Sunday, November 20, 2011

No Hay Banda

I have a bad problem with cravings. Not drug cravings unfortunately, just food, cat and movie cravings. Cravings that are so bad, they wake me up in the middle of the night and whisper evil things into my ear. Alright well maybe not--but in cravings' defense they probably try to whisper evil things in my ear but I love my bed so much that I'm dead to the world. By the way when I say "cat cravings" I don't mean that I want to eat cats. That is gross and wildly inappropriate. I just mean that I have a craving to kiss them a lot.

Lately I've being fending off an insatiable need to watch a ton of David Lynch films. Not that that's such a bad thing---why fight off pure, unadulterated awesome right? Mainly my problem is that Netflix doesn't offer many on Instant Watch which sours my cravings. It's kind of like when you really want a delicious sandwich but they are closed. That is what it was like anyways until I remembered that I have MONEY and can rent movies on Amazon and/or ITunes for the low price of 3 dollars. That is how I ended up at 10:30PM last night, watching Mulholland Drive in my bed, eating 4 dollar cookies from Trader Joes and having my head explode for the 2nd time.

Truth be told, I've been wanting to re-watch Mulholland Drive for the better part of the year. There's something about not knowing what a movie means yet being so inexplicably infatuated with it that really speaks to me. Curse you David Lynch and your tight lipped explanations of what your films are really about.

It's no matter though, because last night I realized quite simply that the key to understanding Mulholland Drive and LIFE, is Club Silencio.

No hay banda. There is no band. Yet, we think there is because we fall in love with the illusion of there being one. Is it possible that David Lynch is trying to speak to us through Club Silencio? Is it possible that David Lynch is saying...NO HAY BANDA in regards to the labyrinth of possible explanations surrounding the film?

To me, 'No hay banda' has a double meaning. The on surface easily attainable meaning of there being no band in Club Silencio, and the idea of there being no real explanation or overall "meaning" to Mulholland Drive. Well, sure there's meaning alright but I'm talking more in that burning desire to shake David Lunch and yell, "WHAT DOES IT MEAN" kind of way. It goes back to that whole idea of our human nature always wanting things explained. Why? Why do we have to dissect what is medically accurate and what is not in regards to The Human Centipede? Why does the improbability of Jason's life and human existence have to do with how much we enjoy Friday the 13th? Why does everything need to have an answer?

According to Club doesn't. That's the beauty of a David Lynch film and perhaps the main reason why so many people fail to really latch onto and be sucked into them. There doesn't need to be an explanation. All you need to do is sit in a darkened theater and cry.

Cry while you watch a woman lip sync a beautiful song and then collapse. Cry while you realize that there is a creepy woman (man?) in a blue wig in the balcony. Cry when you realize that the key to everything has been in your purse the entire time. Don't think---just watch and be sucked into that illusion.

You could spend hours and hours dissecting every single scene and drawing diagrams and connecting this to that and that to this---and for what? Is that really what Lynch was trying to achieve with Mulholland Drive? To force us to cry with painful exhaustion of not knowing? I don't think so.Because what is David Lynch's overall message to us by the film's end?


Be quiet. Shut up. And just watch and be affected by this 2 hours and 30 minutes of beauty, confusion and awesome. No hay banda.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Case 39: Ugh

Netflix has really been slacking in the awesome department as of late. It keeps suggesting I watch movies called, "Naked Vampires" and "Zombie Whores" or some similar sounding name of sexually transmitted terror. Therefore it was no surprise when Monday night rolled around and I started watching Case 39. Although to be fair, the main reason I began watching it was because I forgot if I liked Renee Zellweger or not. Is that how you spell Zellweger? Oh well, I'm over it.

So anyways. Case 39 is pretty terrible. This isn't even going to be a real review I'm just going to talk about how ridiculous and terrible this movie was. Which I guess is no different from how I do regular reviews. Hmmph.

Emily is a social worker who has a lot of cases and she's swamped. She has 38 cases, and then her boss tells her she has to do one more. Which tada! Equals 39. Ding ding. Case 39 involves a young girl named Lily? I forget actually and now I'm too lazy to look that up on IMDB so I guess I'll just make up names from now on. Alright so Lily seems like an abused child, afraid to speak up against her extremely weird and apparently religious parents. Emily however has a feeling and luckily her feelings turn out to be right because in the middle of the night Emily catches Lily's parents trying to burn her alive in the oven!

Now with Lily parentless, Emily temporarily adopts her and soon learns that her parents may have had the right idea.

Honestly, I lost it when the parents put her in the oven. Of all the methods of quickly dispatching some evil demon child, you pick the slowest and most ridiculous way ever? What happened to slitting someone's throat? What happened to stabbing? Suffocating? Really? An oven? That's what you got? Oh yeah sorry SPOILER Lily is actually some weird and evil demon that kills people in ominous ways. Sorry to ruin the surprise.

Actually the oven incident reminded me of something awesome believe it or not--THE THING.

It's just like in the beginning when the Norwegians are trying to shoot the dog and you're all like nooooo noooooo not the dog! But then later you're all like----well shit, they should have shot that fucking dog. Yup, same deal here.

The thing is---Lily seems to turn into the evil demon that she's apparently always been seemingly overnight. There's no gradual change of her character. There are literally NO hints that we would ever think she was anything but a sweet angel. It's not until she has an insanely awkward therapy session with Bradley Cooper that her meanness starts to come out. Yes, Bradley Cooper is in this. I think his name was....Steve? No that's not right.... D......DOUG! That was definitely it.

So the skinny on Doug is that his biggest fear is wasps. Of course he tells demon child Lily this, who uses it against him. This scene is perhaps even more ridiculous than the oven incident. Doug hears buzzing somewhere and then takes a Q-tip to his ear.....

only to unearth a wasp!

Naturally the scene progresses for like 15 minutes and involves wasps coming out of just about every single one of Doug's orifices. I mean we don't see them come out of the butt, but let's just say I'm sure they did okay?

This scene gives a whole new meaning to NOT THE BEES.

Oh and they're super CGI-fied so it makes it even more ridiculous. They even swarm on his back and kind of look like an Ed Hardy shirt.

No? In the end, they fly out of his mouth and start attacking him and then somehow, Doug breaks his own neck (?) I'm still confused about it but at some point the entire sink fell out of the wall, so I guess things were serious.

Anyways the movie progresses steadily into laughable realms of insanity. I guess the main thing I can't get past, is that Case 39 in a round about sort of way kind of....encourages child abuse? I mean okay, I know Lily is the devil but you must admit there is something odd about a social worker rescuing a young girl, taking her on, and then agreeing with the maniac parents that the only solution is to kill her. It just seemed so..............what's the word I keep using? Oh yeah, RIDICULOUS. It's like Case 39 just wants to explode into all different levels of under the radar inappropriateness. There's something unsettling about seeing Emily waiting for Lily to come home from school while she hides a knife behind her back.

So yeah. Case 39? Not good. Don't see it, unless you are using it for comedic purposes only.

Here is the wasp scene for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Bleeding House: NOT About Periods

The poster art for The Bleeding House has been slowly seducing me ever since I first saw it skulking around my Netflix suggestions.

I tried to ignore it and its mediocre 3 star rating but in the end, that cover art just wouldn't leave my thoughts. The movie certainly seems to warrant a 3 star rating---it's neither bad nor groundbreaking, but it does have something about it that interests me.

Of course like all good things that interest me, I have no real idea why. Maybe it's because it's so radically different than most home invasion type horror movies. Or because it really does have something beautifully brutal about it. Whatever it is---I don't hate it.

The Bleeding House is not about a house full of girls having their periods, much to the chagrin of my 13 year old sense of humor. Instead, it is about a broken family who one night offer their home to a strange man claiming to be having car troubles. As we soon find however, this strange man has an entirely different agenda planned and that he's religious and speaks with a twang.

I wasn't sure what to think about the uber religious Nick. I knew right away he would unsettle me because I recognized him immediately as the creepy alien in Men in Black who's alien wife gives birth to a squid. Why does he always creep me out? I blame his t-shirt and his soft and feminine features.

As Nick, Patrick Breen is okay but there's a part of me that feels he's trying just a little too hard. Maybe I find that southern gentleman thing a little cliche but also, why does every religious nut job have to have that painstaking southern twang? Ultimately the character of Nick became a major thorn in my side. I wasn't buying his motives and he wasn't giving it enough oomph to really sell it.

On the plus side, there is plenty of brutality.

In fact, The Bleeding House can get pretty bloody. There's a lot of throat slashing, a gory head bashing with a rock and the ultimate---death by the complete draining of one's blood. Here is where I think The Bleeding House really hits on something great. The act of slowly killing someone by draining all their blood is quite tedious.

It feels exhausting and carries a certain amount of seriousness with it. Of course, I do feel like that whole process could have been explained better. You never really get a strong grasp of what the purpose of all that was, and it would have been nice to see his craziness come full circle.

None of the brutality however compares to the daughter, Gloria.

She immediately poses herself as an enigma. Catching birds in boxes, tacking dead bugs to her wall. Is she the reason that all the knives in the house must be locked up? Actually, to back track---the entire family is an enigma.

We sense that something is not right but we don't get a true sense of why until much later. There's some hushed talk about a fire, and some vague form of sickness that their family carries. Gloria however is entirely too interesting to let go. Of course, we find out why eventually and it's a bit of a surprise. It's also maybe too much of a surprise now that I think about it.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the surprise about Gloria's character isn't really a surprise at all, if that makes sense. Alright you're right that doesn't make sense. Hmm let's say that Gloria really surprised me because A. she's a girl and B. she's a lunatic. I find that all too often, the sweet yet troubled teenage daughter is a bit of a wet blanket. She seems helpless, and boring, too cookie cutter or something of that nature. Instead, the crazy family member is always reserved for the black sheep brother. Therefore, it was oddly refreshing to get a character like Gloria thrown to us and for once to have her turn out exactly the way that we expect her to.

Ultimately, The Bleeding House is anything to write home about. Which by the way, wouldn't it be neat if we really wrote home about cool things still?

Dear Mom,

Today I ate a sandwich and then I watched The Wonder Years. Winnie Cooper moved away and I got sad. But at least my sandwich was good. Wish you were here



The Bleeding House is just alright with a few added notes of awesome here and there. It does end up feeling a bit tedious by its end and the ending battle was a little too dark to really be blown away by. And by dark I mean I couldn't see anything that was happening. No really, what was happening there? So in closing, be seduced by The Bleeding House's cover art if you wish. It won't be the biggest mistake you'll ever make and then after we can have a discussion about Gloria and how she confuses us. And we could also maybe talk about that unsure feeling of whether or not we liked it. AND then we can talk about boys and do our nails. Yay!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Insidious: That Demon Really Has a Talent For Making Beautiful Masks...

I confess to unfairly judging people and things on a daily basis. Nobody's perfect. Perhaps the biggest one in recent memory aside from my consistent and nasty judgement towards all diet sodas, and also people that drink fruit punch, is my prediction that Insidious would stink. It's not that I'm against James Wan or the people behind Saw----it's more that I'm...against Saw so therefore I am kind of Saw racist. Meaning, anything involved with Saw is in my mind....TRASH!

Insidious however is mostly a surprise. I say mostly because there comes a point where it veers off into eye roll, you've gone too far now territory. We'll get to that later but why don't we talk about the good first......

For starters, it's a pretty neat idea. A boy falls into a "coma" or something like it, which results in a series of supernatural occurrences mostly involving scary people or ghosts performing dastardly deeds. Deeds like malevolent pacing, glaring, and creepy smiles. In an attempt to thwart the ghosts, the family moves out only to find that the ghosts have followed. Yes, you've figured it out haven't you? It's the boy that's haunted... for real son!

Naturally, my favorite part about Insidious is that it's in the supernatural sub-genre of horror. There are spooky things going on, the story is neat and it involves my 4th favorite thing in the world---astral projection. Not that I've ever made a list of my favorite things in the world...... well okay since you asked:

1. Sandwiches
2. Slipper Socks
3. My Cat
4. Astral Projection
5. Kurt Russell
6. Potato Chips
7. Sleeping
8. Gin
9. Cute Puppies
10. Bacon

Alright well maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. Maybe astral projection isn't my 4th favorite thing, it's just something I became minorly obsessed with after reading about it in a Lois Duncan book called Stranger With My Face. And before you ask, the answer is no--I still have not been successful at astral projecting. I think you need to be a Native American (?)

Where was I? Oh yes. Insidious certainly provides the chills. The really good kind of chills that creep you the fuck out. Also the kind of chills that make you punch the person sitting next to you which yes, can sometimes unfortunately be a baby or small child. It's also the kind of movie that I can picture watching as an 11 year old at a sleepover and having an absolute cow over. Terrifying old women wearing veils? Black shadowy figures in the corner with long fingernails?

Little boys dancing and giggling and hiding in cabinets? It's like a combination of all my worst nightmares as a child. The only thing missing is a shark hiding in my closet.

Not only that, but in those first 50 minutes or so, Insidious manages to restrain itself into realms of subtlety which is perhaps one of the most surprising things of all. There are scare tactics utilized here that are just the right amount of scare. A perfect example is the baby monitor scene--you expect some scary face to come jump out at you once Rose Byrne opens the door to the baby's room. But nobody is there. Instead of shoving the scare in our face, we get it nicely built up and it trickles right down our spines.

Of course with praise comes one nitpick. Even in the beginning part of the film, the subtleties are still complimented by those jolting sound cues. It's one of my increasing pet peeves about a lot of modern horror today. Instead of having something just be scary or creepy (like the bloody hand on the sheet) the scary thing has to be accompanied by some sort of DUN DUN DUN!!! like tone.

This bothers me because I feel like it's taking away from the scare. Don't tell us we should be scared....just let us be scared. You know?

But of course we can't fault it too much. It's a great first part to the movie, Rose Byrne's impending depression and eventual hysterics.

The duality of both her and her husband's coping mechanisms.

And of course the mystery of who all these ghosts are. It also has the benefit of giving several little nice nods to Poltergeist which obviously gets a gold star in my book. Yes, Insidious is largely a fantastic little film.

However............the "2nd part" of the film tends to turn the volume up a little too much. It suddenly begins to feel like a different movie and the kind of movie that I hate. This is where the Saw style or I suppose the Dead Silence style really starts to show itself.

Once the father crosses over to the "The Further" things get ridiculous. Suddenly it becomes some kind of weird Gothic fun house, complete with smiling and doll-like ghosts, in your face scares (literally in your face), and stupid CGI ghost faces and demons.

It's like Insidious was this incredible symphony of classical music and then it turned into this rage infested Insane Clown Posse mess. One minute we're cruising along in this nice and creepy ghost story and the next we're watching some CGI demon guy sharpen his nails on an old fashioned sewing machine.

As if that wasn't enough, suddenly the ghosts get all restless and start a weird Coup d'etat of the house. Basically it's just too freaking much. It suddenly becomes this big show where subtlety flies right out the window.

Of course, this doesn't completely sour my taste of Insidious. I still find it to be one of the scarier films that have come out lately. And really, is there anything creepier than the succession of photos where the terrifying old lady is in all the pictures getting closer and closer?

Actually, is there anything creepier THAN that old lady? Highly doubtful. Definitely a future member of the Scary Face Club if you ask me.

So in closing, don't be like me and write off Insidious because of its ties to Saw. It actually is quite the opposite despite the turn into ridiculous near the end. It has so many great little scenes and so many great jumps and scares. And if you're really lucky you'll watch it when you're all alone and have poor eyesight and then think that the old woman is sitting on your couch when in fact it's just a blanket...good times!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Scary Face Club: November Inductees

Well, it's November--a short month full of Fall, Turkeys and early Christmas carols. I don't mind November as much as say, the evil month of March but I do find Thanksgiving to be kind of a snooze. I eat Turkey all the time okay? When don't we eat something exciting like lobster or...PIZZA?

Here's one good thing November's got going for it. Another meeting of the Scary Face Club. Who will make it into the club this month? Let's find out shall we?

Don't know what The Scary Face Club is? Click here fool!


(The Exorcist)

Another reader recommendation that I must say floored me with its obviousness. Maybe because Pazuzu's scary demon face distracted me by being the president of the SFC, I never even remembered that Regan's non-Pazuzu face is just as frightening. I remember once in my youth, flipping past poster displays in the backlit, Marijuana infested back portion of Spencer Gifts, when I came across a poster of Regan smiling devilishly. There, snuggled safely between the giant boobs of some playboy centerfold and a poster of the yellow Smiley face smoking a joint, stood Regan with her terrifying face magnified. I remember my heart literally stopping for a brief second or two. This face still gives me the heebie jeebies.


(The Thing)

After my recent re-watch of The Thing and my subsequent anger at what's his face of EW, trash talking The Thing's effects--I couldn't ignore the terrifying face of Norris after being 'Thinged' (I made that up!) If there's one thing that is guaranteed to take a marginally scary face to SFC proportions, it's the addition of a pointy, sharp set of teeth. Such is the case here with Norris' nasty, slimy long necked face.



This is a first in The SFC. A face that we never even see! I like to think that I'm an Equal Opportunity Employer of scary faces or I guess more of an out of the box thinker. If there's one thing that always frightened me to death in Beetlejuice it was the scene where Beetlejuice proves he can be scary. I don't know what it is about this...maybe the noises, or the possibility of getting to see what his face is doing but whatever it is, it still kind of freaks me out. Seriously, what's going on over there? I shudder to think.

The Creeper

(Jeeper Creepers)

I suppose if I had to guess, I would assume that Beetlejuice's face might be resembling that of the Creeper's when he gets exposed to light and gets all mean and demony. You know what I've always not liked? When faces suddenly morph into something that fans out and is surprising and scary. Just like that dinosaur that kills Newman in Jurassic Park! Fuck that stuff man. The Creeper clearly fits into this category and I hate to say it, but people don't tend to give the Creeper a lot of credit in the scare department. I think he's scary. Plus, he can sew. Bam.

That Thing in the Basement

(American Horror Story)

I haven't exactly been addressing this in my day to day interactions with you all, but in between my love marathons of The Wonder Years, I've been unapologetically obsessed with American Horror Story. I love it. I love how weird and unexplained it is--like a David Lynch film. It's also got its fair share of scares---one in particular....the beast in the basement. This thing legit freaked me out in that first episode. So much so that I let out an audible scream that I seconds later tried to cover up by joking. Truth is--this was no joke--shit is scary. Again, with the pointed teeth and the gross wispy hair...... this is a face that will unfortunately appear when I do not want it to. Like when I'm trying to fall asleep and can't or like when I have to go to the basement to do my laundry. Curses.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Get By With a Little Help From The Thing

Last Saturday we had a snowstorm in Massachusetts. A snowstorm in October. It was fairly close to being dubbed as the worst in my 'Things That are the Worst' book. Luckily the midnight screening of Suspiria that I attended that night managed to fix things mostly. However. The snow reminded me of things like death, anger, and gloom. Don't be alarmed, these are normal thoughts that flow through my head during the winter season. If you don't know by now it's high time you did---winter can suck it.

So on that dismal night of the October snow I began recalling among other things, the unpleasantness of being cold, angry and scared. It was then I realized that I was long overdue for another viewing of The Thing. Naturally, if I can't love the snow, I can at least love Kurt Russell in the snow.

The thing about The Thing is that it kind of breaks my heart. Watching it is both the best and worst experience of my life. It's the worst because it's like having a party with all your friends and them watching them all die one by one---which makes you sad. You also have to watch dogs die, and you find out that people you have trusted, really aren't who you thought they were. It's a lot to handle okay?

I mean, you straight up are building relationships with these people. You're seeing MacReady through his alcoholism and bad chess playing.

You're spending time with Nauls by rollerskating and jamming to Stevie Wonder in the kitchen.

You're feeling sad and gloomy with Clark.

You're making sullen faces with Garry.

You're trying not to upset Childs.

These people ARE your family. It's almost certainly a lesson on how to imprint the feelings and surroundings of your characters on your audience. Our characters are in a sense trapped with each other so they become each other's family and essentially---their life. We get that same feeling even by knowing them for only an hour and 40 minutes. Alright, so maybe I'm one of few people who takes things so directly when watching this. I can't help it if I have a soul.

Also, fuck you guy who wrote that article about The Thing's special effects not holding up nowadays. What movie were you watching? I'm still continuously wowed by how awesome and absolutely putrid everything looks in this. And to think that it's all practical effects, that somebody created those effects completely blows my mind away. Go back to your modernized head filled with CGI blood and laziness you bastard.

Well now I've lost my train of thought and that's just great. I guess all I wanted to say was that this viewing of The Thing made me feel sad deep down inside. I miss my friends, but I suppose I can always see them again whenever I want. BUT then if I do want to see them, I'll just have to see them die all over again and again and again. Why is the world so cruel? Also, can someone please make a parody of the theme song of Friends but with characters from The Thing? Thanks.