Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holy Shit! endings, Part Two...

Part Two of Holy Shit! endings in horror continues:

And remember - loads of SPOILERS will follow:


I really didn't see this one coming. Esther is a grown woman in the body of a pre-pubescent young girl. Whoa. And...weird. For the life of me I couldn't have predicted that twist - though I knew something was quite off when she was making those advances on her adoptive daddy. Yuck. A good movie with a strange-ass ending. Oh well, they made it work.


This is one messed up, confusing movie.
Can you say Multiple Personality Disorder?
When you finally find out that Timmy is the homicidal maniac of the personalities and that he has schemed and planned the entire thing...well, it's so hard to wrap your head around it that I still have trouble explaining it. It's been awhile since I've seen it, but I recall wondering just what the hell I just watched.

The Orphanage

Though not as well known as Pans Labyrinth, The Orphanage - a Spanish film from 2007 (produced by Guillermo del Toro) is a really subtle, beautifully filmed movie with a depressingly sad ending. It was a bit of a shock when we find out at the end that Laura's missing son Simón - thought to have run away - was accidentally blocked into a basement room by his mother and was unable to get out. And he died. In overwhelming grief, Laura kills herself with pills, and joins her son for eternity.


"Tell me what's in the box!!"
Oh shit. So that's what's in the box. Good lord.
This entire movie ran right on the edge of uber-ickiness. That sloth dude was actually a bigger shocker to me than the head in the box finale. (God, I thought that guy was dead.)
This is one of my favorite horror/mystery films in my vast collection. Grim, dismal and without a doubt one of the darkest movies I've seen.
And while we're at it, I'd have shot the nasty bastard too.


Jaws was chock (or should I say 'chum') -full of Oh My God! and Holy Shit! moments. The first time the Great White takes someone under the water, Ben Gardners's floating head, the shark coming at Hooper in the shark-proof (?) cage, the shark eating Quint and then slamming through the side of the boat, and Brody actually managing to plug the O2 tank with a bullet.... But we're talking endings here, and what really surprised me was when Hooper surfaced after the death of the Great White and he and Brody use the barrels to paddle back to shore in the last few frames of the movie. I'd completely forgotten about Hooper in all the frenzied rush to kill the shark.
Favorite. Film. Ever.

Night of the Living Dead

Oh the irony! That was my thought at the end of this ground-breaking flick from my fellow Western Pennsylvania home-boy.
I could not believe Romero had put this poor dude through all that shit, have him live through it, make it out of the basement and back to civilization...and then have him get SHOT - mistaken for a ghoul. "There's another one for the fire!"
Good lord that was inspired filmmaking.

Donnie Darko

The first time I saw this "alternate universe/time travel/totally messed up" movie I knew I'd have to watch it again to fully grasp the meaning of it. Unfortunately, I'm still not sure I get it. But that freakin' rabbit just scares the living daylights out of me. Every single time. Bunnies should not be sinister.
Regardless, the ending of this film - when you realize Donnie actually died when the plane hit his house (how's that for weird?) - really sends your brain reeling. One of those Sixth Sense kind of moments in film where you can't believe what you just saw.

Carnival of Souls

Have to admit, I had this one pegged about ten minutes in. But it was still fun to sit through it and wonder how long it would take Mary to figure out she's goddamned dead. Supposedly escaping a fatal car accident in which all her friends have died, Mary seems to be the lucky one. But during the entire movie, she's walking around in some kind of perpetual trance, with all those auditory problems and visual hallucinations, wandering around that abandoned amusement park boardwalk....let alone the creepy ghoul (played by the film's director!) constantly showing up - shouldn't that give you some kind of hint?
Anyway - great old movie, with a bitchin' soundtrack of eerie organ music to go along with it.

Sleepaway Camp

For years I avoided this movie simply because I thought the cover art on the VHS tape (yep, showing my age here) was ridiculous. Stupid bloody knife through the shoe, big deal.
I figured it was a major Friday the 13th rip-off and had no desire to see it. Eventually I caved, and while still not my favorite slasher flick, it does have one helluva ending. With elements of Friday, The Burning, Prom Night, and every early 80's Porky's-type film, I didn't find it very unique. Except....the end.
Sleepaway Camp really sets the standard for GOTCHA finales, don't you think? I was utterly grossed out, truth be told, and have only seen it a handful of times since. It just wigs me out.
I'm still saying WTF?


Norman, meet Mother. Mother, Norman.
Oh - you two know each other do ya?
How do I love Psycho? Let me count the ways. No, better not. I'll save that for a future post.
Suffice it to say, I can only imagine seeing this back in 1960 and getting the shock of your life when Norman comes into the fruit cellar all dressed up like Phyllis Diller at a Mennonite funeral toting his Michael Myers-esque knife.
To be honest I can't remember if I knew the ending before I saw it the first time or not. I have the book, and may have read it first, I can't remember at this point. Either way... it was a Sham-Wow moment!

The Sixth Sense

I had no idea. Seriously.
Until the wedding ring fell onto the floor, I didn't know Malcolm was dead. To this day I've not seen a movie that surprised me more than this one. I loved it.
All the hints, all the signs. Still didn't occur to me. Obviously a lot of people felt the same way, as wildly popular as it became.
Best part? Watching it for the second time and going, "Ohhhh, yeaaaah."

The Blair Witch

After I saw this film (thankfully I waited for home release, I would have puked with the moving camera shots like I nearly did when I saw Paranormal Activity on the big screen...Dramamine saved the day there), both my hubby and myself had to literally drag ourselves to our basement to put our dog outside. I was scared shitless. Even he was shook up. All because of that last, effective scene of Mike in the cellar. God how that got to me.
It's not a movie that begs to be seen again, though. I have, but the thrill was gone on repeated viewings. stomach still drops when I think of the first time I saw it.


They had me at "hello" on this one.
I saved this movie for last because it's my favorite horror movie ending, hands down.
No, I didn't have a clue - not even an inkling - that the dude lying in a pool of blood in that wretched warehouse bathroom was our very own John Kramer, a.k.a Jigsaw.
How awesome was it when he picked himself up off the floor and pretty much left Adam to die (which we do see has happened in future installments) in that dank, pitch black craphole.
While the sequels have run amok and overextended their welcome, no one can deny the powerful effect the first movie in the franchise had. Great writing, impressive gore, top-notch finale.
Simply brilliant.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10 Observations about Jennifer's Body

Just watched Jennifer's Body last night, and in lieu of the standard review that everyone has already done quite well across the horror arena, I'm just going to hit on some of the random observations I made while watching this one.

1) Even when they tried to make Megan Fox look like a pile of excrement, she still was better looking than anyone - I repeat, anyone - I went to high school with.

2) Needy's spring formal dress looked like something circa 1984. Why why why? Was she really that geeky? Glasses do not a dork make.
I mean -she had a boyfriend, was copulating with said guy, was BFFs with the prettiest girl in school... that doesn't really scream nerd to me. (Besides, she got the cute guy in that ABBA movie, right?)

3) Diablo Cody is apparently jonesing to be the new Kevin Williamson. Some of the witty banter was actually out of the range of my allegedly (according to my husband!) bottomless vocabulary. Lots of slang in there people, a lot of which in all likelihood, went straight over the head of anyone over 25.

4) For instance, I had no idea "salty" meant 'really attractive'... Go figure. Sounds funny to say Johnny Depp is soooo extra salty.

5) The whole 'fire in the dive bar' cut it just a wee bit too close to that Rhode Island situation back in 2003. I wouldn't have went there, I really wouldn't have.

6) Didn't Jennifer's nasty demon teeth look vaguely familiar? I'm thinking Pennywise the Clown, here.

7) Annoyed me a bit to see Low Shoulder's party van loaded down with things (like a huge book about witches that I actually own) that are supposedly satanic. For the last time, witches do not worship Satan.

8) Do demons really spew black X-Files-ish gunk? Seriously? Lately, it sure seems that way.

9) No explanation was really ever given for Needy's cryptic mini-psychic routine. She can sense that Jennifer is doing something really bad!! (Oh, brother.)

10) The movie's semi-lesbian overtones kept my hubby planted firmly on the couch throughout the whole film - and he doesn't always finish a horror film with me. He was almost shouting for more.

All in all, not a bad film. Not first-class or divine or anything, but campy amusement.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Holy Shit!" endings, Part One

Seeing as how it's the end of the year I got to thinking about endings....
Horror movie endings. Some are so cliched and obvious, but still...the first time you see it it can still be a holy shit moment.
And I like that.

Beware!! Spoilers ahead!!
If you haven't seen one or more of the films listed then perhaps you may want to skip over that picture.

Case in point:

The Others

First off we have the only movie of this entire bunch that I had figured out well in advance. Perhaps it was the fact that I'd already seen The Sixth Sense and Stir of Echoes. But the children, yeah - they looked dead. Come on, people.
It only took me a short time after realizing that the kids were deceased until I concluded that the mother was also dead as a doornail.

*The Wicker Man

This was a holy shit moment for sure. Those freaky celtic pagan weirdos. Poor Sgt. Howie! What a way to go. And all you wanted was to find that missing (not!) little girl. To end up a fiery sacrifice to the pagan gods? Not cool. Not cool at all. The movie, however - consummate coolness.

The Silence of the Lambs

Though once Agent Crawford makes the discovery that Jame Gumb is indeed, not where they suspected and Agent Starling is in dire straits, the mystery is all but revealed - but when Gumb opens the door to greet Starling, and furthermore she sees the Deaths Head Moth fluttering on his table, it all goes downhill for her from there. Fantastic.
The final scene where Lecter calls Starling and promises not to call on her (while plotting Dr. Chilton's imminent demise) is just icing on the cake.

The Skeleton Key

I like movies about voodoo, or hoodoo as the case may be. I don't think there are enough films about voodoo out there. Someone needs to get to it.
When The Skeleton Key came out I was absolutely interested, and though I've heard unkind remarks about it, I actually like it and feel it contained just the right amount of creepy bayou atmosphere. I was, however, surprised by the ending. Maybe others saw it coming, but when I finally realized the hoodoo ritual had snuffed out Caroline's life as she knew it and the spirit of the former servant had inhabited her body, I couldn't help but emit a wow or two.


Like I said - not enough movies about voodoo.
Angel Heart missed out on alot of its well deserved glory simply because Mickey Rourke and Lisa Bonet appeared to have sex (and very well might have) on screen. Adapted from the book 'Falling Angel' by William Hjortsberg, the tale of owed souls and ritualistic voodoo still sits high on my list of mysteries. When Harry finally figures out in the end that he is actually Johnny Favorite gets me every time. And on a side note, Mickey Rourke rocks.

April Fool's Day

This campy mid-80's horror film is near and dear to my heart as one of those films that defines your youth. Be it a guilty pleasure or not, April Fool's Day's infamous twist ending was divine. Some don't like it - saying it was a complete sell out - a Bobby's not dead Dallas spin.
But when Kit hurdles into the living room to find all of her previously "dead" friends relaxing and chatting - and then you find out it was all an April Fool's prank? Brilliant.
But I'd have effing killed them, if I were Kit.


Ahh yes, the hand reaches out from beyond the grave. Carrie's final word (or lack thereof).
Probably isn't a more cliched ending than that one, eh? But the first time you see this movie, there isn't anyone alive who could convince me that it didn't scare the living hell out of them. Simple, effective, fun.

Friday the 13th

On my list of all time favorite movie endings (any genre), Friday the 13th had one of the best finishes in horror history. After Alice slices off Mrs. Voorhees' head and floats off in the canoe, you're thinking it's over. You really are, don't lie. And then WHAMMO! Up Jason comes from the lake. God that was great. When I was 13 and seeing this for the first time that was a major shock. And the fact that Jason was so gosh-darn fugly only added to my terrified glee.
To me, the ending here was far superior to the seemingly better film, Halloween. Wasn't much of a shock to find Michael missing when Loomis glanced out the window. But Jason - shit, that kid was supposed to be dead - and they already surprised you by having the mom be the killer.
I don't care what anyone says - brilliant ending.

Haute Tension (a.k.a High Tension, a.k.a. Switchblade Romance)

The ending of Haute Tension - hell, the last twenty minutes! - is widely criticized as a complete disaster - a cop-out of epic proportions. And certainly, this movie has more plot holes than you can shake a stick at.
But the gore is good, the tension (no pun intended) is blatantly evident, and the cover of Superstar by Sonic Youth is sublime. When it is revealed that Marie is actually the killer and has murdered her friend's family (in addition to a number of others) , it is all you can do to stop yourself from slitting your own throat - or at the least rewinding the thing in your head and saying... wait a damn minute here....

Planet of the Apes

More sci-fi than horror, of course, Planet of the Apes boasts a famous and surprising ending by any account.
When Taylor sees what's left of the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand and realizes he's been home all along - major shocker. Those damn dirty apes!

The Mist

Wow. That's what I muttered when I finished this film. The depressing ending was one of those ones you chat about with your friends at the watercooler - if I actually had any co-workers that watched horror :(
I'd read the Stephen King novella, so I thought I knew what to expect. Not so much. The director of the film changed up the last act, and though it was disheartening, I have to admit it was powerful. When David shoots everyone in the car but himself (only because he ran out of bullets) and then realizes they were about to be rescued it is one of the most heartbreaking moments in a horror film, ever.

Still to come: Part Two....

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Mindless Movie Monday: Mortuary

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
WTF, Tobe Hooper?

I'm not saying I was expecting another Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a Poltergeist (though some might say it's really Spielberg's movie), or even another The Funhouse, okay?
But I was expecting a wee bit of dignity from a man who helped define the horror genre with TCM.

Oh well.

Mortuary (2005) tells the tale of the Doyle family - Mom Leslie (Denise Crosby), teenage son Jonathan (Dan Byrd), and daughter (whose name already escapes me).

("Another movie with a haunted cemetery? Yeah, I guess I could...")

With the father dead and out of the picture, they've come to a small town in California so Mom can put her newly earned mortician license to work. They buy an abandoned funeral home that comes with its own nasty local legend.
The house is an absolute and utter wreck. Leaking faucets with brown water, backed up sewage in the front yard, black fungus all over the walls...let alone the boards in the porch and steps are barely there. No self-respecting parent would move their kids into a shit-hole like this one. Yikes.

(Fixer-upper doesn't begin to cover it...)

Legend states that the land and house are haunted, and that an evil creature/zombie/monster/whatever still lurks in the adjacent creepy cemetery.
Right. Nothing new there.

So Jonathan gets a job at the nearby diner, makes some new friends, smokes some weed, and wanders around the property, eventually falling prey to the power of suggestion and the rumors that surround the place. He and his new buddies discover something does indeed lie in wait on the graveyard grounds.

(she seems to share my unmitigated opinion on this stinker)

When a trio of (very annoying and very stereotyped) gothy-slash-punk teens go missing, Jonathan and Co. find a catacombs of sorts running under the house/cemetery and what surprises them down there is, I guess, the entire implied fright in the film. Whatever.
(This was done so much better in last weeks Mindless Monday, Hell Night.)

("we should have stuck to being Avril Lavingne's backup singers!")

To earmark this as strictly a "zombie" feature would be falling short. It is an odd bird, with Denise Crosby capping off the weirdness with her less than stellar mortician skills and all around irritatingly blasé attitude. The way she acts when performing her duties is what scared me the most. In a serious breach of privacy, ethics, - and all around good manners - she allows her son and his friends to "check out the body" of one of her expired wards.
Say what?
And her unbelieveable lack of aptitude and ability for the task at hand is downright appalling. Perhaps this was meant as comic relief? God I hope so. But the fact that I'm not really sure should speak volumes about the validity of this as an actual horror movie.

(is that observant walking corpse wearing a diaper?)

Then there's the congealed black "X-Files-ish" gunk that seems to be growing all over the house. What gives with that shit? I guess it's supposed to be the creepy---- , but it really looked like icky black mold that would put you in the hospital for an extended stay if you were to inhale too much of it or even worse, have it creep onto you like that crap from 'The Raft' segment of Creepshow 2.
Eventually people start actually spewing the black gunk and the film wanders into campy Evil Dead territory. Wait, hold it. Not really. I mean, I liked The Evil Dead.
In all reality, the black crap looks like that silly string kids squirt out all over each other.

("But they told me it was a Tobe Hooper film, dammit!")

And for reasons only vaguely explained, Mom becomes I'm not sure what to call it - possessed? - and begins acting (only slightly) crazier than she already was. The scene at the dinner table was trying to show shades of Texas Chainsaw but failed miserably.

(Blood. It's what's for dinner!)

Fact of the matter is, Mortuary is not a scary movie. Premiering on the Sci-Fi Channel ought to tell you right there that you're in PG-13 stomping grounds. Though better than the average fare that station serves up, it still lacks a lot. I'm not a big fan of Crosby - she'll always be Rachel Creed to me. And I think her acting lacks depth and certainly this movie does not improve her credibility.
Frankly, she annoys me.

("I'm ready for my close up, Mr. Deville.")

Thankfully, I got this in the bargain bin.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Bloody Sunday

The Descent

The Shining

Inside (and this time, it truly is Inside)

Dead Alive

Cabin Fever

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