JUNE 19, 2009
When I watched Carrie 2 a few weeks ago (or last week, whenever the hell it was), I was trying to think if there were any male equivalent films. Sure, there’s something like Fade To Black, but that didn’t have any supernatural elements. As far as a guy getting actual powers and striking back against bullies and such, I couldn’t think of any. Not even Evilspeak, which I bought months ago and forgot about.
Unlike Carrie and her ilk, our hero Stanley (Clint Howard!) doesn’t have powers from the start. He’s just an incredibly clumsy and un-liked kid who finds a Satanic computer in the basement of his Catholic military school (sure, why not?). And even once he starts dabbling in its dark magickal powers, he doesn’t really do anything until the film’s final 10 minutes or so. The computer actually has a bunch of pigs do its bidding. And no, this movie doesn’t take place on a farm; so I have no idea why the school has a pigpen in the first place, but I guess it’s worth it for the scene where a hot secretary woman is taking a horror movie shower and is suddenly eaten by a bunch of pigs who have somehow gotten into her apartment building.
So whenever the pigs aren’t around, not much is happening. Stanley falls down, gets picked on, gets yelled at by his teachers, etc. And he gets a puppy, so you know what’s going to happen there. It’s probably the first (and last) time I’ve actually looked forward to the scene where the poor pup is killed, because after a while I figured it would be what finally set Stanley off and the movie could get going. Incidentally, I knew a dog died in the movie and that’s why I put off watching it for so long, as it’s one of the few things in a movie I can’t deal with watching. Ever see Dominick & Eugene? You’d have to be a goddamn robot not to cry when Dominick’s dog gets run over.
The slowness doesn’t really hurt too much though. The ending mostly makes up for it, as Stanley begins flying around with a sword and lopping off the heads of each bully, plus he immolates a whole bunch of folks who never really did him any wrong (a truly original idea for this type of film!). He even throws a guy into the ceiling and somehow impales him on a candelabra! The pigs return too, for good measure. Plus, the slack pace allows for more character development, even the bullies get a few humanizing moments. And come on, how often do you get to see a film that STARS Clint Howard, instead of just having him sort of hanging out in the background of his brother’s films or making brief appearances in lousy horror movies.
One thing that does kinda fall flat is the final minute. Not only does someone besides Stanley kill the head bully (Don Stark!), but then it just sort of fades out while Stanley is still flying around. Then we get some on-screen text saying that he was put into an institute, before the computer turns back on and promises Stanley’s return, which never actually occurred, as far as I know.
The score is straight up ripped off from The Omen (and Omen II, for that matter), but I liked it. It often sounds like they are chanting “Santa lost”, which is a wonderful image to have if you are a big fan of Jack Skellington.
The DVD has about 20 seconds of previously excised footage cut back into the film. The quality isn’t as good (the added shot during the pig/woman kill looks like a bootleg of stock footage from a VHS tape), but it’s a nice touch. There are supposedly another 20 minutes of footage still missing, but it’s mostly character stuff that most modern audiences would probably hate anyway. Still, it would have been nice to have on the disc, especially since it’s available elsewhere. Clint also provides a commentary along with producer/director/co-writer Eric Weston and one of the film’s PAs (whose name escapes me). It’s not a particularly interesting track; Clint has some funny memories about long shooting days (and having to buy his own toupee - was the guy always bald?), but the other two don’t say much except to point out where things were shot. And Weston sounds like Norm McDonald impersonating a Speak n’ Spell. The highlights have been turned into the trivia on the film’s IMDb page, so unless you’re a die hard fan of the film, you can skip it without worry. The trailer’s also on there, which makes the film look a lot more schlocky (read: “awesome”) than it is. So basically, it’s an OK package for an OK movie.
What say you?