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Archive for November, 2008

I am a sick puppy or something because I find Camp Slaughter not horrifically bad, actually.

Then again, this could just be from viewing Midnight Skater before this.

Hmph.

campslaughter

Okay, it’s your standard Z-list, straight-to-DVD horror flick.   It’s got the normal rough edges and problems.   The main reason why it doesn’t work is because no one can seem to make up their minds about whether they wanted to make a horror comedy or an actual horror film.   A good chunk of the film has actual humorous moments in it, but by the end of the film all that’s long gone.

I mean, look at the poster:   that does not scream funny, unless your name is Ed Gein.   And quite frankly, there’s no teensy blond chick with an axe in this flick.   Originally released as Camp Daze, people involved with the flick renamed it to Camp Slaughter.   You take a guess as to why, dearest readers.

So, the premise will practically make you giddy with joy – it’s kind of cool, really.   Four kids on a road trip get stranded in the woods and stumble upon Camp Hiawatha, a summer camp where everyone seems to be very much out of sorts, if you know what I mean.   Between the halfsie-shirts, day-glo, plastic earrings and exclamations of “Totally rad!” from the assortment of campers, the four stranded teens figure out they’ve traveled to a summer camp stuck in the ’80’s, where the same day happens over and over again, with the eventual slaughter of the campers repeating every evening as if it never happened previously.   The campers enlist the stranded teens to assist them but…not all is as it seems!

Wow.

That’s like Groundhog Day meets a John Hughes movie meets Friday the 13th meets a homeless crackhead.   I mean, really now.   That’s… pretty original, I’ll give the makers of Camp Slaughter that.   Original in a “someone took too many hits off the bong” kind of way, but original nonetheless.

There are good parts to the movie.   It pretty successfully skewers ’80’s culture, in a way, I suppose.

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AWESOME!  Like, totally!

But that’s about it.

Honestly, I can’t think of a movie I’ve seen in a long, long while that had the mere premise of the movie carry it through the first, vaguely interminable half-hour, but Camp Slaughter does it.   By the time the schtick wears off, though, you’re really ready for it to be over.   There’s a lot of technology jokes – cell phones, internet – but that only goes so far before it starts to wear really thin.   Thin enough to where this might be the kind of movie where you need Jack, Jim or Jose at your side to boost your spirits a bit.  Sure, the filmmakers give you some twists and turns during the film to throw you off guard, but you can see the eventual identity of the killers coming as easily as an oncoming train.   Subtlety is not this movie’s strong point.

Where it all falls apart:   the movie deviates from the funny-horror and goes into “serious” mode.   When it does, it loses any residual charm it had banked.   The ending is so out of left field, so nonsensical that it utterly ruins the rest of the good points the film had.

There is one survivor and one survivor only; the rude, irritating girl in the group of stranded friends who makes it out of the Time Warp alive.    (She took a jump to the left and then a step to the right, don’t you know.   Heh.   Yeah, that was a lame joke.)   Anyways, we see her three years later, happy, successful and working in some sort of office environment.   And, oh yeah, she landed a book deal.   What the hell?!

When all of a sudden, she receives an instant message from murderous Hiawatha campers!

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THEY ESCAPED FROM THE CAMP!   AND OMG!   THEY KNOW HOW TO USE THE INTERNETS!!!!

The end.

No, seriously, that’s the end.

So after sitting through some confusion, a bad flashback to the ’80’s and a slew of overly annoying characters, this is the payoff you get.

It’s kind of like buying a Snickers bar and discovering someone forgot to put the nougat in; you’ve still got the chocolate but it’s disappointing.   And you kind of want your money back.    And, it would’ve helped if they put the nougat in the candy bar in the FIRST goddamn place.

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In junior high school, I used to be forced into going to this ridiculous mandatory sex-ed assemblies, which were light on the education and heavy on the “sex kills”, if you know what I mean.   I used to have to hear all kinds of horror stories about the inherent dangers of sex and gruesome photos of girls and boys who did it once – JUST ONCE – and got some mutated form of the Ebola virus or something and DIED.   THEY DIED, GUYS.

Anyways, one of my favorite parts of these assemblies was hearing about HORRIBLE, AWFUL syphilis, which as we all know, makes you go blind and crazy.   Being a syphlitic is not fun if you’re in the tertiary stages, what with the craziness and what what.

This is salient (I promise) because if a modern day syphilitic made a movie, it would be Midnight Skater.  I would imagine that if someone had their brain slowly being eaten by spirochetes, Midnight Skater would be the end result.   This is what they should show in sex-ed assemblies to teenagers to say “DON’T HAVE THE PREMARITAL SEX.   FOR REAL.”

midnight-skater

Midnight Skater is hard to summarize, mainly because the movie itself runs in about eighty different directions.   There’s zombies and a serial killer on the loose at a college campus and a graffiti artist on the loose.   (Guess which issue the residents of the college campus are most worried about?   If you guessed “graffiti artist”, you win a cookie.)

And therein lies the main problem with the movie; it runs too wild over too many topics.   This is a movie made by film geeks run amok, guys who watched too many Troma movies late at night while nibbling on their fingernails and dreaming of their own sick, twisted visions.    And, hey, that’s cool – but if you’re going to Tromatize your movie, at least do it right.

For starters, use something else than Mommy’s video camera.

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Guess what?

(more…)

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Oddly enough, Tsunami Bomb’s “Irish Boys Stink” just popped up on my Winamp shuffle.

Huh.

dylan-moran

Please be in more Hollywood movies, Mr. Moran.   Please.

Funny guys = very cute.

I give the jury Exhibit A.

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The Alphabet Meme

So, I got tagged by Fletch at Blog Cabins for this meme – and the rules are pretty explanatory, so let’s just get crackin’, eh?

The Rules

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter “A” and the word “The” do not count as the beginning of a film’s title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don’t know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under “R,” not “S” as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with “S.” Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under “R,” not “I” as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under “L” and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under “C,” as that’s what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number’s word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under “T.”

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type “alphabet meme” into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you’re selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

A ll the President’s Men

B ig Lebowski, The

C lueless

D ark City

E quilibrium

F railty

G hostbusters

H eathers

I ntermission

J acket, The

K indergarten Cop

L ethal Weapon

M ay

N il By Mouth

O cean’s Eleven

P ulp Fiction

Q uills

R eservoir Dogs

S earchers, The

T erminator 2:  Judgment Day

U mbrellas of Cherbourg

V for Vendetta (remember, remember the fifth of November?  Ahem.)

W itness

X anadu

Y oungblood

Z oolander

I own most of these movies.  Not all of them, just some of them – I’ll let you decide which I own and which I don’t, which I suppose depends on your opinion of how good/bad my taste is.  Trufax.

Tags!

Kevin

Allison

Nick @ Fataculture

Piper

and..

Whoever else wants to do it!

Have fun, guys.

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Finland’s a pretty cool country. It’s the home of Santa Claus (no! REALLY!) and guys like Teemu Selanne. Finland first popped up on my radar mainly because my favorite hockey team was jokingly nicknamed “Helsinki South” for the staggering amount of Finns on the team’s roster and the club, to its credit, played up the Finnish connection – the team even went so far as to play a game with fans called “Finnish or Gibberish”, where a Finnish player would be pre-recorded babbling in Finnish or…well, gibberish, and the lucky fan selected would have to guess correctly in order to win a neat, neat prize.

Needless to say, everything piped my way was fun and happy about Finns. They really are a polite bunch of people, at least in my limited interaction with them (one Finnish player actually drew me a picture and autographed it for Christmas at my friends’ request) and so when I heard there was a hardcore horror flick coming out of Finland, my first initial reaction was something of “Huh? Whaaa? No, really?”

Sauna is directed by Antti-Jussi Annila and it looks like it’s going to be as cool as hell. No way, you say? YES WAY!

I can’t think of anything that stands out as more Finnish than a sauna (Finland has something like five million people and three million saunas, so you just think about that one for a second), so it seems appropriate that Annila would direct a Finnish horror movie about … a sauna.   Twitch has a great summary of the film and a fantastic review up here, if you’re interested.

More than anything, I think this is a movie that will silently slip under the radar here in America at least, which is a shame; by all accounts and by all reviews it’s an excellent film that deserves some viewing time from folks, and it will probably slide by unnoticed not only because it’s foreign, but because it’s from a lesser-known foreign nation.

Official site is here.

IMDB page is here.

Twitch, which has infinitely awesome coverage on Sauna, has archives and archives of stuff on the movie here.

In short, the movie looks like it’s something I will really adore, and if you’re anything like me, you just might as well.

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For once, I’m making a non-movie related post. For us Americans, it’s election day! If you’re American and registered to vote, I beg of you to go vote. Since I’m a bit of a political geek, I figured I’d leave an open post to get y’all’s feedback on the election and to generally have an open area to chit-chat about what’s going on today. Who are you voting for (if you feel like sharing that information)? What do you think of this election?

Non-Americans and those too young to vote (J.D.), feel free to chime in.

EDITED TO ADD: YAY, OBAMA!   Yesssss!

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I have never been a fan of werewolf movies.

Movies like The Howling and An American Werewolf In London did little for me, even though I acknowledge the greatness of both.    There’s something distinctly not terrifying about vampires and werewolves to me and I don’t know why.

Dog Soldiers didn’t scare me, but I did enjoy it very much.    It’s not a complex story; a group of soldiers is conducting a training exercise in the Scottish Highlands when they stumble upon a special-ops group headed by a dark and sinister man that’s come under attack by werewolves.   After being somehow rescued by an errant female passerby, the remaining soldiers manage to hole up in an abandoned farmhouse deep in the middle of nowhere, making one last stand against the werewolves.

The most famous faces in the cast are Sean Pertwee and Kevin McKidd.  Poor Sean Pertwee.  I always, always forget Sean Pertwee, even though I genuinely like him in the movies he’s been in and can recognize his name on a DVD box and associate it with good things.   I even had to Google image search him, the poor fellow.   Mr. Pertwee, you have my apologies.

Kevin McKidd I vaguely remember as Tommy from Trainspotting and to his credit, he’s nothing like I remembered.

I think the best thing about Dog Soldiers and what will divide people on the movie most is the lack of CGI.  There’s something to be said for having lifelike action going on without computers having to animate every last frame, and while the werewolves can come off as plastic or cheesy sometimes, they do seem a formidable, realistic set of foes to have.

The biggest credit goes to Neil Marshall, the director, who I have to say turned something that plot-wise, would have otherwise been a fairly unremarkable film.   This movie is, if memory serves me correctly, pretty bland on the structure in every way, shape and form.  Soldiers go out into the forest for a training exercise and muck around; a second convoy is attacked and the soldiers themselves are attacked; they are picked up by a lady in an SUV and haul ass to a local farmhouse, where they put up an excellent fight, but each member is picked off, one by one; a third-act twist comes into play and we get the finale of the film.  There is nothing new, inventive or anything that hasn’t been predictably well-tread in the basic form and function of the movie.

The ending twist isn’t a shock.  If you’ve watched one horror movie with a twist, then you will see this one coming a mile away.   I found myself picking up on it and then easing myself into the mentality of “Lord, this is gonna suck”.   I’m not really sure where credit goes that it doesn’t suck, other than Neil Marshall.    Your attention is kept all throughout the movie, even at the somewhat weak parts, and the ending is as satisfying an ending you can wish for.    This is the movie that Neil Marshall used to land The Descent, which I personally feel is a far stronger film than this, but hey – Dog Soldiers is a great starting point, as far as they go.

Miscellaneous bits on Dog Soldiers:

  • Watching Kevin McKidd stuff Sean Pertwee’s guts back inside him was potentially one of the awesomest things I have seen in cinema ever.
  • Watching Sean Pertwee look at his own intestines and squeal “Sausages!” is…brilliant.
  • If there are indeed Scottish soldiers running about that look like Kevin McKidd, I am moving to the Middle of Nowhere, Scotland, UK, effective immediately.   Damn.   Ladies, ladies, ladies:  if you want some unadulterated, totally shameless eye candy in a horror movie, this one is a good one to watch.
  • In one scene, a character mentions that the nearest town is “four hours away”.   Not to go all Ignorant American on you, but does it take you four hours to drive anywhere in Scotland?   I mean, ANYWHERE?  Scotland doesn’t seem small, but it seems to me to not be excessively large, either.
  • Werewolves are hideous and apparently, bipedal.
  • Note to self:   Never buy big farmhouse in the middle of the Scottish Highlands that is surrounded by trees, trees and more trees.   Unless, of course, Kevin McKidd is living with you and bringing his army gear along.
  • Neil Marshall has now made two movies that I’ve enjoyed, so the next, Neil, I’ll see no questions asked.   Welcome to the exclusive club of People Whose Movies Caitlin Will Watch Without Asking Questions.   Congratulations, your official club card is in the mail.

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I don’t even give one damn what the plot of the sequel is – just bring on more of Flanery and Reedus.

I’m sure people are pretty evenly divided into the love/hate category on this, but hell, I’ll be first in line to see it, even with Flanery’s Lucky Charms Irish accent and astonishing lack of Willem Dafoe in the sequel.

More here.

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Some Random Blog Notes

  • If your blog isn’t in the blogroll here and you want it to be, either drop me a comment here or e-mail me at 1416andcounting@gmail.com; I’m mucking with the sidebars this week and I’ll get it updated.
  • Reader’s Choice technically opened yesterday, but I haven’t received any of my movies yet from Netflix.   Drats!   Foiled again!   As soon as I get them, the reviews should start flowing in.   From now until finishing time, we’ll see how brain-melty I get.  If you want to check out progress on Reader’s Choice, Worst Movies Ever, you can check the tab up top and I’ll put status updates there.

Questions?  Comments?

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I don’t care what it takes to see this movie.

I WILL SEE IT.

Who’s with me?

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