, as the two movies aren't very similar at all, but the creatures and the way the acted just brought it to mind... although if anything, the movie resembles Event Horizon or even Pitch Black more closely. Pandorum is a dark, interesting little space-monster flick, that didn't make me roll my eyes once, even when the ending threw us it's out-of-left-field twist. It just worked.

This movie is bloody, action-packed and tense, not to mention gorgeous on Blu-ray. I also have a weakness for Horror flicks set in space. Something about the quiet desolation of it all is really effective to me. I also have a weak spot for Dennis Quaid, who usually stars in some lackluster movies, but whom I always like anyway. Here, he does his job admirably along with his cast mates, most noticeably Ben Foster, and I actually liked all of their characters. That's a rarity for me.

Are they suffering from Pandorum?
 
The ending made me a bit mad, because it looks like they have more story to tell, and I don't think it will happen since Pandorum underperformed at the Box Office. It was one of those "Oh cool... but... that's it? I wanna know more!" Types of endings, and it will always frustrate me unless we get a sequel someday. Good stuff though.

I personally find it horrendous that this movie came out last August, and I just now saw it on Blu-ray, months after the fact. I don't know why I put it off so long, and I'm sorry that I did. I mean, had I seen it when it first hit theaters, I could have had this creepy little fucker haunting my dreams from that night forward.

Oh how cute, it wants to play.
There was a fair amount of blood and gore, and even some slime. Yes, slime. There was even a pretty good karate fight between a ninja and a space monster, which of course was all bloody and slimy.

Nope. We are on a "no nudity" streak as of late with the movies we've been seeing, and it's starting to suck. Pretty soon I'm going to watch some porn and pretend it was a Horror movie, and just write a fake review... OR... maybe you could just start giving us some boobs, Horror movies!

Dennis Quaid is a little wonky. Always has been. Also, Germany turns out some pretty hot chicks.

B+ (7.5/10) If you like movies like Event Horizon, Alien(s), Pitch Black, or anything starring Dennis Quaid, you'll most likely dig Pandorum. We here at THC are suckers for the whole Sci-Fi Horror thing, and we pretty much unanimously gave this a big thumbs up. If you haven't already seen it, you should do so when you get the chance. Don't be lame like me and wait for 7 months to check it out, because you deserve a good movie right now! So did I... back then.

Who is this Friederike Kempter that stole my heart, though she was in very little of the movie?