tisdag 29 september 2009

The Thaw (2009)

One of my all time favorite books is Carl Zimmers Parasite Rex, an informative and extremely well written book about parasites. Zimmer is one of those people who can write in such a way that even an average Joe like me can understand how parasites changes a persons DNA to escape detection by the bodys immunesystem or how it control a slug like a zombie. For instance, did you know that there is a type of fluke that wants pigs as their host and end up in their liver, but if they get into a human by mistake they get all confused and travel to the brain, and then you are pretty much fucked. Parasites are awesome and disgusting creatures and a perfect concept for a horror movie. Read the book. I truly recommend it.

With that said we move on the the subject of this review, an ecological horror movie called The Thaw or Frozen. It is a fairly serious movie considering it's plot and more low key and realistic than similar movies. On the other hand it's rather obvious what the message is and produces more groans and sighs than thoughts about the environment... Val Kilmer plays a scientist in northern Canada who is tagging an icebear but finds a mammoth in the thawing ice (global warming). Just two days later several of his crew are dead and to complicate matters his daughter and a couple of students are on their way to the site. It goes without saying (after my long rant about how cool parasites are) that a parasite is at fault, and global warming has set it free!

As a horror movie The Thaw is pretty decent. The parasites are nasty, there is a pretty nasty gorescene where one of the characters tries to remove his infection and the location is great. The photography is really good and the sfx competent, both cgi and practical. The characters are somewhat cliched but work in context of the story, although the dialogue is somewhat awkward. The reason for this - Mark A Lewis, the movies director and co-writer, is trying to tell us something about global warming and he isnt exactly subtle about it. Global warming is baaad and he is hammering it in with a sledgehammer. It would've worked better if the script had been toned down a bit and not so obvious. Otherwise, this is a pretty nice litte horrormovie with nasty creatures that make you feel all itchy while watching it and is good entertainment.

Guilty pleasures aka Movies I love that everyone tends to hate

1. Oasis of the zombies.

I dont really know why I like this one. It is a fairly typical sloppy work of Jess Franco with tons of ugly zooms and lousy sfx. But there is something about zombies in the desert that makes me ignore its faults. Towards the end there are a couple of nice, eerie scenes (that almost are destroyed by that awful skull on a stick) and the story isnt half bad. I would like the spanish version though which isnt available with english subtitles.

2. Burial Ground

I hated Andrea Bianchis dirty little zombie movie back when I saw it in the 80s but I hated coffee too and and has since them learned to love both. I totally worship the filthy zombies, the awesome bleep and bloops of the soundtrack and the overall bleak atmosphere.

3. Species 2.

Seriously, why does everyone hate this one? It has everything. Gore, tits and tentacles, and it's constantly entertaining. What more do you need?

4. Book of shadows: Blair witch project 2

I have no idea why this was universally panned. It's a good horromovie and the filmmakers tried for something different.

The Deadly affair (1966)

Spy movies are cool. Spy movies with James Mason are cool. Spy movies where the main character has a swedish nymphomaniac for a wife is... well, I dont know. Deadly affair is based on a book by John LeCarre which I havent read. Is she swedish in the book as well or is she swedish just because the whole world thought that all swedish women were nymphomaniacs back in 1965?
Anyway, this is based upon one of John LeCarre books about George Smiley (Charles Dobbs in the movie because Paramount owned the movierights to the character), a british secret agent who is investigating the possible suicide of a person in the Foregin office who is suspected to be an active communist. Of course, matters are not as they seem and when his superiors want to close the case as a suicide, Dobbs resigns and starts to investigate deeper himself. Complicating matters are problems at home with a wife who doesnt seem to keep herself from sleeping with just about any man she can get into the pants of.

It's pretty decent story with a nice set of intrigues and deception, though the pace is pretty slow, but that is exactly how I want it when it comes to this type of movies. Sydney Lumet is an expert in making lowkey thrillers like this and The Deadly affair is no exception, and with actors like James Mason, Maximilian Schell, Simone Signoret and a whole bunch of classy english actors (including David Warner in an uncredited performance) you know you are in for a treat. Add a funky score by Quincy Jones and you got a solid little movie. Not a masterpiece but a solid little picture for anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

måndag 28 september 2009

The Dark Lurking (2008)

Now this is my kind of movie! I make no secret of the fact that I love Alienripoffs, there is nothing more cozy than a couple of cheap special effects and a nice, drooling Gigeresque monster. Back in the eightes most of the movies that came out were violent and sleazy but lately most of the movies have been cheap things full of poor cgi. That doesnt exactly have to be bad, some of those movies are entertaing but I prefer those large pieces of semi-immobile rubber of old. Fortunately, Greg Connors from Australia seems to feel the exact same way and has made a movie that kicks the ass of most scifihorrors of the last 10-20 years! Awesome.

Every fan of James Camerons Aliens know that the truly good stuff happens about an hour and a half into the movie, when all hell breaks loose and the marines desperately try to survive in a very deadly environment full of fast, nasty things. The Dark Lurking begins in that exact situation with a bunch of mercenaries trying to reach the exit from an underground installation and from then on it is a nice rollercoasterride full of monsters and gore. Connors and his fellow filmmakers have done their homework well: The corridors are cramped and dark and full of smoke, the blinking lights are everywhere (even in the ventilationshafts!) and the sliding doors make that whooshing noise that they are supposed to do. All the characters are cliches, tough mercenaries, scared scientists but knowingly so. We even have a Sigourney Weaver lookalike, although her part in the proceedings are a bit more cooler. In fact, the reason for this infestation is way cooler than usual and pretty hilarious (in a good way). The monsters themselves are actually more zombielike and somewhat similiar to the meatballheads of Nightmare city, with some exceptions of a couple of very familiar domeheadlike things that pop up from time to time. We even get a whole bunch of pretty nice gorescenes with excellent makeupeffects.

Ok, so I am in love with this movie and it may cloud my judgement, so to insure you that I'm not blind I will agree that the movie has faults. The acting is pretty mediocre, though not poor enough to ruin the movie. The actors are Australian, but most of them tries an american accent which actually makes them sound dubbed (though I suppose they could be just that). Visual effects (mostly scenes from an orbital spacestation) arent exactly topnotch though they serve their purpose. The script and the dialogue are all stuff we've seen and heard before, and the movie doesnt even try to be anything other than that. And I'm perfectly fine with all this. The Dark Lurking is a movie from a bunch of people that has a deep love for Alien and Aliens and they are perfectly aware that the movie they made is a heap of clichés. But they display a true love for the genre and that is more than a whole bunch of similar movies has displayed and more than enough for me.

It doesnt really get any prettier than this!

I love ebay!

tisdag 22 september 2009

Plague town (2008)

For the last few years, something of a new genre has grown incredibly strong, namely the "Outback" genre. Nothing new really, but more of an blend of movies like Deliverance, Texas Chainsaw massacre and The Hills have eyes. Nowadays the dvdstores are full of direct to dvd crapfests because movies like Wrong turn and The Hills have eyes remake has made inbreeding fashionable again and anyone with a dvcam could make ripoffs fairly cheap. Plague town is another one of these, produced by Dark Sky Films who has released quite a few nice genrefilms on dvd and now wants to make their own movies. So, is it a hit or should they stop doing this upon the penalty of death?

This time the degenerate inbreds are in Ireland. Why exactly, I dont know since the movie is shot in Connecticut but I suppose the filmmakers wanted some variation. An american family visiting decides to take a busride into the middle of nowhere and ends up missing the last bus back to civilization. This wouldnt be a horror movie if they didnt wander off into the wilderness and wouldnt you know, there's an entire village full of inbred children who likes to play games with outsiders. Or breed with them to purify their blood.

Not exactly the most original plot but the whole concept with the children is actually pretty cool and some of them are really creepy, especially the girl on the dvdcover. The direction isnt half bad either with a decent atmosphere and some nice shocks. Its not very original, though well shot but Plague Towns biggest problem, is it's script. The concept is interesting but never explained in a satisfying way. Then we have the family itself - rarely have I seen such a bunch of annoying and unpleasant characters. It took me about ten minutes until I decided that I wanted to see them all dead but realized that I would have to wait 86 minutes for any hope of that to come. They moan and whine and bitch constantly until you yourself get a headache. Acting ranges from poor but earnest and decent but I guess you cant do any better when the script is written like it is. We do get a fair amount of pretty decent gore and the fate of the character who scorns the covergirl is a nice and juicy one. So thats it. A semidecent little horrorflick with some nice gore, some good horror parts but is ultimately somewhat of a failure because of a poor script. There are worse movies of this type out there so if you like this genre you can do worse and it's a nice try from Dark Sky films who does show some potential.

Basket case (1982)

So, Frank Henenlotters twisted little movie was made in 1982? It is now 2009 and my mind is contemplating the fact that I waited 27 fucking years to watch this lovely little piece of art! For that is exactly what it is. It's sick, violent, sleazy and just plain weird - in that special cozy way that we all like.

Dwayne Bradley is a naive and troubled young man who carries with him a large basket. He is newly arrived in New York and found himself a place to stay at a rather drab, scummy hotel. The reason for him being in NY? Well, his siamese twin brother, Belial, who was removed and discarded like a piece of tainted meat wants revenge. Dwayne carries Belial with him in the basket and tries to locate the doctors who performed the operation to seek bloody revenge.
It's as simple as that. Pure genius. The ultralowbudget works in the movies favour, making the locations more genuine than they would ever feel in a movie with a bigger budget. The acting tends to be a bit stiff and uneven, but this also seems to fit with the movies general ambience. Belial himself is an awesome creation and is so very clearly a piece of rubber but works both as a character and as a nasty monster. And the stopmotionscenes are hilarious. The only complaint I have is that this movie has a rumour of being very violent and gory and I felt I was let down in that. There are some really nasty scenes (especially the "lovemaking" one) but I was somehow expecting more. Or have all these years of watching violence on tv dulled my mind? Who cares? Watch the damn thing. Now I need to go out and fill the gaps in my Henenlotter library.

So, what the hell is this?

I have a blog, in swedish, where I review just about every movie I watch. Mainly for the fun of it but also for the fact that it kind of forces me to wittle down that huge pile of unwatched dvds that's slowly been growing larger and larger over the years. I think it's about threehundredish about now.

In it I review mostly exploitation, grindhouse, spanish 70s, anything that has tits and gore basically, with a slight penchant for japanese rubbermonstermovies. Hence the title of the blog. I'm no journalist (not that that's a stamp of quality), but I try to write to entertain, without spoiling plots and I do not dish out hate at a moviemaker just for the fun of it. Only if he/she truly deserves it. If my memory serves me well, this has only happened once, with Olatunde Osunsanmis WIthIN aka The Cavern which is truly a vile piece of unwatchable crap which almost made me want to hunt the director down and kil... I mean demand my money back.

This comes from someone who worships Andrea Bianchis Burial ground, has four different dvds of Jess Francos Oasis of the zombies and once had the Gamera song as a ringtone.

So, why change from Swedish to English? Even though English is not my main language, I still consider myself a decent enough English speaker/writer to accomplish this. The main reason is that by writing in english I can reach more people and perhaps make more likeminded friends. So, let the mayhem begin