Bloodrayne: Deliverance

SEPTEMBER 30, 2007


I’ve said before, I got no problem with Dr. Uwe Boll. In fact I admire the guy. And it all began at the premiere of the first Bloodrayne, which was the first “Hollywood” thing I did after moving to LA. While HotD and AitD were pretty bad (though in an insanely ridiculous way), I found Bloodrayne to be a much more competent film. The acting was all over the place, but the script and production value were certainly a vast improvement over his last two, resulting in one of the better video game movies. And Boll did a Q&A that revealed to me how much the guy simply loved what he was doing, and had an amazing sense of humor about himself. And then Postal was just hilarious (intentionally) and felt nothing like his other films. Essentially, he kept improving as a filmmaker with each film, so I was pretty excited for Bloodrayne: Deliverance, but for the first time, I don't see the continued improvement from Boll.

To be fair, the film only had like 1/3 the budget the original did, not to mention none of the same actors (except for Michael Paré, who plays a different character). And as revealed on the commentary, the film had a miserable shoot in Canada (due to snow and rain). Unfortunately, that joyless experience translated to the screen for the most part. Much of the film is just, well, DAMP. It’s the vampire movie equivalent of those Sunday morning fishing shows.

Plus, it’s not even really a vampire movie. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if the film was written originally as a standard western and then quickly reworked into a Bloodrayne sequel. Evidence of this abounds in the fighting scenes, in which vampire noises are randomly dubbed in over standard fights with anonymous goons in western attire. Rayne only uses her powers once or twice throughout the film, and most of the deaths are caused via shooting.

However, it’s not a total loss. The 2nd half of the film improves over the first, as Rayne puts together a random team of vampire hunters (including a Hart Bochner-y priest, whose insane sermon that provides his introduction is the film’s highlight) to take down Billy the Kid (Postal’s Zack Ward). Also, Ward’s evil vampire bites (and thus kills) a couple kids onscreen, so at least Boll has got balls. There’s even a pretty nifty trap he sets that threatens to hang like 6 of them at once (and one of them DOES die! Yes!). And from a technical standpoint, the film is fine. Not sure if I agree with the directing style Boll adapted here (handheld, sort of like Battlestar Galactica at times), but it’s never incoherent, as some of his earlier video game films were. And the western-y score is pretty rousing. Also, there’s an AMAZING bit of meta humor during the opening credits, as the “An Uwe Boll Film” credit appears over not only a shot of the Statue of Liberty, but a crowd cheering can be heard as well.

Unfortunately, Chris Coppola is in this film. And, like Postal, he’s the worst thing in it. I don’t know what it is about the guy, but he just irks me, and whereas in Postal he was simply annoying, here he seems completely out of place as a nerdy and whiny reporter doing a story on “The Wild West!”. I know Boll likes to reuse the same folks (speaking of, where the hell is Will Sanderson?!?!?) but he needs to ditch this guy from his troupe.

In the end, it won’t exactly win over anyone who dislikes Boll, but the good news is that it won’t add any fuel to their fire. The commentary is more enjoyable than the film, especially once the DP leaves Boll to himself, and the good doctor begins talking about whatever comes to his mind, including cleaning his dogs, the cable ratings for Alone in the Dark, and of course, German finance/distribution information. He also takes a phone call and then informs us that it was his mother telling him about a sale on mountain bikes. Sadly, he checks out with like 10 minutes of the film left, and the audio just goes mute. There’s also a set of interviews that not only uses the Alien music that you hear in like every movie trailer, but also crops the top and bottom of the film out for some goddamn reason.

Say what you want about his other ones, but this is the first time one might actually call a Boll film boring (even Boll himself seems a bit uninterested; in addition to leaving the commentary early, he is heard yawning several times and has quite a few gaps in his discussion, which is unheard of for him). Taking the budgetary and shooting limitations into account, it’s not as bad as it could be, but it just seems like everyone was just going through the motions.

But hey, at least there’s no footage from the game.

What say you?


The Woman In Black (1989)

SEPTEMBER 29, 2007


Never heard of The Woman In Black in my life prior to a few weeks ago. But I was at a birthday party, and no less an authority than Uncle Creepy from DreadCentral told me it scared him to the point of turning his lights back on while he watched it. He himself had heard about the film from someone who told him it was terrifying, so he was like “Fuck that, it won’t scare me!” but apparently it did. And now he passed this “challenge” on to me. Sort of like The Ring of British TV movies.

Well it’s pretty good, but I didn’t turn my lights back on. I DID however almost knock over my ginger ale while trying to find it in the dark, which if it spilled on the carpet, would cost me a lot to have it cleaned. Now, THAT’S scary! *cue drum sting*

Anyway, like I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of haunted house movies. I think I really need to identify with the folks that are being haunted (i.e. Poltergeist) in order to get scared. But nothing in my life thus far has prepared me to identify with a family man who works as a lawyer in 1930’s London. Plus, most of the “scares” just come from his seeing a woman in black in the distance and hearing strange noises at night. That’s not really terrifying; instead I just start wondering if the guy is maybe suffering from a mental disorder.

However, there is a scene that legit freaked me out. The guy is sleeping, he wakes up, and the ghost chick is floating over his bed, screaming in his face. They cut back and forth between her and him screaming 3x each, and it’s damned unnerving. Also, the guy gets a cute little dog at one point, and I was afraid for HIM. Still, my lights were off.

As HH movies go, it’s definitely one of the better ones. Especially when compared to modern examples, which rely on giant swirls of black CG and shit like that to try to scare us. This one is all mood and atmosphere (though strangely lacking in humor, usually a highlight of British horror). And the ending is a real downer, which isn’t a real surprise when you consider it was written by Nigel Kneale, who wrote my beloved, ultimately depressing Halloween III (“Turn it off!”). Sucks that guy died, if there’s one thing that is totally lacking in modern horror movies (besides being good at all for the most part) is mean-spiritedness. I think TCM: The Beginning is the only one that’s even come close to achieving the sort of downbeat, “Fuck you, audience!” levels that a lot of my favorites from the 70s and 80s did.

Anyway, I pass the challenge on to you, Horror Movie A Day denizens! You can find it on ebay (where I did – it’s not on Netflix or Blockbuster). See if you are as scared as the others! And if not, well, I didn’t tell you so.

What say you?


Hallowed Ground (2007)

SEPTEMBER 28, 2007


Last night I got home and found a release copy of Hallowed Ground in the mail. I didn’t request it to review, so I have no idea why they sent it to me, but they are going to wish they hadn’t.

Actually it’s not THAT bad. It’s in fact the 5th best horror movie I’ve watched this week!

Like just about every other killer scarecrow movie, it’s just fucking stupid. The chick from Rest Stop (a movie I hate as much as Dark Ride, yet never remember to bash it as much as I should) finds herself once again stranded, though at least here she is slightly likeable, whereas in Rest Stop I wanted her to be beaten to death with a brick before she even got to the damn rest stop. And as luck would have it, she’s stranded in one of those movie towns where everyone is suspicious of her because she’s not from around there. Before long, she’s being stalked by a scarecrow and then the rest of the town as well, who thinks she is the “Chosen One” who will birth a child that will revive the town’s founder, who was killed by their own ancestors. Makes sense to me.

Call it irony, or call it just stupid, but the fact remains: scarecrows aren’t scary. And the writer of the film gave up any chance of it being suspenseful by not giving it another character to care about (the only other one, a reporter with the biggest teeth I’ve ever seen, is killed like 15 minutes in). It’s not like there’s any chance in hell Liz is gonna die, so the endless scenes of her being chased around cornfields and such are devoid of any of the intended effect.

Nick Chinlund is also in the film. You might remember him from Riddick or Con Air. He’s a great tough guy actor (he’s my only choice to play Fenix in the Gears of War movie), so it’s a damnable shame to see him so totally wasted here, playing the town’s founder. He wisely checks out after two or three scenes, hopefully because he was busy making a film that didn’t waste him. The only other recognizable actor in the cast is Brian McNamara (that fonzanoon!), as the town Sheriff who is from the big city and thus doesn’t share the town’s beliefs (how did he get elected Sheriff then?). But no one else really sticks out. Hilariously, there’s a scene of an out of place extra giving Liz a ridiculously extended dirty look, and I said “Hey there, director’s daughter!” But I was wrong. It was the producer’s daughter.

The movie also betrays its one halfway decent chill – the sight of blood on a minivan that we knew contained a family. But not too surprisingly, only the parents died, the little kid managed to escape. Not enough movies have the balls to kill kids off onscreen, but if you can’t even bring yourself to kill one offscreen, you have no business making horror movies! However, this extends the idiotic plot thread of the kid’s doll. When Liz first sees it, she calls it a “tranny” (?), apparently because the doll’s sex is unclear. Then later she finds it in the cornfield, and puts it in her jacket pocket for no real reason other than to help the girls bond later. Then, the little girl tears its head off and uses the body as a sort of PlaySkool Molotov cocktail. And then 5 minutes later, the doll resurfaces, head intact, and decidedly NOT on fire. Jesus.

Whatever, movie. And thanks for nothing, whoever decided to send it to me. And for good measure, fuck you, Rest Stop.

What say you?


Dr. Giggles (1992)

SEPTEMBER 27, 2007


I know for a goddamn fact that Dr. Giggles was a Universal movie when it was originally released, so why it’s on Warner’s box set is beyond me. But I finally own a copy of this oft-referenced movie (my dream – to write and direct Dr. Giggles vs. Shocker, which would be nothing but a 90 minute punfest between the title characters), and having not seen it for 14 years, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.

Granted, a lot of the puns are just terrible, and you gotta wonder just how much stuff Giggles fit inside his little bag, but whatever. The movie is a shitload of fun (this is possibly the fastest-paced slasher movie ever), and Manny Coto’s direction is quite energetic. Also, it stars Holly Marie Combs, who went on to be the only reason I ever tuned into Charmed. And poor Glenn Quinn, who played Doyle on Angel and then died of an OD (way to go, fucktard) plays her boyfriend. The rest of the cast is as unknown today as they were then, and for good reason for the most part. As a bonus though, Cliff DeYoung (Farley Flavors!) shows up as Comb’s dad for a few scenes.

Larry Drake is amazing as Giggles though. You gotta wonder why this guy gets relatively little work. He plays Giggles with a ridiculously high amount of energy, and even makes a few of the lousier puns work. Come on, if you don’t laugh at the “Time to do what doctors do best!” line, you’re just some sort of asshole.

There is some controversy (for lack of a less ridiculous term to describe the following situation) regarding the film’s aspect ratio. The original laserdisc was 2.20:1. The DVD simply claims to be scope, which means anywhere from 2.20 to 2.40:1, but is in fact 1.85:1. I didn’t notice any obvious visual information missing from the sides, which leads me to believe that the film was shot open matte and thus this release is simply adding to the top and bottom. But I don’t see any of the extra head room/boom mikes that often accompany such cases either. So what’s the deal??? I don’t want to be under the impression that nearly 20% of the film is still unseen by my eyes. Anyone out there have the laser disc? I can’t sleep until I know the truth about Dr. Giggles’ aspect ratio.

(Robert Stack voice) UPDATE! A thread at HorrorDVDs has screenshots and has confirmed that the DVD has actually added information to the top and bottom, not cropping it from the sides. Finally, a week later I can sle-*thud*

During the film’s ridiculously long climax (it definitely coulda used another editing pass), my friend Abbie and I came up with a few puns for a similar film involving a murderous window treatment guy. The Drapeman (a job I once really had, sans the killings) would kill with blinds, curtain rods, etc., and say things like “It’s curtains for you!” and “Someone’s gonna get draped!”.

...It would be the worst film ever made.

What say you?


From Beyond The Grave

SEPTEMBER 27, 2007


Today I bought Warner Bros’ new box set titled The Twisted Terror Collection. I only wanted 3 of the movies (Deadly Friend, Dr. Giggles, and Someone’s Watching Me!) but for an extra 5 bucks I got 3 others. Nothing wrong with that. One of the three was From Beyond The Grave, an Amicus Anthology with folks like Donald Pleasence and Peter Cushing. And since I blew away my entire horror movie watching time before work trying to 5 star "Psychobilly Freakout" on Guitar Hero II (which I eventually did, thank you very much), I had to watch something ‘light’ at work instead. Grave fit the bill, due to its PG rating.

Like all anthology movies, the parts are greater than the sum. The first story, involving David Warner and an evil mirror, is too rushed to be effective. At one point he just walks up to a girl he’s presumably never met and says “Let’s get out of here.” “My place?” she asks. “You have roommates,” he replies. How the fuck does he know that? I mean, yeah, he IS David Warner and thus no woman would turn him down, but still.

The 2nd is my favorite, because a. it takes its time and b. stars not only my beloved Donald Pleasence, but also his daughter, who looks a bit too much like her old man. I also notice that young(er) Donald resembles John Hodgman, one of the funniest men alive. This story has a delightful twist at the end that I also enjoyed.

The 3rd story is also good, but the connection to the wraparound story is rather forced and thin. Still, hiring a Carol Kane-esque medium to rid you of an “elemental” who haunts you by apparently attaching wires to random household objects and flinging them around your parlor makes for a perfectly enjoyable tale.

The 4th is also pretty weak, though mercifully brief. A guy buys a big door (?) and then replaces his standard closet door with it. Now it leads to a room with a pirate who.... I have no idea. It ends with the door being chopped up, which harms the pirate. Or something. It’s stupid.

The funny thing about the movie is how despicable everyone in it is, and not just because they’re British. Every single protagonist scams Peter Cushing’s antique shop owner, and the supporting players in their respective tales are no better. And the film wraps up by having some low rent thief try to rob Cushing, before getting impaled on a rather poorly designed chest. Then Cushing talks directly to us, and the movie ends.

By the way, I am just kidding about the Brits being despicable. In fact, had I not killed my two hour HMAD time at home before work playing Guitar Hero, I would have watched a Hammer film, from a nice little 8 film set I just picked up. Like Italian horror, I haven’t seen too many British horror films, but those I have I mostly enjoy (the amazing Raw Meat being a recent example). There always seems to be a nice amount of dry humor sprinkled in throughout the film(s), which is a nice bonus since I don’t particularly get scared by horror movies very often. I’d like to have SOME emotional outburst during the movie!

Anyway, it doesn’t really fit in with the goofy slasher movies that make up the bulk of the Twisted Terror collection, but it’s still a good effort. The two middle stories and watching poor Cushing get repeatedly duped by his customers more than makes up for its other shortcomings.

What say you?


Cannibal Apocalypse (aka Apocalypse Domani)

SEPTEMBER 26, 2007


One of the great perks of watching a Horror Movie A Day is discovering a movie I knew nothing about (OK, it’s the only perk. This has severely cut into my video game time!). Such is the case with Cannibal Apocalypse. Like many of the movies I watch, it was simply queued on Netflix or Blockbuster because it came up as a recommendation for another movie. So when I began to watch the film, I had no preconceived notions about it. Hell, I didn’t even know what it was about or who was in it. I assumed there would be cannibals, and that there would be some sort of apocalypse.

The film began in the jungle. So I thought “OK, another Ferox/Holocaust ripoff. Fine.” But then they reveal the jungle scene was just a nightmare of John Saxon’s character. A few minutes later, John Morghen (!!!) goes to a movie and bites a female patron, then holes up inside a flea market, killing anyone who tries to capture him. So now I am thinking, “OK, it’s a siege movie with cannibals, sweet!” But no, Saxon comes along and talks Morghen down, and Morghen is taken back to a mental institution. And so on. Usually when I see a movie as old as this, not only do I know the general structure of the plot, but have half the kills spoiled from seeing the trailer, know who survives because they are in the sequel, etc. But here, every time I thought I knew how the rest of the movie would play out, it went off in a new direction (but not in a confusing or crippling way). Needless to say, I had more fun watching this movie than most of the others all month.

The best surprise was how much Morghen was in the film. Usually the poor sod is killed instantly after being introduced, but here he’s got more screentime than anyone save Saxon. A film can never have too much John Morghen, so this was fantastic. His eventual death (I’m not spoiling anything. Come on, the guy NEVER lives) was amazingly well done, considering the time period. I honestly can’t really figure out how it was accomplished, though I have a theory (body suspension - notice you never see the top of his head or an angled view).

Being an Italian film, there is also a hefty dose of ridiculous dialogue. My favorite came early on, as a man says “I always said you should have married me instead. But anyway, speaking professionally...” and then goes on to tell a woman that her husband is nuts. The line is ridiculous enough, but the guy doing the dubbing says it with such lazy nonchalance it becomes a minor treasure in the annals of horrible Italian horror movie lines. Then there’s the usual complete dismissal of any female character (“come here, bitch!” is said more than once, often unprovoked), a hateful old woman, cops who threaten everyone they encounter, etc. All filmed in Georgia for some goddamn reason.

The only downer is the soundtrack. The DVD is in horrendous mono sound, which not only leaves a few lines up to your imagination, but also betrays the great, Goblin-esque soundtrack by Alexander Blonksteiner, who also did House by the Cemetery. Some of his cues are sort of porn-ish (especially the first one, which is totally inappropriate to the scene involving the massacre of a Vietnamese village), but the rest is reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead without being a total ripoff. The lack of remastered sound is all the more baffling when you consider that the film is actually presented anamorphic despite having the rightfully rare ratio of 1.66:1, and there’s also a nice collection of extras, including an hour long recollection from Saxon, Morghen, and director Anthony Dawson (aka Antonio Margheriti). My favorite though, was a text description of all the different cuts made to the film (as well as a few of the dozen or so titles the film has gone by).

I hope the Grindhouse Festival (a monthly double feature in LA that has introduced me to many a Morghen film) shows this one sometime soon; I’d love to watch it again with a crowd. Till then, definitely check this one out, it’s the most accessible of the “Cannibal _____” films of the era.

What say you?


The Dead One

SEPTEMBER 25, 2007


About an hour or so into The Dead One, my cat shit all over the rug. He’s usually good and uses his box, but every now and then he likes to poop in this one spot in the corner of the dining room. Usually this will result in me yelling at him. But this movie was so goddamn boring I actually thanked him, for it was a welcome distraction.

That should be my quote for the DVD box: “I’d rather clean cat shit off the rug than watch this goddamn movie.”

That 70’s Show was a perfectly enjoyable little sitcom, despite the fact that its title was wrong after 3 of its 7 seasons. But the cast hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to feature films, with only Topher Grace showing any promise. And yet, Wilmer Valderrama manages to make his fellow castmates’ films (which include such "gems" as American Psycho 2 and Just Married) look positively Citizen Kaneian in comparison (no surprise, he was the weakest point on the show as well) with this snoozefest. I’m not sure why anyone thought we would need a Crow ripoff (with a lot of Crow 4 as well, for some goddamn reason) starring the mushmouthed guy from a sitcom, but hey, what do I know.

Part of the problem with this astoundingly lackluster film is its stubborn refusal to include anything that would be considered excitement or action (not a real surprise, as it’s rated PG-13 on the DVD case, and simply PG on the disc itself). Granted, there needs to be a lot of exposition and origin stuff, but that only takes up 1/3 of the running time. So with only about 10 minutes’ worth of action (mostly someone seeing Wilmer, who is thought dead, and then he runs away), what else is there? Well, lots and lots of scenes of Wilmer propped up against a tree, sleeping; many reflective surfaces suddenly covered in cracking patterns; and poor Joel David Moore (from Hatchet – way to appear in both one of the best and one of the worst horror movies in a single year dude) explaining how to use Nextel.

The weirdest thing about the movie is that the font would suggest a goofy and fun film:

And yet it is all taken deadly serious. Even Moore, who was able to wring some laughs out of some of the lesser lines in Hatchet, is relegated to spouting out Aztec myths and debating religions. Guys: you’re making a movie about a guy who comes back from the dead, permanently covered in “Day of the Dead” makeup and causing it to rain wherever he goes. Lighten the fuck up!

Those of you who have seen Imprint would probably know that Billy Drago is totally batshit insane, so it might be refreshing to see him relatively subdued here, playing a comatose woman who spends the finale of the film running around in a dress speaking in tongues. And if you think that is subdued, then you clearly haven’t seen Imprint. Also on board is Alfonso Arau (“It’s a sweater!”) given an opening credit for simply doing some of the ghost voices sprinkled throughout the film.

Christ, even the extra feature titled “Fun on the set!” is mind-numbingly boring, as we watch things like Wilmer sing Benny and the Jets for no reason before a take. Wow! At least here Joel Moore tries to provide some energy to the proceedings, but it’s of no use – the fun has been sucked out of the movie long ago, taking its useless extras down with it.

What say you?


Dracula III: Legacy

SEPTEMBER 24, 2007


Back in April, I watched Dracula II and commented that I might watch Dracula III: Legacy “next week”. Well it’s almost 6 months later, and “next week” is finally here! I also commented that Dracula II faltered in the villain department by having Dracula play 2nd fiddle to a human baddie. Well Christ, in III, Dracula doesn’t even fucking APPEAR until the final 20 minutes or so, and is killed with another 10 to go. The real villain this time is the film itself, which is insufferably boring and honestly manages to make II look good (which in turn made the terrible first one, Dracula 2000, look good). Jesus. I am almost curious for part IV; I want to see if THAT one is so bad that it can continue this hilariously sad tradition.

The odd thing is, the movie LOOKS like they had a decent budget, as the production value is fairly high in terms of sets, background extras, etc. So you gotta wonder why they would keep Dracula to the sidelines in favor of random soldiers and newscasters. Dimension does the same thing with the Hellraiser sequels, but those movies aren’t called “Pinhead”. Plus, Pinhead barely appears in the first film, a fact everyone seems to forget. But here, there is no excuse. Hell, even the subtitle barely applies, as his “legacy” is the subject of ONE scene. Which is akin to subtitling the 3rd Indiana Jones film “Indiana Jones And The Guy Without A Train Ticket.”

So while Dracula does whatever he’s doing for most of the running time, our “heroes” from the last film are driving mostly aimlessly around war-torn Budapest, saving rebel peasants and reporters, fucking with soldiers... it’s like Three Kings except awful in every possible way. Every now and then a vampire comes out of nowhere and attacks them, but these scenes are quick, bloodless, and not the least bit exciting.

Speaking of the blood, or lack of it: the least a direct to video movie can do is offer up some ridiculous gore. There’s no need for a rating or anything, go nuts! But instead, they do everything half-assed in this department. If Lee swipes with a sword, we see no blood (we HEAR it sometimes though). If he cuts a head off, we see it in silhouette. If someone is bitten, we see the guy screaming rather than the teeth go in. Christ, even Dracula dies offscreen. What the fuck is that???

It doesn’t help that Jason (or Jeremy, I can’t tell them apart and I don’t care to) London is constantly mugging and making jokes that aren’t funny. And Scott Lee is no help, since he can’t act worth a shit either. In fact, every performance in the film is pretty bad, even Rutger Hauer as Dracula III (that’s his actual name folks) seems equal parts bored and high in his 5 minutes of screentime.

Two lines of the film stick out though. In one, the kidnapped reporter character is said to be one of the “most beloved and respected journalists in the world”, yet when we see her do a report she is as bland and uninteresting as a public access weatherman. And if she’s so world renowned, why does her crew consist entirely of one guy with a regular DV camera any of us can buy at Best Buy? So, that was pretty funny, since the line came out of nowhere, and at a point where the chick was basically dead anyway. And then, early on, in the one scene with Roy Scheider (who is still horrible at pretending to be blind), he offers Lee’s character the opportunity to just be a regular priest instead of the vampire killing variety. Lee replies, in total badass mode: “I don’t bless BABIES!” and walks away. It’s delightfully stupid in every way possible, and therefore I loved it so.

But dismissing newborn children is not enough to save yet another pile of crap from the Soisson/Lussier/Rona factory.

What say you?


Terror Train

SEPTEMBER 23, 2007


How much of an asshole is Terror Train director Roger Spottiswoode? He’s “embarrassed” by this movie, despite a. the fact that it’s one of the classier of the period, and b. he fucking made Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot and Turner & Hooch. “Terror Train? Why would I want to discuss that? Come, let me tell you about the time Stallone and I came up with the scene where Estelle Getty cleaned his gun.” Fuck you, Roger Spottiswoode. If it wasn’t for Michael Caton-Jones you’d be responsible for the worst Brosnan Bond movie too.

Like I said, this one’s pretty stylish for the period. While everyone else was simply trying to top one another in terms of gore and body count, Terror Train has maybe 7 deaths (all but two are entirely off-screen) and the only blood we see is on corpses or Jamie Lee’s wounds. It’s not exactly Halloween, but there is a great deal of emphasis on suspense and yes, character development to make up for the relative lack of carnage. And many points are earned for killing off the annoying jokester character (which just every slasher has) in the first 10 minutes. Thanks movie! Plus, the twist is clever without being completely ludicrous or betraying the rest of the film. It doesn’t say much for David Copperfield’s hiring process, but otherwise it’s pretty solid and reasonable.

The only real lapse in logic (besides giving Jamie Lee that awful haircut, especially when the prologue has her looking far better with different hair) comes near the end. The killer is downed, and Jamie Lee runs into a little cage that’s in the middle of a train car for no reason. After being terrorized for a while, she stabs the killer, who stumbles back a bit. At this point, she breaks open the cage door and runs to the next car. BUT, the door to the car was bolted AND locked by the killer, which is why she ran into the cage in the first place, as she wouldn’t have time to open it even though he was on the other side of the car. Yet now she seemingly gets it open with him right behind her. They avoid explaining this by simply cutting to her entering the next car entirely. Kind of cheap. Maybe that’s why Spottiswoode refuses to talk. I’m onto you, Roger!

The asshole character (there’s one of these in every slasher too) is played by Hart Bochner. Bochner is of course, forever known as Ellis from the first Die Hard, but he also played the film professor in Urban Legend 2. In that film, he turned out to be the killer, who was killing everyone who worked on what he thought was a particularly good student film so he could pass it off as his own. This of course is the most idiotic motive for a killer in horror movie history, but it paid off: it gives me the OK for whatever I come up with for motives for the killers in my cartoon. “That is totally idiotic.” someone might say after reading an episode (which features things like a guy wiping out an entire town in order to prove there’s a plot-hole in the When A Stranger Calls remake). “Well, in Urban Legend 2, the killer just wanted to pretend to be the director of a pretentious student film. And that movie was supposed to be serious. This is a cartoon” will be my response. Thanks, Hart!

Also, what’s with Jamie Lee’s ability to smoke pot and SURVIVE her slasher movies? She’s the poster child for the films that developed the “rules”, and she doesn’t even follow them? What kind of bullshit is that?

This one is being remade of course, but I guess it’s a horror movie on a train and shares no other similarities. Fine by me. Otherwise we run the risk of having Criss Angel pop up in the film.

>I should note that I HAVE seen this one before, when I was like 15 (anyone who grew up in the VHS era and didn't check this one out due to the creepy ORIGINAL cover art is some sort of Roger Spottiswoode level asshole). I had forgotten all but the twist. Since it's been a while, I should remind readers that I do make exceptions for the "one I've never seen" rule if it's been so long that I can't really remember it.

What say you?


The Pumpkin Karver

SEPTEMBER 22, 2007


Someday, maybe by the time I die, or at least, boycott direct to video movies, I will learn to NEVER watch a movie just because it stars someone who I would like to know in the biblical sense. Dark Ride (Jamie Lyn Sigler), Abandon/Disturbing Behavior (pre-Cruise Katie Holmes), Drive Thru (Leighton Meester), Prey (Bridget Moynahan)... the only exception is of course, Sophia Bush, with the one-two punch of Stay Alive and The Hitcher, two films I sort of enjoy even when she isn’t onscreen.

Well now you can add The Pumpkin Karver to the former list, as not even the presence of Friday Night Lights’ (best show on TV that isn’t Lost) Minka Kelly was enough to even come close to saving this wretched piece of crap. I should note that she had an unfortunate dye job that made things worse; with her usual brunette locks I MIGHT have at least kept this out of the crap genre.

To get an idea of what a mess this thing is, it took me 5 minutes to decide what genre it was. Supernatural? Possession? Ghost? Psychological? All of these elements are thrown into the film at some point or other, but ultimately are tossed away and/or never explained. There’s a character who may or may not exist, a few scenes that may or may not have actually occurred, etc. For example, at one point the main kid is “attacked” by the killer, who turns out to be him. So one might assume the entire scene was a delusion, but he has cuts from the attack for the rest of the film.

The film also opens with the most idiotic “prank” of all time. It’s Halloween; the main kid’s sister is in the garage, and then the killer shows up. After thoroughly terrorizing her and throwing her around, she gets far enough away to call for help. The main kid comes to help, via stabbing the killer like 100 times. Then they discover it’s the girl’s boyfriend; the knife he has is fake. It’s one thing to pop up behind your girlfriend with a mask on and make a fake lunge, it’s another to literally throw her into a wall, trip her, etc. Not that it was funny in the first place, but at that point it’s just downright disturbing.

I must have muttered “...what?!?!?” about 40 times during this fucking movie.

The movie just gets more annoying from there. The fodder kids are among the most annoying in slasher movie history, making even Halloween 5’s crowd look good in comparison (“Satin?” “THEY’RE RACHELS!! EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!”), the kid who likes to carve pumpkins moves to a town called... Carver (why the film is spelled with a K is nobody’s business); the killer on the DVD cover does not resemble the killer in the movie; and again, my lady Minka has blonde hair (and an artist’s hat), plus she’s as annoying as everyone else.

Plus, even stupider than the film’s opening is the idea that the kid wouldn’t be confined to a mental home. He’s clearly off his rocker, plus he’s sort of a douche. Is it really a good idea to send him to a Halloween party in the middle of nowhere? Sort of like in Friday the 13th 5, where they assign "chopping wood" to the kid who's obviously the most violent of the bunch. And his sister is pretty much the most understanding person of all time, having zero anger or resentment toward this little bastard who killed her boyfriend right in front of her.

Besides the at times pretty good sound mix (there’s a nice surround effect during the aforementioned scene of the kid being confronted by the killer), the only enjoyment I got out of the entire film was when someone commented “I thought you were going to go as that creepy thing from Jeepers Creepers”, to which I immediately responded “Victor Salva?” and laughed heartily. So, I provided the best line in the movie myself. That’s not me being pompous, that’s the movie being shitty.

What say you?


Resident Evil: Extinction

SEPTEMBER 21, 2007


What the hell is up with the part 3s this year? First the 3rd Pirates movie eschews action in favor of an endless cycle of scenes in which people backstab one another, then Ocean's 13 forgets to be funny, and now Resident Evil: Extinction delivers less action than either of the previous installments, and can barely be bothered to even stay consistent with itself, let alone the other movies.

In one of the laziest rewrites I've seen in a film since Speed 2, the character of Claire Redfield is clearly just Jill Valentine with a different name. Since the actress who played Jill was off making Eragon, they just used a different name from the games and got another hot "tough" chick (in this case, Ali Larter), but didn't bother really MAKING her Claire Redfield (or anything, for that matter - she is entirely wasted in the role, as is pretty much everyone else in the film that isn't Milla). Where she comes from (or why the other surviving cast members from the 2nd film are following her around) is never explained, just like where Jill went is never explained. "We don't care, audience," the screenwriters are saying. Well, fine. But then, why should we?

And hey, you know, fuck the previous films... Extinction doesn't even address itself half the time. Milla Jovovich's Alice now has telekinetic powers, which are so strong she is able to disable a satellite orbiting the earth. Yet, 15 minutes later, she has to struggle to reach a knife. I won't make a "use the force" joke, but for the love of Christ movie, pay attention to yourself! And hell, if her powers are that strong, why fight at all??? Seems like you can just use your mind to make all the zombies go away.

Everything in this movie is pretty half-assed, with two exceptions. The direction is the best in the series (dim praise, but hey), thanks to Russell Mulcahy. Of course, I am a fan of Russell's, for many reasons: he directed the last theatrically released Dolph Lundgren movie (Silent Trigger), he is friends with Jim Steinman, and he directed the Total Eclipse of the Heart video, which is more terrifying than any of the films I have watched for Horror Movie A Day thus far. The other exception is the effects - they have come a long way from the first film, which had some truly awful CG. Here the CG is used more or less sparingly, and the makeup effects, particularly on the "Boss" monster at the end of the film, are quite well done.

Everything else is just totally lazy though. No one seems to be trying at all, Even Milla looks bored half the time. The action scenes are largely inconsequential (the first one could be removed entirely and it would have zero bearing on anything), the editing is way too rushed at times, and the established rules are only used when necessary (for example, a character who is bitten by a zombie takes a full DAY to turn). The characters are so interchangeable, you will think one of them is seemingly resurrected, because another one-dimensional guy who looks just like him was killed earlier, and we never really know either of them.

Now, obviously I didn't go into Resident Evil 3 expecting to be wowed by rich character development. And at least the 2nd film had the good sense to keep the action almost nonstop, knowing that any attempts at characterization and engaging story would just be ludicrous. Here, they eschew action AND characterization for endless scenes of the scientists at work, doing things like trying to domesticate the zombies. These scenes ultimately serve no real purpose at all, since the idea is dropped almost as soon as it's introduced. There's also some nonsense about Alaska that is never satisfyingly wrapped up. The action scenes are fine, but as said, they are inconsequential, and far too infrequent. Even the climax lacks any sort of oomph; the film ended at a point where I was sure there was another 20 minutes to go.

Everyone keeps saying this is the last one, and/or that Claire Redfield would be the new main character in a spinoff. I'm not totally opposed to the idea, but this film is clearly designed to have a sequel, as it ends with two big plotlines just being set up. So they damn well better have another one, because they more or less ruined this one by taking so much time setting it up.

And for the love of Mike, how hard is it to decapitate a goddamn zombie once in a while? Alice kills like 20 of them via a machete to the neck and not a single one loses his head in the process! Come on!!!

What say you?


Panic (aka Bakterion)

SEPTEMBER 20, 2007


There is but one original idea in Panic (aka Bakterion), and it technically comes before the opening credits. For once in the cinematic history of the “Scientist becomes rampaging monster” movie, the accident actually happens BEFORE the movie begins proper. We see a monster attack, and then some science folks are talking about a missing scientist in the next scene.

Well actually there are two original ideas. As far as I know, no other film has had a superimposed alarm clock on the bottom right of the screen for no goddamn reason:


Anyway the rest of the movie is pretty boring. However, there’s a delightfully meta moment when a guy says “Dreadful actors, don’t you agree?”, in regards to some scientists who are pretending that they didn’t possibly unleash a virus that could kill everyone in the world. It’s nice. Also, there’s a scene where some will-be victims are in a movie theater, and the movie they are watching is possibly the only film ever made less interesting than the one they're in.

The main problem with the movie is that the monster only kills folks we don’t know. Therefore the movie only has two types of scenes: Scientists and police worrying about how to stop him or how it happened, or some people we don’t know doing something somewhere and then being killed. No suspense, no tension, just a Moebius strip of monster movie clichés.

There’s also a peculiar fascination with Psycho – the music is very Herrmann-y, and there’s even a shower scene. Why anyone would want to reference Psycho in a movie about a scientist running around the sewers as he turns into a monster is beyond me.

The climax of the film, save for the random clock, is one of the laziest I’ve ever seen. The monster is killed by a tiny fire extinguisher, someone makes a phone call that we can’t hear, and then two guys who are in a fighter jet, about to nuke the city, get ANOTHER phone call that we don’t hear. One guy then says “Hey, we don’t have to fire!” and they fly away. The end. Oh, and then we are given this non-chilling warning:

Again, whatever. One less budget pack movie to go.

What say you?



SEPTEMBER 19, 2007


Last week I had the opportunity to see a new film from Anthony C. Ferrante, a former Fangoria writer who moved on to filmmaking (oddly enough, it was on the same day I watched Halloween Night, also by a Fangoria writer!). As the film wasn’t finished, I didn’t consider it for review, though it was certainly enjoyable enough that it made me want to check out his first film, Boo. Also, it was screened in glorious 48.6 surround sound! “48.6?” You might say? Indeed. 48 discrete channels, 6 discrete subwoofers. It was invented by Alan Howarth, whom some of you may know from his collaborations with John Carpenter. Needless to say, it sounded awesome.

I wish I was there to watch Boo, which had a well done sound mix for a DTV effort. Sure, this means that some nonsensical and badly delivered dialogue would be that much harder to bear, but take the good with the bad. There were a lot of good surround effects and ambient sounds that would have been well suited for this king of surround systems.

As said, some of the dialogue was ridiculous. One line, which only makes sense in half-assed theory, was a particular howler: “You know how some hotels don’t have a 13th floor? This hospital shouldn’t have a third.” What? The lack of a 13th floor is based on superstition. If there was no 3rd, the bad shit would have just happened elsewhere! Like I said, in theory it’s a cool line, but when you think about it, it doesn’t make any goddamn sense. There’s also a line that makes fun of the film’s own abundance of exposition, which to me is sort of like the filmmakers saying “Touché” for themselves, but oh well.

The film is actually pretty fun though. The pacing is quite good, as the ghostly happenings begin about 20 minutes in, which is fine by me. Again, it’s a direct to video movie. I don’t expect anything out of such a film other than mild entertainment and not wanting to punch my TV in the face. On that level, Boo delivers. Plus, unlike the last, what, 20 DTV movies I’ve watched, it was anamorphic. In fact, for whatever problems the film has, there is ample evidence that Ferrante and his crew actually give a shit; using practical effects as often as possible, throwing in some subtle references to other movies (Santa Mira!!!), and thankfully not having the characters do too many stupid things once they realize their lives are in danger. Like I’ve said before, so long as the film is made with genuine enthusiasm and shows basic respect for the audience, I can easily forgive its other faults. I probably won’t ever watch the movie again, but I certainly wouldn’t try to dissuade someone from checking it out on their own.

There’s also a decent amount of extras, including a look at the makeup effects that’s pretty well done. There’s a bunch of deleteds, though they don’t add up to much, plus 2 other featurettes and a commentary. Though I must point out – the video menus are annoyingly long. When I click “Special Features” I want to see the damn menu, not 15 seconds of video in between.

Plus the main girl is incredibly cute AND her boyfriend cheats on her with a girl who isn’t as hot as she is, which is always a hilarious subplot in movies. Dammit, movie characters; if you’re gonna cheat, cheat UP!

What say you?


The Witches' Mountain

SEPTEMBER 18, 2007


What is it about the movies that involve cults on the Chilling Classics set that make me like them even though they are technically awful? The Witches’ Mountain is no exception: it’s poorly photographed, seemingly on pause most of the time, and doesn’t make a lick of sense, yet I remain compelled by its non-narrative and heartily recommend it, same as I did for Crypt Of The Living Dead and Devil’s Hand.

A big part of the attraction here is the soundtrack. It’s.... wow. Let’s see, there’s one composition that sounds better suited for the music that would play over an opening credits sequence of someone driving along the California coast, yet it plays over a scene of a woman finding a cat stabbed to death in her bed. Then there’s a lot of chanting stuff, apropos of what is going on in the scene. And then near the end there’s something that could only be described as the Mexican Choir version of ELO’s "Eldorado".

What any of that has to do with horror, well your guess is as good as mine. It’s not so much a horror movie as it is a “Guy takes pictures on a mountain while his girlfriend drinks tea with an old woman” movie. But she’s a damn fine looking woman, as is ex-wife, who appears in one scene in the beginning that is so far removed from the rest of the film, one has no other option than to believe that she will be part of a “twist” at the end.

The end of the film is just as laid back as everything else. After developing his photos and seeing people in them that weren’t there when he took the shot (there’s even one picture he took in which he himself appears – yet this doesn’t really seem to startle him), he tells his girlfriend they have to leave, at which point some poorly photographed scenes of people carrying green flames begin, resulting in a bunch of woman literally throwing themselves on him and his girlfriend takes a cliff dive. The final shot of the film involves what looks like a colander attached to a medieval speak n spell, and damned if I have any idea what the fuck it’s supposed to mean.

But I liked it. Hell I almost wanted to watch it again. How can you not like a movie that includes a casting credit that reads “With the special collaboration of John Smith” (not the actual name – I didn’t write it down in my notes). That’s WAY better than “Special Appearance by” or “Guest starring”. Plus it has a chick who looks like Eva Longoria blowing up a snake or something.

I really don’t have a goddamn clue what is going on here. But maybe that’s how it ended up on the same disc as Bad Taste (!!!) and Deep Red (!!!!!!), two actual, legitimate, GOOD movies that the Creek somehow got their hands on. It deserves to be among giants.

What say you?


Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter

SEPTEMBER 17, 2007


Until a few days ago, I never would have had any interest in watching Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, but I happened to see the new film about James, with an equally ridiculous title: The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, a film that was quite excellent, although missing the key chapter in James’ life where his partner got turned into a monster.

See, whenever I see a historical film I really like, I tend to believe I am truly interested in the real story, and usually go buy a book or a documentary about it (which I did for James, as it was based on a book to begin with). And then the book/doc goes unread/watched as I eventually re-lose interest. It’s an expensive habit, as it leaves me with lots more books I’ll probably never read. Which is why I’ll never watch Mel Brooks’ History of the World.

Anyway, while The Assassination... was a great film, this one is just a boring waste of time. With a title like that, you’d think you were in for some fun, but the film is played totally straight. Worse, the film is far more about Jesse James, i.e. a western, than about Frankenstein’s daughter, i.e. a horror movie. And worse still, the title isn’t even accurate, since the girl is the GRANDdaughter of the good doctor. What, were they worried that Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Granddaughter would sound silly?

Like all Frankenstein films, there’s a birth scene, and that one’s fine for the day (especially when the ‘daughter’ keeps yelling “You are now Igor!” with a ridiculous accent, one that makes “Igor!” sound more like “evil!”), but it’s pretty much the only horror scene in the damn thing. Everything else is a standard western, complete with a backstabbing partner, a saloon brawl (this scene includes Nestor Paiva - still a total load), a holdup, a Mexican woman, etc. Even when the monster is alive, he’s not very threatening. He’s just a shirtless dumb guy in a western.

Well, whatever. I am one film closer to completing the entire budget pack, at which time I believe Mill Creek will name me their executive vice president of acquisitions and accounting. Or at least send me the Decrepit Crypt of Nightmares (the likely heir to the Chilling Classics throne) set.

What say you?


Alice, Sweet Alice (aka Communion)

SEPTEMBER 16, 2007


The worst thing a filmmaker can do is be Paul Haggis. But the SECOND worst thing a filmmaker can do is setup a killer kid movie and turn it into a killer old Italian woman movie, which is exactly what Alfred Sole did in Alice, Sweet Alice.

I don't think it's spoiling much, since it's revealed halfway through, but it was still disappointing. Killer kids are always welcome in my DVD player. Luckily, the film’s other merits more or less make up for it. There’s a delightful cast full of despicable characters, such as an aunt that seemingly hates everyone in her family, and a fat landlord who may be a pedophile. Also, there are a few hints that the little girl we thought was a killer IS at least going to be one someday (and she does kill a cat by flinging it hard onto the floor - poor kitty!). And the music rips off Psycho’s to a certain, but not excessive, degree. Hurrah!

The only thing that really bummed me out was that nothing in the film was as creepy as the film’s poster (see below), which used to scare me at the video store as a kid. I also remember for some reason that there was a badly shrink wrapped copy of the film at the Sam Goody that I worked at during high school, and that the damn thing STILL freaked me out. Yet I waited like 15 years after being aware of its existence to watch it. What the hell is my problem?

Also, the religious stuff may turn some off. Of course, when the film was made (and also when it was set, which is 15 years before the film was made, for reasons that are never explained), the Catholic Church was more or less in good public standing. But nowadays, a woman so devout to its teachings that she would kill “sinners” is sort of nothing compared to the real world, where the priests molest little boys while the higher ups spend their time focusing on the “real” problem of, well, movies like this.

But hey, if you ever wanted to stab your priest in the neck while he fed you communion, let yourself live through this otherwise sort of pointless movie!

What say you?


The Brink

SEPTEMBER 15, 2007



That The Brink is so bad, it actually makes the execrable White Noise (which has a similar plot) look good in comparison?

I bet you didn't! Let's see what else we can learn from this otherwise worthless movie!

Did you know that Thomas Edison died from an axe wound he received when attempting to defend himself against a ghost that he had brought into our world via his newest invention - a radio that could talk to the dead?

Or that the best place to open a suitcase containing important documents is the side of the highway, with trucks and cars whizzing by inches away?

Or that the only engineers that have the ability to revive Edison's invention are not older dudes in their 40s, but incredibly cute girls in their 20s?

Or that someone could remember a doll that she had as a newborn infant?

Or that 71 minutes (with a listed running time of 74 minutes) could still feel endless, and include lots of padding?

Or that most episodes of Goosebumps are not only scarier, but less idiotic to an intelligent viewer?

Or that IMDb lists this film as being Action, Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, AND Thriller, and yet fails to achieve even the most basic principles of any of those type of films?

If you did not know any of those things, then I recommend The Brink to you! Otherwise, it's 74-but-really-71 minutes of your life you will never get back, unless Thomas Edison had also invented a machine that allowed you to do so.

What say you?


The Poughkeepsie Tapes

SEPTEMBER 14, 2007


Well folks, I do believe I may be murdered soon. If so, I assume Horror Movie A Day will come to an end.

Let me explain.

On Tuesday, which you probably know was the 6th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, I came home to find a DVD-R on my door. It was not labeled, but it did have a crude drawing of what looked like a Michael Myers type on it. I put it in my player and saw that it was a horror movie called The Poughkeepsie Tapes. Having already watched a movie that day, and with Wednesday and Thursday's movies already 'scheduled' (One I had to review legit for B-D, the other I had to return to the store before I got charged), I slotted it for today, Friday.

Then it gets creepy.

See, while the film is in fact quite good and unnerving on it’s own right, what really freaks me out is that in the film, the actual 9-11 (as in, 2001) figures prominently and quite chillingly at the end of the 2nd act. Now, this could be just a coincidence, but since I have yet to figure out who left the DVD on my door (the most obvious suspect I know for a fact wasn’t even in the country, as he was in Toronto for the Fearfest), it gives me the goddamn willies.

Plus, like I said, the film itself is unnerving. Sort of a cross between Blair Witch Project and a typical serial killer movie, I will honestly say that it’s one of the most genuinely upsetting horror movies I have seen in ages. The film is presented half through video footage, and half through documentary style interviews and police/news footage. There are no jump scares, instead just a general, almost nonstop feeling of disturbing creepiness, like later in the film when we see the killer (whose costume looks like the monster on the cover of Stephen King’s "The Stand") slowly crawl toward his intended victim, or when a couple of girl scouts enter his home during a cookie selling routine. The most disturbing scene, however, is when the killer walks up to the home of one of his victims, where the girl’s mother is outside smoking. He approaches her and says “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” She says thanks, but then looks at him, and it slowly dawns on her who he is. She begins to cry, as he giggles and runs away. Gah!!! You won’t scream while watching the film, but it will stick with you later, and that’s more impressive anyway.

It’s not a perfect film however. There is never any explanation for the horrendous video quality of the killer’s footage. By now, you expect the fuzzy lines and things like that when a film presents video footage, but it’s really bad even by those standards. I mean, if this guy is documenting seemingly everything he does, you’d think he’d opt for a better camera. I understand the point, but it seems they went a bit overboard with the effect. Also a few of the actors are entirely unconvincing, something I normally don’t care about, but it IS a problem when it’s a ‘documentary’. One in particular, a Sarah Silverman-ish FBI agent, is atrocious, though luckily she’s only in a few scenes (and delivers a laugh out loud line concerning bureaucracy). For the most part though, you totally buy into the idea that this is real.

As far as I know, it’s not really based on any true events (though a scene with Ted Bundy suggests that The Green River Killer was at least a partial inspiration), but hopefully some folks will think it’s real, Blair Witch style, when the film is released in theaters next year. I know I plan to lie to those who are easily duped.

What say you?


Final Draft (2007)

SEPTEMBER 13, 2007


Let’s talk about some key ingredients for a great horror story. Clowns? For sure. A writer? Hell yes, works for Stephen King in every other book. Isolation? Most definitely. A cast member from Dawson’s Creek (in this case, Dawson himself, James Van Der Beek)? Ye- oh wait. Abandon... The Skulls... Disturbing Behavior... Forsaken.... that one’s iffy.

So where does Final Draft fall on the spectrum? I’ll give you a hint: I’d rather watch Abandon.

Sweet asschristing fuck, I don’t know how a movie can squander so many opportunities to at least be interesting, let alone good, but this one managed. It’s almost more impressive that they failed so miserably than it would be had they just made a good movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film that continuously set up so many promising ideas only to never follow through on them.

For example: the backstory involves Dawson’s character laughing at a clown who accidentally burnt himself to death during a circus. He dreams about this clown one night, and decides to write a movie about the clown coming back to seek revenge on all the kids who laughed at him. Now, the movie can do three things: One, actually have the clown come back and get revenge on Dawson; two, have the script somehow come to life as his friends begin mysteriously dying; or three, have Dawson kill his friends himself in order to ‘research’ the story. Hell, they even sort of set one of these up, as one of his actor friends loses a movie role and then he’s “late” for a coffee date with Dawson. Did he die? Did Dawson kill him in a fit of unconscious rage? No, he just didn’t show up on time for some reason. Whatever.

No, instead, the movie is simply an endless montage of Dawson hanging around his apartment, trying to write. He distracts himself with old videos, basketball, coffee, mousetraps, calendars... doesn’t this sound exciting? Then at one point, he begins to imagine his ex-friends and ex-wife are in the apartment with him, taunting him and distracting him further. At this point, he begins writing scenes in which the clown kills them. There’s no gore or anything interesting about these killings, but at least something is SORT OF happening. One gets the idea that the film is fairly autobiographical, that perhaps writer Darryn Lucio really was trying to write a movie about a murderous hobo clown, came down with a severe case of writer’s block, and wrote this instead; sort of like Adaptation crossed with The Shining, but that doesn’t excuse the film from being a colossal bore.

And a couple times during the film we see the final page of Dawson’s script, which says FADE TO BLACK, THE END. Does this film fade to black? Nope. It cuts to it. It’s a meta-movie that can’t even stay meta.

I almost considered writing a meta-review, where I just wrote about how I was having trouble writing my Final Draft review, but I decided to be like the movie in a different way: by being lazy and not putting any goddamn effort into it at all.

What say you?


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