Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blood Creek (2009)

Director Joel Schumacher is well known for his fan-favorite vampire movie The Lost Boys, his thrillers Phonebooth and The Number 23 and his entries into the 90's Batman series (including the horrible Batman & Robin). While he has had mixed success over his career when it comes to horror his films are usually decent.

Blood Creek (originally titled Town Creek) starts out in pre-WWII West Virginia at the home of the Wollners, a German family living in America, are contacted by the Third Reich about hosting a German historian, Richard Wirth, as he does his work. The family accepts the generous offer of rent for hosting the professor and we soon find out Wirth's intentions are more of the occult and finding the ancient viking Rune Stones left behind than of research. The opening scene starts out with a narrative briefly explaining Hitler's fascination with the occult and how he felt it was the key to victory for his perfect race. The opening scene is dark, a bit gritty and shrouded in mystery. The audience is set up for a very grim occult horror film.

Flash forward to present day and we are introduced to the Marshall brothers, Evan is a paramedic and Victor is a war veteran who was thought to be killed in the war. When the brothers reunite Victor asks his brother to assist him in something that will change him forever. The brothers canoe down the town's creek and then take the fastest 2 mile walk I've ever seen to a farm. Armed with shotguns the brothers don't wait long to start shooting at the family, eventually we find out the reason they are there is because the family has been kidnapping people to feed a beast they've been hiding. This beast is none other than Wirth, the professor of the Third Reich. Wirth became obsessed with the Rune Stone (which happened to be right on the family farm and used as the foundation for the barn) and its power. He had tried to do a ritual to gain a third eye and secure immortality for himself.

The family ends up not being quite the antagonist they were set up by the Marshall brothers to be as they had intentions of a greater good to keep Wirth fed (on human blood that is needed for the ritual of course) than to let him go and reek havoc on the world. He is also contained by certain paintings that act as a barrier he can't cross. His barn, the family house and the fence enclosing the farm are all sealed with these paintings.

Wirth eventually gets free of his "cage" inside the barn when the father of the family gets home, gets shot and barrels through the barn wall. This turns the movie into a "stalk and slash" film where the monster waits outside until someone comes out or baits them out. Eventually the family inside the house and the Marshall brothers band together and come up with a plan to defeat Wirth.

Blood Creek starts out grim and dark and really seemed like it could be something noteworthy. It quickly divulges into familiar territory that was competent but predictable. Schumacher's direction is serviceable but again, nothing to write home about. I understand that the screenplay used is much different than the original and that the original was much more based around the occult and powers than the slasher we got. The acting was good enough, the score wasn't memorable and lighting was fine. All in all it was about as middle of the road as it gets but it was entertaining for a viewing and you can certainly find worse horror movies out there.

One final note before I forget- The artwork for this movie was awesome and it was equally as disappointing that the movie wasn't better based on the artwork and opening scene.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Taking Horror To A New Dimension

This has been on my mind for a while now and tonight I think I've blown a fuse.

I'm talking about 3D movies. And not just horror but all genres. 3D was a cute little trend in the 1950s when it was new and had people excited to go down to their theater and put on their red and blue glasses and see whatever picture the studios added another dimension for nothing more than a gimmick. Horror was at the forefront of the trend then, and still are during its revival over the past year.

And I for one am sick of it. I bit into it with the remake of My Bloody Valentine and the only thing that saved that movie from being a total shitfest was Tom Atkins who has been a badass for decades. Speaking on the 3D of the movie it wasn't great. Sure it was an improvement over the anaglyphic red and blue days but with 50 years of technology you're telling me this is the best they've got? Get real.

Its a marginal improvement that added nothing to movie and in fact took me out of the movie because I was waiting for the next hokey gimmick shot of an eyeball flying towards me or flames climbing out of the screen. Its obvious that the filmmakers were far too preoccupied with their nonsense 3D to make a decent film. And this is the problem with just about all 3D films. The addition of another visual dimension turns the whole movie into a fucking jerkoff fest of who can create the cooler visual effect and we, the audience get Hollywood's collective load blown all over us because we had to pay (extra, mind you) to see this nonsense.

There is another chord struck. Not only do we still have to wear the ridiculous glasses still (more like sunglasses these days) we have to pay extra, upwards of $3, to rent them! And I've heard the argument "Nobody is stopping you from taking them home if you want to keep them." Who in the blue hell wants to keep these things!? Someone please give me a legitimate reason to keep the glasses. Am I going to walk around with them on pretending I'm in a shitty movie? The only thing keeping them instead of depositing them in the return box is drive up the cost of everything else in the theater since they now have to replace the stupid things.

I've been told that because I haven't seen Avatar (in IMAX no less) that I don't have a full understanding of 3D. I've read enough reviews from trusted sources to confirm that Avatar is yet another Hollywood circle jerk and that I'm expected to look past a bland plot for this visual orgasm. And if the only proper way of experiencing it is to spend $15 at an IMAX theater they'll burn in hell before they get my money on it.

It seems every movie coming out is attached with "3D" at the end by the time production starts... Ghostbusters 3 has been announced, there is talks of Gremlins 3 in 3D, Jeepers Creepers 3 in 3D (which also has the biggest ripoff subtitle I've ever heard of). What the fuck happened to making a movie? Now its just a Disney World attraction, but without the fun rides or attractive women walking around as princesses.

Most movies that get released these days are total shit in 2D, let alone when they try to add another dimension. How about this Hollywood: You start making good movies again without 3D and I won't get so pissed when you want to add some crazy visual effects to it. Every hack director in the world can make a 3D movie with no plot, shit writing and wooden acting if they have the funding. Give me $100m and I'll make The Fast & The Furious 5 with Vin Diesel's shitty acting in 3D. Or how about Zombieween 3 in 3D... oh wait...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Halloween 2 (2009)

I'm aware I'm late seeing this modern day slasher remake sequel from infamous bringer of shit Rob Zombie. The reason for my tardiness is that I refused to spend theater prices on seeing it and the $1 from Redbox (I forgot to find a free code online) seemed far easier to stomach. Well I feel like a large man raped me and made me cry for days on end.

From here on out the movie will be referred to as Zombieween 2 as I really feel its a disgrace to the original Halloween franchise. Yes, even the later entries. The movie picks up somewhat where the remake from 2007 left off. Laurie Strode is being taken to the hospital to treat her wounds, though this is after we see her walking around without too much trouble. Myers who isn't dead is also strapped into an ambulance with a couple of typical Rob Zombie characters who just seem to say "fuck" a lot and continue to perfectly define white trash. In the only entertaining portion of the entire 97 minute duration the ambulance rams full speed into a cow that was crossing the road. This may only be funny to me because I thought about when I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning in theaters and another cow was ran into and a friend of mine couldn't help but yell "fucking bovine!" at the screen and crack up the entire theater. Now that the ambulance is smashed up Myers is freed and in an amazing strike of luck he is able to find a shard of glass that looks just like a knife and not only kill the surviving paramedic but saw his head off in a scene that was surely meant to do little than stroke Rob Zombie's own ego.

After this we get a Laurie hospital scene that isn't worth going into because it ends up being a 10 minute dream. Follow this with some typical slasher movie fare that just wasn't nearly as entertaining as a slasher should be and throw in some remarkably stupid visions involving Laurie's dead mother, a white horse, young Michael and some snow and we have the majority of the body of the film.

When we get to the big finale, we have more visions and illusions, Michael and Laurie locked in a shack and Dr Loomis somehow able to walk through a police barricade to get in there to talk sense into Michael. After some truly bad choices of seeing the shot through a night-visioned sniper scope's point of view Michael is taken down (but certainly not out as Zombieween 3 is coming) we get Laurie walking out of the shed with Michael's mask on and it looked sillier than when young Michael wore the mask in the first Zombieween.

And finally the movie closes out with Laurie sitting with her head down in a long white hospital room, quite obviously a psych ward, and when she looks up we get one last look at Sherri Moon Zombie and her fucking white horse. Then the shot cuts back to Laurie who looks up and gives an incredibly cheesy smirk to the camera.

John Carpenter's music doesn't show up until the scene of Laurie wearing the mask which is a shame since Zombie's choices for music weren't good. Rob Zombie really wanted to make an artsy film here under the moniker of Halloween and what we got was a giant turd. A giant horse turd. In fact I was the white horse would have taken a dump every time it was on screen, at least then we would have some symbolism for the film.

This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

No Thanks/10