#190 -- Three...Extremes (2004)

Rating: 4 / 5
Directors: Fruit Chan, Park Chan-Wook, Takashi Miike

It'll be no surprise that I enjoyed this movie. I've yet to find an Asian horror movie that I didn't like, and this is no different. It's a nice little anthology, with three thirty-minute (ish) short films from different regions that will frighten and disturb. The last of the three is called Box, and was directed by Takashi Miike. I think every horror fan knows his name, and it's no wonder why. He directed one of my favorite movies of all time (One Missed Call) as well as Ichi the Killer, and Master's of Horror episode Imprint.The other directors I had not heard of before, but they seem pretty promising. While most Asian horror is terrifying, this one seems to just aim for disturbing. And it does not fail to deliver. These shorts will make you question morality, humanity, and sanity. The first you'll feel bad for enjoying, the second you'll feel bad for relating to, and the third....you'll just feel bad. I think I can now honestly say that Takashi Miike is one of my favorite directors, and I'm looking forward to checking out some more from Fruit Chan and Park Chan-Wook.

Dumplings--This one comes from China. An ex-actress, Mrs. Li, with an unfaithful husband is feeling pretty lousy about herself. She's getting older, her skin is starting to sag, and she just doesn't feel beautiful anymore. She feels that, if she looked the way she did when she was on television, it will save her marriage and make her husband love her again. Mrs. Li seeks out a woman called Aunt Mei, who is rumored to make the best dumplings in town. They're expensive, but they're well worth the price. These dumplings are supposed to rejuvenate and restore youth and beauty. Aunt Mei says that she is her best advertisement, as she is much older than she looks. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, the problem is with the ingredients used to make the dumplings: aborted fetuses. Most of the fetuses are girls, because, as Aunt Mei says herself, boys are never aborted in China. So imagine both Mrs. Li and Aunt Mei's excitement when a young girl, carrying her own father's child, seeks out Aunt Mei for the abortion of her son. Only that's not enough for Mrs. Li. When she discovers she is pregnant, she figures that her own child would provide more nourishment and rejuvenation than someone else's, and she will stop at nothing to remain young and beautiful.

Dumplings is actually available as a full length movie, as well, and I believe it is available on Netflix if you're interested. I am definitely interested, because I understand that it's a lot more complicated than this shorter version. It goes deeper into Mrs. Lei's background, and it has an alternative ending that sounds much more disturbing than the one they went with here.

Cut--From South Korea--A brilliant director finds himself in a sticky situation when an extra from his movies abducts him and his wife. This guy is angry because, even though he's been in all of his movies, the director cannot remember him. This kid grew up poor with a bastard for a father, and he turned into a bastard himself. But the director grew up rich, stayed rich, and he's a good man. He's jealous, and he doesn't think it's fair that this man should have everything. So he's seeking to prove that the director isn't as good a man as he seems. He wants a confession: a confession of some kind of sin that will prove to him that this man is not perfect. He has him tied up and rigged to something (it never really went into what it was, or what it could do), and he had his wife's arms tied up and glued to her piano. Every once in a while he would cut off one of her fingers, which is devastating for a pianist. There was also a child tied up in the room with them. The director was to kill the child if he wanted to save his and his wife's lives. Some dark-ish secrets did come out, but they really weren't all that bad. The ending kind of confused me--I wasn't sure if the director had gone crazy, or if things just weren't as they seemed at first. But I still enjoyed this one too.

Box--From Japan--This one is definitely filmed beautifully, and it looks better than the rest. It's about a young novelist named Kyoko. When she was a child, she and her sister Shoko were a part of a little circus act. They were contortionists, and they would curl up into the little boxes, their partner (an older man) would lock the boxes up and re-open them only to find big bouquets of flowers. The girls were equally good at what they did, but Shoko got all the recognition and rewards for it. Kyoko was jealous. One night, she locked Shoko up in one of the boxes. I think she planned to pretend to be her sister for a while, just to see how the recognition felt. But their partner showed up, and there was a struggle that ended in a fire. Shoko was stuck in the box, and she died that night. Now, all grown up, Kyoko has nightmares about being locked in a tiny box and buried. At some points, it's hard to tell if it's a dream, or if her worst nightmares are coming true. While this one is beautiful, and directed by Mr. Miike, I wouldn't say it's the best of the three.

To me, Dumplings was the best of the bunch. It was the most disturbing to me, and it really made me question things. First of all, I am 100% against abortion, so it was disturbing right from the get-go. But to think of someone actually devouring aborted fetuses? There can't be anything worse. And the fact that she did it for the vainest of reasons just really irked me. And then she ate her own child to boot. So this one was definitely the most disturbing. We know that there are people out there who are obsessed with their image, so it wouldn't be very hard for me to imagine someone actually doing something like this. I think that makes it even more disturbing, if that were possible.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable anthology, with three wonderful short films directed by some very talented men.

#189 -- Rest Stop: Dead Ahead (2006)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: John Shiban

I've seen this movie quite a few times, but for some reason I can never remember very much about it. It's cool, because each time I watch it, it's like I'm watching a new movie, and I enjoy it just as much as I did the first time. Of course, now that I'm looking into and writing about it, I'll never forget it again. It is a very enjoyable movie, and it's pretty obvious where it gets its inspiration. It's got a Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel to it, but it doesn't feel like a rip-off at all. It's a completely different story, and it never fails to entertain. This one started off with Nichole and Jesse, young lovers on their way to California to start their lives over. Once they got to California, Nichole needed to use the bathroom, but she refused to "pee in the dirt" as Jesse suggested. They found an old, dirty rest stop and pulled in so she could relieve herself. Once she was finished, she came out of the bathroom only to find that Jesse was gone. At first, she was pissed because she thought he left her. But once she saw all the missing person flyers, she kind of started to get the feeling something was wrong. Add to that the creepy messages written in the bathroom stall, and Nichole started getting really scared. There were messages about someone killing women's husbands, cutting them, etc. It was a man in a dingy old yellow pick-up truck. He tried to kill Nichole (or maybe just scare her?) by ramming his truck into her car, while she was inside. He kept going back, but he never really tried anything else. Eventually, a police officer (Joey Lawrence) showed up and tried to help her. Unfortunately for the both of them, he only ended up getting his legs run over by The Driver. Paralyzed and slowly dying, he knew he wasn't going to be much help to Nichole. Then The Driver set fire to the bathroom, and they both knew there was no way Officer was going to get out of there. He asked--no, begged--her to shoot him. She put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. But it didn't kill him. This was the one bit of comic relief in this movie. He snapped his eyes open and said, "You missed! Shoot me again!"

I don't know what The Driver's deal was, because it never explained that part to me. But he liked to torture people. He had a bus out in the middle of nowhere; he'd take them there, and do some really fuck shit to them. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see that much of the torturing. The most I got to see was on Nichole's camera. He took it, and recorded Jesse being tortured. What I saw, though, was very disturbing.

He drilled holes into their legs, cut out their tongues, sewed their mouths shut, stapled them in various places, etc. The movie also features a crazy bible-humping family with a deformed child; the wife liked to scream, "You whore!" until it became extremely annoying. There was also a ghost in the restroom: a girl named Tracy who was killed by The Driver in 1971.

There wasn't a whole lot in the way of scares. Mostly what I felt was worry for Nichole. There was nothing in it that actually scared me, but it made me kind of nervous. I really wanted her to survive, and I really really wanted her to find Jesse alive. I thought they worked really well together (even though they were only together for a couple of scenes), and I loved them as a couple. I was rooting for them big time. Of course, relationships don't usually work out in horror movies, so I was pretty sad at the end. There might not have been many scares, but I will say the gore was good. Though it was really gore, actually. There weren't buckets of blood flowing everywhere, but it was very disturbing cringe-worthy stuff. It never showed The Driver's face, up until the very end, and even then it was partially in shadows. I thought that gave it at least a little bit of creepiness. Even though he was human, and we could form our own images of him, he was still a faceless killer. There's something disappointing about seeing a killer's face, because then we realize that they truly are human. Tracy, the ghost woman, told Nichole that there was no way The Driver was human, because no real person could do those things to anyone. The fact that he was "faceless" only helped cement that theory: that he was a monster, less than human.

So, to sum it up: Rest Stop is a good movie that'll leave you feeling a little sad. But you won't feel like you've wasted your time with it.


#188 -- Child's Play (1988)

Rating: 5 / 5
Director: Tom Holland

Everyone knows his name; everyone knows his face; everyone knows what he was after. Well, at least I hope everyone knows about him. When it comes to movies about killer dolls, Child's Play is the best of the bunch, if not the only one worth watching at all. Maybe it's the fact that I saw it as a kid, and nothing could make me think it was anything less than great. But I think it's simply that it's the only one that made it work. Most other killer doll movies have something to do with ancient demons possessing the dolls, trying to take over the world through children--or some other dumb shit like that. But here, it's just a simple serial killer who didn't want to die. Charles Lee Ray got some help from his voodoo friend, and he was able to transfer his soul into that of a Good Guy doll. There's a little bit of witchcraft here, but none of that demonic mumbo jumbo that we see in all the others. Just a psycho who knew he was about to die at the hands of a police officer, and he decided he wanted to go on killing folks. Everything here was so well done that it couldn't possibly not work.

All Andy Barclay wanted for his birthday was a Good Guy doll. He was obsessed with the TV show, and he even dressed like the characters. The dolls were supposed to be very lifelike; they were able to turn their heads, blink, and talk. So when Andy got pants for his birthday instead, he was understandably devastated. His mother, hating the sad look on his face, bought a discount Good Guy doll from a homeless guy in an alley. Little did she know that he had found the doll in the abandoned toy store where Charles Lee Ray, an infamous serial killer around their town, was killed. The first person to notice that Andy was too convinced that the doll was real was his babysitter. That babysitter ended up with a hammer in her face, before falling to her death from a very tall building. The detective working that case was the same man who killed Charles Lee Ray, and it took him a good while to believe that he'd possessed the doll. The detective was played by Chris Sarandon (Jerry Dandridge from Fright Night; and I just realized that he was also the voice behind Jack Skellington), who did a wonderful job. Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven) played Andy's mother.

The Detective was convinced that Andy had something to do with the babysitter's death. There were footprints in the kitchen that matched Andy's, but that was because he and Chucky wore the same shoes. Of course, the detective wouldn't even consider that. Andy tried to tell everyone that Chucky had been talking to him and telling him some pretty nasty things. He tried to tell them that it was Chucky, but no one believed him. They thought he had mental issues and sent him away with a doctor. But Mrs. Barclay soon learned that her son was not crazy. She took Chucky home and, through what I can only describe as a fit of uncertainty (what if Andy's not crazy? what if the doll really is alive?), threatened him until he spoke. He did indeed speak, before biting a chunk out of her arm and fleeing to find Andy.

Chucky found out from his voodoo friend that the longer he stayed in the doll's body, the more human he would become. Meaning that he could get hurt, and he could eventually be killed. The only way to fix that was to transfer his soul into the first person he revealed himself to; which, of course, happened to be six year-old little Andy. Unfortunately for him, his attempts to possess Andy were thwarted by the Detective and Mrs. Barclay.

Watching this when it was first released, it probably would have been easy to believe, at first, that Andy was the killer. They tried to make it seem that way for a while, and it would obviously be the most rational explanation. Killer children are more believable than killer dolls, after all. But watching it now, it's  just a wait around for the killing to get good type of thing, because we all know who the true killer was. But that doesn't change the fact that this movie will always be awesome. There's just something about Chucky that is terrifying, where other killer dolls are just stupid. When I was a kid, I had a Chucky doll that hung in one of those mesh nets above my bed. He was on the bottom and face down, so he stared down at me at night. Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore and had my mom get rid of it. Now I wish I hadn't, but the point is that Chucky is scary. They made him so life-life, and I'm actually amazed at how great the effects were for that time. The '80s are notorious for bad effects, but the effects in Child's Play are extremely good. Chucky almost did look human. He had facial expressions, rather than just a mechanically moving mouth. He bled (because he was slowly becoming human, not because they didn't realize that dolls don't bleed), he moved just about like a small child would. He looked real. He looked like a doll that could truly come to life and kill everyone in sight. That's what made him terrifying; they took something completely far-fetched and made it believable.

So, here's my advice for you. If you've never seen this movie, crawl out from under your rock and go out to your nearest video store and get it. It is the only killer doll movie you'll ever see that's actually worth your time.

I also have a serious question that I would like answered. Do you think Chucky is the reason the world hates red-heads? As a red-head, I'm really interested in knowing why everyone hates us. Is it Chucky, is it South Park (gingers have no souls, blah blah blah), or is my boyfriend right in thinking it's Carrot Top? Completely off topic, yes, but I'd really like to know.

Some more screen caps, 'cause I can


#187 -- Killer Pad (2008)

Rating: 3 / 5
Director: Robert Englund

Yeah, you read that right. This movie was directed by Robert motherfucking Englund. Now, I wasn't extremely impressed with the first of his movies I saw (9-7-6 Evil), so I wasn't expecting much from this one. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but it wasn't really good either. This one was way more of a comedy than it was a horror movie, and I'm not really sure why it was on Fearnet's VOD. It felt like one of those American Pie wannabe college party movies. The guys in this (Brody, Craig, and Doug) were in their early twenties, just moved out of their parents'  houses, and moved out to California to start their lives over. They were lucky enough to run into Winnie, a cute little Asian realtor lady played by Bobby Lee. Yes, Bobby Lee in drag. Winnie gave them a good deal on an amazing house, and it all seemed too good to be true. Well, that's because it was. On the way to their new house, they got lost. They ran into a Mexican guy who tried to warn them of the evil in the house, but he spoke only Spanish  and they couldn't understand him. They heard him say El Diablo, but they couldn't put it together; they thought he wanted some hot sauce, so they threw some ketchup at him and drove away. He kept trying to warn them; he even showed up at the house, became possessed, ripped his own heart out and ate it, then jumped from the balcony. They just thought he was a squatter, playing a trick on them so that they'd leave, and him and his squatter friends could keep on living there. Their second hint that something wasn't right was a coyote in their basement. Along with the coyote, there was a weird pit of red mist, that felt hot to the touch, and so obviously was a portal to the underworld. They joked about this over a nice bong, but never really thought anything more of it.

Some hot girls showed up one day and suggested that they have a house-warming party, so they could get to know some of the people around town. So they made flyers, and had one giant shindig. Among the party-goers was Andy Milonakis (a huge nerd), and Joey Lawrence (playing himself, trying to find his way to Toby Macguire's house). Andy almost got to touch some boobies, but his efforts were thwarted by a midget porn star. Joey killed himself accidentally, I think, with some kind of razors on his motorcycle gloves. Let's see...there was a big, lesbian-looking lady who got sucked down the toilet and then shat on by a fat guy. There was also a priest (played by Jeff Davis, from Who's Line is it, Anyway?): a guy who used to be friends with Brody, Craig and Doug. He was at the party to face his demons, to be sure that he was ready to become a full fledged member of the church. His demons won, however, and he ended up saving the day with a wonderful rendition of "Rock and Roll All Night" by Kiss.

When I type all of this out, it does sound pretty freakin' awesome. There were some pretty funny parts, especially when the guys threw ketchup at the Mexican. They said, "Don't be such a food snob! Give ketchup a chance!" And they referred to it as "white people hot sauce." But anyways, there were some good, funny parts. Those guys were all extremely stupid. And I mean they were dumb as shit. But I guess they had to be. It wouldn't have been the same otherwise. So it was funny, but most of the time it was just stupid. There was nothing funny enough to make me love it, and there definitely wasn't enough horror here. Sure, there were some sexy ass demons, and Satan in a way I've never seen him/her before. But at the end of the day, it was just another okay movie that I could've lived without seeing.


#186 -- Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Rating: 4.5 / 5
Director: Drew Goddard

Upon a first look, you'll think this is just like any other cliche horror movie. There's a group of college kids out in the woods, and they start to die. Even the kids themselves are pretty cliche. There's the whore, the jock, the smart guy, the stoner, and the sweet innocent girl that everyone roots for. Personally, I was rooting for the jock, but that's another issue entirely. But, you'll know by the trailers and various previews that it's actually quite different. Everything these people are going through is controlled by an outside force. But I don't think you could possibly realize just how different it is until you watch it.

It all started in the cellar of the cabin. There were various objects that seemed fairly normal; but they were special gadgets, and they would decide the group's fate. Whichever object they found the most interest in would release some sort of adversary. In their case, it was a family of torturous zombies. I think the family's father was abusive, and he killed the entire family; but it didn't go very much into their story, rather than reading a few pages from the daughter's diary. They looked kind of swampy, which I guess was from being in the gross lake waters for so long. They called them zombies, but they weren't the eat-people kind of zombies. They killed them with saws, bear traps, and whatever else they could get their hands on. All the while, everything was being controlled by some people in a control room. The kids could decide the outcome somewhat, but it was mostly rigged. The whole time, there were chemicals being released into the cabin. It would change the way they thought, and steer their actions toward whatever the directors wanted them to do. Of course, it didn't have much of an effect on the stoner, because his marijuana cancelled the effect of the chemicals. There was also a wall between the cabin area and the "real world," and there really was no way across it. We found this out when Mr. Jock decided to try to jump his motorcycle through it. It didn't end very well for him.

At the end there was supposed to be only one: the virgin. They said that the virgin's death was optional, and it was decided by fate, rather than the puppeteers. But that didn't go very well for them. In the end, there were two. I was actually kind of confused about that, though. The one they said was the virgin was not a virgin. Something was said at the beginning of the movie about her sleeping with one of her professors. So, my question is this: were they rooting for the wrong one? Anyways, they found their way back to the control room, and they learned the truth of what was happening to them. It was a scheme much bigger than just wanting them dead. In the building, there were cubes filled with different sorts of creatures; any of them could have been unleashed on the kids. There were zombies (real zombies), demons, killer clowns, killer unicorns, werewolves, a Pinhead-type guy, giant serpents, giant spiders, and a shit load of other things. There was even something they called a merman, but it looked nothing like any merman I've ever seen before. It was actually very interesting.

So, it started out just like any other horror movie would; but it ended up being completely different, and I really liked it. The only problem I had was the direction they took with the creatures. With all those other awesome things available, they chose the swampy zombies? I'm talking about the directors/screenwriters, not the characters. They could have chosen something much better. I personally would have liked to see the big pin-head like guy. There was some sort of puzzle ball that would have brought him to them. He had saw blades stuck in his head, he was big, and he definitely looked very dangerous. I would have liked to see what he would have done to them. Some of the things I understand would have made the movie less appealing (like the killer clown; there are so many of those), but some things would have been badass. But they did what they did, and I still really loved this movie. I'd been wanting to see it for a long, long time, and I'm so freaking glad that I finally did. So, what are my last words on this movie? Look at that picture above, the one to the left. That's Chris Hemsworth. 'Nuff said.


#185 -- Wreckage (2010)

Rating: 2.5 / 5
Director: John Mallory Asher

Some movies fail because of scenes and occurrences that make no sense and are not connected; that, and they make their surprise endings way too obvious way too early. This is one of those movies. It started out with two young brothers, Ricky and Wesley. Their mother was a druggie, and her dealer was abusive. One day when the dealer was being rough with Wesley, Ricky grabbed a gun and shot him; then he shot their mother. Cut to about sixteen years later, and a girl was almost killed (or raped?) by a some guy named Kane. She ran into the junkyard, and some unknown person took Kane out. This scene seemed completely pointless. Kane and the girl were listening to the radio, which was saying that some prisoner had escaped. So I guess the prisoner was in the junkyard, and he saved her from Kane. We never saw Kane or the girl again, and we never found out for sure who the unknown person was. We can have assumptions and theories, but it never gave  us a real, concrete answer. It just was, and we were supposed to accept it.

Meanwhile, a group of friends got trapped in the junkyard after their car broke down. there was the newly engaged couple, Kate and Jared; and there was the pregnant couple, Jessica and Rick. They all went to the junkyard so that Jared could find some part to fix his broken car. Rick was playing around with his gun, and he "accidentally" shot Kate. Jared went for help, but when he came back with the police, his friends were gone.

They searched around for a while, until they found Jessica dead and rick "wounded." Kate was nowhere to be found. Then, everyone in the junkyard (police officers, paramedics...) started to get killed.

You've probably figured it out by now. A little boy named Ricky killed his mom; then a grown man named Rick found himself surrounded by murder. No, it's not an accidental coincidence. They actually made it that fucking obvious. So, why wasn't Rick, or Ricky, locked away? That's because when the police arrived, his brother Wesley took the blame for him. Wesley was locked away, and he was the prisoner that the radio said had escaped. It was a big deal. I guess they thought that, once they'd established the grown-up Rick/Wesley situation, we'd have forgotten which brother was which--even though we'd seen it less than ten minutes before. Or maybe they forgot which brother was which. But it ruined the entire movie for me.

Some guy found Kate and brought her to Jared and his police officer friend. Assuming that this guy was the killer, Jared killed him. I think that guy was supposed to be Wesley, but I'm not quite sure. It never really cleared that up for me. For the most part, the movie wasn't all that bad. But the whole painfully obvious surprise ending thing ruined it. I knew from the beginning who the killer was, and I could tell that they were trying to be clever and sneaky with it. I honestly believe these people thought they were going to surprise me. But I kept watching, because I was hoping that--maybe--I was wrong. Maybe it wouldn't be Rick. Maybe it actually was an accidental coincidence. But no. They did exactly what I thought they would do with it, and it made the whole thing a complete waste of time. I don't want to go into a movie knowing exactly what's going to happen. I don't mind having a vague idea of what's going to happen; but for them to shove it in my face like that, and then expect me to be surprised by it? Oh hell no, I don't think so. They took a perfectly fine idea, and what could have been a pretty good movie, and they completely ruined it by being stupid.

#184 -- Return of the Living Dead 2 (1988)

Rating: 3.5 / 5
Director: Ken Wiederhorn

When I reviewed the first ROTLD movie, I went on an on about how amazing it was, which is absolutely true. This will always be one of my favorite horror series. This one is your typical bad sequel. The first was a horror-comedy, there's no doubt about that. But it had a good balance of horror and humor. It seems like part 2 tried to top the first, but it just ended up being silly. It didn't live up to its predecessor--not even close--but it's not all that bad.

Thom Matthews, James Karen, and Jonathan Terry return for this second installment. Thom and James are no longer Frank and Freddy; now they're Ed and Joey. Jonathan is still colonel Glover, who just can't seem to keep his deadly chemicals under control. Everything starts out when a couple of troublemaking kids stumble across the 245 Trioxin. They're curious, of course, and they open up the container. There's a new, and less awesome, version of Tarman, and of course the gas leaks out into the cemetery nearby (you'd think the military would know enough not to dump the shit next to the cemetery, just to be safe). Of the three kids, one flees, and the other two breathe in the gas. One we never see again, but the other turns into a boring zombie who doesn't do much of anything except stare at Jesse (our main guy) menacingly. Meanwhile, a couple of graverobbers (Matthews and Karen) are in a crypt stealing a dead woman's head. They stick it in what appears to be a bowling ball bag, steal her jewelry, and then stumble out onto a graveyard full of zombies. Our group ends up being Jesse (the comic-book-reading kid), his sister Lucy, a cable installation guy, a doctor, Joey, Ed, and Joey's girlfriend Brenda. There's also Billy's (the boring zombie kid) parents, but they're unimportant and die pretty quickly. So, apparently the military evacuates the town without this group knowing about it. They're stuck in a desolate town, and every attempt to get out results in being shot at by the soldiers. Because apparently soldiers aren't taught to check out who they're shooting at before they shoot.
This thing is actually credited as Tarman. Oh, the shame!

One of the problems is that we can't really care about any of the characters. They're all pretty bland, and all they do is scream and cry until the end credits roll. The only characters we're really able to care about are Joey and Ed, and that's only because we saw the actors in the first film, and we're already attached to them. But Ed is fucking annoying, and I was really glad when he finally got his brains eaten. At least he stopped crying. The other problem is the over-the-top attempt to beat out the first movie in laughs. There were a couple of good laughs. One was the head in the bag. It got stabbed with a screwdriver and it wasn't happy about it: "Get this screwdriver out of my damn head!" That head also had the last laugh, saying, "Okay, no more brains, you win," right before the credits rolled.

A lot of sequels seem to have this problem. The first movie is amazing, and the sequel just turns out to be shit. I wouldn't really call it shit, but it's definitely less amazing than the first. Luckily, the series picks up again with Return of the Living Dead 3, which I absolutely love. But this one...I could take it or leave it. There's nothing amazing or memorable about it.

Some more screen caps, 'cause I can


#183 -- Saw II (2005)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

I guess this is another series I'm going to be watching out of order. I've already seen the first one, though so it's okay. I'll just have to refrain from describing every little detail about the movies, since this is my first time reviewing one. I'm assuming that, if you're reading this, you've already seen the first one. So I'm not going into full detail about what's going on; you should already know that.

Jigsaw returns, but this time he's a little bit different. In the first movie, we only got to see the real man for a short time. Here, we get the full story of why he's a complete nutjob. Before he started his "work," he found out that he had cancer, and he didn't have very long to live. This was very depressing for him, naturally, so he decided to end it quickly rather than wait for the cancer to end it for him. He drove his car off a cliff, but miraculously, he survived. From this, he brought with him a new appreciation for life. He saw that, for some reason, he wasn't supposed to die there that night. That got him to thinking about all the people in the world who did not appreciate their lives. His belief was, "those who do not appreciate life, do not deserve life." He wanted to help them learn to appreciate what they have.

Shawnee Smith returns as Amanda, the only person to survive Jigsaw's shenanigans in the first movie. But he wasn't satisfied with how she continued to live her life afterwards, so he brought her back. This time, there was a group of people trapped in a house together. The doors would open onto freedom in three hours. The problem was that the house was leaking a deadly gas that would kill them in two hours. All they had to do was find the antidotes, and they had to do some pretty gruesome things to do so. One antidote was in the back of a furnace, but once the guy grabbed it, the door shut and the fires started. There was no way for him to get out, or get the antidote to anyone else. What was the point of that? One antidote was in a big box hanging from the ceiling. The box had little holes for someone's arms; but the holes were lined with knives. One was at the bottom of a pit of needles. One was in a safe, and the combinations were written on the backs of everyone's necks; one guy had to cut the skin out of his neck to figure out his number, because he was an ass and no one wanted to tell him. Along with Amanda, Xavier (the ass), theres Laura, Addison, Obi, Jonas, and Daniel. Jigsaw said they had to figure out what all of them had in common, in order to get themselves out of the house alive. That something was Daniel's father, a police officer who falsified evidence to arrest all of the others.

Meanwhile, outside of the booby trapped house, Daniel's father Eric was desperate to find his son. He played a more critical role in Jigsaw's scheme than he was aware of, though. There was a video feed of the prisoners; the police officers were watching every mode they made, and Detective Eric was growing very anxious. But, the feed wasn't live, it turned out, and while they were watching all these horrible things happen, Daniel was safe and sound. The point was the get Eric to that house, so that he could become the next subject. There was a nice twist at the end, which is the main reason this is one of my favorites in the series. I wasn't expecting it all (maybe some of you will...), so It was actually surprising to me.

This one also stars Donny Wahlberg and Beverley Mitchell (Lucy, from 7th Heaven!). I watched the first of this series not long after it came out. I didn't like it very much, because it left me confused. Once I figured out what the hell was going on in that one, it got me more interested in the series, so I started watching the others. I actually still haven't seen them all, but I know they're pretty great. This didn't quite deliver on the shocks or gross-outs or scares. The best gadget in the entire movie was the first one, so it was pretty disappointing in that department. But it was still a good story and a great movie.

Some more screen caps, 'cause I can


#182 -- Twisted Sisters (2006)

Rating: 3 / 5
Director: Wolfgang Buld

This one stars Fiona Horsey, the girl with the killer vagina from Angst. It also stars Paul Conway, who was her love interest Dennis in that movie. This time he's a detective, and he's not so keen on her. The first thing we see is a woman picking a man up in a bar. We can tell right away that she's a bit of a whore, and things probably won't turn out very well for her. She takes that man back to his apartment, where she sleeps with him and then butchers and castrates him. That's her thing: sex, slaughter, castration. The sex seems kind of painful for her, and my first thought was, "Uh-oh, another case of vagina dentata?" But we learn later that the pain is emotional, rather than physical.

Then we meet Jennifer. She's a business woman with a pretty great life. She's got a wonderful boyfriend, Alan, a great job that she loves, and she's expecting her first child. Things are looking great for her, until a detective shows up who suspects her of murder. She gets roped into a murder investigation she knows nothing about, and she has no idea of how to get out of it. See, the thing is, there were witnesses who saw her with all of the men who were murdered. Even though she knows that she didn't kill anyone, she doesn't see a way out of it. It becomes even more stressful for her when the detective shows her a video of a woman with the man that  was murdered not long before. The woman looks exactly like her. When her parents hear of her situation, they let her know that she was adopted, and that she had a twin sister, Norah.

The story is that Jennifer and Norah's mother was raped, and their father was so outraged by this that he killed her, before taking his own life. Norah was sent to live with her aunt and uncle. They didn't want Jennifer because she cried too much, and she was adopted by a wonderful and loving couple. Norah wasn't so lucky. Her uncle was an abusive pedophile who liked to rape Norah on a nightly basis. She became pregnant with his child, and this ruined her ability to have any children in the future. It's understandable that she'd be a little fucked in the head. She said that she got pleasure from people hurting her, which is why she did what she did. Even though she was doing most of the hurting in those situations. I think the sex itself was painful for her, because she'd been traumatized by the act at a young age. But she hated--absolutely despised--Jennifer for having the life she thought she deserved. Her main goal was to destroy her sister, out of jealousy and anger. One night, she drugged Jennifer with some sleeping medicine, so that she could bring a man to her house and kill him. She hoped that this would prove to the police, without a doubt, that Jennifer was the murderer. She hoped that was what it would take to ruin Jennifer's life. Unfortunately for her, the police discovered that Jennifer did, indeed, have a twin sister, and that she'd been institutionalized. They finally believed her. Jennifer and Alan went to stay at a vacation home to get away from all the drama, but they didn't plan on Norah following them. When Alan was away, Norah tied Jennifer up in the attic, and she took her place. She lived with Alan for a little while, and she finally knew what real happiness was. She said she could see herself falling in love with him.

But Jennifer wouldn't have it. She escaped from the basement, and was on her way to end her evil sister, when the detectives showed up. Of course, they mistook Jennifer for Norah, and the other way around, and Jennifer got shot.

She survived, but would there be a way to get her old life back? Would anyone believe that she was Jennifer, and not her sister?

I will say that Fiona Horsey was pretty hot in this one. She was the sexy lady who fucks shit up, which is actually quite a terrifying thing. They called her "the devil with the angel's face." I wouldn't really call Norah anything even close to an angel, because she was definitely a very bad girl in every sense of the phrase. The guys knew it; that's why they were so drawn to her. She was easy, and she was always willing. It was also sad to see such a good girl roped into something so twisted. And twisted it was (hence the title). Norah was fucking vicious. She put a stick of firecrackers in one guy's ass, and blew his guts all to hell. Most just got castrated, which was simple enough, but the end result was far from pretty. And she was laughing while she was doing all of this. But I think the title was wrong. It should have been called One Twisted Bitch. Because Jennifer wasn't twisted at all. Of course. Girls named Jennifer can't be anything but sweethearts.

So, this one was quite interesting. I enjoyed it, but my problem was there wasn't very much suspense. We knew early on that Jennifer wasn't the killer. We believed it for a minute, but that illusion was shattered when the stranger in the hood and sunglasses (Norah) began following Jennifer. It was pretty obvious that someone else was involved. It became suspenseful for me when Norah had Jennifer tied up in the attic. I was worried that Jennifer wouldn't be able to get free; that she would starve or drown in her own piss, or something. I was also worried that Norah was going to kill Alan, but I think she had truly found happiness with him, and the fact that she'd finally ruined Jennifer's life. But in the end, it was an enjoyable movie, and I would recommend it.


#181 -- Wrestlemaniac (2006)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: Jesse Baget

This was another one that  my boyfriend and I were really excited to watch together. My boyfriend is a huge wrestling fan, and he got me into it when we first met. He knows how much of a horror fan I am, but he doesn't share that passion. So it's cool when we find movies that combine the two things, so that we can enjoy something together. Not too long ago, we watched Monster Brawl, another horror movie based on wrestling. That one was more of a comedy-horror type of thing, but we both enjoyed it. This one was trying to be a legitimate horror movie, though, and I think it succeeded. what we were both  most interested in, though, was the fact that it starred an actual wrestler. With a movie like this, you run the risk of there being a whole lot of ass-kicking, but not a lot of gore. That's true here, and that's one of the things I didn't like. Most of the kills were off screen or obscured by something; or we couldn't see the killer, El Mascarado (Rey Misterio, Sr.), at all. There was one scene in which El Mascarado kicked some serious ass. It was just an ass-kicking, but it was a fucking brutal ass-kicking. The guy didn't have any teeth left by the time Mascarado was finished with him. Oh, and he didn't have a face either.

If you know anything about Mexican wrestling, you know that to have their mask removed is the biggest humiliation there is. There's nothing worse. So when El Mascarado wins his fights with the fine folks that had the misfortune of stumbling into his lair, naturally he wanted to humiliate them by removing their masks. The only problem was they weren't wearing any masks, so the only thing he had to rip off them was their faces.

Okay, here's the whole story. El Mascarado came onto the wrestling scene from out of nowhere. He was seriously strong and dangerous, and they were thankful for him at first. But after a while, he started killing his opponents in the ring. He was banned from wrestling, naturally, and sent for psychiatric help. We learned from an audio reel that he was given several lobotomies to try and tame whatever was making him so crazy, but that didn't quite work out for them. My question is: why isn't he dead? They even used live test subjects to see if their tests worked. They'd put the poor victims in a room or ring with El Mascarado, and he'd tear them all apart. When they couldn't think of anything else to do, they sent him to an old ghost town called La Sangre de Dios. There, he waits for anyone to stumble onto his path.

Those "stumblers" happen to be the crew of an amateur porno flick. Alfonse, the director, is a complete asshole and we can't wait to see  El Mascarado fuck him up (and fuck him up, he does). Steve is the nerdy Mexican cameraman; he's the one we like, and he's also the only one who really knows anything about what's going on. There's Jimbo, the token stoner who doesn't really have much of a point. Then there's the girls: Dallas, Daisy, and Debbie. They're hot, but not all that bright. Of course. The only one with a little sense is Dallas, which is cool 'cause she's the hottest one of them all. After a while, Steve figures out that the only way to stop El Mascarado is to take his mask off, humiliating him and forcing him to "retire." Unfortunately, he never gets the chance to test out his theory, because his little match with Mascarado does not end well for him. He does get the chance to relay the news to Dallas, though, so that she can take him out. Dallas spent the majority of the "fight" scenes outside, trying to fix the van that Alfonse had fucked up (she's a mechanic!), so she showed up a little late. Anyways, she tries to get the mask off, but she gets too scared and flees (well, tries to flee...) El Mascarado ends up with the van, making his way back to civilization to cause mayhem. So, would removing his mask stop him? No one knows, I guess.

There were a few problems with this movie. The first that comes to mind is the lack of naked bodies. They were a porn crew after all, right? I'm not saying there wasn't any boobage, but there was very little. And the hottest one didn't get naked at all. But that's not a big problem, I don't think. The big problem was the fact that most of the kills happened off screen. We didn't get to see much of them, but it seemed like they mostly consisted of people getting beat to death. There was a whole lot of blood, though, and I'm not really sure where it all came from. Maybe just from having their faces ripped off? (They supposedly had their faces ripped off, but it just looked to me like they had blood rubbed on them) So there actually was a lot of blood, we just didn't get to see where it came from. They could have used a lot more wrestling moves in creative ways. The only one I noticed was a back breaker, which was actually kind of disappointed. My boyfriend suggested a hurricanrana into some barbed wire or some other sharp object. That would have been badass. If you don't know what a hurricanrana is, look it up. They're fucking awesome in regular wrestling, so putting one into a horror movie with some weapons would have been wonderful. But alas, there were no awesome wrestling moves here. Just off screen ass-whoopins that apparently caused bloodbaths.

Even with these problems, though, I really enjoyed the movie. I expected it to be stupid and silly, like Monster Brawl was. But it was a legitimate slasher movie. It lacked the gore and creative kills the best slasher movies have, but it was a slasher movie nonetheless. There was a big masked man chasing stupid half-naked girls around. They weren't out in the woods, but they were in a town in Mexico that was apparently called The Middle of No-Fucking-Where. And the ghost town setting made it pretty spooky. It was fun.

Some more screen caps, 'cause I can

#180 -- Mr. Halloween (2007)

Rating: 2.5 / 5
Director: Andrew Wolf

By looking at the cover of this movie, you're probably going to think, "Hey! That looks interesting." But don't let the cover fool you. It ropes you in with images typical for Halloween-based horror movies, images they hope will evoke terror and entice you to watch. It's about the crazy guy in the neighborhood, known as Mr. Halloween, who opens a kickass haunted house every year. But Mr. Halloween is creepy, and rumors circulate that  he uses real body parts for his exhibits. It turns out to be true, of course. He uses real people for his fake guillotine, and real body parts for the props around the house. Teenagers disappear from all over the neighborhood, but a seemingly incompetent police force fails to realize what's going on. When a couple of the neighborhood kids, Jack and Jill (groan) decide to investigate, things get sticky for them. There's also another kid Mr. Halloween couldn't use one year, so he kept him in the basement to use for the next Halloween. Jill ends up chained in the basement with Michael, and they've got to figure out a way to escape with their lives. After being trapped down there for a year, though, Michael seems to get out pretty easily. It makes me wonder why he hadn't gotten away already. In the beginning, we see kids throwing rocks at a red-light, and one of them says, "If you hit the red, he comes for you." That's just because [spoiler alert] the sheriff is actually the mind behind Mr. Halloween's actions. He's tired of all the asshole kids disrespecting the police force, so he enlists Mr. Halloween to get rid of them for him.

"We must execute them!"
So, it sounds pretty interesting on paper, and it is. But the movie is only semi-good. I almost liked it, but not quite. There were some problems I had with the characters, especially Michael pre-hostage. At one point, his friend wanted him to come over to watch a movie, but he said his mom wouldn't let him, and he was very adamant about it. So then the friend asked him to walk down the  street and check out the haunted house that supposedly housed real dead bodies. Michael wasn't at all worried about what his mom would say about that. He was totally chicken shit once they got there, too. But I guess spending a year chained up in a psycho's basement gave him a little balls. Despite the fact that it was sloppy, it really wasn't all bad.

Like I said, I almost liked it. It was one of those movies that I wanted to like, but it didn't quite let me. Oh, and let's go back to the cover of the movie. That clown looks pretty awesome, right? And the fact that it looks like he's after a very small girl looks pretty frightening, huh? Well, there wasn't a clown at all in this movie. Not once. And no little children, either. Mr. Halloween did wear a mask when he was guiding the kids through his haunted house, but it was far from being a clown mask. I'm actually not sure what the hell it was. And the kids that he kidnapped were all in high school. So like I said, it tries to rope you in with images it think will intrigue you--but don't be fooled! Don't expect any awesome killer clowns, because you're not going to find any. What you will find is a stupid man killing teenagers for shits and giggles. And he doesn't even do it any sort of interesting fashion. I love the idea of a real-life haunted house like that, but it failed to be as interesting as I would hope. And the whole guillotine thing got old really fast. So director Alex Wolf took an interesting and promising premise, and completely shattered it with lack of creativity. It's a shame, really. You can watch this movie, or you can pass on it. You won't really care either way.

#179 -- Underworld (2003)

Rating: 4 / 5
Director: Len Wiseman

I'm going to surprise you by saying that I found this movie On Demand. It wasn't on Fearnet, because they wouldn't dare to have such a good movie grace their VOD channel; it was on one of the premium channels, but I can't remember which one. I was really excited when I found it because, for some reason, I had never seen it before. I'd always been interested in it, but I never got around to watching it. Now I'm really glad I did. It is a vampire movie like no other I've ever seen before. It's also a werewolf movie unlike any I've ever seen.

A long time ago, werewolves were slaves to vampires. One werewolf in particular, Lucian, happened to fall in love with the daughter of the vampire Lord. They married, though it was frowned upon, and Sonya became pregnant. Instead of allowing the "abomination in her womb" thrive and becoming a member of his coven, Lord Viktor had his own daughter killed: burned alive, while Lucian watched. Ever since then, there was a terrible war between the vampires and the lycans. Selene was the character the the movie centered on. She was a vampire warrior, and she was intent on destroying every last one of the werewolves because she believed they killed her family. She learned differently later on, but I'll leave you to figure that one out for yourself. Anyway, Selene discovered that the werewolves had been stalking a human man, and it seemed strange that they would be interested in him as something other than food. So she took him from them, but she wasn't able to save him from a life altering bite from Lucian. Then she was in a bit of a pickle, because she kind of wanted to kill him. Everyone else in her coven certainly wanted him dead, but Selene had grown feelings for him, so she kept him safe.

Eventually we learned that Lucian needed Michael (the human) for his blood. He'd been working on figuring out a way to mix the species of vampire and werewolf, so that nothing like his story with

Sonya would have to happen to anyone else. And Michael's blood was the answer. Michael ended up turning into a vampire werewolf hybrid, and it was pretty fucking bad ass.

Everything about this movie was wonderful. The beautiful Kate Beckinsale played Selene, and she was absolutely amazing. I liked how it turned the werewolves into the sympathetic characters, and it made me angry at a creature that I usually love (vampires). I was on the lycans' side, because I felt for Lucian, and I hoped that he would succeed so that Michael and Selene could be together. Of course, I don't know yet if all that worked out, because I know their other Elder will be rising in the second movie. I haven't seen any of the others, but I'm really excited to check them out. Anyways, let's talk technical shit. The effects were good, of course, but I did think the werewolves looked kind of weird. Michael, as the hybrid, looked way better, and he was a whole hell of a lot stronger. I loved the atmosphere in this too. It was filmed beautifully; everything was dark, but not in the sense that I couldn't see shit, like a lot of movies are. The characters were easy to care for (or hate, accordingly), and I could actually feel something while I was watching it. But what I liked most was the story of it, and how different it was from anything I've ever seen. I was so excited to be able to see a half vampire, half werewolf. I can't believe it took me so long to get into this series, and I can't wait to check out the rest of the movies and see what happens between Selene and Michael. So if you're like me, and you haven't yet checked this out, please do so immediately. You won't regret it, and you'll thank me for it later.

Some more screen caps, 'cause I can


#178 -- Hide and Creep (2004)

Directors: Chuck Hartsell & Chance Shirley
Rating: 2 / 5

I watched this movie probably about five years ago, but I couldn't remember anything other than the naked guy ranting about UFOs and crying about his lost 1964 1/2 Mustang. I remembered that I didn't like it, though, and now I know why. I can sum up the entire film in three words: rednecks fight zombies. That's just about as deep as the story gets. We're not able to care about any of the characters, really. The only character I really felt anything toward was Chuck, the guy who owned Chuck's Super Video World. He was that "I don't give a shit" kind of guy, and he was pretty comical. After he killed the first zombie, the police department refused to help him out with his problem. So naturally, he dumped the body in their lobby with a sticky note on its forehead instructing them to call him. Oh, Chuck! Actually, the entire move was pretty comical. You've got your typical rednecks: gun club, huntin', fishin' and all that jazz. The president of the gun club should have won the parent of the year award for leaving his two young daughters home alone to fight off zombies. The girls were able to take care of themselves, the oldest having a rifle, and the youngest a machete twice as big as she was. They were fine, but that's not the point. Who the hell leaves their children when there's dead folks running around eating people? Dumb hicks, that's who. Look, I was born and raised in Georgia, so I know a thing or two about rednecks. They're not all bad, but some are just dumb as a sack of rocks. So Hide and Creep's portrayal of dumb rednecks is actually quite accurate. It's not only the rednecks, though; there are some plain 'ol southern folks in there too. But they're just as dumb. There was a scene with Mr. Gun Club president, where he was faced with a bar full of zombie strippers eating people. He shot the first, but the second was chowing down on an equally naked woman, and he was just far too aroused to shoot that sexy thang. Luckily, shortly afterwards, he discovered that zombies are afraid of the dark, and he was able to use that to his advantage. Wait, back up, did you just say zombies are afraid of the dark. That's right. Zombies are afraid of the dark. I guess you learn something new every day, right? I mean, it's not like I've ever seen zombies killing at night, so it's got to be true. Oh, and another thing I learned: alien anal probes are actually quite sexy.

Note reads: Dead guy! Call Chuck.
Though this movie was extremely stupid, it did have some good things going for it. Not many, but a few. One, I will say that the actors were actually pretty good. Chuck (played by Chuck Hartsell, who also directed) was the best of the bunch, in my opinion. Not everyone was great, but with the content of the movie, you'd be surprised at how talented the actors were. Second, it was silly. I'm not sure if it was silly in a good way, but it did make me laugh. You can take from that what you will, because I honestly don't know if I'm laughing at it or with it. The effects were horrible, though. These things could have been cannibals for all I knew. They had pale faces, with black rings around their eyes. Add in a little dyed corn syrup and BAM! Instant zombie. No. They didn't look like zombies at all. I know there wasn't a huge budget, but they could have done at least a little something more there. But this movie's biggest problem was that it was boring. Even though there were some funny moments, for the most part, it just failed to keep me interested. I actually fell asleep, then had to rewind it so that I could catch the ending. Spoiler alert: there wasn't really that much of an ending. It was one of those abrupt endings that I always hate. It did have some nice boob shots, though. So, if that's what you're looking for...you can probably find it somewhere else.