Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Barker's new ride

Recently I watched a new Clive Barker adaptation, The Midnight Meat Train.

This is just a dark film. Naturally, with Clive Barker writing and producing, you know it's gonna be nasty.
At first, I wasn't sure just what the hell was going on except that there was a serial killer choosing victims on a midnight subway train. Simple concept. Not such a simple flick.

Story goes like this: Leon (Bradley Cooper, in a really odd career choice) is a struggling photographer trying to impress a big wig (Brooke Shields) in the photography world with his unique visions of New York City.
She asks for more - something dark, something real.
He stalks the streets of NYC at night, soon running into a young woman being accosted by a few gang-like thugs. He stops the attack by pointing out the security cameras to them.

The next morning, when having brunch with his supportive girlfriend (Leslie Bibb), he notices a picture of the girl he saved the previous night. She is missing and presumed dead.

Soon he is on the trail of a serial killer who, like I mentioned, selects victims by riding the subway late at night and waiting for most people to get off.. then he gets his trusty - yet thick and scary- meat hammer and brutally slams it into the victims. Over and over, and over again.

The visuals are quite disturbing, and tap into the same kind of visceral sensations that Barker's Hellraiser once did as well. There is a considerable of flying blood.

When Leon tracks the killer down, he risks life and limb by actually taking pictures of the crimes as they occur.

To say more would be saying too much. You have to see this, if nothing else but for the cinematography. It is really stylish and unique in a world of lame remakes and unoriginal films.
I mean, who doesn't like meat hooks, creepy meat packing plants, and slow motion flying blood, right?

But it's not all good. It suffers from some plot holes and isn't particularly scary.
There are changes from the source material (Books of Blood by Barker himself) that are inexplicable.
And the villian, though seemingly menacing and hard-core, comes off always looking like he has a bowel impaction.. or that he might burst into laughter. Ok, maybe that's just me.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's Friday again...

So... went to see the new Friday the 13th remake yesterday (yes, on Valentine's day - what can I say, as a horror fan I know where my heart lies).

I can't say it really offered any new takes on the franchise. I wasn't jumping up and down afterwards with all the joy and happiness that a really good re-make (are there any?) could bring. But it was fairly good.
If you'd never seen the original.
It brought nothing new to the table and really just felt like your standard, everyday kids get killed in the woods kind of film.
What it did have was a typical cast.

Your token black guy, token asian stoner, a sex-crazed 'go off on their own and get killed' couple, a sleazy but hot 'I'll take whoever's left' kind of chick, the hard-core rich guy, and his everyday-nice-girl-next-door girlfriend. Add Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) as your 'dude in search of his lost sister' and you have your quintessential horror movie cast. Like I said, utterly stereotypical, no surprises. Padalecki is the glue that holds it together, though. Most everyone else is phoning it in.

Guys will no doubt describe this movie in one way. The pre-opening credits romp with the naked hot chick with fake boobs, and the remainder of the film with two naked hot chicks with real boobs (one of whom is water-skiing nude. yeah, seriously). I know, I know. You can't have a horror movie without gratuitious nudity. Whatever.

But getting down to the story (?) - First things first. Re-hash the storyline where they pull an Anne Boleyn with mommy dearest. No real need to update it, just off with the head. I liked the original better.
Then have some kids (pre-opening credits, like I said) hiking in the famous Crystal Lake area, looking for some weed. For some reason, someone (maybe the head Crystal Lake Rasta, I don't know) has planted a shit-load of mary jane out in the middle of nowhere and our first gang of giggling oversexed teens are searching for it when it gets dark and they set up camp for an evening of what else? Drinking, sex, and campfire tales of deformed youngins who want revenge for their mother's death. Right.
So after all their debauchery, they meet up with Jason of course.

Cut to our new cast of partying, sex-driven twenty-somethings. They are headed to the expensive lake-side home of hard-core rich dude (because he is driving the pre-requisite Cadillac Escalade) for a weekend of what else? Sex, drugs, alcohol, and more sex.

They stop for supplies at a local store and meet Clay (Padalecki) who is looking for his lost sister (one of the aforementioned weed-seeking partiers). He and rich-boy don't exactly hit it off, but rich-boy's girlfriend certainly gives Clay a second (and third and fourth) look.

So after some drinking games and naked water-skiing, Jason finally shows up to start dispatching people in a very timely manner. With no truly interesting kills, he just keeps hacking through the cast like any other random nutjob in the woods would.
One thing I did like - the moment he finally ditches the sack over the head and finds his iconic hockey mask. Nice.

Jason in his sack over the head era, pre-hockey mask.

And here he has moved on to the more famous visage we're all used to...
And he's doing what he does best.

Like I said, nothing new here.
And some weird stuff, too - things that didn't make much sense.
For some reason (spoiler here), Jason has kept Clay's sister all chained up in a series of underground tunnels under his old house. Ok, first of all, I think we can all recall that in the original part 2 when we are first introduced to Jason, he was found to be living in a ramshackle old shed of sorts, with random pieces of timber and metal put together. A real piece of crap.
Now he has a house? And the underground tunnels? Did he carve through the layers of dirt and clay to form those cavernous passageways? And for what purpose? And let's not forget, it's lakeside property, people! Could there really be tunnels as such, that close to the water? Wouldn't they fill up with water like a mineshaft would? Huh?
And why the hell would he feel the need to keep the chick alive? What was she eating for six weeks? Was he raping her? Didn't seem to be. Why would he not just kill her? Seriously.

Those things didn't really interfere with my watching or enjoying the film.
But it would have been infinitely more impressive to be someone who had never, in fact, seen ANY of the original friday films - not someone who has seen all ten.
The plots of the first four movies were smooshed together to make this one, so I'm wondering - what now? You know damn well the powers that be are in their offices, waving the magic wand for sequels - especially after the $19 million + it made on opening day, and the projected $50 mil opening weekend. Horror fans always come out in droves the first weekend out, and this appears to be no different.

In comparing this remake against the Zombie "re-imagining" of Halloween a few years back, in all honesty I think I'd take the Halloween flick. Say what you may about Zombie's directorial skills, but at least he brought something new to the franchise. By telling a bit about Michael's background, we at least got a peek into a new chapter of the story. I can't say much for everything that followed after he escaped from prison, as it was basically nothing we hadn't seen, but that first hour - I liked it alot.

But this Friday - rehashed and revamped with no real reason to explain why except to make a few bucks.
I know there are a few remakes in the works for other iconic horror movies, and if I have to sit through a rehash of 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' or 'Hellraiser' like this one, I'm not sure I'll be there opening weekend to throw support. I mean, Elm Street without Robert Englund? Yikes.

One of the best moments in the film.
A perfect shot.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Have a heart, would ya?

Have a bloody fantastic Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Believe...

I did this on my regular blog and found myself thinking of lots of slightly dark thoughts to believe in as well - so here goes:

I believe:

*Nearly all horror movies have some redeeming qualities (I said nearly...)

*Stephen King's earlier works are much more frightening.

*I'd rather sleep with a vampire than a werewolf. Excess hair is a real turnoff, even compared to being coffin bait.

*A small stay in an insane asylum isn't necessarily a bad thing.

*'Let the Right One In' is how vampires should be done.

*Serial killers are sadly, damn interesting.

*Escargot (snails) have to be the scariest food - well, except the bugs and shit that that Andrew Zimmern dude eats!

*Ghosts have the right to be pissed.

*Remaking classic horror films is an iffy task, only remotely effective in most cases. One example of a dazzling exception: 'The Thing' (1982 remake of '51 film)

*The tv show 'Moonlight' was cancelled too soon :(

*3D horror films (or any 3D gimmick) is redundant and silly. And the glasses make my face hurt, dammit.

*Anita Blake has turned into a mega-slut. But I still read on, for Jean-Claude's sake.

*The X-Files still has not been worthily replaced.

*Johnny Depp can portray any dark character with unbridled enthusiasm.

*Twilight, while fascinating, is truly vamp-lite in my book.

*'Shaun of the Dead' is friggin' brilliant.

*I may have to order me up some HBO, to see what all the True Blood fuss is about...

*It's always darkest...when the lights are out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, George!

Thanks to my favorite uncle for the reminder of this very important birthday!

George Romero/Wikipedia