onsdag 19 oktober 2011

The Basement (1989)

Here is an oddity, a shot on super 8 anthology horrormovie that was shelved when the footage was deemed unusable, but "rescued" in 2010 when technology was available to make it watchable and released on dvd along with an actual vhstape in a nice box with some other lowrent crap like Cannibal campout and the Video Violence movies. I do use the word crap with a bit of love for the same reason that I tend to watch movies like Burial ground over and over again, because they make me feel good. They give me a warm feeling in my stomach and a smile on my lips. Yes, it looks like shit (Shot on übergrainy super 8 film), the dialogue is pretty god damn awful and the actors couldnt even be accused of actually acting but the movie is full of so much yummy fun that you cannot hate it.

So, The Basement is an anthologymovie in the same vein as Tales from the crypt where a group of characters meet in a basement where a guy in horrormakeup tells them stories of their impending future. The first story is about a cheating bitch of a woman that discovers that her pool has a tentacled creature that eats everything that enters it and the way she uses it to get rid of people she hates, like just about all her neighbours. Not much of a story really, just all round goof and there is not really a twist or anything, but its so brief that you never have a chance to get bored.

The second story is the best, basically a goreversion of Scrooge where a teacher who likes to torment trick or treaters on Halloween is told by his dead wife that he will be given a message, cue lots of gore (and an awesome sequence where he fantasizes about killing all the students in his class). Not only is this sequence the only one that has an actor in the lead role that actually can act, but it is also loaded with cheap and cheerful gore, with effects that arent exactly Rob Bottin but still way better than you would expect. Good fun.

Story number three is about an assholish George Romero-hating moviedirector shooting some sort of awful zombiemovie, which means that the dead will rise and come and get him. Which they do. This piece is mostly set at night which means that we get a lot of murky looking footage (sorta looks like a gifanimation on a large screen) of zombies walking around, and of course some hilarious scenes of a couple of "groupies" that really have a hard time keeping themselves from laughing during the scenes where they dance for the moviedirector in his trailer. The zombies are funlooking and there is a sense of cheezy fun, but the lovely gore of the previous segment is mostly absent which sort of lessens the entertainment.

Fortunately the gore is back for the last episode where a young writer buys an old house where the previous owner killed some people in his hidden torturechamber before he vanished somewhere. There is a demon in the house which produces some excellent gore, but one problem is that it is set at night with basically no light whatsoever (the house has no power) which sort of makes it hard to make out what happens at times. It is still good, gory fun though.

This is all very low budget which some truly mindboggling "acting" but to The Basements defense is that it does not contain any padding, no mindless scenes of people sitting around doing nothing or travelling to some location. Everything is over before we reach the seventy minutemark and you come out of it content with joy. Yes, it is really awful at times but it does not hinder the entertainment. The prime of the movie is the special effects which are well done and bloody. I realize that a lot of people wont be watching this just because of its cheapness but if you've gotten this far you should be interested enough to watch it. Get the box, there is a lot of cheap fun here and if you have any interest whatsoever in low budget filmmaking you will have your hands full with the nice extras. And an actual vhstape of The Basement, which is fun if you still have a vcr which only strange people like Jack J still do.

tisdag 18 oktober 2011

Watchmen (2009)

Being a fan of Alan Moore sublime comicbook I never felt any interest in watching Zack Snyders movieversion, for several reasons. I did love his remake of Dawn of the dead, but comicbook adaptions tend to suck major ass. The only reason I did decide to watch it was when I turned on a channel that was showing it by mistake and came upon a nicely shot sequence of some rather nice violence (when the hitman tries to kill Veidt) and thought, hey this could be good.


This movie only confirmed that Zack Snyder should stick to musicvideos or whatever he did before turning into moviemaking. Watchmen is an empty, pompous shell of a movie. It is visually strong but shallow and stupid. Just plain stupid. I reread the original comicbook after watching this which only made me loath this movie even more. Seriously, If I ever see a moviefight again where every punch results in a slomoshot I will kill myself.


The Wild man of the Navidad (2008)

I am truly a sucker for 70s exploitation, the cheap rawness of all those fun low budgetmovies that poured out back then which is why I got interested in The Wild man of the Navidad. Part of me was a bit weary of it not being to reproduce that certain mood but the reviews seemed to tell something otherwise. So I bought it and watched it. And liked it, for all its various (but small) flaws.

The dvdcover boldly proclaims "From the producer of The Texas chainsaw massacre" which usually wouldnt mean anything but from the look of the movie I would say that the filmmakers did an excellent job in emulating the look of Tobe Hoopers classics, with our without pointers from Kim Henkel. The movie is set in Sublime, Texas, the type of small town that seems to have about sixty inhabitants, all living in rundown houses miles from each other and only meeting each other at the local bar. For years everyone has been afraid of the legend of The Wild man of the Navidad, a bigfoot/Sasquatch type of creature but for Dale S. Rogers this is a bit more real. For years he has kept his lands closed due to the fact that the creature lives there but when he loses his job he decides to open it up for hunters, fully realizing what will happen. And it doesnt take long before people start to disappear.

First of all, The Wild man of Navidad really does an excellent job in creating that very special atmosphere through some nice filters, especially since it was all shot on digital video, a format not particulary gritty. The Texas in this movie is hot and dirty, just like we expect it to be. Most of the actors, at least in minor roles, seem to be people that just had the fortune of being near the locations and are accordingly poor, something that actually serves the movie well. Sometimes you feel like you are watching some sort of weird documentary about the eating habits of the local inbreds. Another strength of the movie is its fun story, with the audience following the downfall of its sleazy characters while the titlecreature starts to kill everything it can find. And the titlecreature? Good stuff. It sort of resembles the beastie in that swedish classic Invasion of the Animal people aka Terror in the midnight sun. In a good way.

If there is anything I would like to moan about is that the goreeffects are rather cheap, mostly consisting of bits of torn meat flying around as the Wild man tears its victims into tiny little pieces. But that is about it though I suppose some people will have a problem with the amateur acting of the bitplayers. If you are a fan of bigfootflicks, 70s exploitation cheeze and , uh, "grindhouse", there is a fair chance you will like this. I sure did.

Ratline (2011)

A movie with the following plot HAS to be included in a serious dvdcollection, there are no excuses:

Before the fall of Nazi Germany, the most sacred relic of the Nazi party, the Blood Flag, went missing. This cherished object possessed supernatural powers, infused by the occult experimentation of the SS Paranormal Division. The flag's current condition and whereabouts are unknown. Today, the search for the missing Blood Flag is on, and one man - with diabolical intentions - is getting closer to its hiding place. The flag is about to be unearthed - with nightmarish, blood-soaked consequences.

I admire Eric Stanze and co-writer Jason Christ for the talent and the guts to try to try to pull something like this off on an obviously miniscule budget and the result is very satisfying. The movie's biggest strength is the well written script that tells a fun story way better than a lot of crap that actually gets released these days. The strands of the story (all actually a bit goofy but perfect for a movie about lesbian killers, satanists and nazi experiments) come together in a fun climax and the only thing I wish is that the movie had had a larger budget, the material calls for even more outrageous stuff. Still, Stanze is a talented director (I mean, he actually managed to make Savage Harvest, a shot on video Evil dead clone, into something really entertaining) and fills the movie with so much gore and nudity that you cannot help but like it all. Seriously, the first half hour is truly superior goresoaked and boobfilled glory, I love it. Especially when the goreeffects are as good as these. If you match this with some above average acting from actors you've previously seen in several Stanzemovie such as Emily Haack from Scrapbook, you are really in for a ride. This is a movie that really warrants a sequel. Recommended.