Sunday, December 30, 2018

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Read a Blog

Hey, there horror fans. How’ve you been? You probably have been wondering what the heck happened to me. Did you miss me? Did you send out a search party for me?

Weeeellll, that little thing I was doing - you know, that thing involving a Master’s Degree? Well, guess what? Your girl graduated!

That’s right. Gradamanated! With a God-blessed Master’s Degree! That’s right, I am a graduate AND a Master!

So, as you can imagine, it’s been a very busy bunch of weeks for me. Finally, though, I’ve been able to get caught up on my movie watching. So here, it is, people - just in time for the New Year!

Let’s get this started.

First, The Fearless Vampire Killers Or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck (Also known as The Dance of the Vampire Killers) starring Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate, Jack MacGowran, Alfie Bass, Jessie Robins, Fiona Lewis, and Ferdy Mayne.

And no, I’m not just going to gloss over the fact that Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate are both in this movie. For those of you into collecting serial killer fun facts, this portion of the blog will be dedicated to your next Trivial Pursuit game night!

The movie begins sometime in the 19th century with Professor Abronsius (MacGowran) and his apprentice Alfie (Polanski) as they travel through Transylvania in search of vampires. It’s winter and it’s cold and after Professor Abronsius legit almost freezes to death, they decide maybe they should find an inn to stay in.

They find a little inn in the village where the owners and staff are actively engaging in shenanigans. You know, drinking and scoffing at the professor when he talks shop about vampires, chasing around the pretty barmaid, you know, basic 1960s shenanigan stuff.

So, amongst the shenaniganry, Alfred notices the owner’s hot daughter. Well, more like he walks in on her as she is taking a bath. See, unlike the other unwashed heathen villagers, Sarah likes to bathe. This pisses off Sarah’s dad. He promptly chastises her and tells her that bathing is bad so stop it or else and he threatens to padlock the bathroom door.

Okay, so we get a few more shenanigan scenes (including the owner actively sexually harassing his barmaid while she’s trying to get ready for bed) before the story gets moving finally. Alfred is getting reading for bed when he walks in on Sarah in the bath...again. They get to talking and she tells him that her unusual habit of bathing comes from the time she spent out of town where people bathed all the time. Now she can’t get enough of it despite her uncultured swine of a father’s protests.

Because Alfred isn’t a creep, he leaves her to bathe in peace. Shortly after leaving, however, he hears a commotion. He breaks in the bathroom to find a broken skylight and a missing girl. Since, as you can imagine, that sort of thing will make a whole lotta noise, the owner and Sarah’s father soon comes in with his wife in tow. Sarah’s father tells Alfred and the Professor that Sarah has been kidnapped by the local vampire - Count von Krolock.

Alfred’s all:

While Professor Abronsius is all:

Alfred and The Professor start to hatch a plan to protect the inn and get Sarah back. Meanwhile, Sarah’s dad is so distraught that he runs off after the Count with basically just some garlic and hope. Needless to say, he’s promptly attacked and turned into a vampire.

Then there are shenanigans again. Then, shortly after that, Sarah’s father breaks into the barmaid’s room and attacks her. Alfred and the Professor go after Sarah’s father, tracking him all the way to Count Vorlock’s castle...where they are promptly captured.

Count Vorlock and his stereotypically homosexual son question why they’re there and the Professor comes up with a winning answer.

So, the count tells him that he and Alfred should stay the night and join him for the big party he’s having later. Professor and Alfred are pretty much terrified at this point so they say; “Sure sounds like a plan.”

Okay, so Alfred and the Professor are shown to their rooms. The next morning, but they quickly decide to use the opportunity to find Sarah. They creep around the castle and accidentally find Count Vorlock’s resting place...well...they climb the roof and Alfred climbs in through a tiny window while Professor Ambrosius gets stuck halfway in.

While stuck there, he tells Alfred that this is their chance and that they can murder The Count in his sleep. Yay! End of movie. Everybody go home. Only, Alfred’s too chicken to do it. He decides that he needs to get back outside to pull the professor out of the window...which means he has to go all the way back through the castle.

On his way, he runs into Sarah...who’s bathing...again…

Sarah tells Alfred about the big party going on and asks him to join her. Alfred, who is completely defenseless against a beautiful naked woman in a bathtub is all:

So, he turns to get her clothes and she Batman’s out. Alfred suddenly remembers that the professor is still, literally ass-out in the snow on the roof and hurries to rescue him. Alfred takes the half-frozen professor back to the room and resumes his search for Sarah. What he finds instead Count Vorlock’s son who, being a flaming homosexual in 1967, clearly wants Alfred’s hot bod. Alfred escapes him in a Scooby-Doo style chase sequence.

So, Alfred eventually finds The Professor and after being chased onto a balcony with an old rusty turret. Count Vorlock’s son locks them in, thinking that they’ll undoubtedly freeze to death, but the Professor realizes that they have...a

They blow the door open and they stumble into the big vampire ball that Sarah mentioned earlier. They steal some costumes from some unsuspecting vampires and sneak into the party.

At the party, the Professor and Alfred notice Sarah and decide that this is the perfect time to grab her and tip out the back door with her while everyone else is busy getting their vampiric groove on. Alfred and The Professor do-si-do their way around the room until they’re finally arm in arm with Sarah. The three of them are almost out of the door when they notice that there is a mirror at the door. Fun Fact about vampire myths:

So, BIG Scooby-Doo chase scene to round out the movie, ending with the three of them escaping the castle. Just when you think they got away, Sarah reveals that it’s far too late for her anyway and she bites our fearless heroes. And they die. The End.

Yup. So…

The next movie slipped in from the new pile so, as per the rules, I had to go back to the Cs.

The Cured starring Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawler, Stuart Graham, and Paula Malcomson, Peter Campion and whatever kid plays “Cillian”. (They don’t list the actor on IMDB, and it’s been a frickin month since I saw the credits, so, yeah, here we are.)

Sometime in the near future in England and it’s just after a near-devastating zombie outbreak. A cure has been found for most of the formerly infected, but some zombies are just too zombified. So, officials did what officials do in these situations - quarantine them in prison/research facilities because that NEVER goes wrong in these zombie outbreak stories.

So, Senan (Keeley) is a member of the formerly deceased or the "cured”. After having just come back living the zombie life, Senan is put in quarantine with other ‘cured’ members of society. While in quarantine, he meets up with a friend he made while being a zombie, Conor (Vaughan-Lawler) and it’s clear they have a Tupac/Omar Epps in ‘Juice’ kind of friendship in that Senan wants to get back to his former life and live as a peaceful human while Conor has more of a “F the Police” attitude about life.

After meeting with his...parole officer(Sorry, they call him something else, but he really functions more like a parole officer than whatever else he’s supposed to be to Senan) he goes to live with his sister-in-law, Abbie(Page) and nephew Cillian.

So, at a certain point, Abbie starts asking Senan if he remembered anything about his brother Luke - who’s still among the missing. Senan tells her he doesn’t know, which Abbie believes (because why shouldn’t she believe him.) Meanwhile, Senan’s having nightmares about his past life

See, The Cured remember the life they had when they were zombies, which, if you think about it is pretty messed up. I mean, being a zombie is one thing. Remember that you ate your neighbor’s face off is a totally different thing. It’s the kind of thing that gives you PTSD.

Meanwhile, Conor - who used to be a politician - is now doing janitorial work. He tries to reach out to his father who chases him off because when Conor was a zombie he ate his mother, which is messed up, but, I mean, he did eat his own mother.

Back at the recently deceased rehab center, Senan and Conor’s parole officer gets wind of Conor’s little visit to his father. He tells them that they shouldn’t try reconnecting with people from their old life, only he doesn’t say as nice as I just said it. He takes a more; “You’re an idiot for trying to talk to your father after eating your mother” way of saying things.

So, Conor - who used to have a cushy job and nice cushy life -- is now a janitor...whose surviving family hates him because he was a zombie and ate one of them. This is kind of a common theme among all the “cured”. Family and friends and even perfect strangers are persecuting them because, well, like a week ago, they were zombies. Being the political-minded guy that he is, he decides to gather several of the other “cured” from the rehab facility and form his own underground group - “The Cured Alliance”. Naturally, he asked Senan to join. Senan’s like Nah.

Meanwhile, meanwhile, Senan gets a job working at the “resistant” prison research facility where a scientist, Dr. Lyons (Malcomson) is working on a cure for the resistant despite the scary military men telling her to knock it off since they plan on just euthanizing the resistant anyway. Dr. Lyons protests as she works on this one patient, but the officials are less than optimistic.

Okay, Senan’s under a lot of pressure, with the political pressure and the currently living are making a big stink all around them. It seems that people are a little pissed that the cured are just walking around after their big murder spree. Plus Conor is in Senan’s ear talking about how the world hates them and they need to stand up for their rights and oh, yeah! We’re connected now, you know cuz of that thing you and me did.

Oooh, blackmail. So, needless to say, Senan agrees to go on Conor’s little terrorist trip, which, as it happens is an arson. The next morning, he finds out that a whole lot of currently living people were in the building and died because of it...including a military man.

This causes Senan and Conor’s parole officer to show up at Abbie’s house and question her about what she knows, which is nothing. He warns her though that the “cured” tend to travel in packs and have telepathic qualities about them. He shows her pictures of Senan and Conor traveling together as zombies and suggests that they might not be as innocent as she thinks.

Okay, so Abbie’s getting suspicious. She meets up with Conor who spills the beans about Senan’s little secret...that he was the one who infected Senan and that they killed her husband Luke. She doesn’t believe Conor, so she confronts Senan who confesses.

Abbie flips out and tells him to get out of her house. Senan complies and having nowhere to go, goes to his parole officer and tells him that Conor needs to be stopped. They decide to set up a sting operation to catch Conor.

It goes wrong. Conor murders Senan’s parole officer and Conor goes running off into the night.

Conor and the “Cured Alliance” decide to cook up a plan to free the resistant from the prison research facility. They do and before you know it:

Senan searches for Abbie who’s desperately trying to get her son Cillian from school. Senan tells her he will find him while she gets to safety. He does find Cillian...and a bunch of angry zombies...AND Conor who beats the brakes off him. His only savior being a soldier who just happens to come along at the right time and shoots Conor.

Senan and Cillian manage to make it back to Abbie’s apartment, only to get attacked by a zombie that got in the house. Senan and Abbie take care of it, but not before discovering that young Cillian has been bitten.

Knowing he’s immune, Senan convinces Abbie to let him take Cillian away until a cure can be found for him. The movie closes with Abbie watching the news a little later, the government is still planning on killing the resistant, the cured are still doing terrorist things and the world sucks on the whole. 

So, it ends like every Zombie movie, in other words.

K, Next movie,

The Endless starring Aaron Morehead, Justin Benson, Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington, Shane Brady, Lew Temple, Kira Powell, David Lawson Jr., James Jordan, Emily Montague, Peter Ciella, Vinny Curran, and Ric Sarabia.

Okay, so Aaron (Morehead) and Justin (Benson) are brothers living in the stark, unforgiving reality of life. They’ve got crap jobs, they’re broke, and Aaron didn’t change the battery in their truck...again. While getting ready for their crap job, Aaron gets a videotape in the mail. He plays the tape for his brother and they watch as a young woman tells them not to panic should they come back and they’re not at Camp Arcadia anymore. That it’s okay because they’ve all “ascended”.

Oh...sorry, I forgot to mention. About ten years ago, Aaron and Justin used to be in a cult. Justin escaped and apparently dragged his brother out kicking and screaming because now Aaron’s all “Real life sucks balls, I wish I were back in the cult.”

Justin does his best to distract him from his Kool-aid drinking narrative. Unfortunately, Aaron has a valid point. They’re broke - like Ramen every night broke. They have terrible jobs and at least Aaron is pretty darned miserable in the real world. Aaron makes the case that at least, where they were before, they were being taken care of. Justin retorts with “Dude, it was a cult.”

Aaron doesn’t let it go however and manages to convince his brother to take him back for one day. Just one day. The tape proves they didn’t, in fact, drink the Kool-aid and are probably still alive. They should go back. Justin still tells him that it’s a cult, but, feeling like maybe it might help settle Aaron’s mind, he reluctantly agrees.

So, they go back to the camp and are welcomed by everyone including Hal (Ellington), the unspoken leader in the camp and Anna (Hernandez) who has a crush on Aaron…which is weird, because ten years ago, Aaron was, like, ten and Anna was like twenty. And there’s Lizzy (Powell) who draws creepy pictures in her spare time.

Aaron and Justin are engaging in Camp Arcadia’s camp activities and towards the end of the day, Aaron feels like maybe there is more there for him to experience. He convinces Justin to stay just one more day. Justin tells him again “Still a cult”, but reluctantly agrees to stay.

So, that night they engage in a parlor game called “The Struggle”. Hal takes one end of the rope and the other end disappears in the dark. He talks about the metaphor of fighting with life struggles. He loses the tug of war when the rope comes out of his grip. He invites Aaron to try. When he does, he fails at first, but then wraps the rope around his waist and tries again, pulling the rope back successfully.

Hal invites Justin to try next. Justin doesn’t want to but does anyway. He takes the rope and is yanked. Hard.

But that’s just the beginning! Weird crap starts happening all over the place and it makes Justin more and more nervous. At a certain point, he feels like he’s being watched only to find a photograph of a buoy in the lake that he and brother fished in. When he takes the photo to Hal, Hal tells him that he doesn’t really know, but it seems like it’s a message for him to look at the bottom of the lake.

The next day, Justin and Aaron are fishing and Justin tries to tell Aaron that there’s something freaky going on. Aaron brushes him off and tells him he’s just being paranoid. Justin decides to jump out of the boat and swim to the bottom of the lake in order to find whatever it was that Hal said was there.

When he comes back up, he comes up with a toolbox. Freaked out, he tells Aaron to get them out of there because there was something at the bottom of the lake. Something big and scary and most certainly deadly.

So, back at the camp, Aaron and Justin look in the toolbox. In the toolbox, is a videotape. They take the tape to Hal, who plays it in front of everyone. On the tape, is Aaron and Justin in full cult mode, misrepresenting the cult to outsiders. Embarrassed, Justin, Aaron and Hal get into an argument about the tape and where it came from. Justin accuses Hal of being a cult leader and Hal reveals one of the many lies that Justin told the press in front of Aaron. Aaron realizes that his brother made up stories to get him to leave Camp Arcadia with him and tells him that he’s staying at the camp.

Justin leaves…or rather, tries to leave. He gets to the car and tries to start it, but it doesn’t start because Aaron never changed the car battery. Justin goes to find help and promptly gets lost. It’s then that he discovers people stuck in different time loops, unable to get out. He’s told that as long as he can leave before the rising of the third moon, he’ll be free of the loop…but he needed to get away from Camp Arcadia PDQ.

Yeah, there are three moons. Just stick with me here, we’re almost through.

So, Justin wanders until he finally finds Aaron again. He tells Aaron that they have to leave by the third moon if they want to escape the whole loop thing and Aaron is like:

They leave, deciding to try to find their way back to the camp. On the way back, Aaron tells Justin that he wants to stay behind anyway. Being stuck in the loop in Camp Arcadia would be better than going back to their crap lives. Justin says:

When they get back to the camp, they find another video. The video shows the cult members sacrificing themselves to the unknown entity. Aaron and Justin run to the site where the tape showed the cult members and everyone’s gone. Aaron gets upset because he wanted to go with them. He, then, tells Justin that he’s going to stay behind anyway. When they come back, he’s going to be waiting for them. Justin listens to him and decides that if his brother is going to stay, then he’s going to have to stay too.

And right then, the whole damned sky opens up and threatens to swallow them up. They run, Aaron telling Justin “I was just playing!” and they find their car. The car won’t start, so they have to push start the car. After throwing around a few “I love you, bro” type quips, they get the car started and escape Camp Arcadia.

Yup. An actual happy ending in a horror movie…and it worked! I am brimming with joy.

The last movie for this week was…well…let’s just say this summary will be quick.

Felt starring Amy Everson, Kentucky Audley, Ryan Creighton, Elisabeth Ferrara, and Roxanne Knouse.

Okay, so here is where I give you a summary telling you what went down in as much detail as my horror-addled brain can manufacture. Well…sorry to say that while I could do that, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Try to imagine spending two hours watching someone’s Instagram story and it ends with stabbing and dismemberment. That’s basically Felt. The story follows an artist who has experienced a trauma (that is never explained) and how she weirdly navigates through…life…I guess?

There is a scene where Amy (Everson) is supposed to take sexy pictures with another woman, but ends up in a makeshift bra and panties (that has a cloth vagina on it) and they are farting…repeatedly. She works dancing in a chicken suit during the day. She trollops through the woods in a hand made bra and panties (with a penis attached), she talks to other people like she’s fourteen years old…it was really terrible.

I’m not completely obtuse, here. I realize that this is some kind of symbolism involving women and how much men suck but it was just poorly executed. Poorly, poorly executed. None of the characters were remotely appealing and the story – what little there was – was BOOOOOORRRRRIIIINNNNNGGGG. As I’ve said before, in the world of horror, I’m perfectly willing to let a lot of poop fly through the gates, just please, for pity’s sake, make it interesting.

All right! That’s four movies in the can. The final verdict?

The Cured and The Endless get jewels because, well, they were really well done. I might even make The Endless a part of my personal collection. I really did adore these movies. The Fearless Vampire Killers gets a jewel strictly for the culture. While I can see myself having watched and loved this movie back in the day, it doesn’t hold up well with time. I can’t deny the classics, however.

And Felt, yeah, that’s a hard pass. If you’re one of those people that needs a television to help you sleep at night, put this one on. I promise you’ll be out in minutes. Big old Raspberry there.

Okay, next week’s movie? The Fields which boasts that it’s based on a true story. Should be interesting, yes? See you next week and Happy New Year!

-- O~