Monday, February 28, 2011

Daybreakers: Contrary to Popular Belief, Ethan Hawke DOES Still Exist

I feel like it's been ages since my last vampire film. But you know what? It hasn't. Not really, anyways. Maybe I've just been so dependent on disturbing films and Asian films lately that I've completely forgotten about the existence of other horror movies. Or maybe I just can't admit that William Dafoe makes me nervous and slightly giddy at the same time?

I remember when Daybreakers came out and after reading people's thoughts I immediately decided that when it came out on video I would need to see it. For some reason, I completely forgot about that necessity until noticing that it had become available to watch instantly. I also must point out that my memory only gets worse the further we progress into winter. If it's not better by the time Spring rolls around, consider the possibility of me getting a very early case of Alzheimer's or maybe even Dementia.

So Daybreakers. I'm not sure but I think I like you. I kind of really dug that futuristic, Minority Report/ Gattaca thing it had going on. I don't love everything about it but I will say that it's one of those movies that I just find really neat. It's a different idea and one that I am willing to bet we've all thought about at some point when dealing with the vampire genre. What if, the population was ruled by vampires? What would happen if one day the humans died out and there was no blood to sustain the vampires? Crazy shit. That's what would happen.

Apparently, when a vampire goes for too long without human blood they turn into this.

A really ugly, vomitous version of a scaly bat plus, they get all mean and scary. Human sympathizer Edward Dalton however is on a mission to find a blood substitute before all of Earth's population turns into scary bat people.

There's more to the plot of course but that is the general gist. Basically, the big corporations and pharmaceutical companies are all for harvesting humans for the blood and making as much money as they can off it. Sound familiar? Daybreakers is surely a metaphor for any big companies being a dickhead scenario you can think of. Most notably, many believe it to draw similarities to capitalism. Personally, I like to enjoy Daybreakers just for the film it is--is that so wrong? The bottom line is that there's a lot of "neat" going on here and even the CGI can't bring that neatness down.

First off--Ethan Hawke!

I swear just the other day someone asked me where Ethan Hawke was and I had no answer. The man doesn't return my phone calls how am I supposed to know? I had no idea he was in Daybreakers though. Or maybe I had known at some point but mischievously chose to ignore it, who knows. To be quite honest there has never really been anything about Ethan Hawke that has excited me. He's kind of just always there. He's the character we never really like, but we don't hate him either. He remains neutral in our minds forever. Then there's also William Dafoe who plays a vampire cured by sunlight. Ooooh William Dafoe. I don't know what to think about you. I'm guessing I'm supposed to like him because he's all badass and looks glorious holding a crossbow

and blah blah blah ejaculated blood one time---but I don't know. Doesn't he scare anybody else? Am I alone in the world of William Dafoe fear?

And let us not forget about Sam Neil who I continue to confuse with Michael Ironside AND Hugo Weaving. I can recognize them when looking at pictures of course but when I try to sort who's in what movie....that's when things start getting fuzzy. Let's see...Michael Ironside was in Scanners, Sam Neil, Event Horizon and Hugo Weaving was in Babe the Gallant Pig?

That can't be right....hmmm no no it's definitely right. How strange.

Ah well, back to Daybreakers. Like I said, the CGI is rather bothersome but it's not a deal breaker.

In a strange way some of it fits with the overall imagery. The futuristic blues and greens, the cars with neato vampire cameras and extra high security in houses. It's like we expect the blood to look futuristic too. Alright well I admit that's shitty reasoning, but I truly feel this is a rare case where the story line is capable of balancing the CGI out.

I'd consider Daybreakers less of a horror movie and more of an action thriller though. There were some scary moments, notably with the scary bat vampires but other than that, it was a lot of crossbows and gun shots. I enjoyed the desperation put on display here especially that opening moment of the young vampire girl who writes a suicide note and then goes outside to be baked.

It reminds me oh so wonderfully of Martin--and my ranting and raving about how closely connected vampirism and depression is. It would really, really suck to be stuck in puberty wouldn't it?

Aside from this, there's also the desperation surrounding the supply of blood. The mob scenes, the dangers for humans. I simply loved how everything was all vampiric in the "future". Convience stores selling blood,

blood in coffee! News reports about blood supply.

It was all just again so neat.

The film did kind of lose me towards the end however. Things got a little too chaotic and crazy to withstand normal movie watching for me and the second cure seemed a little too convenient to just stumble upon. The ending seemed to leave so many questions unanswered and I began relentlessly wondering if this little plan would work out.

I also found the other human characters to be completely useless--mostly because, they were. I'm not a huge fan of introducing characters one of our main character's is suppose to be really close with--killing them, and then having no one really care. This happened twice in Daybreakers and while granted what's her face probably wasn't best buddies for life with these people--it was still kind of pointless.

For a good example of doing this see Star Wars and Luke's short but sweet and ultimately sad reunion with Biggs.

In any case, Daybreakers was still the perfect kind of film to enjoy on a rainy Monday afternoon. It entertained me and really---isn't that what we crave most? And P.S. how amazing was that test subject scene? I believe I remember people talking about this scene but I had honestly forgotten all about it. It's like two giant balls of unexpectedness coming at YO FACE!

Literally. Maybe that was just the scene I needed to rid myself of my fear of vomit?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cry Me a River

Rosemary's Baby


The Descent Part II

Eyes Without a Face

The Craft

The Neverending Story

Eyes Wide Shut

Soylent Green


The Changeling



And Soon the Darkness

The Shining

The Blair Witch Project

The Sixth Sense

The Host


Hellbound: Hellraiser II

Ichi the Killer

City of the Living Dead

Kill Bill Vol. 2


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shock Waves: Fuzzy Bubble of Indifference Alert

I'm new to this whole Nazi zombie thing. Apparently it's a thing and not just a thing--there's a difference of course, but I'm not sure what it is yet. Regardless, Nazi zombies are pretty badass.

I'm not really sure what was happening with me today but I was kind of in this weird, fuzzy bubble of indifference. I watched Shock Waves on and off throughout the entire day, barely watching more than 20 minutes at a time. I realize this is not an ideal viewing pattern but the fuzzy bubble was so strong! It took a hold of me and made me do crazy things like spontaneous napping, abruptly deciding that the kitchen needed a scrub down and realizing that my pants were being bothersome. Finally, at 11:34 PM EST I finished Shock Waves and now I forget what happened. Fuzzy Bubble of Indifference 1-- Andre 0.

I don't think it's anything Shock Waves did per say, but I do think it's slightly on the disjointed side of things. There's plenty to get excited about but also plenty to not get excited about. The action proceeds like a steady stream of molasses bubbling out of a tube. There's no catalyst or anything that makes you want to stand up and dance or what have you. There are Nazis, they are elusive and show up and leave and then kill people. There's also Peter Cushing and---whoa, I just realized that I have no fucking clue what happened to Peter Cushing. Oh my god what happened to Peter Cushing?! Was I really in that big of a fuzzy bubble that I completely missed that entire part? Wow.

So as I saw it--some people are on a boat, then Nazi zombies wake up. The group meets Peter Cushing who is an old Nazi Commander hiding out on an island. He realizes that the group has awakened the troop of Nazis he had previously been put in charge of commanding. Zombie type soldiers created for the purpose of manning Uboats but soldiers who quickly got out of hand because obviously you can't order around zombies... So anyways the zombies come ashore and start killing people. Also they wear cool sunglasses or goggles and when you take them off and they're in the sunlight, they die. Hey Brooke Adams in this!

The best moments by far, are witnessing the Nazis rise slowly from the water one at a time.

It's a surprisingly artistic sort of set up that managed to even catch my attention despite the fuzzy bubble's hold on me. The Nazis were pretty sweet and the did look quite menacing at times. I wish they killed people with a little more oomph though. They usually just dragged someone under the water and that was that. No one turned into a zombie, or became a Nazi. It was just kind of meh. Their weakness is also kind of a let down. Really? That's all it takes for me to conquer a dead-alive Nazi?

In fact, what was interesting about Shock Waves was that most of the scares came from the discovery of the dead bodies and not from the zombies themselves.

Each discovery of a corpse was actually pretty neat and somehow original. Although I will say that everyone looked oddly different as a dead body than they did as a real person. One body in particular I thought was a completely different looking person. I even had to check IMDB to make sure there wasn't some random character that I had forgotten about. But hey, maybe when you die your hair does change color, how would I know?

Peter Cushing was the best part, that is until I looked away for a second, or was changing my pants and then noticed he was gone. Seriously, what happened to Peter Cushing?

His first appearance is his lovely voice echoing over the landscape of this great empty manor. He even speaks in these weird poetic riddles, like when they asked where he was he said, "I am close but far". I love that shit. Peter Cushing rocked my socks, plus he was skinny--like Christian Bale skinny....and then he disappeared. I'm half pouting right now to show my annoyance that I have no idea what happened to him. I'm currently in the process of writing a blues song about this terrible situation.

Anyways...Shock Waves was alright but for some reason I think that if a movie doesn't hold my attention than something must be wrong with it. Am I right in thinking this? Again, there were things to get excited about. There were moments of "Oooh that's cool". But these moments mostly had to do with showing the zombies walking under the water,

and pretty much anything involving the zombies. The people, what happened to the people---everything else was kind of a bore.

And I'm still confused about why the Nazi zombies arose in the first place but are we really surprised? I mean I did completely miss the outcome of one of the most important characters in the whole film after all. In fact, it might be better if you forget that this entire review even happened. Let's just turn away quietly.....and resume normal life mode.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eerie, Indiana: Foreverware

My name is Marshall Teller. Not too long ago, I was living in New Jersey, just across the river from New York City. It was crowded, polluted, and full of crime. I loved it. But my parents wanted a better life for my sister and me. So we moved to a place so wholesome, so squeaky clean, you could only find it on TV. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, my new hometown looks normal enough, but look again. What's wrong with this picture? The American Dream come true, right? Wrong. Nobody believes me, but this is the center of weirdness for the entire planet: Eerie, Indiana. My home, sweet home. Still don't believe me? You will.

When people think of horror-ish TV for kids, they usually recall Are You Afraid of the Dark or Goosebumps. One of my personal favorites however has always been the short lived show Eerie Indiana, starring Omri Katz (Hocus Pocus) as Marshall Teller. A show created by Jose Rivera and notable for its creative consultant--Joe Dante. What was special about Eerie, Indiana, was that it was heavily influenced by The Twilight Zone.

In addition to that, the opening credits featured a wide range of classic horror that would make any horror fan giddy. Shots of Bela Lugosi and Nosferatu, populate the Twilight Zone style credits. These are things, I never noticed as a kid but now they make me happier than ever.

Today while browsing what Netflix Instant watch had to offer I stumbled upon Eerie, Indiana and was overjoyed. The show was briefly in syndication from 1997-98 but that was last I had seen it. Ever since then I've been thinking about the show and a few of the episodes that stick out in my mind most.

As the intro so wonderfully explains, Marshall Teller has recently moved to Eerie, Indiana with his family. While here, he notices some strange happenings. He collects evidence that he locks in his cabinet hoping to one day inform the world of the central spot of weirdness known as Eerie, Indiana.

Marshall encounters a wide range of weird including Bigfoot, Elvis and super intelligent dogs planning to take over the neighborhood. What people will probably most remember however is the pilot episode, Foreverware.

Having recently moved to the neighborhood, Marshall's mother is one day greeted by Mrs. Wilson, a strange woman seemingly stuck in the early 1960s.

Mrs. Wilson sells a brand of Tupperware called Foreverware, guaranteed to keep anything fresh....forever. To prove her point she presents Marshall's mom with a baloney sandwich packaged in Foreverware back in 1974.

Upon exiting the Teller house, the two rotund twin boys present Marshall with a note bearing the words, "Yearbook 1964".

Curious to know what the note is about, Marshall and his sidekick Simon bust out the 1964 yearbook. Here they find a picture of the twin boys, looking exactly as they do now.

Doing some math they figure that that would make the twins 30 years old...but how have they been stuck in the 7th grade for 30 years?

Suspecting that Mrs. Wilson and Foreverware may have something to do with it, Marshall sneaks into the boys house to spy on their nighttime routine. What he finds horrifies him. Mrs. Wilson tucks her twin boys into giant sized Foreverware beds!

No doubt keeping them fresh for eternity as long as they are vacuumed sealed each and every single night.

Realizing that his mother's aging process may be in Jeopardy, Marshall immediately decides to take matters into his own hands. While the neighborhood women are at a Foreverware party (Marshall's mother included), Marshall sneaks upstairs. The twin boys find him and ask for his help. Being stuck in the 7th grade is apparently no fun and they want to grow up. After agreeing, Marshall busts into the house at night, freeing the twins from their Foreverware trap. Thanking Marshall, the boys proceed in to their mother's room, presumably to unfreshen her as well.

The next day, Marshall and his mother go to the Wilson's to cancel her order of Foreverware. Here they find two 30 year old twins hammering in a For Sale sign

and a very, very old woman curiously resembling Mrs. Wilson.

With the seal of Foreverware broken, Marshall rests assured knowing that his Mother and his family will age regularly--and locks up the evidence in his cabinet.

God, I love this episode. And I love this show. If you haven't ever seen Eerie, Indiana, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's not as nightmarish as Are You Afraid of the Dark, but horror fans can find more than enough to be excited about--and it's quirky as hell. I look forward to reconnecting with my childhood as I delve deeper into Eerie, Indiana. And also, Omri Katz's un-pubertized voice is hilarious. Yes I made that word up and yes it is amazing.