Category Archives: Horror

Black Christmas (2006)

Black_christmas_ver3

Genre: Horror

Cast: Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert

Synopsis: A bunch of spoilt sorority bitches get axed one by one by a Christmas maniac

Merry Christmas ya filthy animals! I must admit, Christmas is not my favourite holiday to celebrate. I am more of a Halloween kind of guy. However, thanks to the ‘Holiday Horror’ sub-genre, I can indulge my Halloween spirit whenever a holiday rolls around. This year, my brother suggested that I watch the remake of the 1970s festive slasher classic Black Christmas.

Despite taking place over the holiday season, Black Christmas is unlikely to get you in the Christmas spirit. It is not because the film features a lot of death: Die Hard has tons of people dying but that never fails to put me in a Christmassy mood. No, the real reason is because all the Christmas decorations in this movie are tacky as shit. Personally, I prefer Christmas to be a tasteful and subdued affair. Think along the lines of a roaring fire and minimal usage of tinsel on a real tree rather than a house that looks as if a red-neck Santa Clause threw up on it.

Christmas HouseIT BURNS MY EYES!!!

On top of the distasteful use of Christmas bric-a-brac, the film employs a rather disgusting neon colour scheme. After about 30 minutes of watching this movie you will begin to feel a little nauseous. I suppose the sickening use of colour is meant to heighten a viewer’s sense of unease and discomfort with what is happening in the film. I understand the need to make cannibalism and holiday incest as unpleasant as possible, but doing so with the film’s colour scheme was a rather unfortunate choice.

If you manage to stomach the colour scheme and continue watching the movie, the first thing you will notice is that Black Christmas is chock-full of actresses you will sort-of remember from other things. I found myself asking things like: “Isn’t that Buffy’s sister?” and ‘Isn’t that the girl who did the voice of Eliza in The Wild Thornberrys?” It’s kind of fun at first but when they all get killed off in gruesome ways it’s kind of like watching your childhood get murdered. Then again, the amount of character development that goes on in the film is minimal so it’s not going to be too traumatic to see a character get an ice-skating boot upside the head. In fact, the person in this film who gets the most development is the villain but not in the good way: spoiler alert but it turns out the guys is a festive Joseph Fritzl.

In truth, I wish I hadn’t listened to my brother’s suggestion to watch the remake. I understand that the original has a campy appeal and it’s available on Netflix so I feel as though I missed a golden opportunity. Plus, it has Margot Kidder in it before she went manic. If you’re really up for a holiday slasher, then don’t waste your time with the Black Christmas remake. Keep it old school and watch the 1974 original…or watch Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2.

High-lights:

  • The hilarity that ensues when one woman shows up and all you can think about is how much plastic surgery she’s had.
  • All your favourite actresses from childhood.

Downers:

  • Too much neon!
  • Unnecessarily gruesome maiming and murder.
  • No character development.
  • All your favourite actresses from childhood getting killed.

Summary:

Why spoil your Christmas season with this crap? Do yourself a favour and watch Die Hard instead. Hell, even Die Hard 2 is better.

2/10

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Wishmaster (1997)

Wishmaster

Genre: Horror

Cast: Robert Englund and a shitload of actors I have never seen or heard of

Summary: A powerful and evil entity known as a djinn is released from his prison inside a jewel and seeks to claim the soul of the woman who discovered him.

Wes Craven certainly has put his name on a lot of shit. No doubt, he is one of the greatest horror directors and writers still alive today and I’m not saying his reputation as a “master of horror” is undeserved. But for every Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street that he makes you also get things like My Soul to Take and Dracula 2000. By all accounts, his filmography and projects is mixed, which is why I approached Wishmaster with some trepidation…especially when I found out the movie is about an evil genie.

GenieOne not quite as gay as Jafar

I’ll start things off by saying that genies are seriously underrepresented in movies, even in the horror genre. While I appreciate that an effort was made to make a film about an evil genie for diversity purposes, the end product was so campy that Wishmaster stopped functioning as a horror movie a good 15 minutes into the movie. Rather than going for “jump out your seat” moments, Wishmaster largely relies on its story to provide its scares. Unfortunately there’s nothing all that scary about a monster granting people’s wishes in a fucked up way. Similarly, there’s nothing all that terrifying about gore and when the wishes backfire in gruesome ways you just find yourself wishing that the main character would just figure out a way to stop it all so you can watch something else.

One thing I always appreciate in horror movie is the appearance of Robert Englund. That man must have made so much money from cameo appearances in horror movies. Then again, he’s not very good at telling the difference between a good and a bad horror film either. I saw him quite recently in the crappy version of The Phantom of the Opera. God that was terrible. It had an 80s Molly Shannon in it. Still, Englund put in more effort in that film than he did Wishmaster but I worry that he’ll never come upon a role as unique and terrifying as Freddy Krueger. Or one that inspires terrible 80s rap…

I wish I could give you more details about this movie but, to be honest, I was pretty bored with this one. It just didn’t grab me or thrill me in the way I was hoping it too. On top of that, the special effects in this film are terrible. Nothing ruins a horror movie quite like poor special effects because it removes you from the tense atmosphere. It’s a shame that the Baked Movie Review Halloween Roundup has to end in such a disappointing way but there’s always next year to plan ahead for

High-lights:

  • It’s rare to see a movie about a genie. Finger snaps for diversity.
  • Robert Englund.

Downers:

  • Surprisingly boring and virtually no reasons to develop an interest in any of the characters.
  • Poor special effects.

Summary:

I would recommend avoiding this one, largely because it is boring. If you’re desperate to watch a Wes Craven film this Halloween then make it a good one. There are lots of great ones to choose from. There are also a lot of disappointing ones to choose from so make sure you do your research first.

3/10

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Cherry Falls (2000)

Cherry Falls

Genre: Horror

Cast: Brittany Murphy

Synopsis: Someone with a jank-ass weave and wardrobe goes on a killing spree, slicing and dicing the local teenage virgins.

Aaaah, Cherry Falls…the death knell of the 90s teen slasher subgenre and a perfect inclusion into the Baked Movie Review Halloween Rundown. I suppose it was appropriate to kill the subgenre off with such a fucking ridiculous movie. The plot of Cherry Falls is just plain bizarre. If Scream breathed new life into the slasher genre with its gritty realism, self-awareness and wit, and I Know What You Did Last Summer was a logical extension, then Urban Legend was the fatal blow but Cherry Falls did awful things to the body afterwards…weird things. How weird? Like Japanese cartoon weird.

Japan Porn

Part of the weirdness is what makes this movie so fun though. Horror movies should always introduce well-scripted humour to break the tension and to give the audience some variety. Sorority Row is a good example of a film that managed to accomplish this rather well. Cherry Falls does not, however, because the humour is all a bit ham-fisted. I mean, you will be laughing at Brittany Murphy’s inappropriate relationship with her father and her fetish for getting her feet tongue-banged. Similarly, when her boyfriend tells her his dad likes hookers you’ll all be like: “say wut?” It must have taken some balls to pitch this film to a studio.

Then again, I can see what Cherry Falls is trying to do: it’s trying to turn the “only virgins survive horror films” rule on its head. It’s an interesting route to take but one that is not wholly original. Let us not forget, Sydney lost her V-Card in Scream and there’s no way Moesha kept her minky in her pants in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. The point is, in the 90s horror rules were there to be broken and it feels as though Cherry Falls missed the boat simply by being a product of the early noughties…perhaps the worst time period ever. Who could ever forget the horror that struck us all in 2001?

DenimNever forget.

Having said that, the movie does deliver some positives. For starter, the killer’s methods are fucking brutal and creepy and the scene where Brittany Murphy is first chased by the killer is pretty tense. She really gets into the fight scene by turning into some sort of cornered animal which is what I feel I would do if some bitch tried to cut me. Also, the stoner guy is kind of cute and by the way he eats his food you can tell he really knows how to give great oral sex. My point is that there are positive things to find in this movie if you look hard enough and if you’re in the mood for a laugh with some friends then this is a pretty good horror movie to watch.

High-lights:

  • I love Brittany Murphy.
  • “My dad’s into whores”…OK. “I even think my mum may have been a whore”………….OK.
  • “It’s Loralee Sherman….Is your mum home?” Why the fuck would you open the door!? Your classmates have just been brutally murdered and your parents aren’t home and you don’t know who this bitch is!

Downers:

  • A sad reminder that Brittany Murphy is no longer with us.
  • The scene where Brittany Murphy sleepwalks to the window, says “Daddy” and then turns and opens her eyes proving she wasn’t sleepwalking is weird as shit.

Summary:

Funny, stupid, bizarre, and at times scary, Cherry Falls actually makes for a pretty decent film to watch on Halloween because it embodies everything that holiday is. It’s not a genre game-changer in the way that Scream was but it doesn’t have to be. You can take it for what it is and still enjoy it.

7/10

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Orphan (2009)

Orphan

Genre: Horror

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Synopsis: A family with a whole load of problems decides to bring another fucked up person into the family, adopting some crazy and violent Eastern European girl from an orphanage that clearly do not run background checks.

Welcome to my second Halloween-themed post. This time, I decided to watch a psychological horror and I opted for Orphan because I needed something to put me off having children for at least another five years. I think parenthood is something a lot of people are scared about. Lord knows I am. That’s 18 years of tantrums and back-talk, not to mention the first year or so when kids are just poop and vomit machines. I don’t think anyone ever feels ready or prepared for kids, but most people settle into it once it happens. You can never really know when you should have kids…unless you’re a woman in which case you should have a kid sometime roughly between the ages of 18 and 35. Clock’s a ticking ladies.

Final-Countdown…….sorry

You can always tell when you shouldn’t have kids, though; when your marriage is falling apart due to an affair, when someone in the family is an alcoholic, or when both parents already have their hands full raising a disabled child. However, that doesn’t stop the fuck-tards in this movie from adopting another child. Seriously, no wonder the girl went bat-shit insane. OK, that’s unfair: the girl in this movie was already insane when she joined the family but the toxic environment couldn’t have helped any. The mother shouts at her deaf child for making too much noise. That’s fucked in the head. She is almost as bad as the mum in Home Alone.

Child botoxBut still not quite as bad as this mum

I feel that Orphan makes light of quite difficult subject matter, namely troubled families and parent who fail to form an emotional attachment to their children. Also, there is a pretty harrowing miscarriage nightmare scene, which will make audience members very uncomfortable. It feels tasteless to deal with this subject matter and these themes in a horror movie, one that is designed to give audiences a cheap thrill and one that is frankly rather predictable. A hard-hitting drama would have been more appropriate than setting a horror film in a barren landscape to mirror the barrenness of Vera Farmiga’s womb.

Having said that, the tastelessness does not entirely ruin the movie. In fact, there are still many things to enjoy. For instance, the performances from the children were impressive and, collectively, they are probably the best child actors I have seen in a movie in long time. Fuhrman, in particular, stands out. She outperforms every adult and manages to grasp the subtleties of her character’s sinister and scheming nature and executes her shocking actions with a confidence that emphasises the brutality. Also, there are some scenes that are so uncomfortable that they become comedic and it’s always good to cut the tension with a bit of humour….then again, I don’t know if a child putting on a sexy dress and makeup to sleep with her adoptive father is supposed to be all that humorous.

High-lights:

  • Good performances from the child cast.
  • Some gruesome but well-executed violence.
  • In soviet Russia, brick kill pigeon.
  • “I’m not your fucking mommy!!!”

Downers:

  • Seriously, why did no-one do a background check on either the girl or the parents?
  • Inappropriate and tasteless at times.
  • Kind of puts you off adoption.

Summary:

Orphan is a horror film for people who do not like horror films. There are no ghosts, serial killers, or monsters in this movie, just a sociopathic and psychologically disturbed girl from the Soviet bloc. It won’t give you nightmares. Still, prospective parents may want to give this film a miss as it may cause you to regret your decision to spawn…don’t get me wrong, you will regret it at some point but it’ll most likely be after the kid is born and you’ve gone months without a good night’s sleep. Children are such a blessing.

6/10

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Valentine (2001)

Valentine

Genre: Horror

Cast: Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton

Synopsis: In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, a masked man goes around offing the hot chicks that rejected him in junior high

Ooooohh gurl! We are really scraping the bottom of the holiday-slasher barrel with this turd. This film isn’t bad. It’s diabolical. The plot is clichéd, none of the characters are likeable, and the acting is as wooden as Paul McCartney’s ex’s leg. But you know what I’m going to say next, right? It’s this stuff that makes the film enjoyable! Yes, that’s right, we’ve come across another “shit but good” movie for me to take the piss out of.

Can I start by saying that these women are total bitches? Seriously, why are these women friends with each other? One is dating an alcoholic and her friends are doing virtually nothing to help. They’re all so wrapped up in their crappy little dramas like how one of them used to be fat and can’t get any dick and how one of them is dating a famous artist who wants a three-way. Who needs friends like that? One of them does help eventually by taking the miserable cow speed-dating but then cock-blocks her by flirting with the one attractive guy in the room. Who the fuck does that!? I’ll tell you who: Dr Christmas Jones!

Christmas JonesPictured: renowned nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones

The lack of likeable characters does, oddly enough, help the film because you end up rooting for the killer. If you can’t root for the heroes then you might as well root for the villain. This is apparent in the opening scene with Katherine Heigl. As far as celebrities go, she is one of the most shankable. Her character is equally annoying…and kind of dumpy. She is the sort of girl who practices autopsies in a scary looking building by herself with the lights off. In other words, she’s asking to be killed. I almost let out a sigh of relief or a victory cheer when it happened.

Now, some of you may get annoyed by the predictability of this film. Not me. I like it when horror movies follow the traditional formula. It’s fun to shout at the stupid white girl running up the stairs instead of out the door. It’s also fun to scream obscenities at the chick who’s going into the basement to use the hot tub by herself despite knowing that two of her friends have been horribly butchered and that her friends have been receiving death threats. Pointing out the flaws of idiots is one of life’s greatest treasures.

If I wanted a smart and unique horror film, I’d watch something like Rosemary’s Baby. I wouldn’t watch an early noughties slasher with Buffy’s boyfriend in it. Having said that, stupid horror films have their own charm and part of the fun can is figuring out what all the characters are doing wrong. For some horror movies, it’s a laugh to ask yourself: “what would I do differently?” The answer for this movie? Every fucking thing because the characters in Valentine are the worst characters to ever appear in a horror movie.

Gingerbread manOK, maybe not THE worst

High-lights:

  • If you’re a fan of BoJack Horseman you can make a lot of David Boreanaz jokes.
  • The neighbour who breaks into the main character’s apartment to try on her panties. Hysterical.
  • Katherine Heigl popping her clogs early on.
  • “BITCH! DON’T GO IN THERE!”

Downers:

  • Objectively speaking, this is a terrible movie.

Summary:

There are two types of people out there who would like this film. The first is a person who has little or no taste. The second is a person who has taste but enjoys taking the piss out of bad movies or watches them ironically. I am a film snob and a douchebag, so I fall into the latter category. If you’re the sort of person who can only watch good movies then stay away from this holiday-slasher turkey. If, on the other hand, you can laugh at other people’s failings then by all means proceed! A lot of fun can be had by pointing and laughing at stupid characters

Objective score: 3/10

Stoner score: 7/10

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Jaws (1975)

Jaws

Genre: Drama, Horror

Cast: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw

Synopsis: An island community popular with tourists is terrorised by a man-eating shark that refuses to go away.

If I had to name the one film that started my love affair with movies, it would be this one. I first remember watching this when I was five years old. Jaws was my grandmother’s favourite film and she never missed an opportunity to watch it. She was also of the opinion that a little fear never hurt anyone, even children, and she is therefore directly responsible for my crippling fear of the ocean and sharks.

shark-dogEven the cute ones

However, you have to hand it to her: he did have impeccable taste in movies. Jaws is not only one of the best scary movies, but it is also one of the greatest movies ever made. Period. Who can seriously look at this film and deny its excellence? It has everything: killer acting, killer sound, killer cinematography, a killer shark. It is, simply put, a recipe for success.

If there are two thing in this movie that do not get enough credit, it’s the writing and editing. Have any of you read the novel by Peter Benchley? It’s not terrible by any means but it’s trashy as hell. In addition to a subplot involving the mafia, there’s a storyline in which Hooper bangs chief Brody’s wife. The screenwriters (Benchley himself as well as Carl Gottlieb) did a magnificent job at cutting all the unnecessary baggage out of the film and at writing a film that kept the whole thing simple yet sharp.

While the screenwriters laid the foundations, Verna Fields’ masterful editing really gave the film its power. Despite being about a fucking enormous shark, the film does not show much of it…partly because the fake shark looked like a giant turd. Instead, the film toys with the audience’s imagination by revealing very little. We all know what the villain of the movie is so there’s no need to actually show it; our imaginations can fill in the blanks. In fact, it’s scarier if we don’t see the attack coming. It’s as if the shark is a force of nature, killing ruthlessly and then disappearing without trace. It’s no wonder the film won an Oscar for editing.

Credit has to go to the stellar cast but particular kudos should go to the three male leads: Scheider, Dreyfuss, and Shaw. The interesting thing about Jaws is that, while it is a horror film, it’s also a brilliant character study. Here you have these three men, all from different walks of life, facing off against a 25-foot monster and bringing their own flaws to the picture. Chief Brody is the underdog of the picture. He’s uneducated not only about the ways of the island and its inhabitants but also the shark and the ocean. Hooper, on the other hand, is a veritable expert on sharks and the ocean, but he’s naïve and he admires the shark, seeing it as a fascinating specimen. Quint, finally, is the captain Ahab of the picture: obsessed and reckless. The best parts of the film are when these three men interact with one another. It’s when they argue and it’s when they joke.

I could insert my own joke here but I’m not going to. Instead I am going to post this scene from the film. In my opinion, it’s of the greatest scenes in the history of cinema. This, without question, corroborates everything I have said in this post and displays why Jaws is truly one of the greatest films ever made.

High-lights:

  • Scary as hell. I still don’t go into the ocean.
  • Perfect acting, editing, sound, and cinematography.
  • The Indianapolis speech still gives me chills.
  • A film that shows the power of an audience’s imagination.

Downers:

  • The fake shark looks shit. I can’t get around that fact but this film was made in the 1970s. I’ve got to cut it some slack.

Summary:

What else is there to say? This film is about as perfect as a film could possibly be.

10/10

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Komodo (1999)

Komodo_FilmPoster

Genre: Horror

Cast: Kevin Zegers, Billy Burke, Jill Hennessy

Synopsis: After a boy is attacked by some unseen monster and his parents savagely killed in their island holiday home, a psychologist decides to take him back to the scene of the crime which is perhaps the stupidest thing you could ever do. Turns out komodo dragons did it.

I fucking love monster movies and I’m always looking for new, weird, and wonderful films in this genre to watch. Watching Skyfall the other week, I remember being really impressed by the komodo dragon scene and I thought to myself: “Wouldn’t it be good to have a komodo dragon creature feature?” A light bulb turned on in my head and I suddenly remembered that there was a monster movie of this sort: Komodo.

It seems like the 90s was a bumper decade for monster movies. I suspect it was because the special effects team behind Jurassic Park revolutionised the way these movies were made. Suddenly everyone wants to make a film with some sort of monster by using special effects. Unfortunately for some movies, special effects didn’t evolve fast enough and ambitious projects became disasters. I’m looking at you Congo.

congo1No, wait! Look away! It’s too painful.

To be honest, the special effects in Komodo are not actually that bad. There are some scenes in this film where the komodo dragons even look pretty realistic. The trouble with this film, however, is that virtually nothing else is realistic. The acting and the dialogue, in particular, spoil any sense of fantasy. I suppose I should not have expected much from this movie, but it’s pretty jarring when the lead actress asks: “What are these things!?” Bitch! They’re Komodo Dragons! Didn’t you read the script?

Looking back on it, none of the characters are that impressive. The main character is this emotionally fragile kid. Sure, you’d be fucked up if you saw your parents and dog savaged by a giant lizard, but I doubt you would go full-on Lord of the Flies like this kid does. Also, I’m about 99.99% confident that you would not return to the place where your parents were killed. The chances of you forgetting that giant lizards ate your parents are slim to none. Plus, the lead make actor reminds me of a serial killer. There’s something creepy about the way he talks about his wife’s disappearance…like it was actually him who killed her and then the dragons conveniently showed up. That certainly would have made for a more interesting twist.

While the film does suffer from flaws, I still found myself enjoying it. Komodo is the sort of film that becomes tolerable if you can dial down the voice in your head that’s telling you its crap; and it can be quite fun if you can silence that voice altogether. As far as monster movies go, I’ve seen much better. Then again, I’ve seen much worse.

Jaws 4So much worse

High-lights:

  • The komodo dragon is so under-represented in creature features so it’s good to a movie about them.
  • Not bad graphics.
  • Some pretty jumpy moment.

Downers:

  • The acting and dialogue bring the movie down. It’s odd: some of the actors are well-known and have done better things. I mean, the lead actress was in Law and Order for years!
  • Poor dog…now I’m sad.
  • I think the movie is supposed to be a metaphor about how oil companies are evil, but Komodo seems like a weird platform to voice that message. Surely the message should be: komodo dragons are awesome?

Summary:

Komodo is the sort of film you might want to watch on a rainy afternoon, or late at night when no-one else is around to judge you for your silly choices. If you do decide to watch this movie, just make sure that you leave logic and reason at the door. If you don’t, this movie will seem like one giant mess. I mean, this movie IS one giant mess but you tend not to notice as much when in the company of Mary Jane.

6/10

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