December 16, 2019

Review Prom Night II (1987)

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II

There's an early kill where this girl is about to get decapitated in a really cool way but then they trick you and end up just hanging her. Now a decapitation is way cooler than a hanging but I was thinking it made sense cuz you can make a hanging look like a suicide but you couldn't do that with a decapitation.  But then they THROW THE BODY OUT THE WINDOW. You can't hang urself and then jump out a window.  But what I was doing was trying to apply "logic" to this film.  That's my fault.

This film is bat-shit, bug-fucking, bonkers and I love it.  First off (and don't @ me) the original Prom Night is a bad movie. It's a generic slasher with a generic villain, and it's all around forgettable and I have no idea why Randy was so obsessed with it in Scream (he shoulda went with Terror Train). But for some unattainable reason 7 years after that weak ass film someone took a script that had nothing to do with the film Prom Night, changed the title, and slapped Prom Night II on there and ya know what? If that's the only reason we got to see this glorious madness then god  bless whoever made that decision.

The characters die in a slasher film order kinda way but the film plays more like Carrie meets The Exorcist if it was written by someone who only had the plots of those two films described to them... and was an insane person.

This movie is wild and there's a kill involving a gym locker that's just jumped to one of my favorite on screen deaths.  Fuck The Godfather Part II, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is my new go to answer for a sequel that is better than the original.  And HML:PN2 is a million times better than Prom Night, I don't care how much Jamie Lee Curtis disco dancing there is.

Available on Shudder, Amazon Prime, and free on Tubi and Vudu with ads.

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Review Psycho Sisters (1998)

Psycho Sisters (1994)

Around 11:15pm and I don't know how many beers deep the second film of the night started, Psycho Sisters. Now this film threw me for a loop and I thought I was being gaslighted. I watched the trailer for this movie but this looked different.
After the film i looked it up again on youtube. I was utterly baffled.  There was the trailer with the same story but different actors.  IMDB listed a Psycho Sisters from 1998 with the same plot but different actors.  Was I going crazy? Did this movie exist? What the fuck is going on?

Well apparently in the low budget SOV world movies would often get remade usually due to receiving a slightly larger budget, access to a semi-recognizable face (I'm talking z-grade actors here), or just the filmmaker wants to take another crack at it after gaining some more experience.  Turns out this film was remade in 1998 and that version is more widely available.  So go to YouTube and watch the trailer for the 1998 movie... and then imagine a movie of even lower quality and you've got this.

It's actually a lot of fun. There's a doctor who's sole purpose is to deliver exposition while being incredibly blunt.  It seems like there's a title card showing a jump in time (i.e., One Year Later) in between almost every scene, it honestly happens so much it becomes laughable. And while there isn't much gore the titular siblings cut off and collect a lot of dicks. Like a whole bunch of 'em. A whole closet full of jars. Jars and jars of cocks.

There's an incredibly abrupt rape scene early on in the movie which kinda sets off the whole plot so here's your warning.  This is definitely not for everyone.  It's got a super sleazy tone and it's either gonna turn you off or be the exact reason why you watch it.

Also by the end of the film due to a change in temperature there was hella condensation on my windshield and no matter how much I wiped my windshield was steadily losing visibility.  I had to watch the last couple minutes with my head out the window and suddenly it became obvious why everyone else brought lawn chairs.

December 15, 2019

Review Q (1982)

Q: The Winged Serpent

You ever watch a gritty 70's/early 80's era NYC set crime film and thought, "Gee willikers you know what this film could use? A giant Aztec lizard bird god." Of course you didn't because that would be an insane reaction but you know who had that thought?  Goddamn maverick filmmaker Larry Cohen god bless this man and rest in peace.

For real.  Imagine if in the middle of Mean Streats a goddamn Qwetz... Quatz... Qcuts... (googling furiously) Quetzalcoatl the Aztec diety showed up and just started eating motherfucker's heads off.

Guys this movie shouldn't be good but it's goddamn terrific.  And a huge reason is actor Michael Moriarty.  I'm talking Nicolas Cage level acting choices here.  This guy fucking brings it.  He's just wild in every fucking scene.  Extremely comfortable and confident in his decisions which are all incredibly unique.  He literally bebops and scats his way through scenes as a jazz pianist/small time crook, alcoholic, ex junkie, wife beater who holds the city hostage with a giant lizard bird diety and he's our fucking hero AND YOU LIKE HIM!. Seriously this is a fantastic wild and weird movie that expertly smashed together 2 wildly different genres, the 70's crime and cop film with a monster movie.  Absolutely highest of recommendations.

It's available on Amazon Prime, Tubi and Shudder in the regular version but also the Joe Bob Briggs hosted Last Drive-In version which I highly recommend you check out.

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Review Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Having picked the trilogy up in the 2nd grade I fell in love not only with the otherworldly and incredibly creepy illustrations by Stephen Gammell but with the way Alvin Schwartz wasn't afraid to confront children with not just any death but the their very own mortality.  Not only through stories but poems and songs he made death a little more easily digestible for children while still being scary yet always honest.

Worried that the film would resemble Goosebumps from a few years earlier, I was relieved to see them put there own spin on what felt like a similar plot. Instead of stories from the book coming to life, this "entity" makes your deepest fears come true and then they get added to the book as "scary stories." This is where the films strongest parts are, bringing the horrifying images from the books to life.  Specifically Harold and The Pale Lady stand out and create some truly terrifying scenes.  But the "entity" that's causing all this horror is where this film misses the mark.  It's standard ghost story tropes for a large portion of it's runtime.

I can probably off the top of my head name a dozen films about a ghost with a tragic past where someone has to investigate what really happened so they can set it right. Its been done to death and while this one might fall in the middle of that list quality-wise it's just a tired plot at this point. And that's the problem because there are just better PG-13 horror films out there you could watch in its place.  The Ring and The Changeling both have the same "wronged-ghost" subplot and I think both are considerably better films.
While it might be too scary for very young children others will be able to relate more to the young cast. Also making it a period piece definitely adds a nice little flourish to a familiar story. Ultimately the scenes based on the illustrations are just too few and far between.  On top of that the ending is ubrupt and unsatisfying.  It's not terrible but I can't help but feel like they did a disservice to these stories.  Instead of these incredibly frightening and diverse stories we got a criminally over used and uninspired ghost story.

December 14, 2019

Review Seed of Chucky (2004)

Seed of Chucky

While many consider this one a misstep I was eagerly waiting to revisit this one now in 2019 and see how it played.  This is the first film in the series to be directed by its creator and writer of all previous installments, Don Mancini.

Ultimately it doesn't quite land like some of the other entries mainly for me because how heavily it tips the scales into comedy. Actually it's a straight up full blown comedy.  Sure it has some gore but it's almost always played for laughs.  But for the most part the comedy works, Jennifer Tilly again steals the film this time not only playing killer doll Tiffany but a fictionalized version of actress Jennifer Tilly herself (with plenty of comedy coming from this role). Even though Bride of Chucky set the course for this entry it ultimately goes a little too far away from its horror roots.  I actually gained a little bit more appreciation rewatching it and that's largely to the addition of divisive new titular character, Glen/Glenda.

I wasn't sure how this was gonna play in 2019 to be honest.  As someone who lives with the privilege of not having to be subjected to homophobia/transphobia/any type of gender or sexual discrimination it's not fair for me to make a judgement on how well this character represents any kinda of genderqueer/non-binary community. Google it and you'll find better takes written by actual members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Don Mancini, a member of the LGTBQ+ community himself, doesn't shy away from parodying the genre's long history with unfortunate tropes regarding these matters (obvious references to Psycho and Ed Wood's Glen or Glenda?). But the thing that struck me here is the ultimate message of acceptance.  Glen/Glenda's parents come to accept them as non-binary.  Let that sink in. Even murderous killer doll Chucky becomes supportive of their child (as long as they kill). Y'all mf'ers have no excuse.  If Chucky can do it so can you.

It might not be everyone's cup of tea but goddamn it's deliberately bold and that's better than boring.  Who would have expected the 5th Chucky film to be such a heartwarming family film?