Category Archives: Movie/Long Subject Reviews

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

Sort of interesting in parts, but the premise is incredibly stupid:

The Earth MUST accept peaceful conduct. If not, it’ll be DESTROYED!!!

Huh? I get the point the movie’s trying to make, but that’s absurd.

Also absurd (and inhuman, and fascist, and morality-destroying) is the “system” developed by Klaatu and his kind.

Well-made enough to remain an object of mild interest, but for me the most enjoyable part is the pre-‘Army Of Darkness’ quote anticipation, and a greater understanding of why Ash should have paid a bit more attention. Cough.

Inspirational Quote: “Klaatu barada nikto.”

Grade: D

Portrait Of A Zombie (2012)

Mockumentary of a “regular family” and how they deal with one of them being a zombie.

Basically it’s done as everyone and everything involved being “normal”, typical real-documentary-ish, except for the ZOMBIE IN THE HOUSE.

Interesting “idea”…but the first half of the movie is pretty much jokes that fall flat, “observations” that are obvious/dull/have already been made, and tedium.

About halfway through it starts to get more interesting: the local morgue forgets basic Zombie 101, the mother gets more and more insane in her devotion, and – and this is my favorite part – the cameraman has to have one of his hands chopped off to prevent “infection”, and that becomes a bit of a running gag (the father complaining about blood on his floor, the cameraman dutifully washing off his bloody stump, the unsteady-cam but otherwise admirable camera-duty devotion, some finger jokes).

So the second half is more weird-creepy as opposed to weird-boring. And there’s definitely a few scenes you might like if that’s your thing.

But eventually even that devolves into the usual, generic, no-more-ideas zombie gore sh1t.

Recommendation: If you like creepy sh1t/zombie movies, skip about halfway in and see what you think. Turn it off when it gets relentlessly gory, cuz that’s all that’s left.

Inspirational Quote: “There’s nothin’ that woman wouldn’t give for her children.”

Grade: D

Film Grade Explanations

I grade on the system I was graded on as a wee one. It’s pretty simple:

A’s are 90-100 equivalent.
B’s are 80-89 equivalent.
C’s are 70-79 equivalent.
D’s are 60-69 equivalent (I’m expanding slightly here).
An F is under 60.
An F- is WELL under 60.
A C-for-horrificness is REALLY REALLY WELL under 60.

And further:
A+ = Brilliant, truly great
A = Great
A- = Extremely good
B+ = Very good
B = Good
B- = Pretty good
C+ = Above average
C = Average
C- = Below average
D+ = Below average/Unsatisfactory
D = Unsatisfactory
D- = Very unsatisfactory
F = Failure
F- = Complete failure

So you see, unlike critics who pan a movie and then give it 2 1/2 stars, the actual grade reflects the actual quality of the film.

So if you see an absolutely wretched movie (as explained in the REVIEW) graded “C” or “C-“, that means that QUALITY-wise, it’s lower than an F-. It also means that I like watching TRULY terrible films, and as far as terrible goes, this one’s a keeper.

And I don’t understand how people can get upset (and they have) at getting a B-.

A B- is exactly what it was defined as when I got them: Pretty Good.

To give a B- to something you don’t like is just stupid.

I mean, EVERY FCKEN MOVIE on review sites is at least 5.something out of 10. It’s like 1 through 4 don’t exist. If you hate a movie, don’t give it 5 f@cking stars out of 10. Give it 1. Because, you know, it’s REALLY REALLY bad. It’s on the LOW end. Not the MIDDLE …the LOW end.

So if I give a movie a D, that means exactly what it meant for me: “Unsatisfactory”.

It doesn’t mean “Abysmal failure”. It means: I grade according to actual grades.

Even in terms of F’s, there’s a HUGE variance.

Everything from 60-100 is NOT an F.

Everything from 0-59 IS an F/F-.

That means…there is MORE variation possible in failures than in non-failures.

It means…it’s HARDER to go from a 59 (F) to a 0 (Sub F-) than it is to go from a 60 (D-) to a 100 (A+).

It also means some F’s (59) are a LOT closer to not being failures than others (0).

What’s the difference, you might ask?

Well, if you show up for a test, do your best, but just do really badly and get a 59, you get an F.

If you show up for a test, sit there and draw smilie faces and “Fck you” for answers and get a 0…you get an F.

Not quite the same.

See how that works?

The Room (2003)

Tommy Wiseau looks sort of like what I imagine Peter Steele would look like right now.

It’s not often I can say this, but *I* could make a better movie than this. So could you.

I prefer more artistic wretched failures: ‘Troll 2’, ‘Hobo With A Shotgun’, and so on.

But this is fun to watch, knowing you have X amount of time to laugh/chuckle/shake your head/cover your eyes/go OH GAWD and, of course, revel in the fact that your life can’t possibly be as bad as this movie.

10:19 – Is that in the script, or is she guiding the other actress?

Note: Brains can only be blown out if said person has brains.

Inspirational Quote: “I’m gonna do what I wanna do, and that’s it. What do you think I should do?”

IQ2: “So, I mean, what’s the interesting part?”

Grade: C (F- adjusted for horrificness)

Creep (2014)

Netflix Streaming, I am not amused.

Well, be fair, I am a little. Is this SUPPOSED to be funny?

People LIKE this?

What a load of sh1t.

The “idea” here was to make money – it’s dumb, it’s badly acted, it’s badly written, it’s utterly unbelievable, and it’s not scary for a second.

Just an absolutely wretched “horror” film.

Upped a notch cuz you might laugh at it.

I’ve had worse dates.

Hardest part of review: spending the time to confirm how many S’s are in the word “abysmal”. I was right.

Let THIS – be a warning – to YOU.

Grade: F

Cthulhu (2007)

Ok so supposedly this is another mediocre, failed H.P. adaptation.

But before that…

Some people complain about the main character being gay; a “highly liked” review ends with the GHASTLY notion that this might leave people with the idea that Lovecraft was gay!!!

WHO GIVES A SH!T??? WTF does sexuality have to do with Lovecraft’s notion that people don’t have the SLIGHTEST idea what is really going on, that humanity is just a tiny speck in the cosmic scheme of (bigger, better, more powerful, more intelligent, etc…) things?

Answer: Nothing.

Oh, but H.P. was notoriously bigoted (see “miscegenation”), so it’s not a HUGE surprise that some of his fans are as well.

ANYHOO…as to the MOVIE…you know, the parts that MATTER…

It’s a mediocre adaptation of Lovecraft. BUT…and this is the point…it’s a very admirable, attempts-to-get-it-right adaptation.

And when I say get “it” right, it = the mood. See ‘ITMOM’.

It does about as well, I think, as a low-budget movie with no “name” actors and no real FX can do with the story.

Is that enough? No. But it does have its good points, and it’s not some cheezy cr@pfest like a lot of “Lovecraftian” sh1t films are.

The lead is actually pretty good…the family “drama” seems at least tolerably genuine and his acting is convincing throughout.

The creepiness seems to build slowly (LIKE IT SHOULD)…it’s not some stupid cheezy sh1t just THROWN at you (GASP! THRILLS! CHILLS! EXPLOSIVE! A MUST SEE!)

…and it actually IS *kinda* creepy, at times. Seems like it might have ripped a few movies here and there, but GOOD rips. ITMOM, for instance.

The ending is…interesting, and appropriately at-least-ambiguous-dark.

Grade: D+

Masters Of Horror: Dreams In The Witch-House (2005)

Really bad adaptation of another unduly-worshipped Lovecraft story.

Points for creepiness, I guess…and lots more against for dumbness and cheeziness. And WTF is the big deal with this sh1t ness.

I mean, come on. Lovecraft’s idea that “reality” is just a veneer over things human beings can’t possibly comprehend is an extremely interesting one.

But far too often his idea of what’s “really” there just isn’t all that great.

Nice ‘Holy Grail’ reference…THUMP.

Try ‘In The Mouth Of Madness’. Or, for a reverent mock, ‘The Cabin In The Woods’.

Grade: D-

Basket Case (1982)

So a guy carries around a basket with a dangerous psychotic entity inside, unleashing it sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.

The thing is animated very badly, but that only adds to the cheezy charm of it, if you like cheeze. I mean, it’s pretty darn silly-looking, but also pretty freaky.

It gets jealous whenever the carrier tries to have any kind of life for himself, and when it gets jealous it gets mad, and you DON’T WANT IT MAD.

As for moral analysis: I actually do feel sorry for both of them, because they didn’t really *ask* for what happened…so I get the loyalty there, the sticking-together.

But while it may have been reasonably sane at first, it eventually turns into a bloodthirsty, controlling thing; definitely an “it” as opposed to what it may have been.

Then again, this is a somewhat fun sh1t film, why am I bothering with moral analysis?

Blonde secretary/Love interest: Starts…squeakin’. Then does a great totally out of character mini-rant a bit later.

Several “Don’t do it man!” moments.

Full Frontal Nudity: Hello, Sailor.

Ending: To be expected, really.

Grade: C-

Attack The Block (2011)

The most effective and expedient initial alien-invasion response ever.

Fortunately, there’s more of ’em.

Re: critical acclaim – Character development my a$$…”social commentary” my a$$.

Character development: “I live here, neglected, that’s why i mug people, but I’m rugged so I don’t complain…FEEL the pain”. No…that’s half-a$$ed.

Social commentary: “The aliens are really society’s way of attacking black people. Wait, no, that theory is wrong…but it got mentioned with drugs and guns, so there’s the social commentary…

…Oh, and don’t help starving kids in Africa when there’s horribly cared-for and completely well-nourished teen muggers right here in England!”. Quarter-a$$ed.

It’s well made: it looks and sounds “real” enough, decent fx, decent score, and the acting ain’t bad.

But it’s a small teen gang fighting a small group of shambling, neon-toothed aliens.

That’s it. Just doesn’t do it for me.

Then again, if you’re in the right demographic (teens to mid 20s, British, lower-to-middle income family, somewhat of a loner) you might love this as YOURS.

But for me, that was ‘The Crow’…and even in objective retrospect, that setting blows this away.

Grade: D

Lurking Fear (1994)

Another attempt to re-create the mood of H.P. Lovecraft’s world.

Features the ‘Re-Animator’ guy doing some halfway decent acting. Come to think of it, the ‘Re-Animator’ guy should have appeared in EVERY SINGLE LOVECRAFT ATTEMPT after ‘Re-Animator’. It’s his only thing, really, but he does it convincingly and lends some cred.

Seems tolerable at first, some promise…

Low budget and all, but it’s surprisingly decent.

The problem is…it’s just not that interesting.

I blame H.P.

It gets kinda silly at parts. I mean, not exactly insanity-inducing.

More like WTF-did-people-see-in-this-sh1t-inducing.

Obviously, two things. One, H.P. wasn’t all-powerful. Two, this isn’t his best.

Whenever I try to envision a world defined solely by Lovecraft’s visions, I edge closer and closer to insanity at the dumb-a$$ horror that I can barely comprehend.

Inspirational Quote: “I guess, uh…we’re ready to go to Church.”

Grade: D-

3/17/17: Grade Correction. Grade: D

The Crazies (1973)

The reason this particular movie failed upon release is that it’s not very good.

George Romero had a nice little idea about reanimated corpses attacking and eating people, but then he got silly.

That’s all, really…he was never much of a writer, or a director; aside from ‘Night’ and ‘Land’, he’s made mostly cheezy, occasionally interesting cr@p.

A few interesting-creepy moments half an hour in here, a few more intermittently throughout. Besides them, it’s cr@p.

Upped a notch for the superior remake it inspired.

Particularly lame: the cutaways from a poorly-written military highups convo to really stupid military ACTION! bits.

Pretty d@mn bad: The writing in general.

Almost as bad: The acting in general…but then again, it’s hard to act well given these lines. Also, George has a habit of hiring non-actors to act: one from here reappears as a dumb-a$$ in ‘Dawn’, another moves on to bigger and better-acted things as Frankenstein in ‘Day’.

Fav bad bit: Persistent suit-muffled dialogue.

Inspirational Defiance: Ted Striker goes berserk.

Inspirationally Dated Song: The end theme.

Inspirational Monotone Quote: “Stop where you are…”

Grade: D-

Second Chance Dogs (2016)

A really sweet documentary about a group of dogs rescued and then slowly nursed to good health and adoptability.

Something to watch if you love dogs and love seeing them be happy, because *SPOILER ALERT* they all end up happy.

Like most documentaries, if you like the subject matter (and it’s well-made) you’ll like it, and it you don’t (or it isn’t) you won’t.

I love dogs, and the people involved seem just as happy to help them as dog lovers will be to see them get helped.

If you don’t like dogs (wtf is wrong with you?) you won’t like it.

Grade: C+ (A for rescue-dog lovers, F- for puppy mill advocates)

Blazing Saddles (1974)

Like every Mel Brooks movie, this has some jokes that just fall completely flat. Boring, cliche, obvious. Not funny.

For the first third, that happens maybe once. Really good stuff.

After that, the idea descends from inspired scenes, bits, and riffs to mostly lame and half-a$$ed character “interaction” and “development”…and Brooks sucks at that, so there aren’t any characters to interact/develop.

There are some good bits, but they’re scattered…enough to keep you watching for more but a steep cliff drop-off for the most part.

Smart move, I guess…draw ’em in with the good stuff and keep ’em hanging around for more. But man this mofo is overrated.

And Madeline Kahn sucks.

Inspirational Quote: “Excuse me while I whip this out…”

Grade: C

Honeymoon (2015)

Basically just a succession of tortures (mental and physical) and attempts at escape by a psycho and his kidnapped neighbor, respectively. Very little before or after.

Compelling (believable, decently-acted, creepy) enough to make it interesting, but gory and disgusting enough to make it revolting.

It left me with a hollow, mildly nauseous feeling. And, unless you’re a sociopath, a psychopath, an extreme sadist, and/or an extreme masochist, it will quite probably have a similar effect on you.

If you *do* enjoy being shocked and disgusted – I mean REALLY – then this is probably on the lower end of your disgust-o-meter.

Because while it might fit loosely on the level of ‘Cut’ and ‘Dumplings’, it takes that … Extra bit of graphic disgustingness and wastes it on the mild pretense of a story, dramatic pauses, mood, and the believable character reactions of the female lead.

It has a happy ending, of sorts. I mean, reaping the whirlwind and all that.

Grade: D-

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Shatner: dull. He drinks more as the movie goes on, suggesting a possible
way to tolerate it.

Family visit: sucks
Boy in a tree: sucks
Crime scene visit: kinda creepy
Santa and his zombie elves: cheezy cr@p

Ending: horrible

No, it’s not quite stupid enough to be funny.

No, you can’t just watch the non-sh1tty one, because it cuts back n’ forth between them all until the end.

Inspirational Quote: “Elves becoming the walking dead; no, it does not make any sense.”

Grade: F

They Look Like People (2015)

Positives: Well-directed, interesting premise, solid acting.

Negatives: Moves too slowly, not creepy enough, not “believable” enough.

It’s about a man slowly going insane, his friend, and how it affects them both.

It gets more creepy and interesting as it goes along…slowly…at first.

Then, it plateaus with everything pretty much “laid out” for you. And it stays there. Until the end. Which is disappointing.

Too clinical, too step-by-step analytical, and not enough SCARY AS HELL.

Think Jack Nicholson from ‘The Shining’. The typing scene. That…is scary. REALLY creepy, convincing GOING CRAZY.

TAP…TAPTAP…TAPTAPTAP…TAPTAP…

This is not. It’s like it was made from the viewpoint of someone who had read a dozen books on severe mental illness, but never actually experienced anything close to it themselves.

Despite all that, its intent, the acting, the direction, the quality of it…make it interesting.

But don’t expect to be scared. Just…intrigued.

Cute moment: GHOST WARS

Grade: C-

My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)

Zomromcom about a boy who loves a girl so much that he comes back from the dead to fulfill his dream of taking her to the prom.

It’s totally deadpan: there’s no “horror”, because the tone just never allows for that.

It’s more like a typical high school “loser slowly wins over the most popular girl from the dumb jock with his sincerity” movie, except that the plot twists impacting the relationship (the focus of the film) are due to things like body parts falling off and a growing appetite for human flesh. You know, no big whoop.

The lead is very even-keeled despite his zombiehood, and doesn’t understand when other people are mildly confused by his return (that’s about as strong a reaction as he gets at first…maybe that’s a joke on how noone really paid attention to him when he was alive anyway).

His parents are blissfully ignorant of the fact that he’s come back from the dead in a “oh, hi, welcome back” everything-is-fine 50’s ‘Date With The Family’ sort of way. His mother stays just as pleasant as she adapts to his new appetite; like the rest of the movie, it’s amusing/interesting at first, but eventually runs out of ideas and “surprises” and becomes mostly just silly.

It does stay at least mildly interesting until right near the end, though, so it’s worth a watch. The ending is rather weak, but tolerable.

Inspirational Quote: “I was at the mortuary; they’re practically *giving* them away.”

Grade: C

Shivers (1975)

The scariest thing about this movie is that, in researching it a bit, I found out that one of the things at the top of David Cronenberg’s wish list was/(is?) to work with Burt Reynolds. And NOT in a mockumentary.

The overall idea is interesting and the movie is disturbing – like most of Cronenberg’s work, I think – but despite some inherently disturbing scenes it’s decidedly un-scary; it seems like the idea was conceived well enough and then just written very poorly.

The doctor’s brief escape from the perilous pool scene reminded me a bit of Galahad’s just-in-time rescue from the Castle Anthrax.

Suggested dialogue upgrade (this did come out at around the same time, so it could have been L.F. Dibleyed):

(Doctor) *internal dialogue* “At this time I felt I was in great peril; however, something inside me insisted that I go back, and face the peril, even if perhaps it would be too perilous.”

OMG what a horrific, terrifying ending…(besides the rotten sax solo, I mean): Not since Ed Wood’s classic ‘The Violent Years’ couple-in-a-car scene has the male population of the world felt so incredibly threatened as by the second car leaving the garage.

In other news, this shows that you CAN, in fact, improve as a writer/director/filmmaker. Because, unlike some of Cronenberg’s later works, this sucks big-time.

Generous grade provided by the idea itself and a few halfway-decent scenes. And so as not to offend my Canadian readers.

Grade: D-

The Invasion (2007)

So let me get this straight…

An alien organism possessing (supposed) intelligence, that spreads and “infects” a THOUSAND times easier (even ACCIDENTALLY) than, I don’t know, let’s say…human-sized seed pods that take hours to function after being smuggled into your basement…and the ONE group they fail to target/infect is by easy definition one of – if not – THE most dangerous threat(s) to their assimilation aspirations?

I was gonna give it a D- for competence, a few mildly interesting scenes, and a nice little car-smothering chase. But when it didn’t go for the obvious, cliche (but competent and believable) ending, and instead chose the WTF, dumba$$, there’s no fcken way that would happen one, it lost even that.

There is nothing here that is not either:
– Totally predictable, OR
– Totally annoying in crushing any (almost-guaranteed superior) ideas you might have for it.

Try either of the ‘Body Snatchers’ movies (original or 70’s remake), ‘The Puppet Masters’ (borderline, but still), or anything else but this if you want the genre.

Great missed casting opportunities as extras: Keanu Reeves, Christian Bale, Nic Cage.

Inspirational Quote: “Yeah, we’re here. You wouldn’t believe this place, man; so much Nobel gold here you’d think you’re in Fort Knox…”

Grade: F

The Rezort (2016)

A mildly interesting opening take on the old (zombie) idea.

Unfortunately, all the slick direction and loud noises can’t mask the fact that the acting is either over- or mediocre.

The characters are mostly undefined, and the movie seems to say “oh, fck it” after a brief attempt at inspiration, content to devolve into the usual.

It picks up a little near the end, with a couple of interesting moments; but it’s still strictly for the zombie-movie-obsessed, and only if you must.

Grade: D-

Cabin Fever (2016)

After ‘Shaquille O’Neal: Comedy’, you might want something to make you laugh.

So there’s this. It’s a zombie/undead/infected/etc movie (remake).

It’s so over-the-top you might laugh at it. But more likely you’ll just stop watching it.

Or, if you keep watching it, more likely you’ll just be testing your endurance of how shockingly, free-stylingly-because-some-of-it-could-NOT-have-been-writtenly bad it will get.

Grade: F-

How To Get Ahead In Advertising (1989)

Saw this a LONG time ago; remembered it as creepy, funny, and really weird. Now, was this my relative youth, or is this a little gem of a movie? Let’s see…

Great little intro speech by the lead; really shows both how little he gives a fck and how good he is AT not giving a fck and being as coldly ruthless as seems possible.

He’s pretty clever and he KNOWS he’s pretty clever, methodically and without hesitation wielding that cleverness without a single (not second, not FIRST) thought about anything besides efficiency, exploitation, and profit.

He plays his role well, with decent supporting casters, as the movie quickly moves toward/into more and more absurd territory.

Clearly a comedy, as the man’s hatred of and aversion to boils and boil-on-the-botty talk is really over the top, and the music plays along well with fake “tension” amidst this horrible problem (yeah right).

The attempts at humor are rather tasteless and occasionally amusing, as the sometimes-sh1tty/sometimes-stupid “plot” and dialogue provide a few chuckles (or at least mild smiles). Played straight at all times, which is the key to it being worth anything at all (See ‘Dead Alive’).

Eventually the lead has a revelation/breakdown in which he realizes how evil all advertising is and tries to rid himself of all ties to it. At this time he also acquires a boil, which seems to grow and mutate rather as quickly as his personality changes.

He’s non-stop over-the-top and a ball of energy the entire movie: both as a cold, vicious weirdo and a concerned, reborn weirdo.

Unfortunately the whole thing runs out of steam about 2/3 of the way through. I mean, the setup moves along, the plot point, the boil’s formative years, etc…

But then, when what should be the conclusion (in some way) happens, it doesn’t end. It has a bit longer to go to make it movie-length, and so in true pre-revelation ad-man form the film is padded to go all the way, even as it gets less and less interesting and more and more stupid-boring, as opposed to ridiculous-amusing.

Worth a watch, though…at least for the first two-thirds, and to say you’ve watched it. It’s a fairly unique oddity, after all.

Inspirational Quote: “I’m an expert on t1ts. T1ts and peanut butter.”

Grade: C

What We Become (2016)

There’s absolutely no reason to watch this movie.

The acting is decent, the writing is decent, the filming is decent.

The fx/makeup are mediocre at times; but even if they weren’t it wouldn’t change a thing.

The reason is because it’s totally redundant – there isn’t a thing here you haven’t seen before, as good or better.

Nothing surprising, no twists on the scenario, nothing exceptional.

In the context of that, the grade is wholly appropriate.

Competent and completely unnecessary. Re-watch one of your zombie favs instead.

Grade: D-