Archive for the Category » Irreconcilable Differences «

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

You remember way back when when the First Lady of Fright and myself started a new feature here called ‘Irreconcilable Differences’ where we would give a he said/she said review on various flicks?

Probably not!

But still, the announcements I hinted at last week? Well it’s time.

On December 4th at 9pm, in conjunction with Blog Critics.com and Blog Talk Radio, you will be able to tune in and hear the First Lady and myself in person…and live.

That’s right folks, we’re taking Irreconcilable Differences to live web radio!

If you can’t make it Tuesday nights at 9, no worries, the shows will be available as downloads shortly after!

So…wish us luck, brace yourselves, and prepare to tune in to Irreconcilable Differences live at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cinemafromage !

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

She said:

We have so many urban legends in our culture. Those ghost stories that we scare ourselves with around the campfire or at slumber parties. The tales of boogiemen that makes us keep the light on in our closet. This movie explained it all to us. It was beautiful.

When we look at our favorite serial killer franchises as a form of reality, we want to ask ourselves why do they do what they do? The answer is simple; for us to have the good, one must first have the evil. It took us through, like a 20/20 television special, of how exactly the killer goes through the whole task. The choosing of the group, the location, the traps, the little hooks and lures that bring us to the part that we as the voyeurs of the slaughter, come to love and expect. Not only do we see our masked killer as human, we grow to like him. We enjoy his almost childlike pleasure in preparing. His enjoyment of his craft, and yes the painstaking work he puts into perfecting it. His little jests and jabs and jokes were wonderful.

I must admit, I loved seeing the familiar faces of horror icons and little glimpses of horror movie nods, like the little girls in white jumping rope. And of course, the movie had Robert Englund (squeal).

I have to say, it was very different watching the movie from the opposite side, actually rooting for our masked killer instead of the token heroin, the survivor girl. I wasn’t very shocked by the twist or the ending…. and you must watch the entire credits please…but that isn’t the point. Understanding the metamorphosis, understanding of the why and how and who, that was the point of the film. It was not a gore fest, really. Though there were some creative scenes, our movie wasn’t about the deaths. It was about the change, the rebirth of our own weakness. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…. or more importantly, who doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And who knew the closet represented the womb?

Definitely worth watching, if for the profound intelligence of the piece.

5 carrots chopped extra fine out of 5

He Said:

Most of us of hear the saying before that serial killers look just like you or me. Generally, when the horror genre gives you a ‘behind the scenes’ look at whatever their big baddie of the moment is, he’s usually pretty wigged out, twitchy, sweaty and dirty. (The exception being Hannibal Lector of course.) In Behind the Mask, this is indeed the case as we meet mild mannered Lesley Vernon as he makes his case and prepares for his debut weekend as the new supernatural serial killer on the block.

There’s so much to love in this one, it’s hard for me to narrow it all down into one focused flow. Little bits and pieces sprinkled all over this flick help to make it a highly enjoyable romp of mass murder and homage. The most enjoyable part of Behind the Mask is Leslie Vernon himself (Nathan Baesel). With his child like enthusiasm, his artistic view point, and general normalness in preparation of his big night, Baesel’s performance cements the idea of humanizing the ‘supernatural serial killer’ and really helps to get you rooting for the bad guy. The rest of the cast was good as well with Robert England in spitting image homage to Dr. Loomis of Mike Meyer’s fame (while it is a cool cameo, no girlish squeal from me) as well as the clichéd performances of the kids partying at the Vernon house. (That is, clichéd in a good way; I mean, it’s all part of the master plan of course)

The plot and writing here were outstanding as well. The effort towards humanizing a serial killer is understandably a rather large task to overcome. These folks are monsters after all. But watching the plot unfold with Vernon’s boyish enthusiasm, painstaking detail on setup, training, help from retired members of ‘the biz’ (i.e. former serial killers), you cannot help to fall in line with this guy and stand right along side him throughout his journey. Sure, we’ve all rooted for Jason or Freddy throughout their killing spree’s, but that’s more because that’s what they do; monsters being monsters, and that’s what you paid your hard earned cashed to see. With Leslie Vernon, you’re rooting for the guy because you like him. Out side of his life’s goal to be a homicidal maniac, he’s a pretty stand up guy! Out side of the writing behind the title character, there are some other deep thoughts written in there such as imagery in the horror genre; phallic weaponry, closets and their feeling of womb like security, birth imagery, and the base concept that in order to good, you must have evil to go along with it. They are by products of one another after all.

With all of the above listed, this is an entertaining flick from the get go filled with many a good laugh, and some excellent character building. While it may seem a bit like a Blair Witch knock off at first glance, it’s far from it indeed. And while the writing showcases a man working a craft, not a killer, up through the majority of the film, we reach a point towards the end of the film that we take drastic turn. With an almost physical feeling of change, the film soon hinges drastically into your standard slasher fare. This is some what expected towards the beginning, but the change is handled so well that you can nearly feel the change of pace. From here on out we’re looking at a fairly standard slasher that nothing stands out amongst the others, but we’ve had such a good time watching the preparation for this night it’s a fun watch all the same.

So….

This is a great flick. You don’t always hear that here at Cinema Fromage. It’s a pretty good departure from all of the horror that’s hitting shelves these days, and will give you something new to enjoy. Sure it may have it’s flaws, it may have some plot holes. In the end though, it’s just a plain good time to watch, a factor that many of today’s horror flicks tend to forget about.

And really, Nathan Baesel kicks ass. He’s just that fun to watch.

5 mild mannered professionals out of 5

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Monday, June 18th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Delivery

She said:

Ok, the picture for the DVD was what sold me on this film. Delivery, from what I gathered from the info on the movie, is about a pizza delivery man who loses it. Sounds simple enough, a nice little gore fest with extra cheese, right? Um, not really.

We find ourselves watching the life of a pizza delivery man, Montgomery Goth (Matthew Nelson). Montgomery is an awkward individual. Overweight, lonely, depressed, bad luck with jobs, a short temper and a bad family history. Through out the film both of us said out loud “Poor Monty!” more times than I could count. Monty, however bad his situation, just keeps plugging away. And keeps plugging away. And we rehash the same scenes over and over again, to the point of tedium. Where as this was a low budget film, it did have a lot in it. It seemed to take forever to get to the interesting parts of the film. For me it took a little too long, to the point I was sore. But then the kills went too quickly. No wait, the sorority house killing, that took way too much time as well, but it did have a beautiful outcome.

Where we did have some colorful characters throughout the film, and some interesting combinations of themes and situations, the comedy of errors that was his life just became so much it was overload for me. Now, quite possibly this was the point. By throwing so many characters out there at us, many who had no point, we felt his pain. But did we really have to deal with so much filler? When my husband told me it was only an hour and a half long, I was shocked, because it felt like I had been sitting there for three.

And the beginning of the movie, well… we had a pizza guy, deliver a pizza and kill the guy at the door. This was what we expected from the rest of the film. But it had nothing to do with the movie at all. It was obvious that character was not our Monty. So what was the point of it?

1 transvestite in a pink bikini out of 5

He said:

The crazy pizza delivery guy. Being a delivery guy myself at one point, anybody who has been down this career path before has had these fantasy’s at one point or another. Rude customers, unfounded complaints, they all pile up and sometimes you walk away thinking what it would be like to just take that person out. So, seeing as Delivery had a crazy pizza guy on the cover and promises of dead annoying customers, I having been there myself, was naturally somewhat looking forward to this venture. When we hit what felt like the two hour mark with no corpses to speak of, it was then that I realized that my hopes were indeed in the process of being dashed.

The main drawback to Delivery is the pacing, and so much time spent on building up the character of Monty, with little payoff once he’s finally pushed over the edge. It’s obvious the poor man has some issues through out. Many daydreams of any and all women he encounters in life, constant belittling from those around him, a no where job, a trouble past…it’s all there to give us your typical Grade A Psychopathic Killer. Generally, these facets of a killer’s life are revealed gradually throughout a film giving us brief insights to the person’s psychosis interspersed with killings giving a fluid pace and a watch able flick. This time around, it was decided to dump the entire psychosis on us all at once, only to watch the man do his work in the final twenty minutes of film. This is a plausible theory of course, but for Monty, his problems are so repetitive and…slow that you stop giving a shit early on in the movie. Yah, the guy’s got it bad. But we caught that the first time you showed the problem to us.

Once you finally trudge your way through the chaff and get to the nitty gritty of this sleepy slasher, we’re giving a rather sloppy montage of Monty taking care of business. Sure, it felt good to finally see the asshole boss get his due. With this guy being possibly the biggest monkey on Monty’s back, the luckily spent some time on this first kill to make it fairly gruesome, a to make it look like they spent a little time on it. From there on out, it’s all a wam bam thank you man flurry of murderous intent, and with the pain and torture we sat through to get there, leaves you feeling a bit ripped off. Kind of like when you’re really hungry and your pizza shows up an hour late and cold. On second thought, maybe those surly customers aren’t so bad after all.

With plodding pace, lackluster acting, and no payoff, Delivery is a flick to be skipped. Your life will not be any less complete if you pass this one buy. While there is potential there in the plot, and mostly in Matthew Nelson’s acting career, this movie failed on angles to take advantage of it.

1 oh god is it over yet’s out of 5

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Friday, June 15th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Memorial Day

She said:

Hurray for the holidays! The fact that we actually watched this over Memorial Day weekend made me giggle. Memorial Day is a no budget film, many shots looked like they were taken with a camcorder. It was great. Yay for the cheese factor! Even though it was very obvious from the start who the killer was, this movie was pretty fun to watch, if only for the characters alone. Unfortunately IMDB doesn’t have a complete cast list… but I have to say the guy with the day-glo yellow hair that matched his glasses was my favorite. Maybe because some of his lines reminded me of conversations I have had with my husband. Plus he kinda looked like him a little.

Pretty much the story is based around a group of friends who are going on their yearly romp to Memorial Lake. This is the first time they have gone in 3 years, since a horrible accident happened. One of the young women had a handicapped brother who drowned in a boating accident. She is still having a hard time dealing with it, and they all feel that this is the best way for her to overcome that feeling of guilt. However, one by one they all start getting killed off by a person in a mask.

The characters reminded me of people I have known over the years and that makes it so much more fun to watch when you can relate to them. Gore and kills, some very very creative things going on there. The nails in the ears was awesome! Unfortunately, that is where my praise ends.

The writing was lax, the acting in most parts was just lame, then at the end… well the killer explains the importance of how the kills were done in relation to the revenge…. and it was just a tad boring reliving all that. The big double twist at the end was anti-climatic… though the song during the closing credits was friggin’ hysterical.

2 Letterman jokes out of 5

He said:

With Memorial Day being a relatively untapped holiday for murderous rampages, hopes were naturally high going into this one. Seeing as it was a low budget flick with unknown actors, the hopes were tempered a bit to balance everything out to a level playing ground. Looking at it in this light, Memorial Day managed to be a watch able flick neither horrible nor mind blowing, but just a general slasher with some fun moment spread within.

As mentioned above, the acting throughout was mediocre at the best of times. There were a few actors that stood out above the others, but in the end most were either over the top hammy or a mind numbing drone. But, when the good ones were on, the laughs were plenty and the film was entertaining as far as low budget slashers go.

The biggest problem for Memorial Day lies in the grand finale of the film. With the killer telegraphed through out the film, the writers tried to change things up with a double twist. (While it was obvious who the killer was, it was apparent they were hoping you didn’t find out quite so easily.) Smacking of over achiever and needless confusion this flick transcended from passable general slasher fare to muddled and ‘meh’ in one single scene. Let’s not forget either that our first killer, while of the hammy variety, had personality, excitement and life to his character. Our added twist remained monotone and lifeless throughout the film and when trying to show her bad self managed to raise herself from lifeless to lethargic.

As a whole Memorial Day is an entertaining enough watch to make you not miss the hour and a half you lost sitting through it. There are some good jokes through out, and the kills are generally entertaining and fairly innovative. Just don’t tune in for a deep story and A List acting.

2 I don’t look like that yellow haired tool!’s out of 5

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Tuesday, June 05th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Mustang Sally

She said:

So my husband messages me and tells me he has a new movie for us to watch. Mustang Sally is the name, starring one of my favorite b-movie queens E.G. Daily (yeah Tommy Pickles, also in Valley Girl and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure). He tells me she plays a prostitute who kills her clients. Ok… interesting idea… however there is more to it, or rather they meant to have more to it than that.

One thing I will start off saying is that the movie was not that bad. I enjoyed it. Got a lot of chuckles out of the writing, however the movie is a tad confusing at times and unfortunately, too obvious. Our writer, director, and cameo appearance Iren Koster had some great ideas on this movie. However he let too many things slip which ruined what could have been a great twist. There were no misdirection’s, there were no red herrings, there were no big shocks at all as far as the story line went. When major plot information came out, it just spurted all at once (yes pun intended) and came at you so fast that you almost couldn’t digest it, then once you did it was like…well now what are we going to do with the second half of this move since we already know all the information.

The young men visiting the Bordello are sent in on what is an obvious set-up. Three bikers enter a bar and talk the place up within ear-shot of the boys. The characters were very stereo-typical. We had our jock who carried a football around like a security blanket, we had our goofy little comedy relief (and I am sorry the boy needs some acting classes, his deliveries were way off), we had our rich boy, our sensitive guy… you name it, they were there, but only surface quality. No depth to them, nothing. The prostitutes were the same way. It was all very cut and paste, and not a lot of information on where Sally met these women.

We had characters show up that made neither real sense nor helped to really further along the plot line, such as the sheriff. We got too much information on Sally; we didn’t get enough information on the boy’s fathers who actually committed the crime against Sally. The ending was confusing on how our main boy got into the hospital in the first place. And had we not been given the information on who Sally was, well the ending would have been a great shocker.

Gore and deaths were pretty damn creative for the most part. I got a kick out of that. The acting was below par, mood swings happened that made no sense, deliveries were pretty weak, but the writing was good. Very funny stuff through out. Nudity, for those of you who care… not so much considering the theme.

2 boot lickings out of 5

He said:

So, for starters I must be honest. My original draw here was for E.G. Daily dressing up as a prostitute. Just so you all know what expectations I had going into this.

That said, I was pleased with what I got! Outside of general eye candy, I still remained somewhat pleased with this low budget extravaganza despite the issues contained within.

Plot descriptions on IMDb leads one to believe that Mustang Sally could be the tale of some evil prostitutes doing evil for evil’s sake. Once we dig down to the meat and potatoes, that’s not the case at all. What we have here is a pure and simple revenge fantasy al la I Spit on Your Grave without the gritty realism of said flick. More along the lines of Pumpkinhead 2 sans the big headed revenge demon, the story here is near identical. Where the two flicks differ however is this time around, they give too much story too early, leaving us with little to no fat to chew on in between. Revealing the hooker motive early on, there’s little to no mystery involved. But, when you’re watching scantily clad women murder all of the stereo typed clichés that you loathed in high school…how much mystery do you really need?

Mustang Sally in the end, is just a good time; mindless watching with nothing to figure out, nothing to concentrate on. The acting throughout is mediocre at best and cringe worthy at worst, but it all adds up to b-movie fare that will make you giggle a fair bit throughout. And did I mention the scantily clad women? Those are always nice too. You know what’s going to happen; you know how it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of what order they are going to fall. With the bookend scenes of the main emo boy in the hospital going over his story, in the beginning works as a good setup for the tale; when we go full circle to the point he is in the hospital, we never really find out how. As confusion sets in the twist unfolds and all becomes clear. While this was a nice twist it was handled in the muddiest and most confusing manner possible making this go from a ‘holy shit!’ twist to a ‘eh, figured that’s where they were going’ in about two seconds flat.

So…if you think you’d like to see E.G. Daily in stripper shoes, this is your flick. If you’d like to watch prostitutes dressed in laughable stereotypes laying waste to annoying teenage boys, fire it up. If you’re looking for an engrossing tale filled with twists and turns and edge of your seat tension…better head back to Blockbuster.

2.5 scantily clad stabbers out of 5

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Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Pumpkinhead II: Bloodwings

She said:

It seems that in most horror franchises there is always one film that sticks out like a sore thumb. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Star Wars: Attack of The Clones, Leprechaun 4: In Space… well all the Leprechaun sequels really…. Pumpkinhead 2 is that sore thumb.

The movie takes place in a different town, different characters, similar story line. Now I can look at this and say, just like with many different folklore tales, this version is this town’s very own Pumpkinhead myth, the same yet different. So if I look upon it that way, I can give this movie an alright review. Though I am one to say, if you are adding to a set franchise stick with the main storyline, I can look past that this time.

Our story takes place in a sleepy little town. A new sheriff has arrived, though he has grown up there and knows the legend. His daughter had caused some troubles in the previous town, so they are starting fresh. She of course meets some new friends, the “bad” kids…one of which is your favorite Punky and mine, Soleil Moon Frye, post-boob reduction. The kids, on a night of drinking and pot smoking accidentally hit an old woman and upon checking to see if she is ok, track her down to her little old shack. Finding a spell and some strange things including a vial of blood, they decide to raise the dead, and accidentally burn the old woman’s house down with the old woman in it. Of course the body they resurrect is that of Pumpkinhead (who wasn’t in a pumpkin patch in the swamp this time).

Now in this version, we see a different storyline for Pumpkinhead. Instead of being a demonic form caused by the need for revenge, this version was about a deformed young boy who lived in the woods and was the subject of ridicule. A group of young boys, back in the 1950′s end up beating him and hanging him above an old well. The old woman buried him as he had no family of his own and was apparently waiting for the right moment to resurrect him, but the kids beat her to it. So this time, Pumpkinhead’s revenge is not for the ones who returned him to life, but for the ones who took his own and his surrogate mother’s.

The storyline was very lax. The “dramatic” acting was almost comical at times. And who knew that the pathologist was so good that at the murder site she could match up blood samples without a lab! We did have the luxury of seeing a nice little topless cameo by scream queen Linnea Quigley, to which my husband shouts “I know those boobs!” Not too much on the creativity part as far as deaths go, and trying to match up who was who from the boys who killed the boy to present time was a little annoying because they never really introduced any of the characters. They focused more on the kids who raised him up instead of the people who put him down. That, to me, made the kills very detached and uninteresting. And, with the kills, most of them were very bland for Pumpkinhead standards. Though I must say, the death at the cockfight was my favorite when the guy got his eyes pecked out by the chickens. That was clever and it made me giggle.

I give this one 2 not so dramatic pauses out of 5

He said:

Hehe….she said ‘cock fight’

This one’s a hard one to go over. While the First Lady points out above the many inconsistencies and problems scattered throughout the Pumpkinhead sequel, I still can’t help feeling that I had an overall decent time throughout. Sure, the plot has holes miles wide, the characterizations were laughable at best, the PH Mythos is completely thrown to the wayside, and worst of all…there’s no Lance Henriksen. Regardless, it still boils down to a semi-fun watch for one simple reason: a big ass monster killing the shit out of anything that crosses it’s path!

While the carnage was indeed somewhat low key, the basic tenants of the Pumpkinhead revenge fantasy are indeed intact. Where in the first film you have someone wronged selling their soul to achieve said revenge, this time around you have a bunch of bumbling bad boys kicking off the cycle for no apparent reason. Since there is no soul selling for the beast to focus on, he figures he’s awake and out and about with no specific agenda, so why not enact his own revenge.

The characterizations are a joke. Our gaggle of misfits comes across mostly as band geeks gone bad. Hot rodding, skipping school, smoking, and drinking are about the extent of their bad boy designs. The new sheriff’s daughter who is our main character came from the inner city, chased out of school by her street wise ways. Why she felt drawn to this gang of idiots in their small town version of anarchy, and not doubling over in laughter at their antics I’ll never know! The character building is pretty much non existent through this film aside from the main chickie babe; the rest are just canon fodder and nothing else. (Although gothy Punky Brewster was entertaining to look at none the less) As the First Lady mentioned, even the tacked on back story of the old school bad boys and what they’ve grown into as Punkin stalks about the country side was nothing but confusing. With a brief glimpse in the opening credits and one or two minor flashbacks, we really have no idea who’s who until about half way through the flick. There is still no real story telling us who’s who mind you; at the half way point you’ve just managed to figure out the formula that if it’s an adult in frame who’s not the sheriff or one of his associates, they picked on the little mongoloid boy back in the 60’s. For my final bitch, what the hell is with the Blood Wings in the title? While the baddie drew it on the walls in his victims blood, for a subtitled phrase this bit was tacked on at the very last second tying the former gang of idiots together letting us know that they all used to be buds. Again this is an over looked plot angle that they completely wasted. If you’re going to use it as a subtitle, I’d think that it should hold a little more water to the overall plot. Maybe that’s just me.

So, Masterpiece Theatre this is not. A well told story? Wrong again. Monsters destroying shit and a cameo of Linnea Quigley’s boobs? You betcha. If you can look at it in this light and not as part of an epic trilogy, well then there’s still some fun to be had.

3 murderous monsters out of 5

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Wednesday, May 02nd, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

See No Evil

She Said:

Over the years many wrestlers have stepped out of the ring to take a shot at the big screen. The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg, Triple H, Edge, and my personal favorite Andre the Giant. Now we see Kane. Now let me start off by saying I have been a Kane fan, well sort of, back when he wore a mask and didn’t talk and did the whole boogieman sitting up thing like Mike Meyers or Jason Vorheese in his act. He seemed so intimidating and well I always got a kick out of that. Of course this was back when WWE was WWF and had the whole storyline thing going. I always enjoyed that. It was my soap opera, along with Dark Shadows and Prisoner of Cell Block H.

Anyways I digress. Tonight we watched See No Evil. I had heard tales of how bad this movie was, but I had to see it for myself. In all actuality it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, not saying it was stellar or anything, but it had somewhat of an interesting idea behind it albeit an obvious twist to it.

Our story opens when two cops track down a guy who has been abducting people and removing the eyes. One cop is killed while the other loses a hand. We get a little bit of a story, but not much and the we are immediately teleported to 4 years later where our one handed cop has now started working with troubled teens. They have set up a new community service program for young felons. As they introduce our young mischief-makers-in-training we are treated with little mug-shot-like shots with what they are in for. My thought on it was; hey cool, they will some how use these talents to further the plot! I was sadly mistaken.

The “teens” (and I use that loosely because some of them were really showing their age as late 20-somethings), though incarcerated, brought with them the luxuries of life including I-pods, cell phones, street clothes, and lock picking tools along with them. How nice of the prison authorities to allow them so much! They are taken to an old run down hotel that they are supposed to help fix up to turn into a homeless shelter. The hotel we are told, has secret passages and two-way mirrors and all sorts of fun stuff including a secret safe that no one has been able to find.

Ok, so this movie could have been really cool. It had all the thoughts and ideas that could have made it neat… unfortunately that was where it stopped. The casting was horrible, the thin story lines, the fact that only two of the people actually used their “talents” that we were shown at the beginning of the movie, and the bad camera shots just made the whole thing a bit sad. That and Kane, who as I mentioned before I like, looked a little like Meatloaf. (Who I should also mention I like as well, but it just didn’t work for me). Only a couple of times he came off as menacing, the rest of the time he seemed more like Lennie Small from Of Mice and Men.

As I mentioned the camera shots were not that great. A lot of the time it seemed they were using hand helds instead of steady cams. This only made the move seem low budgeted. Special effects wise, they did alright. Some of the gore make-up though looked like, well, make-up. I will say however there were some creative deaths; the cell phone down the throat was really nicely done. Other than that, most of it seemed a bit quick. A lot of the death scenes came unprovoked and too fast. There was no build up, no shock, no thrill, nothing. Just boom he’s dead, boom she is dead. No real chance to get to the edge of your seat. That, and with most of the characters you didn’t get a chance to really give a shit if they lived or died. You see, that is what makes a movie scary. If you actually get a little bit of an emotional investment in the character, hope that they live, or hate them enough that you just hope they die for principle’s sake. With these characters, it seemed they tried, but didn’t pull it off.

So, Vince McMahon, if you read this, you may want to stick to the wrestling circuit. You failed with football and movies just don’t seem to be your thing either.

2 eyeballs in a jar out of 5

He said:

Ah yes, WWE pictures. When you can’t get Hollywood to pick up any of your top talent, create your own film studio!

As the First Lady mentioned, there’s been a lot of pro wrestlers try to make the jump to Hollywood, most with mixed results. There are a few that stand out from the others of course. Rowdy Roddy Piper graced us with some classics such as They Live and Hell Comes to Frogtown. Jessse “The Body” Ventura even showed us some kick ass action flick chops in classics such as Predator and The Running Man. As of late the WWE to Hollywood turn over has trickled down to a bare minimum. The Rock, my own personal choice for the next Arnie/Action Movie Star, is a rare commodity in that he can actually act, and he’s pretty damn funny as well. (Don’t believe me: See Be Cool) So when they decide to take a stab at a WWE horror flick, it would seem like a natural move to take their storied boogie man Kane and turn him into a monster. He’s always played a monster, should be a natural change over. Unfortunately they fell far short of that.

Keep in mind; I am in no way placing the blame for this stinker on the shoulders of Kane. As far as we know, he may make a fabulous horror movie monster. He’s got the build and the looks for it. Unfortunately for him, he has so little to work with we never get to see his full potential come to light. Stomping about in simple minded obsession we see little more than various looks of constipation upon his face, and many eyeballs plucked out here in there. That’s really all they ever use him for. Sure the low action/zero facial expressions worked well for Mike Meyers stalking Laurie Strode but there was a major difference there; they had John Carpenter writing for them.

Moving on, if you want to blame somewhere you’re best served looking in the writing department first. Filled with holes and little to no tension See No Evil jumps about randomly leaving us wondering just what the hell the connection is between the homeless shelter and the house four years previous shown at the beginning of the film. While we never do receive a direct explanation for this factor, we’re given brief flashes of his past and child hood that resulted in this maniacal mongoloid standing before us. Thankfully they did flesh out this angle a bit keeping us from a total case of blue balls. Where the biggest failure lies however is the lack of tension. Not ten minutes into the film, our baddie starts cutting down victims left in right. No scary music to hint to is coming, no real exposition that this person did something to deserve to die, no hint that he’s going to die. Boom, dead, on to the next one. While I do tend to get frustrated with slasher flicks that drone on endlessly before getting down to the good and gory stuff, I still expect be given a bit of tension. That’s what makes it scary.

If the writing isn’t bad enough, the rest of the cast working around Mr. Kane is down right uninteresting to say the least. With wooden delivery and a general lack of enthusiasm our acting starts to delve to the b-movie sub-cellar surpassing even the most mediocre Sci-Fi channel originals. While the latter tends to ham it up and go over board, at least they have some emotion. In See No Evil it would seem that most of the secondary cast is entirely focused on acting their stereotype forgetting to factor in anything else that might make a character. Generally I would start to root for the killer at this point in hopes of him dispatching the annoying being perched before me but this time around I began rooting for the clock in anticipation of the end credits rolling.

I found little to no redeeming qualities in See No Evil and unfortunately for Mr. Kane, I feel somewhat dumber having watched it. While a couple of the kills were indeed unique and relatively enjoyable, they’re mired so deep into the dung heap it’s the equivalent of finding a turd with corn as opposed to one with no corn. I stopped caring at about the fifteen minute mark. Professional Wrestling has better writing than this.

Mr. Kane, I hope you get a second shot; I really would like to see you take a shot at a real monster.

1 maniacal mongoloid out of 5

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Friday, April 13th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Teenage Exorcist

She Said:

Teenage Exorcist is a 1994 film that was written by and starring Brinke Stevens. This was right on the cusp of her pretty/pretty-scary era. The central character, Diane ( Brinke Stevens) has just bought a house of her own. A house with a dark secret (cue ominous music). The previous owner of the home was a powerful warlock and is determined to return to the living by possessing young Diane. Running to Diane’s aid is a fun group of idiots. Diane’s flighty sister Sally ( Elena Sahagun), Sally’s stuffy yet funny husband Mike (Jay Richardson who, I might add has been in a number of movies that includes Bikini in the title), a young man who is in love with Diana named Jeff ( Tom Shell who looked an awful lot like a guy I knew in high school), a stereotypical Catholic priest named Father McFerrin ( Robert Quarry), and my personal favorite the squirrelly pizza delivery boy ( Eddie Deezen who we all love in every film he has ever been in, including Grease as Eugene as well as the evil Mandark in Dexter’s Laboratory).

The movie was packed full of very funny one liners and crazy little plot twists. The cute play on words and the pratfalls and gags were enough to keep me going in this film. This is one to put on the shelf next to Transylvania 6-5000 and Killer Tomatoes! I will watch it again when I need a good chuckle.

My heart was warmed with the good father singing Tu-ra-loo-ra-loora to the zombies.

4 attacking chiffon gowns out of 5

He Said:

Stupid jokes, stupid site gags, and over the top comedy hijinks from a cast of ham handed b-grade actors. Sounds like a good formula for some good old fashioned cheese to me!

Going into this one, I knew very little about it aside from it starring Brinke Stevens and a guest spot from Michael Berryman. With talks of demonic possession and humor sprinkled about I figured it couldn’t be much worse than anything else I’d settle in for. To my surprise I found myself laughing heartily though out. Sure most of the jokes were all pretty cliché and not wholly original, but they were pulled off well; especially in the context they were given. Starting out slow as we build our initial character backgrounds etc I was a bit concerned. Once everybody arrives at the new home of Ms. Stevens however the chuckles come aplenty and make for an entertaining watch.

There is pretty much zero horror to this flick aside from it’s setting in a demon possessed house. But for a little known flick out of the early 90’s it’s worth it for the laughs and in jokes spread throughout. With Brinke Stevens being a veteran of many low grade horror fests in the 80’s she was quite familiar with the genre. She knew what was laughable and what the formulas were. Using this knowledge she managed to put together a script that exploited and lampoon nearly every convention for a demonic horror flick and we all get to reap the benefits.

Not worth a purchase maybe, but if you stumble across this one on the late night cable channel you owe yourself a good chuckle. You’ll enjoy it more than you think! Plus you get to see Brinke Stevens parading around in dominatrix gear before that was a shuddering thought to think of.

4 clichéd jokes out of 5

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Wednesday, April 11th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’ve promised the last couple times that the First Lady and I would disagree from time to time, yet so far we’ve seen eye to eye on most things. Finally we have a pretty big break in view points as we dig into Stay Alive and modern day slasher on the surface that turns out to be not so modern when you get down to the nitty gritty.

She Said:

Being a gamer chick, I was looking forward to seeing Stay Alive. Now, I have seen a number of video game based movies so I wasn’t holding any high expectations for it. Pretty much this movie is about a video game in which if you die in it you will die the same way in real life. (All I could think was if I get ganked by a gnome rogue or a swarm of murlocks in the near future I am gonna be pissed!)

We start out our story with a scruffy looking gamer guy (Milo Ventimiglia who is Peter in Heroes) who is supposedly beta testing this new game called Stay Alive. Unfortunately he dies in the game and is relatively spooked by it. He checks in on his roommate and his girlfriend who had already died in game as well and are busy “porking”… literally as the guy had some sort of pig mask on…. don’t ask me I didn’t direct or costume this movie. We see Ventimiglia’s character bite it as he did in the game and we can only surmise that the couple met a similar outcome.

Now we meet our main character Hutch ( Jon Foster ) who works in some office and his boss (Adam Goldberg) who is needing help with a game he is playing. Hutch hears about his buddy’s demise and goes off to attend the funeral and runs into his buddy’s roommate’s girlfriend’s friend….. Yeah can we get more complicated? After the funeral the deceased little sister hands some of the friend’s personal belonging over; all the video games he had. So Hutch, the new girl, and Hutch’s friends all decide to play the game together…. long story short they start to die like they did in game, they realize there is more behind it and now let’s find the Mystery Machine and solve this mystery gang!

Now, where I did enjoy the film, some aspects are a bit out there even for me. One of the characters, played by Frankie Muniz, plays the game while a couple of them are searching the house that the game is based on and some how his character would happen to drop a crowbar that was needed or happen to have a key to unlock a door in “real life”.

The story behind the video game is supposed to be a lore based on Elizabeth Bathory. Bathory was known as one of Hungary’s biggest serial killers in the 1600′s. She thought that by bathing in and ingesting virgin blood that she would retain her youth and beauty. Now, to me, as this theme has been played upon in countless movies I was a little dismayed that they decided to completely ruin her story. First and foremost they made it set in New Orleans. Now don’t get me wrong! I love New Orleans’s rich and dark history. But to set Bathory here was an erroneous choice. It is like turning the Titanic into a Carnival Cruise. New Orleans has a ton of bloody and horrific stories the writers could have chosen for this film. They would have done better choosing Madame La Laurie to base the villain off of as it would make more sense and they could have gotten further with the storyline there in New Orleans.

Mainly the characterization was good; however they didn’t follow through on a lot of the story lines. A lot of it left us dangling. Some of the characters just made no sense and didn’t give us enough to actually care about them. Some they gave too much on and got to the point where we became bored with them and sort of wanted them to die…and unfortunately they didn’t.

Also the deaths were not really creative enough. We are talking a video game people, where is your sense of adventure! I mean if we are already tearing apart a historical madwoman, why bother sticking with fact now? The death by drawn carriage and scissors just got way over done.

Some points were creepy in places others were very predictable. One other point that annoyed me was the whole change of attitude. Hutch comes to his friends with his suspicions, no one believes him. All of a sudden, out of no where they believe him. Had there been a turning point or event that caused this dramatic change, I would have been fine but there wasn’t. One second they are shouting “Bull shit” the next they are all gung-ho.

I enjoyed the film though for its faults. Maybe it is because I am a gamer and got a kick out of the references and lingo. Maybe it was because I got to see Muniz in a non whiney role.

I will give it 3 kills to level out of 5

He Said:

I watch a lot of crap. Scroll through the site, you’ll see I can enjoy some pretty bad movies. Every now and then however I stumble across a flick that just straight pisses me off and Stay Alive is the latest to win that dubious honor.

There is a lot to roll your eyes over here. Some are obvious, some are not so obvious. When we meet our gamers we’re presented with the most stereotypical group of teens that I believe has been shown on film in this decade. You’ve got scruffy guy hopped up on Red Bull in the beginning. You have really good gamer dude that works in some big time corporate job. You have the goth chick/gamer who’s edgy and flirty. There’s stoner dude who runs the lan center filled with catch phrases stupid humor. Even more annoying is hippy dippy blonde chick who stalks Hutch out at the first funeral and attaches herself to the group. Rounding them out there’s club kid gamer with his upside down visors and video gamed themed wardrobe who’s all about the gear. Really rather annoying and in your face screaming ‘HAY! THEY’RE GAMERZ!!!” in a way that you really can’t ignore. What’s odd however…this isn’t what pissed me off. It’s a movie based on a killer video game. Sure you’re going to have over stereotyped kids. It’s pretty much expected. Annoying yes, but expected.

What sets me off this time around is the plot, and the plot holes that go along with it. I’ll just go ahead and be up front with it. How the hell can you connect the Bathory legends with a video game? It just doesn’t mesh. As I explained to the First Lady of Fright post viewing, I would have given this flick a lot more leeway had it not been for the inclusion of Elizabeth Bathory. They’re in New Orleans for crying out loud! A city known for its creepy legends, voodoo, and Anne Rice’s effeminate vampires, there is a plethora of untapped monsters that they could have been exploited. Instead, we’re forced to watch the rave version of the Scooby gang chasing Old Lady Bathory on a chase sequence we’ve seen countless times before. I can’t stress this fact enough. It’s an overdone legend and done piss poorly this time around. Hell, we all know how much of an Ingrid Pitt fanboy I can be and I was bored with this tale when I watched her take on it.

Rehasing aside, there are so many other issues here we transcend from bad to infuriating. With watching a horror flick, we fans demand some originality in our kills. Even the mongoloid haunting Camp Crystal Lake managed to change things up a bit from victim to victim. Ms. Bathory however apparently only took care of business with a pair of scissors and a horse drawn carriage. Aside from scruffy guy in the beginning who offed himself with his own clumsiness, everybody more or less goes out in the same way. This woman was EVIL people! She drained virgins for their blood! Give the lady some credit here; I’m sure she could come up with something more sinister than pinking shears and a horsie. Combine this with her digitized minions chasing her victims to her done in such shoddy CGI, Ms. Bathory apparently employs the help of a pack of Digimon to aide in her death and debauchery as well.

Moving along, and what probably sets me off the most, is the use of their band of angsty teenagers and the order they’re killed off. Long time viewers of the slasher genre know, there’s usually an unspoken formula on who’s going to die and who’s going to live. Generally if there is a male ‘star’ in the film, he will make it through to the end. He’s our hero. Normally if hero guy is going to make it, there will be one female companion that survives as well. She will generally be his love interest as well as bringing some element, however small, that will help them escape their torment by the final frame. This time around we’re going to throw those rules to the way side. Hutch is going to make it, he’s our hero guy who’s figuring everything out. That leaves us with Goth Gamer Girl and Hippy Dippy Chick. Two enter, only one survives! As goth chick begins to pour through her handy general goth chick handbooks of witchcraft and dark stuff ™ she begins to put together how to kill off the angry old lady in the tower. Solving the mystery she becomes our Velma putting the clues together. Seems pretty logical that she would make it through the end so when she gets killed off even before Frankie Muniz my ire began to rise. When it became apparent that Hippy Dippy was going to make it through to the end (the Daphne of our group if you’re following along) it became apparent that all logic was lost. What made this illogical for me is that fact that she brought absolutely nothing to the table but stupidity and being caught in compromising situations. When entering the house and told to stay put? She hears a noise and turns and runs up stairs. With her myriad of stupid choices through out the flick and the fact that she wasn’t even a true ‘gamer’ fitting the mold for the rest of the game we are present with a girl who served no purpose in reaching our goal except perhaps a morale saying that video game nerds need to date outside their species. With cute goth chick dead and gone and Daphne calling the shots, there was nothing left to do but swear loudly at the TV screen for the remaining twenty minutes.

With those glaring issues clouding my vision, the rest of Stay Alive was just a blur. It was seeing Adam Goldberg make an appearance as well as Milo Ventimiglia and Frankie Muniz playing closer to his age. The thoughts behind the flick were solid enough however they over shot their target so bad they accidentally hit the neighbor in the ass making this one feel cobbled together and falling short of their grand expectations. Becoming annoying and frustrating as opposed to campy when this normally happens, the interest factor bottomed out early on and flat lined completely when the killed of the cute goth chick completely. If you want to see a movie about a killer video game, this isn’t the movie you want. Watch a good killer video game movie instead and rent Brainscan. That movie was ten times better even if it starred Eddie Furlong.

1 digital douche bag out of 5

And somebody please kill the Hippy Dippy chick. I beg of you.

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Thursday, April 05th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

She Says:

Our date night choice for tonight was The Hamiltons. Going into this movie all I knew was it was a horror film about a strange and dysfunctional family… ok, big whoop… but I figured I would give it a go. Settling into the film I was worried a bit on dozing off. The beginning of the move was a nice little shocker. A woman releasing herself from bonds, finding her dead boyfriend and attempting to help another person who she thinks is also locked up… but whatever it is behind door number one ends up not being the car prize, but an unseen thing that ultimately ends her feeble screen existence.

As we move into learning more about the family the pace slows down quite a bit with little bits of everyday ho-hummery here and there. The tale is told through the eyes of the youngest son in the home. For a school project he is video taping bits and pieces of his family’s life and we hear a lot of the melancholy teen angst in his camera shots. Where I did feel that the characters were a little undeveloped, the whole story had me captivated. Trying to figure out exactly what was going on, why these people were doing what it was they did, it all had me trying to think and figure out the intricate puzzle pieces they were shoving at me left and right. We have the oldest brother who is simply trying to keep his family together with the tools of his father’s trade. We have the twins and their deviant behavior bringing in the sexy element. We have the younger brother simply trying to figure out where he fits in all this, and then we have the elusive Lenny who is kept in the cellar. Add to this an over-enthusiastic social worker, and you could have the stylings of a sitcom! With the beautiful imagery, camera work, and skillful direction, we have such a lovely dark cloud of unease that lurks so benevolently in the corner. The whole theme is “What darkness lurks in the heart of man.” And they hit it, by stating “We live next door to you, our children play with your children. We work at the stores you shop at.”

This movie was so beautifully crafted; I hated to see it end. I wanted to see the next chapter in these people’s lives. What comes out of the box? Where does it all go from here? They left me wanting more, but in a good sense. I wanted to stay a voyeur in these people’s lives just a bit longer.

5 Triple Dares out of 5

He Says:

So… The Hamiltons I could wax ecstatic on this one for many paragraphs, but I have to do so in a fashion as to not blow away the entire plot. Bear with me here as I try and give this to you spoiler free.

As the Mrs. stated above, we were presented this flick with little to no prior information aside from the fact it was part of the After Dark Horrorfest that hit select theatres last year. That said, the basic plot gleaned from the internets was pretty basic and straight forward. A family of siblings with deceased parents struggle to survive under the leadership of oldest brother David. While working on a school video project, youngest brother Francis gives us a bird’s eye view of his somewhat dysfunctional family and slowly reveals the various quirks leading us to believe that deeper waters are indeed choppy in the Hamilton family.

So there you have it; seems fairly straight forward as you head into a film with little to no prior knowledge. When the film kicks off on a disturbing step with a disheveled and bruised Brittany Daniel escaping her bonds only to find her dead friends, it quickly becomes apparent that this family is possibly a bit more dysfunctional than most. As she proceeds to try and free an apparent fellow survivor, we are left in even more confusion and wonderment as we find something far darker than another abused babe behind the door. With a direct opening such as this, the stage is set for an uncomfortable journey of family life and understanding, and that’s where the beauty lies in The Hamiltons. It’ll make you squirm in your seat.

Throughout the film, as bits and pieces of the troubled psyche of this family of five begin to reveal themselves our discomfort begins to grow as well. The individual siblings all combine together to help add the squirminess and mystery of the story as well, and all are delivered quite well to suck us into this morass of ‘WTF?. Family patriarch David (Samuel Child) shows us a nervous man and slightly awkward, fighting hard to keep control of their situation left with nothing but his fathers knowledge to aid them. Older brother Wendell (Joseph McKellheer) is a hot headed trouble maker often forcing the family into early departures and extra hardships. Sister Darlene (Mackenzie Firgens) hides an apparent dark side, rebelling against David as he tries to do what is right for his family while plotting her own mischief and mayhem as well as exploring her budding sexuality. Francis (Cory Knauf) is a confused young boy on the verge of manhood, an outcast from society and his own family fighting to figure out where he belongs. And then there’s Lenny. Lenny is locked in the cellar. That’s all we really know about Lenny. These parts combine together to present a family with a dark and twisted side, and all turn in a terrific performance that will make your hair stand on end. These performances and the leading and vague plot leading though the film are what makes this a great horror flick. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much about the plot, but hopefully with this review and The First Lady’s above, you’ll get the idea that it is indeed something that you need to see.

Much like the hey day of Hammer Studios, The Hamiltons is a cerebral horror flick aimed at making you think and ultimately making those thoughts disturb you for a solid hour and a half. Sure, there’s some gore here but nothing that’s going to make you toss your cookies. Adding to that, the gore is not gratuitous or over the top. It’s quite integral to our tale and serves a distinct purpose. The few glances we’re show of it help add to the mystery of this family furthering your bewilderment along the way and your thoughts of ‘man that family is messed up.’ This one won’t make you jump, but it will make you talk about it for a good hour or two afterwards. And possibly make you throw a wary glance the next time you see that awkward quiet family out mowing their yard on the weekend.

If you only see one of the After Dark flicks, make it this one. From the four or five we’ve seen up until this point, this is by far the most solid as far as horror flicks go. No cheap thrills, no cheap jumps, just gear turning drama that’ll make even this hardened genre junky shiver a bit.

5 family councilors out of 5

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