Posts Tagged ‘death



24
Jan
09

REPO! The Genetic Opera Review (Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman of SAW fame)

Badass.  Digging the Communist theme.

Badass. Digging the Communist theme.

Repo! The Genetic Opera is the brainchild of Darren Lynn Bousman, who most of you know as one half of the team that made SAW such an immensely popular and lucrative franchise, and buddy Terrance Zdunich, who is mainly a storyboard artist working on movies and TV shows.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the plot.

In the year 2056 – the not so distant future – an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants, for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family’s mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event: The Genetic Opera. Written by Lionsgate

If there’s one thing that is grossly apparent right off the bat, it’s that Bousman and Zdunich have a lot of respect and love for cult classics such as Rocky Horror Picture Show and also seem influenced by more elegant and classic opera works such as Phantom of the Opera.  There’s even a bit of The Who’s rock opera Tommy in there.  It’s no shock that the mind that helped push the SAW franchise forward would be able to create a Gothic, dystopian future, but credit must be given for slick, yet earthly atmosphere embedded in the sometimes hallucinogenic visuals of the film.  It looks great, period.

Bousman manages to keep the narrative moving along swiftly with great focus, even while dealing with the difficult medium of opera.  That’s right kids, an opera where no word of dialogue is ever simply “said.”  Unlike musicals, where there can be breaks in between musical passages to drive the story home with normal movie dialogue, Bousman ensures that every word is “sung”, which can be very awkward at first when your not expecting it.  It’s difficult to accurately describe, but once you see and hear it you will clearly understand what obstacles must have popped up from this bold and daring choice.  Other than that, Bousman also unleashes some incredibly awesome graphic novel panels to fill us in VERY quickly of a particular characters background.

Paul Sorvino and his shotgun-wielding ninja chick bodyguards.

Paul Sorvino and his shotgun-wielding ninja chick bodyguards.

It may be a tricky type of film to make, but Bousman is a razor-sharp horror producer and director, and knew that if he brought in the right talent, he would have a chance to lure in a slew of fans regardless of the experimental nature of the film.  Paris Hilton (Super Global Slut) , Anthony Head (Giles from the Buffy TV Series), Sarah Brightman (acclaimed opera/classical singer and once married to Lloyd Weber who wrote Phantom of the Opera), Bill Moseley (Of House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects fame) and Paul Sorvino round out the eclectic nucleus of the cast.  Terrance Zdunich also has a fairly large role as the Graverobber, and steals the show with his “Zydrate Anatomy” song.  The cast is, like so many aspects of this brave venture into total cult cinema, uneven throughout, with those who can sing clearly being more enjoyable and tolerable than those who can’t, with Alexa Vega and Bill Moseley probably being the two biggest culprits.  Hopefully the star power and notoriety brought by those actors outweighs the damage they have done by simply being the weak links vocally.

Sarah Brightman definitely has some bitchin' pipes.  And she's kinda sexy, in that scary way.  She probably a goddamn witch in real life.

Sarah Brightman definitely has some bitchin' pipes. And she's kinda sexy, in that scary way. She's probably a goddamn witch in real life.

Which leads me to my assessment of the acting itself, which again can be easily defined as uneven.  While some amount of over and under acting is perfectly acceptable in horror, especially in something this theatrical and over the top, but sometimes the cartoon like personalities crossed the line between tasteful and embarrassingly out of place.  At times the actors would play very serious, as if this carried the same weight as The Phantom of the Opera, and at other times it was clear everyone was having fun and things were much more airy and carefree.  I waited for the flick to settle down, and choose a definite mood and direction, but it never did, as it gleefully jumped back and forth between trying to be emotionally heavy and serious, and being grin-worthy, funny and lightweight.  Maybe I am reading to much into something that can’t truly be defined, but I would have loved to see some lines drawn pertaining to acceptable behavior from all characters, as you would with any other film.

She got the creepy, goggley eyes.  Burn at the stake, you kinda-sexy witch.

She's got the creepy, googly eyes. Burn at the stake, you kinda-sexy witch.

The final piece of the Repo puzzle is one that isn’t a very common problem in movies, the soundtrack.  That’s not to say all movies has great soundtracks, but they also don’t rely as heavily as Repo does on its’ music.  So how does the song selection hold up?  Take a guess.

UNEVEN.

Some of the songs, like Zydrate Anatomy and Legal Assassin knock it completely out of the park, while others are either too short or too gimmicky to be considered truly great. While taste is bound to vary from viewer to viewer, I felt the music was acceptable, but could’ve benefitted from maybe one or two ballads complete with verses, chorus, and a bridge and a few more rock and roll anthems.

There's also some gore, which is very well done, but used very rarely.

There's also some gore, which is very well done, but used very rarely.

I, like so many of you, have waited for years, eagerly anticipating this movie to be released in any format, anywhere.  And while it may look and sound like I have nothing but negative things to say about Repo!, I feel it’s a case of me being exceptionally critical of a piece of work I felt had all ingredients to really show the world how versatile the “horror” genre can truly be.  Repo is by no means a failure, but instead comes off as a combination of over-indulgence and lofty ambitions.  It succeeds at what it aimed to do, but the cost for achieving that goal may be a dent in Bousman’s reputation, depending on how this is received in the community.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this vehicle can be used to create an amazing, genre-bending film, but Repo! isn’t that flick.

There’s a lot of psychotropic, semi-gory fun to be had with Repo!, but it’s kinda like looking for a 20 dollar bill in your friends extremely messy room, you know it’s worth it to look, but your gonna have to sift through some shit to get what you want.

21
Dec
08

My Favorite Christmas Flicks

Christmas is a time of giving.  Unfortunately,  fans of darker, more alternative cinema usually get nothing in the way of movies geared towards there interests. So for all of you out there who think Santa should be more like this:

gothsantaOR THIS:

hailsanta

Here are my suggestions for a few holiday films that should satisfy both your desire to get into the “spirit” of the season, and your unquenchable lust to see blood split.

santasslaySanta’s Slay is every bit as silly and wild as it’s title and casting (Ex-Wrestler Bill Goldberg stars as Santa) suggests, but despite being a movie i laughed at when I first heard about it, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it was.  Plus, it starts off with one of the best scenes in cinematic history.

And if that’s not enough reason to watch this movie, I just don’t know what is.

batman_returns_ver41

Batman Returns, the last Batman movie to be directed by Tim Burton, is kind of like a superhero, Christmas themed acid trip.  Along with a lot of maiming, killing, and a terrific role by Christopher Walken, people often forget that Gotham city is heavily entrenched in the Winter season during the film, making it the perfect movie for all you comic books fans to turn on while remaining in the holiday spirit.

Samuel L. Jackson's Christmas Motherfuckin' Special Motherfuckers.

Samuel L. Jackson's Christmas Motherfuckin' Special Motherfuckers.

The Long Kiss Goodnight, directed by the criminally underrated Renny Harlin (who also directed Die hard 2, which pops up on this list as well) is a great little action movie taking place around Christmas.  The whole movie is full of winter scenes, and of course, the awesomeness that is any word Samuel Jackson speaks.  A great flick in it’s own right, made appropriate for this list by the time of year in which it takes place.

Fucking Terrible...but so much fun.

Fucking Terrible...but so much fun.

It had to be done.  A Killer, Mutant Snowman movie.  Words can’t describe how terrible this movie is.  But, if you have friends with a high tolerance for garbage, a great sense of humor, and lots of alcohol and/or illegal drugs, this movie can be really really fun.  Shannon Elizabeth is in it, and she is “raped” by the snowman.  How can you not watch?

Remember when Mel Gibson was the fucking man?  I do.

Remember when Mel Gibson was the fucking man? I do.

Another 80’s action classic, taking place mostly on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  This one really put the “buddy-cop” movies on the map, fusing intense, over the top action with quality, mostly conversational humor.  Add a Christmas theme to the proceedings and you got yourself another violent winter classic.

Poor Ol' John McClain can't even enjoy Christmas without having to waste some Jerkoffs and Scumbags.

Poor Ol' John McClain can't even enjoy Christmas without having to waste some Jerk offs and Scumbags.

John McClain has a second run in with some terrorists dirt bags in Die Hard 2, this time in the form of William Saddler, character actor extraordinaire.  Die Hard 2 is universally seen as the only weak link in the “quadrilogy”, but it’s still a perfectly serviceable late night Christmas action romp.  Plus Dennis Franz is in it, and he kind of looks like Santa anyway.

Holy shit.  That's so cute I just want to squeeze it.

Holy shit. That's so cute I just want to squeeze it.

Gremlins is one of the best, and only true, Christmas time creature feature movies.  Made back in the golden age of puppets and robot controlled dolls, Gremlins isn’t tainted by shoddy computer graphics or green screen trickery.  It’s an old fashioned mini-monster movie made the way they should all be made, with convincing puppets and prosthetic effects that give you something tangible to fear, or love in the case of Gizmo.  And like most 80’s movies, this one has some truly dark and scary moments, making it perfect for younger audiences and adults.  Long live the Mogwai.

yippee kiya mother fucker.  Merry Christmas.

yippee kiya mother fucker. Merry Christmas.

Die Hard is not only the holy grail of “one man army” action movies, it’s also one of the best Christmas movies ever made.  John McClain’s wise ass comments, the perfect “radio only” sidekick in Ellis, a tremendously devious villain in Gruber, and a supporting cast chock full of talent.  Add to the mix a phenomenal pace, some of the most impressive action scenes to date, and a not one, but two, finales and you have yourself the perfect action movie.  Oh yeah, and it all takes place around Christmas, complete with a Christmas music credit scene.  Truly a gift of a movie.

That’s it for this years edition of my personal Christmas movie favorites.  Hopefully some of these selections will help ease the pain of having to see another Hallmark Christmas special starring Tony Danza on your TV.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to share this gift.  It’s some power metal band who wrote a Christmas song about how Frosty and Rudolph never liked each other.  It’s really funny, and actually pretty well done.




22
Sep
08

Zombie Flesh Eaters (Zombi 2) directed by Lucio Fulci

Zombi 2) by Lucio Fulci

Zombie Flesh Eaters (aka: Zombi 2) by Lucio Fulci

The story may seem to be your bog standard ‘father is missing on a tropical island, daughter and reporter head to the island to find the father, but find a ton of zombies instead’, but remember: this was made in 1979, Zombie Flesh Eaters (aka: Zombi(e) 2) is the grand-daddy of them all, superseded only by Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978, which is affectionately known as Zombi (1) in Italy).

A seemingly empty boat crawls to shore, past the Statue of Liberty, and is intercepted by the coast guard. Lurking in the boat is a zombie which attacks one of the, rather incompetent, coast guards.

Soon we see the (cute) daughter who’s father apparently owns the boat, he’s nowhere to be seen. In no time she’s teamed up with a reporter and they’re heading off to some deserted island where they meet up with a boat owner and his girlfriend who, mysteriously, likes to scuba-dive topless. Different, if nothing else. Fear not fellow pervs as there is one other scene of boobage from the very pretty (and fit, and doomed) wife of the village Doctor.

Our intrepid (yet doomed) team meet with the Doctor who explains the voodoo that’s been taking place on the island. As is the norm with zombie movies, various memebers of the team are dispatched in simple, yet grizzly, manners. I won’t go any further with the storyline, but suffice to say that there’s a nice twist to the story at the end.

And no, they DON'T say 'braaaaiinnnnsssss'

And no, they DON'T say 'braaaiiinnnssssss'.

Bearing in mind this is a low budget movie – the effects, story and scenery are all very well done for the late 70s. Some obvious dubbing has been done to the movie, but it really doesn’t affect things much. Zombie Flesh Eaters is an excellent movie and, in it’s new colourful widescreen glory, has stood the test of time quite well!

16
Sep
08

Snuff – A Documentary About Killing On Camera

A Documentary About Killing On Camera

Snuff : A Documentary About Killing On Camera

Ah the age old question: snuff, is it real?

This documentary starts off by giving a clear definition on Snuff, it’s a movie of an actual murder which is made solely for the purpose of selling and making money. Several movie directors and producers give their thoughts on the subject throughout the documentary, one FBI agent and one police woman give their thoughts an prior experiences.

Next, it moves on to American movies and snuff which tells the story of the movie called Snuff which supposedly started this whole actual-murder-on-tape mess and, of course, mentions Faces of Death and such like, but they also don’t meet the criteria for being true snuff.

For part three it discusses an MI5 case where a Russian selling kiddie porn was heard saying to an Italian ‘client’ that, yes, the child does die in the movie. According to this documentary – the case did happen, the freak did get 11 years as did his two cohorts, although it seems, unfortunately, most of them are free now. This story is told by Mark L Rosen, who was involved with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, more from him later.

Part four discusses serial killers. The fact that some record their murders is discussed too, but again, this doesn’t qualify as snuff, they didn’t record it for profit. They discuss Charles Ing and Henry Lee Lucas (and, briefly, the movie Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer). So again, we need to look elsewhere for snuff, where now?

War. It show’s death and people being murdered, but again, it’s not for profit. And this one section is where I think the documentary got too political by quickly mentioning Vietnam then dwelling on various Iraq video tapes (the killing of civilians and torture of prisoners, ironically not mentioning the hanging of Saddam, maybe that happened after the documentary was made) then bringing on some anti-war guy who contributed nothing to the discussion, other than big numbers.

Finally we get to hear the never before recorded story from Producer, Mark L Rosen. He claims that he was approached by a man who wanted him, and his associates, to look at a film with the possibility of distributing it. Mark claims that the movie started off as a kinky bondage affair which then showed the man suffocating the woman with a plastic bag over head and slitting her throat. ‘Special effects!’ I hear you yell. As Mark, a man who’s been in the movie business for over 30 years, says himself: that kind of special effect just wasn’t possible in the early seventies when he saw the film. Was this real snuff? He says so. But we only have his word on it, no verifiable evidence.

Mark L Rosen - he says he actually saw a snuff movie...

Mark L Rosen - he says he actually saw a snuff movie which was up for sale...

So what is the definitive answer? Well, the documentary doesn’t give one. It merely presents the facts and lets you make up your own mind, which is good. As I said previously, it’s only flaw – in my opinion – was including the Iraq war clips as they contribute nothing, it was mentioned in the previous section of the film that filming death doesn’t count, so why include the war clips? I’ve no idea. All in all, it’s a good documentary, but it does include some gruesome footage (sometimes unnecessarily) from Cannibal Holocaust (the actual animal killings) and Faces of Death, so if your squeamish, but curious, look away!