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Lake Bodom (2016)
Careful for What You Wish For, 20 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My Friday the 13th (Part 3d) evening was shattered when I heard a quick plug for this Friday the 13th (Part All) film.

Despite the MANY horror concepts Lake Bodom "borrowed" from, this was one of the most strikingly original films I've seen in a while. And it didn't start out that way.

The first half was the movie I love to see with a slight twist: Legend has it, a group of teens were brutally assaulted and killed in this particular area deep in the woods and by the Title's edge back in 1960. So, naturally, one curious young male nerd and his horny tattooed friend lure two slasher-friendly BFFs to spend the night at the very spot some 57 years later.

As scares and jokes ensure, panic sets in and as in most in-the-woods, killer-on-the-loose films, they get picked off until even I questioned how this was different than the rest of the slasher-in-the-wood subgenre. That is, again, until the half-way point emerges. There comes the boom and boy, let's have some wild fun with many horror subgenre plot-twists.

Aside from how I relished in the vines of the story emerging and multiplying, the movie was incredibly shot, well-acted and even had a pretty decent score. Yes, I am aware of at least 4-5 different movies this either stole from or played homage to. Didn't matter. It was fun pointing them out to myself as I watched the action, frights and film unravel.

While the movie really opened my eyes to the delight of seeing many of my favorite types of films in one, the near-fantastic movie wasn't quite there. At a far-too-short runtime that might have just barely under- stayed its welcome, it almost felt experimental at points and might have benefited from some additional scenes and a tad more chapters to flesh more out as it, unfortunately, felt like it abruptly ended too soon.

That all said, it's a roaring fun ride and if you're like me, a slasher subgenre fan, specifically a Don't-Go-in-the-Woods slasher advocate, you'd probably like this and the directions it takes you.


Final thoughts: (Major Spoilers, for the subgenres I observed. Didn't want to give most of these away in the body as part of the fun was seeing it unfold to guess how many ideas this movie took. But, I gotta get them out of my head and into print. Just be warned: these could be considered major spoilers so stop now and watch the movie first before learning of the subgenres I observed…Okay, here goes: this is part (as stated) Friday the 13th, Tales from the Crypt, The Cabin in the Woods, I Know What You Did Last Summer and definitely, High Tension.)

Lighthouse (1999)
Alien vs. a Predator, 19 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While interesting and actually frightening at times, this experiment felt more like an Alien film (preferably Alien3 and Aliens mixed) with a slasher holdover in the late 90s. Hard to watch the way I did - only copy online I could find was some VHS upload into YouTube - not a good combo. But, it was doable. Recommended by the podcast Shockwaves as a lost and understated 90s horror flick. Honestly, it could've remained lost and it would be no big, well, you know.

Grabbers (2012)
They're Drunk 'n History, 17 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was told this was a LAUGH-OUT-RIOT horror-comedy, and was told incorrectly. That said, I laughed a bit here and there, but this enormously clichéd, predictable and hardly original alien invasion film barely stood above the rest. It even had a completely uninspired creature. The saving grace was the moments of comedy – though you had to wait until the second half and the alcohol consumption "twist." Perhaps not to be taken too seriously, it might be a tad fun. I know I would've loved this as a kid. Cheers!

Slugs (1988)
Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is!, 16 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Thanks, Bekah! What a fun time this was!

I listen to a horror-movie podcast daily called Shockwaves. On it, 3-4 hosts comment on movies they saw that week and one cohost in particular, Rebekah McKendry, talks about Slugs almost weekly. It's her "guilty pleasure," though they try and shy away from that term.

I'm a huge When Animals Attack films fan. Cheese, sure. Realistic, eh. But, when these creature-features cross my path, I just enjoy the sh|t out of them.

This movie, I've been told (Thanks, Kevin!) was unintentionally hilarious. In the first few frames, it's rock-solid LOL. One could look at this, in those opening shots on a boat with the male-half being sucked into the water by some 3-inch slugs as a bad-bad film, but because it, and the dialogue, was so hilarious, I was instantly on- board.

Apparently, previous toxic waste created these mutated, meat-eating slugs and they proceed to terrorize an "arm-pit" town. Of course, we have our government employees hot on the case to exterminate them!

I've seen my share of When Animal Attacks films. They're all pretty much the same, like the ghost stories of late. But, this one stood out. Quite a bit, in fact. There were tons of creature attacks. More than the norm for these 80s horror subgenre films. And in a lot of the cases, the gruesome factor was at 10, like they were really trying.

It's bad, sí. But, it's so painfully on target for this type of film, it's thoroughly enjoyable. You MUST like When Animal Attacks movies and bad 80s dialogue to get into it, but if you're like me…you'll slug right past the bad to get to the goods.


Final thoughts: Now, watch Squirm via the MST3k version. The same type of movie, but the MST3k guys really bring that movie to life.

Blind Sun (2015)
The Opposite Shining, 16 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If the extreme cold can make some crazy, the exact opposite is also true. I know; I go bonkers during the daily 100-120 degree, 6+ months here in Arizona year after year.

So, since we're going through yet another gut-punching hot and humid summer, I wanted to watch a Horror-Heat-Wave movie and BAM!, coincidentally, the first category on my Shudder Online Horror Movie Streaming service is a group of Horror-Heat-Wave flicks. And the first one was one I hadn't seen and seemed the most interesting.

Blind Sun felt extremely real for someone like us Phoenicians. They did an excellent job on how hot a desert town can get. It was almost too real for me. Well, the hot parts, anyways.

Slowly, this all-but drifter turned house-sitter loses his mind in the heat. The house he's staying in is supposed to be very richy, despite the poverty town surrounding it, but the A/C keeps going out, the water is turned on/off and even the pool is a big no-no for the fact the town's rationing H20. As stated, it's a slow-burner, no pun and this man dives deeper and deeper into madness.

Live one summer here in Phoenix, and yeah, you'll understand.

While the final act went a little wacko for me, it was a decent movie to watch to know what the hot desert feels like.


Final thoughts: Oh, and just to clarify, our Phoenician summers are basically March through November with the first and last month somewhat pleasant, but still can be in the 100s.

Pulse (2001)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Does Dial-up Still Have a Pulse?, 15 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching Pulse now for the first time was as hard as starting from the beginning of The Big Bang Theory in modern times.

On that side tangent, I did recently start from episode one of The Big Bang Theory having never seen an episode and hearing everyone rave about it. The way they went on and on about the technology for when that show began was difficult – knowing what I know now.

And in this 2001 Japanese ghost story, it was equally uncomfortable hearing that dial-up tone over and over again. I don't ever wanna go back to those days!

Eh, I digress. The movie was alright. Had some good ideas and a last act ten times better than the movie as a whole. But, I found it increasingly difficult to keep up with who was who and their relationships with each other. NO, that's not a racist statement of "oh, all Asians lookalike." In fact, they all had very unique styles and appearances. It was just a bunch of random people with different backgrounds and employments/schooling that I had troubles with.

Also, ghost stories aren't my forté. And honestly, when I started this movie on Amazon streaming, I thought I was watching another movie about lightning strikes or a Mother Nature Attacks movie. But, when it's established it's a ghost story, I try to give it the benefit of the doubt, even though they never scare me.

Pulse is about the "internet" and how it's a portal. Apparently, back in 2001, one couldn't Google what this "internet" was, so one character, laughably, has to pull out a very large manual to learn how to connect to such a modern thing.

Stop. I started using the "internet" in 1992 in college. Back then, for me and my friends, it was an Electronic Forum (or EF) used between students and teachers at school and even, gasp, off-campus! Obviously, we were in the stone-ages in 1992, but we definitely knew what the "internet" was in the very early 1990s and not long after, AOL became the Wal-Mart of the online world.

So, I do NOT give this movie a pass that someone, specifically a young male adult in technology-centered Japan, wouldn't know what the "internet" was or even bookmarks, the "screen-print" key, etc. in 2001. Hogwash.

Regardless, the movie is the ghost story to the line "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth." So, ghosts figured out a way to transport via dial-up (haha, sounds silly and yeah, it was,) and make people commit suicide, I guess by scaring them to death and loneliness. It's up to our random young adults, including the ignorant- internet-idiot to try and figure out the motives and keep their (seconds-earlier-strangers) best friends alive.

Oddly, since this was my first (and frankly, only) time seeing this, it seemed awfully familiar and felt like this movie had already been remade. Alas, it had in America half a decade later – nope, not interested in that and it looks awful, anyways. But, it also felt like the other Japanese film, Ringu and its American remakes as well. I guess this ghost portal thing was hot back then.

I suppose if you're scared of ghosts and still don't know what the "internet" is, you might find enjoyment here. It has some good scenes and use of silence after a tense score placement, but overall, it's too long of a movie to get to the goods.


Final thoughts: I am not opposed to reading subtitles (always better than dubbing!) but damnit, stop putting all white subtitles on top of pitch-white scenes! At times, words were literally fleshed out from the screen thanks to the white-on-white subtitles.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Fleshed Out XXX, 13 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

…or Gateway Porn.

I attended a horror movie marathon ("Shock Around the Clock!") in Columbus, Ohio in October 2016 and We Are the Flesh was scheduled to premiere there. After some positive things I heard of it, I was admittedly intrigued. Granted, and in my defense of the review I'm about to write, I was told extremely little of this except for the very basic plot. Sadly, for me at the time, the film's sound was off. After a few attempts to fix this and moving other shorts/films around to do so, it never worked, so they scrapped it.

The Shock Around the Clock! host should be absolutely thanking his lucky stars it never played.

Number one, and the least minor thing wrong, was that this was a horror movie marathon and if this is 10% horror, that's being generous. Sure, there are horror elements, but the real "theme" if there is one, is that it's more Sci-Fi than horror. And you wouldn't even know it was somewhat Sci-Fi if you didn't know the synopsis going in as they never once explain what the hell's going on in this movie's universe.

Number two: this is pretentious, artsy-fartsy crap. Yes, some would look at this as art, depth and a statement against (insert current social injustice here.) I don't blame people for wanting to go outside the box and experience the exact opposite of mainstream films. In the Shock Around the Clock! host's defense, the majority of his picks are just as pompous, so this would've fit right in. Only……

Number three wrong and the most damaging: this is straight up pornography.

I asked my friend who I attended the marathon with if there were any children in attendance since I couldn't recall. He said his son was there. There might have been other kids, as well. NO KID or TEEN should ever see this movie. Even with parental permission.

Not to spoil any plot points – though that would be hard because there's about an ounce of actual plot here – but, what I am referring to when I call this porn: constant full frontal nudity of both sexes (and both adults and under-aged teens – though, it might have been just be the character's ages; more on this later) even with lingering shots on both genitalia, penetration, sexual acts, masturbation all around, orgies and incest…if I recalled it all.

I am not prude. But, it is shocking to me that the Shock Around the Clock! marathon was going to show this to families with kids. I have heard that the host may/may not see all the movies prior to save for the experience of seeing some of the films for the first time on the big screen and with the (usually) "appropriate" audience, but word of warning: screen your movies first next time. This would've been wildly inappropriate to show to any underage person.

Aside from all that, the movie wasn't any good. It's a tale of some crazed, horny and pretty ingenious survivor held up in what looks like a school and two young siblings break in and offer themselves (in many ways) to stay with him since "the city had no place for them." While under his, um, care?, he forces them to be the opposite of their nature, or morals, and the movie is just porn from there on. Oh, fine, while there are some bloody scenes (remember? 10% horror/sci-fi,) there's more singing and random screaming to fill in the gaps of the 79 minute runtime that felt like three hours.

As stated in many examples, this isn't recommended for the underage crowd. But, for adults, instead, just watch porn. At least most of those adult films have plots 10x more coherent than this one did.


Final thoughts: Apparently, according to an unreliable source/website, the actors, namely the brother and sister, are of-age in real life, but they do look like they're young teens. So, if anyone wanted to see this just to get their rocks off, just know that in real life or in the fictional setting of this movie, you might just be watching nude kids walk around, have sex and everything in-between. Good luck explaining this to the feds if it's on your hard drive.

The Lesson (2015)
Student Film Lessons, 11 July 2017

This literally felt like a film school mesh of style and (now) old-school torture porn. Don't get me wrong; the movie was well-made and shot, but it seemed like a bunch of ideas (Look at what I can do!) all edited together with the bulk of Angry Teacher thrown in for the majority of the substance.

Is there a message here? Are there characters that you can stand behind? Can anyone really learn a lesson here? If you answered YES to any of those questions…I'm gonna nail gun you so hard nouns will spill out of your bloody orifice!

And now. For your homework…find a more cohesive movie to watch.

Trilogy of Timid, 30 June 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hardly. Note: Never name your movie of a promise you cannot fulfill.

No doubt this threesome horror anthology is incredibly shot, acted, edited and paced. There's no debate there. It's just…if these were Mexican-Made films, these would be three Pace Picante Sauce jars instead of the promised Habanero blend you were promised.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I've seen too much Asian carnage and have become immune. But, with a title like "Three…EXTREMES," I expected a lot more grotesque bloodshed than what I've been exposing myself to lately.

With absolute style over substance, we get three "short films" and no wraparound this time. I used quotes because, by far, this is one of the longest horror anthologies with the fewest number of entries and none of which clock in with the average screen time.

Not sure which order I'd rank them, but will go through each one. Part One: Dumplings was painfully obvious on its direction, so when the reveals hit, I wasn't the least bit shocked or felt in peril. Part Two: Cut was good, but seen it all before and the ending lost me totally. Part Three: Box, okay, this was probably the best one and I'm not even into ghost stories. Unfortunately, this was also the gravest offender of "Style over Substance" as the director seemed to want to make a more art-house film than tell the 30-second story stretched over 43 minutes.

Don't get me wrong. I liked what I saw. Just thought the title was really overselling it. It's worth a watch, especially for horror fans. Just don't expect anything "EXTREME" or outside the BOX.


Final thoughts: I did feel this was rather long, especially for only three segments and NO WRAPAROUND, but I will give this praise: No story felt like it overstayed its welcome. I was intrigued to continue each chapter until its finale.

Office Space Available, 25 June 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"It's 'I just SAW the MAZE RUNNER in THE OFFICE's CUBE'cle!'" should be the tagline. And yet, it still works on its own.

Oh, and throw in THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. I just couldn't fit this additional reference in there properly. It would be rather long, no?

From the second I heard of this movie I wanted to see it. Some people like ghost/haunted house stories. *I* like real-life, or solid killer films. Something that could really happen or at least closer than some mystical ghost that has zero limits. So, yeah, this is MY type of horror.

Basically, an office in the middle of Nowhere, World, is shut down for an "Experiment" to see who can kill or will kill to save themselves. Of course, at first, these desk-jobbers think it's a farce, but then some drop like flies. It's ON then. Who will survive this closed-in massacre to prove their humanity? I guess that's the goal.

I've worked in the Dilbert-industry with all the tropes this movie portrays for the past 20+ years. Sadly, people put under extreme pressure for self-preservation might resort to murder, though it's hard to see it really happening. And that's probably the point. It most likely would truly pan out this way, despite us thinking it could never happen.

If you like real-life horror stories, government conspiracies in a fictional sense and non-spiritual mumbo-jumbo, this is right up your cubical alley.


Final thoughts: Just ask yourself, what would you do? Are you capable of erasing your morals and do what's right to save yourself or more lives?

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