Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Death Proof (2007)

Ok, so as of right now you are all jerks for not telling me about this movie. I KNOW you all saw it when Grindhouse came out, even if you were more interested in seeing Rose McGowan's gun leg. All I knew about this movie was that it involved Kurt Russell hassling some girls with his car and probably killing people. Little did I know this was a FEMINIST MASTERPIECE. Here's why.

In a lot of horror movies, and in the lives of real serial killers, women are almost always the victims. To make this palatable, the women are objectified and dehumanized so we don't mourn them as real people but just accept them as a sort of cannon fodder. This is typically accomplished via hyper-sexualization, focusing attention on body parts, and limiting female characters to 2-dimensional stereotypes. And then there's Death Proof.

Do you know what the Bechdel Test is? You definitely should. Go ahead and click the link, I'll wait.

OK, so keeping in mind that I'm always looking out for what passes and what doesn't, imagine my absolute DELIGHT when Death Proof opens with a group of ladyfriends talking about where and how and from whom they are going to get pot for the night. It's not just that they were talking about it, it's that this and so many other conversations between ladyfriends in this movie sound VERY much like conversations I have been a part of and/or witness to. It's incredibly striking how REAL these characters feel. Seriously, I can't get over it.

I'm not going to go through the whole movie breaking down the many ways in which it made me happy because that would be very very long, but just know that if I thought you had the patience and didn't care about spoilers I totally COULD do an in-depth critique and it would be AWESOME. In conclusion, Death Proof was shockingly fantastic.

*NOTE: I originally planned to give this movie 4 stars, but upon reflection decided it gets 5, which means exactly half of my 5-star-rated movies feature Kurt Russell.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Over some non-specific near-future period of time, I will be recapping the Friday the 13th series in its entirety. Some of these I've seen many times, some I haven't seen at all. I'm even going to watch Jason X, so consider yourself warned. It's going to be awesome! But first things first:

The original Friday the 13th! I'm actually surprised at how little I have to say about this. It's summer camp horror, solid all the way through. Numerous red herrings, surprise killer at the end. Pretty blonde final girl. You know how it goes. These are the only things that really stand out in my mind about Friday the 13th:
1. Kevin Bacon is so young he's all pink-cheeked.
2. The girl at the beginning is so overwhelmingly cheerful I really wanted her to get hurt.
3. These people would have been completely terrible at running a camp so perhaps it's all for the best.
4. This guy:

cutoffs and hiking boots not pictured

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

When I see a Christmas-themed horror movie, I generally expect it to be ridiculous and gimmicky and sort of bad (though potentially in a really good way). Rare Exports was not what I expected. To take something that could have been really silly and make it come off so well is very impressive. It's suprisingly original and even the cinematography was just beautiful. Child protagonists in horror movies are always great, but this kid is particularly kick-ass. I don't really know what else to say except that you should definitely see this. Just brace yourself for a little full-frontal old man nudity. But only a little.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Heartless (2009)

This movie is British, and I'm starting to wonder if that can get it an automatic stamp of awesomeness, or at least some extra points. I won't go on a rant about how much I've been enjoying British media as of late, but I WILL point out that Mickey from Doctor Who is in this movie and then I think you'll get where I'm going with this. Anyway, I would sum up Heartless as being kind of a British Donnie Darko, in that you don't always know exactly what's going on but it's still good anyway. Though it should probably be noted that I haven't seen Donnie Darko in about 10 years. It's that kind of unreliable-narrator movie where you're not totally sure what happened and what didn't, which totally works for me because I am just a deconstructionist kind of person and I don't care if there are definitive answers or not. But some people hate that, so you know. Be warned.

Also, can someone please find me a transcript of everything the nephew character says in this movie? I think his accent is a bit more street than the others or something because I have NO CLUE what this kid is saying pretty much ever.

From a Whisper to a Scream (1987)

Apparently this movie is also called The Offspring, which I will assume is where the '90s band got their name. I could look it up, but I don't care. This is an anthology movie and I love those, so you know it get points right up front for that. PLUS it has Vincent Price in it so a few more points for that too. I really did not expect much from this; sometimes Vincent Price can actually be a bad sign that they're throwing in a cameo to lure viewers. I don't think he's exactly discriminating with the roles he chooses these days. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that all of the stories here were original, creepy, and even a bit gory. The frame story is pretty flimsy and predictable, but has a really unusual opening. A woman convicted of murder is shown being executed by lethal injection--I don't know if I've ever even seen a lethal injection scene before. The chair is generally considered more dramatic. The fact that it's a woman being executed just makes it all that much more unusual.

*I was looking at IMDB reviews to remind myself about some of the details and it made me start to feel like I was being too callous by not pointing out that there's some stuff like incest and necrophilia in this movie that some people may find a bit too dark. So now you know.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The House of the Devil (2009)

So obviously, this movie is meant to look like it was made in the early '80s, even though it was actually made in 2009. There are a few issues - characters that feel like they are from different parts of the decade and music that, even if it is period, wouldn't have been used in a movie like this. Despite the few out-of-place details, this movie does a really great job of matching the tone and pacing of this type of horror. What could have come off as a parody or just too gimmicky is instead a really effective homage.

That said, this is not my #1 most favorite ever horror genre, but it was still really enjoyable. There are some very classic "wtf why are you going up the stairs?!" moments, and an excellent scene of someone getting shot in the face. If you love late 70's/early 80s horror, you should definitely check it out, but even if you don't it's still worth your time.

Also of note: there is a part where the babysitter holds a pizza box completely vertically and clutches it to her chest, but then opens it later and the pizza is perfectly fine. THIS WILL NEVER STOP BOTHERING ME.