I like Rob Zombie, at least as far as his intentions are concerned. The execution, not so much but for me he has still delivered some effective movies with a grindhouse, video-nasty feel many horrors ignore in place of glossy production values and pretty actors. As fairly typical for a Rob Zombie movie a group of travelling carnival-types (included Mrs Zombie herself, Sheri Moon Zombie as well as a few other Zombie regulars), find themselves kidnapped by a mysterious organization and thrown into a deadly game, involving an increasingly psychotic bunch of killers and a cat and mouse night of survival.
The poster art and the trailer promised so much, with some freaky, stand-out images and what appeared to be Rob Zombie back on gruesome form after a poorly realised Halloween sequel and a diversion into the supernatural with the (rather good) Lords of Salem. So let the red stuff flow! Yes we get some inspired creations, from a Nazi midget, a Harlequin knock-off and well, Zombie’s version of The Joker in the shape of Doom Head (Richard Brake) – easily the star of the show. Acting is passable and how things play out fairly predictable, but still fun if you’re into unlikable idiots getting bumped off one by one in increasingly gory ways. Zombie doesn’t hold back in such regard and we get beheadings, a graphic throat slit and some fun with chainsaws! However, the editing is so crazy at times that it’s occasionally difficult to tell what’s going on … but with a good feeling of unease and tension throughout … I was still glued.
Sad then that the movie lacks anything resembling a new idea … even for Zombie (we saw very similar fair in House of 1000 Corpses). Yet it all looks good, Zombie certainly proving he has an eye for iconic imagery and can shoot a scene with genuine skill – but when what’s happening is simply rinse and repeat violence with little creativity, it all starts to get a bit boring. That ending also was begging for a twist – but no, we don’t even get that, finishing everything on a whimper rather than a scream.
Is my Kubrick Project set for a revival? Maybe. I’d especially be interested in offering my thoughts on the HD image quality for each movie, and will be giving opinions on the two as yet unseen movies, Lolita and Barry Lyndon. Watch this space…
They say personality goes a long way, and when it comes to actress Emma Stone, that personality has meant for some of the most likable comedic performances of the last few years, from a supporting turn in The House Bunny, to a star-making role in Zombieland, and now this amiable teen comedy. Stone plays Olive, a normal teenage girl who goes unnoticed by her fellow school friends. Yet when a lie about a one night stand is spread throughout the school, she soon finds her social life enlivened and her popularity, especially with the male pupils sky-rocket. Appealed by this new-found popularity, she chooses to keep the lie going by allowing social outcast guys to boast about having sex with her to boost their own standing, but as you can probably imagine, it’s not long before things spiral out of control.
Halloween, the 1978 version is a masterpiece. It’s tense, dripping with atmosphere, genuinely scary and expertly put together. John Carpenter knew how to get under a viewer’s skin. Now fast-forward to the remake, an admittedly brutally violent but somewhat interesting re-tread of the original, shedding new light on the masked killer’s childhood and family background, before sadly stumbling in the final act by copying and pasting the events of the old movie, but presenting them as if directed by an idiot.
Now don’t get me wrong, Rob Zombie is not an idiot. He understands what is needed to create that 80’s video nasty vibe. He showcased this wonderfully in the down right bizarre House of 1000 Corpses and the brilliantly inventive The Devil’s Rejects. Yet there he was dealing with the off spring of his own warped imagination. Here though, he’s bastardizing someone elses characters, and spreading them liberally with more gore and violence than was ever strictly necessary. Laurie Strode is a bit messed up after surviving her ordeal on Halloween night one year previous, and is haunted by nightmares of the masked killer Michael Myers, who everyone believes is dead, but guess what? No body was ever recovered. Wait, I know, you’ve heard this one before … but stick with me. Well as expected said deranged nutcase returns, this time haunted himself by the ghostly apparition of his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) and his younger self, which I admit is an interesting spin, yet what isn’t at all interesting is the shockingly predictable slayings, which are overly nasty, and the frantic, head-ache inducing editing, where the camera is more often than not so close and epileptic you CAN’T TELL WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT. Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie is (once again) no Jamie Lee Curtis, says ‘f***’ a lot, and warbles in hysterics so you CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE IS SAYING. What ideas this sequel has it never fully develops, the reveal of Laurie Strode being Michael Myer’s sister is both pointless and completely unexplored, and even genre stalwarts such as Malcolm McDowell and Brad Dourif lend nothing to proceedings making their presence insulting when you consider what gems they have been in previously.
A terrible horror movie, and contender for worst movie of the year.
I was never a fan of the post-apocalytic Aussie action franchise Mad Max. All that moody desert landscape stuff and screaming mad men in armoured cars – not my bag. So on first hearing of this British-made Escape From New York meets 28 Days Later, I was less than underwhelmed, even if it was by the director of the mostly excellent The Descent.
Now fast-forward to present, having just finished watching it, and what can I report? In 2035, 27 years after the outbreak of the Reaper virus kills millions, a strain of the disease erupts in London, threatening the world, and so a team of specialist soldiers are sent into the abandoned wasteland of Glasgow in a hope to find a cure. Rhona Mitra, former Tomb Raider model and all round hot stuff plays total bad-ass Major Sinclair, and is this movie’s meal ticket as every time she is on screen she raises the movie out of it’s b-movie routs by being so cool. Add to this some admirable production values, plenty of gung-ho action and lots of gore, as well as a killer soundtrack – and it’s obvious this was done with one word in mid: fun!
Director Neil Marshal follows up The Descent with this boys-own fantasy of a movie that has all the ingredients any testosterone fueled guy craves – guns, car-chases, explosions and tits! Hell yeah! Saying that we also get a cast of Brit heavy weights in the form of Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell to lend the pop-corn proceedings some class.
Definitely one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in a long time.
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