watch HORROR SHOW first because i THINK it came out slightly ahead, and also it’s simpler and less exhausting.
Too bad God didn’t get involved BEFORE this girl was horribly murdered.
10/19: WITCHING AND BITCHING aka LAS BRUJAS DE ZUGARRAMURDI
I really like Alex de la Iglesia a lot. He provides me with all the wild action, meatheaded humor and sensationalism that I’d have to otherwise find in Hollywood movies that I find joyless and condescending. I have my favorites within his filmography (COMMONWEALTH, DAY OF THE BEAST), but he really hasn’t disappointed me yet. That is to say, it would be too much to called LAS BRUJAS a disappointment, but it definitely gave me the willies in a way I didn’t find totally welcome.
To be more specific, I found de la Iglesia doing some of the same things that make me actively hate Almodovar. The basic blueprint here is that some thieves (all male) run afoul of a remote village full of witches (all female, save some castrated lackeys). The gag is that on both sides of the gender divide, the main characters are embittered divorce(e)s with a major bone to pick with the opposite sex. Just in case you thought this movie might be addressing ANYTHING other than the battle of the sexes, the binary differences between these two kinds of humans are stamped indelibly into every scene. Men are aligned with the forces of strength and order, as exemplified by the two robbers’ Jesus Christ and Toy Soldier disguises. Women are, you know, witches. Women are sexy and passionate but desperately emotional and clingy, forcing men to be evasive and insensitive, as exemplified by the hystrionic Carolina Bang’s demonic (and unexplainable) pursuit of deadbeat dad Hugo Silva. Men who get along with women are terminally pussy-whipped and scared out of their minds, once you dig under their outer crust of respect and understanding. And this is reasonable, because women ACTUALLY are aligned with a primordial force of darkness that definitely HAD to be crushed under the boot of patriarchal civilization.
Sure, this is all done with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but it strikes me as something de la Iglesia believes and is joking about, rather than something negative that he sees as needing deconstruction. The thesis statement is delivered (sloppily) in some dialogue (man speaking rationally to evil, hysterical woman) about how men and women need one another to maintain the order of things. However, the ultimate version of this, in the film, is that the deadbeat dad hooks up with the uncontrollably emotional and possessive metalhead chick (who he seems to have transformed into a respectable-looking hausfrau), I guess because we just accept that men are kind of pieces of shit, and “bitches be crazy”. I found this really insufficiently funny. It just bummed me out.
If you can somehow ignore the rather loud message, the movie is formally exciting, fast-paced and nicely performed by all of de la Iglesia’s beloved stalwarts. I could have used more Boschian gruesomeness than it actually delivers, BUT: the main bad guy in this movie is a terrifying Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man-sized Venus of Willendorf. That, all by itself, is worth the price of admission. Do what you will with the rest.
i actually review mobile games from a website, but i don’t know that one. ?
10/17: THE HORROR SHOW aka HOUSE 3
I was so ashamed to realize I’d never totally internalized the fact that this movie was released in some parts as HOUSE 3, and that’s why I can never think of what HOUSE 3 is. I really like the first two HOUSE’s. The only thing I can really think of about part 4 is that it seemed uncomfortably aimed at a child audience, and reminded me of TROLL 2 if the only memorable thing about TROLL 2 had been a talking pizza.
Anyway, this is sort of a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET thing in which an etheric Brion James torments family cop Lance Henricksen for sending him to the electric chair. Brion James excellently haunts a number of things, including a womb, a standup comedy show and a turkey before Lance Henricksen excellently sends him back to hell. It’s pretty much a party, and is excellently of its moment.
10/18: WES CRAVEN’S SHOCKER
This is bafflingly the exact same movie as THE HORROR SHOW, and came out at almost exactly the same time in 1989. I read a suggestion on Joe Blow that Wes Craven ripped off THE HORROR SHOW to punish those filmmakers for ripping off NOES, but man, what an incredible turnaround that would require. I’m too lazy to look up exact production dates and stuff to fortify my fantasies about whether or not this could be true, but it’s an interesting idea.
In Craven’s somewhat more flamboyant telling of basically the exact same story, Agent Skinner from the X-Files performs a satanic ritual with a television in his jail cell before being executed. This turns him into an etheric being who can possess the body of any human being, including prerecorded human beings on television programs, which is an extremely weird idea. He torments the psychically empowered son of the cop who sent him to prison — only ACTUALLY the Shocker is REALLY the kid’s REAL dad, cementing Wes Craven’s reputation as the ultimate maker of movies about child abuse. Seriously, what is going on with this guy? What would even happen if somebody asked him?
SHOCKER is pretty imaginative — in fact, it would be reasonable to say it has a few too many ideas. I spent the last 35 minutes thinking this movie was just about to be over, before another item would come up. In spite of the occasionally elaborate concepts and special effects, the movie is plagued by an undercurrent of anger, labor and general sourness. This is something I often sense with Wes Craven; I have a “vibe” that he really hates young people, and sides with his antagonists in excess of normal levels of slasher movie indulgence. It’s a sensation that makes Craven interesting, but also sort of unlikeable and condescending. For a more convincing argument I’d need more space than I’m willing to eat up at the moment, so I’m just going to lazily put that out there and let it flap in the breeze.
At the end of the day, I think I liked the gorier, lo-fi-er, shorter HORROR SHOW more than I liked SHOCKER. I would still be interested if anyone happens to know how it is that these two films were created and released right on top of each other.
10/16: EVENT HORIZON
After parts 1 and 2, EVENT HORIZON is my favorite HELLRAISER movie. If you have never had a thought like this, you are just being ignorant. Sam Neill makes a bunch of space professionals go look at his fashion-forward puzzle-like space ship deal that unlocks a gateway to a dimension of unfathomable pain where they literally talk about how they have such sights to show you and also there’s some religious language around this for no reason, other than, I assume, to sort of bother you about HELLRAISER.
I’ve always had a hard time accepting Sam Neill into my heart, which I acknowledge is basically irrational. Part of the problem is that during the general JURASSIC PARK era, some dopey magazine called him the Sexiest Man of the Year or something. I get really angry any time some dumbass media outlet tells me I just SHOULD have a giant boner for Bradley Cooper or whoever, but I found the Sam Neill selection both offensive for that reason AND unexplainable in its particulars. Setting aside his appearance, I think of him as a weaker, slimier, more simpering Jeremy Irons. I think I was also mad because my face-blindness makes me think that the dad in the first HELLRAISER was Sam Neill, and I’m always perplexed when I remember it’s some American dude.
Now we’re back around to why EVENT HORIZON is HELLRAISER. Even if you make it through a whole movie of pain demons with whips and chains bugging you about how they have such sights to show you without thinking of HELLRAISER, you must at least think of HELLRAISER when Sam Neill turns up at the end with no hair and a grid of space runes carved all over his head. C’mon. Actually, there are two big HELLRAISERish problems with this otherwise delightfully sadistic piece of eye candy:
1. The evil space demon is really committed to making sure that the astronauts get sucked into the alternate universe, but as far as I can tell, absolutely no motivation is provided. It doesn’t feed on your fear or eat your soul or have complicated systems of vows and temptation or anything; the bad guy essentially says look, my hellworld is bad, and I’m REALLY bad, so I’m just going to kidnap you guys because I know you’ll really hate it.
2. The movie keeps telling you how the dimension of pain is like so totally amazing that it will blow your brains out of your mind if you look at it — and then they never show it. There’s sort of a flash on the eternal torture of the space dudes, but it seems to just take place on the set of the ship. Oh well.
…and therein lies something I wanted to get off my chest about HELLRAISER 2, which I absolutely love. I work with a guy who is one of these terminal nerds who wants to be completely immersed in escapist garbage but who also needs it to make total and complete sense. This sort of person is my exact intellectual enemy. Recently he started shooting his nerd mouth off about how HELLRAISER 2 starts out ok, but then it “goes off the rails” when the characters actually descend into hell. I had to stop and remind him, and everyone else in earshot: Listen. HELLRAISER 2 is a movie that shows you a fun weird imagining of what it might be like in hell. That is its entire reason for being. It is not here to make sense to you. The first part of the movie, to which you are referring as interesting and somehow sensible, is a thriller about a haunted mattress. A guy buys a haunted mattress, and a ghost lady squirts out of it to come ruin his life. Say that out loud to yourself and tell me how thoughtful and sensible it makes you feel. Idiot.
…which reminds me of my favorite memory of my college’s resident death metal band and the time they watched HELLRAISER 2 together and their lead guitarist just got way too serious and excited about the beginning. The admonishment the rest of the band had to deliver became a classic catch phrase for the rest of our academic career:
"The skinless chick is not hot, Nate. She doesn’t have any skin."
In summation, this wasn’t a very good review of EVENT HORIZON. However, EVENT HORIZON is a pretty good movie, and you should definitely watch it instead of HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE any chance you get.
ass blog is cookin’
this moviesludge in case nobody knows
darkarfs replied to your post:darkarfs replied to your post:can you do any good…Their knowledge of him probably climbs back to 1999-and-beyond Walken and stops. Kind of like how everyone’s latter-day Pacino is a lot of screaming and a HOO-AH
yeah, that’s probably true, although i think pacino is more guilty of devolving into self-parody, than he is a victim of the ignorance of collegiate dickheads who fancy themselves the life of the party.
the worst thing about christopher walken impressions, which are the main thing people really fucking insist on inflicting on others, is that they boringly make christopher walken into “a guy who talks weird” instead of a really talented actor and dancer, and they also subtly suggest that he’s a big serious freak with no self-awareness, as if he hasn’t been really funny in lots of comedies. christopher walken impressions are my least favorite thing anyone has ever said to me.
i find impressions really miserable, they’re always just a stupefyingly obvious exaggeration of one unusual quirk, and they’re right up there with song-jokes as gags that take too long to get the point across: you have to do all the lyrics on a certain tempo for me to know what song you’re lampooning and why it’s supposed to be funny, just as you have to say enough lines of dialog for me to know who you’re trying to humiliate and how good you are at it, meaning i have to sit there for an unbearable amount of time waiting for your routine to finish itself off.
the only funny impression in the history of impressions is the one ladyphibes does of james mason, but i don’t think she’ll do it for you.