Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Having a region free DVD player allows me to watch DVDs from all over the world. It also allows me to be look around for the best deal. Being the cheap bastard I am, I didn't purchase this 2006 horror comedy until it was about 5 bucks at Amazon UK. I usually buy stuff from Amazon UK because it is not available in the US yet, but sometimes it is just to save a buck.

When a weapons multi-national Palisade Defence reward their European sales division with a team-building weekend in the mountains of Eastern Europe, comedy blends with horror as the team fight first amongst themselves, and later for survival against a group of war-crazed killers intent on revenge. - www.film24.net

Being able to blend horror and comedy and still make us care about the characters isn't an easy thing to do. The movie gives us all of the normal slasher movie cliches, yet manages to make them funny. The movie doesn't skimp on the gore either, as you can tell from the screen shot from the movie.

I feel that in order to make a horror comedy work, you have to have respect for both genres. You need to play it straight or it turns into a parody. While you are laughing, you are also afraid for the characters and know that the threat is a real threat and that they could all get killed. In order to pull this off the acting must be good. The Director, Christopher Smith, spent 4 months in casting to make sure he got the right actors. Casting is perfect, with Danny Dyer stealing the show, using the getaway as an opportunity to order some "escorts" and consume as many mood altering substances as possible, including a hilarious scene where he has consumed an entire bag of "shrooms" and is having trouble figuring out what is real, including whether or not he has pissed himself. Of course he ends up being one of the unlikely heroes by the end of the story.

With a blend of horror, comedy, nudity and plenty of gore, this is a must see for anyone who likes horror comedies like Shaun of the Dead.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Last Man on Earth

I have never read I Am Legend, but I have seen all the films based on the book. I don't think the author Richard Matheson, or Logan Swanson as he is known on this screenplay, likes any of the versions that have been made so far.

The Last Man On Earth starts with Dr. Robert Morgan(Vincent Price) waking up and going about his day. With the help of a lot of what I believe to be unnecessary narration, we find out that Dr. Morgan believes he is the last man on earth after a world wide plague has seemingly wiped out everybody else. The only other survivors have been turned into a type of vampire. His daily chores consist of burning the bodies of the vampires that have died and to replenish his supply of mirrors and garlic, since we all know that vampires hate garlic and can't stand to see their own reflection. I once thought I was a vampire because I could not stand my own reflection, but I just realized it was just because I was ugly!

Once the sun sets the vampires try to get into his house and kill him. These vampires do not wear capes or turn into bats. They look more like the zombies from Night of the Living Dead. This movie came out 4 years before LOTLD, so it seems to have influenced Romero's walking dead. They shuffle along and are easy to get away from as long as there are not too many of them. They are smarter then the Romero zombies, with one vampire being an old friend and fellow scientist Ben Cortman, who actually tried to tell Dr. Morgan that the plague was creating vampires. As he tries to get to Morgan each night he says "Morgan! We're going to kill you!" Not until Dr. Morgans wife dies and comes back from the dead after being buried does he truly believe that they are vampires. Due to the fact that they can come back if simply buried, the "dead" are all burned as soon as they die, including Dr. Morgan's own daughter.
The story is told with flashbacks to the times before and during the beginning of the plague. According to Richard Matheson, this was also used in the book. We also see this in the latest version with Will Smith. It is used effectively when we discover that the vampire telling Morgan he is going to kill him was once his friend. It also shows his reluctance to believing that a plague was creating vampires.

Eventually Dr. Morgan and the audience finds out that he is not the only survivor. However, the other survivors have the plague but have found a medication that will help them deal with the symptoms and not make them completely vampires. During this time we also find out something that I wish this movie would have spent a little more time exploring. These infected people are actually afraid of Dr. Morgan due to his killing and disposing of so many bodies of the infected. In the Will Smith version they also filmed an ending where this was explored, but they ended up going with a more standard ending where the infected where just monsters without any redeeming qualities. Also in that version they show Will Smith using these infected for experiments while trying to find a cure. He is seen as the monster for not realizing that the infected may not be human but they have feelings. I believe that this is explored in detail in the book, even the name comes from the fact that he has become a sort of Legend for his cruelty and lack of compassion.

This was an Italian production, with a cast of all Italian actors except Vincent Price. As with most Italian horror movies, the dialog is all dubbed, sometimes rather badly. At first this is a bit off putting, but I think it adds to the weird sort of vibe that this movies creates. I first saw this as a kid and I always remember it kind of freaking me out. Not only the idea of being the last man on earth, but also seeing the shuffling zombie/vampires for the first time. I was also a huge Vincent Price fan and probably would have liked anything he was in!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why Do I Blog?

Since it has been since forever that I wrote anything in here, I start wondering why I even have this blog. Or where the word blog comes from. Maybe I would write more often if it was called something else? I thought I better write about something, especially since I am currently one of the many unfortunate souls out there that have been laid off. I should have plenty of time to watch movies and write about them. The only problem is that when you are not working you are not earning money. Unemployment Insurance is a nice thing, but you still can't be spending that on DVDs and trips to the movie theater. I think I will need to go back through my collection and just start watching. I will try and review horror movies, but I like other obscure movies from all over the place, so I will try and review all kinds of stuff.

Everyone has done their Let the Right One In reviews, so I will skip that one. I will say that it is definitely my new favorite Vampire movie. I have watched it 3 times since I purchased the Blu-ray. Unfortunately I did not get the version with the revised subtitles, but that has not stopped my enjoyment of the movie. I have watched a few movies on Fear.net so I will be reviewing those.

That is all for now, I have to drink some Tequila that my sister in-law just brought me from Mexico. Since the bottle is almost 2 liters, the reviews may have to wait for a little while!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


If you are at all familiar with Takashi Miike, then you know that you are never quite sure what you are going to get. He can make a movie as over the top and gory as Ichi the Killer, and then make a movie as beautifully haunting as The Bird People of China. If you haven't seen either of these, maybe I will review them sometime in the future. Not a director known for showing restraint, in every Miike movie there are a few WTF moments. I watched Zebraman with my stepdaughters and they kept telling me it was the weirdest movie they had ever seen.

Zebraman is about Shinichi Ichikawa, a junior high school teacher who is ignored and disrespected by his family. He teaches at the school that his son goes to, which causes his son to be picked on by the other students. His daughter is a bit of a slut and is "dating" an older man. While he tries to tell his daughter that she can't go out on a school night, his wife tells her to have a good time and even gives her money! To escape his life, Shinichi fantasizes about a character from an old television show that was cancelled years ago after only 7 episodes, Zebraman. Shinichi even makes his own Zebraman suit and pratices his Zebraman moves in front of his mirror. He eventually ventures out of the house with the suit and confronts a bad guy in a crab mask. This would be one of the first WTF moments, but with Miike, it will not be the last. During the confrontation he finds that maybe his superpowers are not just in his head!

Here is a basic summary of what happens, hopefully without giving away too much.

A UFO crashed near the Junior High School where Shinichi works leaving little green aliens that look like they are made out of jello. Shinichi has a new transfer student, Asano, who is in a wheel chair after witnessing his father commit suicide by jumping off a building, and who shares his love of Zebraman. As Shinichi/Zebraman confronts the criminals in town they all have green glowing eyes and seem to have a green "jello like" substance that comes out of them when he fights them. The police are aware of the aliens and track them down at the school and decide to blow it up unless Zebraman can defeat the aliens first!

The movie is basically about believing in yourself. When Shinichi has the support of the ones he loves, he finds he has the power to be more than he ever dreamed of! Boy did that sound corny!

It is really hard to describe this movie, and even harder to know who will like it or not like it. I was pleasantly surprised that my stepdaughters enjoyed it, even though they did find it very strange. Of course they are into anime and manga and all things Japanese, so they might not be your ordinary kids. If you go in with an open mind I think you will enjoy this. If not, I will have to give you the "Zebra Screw Punch"!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Suspended Disbelief

I love movies! I love movies because they aren't real life! At the very least they aren't MY life! My wife can't watch depressing movies because they make HER depressed. I can watch a depressing story that gives an insight into another way of life or another persons depressing story because I can be on the outside looking in. Movies allow us to experience other worlds. If the movie provides a reality we can believe in, we can be taken anywhere by the story. We can watch X-Men and believe that mutants exist! We can watch Superman and believe a man can fly, sorry couldn't help stealing the tagline! We can watch horror movies and believe that people are stupid enough to go outside because they heard a noise, even though there is a serial killer on the loose! We need to suspend our disbelief to appreciate the movie.

Even within the "reality" of a movie, some movies just push things a little too far. Sometimes that expect us to believe a little too much.

Are we really supposed to believe that we can survive a nuclear explosion in a refrigerator? Are we really supposed to believe that shooting ourselves in the head can get rid of our other personality but somehow not kill us? Are we really supposed to believe that a man can jump from the top of a building through a glass ceiling and land on an airbag as part of a game to help him get through his midlife crisis, without the possibility of jumping a little too far or maybe missing the airbag, ending up a big red stain on the concrete below? Are we really supposed to believe that the force can give you strength, but it can't help you to figure out that that hot chick is really your sister! Are we really supposed to believe that an alien race who has been leaving crop circles for years on our planet that turn out to be navigational aids for an invasion, didn't realize that that blue looking wet stuff could hurt them?

Don't get me wrong, I love movies that are way over the top. I love how in John Woo movies they never seem to run out of bullets. I love how the good guys in any movie can hit anything with any gun at any time, but the bad guys can't hit anything. I love how Indiana Jones never losses his hat. I love how good guys can get shot 20 times and still survive to kill all the bad guys. Hell, I even want to see Crank 2! But if Jason Statham suddenly sprouts wings and starts flying, even with the first movie's unrealistic reality, that would just be too unbelievable!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

80s Horror

Have you ever had a fond memory of a horror movie from the 80s, only to see it now and see that it is not quite as good as you remember it? Memories created while sitting around with your friends drinking beer and maybe even sharing someone's glaucoma medication? Movies that seemed like the coolest thing ever at the time, only to now seem more than a little silly? Movies that are now seen filtered through all of your life experiences? Have you ever had the experience of watching these movies again with their new special edition, anamorphic, high definition transfers and thought, what was I thinking in the 80s? Me Neither!

80s horror will always hold a special place in my heart. I still have not seen any DVD release of an 80s horror movie that has disappointed me. I do my best to recreate the experience of watching them like I did over 20 years ago, although the beer is now imported and I no longer need glaucoma medication or can't find a pharmacist. I am older and wiser now, at least I'd like to think so, but I still enjoy the cheesiest low budget crap that we used to go to the video store every week to rent. With all of the new DVD releases, I even found some movies that it seems everyone else has seen but me! You would think that since these movies hold no nostalgic value for me, I could see through their inherent cheesiness and see them for the cliched, predictable, unoriginal and exploitative movies that they are. I do see them for the cliched, predictable, unoriginal and exploitative movies that they are, that is why I like them!

I don't think we will ever see a time for horror movies like the 80s. For all of us back then, it was our own little world that others just didn't get. VHS gave us new movies every week with great eye catching boxes that sometimes had nothing at all to do with the actual movie. Straight to video movies that looked like we made them with our own giant video cameras that required two hands to hold up. We rented all of it. Sometimes the worse the movie was, the better it was.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Horror!

Well I managed to watch a whopping 53 horror movies during the scary movie challenge!

1. Abominable Dr. Phibes
2. Abominable
3. 28 Days Later
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street
5. 28 Weeks Later
6. Black Sunday
7. Critters
8. Friday the 13th.
9. Blade
10. Blade 2
11. Carrie
12. Blade 3
13. Black Sabbath
14. Pet Sematary
15. The Hitcher (1986)
16. Kill, Baby, Kill
17. Body Parts
18. Phantasm
19. Dust Devil
20. Audrey Rose
21. The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Mario Bava)
22. Constantine
23. The Deadly Mantis
24. Prophecy
25. Stir of Echoes
26. The Monster That Challenged the World
27. It! The Terror From Beyond Space
28. Panic in the Year Zero
29. The Pit
30. Hellgate
31. Flesh for Frankenstein
31. Freak Out
32. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
33. The Untold Story
34. Dead and Buried
35. Dog Soldiers
36. Bay of Blood
37. Baron Blood
38. Lisa and the Devil
39. House of Exorcism
40. House of Wax (1953)
41. Five Dolls For An August Moon
42. Planet Terror
43. The Mothman Prophecies
44. Berserk (1967)
45. The Stepford Wives (1975)
46. Cat People (1942)
47. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
48. Night of the Living Dead
49. Dawn of the Dead
50. Day of the Dead
51. Satan's Little Helper
52. Halloween
53. Halloween II

I watched a lot of Mario Bava movies this year, and I think I am a bigger fan than I used to be. Luckily I skipped the Hercules movies that he directed. I was not really into watching big muscular guys wearing skimpy leather outfits. Now if it were Mrs. Hercules!!!!

I still have some horror movies that I didn't get to watch during the challenge, so I need to watch those soon. I was trying to get through all of the Romero Zombie movies, and only got to the beginning of Land of the Dead before the challenge ended. I still need to watch Diary of the Dead. I have not seen Diary so I have not idea if I will like it. I have a feeling I will like it since so many Romero fans don't like it. My favorite is probably Day of the Dead, and most Romero fans don't like it very much. I also liked Land of the Dead, although the end where they don't kill them is kinda stupid! The Zombies might just want to find a place to live just like you, but they also can kill you and eat your liver! Maybe if the big black Zombie leader guy can give you some written agreement stating they won't eat you, then you let them go. But if they are not willing to negotiate, you gotta kill em'!

That's all for now, I am going home to watch the Red Wings!