Archive for November, 2008

It’s hard for me to hate on Nic Cage.

Seriously, I have a lot of love for the man.   I think it stems from the fact that Cage wasn’t going to settle for a merely mediocre film career; goddammit, if he was going to be bad, he was going to be the worst of the very worst.   He would make movies like Bangkok Dangerous and Next sheerly for the awful factor because he already got his damn Academy Award, so why not excel in the other direction?   (This, at least, is what I tell myself when I curl up with a Nicolas Cage movie on a Saturday night.)

There is something intangible, something nominally endearing about Cage that I just can’t shake.  Even when he’s at his worst, I just kind of shake my head.  “Oh, Nicolas,” I mentally say and I carry on.  Any other actor would cause a disgusting stream of invective to exit my mouth, but not Cage.   Oh, no.   And why, I’ve never really become quite certain.   Cage just makes bad movies, and I just watch them and giggle, and we both carry on like things are right in the world.

You know.

So The Wicker Man is no exception.   I know I should be RIGHTEOUSLY INDIGNANT that they remade this one.  The original was uber-cool and featured bad-ass Christopher Lee, so remaking it – the sense it does not make.   But this is Nicolas Cage World and we don’t ask questions there, because the answers we would get in Nicolas Cage World make little to no sense.

The movie itself is somewhat faithful to the original; man gets on this creepy island, searching for a lost little girl and at the end discovers he’s intended for a ritual sacrifice because the island’s inhabitants follow some old-school pagan religion.   Did I spoil you?   Oops.   Oh, well.


It’s hard for me to lump this in the same category as Ax ‘Em or Midnight Skater simply because this movie brings horrible, disgusting, unintentional hilarity at every turn.  And thanks to YouTube, you can see them all compiled here:


I’d say the only thing that kind of disturbs me about this version of The Wicker Man is the change made to make the society a “Celtic pagan” community where women are the utter psychos, rather than an island of women and men.   It makes my feminist-ire bone tickle in a funny way, to tell you the truth.

Cage is a fount of hysterics.   He’s a master of awful cinema.   And so, while I admit The Wicker Man is truly horrific, while it’s nothing like the original, while it is nothing like what it set out to be…I laughed far more than I have at other straight-up comedies.

And for all you Cage haters?  The ending scenes are worth it for you.   Watching Cage’s bones get shattered and then, presumably, watching him burn to death will more than satisfy your vengeful bloodlust for movies like Guarding Tess and Con Air.

If you’re renting the DVD, be aware; the filmmakers did away with the original ending and tacked on an “alternate ending”.  I spent my final viewing experience pissed off because you have no option to view the original theatrical ending like you do on most DVDs.  Why am I pissed?   Because apparently I missed thirty or so seconds of James Franco, who was in the original theatrical ending.  NOW THAT would’ve made The Wicker Man infinitely better, because James Franco is hot and I am nothing if not terrifically shallow.

Oh, Nicolas.  What WON’T you do?


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I present to you the IMDB summary for reasons that will become clearer later:

A weekend retreat at a remote cabin in the woods for a group of childhood pals turns into a terrifying fight for survival, as a former friend whose family was killed years earlier comes along looking for revenge.

Tonight, Younger Sister joined me for this viewing…and I hate to say it, but I think it broke her.   It broke me, just a little, so I present to you a review consisting of snippets of our conversation during the movie.


Younger Sister: What the hell is this?

Me:  Ax ‘Em.

YS: …Two words.   Sony.  Camcorder.

Me: You should’ve seen Midnight Skater.

YS: What the hell have you been watching lately?


YS: 2 Smooth Film?    Jesus.    And why are we watching a step team?

Me: I don’t know.   Really, I don’t.

YS: Uh…this is going to get better, right?

Me: *stony silence*


Me: WOW.    Oh….God.

YS: They spent two dollars on this film, didn’t they?

Me: I just…there are no words.

YS: This movie blows.   This is the worst movie ever.

Me: I’m not quite entirely sure on that, but it is in the running for first place, yeah.


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Normally I can find some measure of sympathy in my heart for even the worst movie. Oftentimes I find myself weighing the sadly few pros to the vast amount of cons, looking for good in even the worst piles of steaming crap.

There is but one, solitary pro to the ocean of cons in Grizzly Rage: unintentional, full-on humor.

To be fair, I am biased against animal-attack movies. I view them much in the same way I view something like Sex and the City; boring, vapid, and at times somewhat watchable but utterly forgettable. And both tend to feature soulless beasts stalking prey. (Sorry, Sex and the City fans.)

Grizzly Rage is probably the standard bearer for such flicks; it is soul-crushingly awful.

The only way to keep yourself from nodding off is to laugh.

I don’t even need to find a poster for this one. I just need to show you the DVD menu and the title cards, really.


Notice that masterful Photoshopping! They gave the bear red-eye! They took MS Paint and spray painted blood on to the bear! Magnificent, I say.


It was at this point that I began to question what I had done with this latest installment of Reader’s Choice and whether I was going to end up like Sam Neill in In The Mouth of Madness, crazed, babbling and unsure of where reality and insanity met and separated.

And verily, I felt kind of heartened. I’ve seen a lot of awful things in my time. For goodness sakes, I am a person who professes an enormous amount of love for Spice World. Some people have a high pain threshold; I seem to have a high awful threshold.

Grizzly Rage seemed determined to call my hand, I think.

The movie begins with four friends embarking on a road trip, complete with car dancing and music that can best be described as Nickelback-lite (eww!). There is an unspoken rule of horror/gore flicks that I’m sure has an applicable mathematic equation. The more jerkfaced you are, the more likely you are to die. In a group of total assholes, the alpha asshole will most likely bite the dust far before the other, lesser jerkfaces. And if you’re having sex? God. You just punched your own ticket to the sweet hereafter, friend. If we are following this standard, then you will not be surprised…


…that I immediately wondered to myself when the Hand of God was going to come down and smite these X-TREME individuals before the movie really got up and running.

The foursome are en route to a camping trip in a park when they decide to deviate from their original plan and instead decide to go to a different park, one that’s been gated up and locked for a long time. That’s okay, they decide – they’ll just break in and not tell anyone where they’re going! Well, super!

So they do just that, but they don’t make it far inside the gated up park before they totally screw everything up by running over and killing a bear cub. The campers aren’t as dumb as I originally believed, as they bicker amongst themselves for seconds before deciding to hightail it out of there because the momma bear? Probably nearby.


Being X-TREME has its consequences.

It’s quickly thereafter that Momma Bear appears as the friends kick their nice sport utility vehicle into high gear and haul ass the other direction.   It’s too bad that they crash into a tree, doing something funky to their radiator.   Oops!    I bet AAA doesn’t do car repairs in locked-up parks with raging grizzly bears on the loose, hmm?


If you’re Stephen Colbert, you’re peeing your pants in fright right now.

If you’re everyone else?   Meh.


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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.



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!


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.


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!



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 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.


Guess what?


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



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.




Nick @ Fataculture



Whoever else wants to do it!

Have fun, guys.

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