Tuesday, September 25, 2012

REVIEW: Idle Hands (1999)

After my last few reviews involved a psychic killer penis, a hungry, vengeful vagina and man-eating boobs, I was really wondering where I could possibly go from there…I mean, these are really hard to top. So what am I left with to end this little saga on? A half-assed stoner comedy/horror about a kid whose hand is possessed by the devil? And it’s directed by that idiot who made The Unborn and starring the doofus from the first Final Destination movie?! Seriously, how does that even compare?

Director: Rodman Flender
Starring: Devon Sawa, Jessica Alba

It doesn’t. It doesn’t at all. In fact, it leaves so little of an impact that I’m pretty much grasping for straws even trying to review it. This movie is the equivalent of the actual real life stoners who do nothing but sit around on their asses all day eating potato chips – there is no cleverness or wit at all to be found here. So let’s fire up the fumes of reviewing and get this stinker over with before our brain cells turn to mush.

We start off with an overly long scene of a middle aged couple in bed talking about how their idiot son doesn’t help them with Halloween decorations and just sits around doing nothing all day. They’re about to go to bed and turn off the light when they see blue neon writing on the ceiling telling them to look under the bed. How did that get on the ceiling? Never explained…apparently the killer just utilizes ladders to their full potential.

"Honey, did you let a serial killer into the house AGAIN? I'm gonna freakin' kill you for this..."

And for that matter, why bother writing anything on the ceiling to warn his victims in the first place? He’s just giving them more time to escape or foil his plans unknowingly. Imagine if he did that to a house where the people went out all night and partied, never turning off the lights or seeing anything…he’d just be sitting under the bed waiting for hours, for no reason. What a dumbass. I wouldn’t trust this guy to be the star of my slasher movie…

Then the mother is killed off while apparently, the father is axed offscreen, because offscreen deaths are just terrifying when you can’t see them and don’t know what happened! The next day we meet their son Anton, played by future Final Destination survivor Devon Sawa. I actually think he seems to have more fun in this than his later flop…at least here he gets to go all Keanu Reeves and make bug-eyed over the top stoner expressions.

He keeps this expression ALL. THROUGHOUT. THE MOVIE. Seriously, kid, maybe it's time for you to take a visit to Narcotics Anonymous!

We also meet his two buddies Mick and Pnub, played by Seth Green and Elden Henson, neither of whom were sober during the filming of this, I’m sure…they sit around all day smoking and eating cheese balls and chips. They throw Anton’s cat out a window for some reason and then his hand, which has been possessed by the devil and moves on its own now, forces him to pick up the fallen journal of hot chick Molly (Jessica Alba, who he has a crush on) and give it back to her. She ends up starting a relationship with him and somehow they have really hot sex in her room later on:

Uh, yeah, no. Doesn't happen. Not buying it. Definitely not.

His hand is all over her, groping and everything – luckily he found the one girl in the universe who wouldn’t just throw him out the second he started with that shit. She’s so stupid she actually just sees everything he’s doing as charmingly delightful and sexy…in reality he acts like a spaz and does crazy things for no reason. Are her standards really so low? Maybe the weed fumes emanating off him just infected her too somehow.

But OK, so I guess he eventually discovers that his parents are dead, what, 30 minutes into the damn movie? This is really supposed to be our hero? Even Bill and Ted would be like “dude, you’re really an oblivious ass!” His hand then somehow forces him to murder Mick and Pnub with broken beer bottles, so he buries them in his backyard and gives a eulogy speech that even a four year old could do better.

Somehow, Mick and Pnub come back to life – because “the gates of Heaven were too far away.” I’m so glad this movie affirms a positive Christian agenda and the idea of Heaven existing…if only it actually elaborated on that, we might have a good joke. But nope. Just like in Rock n’ Roll Frankenstein, the characters react to these two becoming undead zombies like it’s nothing to worry about at all, never even questioning it. I know marijuana can be pretty potent, but c’mon. It’s ZOMBIES. If this had been made ten years later, the movie would have just stopped right here and gone into full Zombieland mode…maybe that would’ve been better actually.

ZOMBIES!!!! Just regular every day stuff when you're high.

But no, instead we're just stuck with bullshit devil-possessed hand story with stupid stoner characters. Like this one scene where he’s facing down these two cops who are trying to arrest him; he’s knitting because, you know, “idle hands do the devil’s work,” and knitting is the first thing he can think of just because the movie thinks it’s funny…and he can’t stop knitting because otherwise his hands will kill the cops. So they start screaming at each other and chaos breaks out and it’s really, really unfunny – like, to extremes only a bad comedy film can reach. I mean, did they have any jokes? Where's the humor? You have a potentially funny situation, movie, but the jokes...are just not here. Instead all we get is dumbass slapstick. Because, you know, that's the best kind of comedy, right? Wrong.

Then Anton gets the brilliant idea to cut off his own hand, and after he does that, he barely feels anything at all, and is able to continue to going on like he just got a paper cut. I guess the joke is that he’s so high, he didn’t even feel the pain, but given this movie’s track record for obliviousness, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just lazy writing. After that, the severed hand can still move and now goes on a warpath to kill Jessica Alba because…….because.

Chalk up one more for the goofy horror facial expression club...

Oh, and did I mention there’s another plotline in this movie involving this druid woman who apparently put together that because a thread of murders forms some kind of pentagram shape in which Anton’s town is at the middle, that means the devil has possessed someone and is about to do something evil. She also somehow deduces that he’s possessed the laziest slacker around – dunno how, or how that pentagram thing works for that matter, but I guess that’s because I’m not high as a kite.

And really? We’re supposed to take this five-minute plotline seriously at all? Even when the character is so stupid that she runs out in front of a big truck backing out of a driveway when she could easily just run alongside it? Yeah, real genius, cool character you got there, movie…

"Hur hur hur, I love running in front of random cars when they're backing out! Almost as much as I love sticking my tongue in electrical sockets!"

At the school while trying to kill Jessica Alba’s character, the hand of course can’t just, you know, DO THAT RIGHT AWAY. No, it first kills a principal who is in the middle of a phone sex hotline call in his office…random…and then the lead singer of a band. Both of these scenes are overly long, pointless and add absolutely nothing to the film.

Meanwhile, the zombified Mick and Pnub hit on girls at the dance who can’t tell they’re dead, because you know, being dead wouldn’t make your BO off the charts or anything…good thing this movie takes place at Halloween, or else everything in it would completely fall apart. Lazy screenwriting 101, just throw everything under the bus with a cheap holiday gag.

Uh, yeah, no. Doesn't happen. Not buying it. Definitely not...and seriously, wouldn't anyone smell the stench of ROTTING DEATH on these two peons?

Then Jessica Alba and her random friend we didn’t know until five minutes ago escape the hand by crawling up into an air vent; yes, crawling up into an air vent. Couldn’t just escape on foot from the tiny hand that’s about 1/15th the size of you, could you? I guess that would make too much sense. They come across a giant fan and somehow stop its blades just by jamming them with one of their high heels. Uh, yeah, no. In real life that thing would be shredded to a cinder…oh, why am I even bothering anymore?

The hand kills the friend and kidnaps Alba, tying her in a full-body bind to the top of a car…yeah, how did that little hand subdue her that much without her resisting? It just makes no sense. You’d have to be a total pansy to let a hand tie you up that much! Anton and friends come in and rip her dress off leaving her in a sort of bikini…OK. It is pretty hot I guess.

Let's be honest, a mostly naked Jessica Alba tied to a car is the only reason any of you ever watched this film.

After that, they somehow stop the car by smoking weed through a giant car engine thing – once a burnout loser, always a burnout loser, I guess. Then they kill the hand by throwing a knife at it; yes, that’s really all it took to kill the demonic hand that could subdue a fully grown human being and tie her down to a car roof. What a letdown. I haven’t been this disappointed since my hopes of this turning out as a good movie died in the first three minutes of the film!

Idle Hands just sucks. The jokes are terribly unfunny, and you won’t laugh even once. The characters are all wastes of perfectly good script paper that could have been used to roll more joints. The plot is a mess of stupidity that seems to think it can get by simply because its audience is presumably too high to see what a godawful piece of hack work it really is. And really, that’s all it comes down to with Idle Hands. It’s not the worst ever, but really, how much less effort could you put into a movie than the makers of this one did? This is crap made for a bunch of stoner morons and nothing more.

None of the images in this review belong to me. They belong to their original owners. I got them off of the YouTube free movie.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Expendables 2 (2012)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, almost everyone else who survived the first movie except for Mickey Rourke for some reason, plus more
Director: Mark Price

It is action time again! The Expendables are back, this time to take on a terrorist who is threatening to unleash a whole bunch of platinum on the world. Can they stop him?! Well, the villain is played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, so probably...OR WILL THEY...?!!!

This movie basically gives you what you want and more. It opens up with a great action sequence and carries on with a lot of back and forth between the characters. Not really much more I can add to that, to be honest. Oh yeah, it also has a climax with Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger all firing guns at the bad guys. That right there is worth the price of admission!

If I had to name two problems with this film, it would be these:

First of all, the plot. It is not a bad plot per se. It is just that the first film had them taking out a dictator of a small country, while in this one they are up against a terrorist played by a guy who has not had a good movie since...umm...wait...has Van Damme ever had a good movie?! By the way, the name of his character is Vilain. Get it? Because he is the villain?! Haha, that is so cleaver. Anyway, kind of a minor difference, but its just doesn't seem like the stakes are quite as high and makes it so that the middle drags a bit.

Secondly...the in-jokes. You know how in the first film they had the (awesome) scene with Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger and they made a joke about the last guy wanting to be president (yeah, do not see that happening anytime soon, Arnold). That was fine and it worked well. But in this movie, they are FLOODED with in-jokes! By my own count, there are at least one Die Hard, one Rambo, and three Terminator references. Oh yeah, Chuck Norris is in this as well. Well, there is no way that they will make a joke about...they did, didn't they? You know how in the scene from the first one where Willis asks the other two if they "are done [verbally] sucking each other's dicks?"? Apparently they were not.

But you know what? I don't care. That is the point of the whole franchise! It is a tribute to action movies, with all their awesomeness and cheesiness rolled into one! I admit, even when the in-jokes did get kind of annoying, I still laughed at them. So if that is what they want to do...go for it!

Overall, this movie does not quite match up to its predecessor, but as far as squeals go, its pretty cool. So if you liked the first one, you'll probably like this one as well. I recommend it.

P.S. I know I spent a lot of time making complaints about this one, but to be honest, this has more to do with the fact that I am writing this about a month after I was suppose to post it. So do not take it the wrong way.

I do not own the rights to these images or links. They belong to their respective owners and are being used for entertainment purposes only. Please do not sue me.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

REVIEW: Trapped Ashes (2006)

In continuation of Sexual Body Horror Month (yes, it’s a month-long theme now with Teeth and Rock n' Roll Frankenstein, and now this), I had nothing more interesting to look at and so I chose Trapped Ashes, an anthology horror film about as scary as having to stand in line at the post office for a few extra minutes. It’s really pretty damn boring, and the fact that they had five stories and NONE of them any good just shows what kind of incompetence we’re dealing with here. So, who’s ready for a bad movie with five times the “fun”? Not me…

Director: Several big name horror directors like Joe Dante and Sean S. Cunningham, among others...SERIOUSLY WHAT?
Starring: Boobs that eat people

The movie kicks off with some introductions to our characters as they’re taking some Hollywood tour, comprised of a married couple, a non-married couple, some girl who looks like Wednesday Addams and a Boris Karloff lookalike. These introductions are all very rushed and mostly could’ve just been replaced with a white piece of cardboard with “CHARACTER INTRODUCTIONS” written on it. You don’t really get anything substantial. I do love how the tour guide played by Henry Gibson talks about preserving the integrity of Hollywood while acting in Trapped Ashes, though – that’s a laugh if there ever was one.

Seeing as Henry Gibson has been around since the very first movie ever made, I guess he's entitled to his opinions

They all decide they want to go into this old haunted house that’s restricted access, so like a good tour guide the skinny old guy just lets them do it. I mean who cares, right? It’s only an off-limits part of the tour that could cost him his job! Totally not a big deal AT ALL. They go inside and unfortunately do not get killed off in the first few minutes, so we’re pretty much stuck with them.

"Hi, I'm Owen Wilson Lite. Nice to meet you. Care to listen to me being lame?"

They do, however, get stuck in this room that, apparently, this crazy director used to lock his actors in until they were done working for the day and they couldn’t leave unless he let them – because I’m sure THAT went over well with the actors, right? And I bet their agents were just thrilled by such tactful and fair directing manners!

I just love how angry these tourists get when they’re locked in, even though THEY ALL AGREED to come in in the first place…gee, it’s almost like tourists are just generally petty, impudent assholes or something. The skinny old man tour guide tells them to start telling scary stories to one another and maybe then they’ll get out. The amount of sense being made in this is just staggering. I almost can’t even take it! So they agree and the first story is about a girl with boobs that eat people – yes, really.

So now we get to the main reason I’m even doing this movie – this friggin’ story. Apparently one of the girls, a young actress, got turned down for one role, yes, one role, and decided to get breast surgery to see if that would help her get any better parts. So after just one rejection she’s that messed up over it? Gee. I’d hate to see what would’ve happened after four or five…seriously, rejections are very common in any kind of creative field. If you can’t take it, then you’re not cut out to do it in the first place. Maybe this girl’s talents would have better suited for something with less chance of heartbreaking failure – like a Starbucks coffee barista.

So anyway, yeah, she starts having sex with some idiot and this happens to him:

This is just one of those moments where you can pinpoint this actress's career dying. Just listen to it wither. I mean how desperate do you have to be to take a role like this?

He thinks it’s bug bites for some reason, because yeah, THOSE look like bug bites! What a genius. I hope he shares a long and prosperous relationship with this girl and really imparts his wisdo----


Oh. Well OK then.

She goes and tries to find the guy who did it in the first place, but finds out that he’s dead, and instead is faced with these three characters, who are never introduced or given any kind of explanation:

OK, that's it, somebody needs to take a belt to whoever green-lighted this image. Whoever it was clearly was not disciplined enough as a child.

They say they’re trying to make humans immortal because, and I’m quoting verbatim here, “why should people have to die?” If this was any other movie, perhaps a film of more merit, I would go into detail on how stupid THAT question is, but for this? Nah. Not worth it…but seriously, they’re trying to accomplish immortality by implanting fake blood-sucking breasts onto young women? Hmmm, yup, that IS the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! Congratulations Trapped Ashes! You win!

I mean really? Do I really have to review the rest of the movie now? I don’t think I can top this one. It’s just too much! Nothing in the rest of these stories can possibly beat this for ridiculousness! On another note though, let's see how much fame that girl's fake boobs brought her! Oh man, I bet she got all the big name roles after THAT! I bet she...

Oh. That was only the second movie she ever did and everything since has been TV appearances and shorts that weren't even big roles at all...hrmm...hum...awkward.

So the story pretty much just ends with the realization that she’s screwed for life and stuck with man-eating boobs, and in the present time she just covers them up now when she has sex – something that her current boyfriend just goes along with because he’s a friggin’ idiot, I guess…and here we have the main problem with the film. All of these stories are just dull as hell because they center around people in the room in the movie’s present time, so where’s the danger from that? We know they don’t die or anything, seeing as they’re obviously still around telling the story, so…where’s the incitement to care? Mostly these stories just come off as annoyances rather than legitimately scary or tense. And that’s never the way to go.

So, what, the next story is set in Japan and involves a woman getting involved with some monk who kills himself and goes to Hell. She then visualizes herself having sex with him and the movie turns into a weird porno – so, basically, it turns into a stereotypical Japanese film.

After that she disappears and her husband goes to save her. He has to go in this cave and put a tiny piece of paper in her mouth. Why do I get the idea this is just how the monks get their kicks, playing tricks on stupid tourists? The film then turns into basically a horrible anime styled thing, and honestly, have you ever seen something so utterly valueless in your entire life?

I...I just...no. Just no.

I guess they make it out OK, if you really gave a shit, but it’s really frigging hard to do that. This story ends up just being a big pile of nothing with no redeeming features or even anything entertaining or atmospheric. Snore…

Next story involves the Boris Karloff lookalike when he was young and looked like something out of a 1920s Depression-era period piece. Apparently in the past he made friends with some guy named Stanley, and they had a bromance that bordered on homoerotic quite fancifully until…

It’s OK, Karloff lookalike – he’s just in denial. He’ll come around to you one day.

Anyway, they play chess and stuff and the girlfriend just hangs all over Stanley without any regard for politeness or anything – they even make out right in front of him, because yeah, that’s totally not a dick move or anything. In polite society it’s just common nature to make out randomly in front of company you just invited over.

Then Stanley disappears and Karloff lookalike is stuck alone with her for like a day, in which he turns into a mindless slave and stops doing work and everything. What a pussy. Eventually she just disappears and he moves on with his life until years later when he gets a videotape from Stanley telling him that the girlfriend was a vampire.

And I’m not even kidding – that’s the whole story. No resolution to anything, no final showdown with the vampire lady, no real action at all. How do you even do this to a story? Don’t most writers at least try to come up with something big to end a story? This literally has nothing to it – I guess the stranglehold of having to have the main character alive at the end really castrates most horror stories, a fact to which this movie is a big testament. I mean, I don’t really need some big Hollywood-esque overblown explosion-fest, but anything would be better than the amount of non-conflict this story has! Is it even really a proper story with so little resolution or conflict or tension?

Ugh, forget it; one story left and then I’m finally done with this…

The last story is told from the perspective of an unborn child in her mother’s womb – I wish I was kidding. Can’t I just end the review now and not go any further with this one? Well, I wish, but unfortunately this is like a big car wreck – really hard to stop paying attention to entirely.

So we get the story that the mother ate some bad meat and, when she got pregnant, ended up with a parasitical worm inside her womb with the baby – not sure that’s even possible, but hey, why not. Apparently the father runs off with one of his wife’s friends, because that’s the sign of a good human being, and the narration informs us that the baby in the womb made friends with the worm.

A few years later, the mother goes crazy and becomes an invalid – I guess it was just delayed shock. So the girl is sent to live with her father and his new wife, who is mean to her and gets mad at her, quite reasonably actually, for hiding food around the house to feed to her wormy friend, who is never seen. One night the girl sics her worm friend on the stepmother and it goes inside her vagina, providing us with this lovely image:

Let’s just recap this for a minute – this final story wasn’t even really about anything but indigestion and bowel movements caused by bad meat. We’re ending this anthology movie on gaseous stomach pains. Isn’t that such a fitting metaphor?

So it turns out, in a big twist I guess, that they all told their stories wrong and are either dead or have committed much worse crimes than they thought. The girl with the maneating boobs actually murdered the boyfriend character who has appeared to be with them the whole time, the husband and wife who got trapped in a bad hentai are actually both dead, and the Wednesday Addams chick actually murdered both her father AND stepmother…it really doesn’t make much sense, and mostly just comes off like the writer smoked too much bath salts and just came up with something random. I mean I seriously don’t even get it. Were they dead the whole time? It’s really not clear at all and I’m not even angry so much as exasperated at how incompetent this all is. Sheesh…

The movie ends with the old guy, who is really the crazy director who used to lock people up in the house with no way of escaping (glad Hollywood does such thorough background checks on their tour guides), giving another trolley tour, and this time adding in the random, pointless stories from this film to his anthology. I can only imagine the conversations among the tourists on this trolley ride:

“Gee, those stories sound like shit.”

“Yeah, seriously. I hope they don’t make a movie out of that bullshit. That would just be a drag.”

“I know. That would be the worst thing ever.”

“Whoever would do that should just be removed from the gene pool immediately. He should have his nuts chewed off by an angry gopher in heat.”

“If we agree on nothing else, let us agree on this.”

The pictures in this review are not mine, they are copyright of their original owners.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

REVIEW: Teeth (2007)

Welcome to the new and improved Cinema Freaks, where I only review movies based on current events from three weeks ago! Today’s movie is Teeth, which serves as a great support to Senator Todd Akin’s claim that women have a special defense system against being raped and having children through rape, because this movie is about a girl with teeth in her vagina!

Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Starring: Jess Wexler, John Hensley

Yup…I don’t think any further introduction is needed. I actually think my previous sentence explains it all. So why am I going to continue writing stuff? Because I have a God complex and you all will listen to me FOREVER!

The film begins with two little kids sitting in a pool and showing each other their private parts while their parents sit in lawn chairs and drink beer – classy, right? The camera cuts away for a second and then the kid’s finger is bleeding…gee, I wonder what happened?

Hint: he stuck his finger down there and her vagina bit it off like a piranha. Just in case you couldn't, you know, guess.

After an opening credit scene of little biological genes floating around and infecting one another with the black plague apparently, which could be used in any instructional science video, we get our main character Dawn.

No; not that Dawn. This Dawn:

The way these kids react is more fanatical than the Children of the Corn, for Christ's sake. Whoops, was that a blasphemy? I'm sorry...I'm so sorry...

She’s a motivational speaker at schools telling kids to wait until marriage to have sex, and even gives out purity rings, which OF COURSE are the real deal, and can NEVER just be taken off whenever said wearer feels like it…also, I think I’ve already seen this plot in South Park. It involved the Jonas Brothers being killed by Mickey Mouse. Which one is more ridiculous? YOU DECIDE...

So anyway, we learn that Dawn has a brother who looks like something out of American History X and apparently does nothing all day but hang out with his girlfriend in his room and have anal sex…

He also likes to sit in his underwear with a gun in his hand. Because he's just that cool.

This is all very subtly psychological, indicating that he’s still afraid of vaginas after what happened to him as a kid. It’s very well done in this scene anyway (later on, when they're still arguing about having sex an hour into the film, it gets a little overblown), but honestly, just call Dr. Phil. He’ll help you out better than being in this movie ever could.

Dawn starts hanging out with this one guy who acts like a serial killer, so of course she’s attracted to him. But their Christian upbringing prevents them from even doing things like watching PG-13 movies together because there would be too much making out. They go with some friends to the woods and the creek, where apparently people go in this cave nearby to do “you know what…” in the words of the super-conservative Christian girl whose name I can't remember. Wait, what do they do in there? Swim?

However, after her brother tells her he wants to sleep with her, she decides to throw caution to the wind and invite creepy serial killer guy to go swimming in the creek, where stuff escalates pretty quickly:

A typical relationship for Dawn: Day 1, "we can't make out because we have to wait till marriage to even think about sex." Day 2, "we can't see each other because our thoughts are impure." Day 3, "let's make out and you can touch my boobs!" Geez...some women...

Then when he decides he wants to rape her…well…

Better luck next time, buddy! Oh wait…

That's supposed to be his body floating face-down in the water, by the way. Damn murky pictures...ruining my reputation around here.

Huh. I guess this scumbag rapist being removed from the gene pool ISN’T something we should mourn. Moving on, then. Dawn goes through some very serious guilt trip scenes about what she did, which are actually very well done and atmospheric, far surpassing what most movies like this end up going for. She researches vagina dentata, the phenomenon/myth of vaginas with teeth that this movie was based on, and she hears a steady drum beat in her head, so clearly she’s actually a forgotten Time Lord…

Ahem, wait, no.

Actually she just goes to a gynecologist where her vagina bites off his fingers. I just love this scene solely for what happens afterwards: he’s sitting on the ground, bleeding and hysterical, and he shouts “VAGINA DENTATA! IT’S TRUE! VAGINA DENTATAAAA!” That’s pretty damn funny. Is it like the bogeyman of gynecologists everywhere? The monster beneath their operating tables, keeping them in line? I want to see a movie about this guy. I’m sure it would be a story worth seeing.

Panicking, Dawn goes over to the house of the one guy who liked her earlier and was very frustrated when she turned him down, saying she has “nowhere else to go.” So why didn’t she just find someone else from her little Christian group thing? We even saw earlier she hung out with more people from the group; one of whom was a girl! So really? Her only option is to go to the house of the one guy who had a crush on her? She even takes a bath in his house and accepts strange pills and drinks from him. For someone so focused on purity until marriage, she’s really not very good at keeping herself safe otherwise. I mean what if something TERRIBLE happens…

"Hello, I'm Dr. Date-Rape. How can I assist you today?"

Yeah! Like that!

They actually do manage to have sex without her killing him this time, mostly because she was drugged and not angry or resisting this time, which seems to be the condition for her "teeth" activating. I will ignore the fact that this guy apparently wanted to have sex with her so bad that he would ignore the fact that she was panicking about having murdered someone. Actually, I think that’s probably the most realistic thing in the movie…guys just do anything to get laid.

Anyway, they have sex again, but this time she finds out that he made a bet with his jackass friend that he could have sex with her. So it’s chomping time again!

In a stroke of amazingly bad luck, she finds out that her mother has died in the hospital while all of this was going on, and that it was her brother’s fault for not responding to her screams for help, probably because he was busy trying out for the Broadway production of American History X the musical. The dad goes in and beats him up for being a disrespectful little shit.

This dad kicks ASS. You show that wannabe skinhead what's what!

As a completely rational response, the brother sics his big black dog on the dad!

A big black dog AGAIN? Gee…I’ve never seen THAT before…

Anyway, Dawn hears about this and decides to take the ultimate revenge – sex with her half brother following in more genital severance like this movie specializes in!

Dawn, having nothing left to tie her down, becomes a roadside drifter who has deadly sex with any man who tries to screw with her…literally and figuratively. I’m so glad this movie exists so that men in our US Senate can validate their otherwise strange and ridiculous opinions. What an oddly specific triumph for our country! Shame about the whole demeaning womens' rights thing though. You win some you lose some, I guess.

But seriously, I’d like to say a few things about Teeth. This was actually a good film, and very much something worth watching for fans of horror who want something a little more offbeat and abstract. Nowhere near the sleazefest I was expecting, Teeth is a very clever movie with great acting and camerawork. It’s a film about female empowerment tackled through a very strange, humorous and often gory plot point.

First and foremost, the acting is just excellent in this. It can get cartoonish at times, but only when the movie demands it, and you never really get the sense that the director just didn’t know what he was doing like you do in some other movies. This was a very calculated film, with the director finding a style that worked for him and getting some very appropriate, funny and oftentimes chilling performances out of these actors. Jess Wexler as Dawn is very, very good. She gives a really emotive performance and captures all the fear and bashful shyness that her character is going through, and he really got some great fear scenes out of her – I mean god damn. I can’t really describe it well enough through text, but the atmosphere of the film combined with her sort of withered, trapped-puppy-dog look is just immense.

The other actors are all really good as well, as I mentioned, but since there are really only two central characters, I’ll just talk about one more to save time – John Hensley as the brother, Brad. This character could have easily just been horrible. He’s the stereotypical mean delinquent older half-brother, but his personality has been shaped by what happened as a kid, when he got his finger bitten off by Dawn’s “teeth” down below. Now he’s got this twisted thing going on where he can’t have sex anymore because he’s afraid of vaginas subconsciously and also he’s attracted to Dawn. It’s not a GREAT character or anything, but hot damn does John Hensley sell this part! I mean this guy is on fire here. He takes this caricature, this Freudian miracle of psychiatry, this absolute piggy-bank for anyone who practices in the field, and turns the character into a stone cold mean, threatening and very believable villain.

Some people just can’t be helped – some people are damaged beyond repair through no fault of their own, and because of something strange and terrible that happened a long time ago. But sometimes those people turn into monsters and do harm to others, and then there is no more pity one can feel for them. Hensley’s performance as Brad is cold-hearted, sinister and sick as hell, and he is one of the best parts of the movie.

The real strength here is how good main character Dawn is, though. Dawn, afflicted with a very odd and horrific genetic mutation, coped with it growing up by turning into a total abstinence freak and a big religious nut. But paradoxically, that also makes her journey in the film much more harrowing and compelling than it would be if she was just a regular kid without all the religious stuff. Her “purity” which she defines herself by ironically is the biggest factor in her slide into a different personality – perhaps her heel-face turn wouldn’t have been so extreme if she wasn’t so bent on religion, but then again, if she didn’t have her “teeth” in the first place, she wouldn’t be that way either. Both of these aspects of Dawn – the physical and the mental – feed off one another and create something rather compelling out of such a goofy premise, and she becomes a fully three dimensional character. Maybe the movie could have worked even better if they jettisoned some of the comedic elements out, but with a plot this bizarre I don’t think that would really be feasible – I’ll get to that in a minute.

And there are goofy moments in this film, don’t get me wrong; very good ones. It’s very wry and witty and tackles its topic with enough down-to-Earth humor so that it doesn’t just become a pretentious mess. The balance between the comedy and the horror is really excellent and they start to blend together way better than some movies do. A lot of movies just sort of stick the comedy in and the horror in as very separate pieces, and as such, one of the two isn’t done that well, if not just the entire film.

Teeth works because both the comedy and the horror play off one another and create something stylish and fresh, amplifying both elements – it’s funny and actually pretty creepy at times, beyond just the gore effects. Director Mitchell Lichtenstein has a real feel for combining music with a scene. Sometimes it gets really goofy and parodic, imitating old school happy family sitcom music (MUCH better than anything that crap-ass movie Parents did), and sometimes it’s teeth-bitingly (ha ha) ominous like when Dawn is researching the “vagina dentata” myth, with some really good use of tribal drum sounds to create tension. The whole soundtrack is incredibly over the top, but surprisingly it really works – the whole movie is incredibly over the top, too.

So, yeah, with all this it makes it seem like there’s nothing gory or ridiculous in this film. Well, it’s safe to say, if you really, REALLY don’t like seeing mutilated male genitals, this probably wouldn’t be a good film to watch. And if you were looking for a movie to watch with your new girlfriend and her family…this wouldn’t be the best choice. The gore is silly and over the top and Litchenstein’s directing portrays it starkly and nakedly, without showing too much or too little. It has the effect it should – it’s shocking and brutal. But it’s never exploitative or gratuitous and doesn’t feel forced. The gore pretty much has to be there. It’s what the movie is about.

Teeth isn’t for everyone and it’s bound to create some controversy because of its theme and presentation, but from my standpoint, it’s really good. The directing is fantastic and artful, the acting is wonderful and the way the story is told is meaningful and has a real impact on you. It’s got witty moments and some silly scenes, but also some very powerful and serious ones, too. The film just is what it is, and those who are predetermined to hate it before even watching it will probably just hate it. But if you go in with an open mind and let the film surprise you, it’s quite a trip and well worth your time. One of the best horror movies of the 2000s for sure.

Images copyright of their respective owners. I do not own any of them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

REVIEW: Rock n' Roll Frankenstein (1999)

This is it, people – rock bottom. This is the worst out there. I really challenge you to find something worse than this, something more tasteless and ridiculous. Even the premise of the film doesn’t even sound real: A mad scientist creates a monster out of parts of dead rock and roll musicians, but puts a gay man’s penis on him and so the monster is confused about his sexuality – a plot point that takes up most of the film’s runtime. That sounds like some kind of horrendous satire of the shit I usually review. Am I really going through with this? Have I really sunk this low?

I mean really. I am currently delaying finishing this review just so I don’t have to go through the movie again to take the pictures for it. Even if I mute the sound like I usually do, just seeing clips of this movie again will send me into some kind of horrid comatose state of worthlessness and irrelevancy. But I guess that doesn’t matter, seeing as by the time I put this on my blog, it will already have the pictures on it. CRAZY TIME TRAVEL TWIST! Ooh, burn! What am I doing now? I dunno. I really have no point anymore if this is the kind of slop I’ve relegated myself to reviewing these days. Ha ha ha. I’ve really let myself go…let’s just see if we can get through this without me killing myself or someone else.

Director: Brian O'Hara
Starring: Liberace's Dick

You know how some movies start off cleverly and with the proper amount of build up to suck you into the story? Well this one just starts off with a fat, loud record executive arguing with some has been rockstar that looks like a rejected member of Motley Crue by way of a washed up Def Leppard member, saying he doesn’t want to take the exec’s crap any longer. We don't know either character and have no reason to care, so it's safe to say starting off in media res may not have been the brightest idea for a movie like this...but hey, a bright idea in THIS movie? Ha! What a laugh.

After he leaves, the record executive throws his fists in the air and proclaims that he will never get f*cked with again, and the film editors apparently thought it was so good of a line that they multi-track it three times over with a delayed echo effect, like something a horrendous horror-comedy trying too hard to be funny would do. Oh, wait...

Yeah, try eating a few less Big Macs per day there, bucko. And get some goddamn acting classes while you're at it.

Then we’re introduced to our other main character Frankie, who talks to a rabid weasel with cartoon blood red eyes all day while tinkering in his lab. Will this extremely insane abomination of nature and human decency be explained? No, so don't even bother. We've got plenty of other, stranger things to marvel at in this film!

You know, it is just amazing to me how this movie is able to overlook this. The film treats it like it's nothing just as the characters do. That's a big part of why this doesn't work; because nothing is given any kind of wonder or mystique like in better horror comedies like Re-Animator or Brain Dead. Here it's all just a big pile of 'meh,' with a side of 'bleh.' There is never any sense of imagination or creativity to this - just the lowest form of pandering imaginable. Sickening.

It turns out he’s related to the angry record executive, whose name is Bernie, and who wants him to build a Frankenstein out of dead rock star body parts to make the new big music sensation and get really rich. Yes, because when one musician leaves your label, the best solution is clearly to go and make an abomination of nature and defile the graves of dead people to scavenge their body parts…and also, I love how nonchalant everyone treats this idea in the movie, like it’s just every day shit to them. “We’re going to make a freak of nature that nobody in the whole world has ever really accomplished? Meh.”

So yeah, Bernie has his stoner buddy, Iggy, and a few of his friends, go out and steal body parts from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley, among many others. They even start to make news headlines. Are you seriously telling me these bumbling stoners could ever get that much notoriety and not get caught? Give me a break.

Yup that's right, newspapers and cops all around the friggin' WORLD baffled by a pair of loser stoners! Hyuk hyuk! Why do I even bother?

But a problem does come when they have to get a penis for this rock n’ roll Frankenstein. Bernie says they need Jim Morrison’s, and Frankie says there’s some collector guy in the US who collects dead penises from famous musicians for some reason, so that’s where they go! You know, the most normal, non-weird plot element ever made…how did this even get written at all? Was there ever a need for a movie with a main plot point of ‘stealing the deceased Jim Morrison’s penis’? I really don’t think there was!

Anyway, they end up dropping Morrison’s penis into acid somehow, because they’re morons I guess. So instead they steal the penis of Liberace and pass it off as Morrison’s! And brace yourselves: the joke that goes along with this is really, really, REALLY awful!

"My wide eyed innocence will carry me through this movie way too far. I'm so oblivious and likable..."

So in a feat of incredible holy-shit Godlike science, Frankie creates a monster out of the parts of Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and Liberace that can walk, talk and function like a real human being in a few days or something. Nobody even bats an eye at this, but I guess that can be explained by the fact that most of the characters are stoned out of their minds, and the record executive guy has no soul at all. He just wants to control the monster and have him make money on stage for him, nothing else matters at all. I love one dimensional characters as much as any bad movie reviewer, but this seriously crosses the line into ZERO DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS.

So yeah, they call the monster “The King,” like Elvis, ha ha ha, whatever…and at first he’s just confused and stumbles around like a cobble of disorganized body parts. So of course the big bad richy-rich record executive douche just proclaims the experiment a failure! Yes…the miraculous, once in a lifetime scientific godsend that is CREATING A BRAND NEW HUMAN BEING is a failure, unless it can make fatboy Danny Devito-wannabe some more cash! Did anyone involved in this possess ANY KIND OF LOGICAL THOUGHT? It’s seriously baffling to me how these characters think. I know money corrupts, but…but honestly, THIS MUCH? I don’t buy it.

I’m not even kidding: the rest of the movie is pretty much just “The King” questioning his sexuality, as the Liberace penis that he was given makes him gay now. So we get endless tired and ridiculously unfunny scenes of him literally talking to his dick, which speaks in an annoyingly high pitched, nasally voice that sounds like the kind of jokey voice you’d give someone you dislike when telling a story about them. It’s the movie equivalent of nails on a chalkboard, and you will want to kill yourself after each one.

I mean, I don’t even get it – Liberace really merited this much flogging? Why? Did they just randomly pick a dead, ambiguously-gay celebrity to rag on for no reason? It really does go beyond humor and into ‘mean spirited’ a lot of the time, and there isn’t any cleverness or subtlety to the jokes. Not that I was expecting that, but still, at least SOMETHING beyond this low-brow crap would have made it bearable at the very least! Something to distract me from this movie’s constant assault on every sense I have! Yes, even smell and taste. The movie somehow offends my smell and taste as well somehow.

But who cares about stuff like THAT when we have scenes of “The King” eating gerbils’ heads! I think that was just the Ozzy Osbourne portion of him coming out though…and when he tries to have sex with women, silly things like this happen:

"I just killed a hooker because I'm gay and it's your fault!"...do I even need to say anything? Nope, didn't think so.

Oh, please…killing hookers is just another integral part of being a real rock star. That’s not shocking at all.

But scenes like that one bring out one of the movie’s other main problems, the amount of time dedicated to the subplot about him being gay. If it were just a minor thing with a few minutes at a time devoted to it, it’d be fine. But this…is literally all the rest of the movie is! Just scenes of him bitching about being gay. The crazy record exec Danny DeVito knock-off finds out and starts mouthing off horrible homophobic swear words. Dingleberry? Check. Fudgepacker? Check. Faggot? Checkity check check. If you didn’t like this character before, oh ho boy…aren’t you just endeared to him now?

You could probably start a countdown of all the insults he uses in this movie and you’d get something that amounts to more than the budget for the entire film. And hell, I know you’d probably get at least half the script from those words. Way to expand our vocabulary, Rock n’ Roll Frankenstein!

The true spirit of the film, however, comes out when “The King” goes to a church in the middle of the night to the confessional. I especially love how he says that he’s been having unnatural urges and homosexual thoughts BEFORE saying he murdered two people plus a bunch of small animals…and then right after that, we see the priest is a gay pedophile himself, because I guess the director was surrounding himself with those like him.

Any movie that has a sodomizing scene via a large statue of Christ is at least trying, but it’s balanced out by the intense sense of unpleasantness and pandering this movie has, like getting a laugh would be the holy grail of cinematic achievements – only the film is marketed solely towards bottom dwelling sewer rats and pedophilic serial killers, and no one else would ever find anything in it funny…

Then Frankie the scientist finally decides to tell the world about his amazing creation and get famous for it…what he SHOULD have done in the first place! His logic is rewarded by death:

The amount of not caring from this scene is just astounding to me really. Yes, I'm very invested in the movie about a Frankenstein's monster that looks like Elvis with a gay split personality in his penis...right...

“The King” goes into a major rock star depression and puts ice over his crotch, which mostly serves to make him look even more ridiculous. Somehow, I don’t really remember or care how, he ends up squashing record executive’s head with a horrible claymation effect that even Nightmare on Elm Street 5 would laugh at, and that movie was ten years older than this shit:

What, is his head a grapefruit?

Then in some warehouse he ends up amputating his own penis (which looks like a giant green pickle) with a big hook, and then he instantly dies, just like the movie instantly dies, with a soundtrack of somber funeral march music…oh, shut up Rock n’ Roll Frankenstein.

I…I just have nothing to say about this. It’s not even so bad because it’s offensive to homosexuals – no one would ever take this seriously enough to actually be offended in THAT respect – it’s bad because it’s so tasteless in its execution and humor that you literally feel yourself getting older as you sit there watching it. It’s such a groan-worthy, eye rolling experience of a film, and literally nothing is gained from it. The "ideas," what little there are, are painful like a nail-gun to the skull, the acting sucks, the production value is barely existent at all and overall, I think it’s the worst thing ever created by humans. Rock n’ Roll Frankenstein, YOU ARE THE WORST OF HUMANITY!

The images in this review are not my own, nor would any sane person ever want to own them. But for the sake of completion, they are copyright of their original owners - God bless their poor souls.