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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Top 10 Tales from the Crypt Episodes

10) Four-Sided Triangle
Patricia Arquette plays Mary Jo, a mentally challenged young woman that's being blackmailed by an old couple into working at their farm while they let her live there. The problem is that the old man is a creeper that wants Mary Jo in the sack. The old woman is suspicious of his intentions, while Mary Jo falls in love with a scarecrow in the cornfield that she believes is alive. Things aren't exactly as they seem in this cleverly ambiguous episode. Mary Jo's midnight rendezvous provide good atmosphere in this tale that keeps you guessing and Arquette is always a pleasure to watch.

9) Mournin' Mess
A sleazy reporter looks into an odd homeless society that centers around a graveyard. A solid performance by Steven Weber keeps you invested in the mystery of the homeless serial killer and the Grateful Homeless Society. The reveal of what's really going on is actually a wee bit scary, which is something Tales was always lacking in. Look for it in the very hit or miss third season.





8) Cutting Cards

Short but sweet episode starring Lance Henriksen and Kevin Tighe as two high-rolling rival gamblers. They want each other out of town for good, so they play a little Russian Roulette, which leads to an innocent game of chop poker! What is chop poker? For every hand lost, they lose a finger! The insane hatred between the two characters fuels the sociopathic and masochistic energy. Not to be missed!



7) Yellow
Robert Zemeckis directed this WWI episode starring Kirk Douglas, Dan Aykroyd and Lance Henriksen once again! Kirk plays a military general whose son is a lieutenant accused of being 'yellow' or a coward. What's a proud general who's fixated on his reputation to do? How far will his punishing of his son go? The high suspense of the last five minutes will keep you on the edge of your seat. This episode is also of note for being longer than the other episodes of Tales from the Crypt. The 39 minute runtime pays off as Yellow has classier character development than your average episode.

6) People Who Live in Brass Hearses
A seething ex-con (Bill Paxton) plans a robbery to get back at a former employer. Brad Dourif plays his retarded brother that aims to help him, but just might fuck things up in the process. Great actors do wonders for stories about relationships and there's no exception here. Things don't go as planned at the ice cream warehouse they try to heist. Blood begins being spilled as the brothers scramble for stolen cash any way they can. The brothers soon get in over their heads and pay the price for a sibling scorned.



5) Split Personality
Essential viewing for any fan of Joe Pesci. He is in top form as a con-artist who tries to con two sexy twins and gets more than he bargained for. There's a twist that culminates in one of the more gruesome Tales deaths and the ride getting there is hilarious and deserving of multiple watches.







4) The Man Who Was Death
William Sadler carries this one all by himself. A prison executioner is fired when capital punishment is outlawed, so he takes the law into his own bloody hands. Is he a hero ridding the world of scum or one of them? Watch it for perhaps the greatest performance and comeuppance of any Tales from the Crypt episode.





3) Showdown
A treatise on the afterlife that happens to take place in the deadly old west. This ghostly tale is expertly penned by master filmmaker Frank Darabont of The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist fame. A man who knows how to escape death, like few do, learns to accept his fate. The four horsemen are always clomping their way closer and closer to each of us everyday, and maybe that's not such a scary thing after all. Showdown smartly turns the tables on the viewer. Just when we think this foreboding episode is about one thing, it's about another. It's not about gore or a bastard getting what he deserves, for once.

2) Split Second
This Tales is the greatest kind of guilty pleasure. Jealousy, revenge, gore, adultery and Michelle Johnson are red hot in an episode that indulges the way more episodes should have. An ex-hooker craves adventure, no matter who she has to use along the way. This one doesn't end well for her and her jealous, psychopathic new husband Dixon. It was hard not choosing this as the absolute best episode. You owe to yourself to see it if you really are a fan of exploitation.



1) Maniac at Large
So this might not be the one most would choose, but the ramping up paranoia, the score and most importantly the twist are all perfect if you ask moi. If you see the twist coming, I feel sorry for you, but it's still enjoyable after knowing it because it's just so damn scary. This is really the only episode in the entire series that I'd say actually scared me. Just when you least expect it, one seemingly harmless character becomes terrifying. That's what this episode does so well! In a genre where you are trained to suspect everybody, catching the viewer off-guard is truly a tough feat. Even most full-length movies can't do it. As Jim Morrison said, "There's a killer on the road. His brain is squirming like a toad." But whose brain is the most dangerous? It's a pleasure to have  my brain toyed with by "The Manchurian Candidate" and "Birdman of Alcatraz" director John Frankenheimer, in this fourth season standout.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bikini Bloodbath Carwash (2008) Review


Nice cover huh? Does the movie live up to it? Of course not! Is it worthwhile for the gore, humor or t&a? No, not that either. Read on if you have too much time on your hands and think you need to be persuaded not to see this movie.

At the end of the opening credits it says: "Written & Directed by: Who the Fuck Cares." Couldn't have said it better myself. And the movie continues with this good sense of humor until it gets lost in its own stupidity. That's what often happens with stupid people. But who cares about the humor? There's only one real reason you'd be watching this movie:
Or more specifically:
Rachael fucking Robbins.
I remember the first time I saw her way back in 2004 in Screaming Dead. She lit up every badly lit scene in that movie. I miss those horrible Shock-O-Rama movies.
Her and a bunch of other airheads are kinda sorta being stalked by a murderous undead chef. Although he kills them with a knife so it completely defeats the purpose of being a zombie...
Oh there you are again, you cheeky monkey. In this part of the movie the women dance while getting a car all soapy. So after we have our first stroke because of Rachael's body, then the men start dancing to impress the women! This is about the point in which it dawned on me, what in God's name am I watching?! Whatever it is, it's kind of awesome. Partly because it's funny so far and partly because Debbie Rochon's character is enjoying the women's bodies just as much as the viewer is.
Oh Debbie, you've come so far since the days of Tromeo & Juliet. Oh no wait... no you haven't. Speaking of Debbie Rochon, why is she channeling Al Swearengen from Deadwood in this role? Every other word is fuck and she gets off on abusing her whores. That would've been okay if she got in on some hot action, but that never happens because this movie never materializes. It's a bunch of hot bodies and ideas that never get off the ground.

I seriously thought I'd died and gone to hell after about the 2nd minute of a 5 minute bad dancing montage at a party. Everyone is fully clothed during this and it's mostly fat dudes dancing. It's just unbelievable how long it goes on. It's almost as if the "filmmakers" forgot they were making a movie and just left the cameras rolling at the lamest party ever.
Rating: 1, and/or I'm so very confused, out of 5.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Zombie Girl: The Movie (2009) Review


Having seen several advertisements in Fangoria for this movie alongside super low-budget horror flicks, I thought this was a shitty horror film about a little girl directing a zombie movie. Mildly interesting premise, but I'll pass. 
Flash forward to 2 years later: I'm stumbling upon Hisayasu Sato's Japanese horror movie The Bedroom on Youtube. But it's not a clip, it's the ENTIRE MOVIE for free! So it turns out MVDfilm's Channel on Youtube has tons of obscure movies in their full versions. I advise everyone reading this to check out that channel now! So one of these movies on the channel is Zombie Girl: The Movie and the description says it is a funny, tender documentary that follows 12-year-old Emily Hagins and her family on her first feature film.
In the documentary, Emily has just written a feature film screenplay about zombies and has begun to cast and actually shoot it. She uses a small, home-video camera to record her actors (some adult, some children). Her mom and dad help her by filling out paperwork, recording sound with a makeshift boom mic, driving actors to and from set, and slating the various scenes. Her mother does everything she can to support her daughter's dream, which also includes constructing make-up effects which the mom is actually not bad at. It is actually amazing how supportive the parents are and how the mother goes out of her way to make the film work even though she has an actual job. Emily's movie is pretty damn violent too! It's titled Pathogen and it ends up coming together astonishingly well for a movie made by a middle-school kid.
Zombie Girl chronicles how Emily has always been fascinated with movies since as early as her parents can remember. Her parents see big things in her future, which ultimately drives the marketing success of her zombie extravaganza. It's not a perfectly well-rounded documentary though. We get to view the mother becoming a little tired and frustrated at one point in the production, but it would've done well for the movie to document more of the conflicts brought on by halts in production and so forth. Emily herself should've been interviewed more too. I would've liked to have known what inspired her specific script, besides a crush on a movie called Undead. What internally drove her to keep trying? Also, an instant messaging relationship with someone online late at night was briefly mentioned by her mother, but it's never delved deeper into.
Once Emily sells out a screening of her movie at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, you can't help but be floored by what she has accomplished just after her 13th birthday. And she has made two more features since. I have to go reexamine my life. Rating: 4 out of 5.