Review of Rocky Horror Picture Show

Musical Comments Off on Review of Rocky Horror Picture Show

rocky horror picture showRating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Review

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is infamous for being so overtly stupid yet endearing. Very few films have elegantly balanced the bizarre and stupid with the enthralling nature of great film. So here we have a horror film, but not really. And here we have a musical, though only slightly. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a comedy driven by dark horror elements and musical odes to weirdness. It is hard to sum up the film (took me an hour to craft that exquisite previous sentence), but if any film needs to be watched to be even slightly understood, it is this one. Expect a little adventure of a recently engaded couple in a mansion surrounded by vampires and transvestites and vampire transvestites. Whoa.

Reason to Watch

I would say there is Susan Sarandon in her prime, but that’s like praising John Goodman’s looks in his prime, or Morgan Freeman  circa The Shawshank Redemption. Just didn’t do it for me. But on a serious note, homoerotic monsters sing acapella, so if that is more your style, you will be right in heaven.

Context

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is equitably the best horror musical ever, and in a time where any vampire in film or television is a huge pussy, it’s shocking to see the transvestite ones the most classic vampire-ish.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Frank: [singing] I’m just a sweet transvestite, from Transsexual Transylvania. 
  • Magenta: I ask for nothing! 
    Frank: And you shall receive it, IN ABUNDANCE! 
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

You will probably need some proper ambiance- fake spiderwebs, a purple vampire cape, hanging skeletons, creepy flickering lights, and a case of Budweiser to make it all work together perfectly.

Trivia

The film runs in two key versions, one for U.S. release and the other U.K. The U.S. version originally omitted the singing part “Super Heroes” because studio executives thought it was too depressing

The movie was banned in South Africa, only after 250,000 viewers already saw it in the region

Director Jim Sharman was originally offered a much larger budget if he hired popular actors at the time, but refused instead taking a smaller budget and using actors from the theater version

Educational Content
  • Musical’s aren’t always just stupid, sometimes their stupid and awesome
  • Don’t get married and drive off somewhere or else you may end up singing with erotically-infused tenors
Justification for Rating

The film is undoubtedly a little dated, but the charm and appeal of the Rocky Horror Picture Show is well intact. It doesn’t quite fit that ‘so bad it’s good” vibe typical of classic cult films, because the production values and singing is top notch- for better or worse.

Clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcmq-8rcEKg

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Horror

Review of Dawn of the Dead, 1978

Horror Comments Off on Review of Dawn of the Dead, 1978

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★½

Review

George A. Romero’s epic sequel to his genre-defining Night of the Living Dead is arguably superior to its ground-breaking predecessor.

As a zombie plague engulfs the planet, four survivors – TV girl Fran, her helicopter pilot boyfriend Stephen and two soldiers Peter and Roger – take refuge in a sprawling shopping mall, sealing the doors and creating a zombie-free hideout. In time they find their lives dull and empty inside their consumers’ paradise until their peace is destroyed by a marauding biker gang. The ensuing battle against both the bikers and the undead provides more opportunity for some wonderful gore.

The film is wonderfully written and directed and is full of satire, sub-text, allegory and clever imagery. The characters are well developed and reasonably played and the dialogue is both believable and economic enough to ensure a well-paced film. This all means that you can watch, completely guilt-free, an array of wonderfully produced gory effects (god bless Tom Savini) – screwdrivers through the ear, a rotor-blade scalping, bullet induced head explosions, machete decapitations and a liberal sprinkling of gut-munching.

On a personal note, Romero is the “Daddy” of the zombie genre and all the subsequent fast moving zombie goons really need to be bitch-slapped with a copy of the DVD, preferably prior to removing from the player.

Reason to Watch

The film is simply one of the best horror films ever made. Can be watched simply to revel in the violence or gore (of which there certainly is plenty) or can be appreciated as multi-faceted piece of cinematic art.

Context

Made in 1978 a full ten years after the first in the series. The delay, in part, was due to Romeros desire not to become overly identified with the horror genre. The delay didn’t work out too well for old George as whilst the film was a huge critical and financial success it certainly had him positively hog-tied to the zombie genre.

Most Memorable Quotes

“They’re us, that’s all, when there’s no more room in hell.”

“Who the hell cares! Let’s go shopping!”

What You Need To Get Through This Movie

To some extent this depends on what you want to take from the movie and also which version you are watching. If you are planning to have a beer-soaked gore and violence fest then the remote may come in handy, especially if you are watching the rather-slower paced 140 minute extended version.

Trivia

Despite being a sequel this is the first Romero film in which the zombies were actually called zombies.

Simon Pegg, star and co-writer of Shaun of the Dead, is a huge fan of the film and the work of Romero generally and is hence staunchly against the seeming modern move towards faster moving zombies.

Educational Content
  1. Zombies move slowly!
  2. To kill a zombie their brain must be destroyed.
  3. Even well-lit malls can be really scary.
  4.  Surviving a zombie apocalypse is pretty tricky and we should all have our plans in place.
  5. Zombies may be slow and clumsy but you have to admire their tenacity.
Justification for Rating

It would have got 10 out of 10 but some of the acting could have been a little better.

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Horror

Review of Bad Taste

Comedy, Horror, Scifi Comments Off on Review of Bad Taste

Peter Jacksons Bad TasteRating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Review

When four members of the New Zealand Astro Investigation and Defence Service (AIDS – well the movie is called bad taste) visit a small town in order to investigate a UFO siting they make some grisly discoveries and unveil a dastardly alien plot. The townsfolk have been murdered by aliens who, it turns out, are from the intergalactic fast food chain Crumb’s Crunchy Delights and human flesh is the delicacy they are seeking. A gore-fest ensues as Derek and his team do battle with the evil aliens. Lots of blood with a large dose of tongue-in cheek humor.

At times the movie has a somewhat amateurish feel but, for me, that just adds to its charm. Given that Peter Jackson made the film largely in his spare time, with the cast made up of friends and a budget tighter than a ducks ass I think a little slack should be cut.

Reason to Watch

Lots of gore, plenty of humor, man-eating aliens and an exploding sheep, what more could you ask for?

Context

Made over a four year period and funded by himself initially and completed with a grant from the New Zealand Film Commission. Peter Jacksons’ first foray into film – enough said really, a birth of a movie great.

Most Memorable Quotes

“I’m a Derek and Dereks don’t run!”

“Why can’t aliens be friendly?”

What You Need To Get Through This Movie

A real late-night beer and friends movie and it is preferable to have already had a few prior to starting the film. A love of gore certainly helps and also those from the US need an understanding that a “mate” has a different meaning outside of the USA. Possibly also a visit to Christians of Facebook to really feel terrible.

Trivia

The film contains the only known cinematic depiction of a sheep being blown up with an anti-tank missile.

Educational Content
  1. People carrying axes are rarely friendly.
  2. Having a bayonet hammered into your heel hurts.
  3. Blood is very slippery so make sure to mop it up before someone gets hurt.
  4. Throwing pine cones at someone who has a chainsaw is likely to be an ineffective form of defence.
  5. Kicking a decapitated torso in the balls accomplishes very little.
Justification for Rating

The film has plenty of gore and enough humorous moments to make-up for some of its’ shortfalls.

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Scifi

Review of Plan 9 from Outer Space

Scifi Comments Off on Review of Plan 9 from Outer Space

Plan 9 from Outer SpaceRating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Review

Plan 9 from Outer Space is about as bad as it gets in film making, but definitely follows the ‘so bad it’s good” mentality. The plot is just inane and senseless, but you do get a grasp of Ed Wood’s charm and eccentricity, and for classic film buffs, this is probably considered essential viewing. it also features some of the last-used footage of classic actor Bela Lugosi of Dracula fame. The movie is awful, truly and desperately awful. But its appeal somehow stands the test of time, and the dated special effects, even in the late 50’s, still holds a unique…umm..charm.

Reason to Watch

Ed Wood made zombies cool before they were even called zombies. In Ed Wood’s classically terrible film, Plan 9 From Outer Space, a group of aliens attempt to stop the humans from launching a doomsday device that would destroy the universe.

Context

it’s a classic, because you are told it’s a classic. So if you want to pretend you know about films, you sort of, by default, have to see it. that;’s just the way it goes. It’s also hilarious and if you want to prove snuffy film buffs that old films are actually terrible too, this is the way to do it.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Paula Trent: Now, don’t you worry. The saucers are up there. The graveyard is out there. But I’ll be locked up safely in there.
  • Colonel Tom Edwards: Why is it so important that you want to contact the governments of our earth? 
    Eros: Because of death. Because all you of Earth are idiots. 
  • Tanna: What do you think will be the next obstacle the Earth people will put in our way? 
    Eros: Well, as long as they can think – we’ll have our problems. 
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

The movie had poor special effects even for 1959. Put yourself in the time, don’t finish 2009’s horrible special effects foray Transformers and dive into Plan 9 From Outer Space. Maybe a good search through Bigfoot pictures and alien spaceships or a SparksNotes reading of H.G. wells War of the Worlds will get you in the mood. It’s the only way.

Trivia
  1. Tim Burton’s biopic, Ed Wood, follows the famed director’s critical years, climaxing in the release and public damnation of Plan 9 From Outer Space.
  2. Bela Lugosi stars in the film posthumously, using regurgitated stock footage from previous films, as well as a few clips filmed right before his death
Educational Content

With 15,000 US dollars and friends with alien suits, even YOU could make a film as embarrassingly amazing.

Justification for Rating

Despites its major flaws, Plan 9 From outer Space is truly a classic in every sense of the word. yes, it will not stand prominently up to more visually respected mediums, its a great example of a man (Ed Wood) with motivation and no skills doing what he wants to simply because he wants to and he can.

Clip

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2ukRYsYPmo

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Horror

Review of Videodrome

Horror Comments Off on Review of Videodrome

Videodrome DVD CoverRating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Review

A television programmer attempts to signal into a mysterious broadcast of people being tortured and possibly murdered for entertainment. Considering this could be the future of television, Max Renn pursues the source of the broadcast slowly being brought through a series of techno-hallucinations. The film quickly escalates further and further from its original tone, eventually devolving into such a  uniquely fascinating take of insanity and 80’s aesthetic horror. Director David Cronenberg has created a fair amount of bizarre films in his long run as a director, but Videodrome is Cronenberg at his most merciless. You get the impression he has something to say, but it’s drowning in one disgustingly bizarre scenario after another.

Reason to Watch

Well, James Woods pulls a gun out of his own chest and goes on a murder spree. Oh, and he makes out with a tv. I think there’s a message there, but when the tv began going on a rampage, I sort of forgot thinking about it.

Context

Perfectly embodies a bizarre 80’s vibe through one of Canada’s most notoriously wicked directors, David Cronenberg.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Max Renn: I want you to stay away from them. Those mondo-weirdo video guys. You know, in some countries, like Argentina, making subversive video is considered a criminal act. They execute people for it. In Pittsburgh… WHO KNOWS?
  • Nicki Brand: I live in a highly excited state of overstimulation
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

It’s not necessarily SUPPOSED to make sense, and don’t assume everything you see is a halluncination, because that gives the film one of those “it was all just a dream” vibes, and that’s awful and lame.

Trivia

Videodrome is one of the most sampled sources in history, apparently especially among heavy metal musicians. I guess metalheads like cheesy 80’s special effects and flesh eating organisms. Makes sense to me.

Educational Content

If you are in need of a weapon to be attached to your arm to kill a distasteful tv personality, tear your own chest open.

Justification for Rating

Though Videodrome is undoubtedly silly and entirely over-the-top, there is some intriguing substance here for those who want to dive beneath the surface of the overtly bizarre.

Clip

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdOnUtHamko

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