Sunday, September 23, 2018

Everybody Hates Lars

Hey, there, people. Welcome to another entry of Will Twerk for Horror Movies! This week’s movie is the kind of movie that puts the fun back in horror.

What? You say? Horror can Yes! Some of the best horror I’ve ever seen is like going to a big corn syrup and red food coloring party. You know, which some latex confetti on the side.

So, Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal starring Thure Lindhardt, Georgina Reilly, Dylan Smith, Alain Goulem, Stephen McHattie and Paul Braunstein. The story is pretty simple. Lars is a formally famous Dutch painter who’s hit a slump and decided to take a job as a teacher in a small town art school in Canada. When the school’s principal Harry (Goulem) tells Lars that the owner’s nephew Eddie(Smith) will come and sit in on his lessons. He tells Lars that Eddie is mentally ill, but pretty docile and to just tolerate him because, well, nepotism.

Lars does just that and takes to Eddie pretty quickly...even though Eddie likes to draw pretty messed up pictures.

Meanwhile, Lars isn’t having a whole lot of luck with the townsfolk. The local sheriff (Braunstein) harrassess him just for having the nerve to be a new guy in town and his neighbor wants to fight him because Lars had the audacity to become a famous painter and fall into a creative slump. I mean, the nerve, right? Even his hot coworker, Lesley(Reilly) won’t give him the time of day. Poor Lars can’t get any respect in his new digs.

That is until the owner of the school passes away unexpectedly and the fate of her nephew Eddie has to be decided. The task falls on the principal and staff, who get together and say: "Hey, Lars, Eddie likes you. He can stay at your house until we can get him placed in a home or something.”

And Lars because it’s bad form to say; “I don’t want to take care of a mentally ill person!” says okay.

It’s a relatively fine setup until Lars finds out that Eddie sleepwalks and when Eddie sleepwalks, he kills and eats things. This time, specifically a bunny. When he asks Lesley about this, Lesley goes; “Yeah, that happens when he’s stressed out or unhappy. It’ll be fine though.”

And since this is a horror movie and not a My Little Pony movie, you can see the rate of escalation.

So, Lars’ neighbor has a dog that barks all night and despite Lars politely asking for his neighbor to please shut his dog up, his requests are ignored. After a particularly sleepless night, Lars gets the bright idea to leave Eddie’s window open in the hopes that he might go and take care of the dog for him. The next morning, Lars finds his plan has worked…a little too well, in fact. When he goes to his neighbor’s house, he finds the corpse of a half eaten dog AND the half-eaten corpse of his neighbor.

Freaked out, Lars does the only logical thing, call the cops he put the body parts in his freezer. The thrill of the event sends Lars into a creative blitz and he goes inside and paints feverishly. Renewed by his latest work, he calls up his dealer, Ronny (McHattie) or, as I like to call him, Canadian Lance Henriksen.

Seriously, he looks like Lance Henriksen. I just found this online. I didn’t even have to create this picture.  Just typed Stephen McHattie and Google autofilled to Stephen McHattie Lance Henriksen.

Anyway, Ronny comes into town and tells him that his new painting is the literal bomb and he’ll give him a bag of money for it. Lars accepts and donates the money to the school. This selfless act makes everyone happy AND scores major brownie points with Lesley.

Lars decides that the best way to obtain respect is to buy it and what better way to get the money than to commit more murder? After he catches three ice fishers making fun of Eddie in the parking lot of a grocery store, Lars decides that the school needs some more money.

So, he ties a dead rabbit to his snowmobile and waits for Eddie to sleepwalk. Once outside, Lars leads Eddit to where the ice fishers fishing. Eddie promptly murders them and Lars bags the bodies. After he gets home, he paints another brilliant painting.

Lars donates more money to the school and manages to score a date with the Lesley. Somewhere in all that, Lesley hints that the school could use a little more money, leaving Lars to start hatching a plan to get someone else killed. He sits down with Eddie and tells him just one more time and we’re done. Okay? Okay!

Only, Eddie doesn’t sleep walk this time. Confused, Eddie asks Lesley about it and she tells him that it’s because Eddie’s not stressed anymore. He’s happy living with Lars, clearly. Lars immediately starts thinking of ways to change that. Then Lesley shows Lars her new sculpture, like all “Look! Look at my masterpiece!”

Apparently, it’s really good because Lars’ reacts logically by being supportive putting down her hard work and talking to her as if she’d just given him her macaroni picture from third grade.

Lars has an attitude now and while shopping, he takes it out on Eddie. Feeling bad after, he apologizes and everything’s copacetic...until Eddie starts sleepwalking again. Only this time, he’s gone on a rampage. Lots and lots of people in town are now getting eaten. Lars, again, does the logical thing and calls the cops goes home and starts painting another brilliant picture.

Meanwhile, the local sheriff who’d been giving Lars a hard time for no real reason has come over to apologize for his behavior. He’s interrupting Lars and Lars is behaving like a drug addict trying to hide the fact that he’s high. As he’s about to leave, Lars notices the pandemonium outside of his house, he starts coming up with reasons why officer jerk needs not to leave just yet. Fortunately, the sheriff has paperwork for him to sign for Eddie so he can go to a nice group home. Lars takes the paperwork into the next room to fill it out real quick.

The sheriff happens to notice some of Eddie’s crayon artwork and happens to find one that details one of Eddie and Lars murder trips, where they put some bodies in the freezer out back. So, the sheriff goes out to the freezer only to find lots of dead body pieces...just in time to catch a rock to the head from Lars.

So. Lars now having actually killed someone himself, gets new inspiration for his artwork. So, he comes back to paint onto to find Lesley who tells him she just saw Eddie killing people. Eddie comes in and tries to kill them, of course. After battling Eddie and nearly dying, Lars finishes his final painting.

But. You know. He doesn’t die. Neither does Eddie. They all live happily ever after, actually. Yeah, he doesn't even do jail time.

All right, so what do I give this one? I’d say this is worth a jewel. I can even forgive the fact that they don’t ever show any of the artwork other than Eddie’s crayon art. I would have liked to have seen some cool bloody paintings too.

Okay, so we’re skipping next week because I’ll be out of town. But when I come back we’ll review Evil Behind You. See you next time!



Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dracula at the Bolshoi!

Hello everyone! And welcome back!

Before we get started, a word about vampire movies.

When I was a little girl, the very first horror movie that ever made me desperately want to have an insatiable love for the dead was the 1979 version of Dracula with Frank Langella. On our little black and white television, I watched with eager anticipation as Langella’s version of Dracula seduced every woman within a thousand mile radius of him. It was the first time I’d ever seen a movie where I kind of wanted to be the bad guy’s girlfriend...or be the bad guy, whichever.

That being said, I hold vampire movies to a higher standard than I do most other horror movies. Like, seriously, if you want a jewel from me and you’ve got a vampire movie, you better bring your A game.

I have a whole system to it, of course, but I’m gonna save that for another time because this week’s doesn’t really apply. In fact, I’m not even sure I should be reviewing it on a horror blog. Let’s just get into it.

Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary starring Wei-Qiang Zhang, Tara Birtwhistle, David Moroni, CindyMarie Small, Johnny A. Wright, Stephane Leonard, Matthew Johnson, Keir Knight, Brent Neale, and Stephanie Ballard.

So, if you’ve seen any movie based on the Brom Stoker version of Dracula, then I don’t have to run down the plot for you. If you haven’t, however, I’m seriously gonna need you to stop right here and go watch any version of the story. Consider it a part of your education into horror. I personally recommend either the 1979 or 1992 Francis Ford Coppola versions.

But essentially, this movie basically follows the same story. Dracula(Zhang) seduces young socialite Lucy(Birtwhistle), then her best friend Mina (Small). Renfield(Neale) is a crazy, bug-eating guy with an insatiable love for the dead, and Dr. Helsing(Moroni) and Lucy’s three suitors(Leonard, Johnson, and Knight) all battle Dracula for the poor young women’s souls. No surprises there.

What is a this:

Yes. This is not so much a movie as it is a ballet. It’s made up like an old silent movie with a soundtrack and all the lines delivered on title cards. And everyone dances.

But I liked the presentation, a lot actually. The xenophobic theme from the original story is played up considerably with the casting of Zhang as Dracula, who, by the way, is positively smoldering. Despite this essentially being a silent film, Zhang and the entire cast emote passion while conveying the story. It was...well, it was really beautiful.

Which is why I don’t think I can give this one a jewel or anything. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I liked it a lot. This is the kind of thing I would love to see live in a theatre. It’s my idea of an Addam’s Family night out… you know, if they were going to the ballet.

But I don’t feel like this was horror enough for me. I mean, sure, it fits the basic definition in that it’s based on a horror story...but…

It was beautiful. It was artfully crafted. It was as gorgeous of a movie as any of the best Brom Stoker Dracula’s have been...but it just didn’t fall into my criteria of horror.

I did like it, though. And if you’re spending Halloween at your grandparent’s house, you can totally put this one and not have to worry about massive bloody scenes or random boobs.

So, okay, next week’s movie we swing into the “E”s with Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal. Sounds like a winner. :)


Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Fairy Good Movie (See what I did there?)

Ahoy-hoy faithful readers! So, here we are with this week’s new movie and oh, do I have a lovely installment for you.

Before I get into it, let me wax poetic about one of my favorite directors/writers - Guillermo Del Toro, the genius behind today’s movie. Ahem.

I love his movies, muchly. <3

Thank you.

Don’t be Afraid of the Dark starring Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, and Bailee Madison. The story’s pretty straightforward. Sally(Madison) is a little girl with a troubled past moves in with her father (Pearce)and his girlfriend Kim (Holmes) after her mother decides she doesn’t want her anymore. All this occurs right when her father and father’s girlfriend are in the middle of renovating a beautiful old mansion. Everything goes okay until Little Sally stumbles upon fairies in the furnace of a hidden basement.

Now. A few words before we move on. Given that this a horror blog, you’ve probably already guessed that the aforementioned fairies are not sparkly, Tinkerbell-esque, Navi-following-Link-around-a-Deku-Forest fairies. The thing is, if you know anything about the actual folklore, then you know that fairies are not necessarily bright and shiny creatures. In fact, most accounts suggest that should you meet one...or a pack of should endeavor upon not angering them in any way. Under normal circumstances, they are more mischievous than they are anything else, but to piss them off is asking for an entire barrel of kickass to be dumped on your front lawn.

And that’s exactly what happens to little Sally and her dad and girlfriend. The fairies start off pretty cute by playing nice with Sally, but as the story moves forward they get, aggressive.

Which leads me to the one thing I did not like about this movie. The characters, which sucks to say because I liked literally EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HAPPENS in this movie. Like this totally passed my Guillermo del Toro checklist in all regards.

Beautifully frightening cinematography and sets? Check.

High class, top-tier acting from a very well put together cast? Check.

Fairytale like quality story in a real world setting? Check.

Individually imaginative monster design? Check and Check.

The characters, however...well, let’s be real, okay? They are wholly unlikable. The father appeared to care far more about getting in “Architectural Digest Weekly” or whatever than the mental stability of his daughter. The girlfriend is well-meaning but kind of mealy-mouthed and boring and to top things off, the mother (who they only speak of) really did just give her child away. I would go in on Sally, but...well, she’s just a kid and I suppose if I had parents like hers, I might be stupid enough to release fairies from an old creepy furnace just because they asked me to.

So, anyway, the stories follows the typical kid-loosed-evil-and-adults-don’t-believe-them archetype. No matter what little Sally tells her dad, he just doesn’t buy that she’s not the one causing wanton mischief in their house. The monsters that tried attacking her and ripped up her teddy bear are just nightmares, nothing more and while most parents might remedy the situation by allowing them to the request of sleeping with the lights on, or, maybe, sleeping with them for a night or two, Daddy Dearest does nothing of the sort. He does what busy people who don’t engage their children do, send them straight to the psychiatrist to up their meds. Woo, ritalin!

Okay, so fortunately for little Sally, Daddy’s girlfriend Kim gets with the program early and starts actually looking into Sally’s claims. See, the previous owner of the house was a famous photographer and was said to have disappeared after his son disappeared. She does a little digging and finds out that maybe, just maybe, fairies might be real. And maybe they might have something to do with the disappearance of both the boy and his father.

All right, so, Sally’s father throws a big important party for big important people and Kim, who’s fully engaged with the fact that fairies or no fairies, something really wrong is happening and they need to get Sally out of the house immediately, starts packing little Sally’s bags. In the meantime, she tells Sally to use a polaroid to get pictures of the fairies, plus, as an added bonus, the flash will keep them at bay because, much like gremlins, they don’t like bright light.

So, the party’s happening and little Sally is going around the house snapping pictures of as many fairies as she can. They manage to trap her in one of the rooms and attack her. Fortunately, her father manages to break into the room and save her before they can do her harm.

Okay, so, with her pictures of fairy attacks all over the place and one squashed fairy as proof, dad finally decides that maybe this environment isn’t a good one for a small child. Kim shows him the basement where the fairies are and they decide that they’re going to leave right away. Of course, that means they have to get attacked by fairies on the way out. And then, the next popular Guillermo del Toro trope, that one truly wholesome character in the story has to die.

Check. Sorry, Kim, it was nice knowing you.

And having survived the harrowing adventure, father and daughter leave the house and drive off into the sunset. The furnace is bolted shut forever...or at least until the next family moves in.

Okay, so this was going to get a jewel just by right of being a Guillermo del Toro joint. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything done by him that I’ve out and out hated. What can I say, he makes good movies. Plus, I might add, this is a REMAKE and if I have not mentioned it yet, I have no love for remakes. If you ever hear me saying that I like a remake, it's a damned good remake.

Okay, so next week we are taking a brief detour into Dracula territory with Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary. Another one that I have no idea what to expect, but I have high expectations for Dracula movies and vampire movies in general. I’m gonna grade this one pretty hard so I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

See you next time!


Sunday, September 2, 2018

101 Ways to Murder Santa

Hello, everybody! So, thanks to events out of my control, you might’ve noticed that I’m a little late getting a post out. Never fear, though, I’m still here and I’ve got a new movie to review.

Before we get to the aforementioned review, however, I just need to give props to my fellow coworker at FPL and fellow horror enthusiast, Jeff Milo, for his review of my book Three A.M. Best review I’ve gotten so far! Please, check it out.

So, okay, this week’s movie:

I do love a good Christmas Horror Movie.

Don’t Open Till Christmas starring Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne, Mark Jones, and Gerry Sundquist. The story of this one is pretty simple. Somewhere in England, there’s someone murdering men dressed as Santa Claus. The story begins when Kate (Mayne) and her boyfriend Cliff (Sundquist) are at a party where Kate’s dad is dressed as a Santa Claus to entertain the guests. As he comes out on stage, he’s murdered by a mysterious man in a mask and cloak. The story kind of follows them and Inspector Harris (Purdom) Detective Powell (Jones) while they try to track down the killer.

So, obviously, this one falls into the Slasher Movie category, which means I’ll be measuring this one’s merits by Blood, Boobs, Body Count, and Bad Acting as per usual.

First off – Blood: A

So, there was an admirable amount of blood and murder and gore. I was fairly impressed with the imagination level of the Santa deaths. One Santa gets his face burned on a chestnut stove, a couple gets axes and knives to the face, lots of stabbing and chopping. It was exactly as I expected for a 1984 slasher flick. More on the Santa deaths in a minute.

Boobs: C

There are two boob shots and it’s the same girl, which is a pretty low number for slasher movies of the time. There is, however, a scene where the naked woman in question is narrowly missed being killed because of her hot bod.

Really. That’s it. Because of her hot bod. He looks at her body, acts like he’s gonna kill her, runs away.

Body Count: A+

Like I said; Very imaginative Santa deaths. All told, there were seventeen deaths altogether with ten Santas biting the dust. The Santa deaths break down to five stabbings, one impalement, one death by explosion, one shot in the mouth, one castration, and one death by a machete to the face.

Bad Acting: A++++

The acting was positively exquisite in its awfulness. Wooden movements, flat responses, the villain mugging for the camera as he leers over his victim. It was so glorious. For instance, the aforementioned naked woman makes this face for a solid five minutes while she's not being killed:

So, all in all, this one gets the jewel. It’s just good Saturday Afternoon Thriller Double Feature kind of fun. Blood, gore, corny acting. This one’s a winner all the way around.

Next week’s movie is…?

I don’t know. I didn’t have a chance to grab the next movie. So I guess it will be a surprise for us all!