FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE...beware yon spoilers!

Jun 25, 2008

the wednesday wonder

this is so effing frightening

You are never, ever going to believe this...I've got a column up at AMC! Weird, right? Anyway, I talk a bit about Mr Mack Daddy himself, Lon Chaney. Go, read, comment! Or don't. Be a jerk if you want- see if I care.

One last time for the whorin': Alone in the Dark 5 (PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC) dropped yesterday. Anybody pick it up? I haven't gotten my review copy yet (which is my prize for whoring out and talking about it, in case you didn't know), but I'll be sure to...uh...review it when I do. It looks like it'll be fun, even if I have no clue what it's really about. This screen shot doesn't help much, as it seems that the main character's "journal" or what have you is culled from a deluxe pack of magnetic poetry.

click to embiggen

Eh, no matter. As I said, it looks like fun and I'm psyched to play it. Then again, I think that pretty much all video games look like fun and I get excited to play things like Zoo Vet where I get to diagnose computer animals' computer illnesses and give them computer medicine. "The penguin has a sore foot? I'll be there right away!" This either makes me a person filled with child-like excitement and wonder regarding the world around her, or a person filled with child-like idiotic tendencies. Either way, I'm obviously more than a little Nell.

"Don' wor' chick'bay...tay na winn"

I just thought you all might like to know that Jessica Harper left a comment on my Suspiria review and posted her website address- and she welcomes emails! How awesome is that? HOW AWESOME I SAY.

Yes, there's always the chance it's not really her, but come on. I'm going all Occam's Razor on this one.

Jessica Harper!

Commented!

On a Film Club review!

Speaking of the Final Girl Film Club, it's time to pick a film for next month. What a great response for June's movie, Lifeforce! You guys rock my face off. I haven't made my way through reading all the reviews yet, but I'm working on it. Reading may be fundamental, but it's also so very hard. As is math. Damn my girl parts!

The point is, yes, July's pick is...



The Car
, bitches! James Brolin! Ronny Cox! THE CAR! It's totally like the Jaws of...of cars, man.

I love that trailer. I love the woman on the phone- "I think I hear the engine of that car..." and if after watching it you're able to get the "honk...honkhonkhonnnnk" out of your head, you're made of stronger stuff than I.

The Car is available on Netflix for you Netflix peeps. Sa-weet! I can't wait.

The movie: The Car
The due date: Monday, August 4

In other news, has anyone ever made a movie about a flying shark? If not, someone totally should. Ooh! And the shark should go "honk...honkhonkhonnnnk" when it's not screeching like an eagle. And the mayor should totally refuse to cancel the annual beach festival despite all the warnings about the dangerous shark- then, after a dead body washes up on shore, he should totally cancel the festival...but it won't matter because the shark can fly and therefore NO ONE IS SAFE! It can get you anywhere!

"I think I hear the honking of that shark..."

It totally writes itself.

Jun 23, 2008

Film Club: Lifeforce

Well kids, here we are- the very first Film Club flick chosen by the people, for the people. I certainly hope the people are satisfied with Tobe Hooper's 1985 naked space vampire epic Lifeforce.

Hooper heads back to Texas Chain Saw territory and opens the film with a dead serious voiceover by John Larroquette- or at least, I think it's him. According to imdb.com, Larroquette's involvement is "unconfirmed"- is this really an unsolved mystery after nearly 25 years? Has no one, you know, asked him? Regardless, the narrator quickly gives us the skinny on all the space stuff: a joint mission between Brits and Americans has sent the shuttle Churchill tooling towards Halley's Comet in order to check it out.

The Churchill gang makes a startling discovery: there's some sort of craft traveling along near the head of the comet. It's 150 miles long, 2 miles high, and practically begging to be explored. Colonel Carlsen (Steve Railsback) heads up an away team who board the alien craft, only to find:
  • it's seemingly derelict
  • it's seemingly organic
  • there are humongous bat-like aliens on board, all dried-out and dead
  • there are three nudies lying in stasis in giant crystals
The Churchill informs the away team that one end of the alien craft has opened up to form a large, fleshy umbrella; Carlsen decides it's time to get out of there, but not before they grab a bat husk and the nudies for examination. I'm guessing that in the end, this will prove to be a decision most unwise. Lifeforce lesson #1: should you happen across a naked man or woman encased in crystal, do not bring him or her home.



30 days later, the Churchill is found by another shuttle crew and it's in a terrible state: there's been a fire on board. The escape pod has been launched, but the state of the crew bodies makes it impossible to determine who, if anyone, may have made it out alive. The Crystal Nudies, however, remain intact and unharmed! Naturally they're brought back to London for examination; I'm guessing that in the end, this will prove to be a decision most unwise. Lifeforce lesson #2: The Crystal Nudies is, quite possibly, the best band name ever.

Once on the dissecting table, the beautiful, mysterious, and naked Space Girl (Mathilda May) proves to be decidedly not dead- or is that undead? Either way, the fact remains: she's alive. She grabs an enamoured guard (no one can resist her naked beauty!) and they start to make out. The next thing you know, everything has gone all Spencer's Gifts and there's lightning everywhere, like this:


The poor guard withers away as they make out- it seems that Space Girl is sucking the very life out of him...his lifeforce, if you will! He ends up dead and looking all caca, like this:

Space Girl makes her way out of the Space Research Centre and just like that, the very thing mankind has feared since the beginning of time has come to pass: there's a naked space vampire on the loose! We all knew this day would come eventually, yet we find ourselves so unprepared.

The SAS arrives on the scene, and Col Colin Caine (Peter Firth) is determined to figure out just what the eff is going on. As the autopsy on the dead guard begins, Caine learns at least one thing: the guard may be all beef-jerkified, but he sure ain't dead! He springs back to corpsey life, grabs the closest doctor, and makes with the lifeforce-suckage. As the doctor withers, the guard plumps up again and seems no worse for the wear, although he's understandably confused. Lifeforce lesson #3: space vampirism, like cooties, is easily passed from person to person.


The Churchill's escape pod lands in Texas with Col Carlsen on board. He's quickly brought to London to help piece together this evil naked space vampire puzzle; through flashbacks, we learn that The Crystal Nudies decimated the crew of the Churchill, leaving Carlsen with no choice but to set the shuttle on fire before busting a move out of there so the naked space vampires couldn't make their way to Earth. Nice try, Carlsen, but not good enough.

For the next hour or so, Carlsen and Caine chase Space Girl through London and beyond as she jumps from body to body. They meet lots of interesting characters along the way, from Patrick Stewart as the director of a mental hospital to a nurse at the same hospital who's really into being slapped around. As the alien fleshy umbrella space ship heads toward Earth, the space vampire plague quickly spreads throughout the city and London falls under martial law. People are going nuts running around, fires are breaking out everywhere, and there's a Spencer's Gifts bonanza in the sky- in other words, it's an awful lot like the Cabbage Patch Kid riots of '83.

Can Carlsen and Caine save the world from The Crystal Nudies? Find out in the explosive, ambiguous, and all-nude finale!

The worst thing I can say about Lifeforce is that it absolutely overstays its welcome; at nearly 2 hours, it's more than a bit bloated and parts of it drag like nobody's business.

On the other hand, it's a hell of a lot of fun- I mean, is there ever a time when naked space vampires aren't fun? The effects hold up surprisingly well for a flick from the mid-80s. The animatronic corpses are rad*, there are all manner of space vampire dustings that are bitchin'*, the corpse made out of blood (yes, made out of blood) is gnarly*, and the Spencer's Gifts lightning isn't nearly as cheesy as the moniker implies.

Lest you think that Lifeforce is nothing but a naked effects extravaganza, however, let me assure you: this movie has a deeper message. That message is revealed when, as he tries to explain his attraction to Space Girl, Carlsen states:
She killed all my friends and I still didn't want to leave. Leaving her was the hardest thing I ever did.
See? It's all a metaphor for relationships. We've all had at least one of 'em: your girlfriend or boyfriend completely sucks the life out of you, all your friends hate him or her, your friendships fall apart and you're left weak, lethargic, and a mere shell of your former self...and yet, you stay with him or her for no reason beyond the fact that he's cute or she has great tits. Lifeforce lesson #4: relationships will kill you!

This film is probably Tobe Hooper's most ambitious (I'm not counting the shady mess that is Poltergeist) and it's a delightful (though a wee overlong) '80s romp, the likes of which you don't much see nowadays. There really aren't enough naked space vampires in the world of cinema today, don't you agree?

*this review brought to you by 1985 and the totally tubular Mountain Dew

___________________________________

Film Club Coolies, yall!

Tractor Facts
Craig Moorhead
The Horror Section
Aphorisms and Ectoplasm
Awesomeness for Awesome's Sake
The Connoissewer
The Legend of Bloggy Creek
Boyfriends in the News
House of 1000 Courses
Headquarters 10
The Snark Hunter
(mim-uh-zeen)
Bloody Good Horror
Gorillanaut
Kill Everybody in the Whole World
This Is Just A Modern Rock Blog
Invasion of the B Movies
Cinevistaramascope
Overthinking It
StinkyLulu
Zombie vs Shark
Acheter et entretenir sa tronconneuse (c'est French, ca!)
Askewed Views
Horror Film Magazine

Jun 19, 2008

set a course for MURDER!

In case you're planning on buying me an extravagant vacation package as a gift sometime, let me state up front: I have absolutely less than zero desire to ever set foot on a cruise ship. If that's your idea of a swell getaway, then more power to ya; the notion of being trapped in a floating city with a bunch of vacationing strangers...and families...fills me with unbridled terror. Making small talk with people? Having to eat with them? Seriously, thinking about these scenarios give me more nightmares than The Exorcist and [REC] combined. My idea of a sweet vacation is car + camera, but hey, the world don't move to the beat of just one something something and all that. I'm even less inclined, however, to set foot on a luxury liner after viewing "the rental hit of 1983", 1980's Death Ship; I bet all you cruise lovers have never considered the possibility that the oceans are simply infested with haunted Nazi boats, have you? HAVE YOU? Well, consider yourselves duly warned.

George Kennedy (yes, George Kennedy; George Kennedy + "the rental hit of 1983" = best movie ever) is the cranky, bitter Captain Ashland. Ashland is on his last cruise ship cruise; the dude hates cruise ships almost as much as I do. He can't stand any of it- sailing in circles, making nice nice with the passengers, etc- and he can't wait until his tenure is over. It'll be over sooner than he thinks, though, because there's a big ol' boat on a collision course with the luxury liner!

During the "collision course" action we get our first indication as to exactly how awesome Death Ship is going to be: the luxury liner is shown at night, all lights-aglow, whilst the evil Nazi ship is shown barreling along in daylight. So...one ship tooling around during the day, the other at night, and they're headed right for one another. Impossible? You wish!

Ships go boom and a few passengers from the cruise ship manage to make it into...well, it's not exactly a lifeboat- it's more like a lifebigredbox.


Now, if you had been watching Death Ship with me, at this point you may have turned to me and said "How did all those people manage to make it into the same big red box? They were all in very different areas of the ship when the boats collided.", to which I would have replied "It's no surprise they all ended up in the same big red box, for they were the only characters who actually spoke before the boats crashed." Then we both would have started making out with the Death Ship DVD case.

Our survivors are but few: Capt Ashland, his XO (Richard Crenna!), the XO's family (which, unfortunately, features two children- this pretty much guarantees two fewer victims of the Nazi ghost ship), a weirdo religious-type lady who has a hard on for Ashland, and a young couple-for-the-cruise-only. Their big red box eventually floats by the anchored Nazi ship- it takes them a really long time to notice, for some reason- and, thinking they're being rescued, our plucky band of survivors climbs aboard the death ship, only to find no one aboard. That's right, the boat is empty! But...who's driving that shit? Who's moving the levers and turning on the gramophone and showing those Nazi propaganda films?

Why, it's the ship itself, running on pure Nazi hate!

Life isn't as peachy keen as you might think it is when you're trapped on a Nazi death ship. George Kennedy gets a l'il bit possessed by the ghosts, dons a vintage captain's uniform, and gets his homicidal Nazi on...

Our plucky survivors begin to die off in unpleasant ways, including death by 40-year-old poisoned peppermints and death by getting crushed with a bunch of gooey 40-year-old Nazi victims...

There's the obligatory shower of blood scene...

All in all, I have to say- I firmly stand by my reluctance to vacation aboard big boats.

Death Ship wasn't exactly what I expected. Long unavailable in the US and billed as "The Shining meets The Poseidon Adventure", it's one of those movies that wormed its way onto my "must see" list. The film is bandied about in cult film circles, although no one seems to actually like it. I dug it, although it's not bad enough to be good-bad or bad-bad, and it's not good enough to be...well, good. "Good" and "enjoyable", however, are not always mutually exclusive.

Bits and pieces are undeniably creepy; the hulking, rusted-out Nazi ship is imposing, the idea of the boat acting on its own is fairly effective (although levers moving unaided isn't as scary the 50,000th time you see it), and the general atmosphere is sinister. There's plenty to laugh at in Death Ship, but there's also plenty to admire. I don't think you need to seek it out as fervently as I did, but if you come across it somehow, give it a shot. You know, kind of like if you find yourself floating along in a big red box after you've abandoned a sinking luxury liner- if a giant creepy ship suddenly appears behind you, why not climb aboard?

Jun 18, 2008

Time to make the Wednesday donuts

"Do YOU have eight kinds of jelly donuts?"

People, people, gather 'round and listen to my tale of...

Gah, I have no idea where I was going with that. I'm not completely awake yet. But regardless, heed my words! There's a new column by Yours Truly over at AMC, and it's all about...uh, people gettin' ugly when they get possessed. Or something like that. It's noble work that I do, for sure.

It's also Ghostella day, huzzah! Behold three terrifying trailers! Finally, FINALLY I SAY, Don't Look in the Bureau! is almost a reality. Also, I say, Ghostella is going bi-weekly. While I hate to do it, the more relaxed schedule will ensure I can maintain my *cough* standards of (B-grade) quality as well as my sanity; it may also leave me some time to do other things, like watch some fucking movies.

Speaking of movies, Shock Till You Drop has posted the honorees for AFI's "Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres" and yes, I'm dropping from the shock because horror ain't listed amongst the honored genres. Yeah, horror has always been filmdom's bastard child, but come on. Grow some fucking sac, AFI. It would've been nice to see the scary stuff get some props; I mean, some horror movies are actually good, you know?

I'll open up the floor here as they did at Shock...which 10 horror films would YOU honor?

AFI

Psycho
Night of the Living Dead
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
The Exorcist
Halloween
Nosferatu
The Haunting
The Silence of the Lambs
The Shining
Invasion of the Body Snatchers

FGFI

Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Killer Workout
Dangerous Seductress
Creepshow
The Food of the Gods
Friday the 13th Part 2
April Fool's Day
[REC]
The Convent
The Descent

Both lists equally valid!

Jun 17, 2008

uncle

It seems that The Descent 2 is really happening. I mean, we all knew it would, but now that they're actually filming the thing and the first picture has been released, it's kind of a reality. Here's that first picture, by the way:

Not much to say, really, except that it coulda come from the first film- which I suppose is a good thing.

The latest news is that the entire original cast will be returning.

OMG, I totally feel ya, four eyes. The original cast, with the exception of maybe Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) is dead, n'est-ce pas? Oui! Therefore, welcome to Flashback Land. According to MyAnna Buring, who played Sam in the first film, we'll see some of the video footage that Holly (Nora-Jane Noone) was shooting during the first go 'round. Check out the blurb at Empire Online for...not much more info than that.

And with that tidbit and the photo, I'm calling it quits- not because I'm not looking forward to the film, but rather because I find myself getting those first twinklings of anticipation. I acknowledge that said twinklings could very well be indigestion, but I'm going to call them a begrudging excitement about the film. Sure, a sequel is unnecessary. Totes, I loved the first film a whole lot (as you may know) and the odds are against the follow-up being as good, but hey- it's been known to happen.

But why not look forward to it? Why spend the time writing bitch post after bitch post about it? What's the point? Why be an effing internet douchebag? It seems that they've stopped calling it The De2scent or The De2$$ent or The D22222222222222t or whatever the fuck they were calling it, which is clearly a step in the right direction. Life's too short to bitch about a horror movie that hasn't been made yet.*

And by "calling it quits", I mean that I'm done posting tidbits and set photos regarding this movie. I knew zip about The Descent going in beyond the basic premise- I can't recall whether or not I'd even seen the trailer. I only knew it had gotten great word-of-mouth and that I should see it. As far as I'm concerned, the less I know, the better. I've got the gist of the plot for this one, and that's all I need. So there.

So! I am officially declaring myself "greatly looking forward to this film, an attitude which I hope will eventually morph into pure excitement". I am also officially declaring, way far in advance, that The Descent 2 will be a Film Club Field Trip pick, as was the original film. So there again.

So, what'cha think? Looking forward to it? Looking forward to hating it? Don't care? Care too much? What's that smell?


*Tune in next week when I go off on the ridiculous notion that is the Platinum Dunes Rosemary's Baby remake!

Jun 16, 2008

RIP Stan Winston

What a total shock: FX guru Stan Winston died yesterday as a result of multiple myeloma. I had no idea that he was ill, never mind that he'd been battling it for seven years. I had the pleasure of meeting him last August during the Skinwalkers press junket and he was exactly as any fan would hope him to be: jovial and talkative. It was obvious even from spending a short amount of time with him that he was not only a true movie lover, but also someone who clearly loved what he did with his life. He was enthusiastic about continuing to work in practical FX, he was jazzed about his latest work, and if it weren't for the damn publicists hurrying him up he probably would have yakked all night.

His accomplishments in film are incredibly impressive, his contributions to the horror and sci fi genres are nothing short of astonishing, and he's largely responsible for the magic behind some of my favorite films: Terminator 2, Aliens, Wrong Turn, Pumpkinhead...the list goes on and on. The man made everything from dinosaurs to alien queens to superheroes come alive on screen. Watching a film Stan Winston had a hand in creating is almost like becoming a child again- you're transported to another world that looks and feels completely real; it's the very essence of escapist entertainment. To say he will be missed is a gross understatement. Thanks for all the fun, Stan.

Jun 13, 2008

awesome movie poster friday- the MORE JAPANESE edition

from the The Same Tag Line? Really? department:



from the The Poster Is Kinda Lame, But the Movie is Called Ghost Vs Alien So I'm Dying To See It department:



from the This Is Clearly the Greatest Movie of All Time department:


from the I Have No Idea What This Movie Is Called Or What It's About, But I Want To Make Out With the Poster department:


from the Undoubtedly My Favorite De Palma and I'd Say My Favorite Travolta/Allen Movie Also, But Then There's Maude Carrie department:


from the Wow, the Posters Are Way Creepier Than the Movies department:




from the Hmm...Okay, But Where's the Kitty With the Wilford Brimley 'Stache? department:



from the Well, That's An Interesting Choice That Has Little To Do With the Film department: