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I am also someone who hopes to direct a real film one day (and hopefully make a career out of it) and I have started editing tributes on youtube...its not much but its SOME sort of a start, right? Besides that, I am taught at school the rest. One of my many idols for "art films" is Werner Herzog. Even his "boring" or "silly" films are great.
I have an opinion that I will voice but I AM respectful of other peoples opinions because I have changed mine on a number of occasions.
Forever Knight: Last Knight (1996)
So this is how it all ends?
To me, there are at least 5 main episodes of this season that, I feel, is hard not to have a strong negative reaction from me "Blackwing", "Human Factor", "Hearts Of Darkness", "Fever" and finally this. Now, don't get me wrong, there were some good episodes this season - for example, I personally feel Francesca is brilliant - but with that said, this is an episode that literally every other episode before was building up to. Nick was on a quest to become human. Its something that each episode was trying to achieve despite it being "episodic TV" (this was before season long story arcs were a popular thing) and the initial reaction is...this did NOT stick the landing.
This episode starts off with a suicide which happened to not only be one of Natalie's friends but a Psychiatrist. Nick tries his best to comfort her but, more than ever, she feels the pointlessness of life rearing its head. Nick tries to talk her out of suicide even though he's tried it before and he tries desperately to make sure it all works out. She then tries to speed up Nick trying to gain his mortality via that "making love while feeding" plot point from "Human Factor" (and...you just HAD to resurrect my least favourite plot point of the entire series in the finale, didn't you?!). After seeing Tracy Vetter die, with her last words "you could've said something" (referring to his vampirism...and yes, that IS a plothole in this season) Nick accepts Natalie's offer and feeds to try and regain his mortality for her.
Lacroix has decided to leave town but before he leaves Nick tells him about the ideal of contemplating suicide. The episode actually starts off with this monologue he gives about how you shouldn't trade treasure for an empty box which is actually one of Nigel Bennett's best deliveries on this show. With that said, considering the last episode was a bloodbath of cast members and regulars on this show and the fact he...just killed a potential love interest he doesn't see the point. So guess what? The episode ends on a cliffhanger with Nick giving Lacroix a stake. So basically this episode ends with Nick most likely dying, Natalie dead, Nick's partner dead (AGAIN! But not like Lacroix) and the only survivors being the guy who died in the pilot story only to come back with no explanation and the police chief who, if this show had a season 4, would've been replaced anyway. So literally no one on this show hasn't died.
Okay, here is something the writers clearly didn't notice while making this, regardless of that Lacroix monologue, this may be the most pro-suicide thing I've ever seen! No, this episode actually does reflect on a LOT of the preceding episodes and how did the writers think it'd look when the overall message they wanted to leave the show on was "humanity is bullshit, you may as well kill yourself". It wouldn't be much if there was something else but considering this is the finale, its just a punch in the gut to everything that came before. The other thing has nothing to do with anything but...the episode before this involved Lacroix's master coming back and killing off vampires he knew one by one that was so powerful she was only able to be defeated via being so distracted with hurting Lacroix that Nick killed her, that really would've been a fitting end to this season in the long run.
Okay, onto the good, the acting is all top notch for this show, seeing some of the old episodes was a good way to get us invested in what happened, there were shocking turns as well as a mystery element to what Nick actually ends up deciding which, if I am to be honest, is a bit of a no win situation for these writers. If they decided to keep him a vampire for potential sequel series', we'd feel cheated that all of that was pointless, if they made him human...he's just a human being like everyone else. A Daywalker is probably the only justifiable means to an end but don't tell me how they'd do that.
Overall, this is a rather crummy way to end the show but its not awful. It certainly has its moments that make it satisfy in some areas but WILDLY dissatisfy in others. If your a fan I just say what I think on this.
Forever Knight: Human Factor (1996)
Probably the worst episode
I know how this'll sound to most Forever Knight fans with this claim. I know you can point to episodes that are worse in their own individual respect like "Blackwing" or something like that but...this episode calls into question some pretty pivotal things such as Janette's character from seasons 1 and 2, Natalie and Nick's "on again off again" relationship and even Nick's centuries long quest to become a mortal man. Yes, the driving force for the entire show is placed into question from just this one episode. Be very afraid.
So the episode starts out with a man getting shot by Janette. The homicide cops are called in and the only witness to the crime identifies Janette. Nick tries to keep this under wraps and finds Janette at his apartment, begging for his help to clear the name of a man she's fallen in love with. Janette, the character that I always saw as the personification of Nick's desire to still remain a vampire, fell in love with a man. For anyone reading, do I HAVE to explain how thats dumb? It actually gets even worse, she's now mortal (as seen via getting shot by some thugs that were starting fires to somehow promote real estate...I'm dead serious) and when asked by Nick and Natalie how she became mortal...apparently all you need is to love someone and feed off them while your having sex and the more times you do this, the less blood you'll need and eventually - mortal. So...all Nick had to do...for these last 62 episodes of TV - 46 and a half HOURS of television - was to have sex with someone he had the hots for, Natalie let me just assume, and feed every time he did it. I actually don't understand how people can watch that explanation play out on screen and NOT be angry that the writing was THAT stupid. I guess Janette coming back was enough "fanboy goggles" for people to just ignore that this episode outright mocked the entire setup of the series.
So her human lover was killed by said real estate thugs, she tried to bring him across and that just happened to be the point where she realized she was mortal (how dramatically convenient) and she now seeks revenge, not just for herself, but for that guy's son who she's adopted. While I'm here, I forgot to tell you how she and this guy met. Janette was just in a burning building and he saved her - she has the power to fly and move at the speed of sound and yet she needed a man to save her...THIS IS IDIOTIC!
So the real estate thugs kidnap Janette's adoptive son and her biological aunt who he was staying with the whole time this was going down and try to tease her out of some incriminating evidence that could put them away. They light the house on fire, kill Janette and with her dying breath she asks Nick to free the kid and the aunt. Do you know why THAT aspect doesn't work? I never caught the kid or the aunt's names. So, to whoever wrote this episode, I know its been 21 years and all but...who did you think we'd really care for? Two characters I can barely remember or one of my favourite goddamn characters on the show that you gave a death less dignified than if she got that Vampire Aids thing from a few episodes earlier! (yeah...can someone explain to me what the hell happened to the writers this season?)
So the thugs are killed by vampire bites (inflicted by Lacroix...honestly, knowing his character, I'm amazed they got off that lightly - also I would've preferred it if the identity of that vampire was kept ambiguous like maybe Nick DID bring Janette across, maybe Lacroix did it or maybe Nick did it - no, that would not seem out of character to me) and we see Nick and Lacroix talk in front of a portrait of Janette, they talk a bit and Nick ponders his loss.
This episode certainly isn't as head slapping as Blackwing nor is it necessarily written worse but in terms of where the show had been and gone, how can I react to this outside of disgust. Now, don't get me wrong, there are a few things I like here. Its great to see Janette again and there were a few times wherein it felt like Nick was racing against the clock to try and help one of his oldest friends get the man she loved off the hook of this conspiracy while also trying to stay one step ahead of his colleagues but when you spit on the entire basis of the show, how can that really measure up? Maybe when I decide to marathon the show, I'll watch it again and see if it holds up any better but as it stands...my GOD is this episode overrated!
Forever Knight: Black Wing (1995)
Oh Dear God!
Okay, before anyone starts, I LOVE Forever Knight. I think its probably one of the best vampire shows of all time - even with the problems in the third season being a bit more noticeable than in seasons 2 or 1 - but I really can't defend this episode. Neither can fans either. I already looked at the rating for this on IMDb and this is considered to be the worst episode by fans with a 5.3. For a TV show, that is pathetic. The second worst is "Forward Into The Past" and...that episode had problems but I didn't hate it anywhere near as much as this.
Okay, now I've got that over and done with lets start with the plot - a Native American healing man (I guess - he can walk the "spirit plain" and was said to have powers) is murdered while on said spirit walk and his granddaughter was dreaming it while he was also in said walk. Is the show saying meditational trances are real or is it just a lazy plot device for whats to come? YOU PICK! So they investigate the murder and find that they're in the centre of this dispute with a shopping mall, or something - honestly I really didn't and couldn't care any less, is being built over Native American land. Look, I've never met a Native American but I'm willing to bet that the historical tensions between their people and other Americans goes a bit deeper than land. What about...the slaughter of literally millions of their people? What about forced cultural segregation if they did not follow the "white man's path"? Or how about stolen children raised away from their families in cultural abuse just because of their race? Anyway, that is a WHOLE other can of worms. The murdered Grandfather (who, by the way, is called Gary Blackwing) was on said comitee for the protest so, naturally, someone on the side wanting to build wants them dead so nothing can jeopardize it.
The granddaughter actually begins to sense Nick's dark past and actually does a spirit walk with him and even performs a ritual to get the "darkness" out. He then starts to get flashes of other murders taking place in much the same way the first one did, except this time, people on the comittee FOR the building of the mall. Nick starts to believe that this is him doing the murders but...why would he kill Gary Blackwing then? Neither he, nor the actual murderer did! It turns out that what Nick had happen was Marian (Gary Blackwing's granddaughter) took away the aspect of Nick that actually wanted to kill and so she's following the urge...now it all makes sense...well, except for who killed Gary Blackwing? And how the hell anyone was able to do that? I'll state it, magic was never introduced up to this point. Just vampirism. It really IS out of place because its like "even though this religion DOES actually have deities that exist that can literally take the killer instinct out of someone, we didn't think it was worth bringing up until you were around 50 hours into watching the show" (don't get me started on the episode that decides that a demon should possess Nick and he has an exorcism) So it turns out one of the lawyers killed Gary Blackwing after attempting to kill his brother, Nick saves the brother just in time and his granddaughter gives Nick back his power and those other murders...are probably going to be pinned on the other guy and everything wraps up god awful.
There is no real word to describe this episode. It was actually a bit of a shock to me because while previous episodes had their faults, the worst they ever got was "boring". This was just awful. Nothing really makes sense, nothing really seems to get accomplished and its treatment of Native Americans is so one note that its actually hard to believe this episode came out in 1995 and was directed by the same man who did the pilot episode.
Look, for any newcomers to this show, you probably would've worked out by now that episodes don't REALLY impact the outcome of another episode (there are exceptions to that) but you can skip this over. You'll be saved 40 minutes of screaming into a pillow on how dumb everything is.
This is JUST BORING!
Okay, I love Ginger Snaps, its my 2nd favourite film of all time and it tops a great deal of many of my "favourites" list (such as favourite horror film, favourite werewolf film, favourite "teenage misfit" film) so for Halloween, I decided to marathon the series and...when playing this back to back with the first film, the problems really do show.
Now, if anyone here has read my new review for Ginger Snaps 2, you may be aware of this but both sequels have pretty big problems that carry over, this, I feel, could've been avoided had they either a) consulted John Fawcett and Karen Walton on this instead of Fawcett just being the guy who gave them the money they needed to do the film or b) waited between sequels so they could see how the first sequel did and knew what to fix. The first, these sequels are boring. They don't have character development, the plots are almost strung together and, of course, the second problem, they change the mythology, the second film made it so instead of it being about puberty, it'd be about drug addiction. Considering The Company Of Wolves exists, I understand why making a movie set in the 19th century about werewolf puberty wouldn't REALLY fly but I gotta admit, I don't get what THIS metaphor is. Ginger sleeps a lot, hears blood and is found out by leeches...thinking it over, I think they just REALLY wanted to make a bad vampire film but was roped into the whole "forced trilogy" thing. The third, the characters are idiots. Sorry to spoil the ending so early in my review but the native American gives Brigitte over to the people at the fort who are more than happy to burn her alive for her "sin" of having a werewolf sister and yet, when Ginger leads a pack of werewolves into the fort, the Native American looks surprised when Brigitte stabs him to become a werewolf with her sister, her sister that is commented on frequently as being the only "thing" she has left.
So the movie opens up with Brigitte and Ginger (the NOT characters from the first and second film, I'm actually a bit grateful for this as you're not really RUINING any of these characters if they turn out to be idiots) coming across an attacked Indian tribe with one survivor who prophecizes to kill a boy or one will kill the other. Considering what I wrote above, I'm not sure yet whether that was a "clever twist ending" or promising the audience something and then flat out lying to them. Brigitte then gets her foot trapped in a bear trap. A Native American (the one described in the previous paragraph) helps her out and takes her to Fort Bailey, we then come across...stereotypes of movies like this. There's the well-intentioned Doctor, the angry Priest, the defensive fort owner trying to keep a grip on everything (but sabotages himself in a way I'll come back to a little later), the angry misogynistic racist guard (he's also the only character to be blatantly racist apart from the priest...thanks for realism!) and..."the others". I'm not joking, thats their development.
So after realizing the fort is full of crazies, Brigitte and Ginger get worried but decide to stay because a bed is better than a log under a tree. Ginger, however, goes wandering in the night and finds a deformed boy who bites her...this is the son of the "defensive fort owner trying to keep a grip on everything"...a werewolf. So...he could've bit everyone in their sleep and the Fort would've descended into a bloody mess? A werewolf attack happens, a few people get bit and the priest is all too eager to blame the Fitzgerald's and he traps them in a room with a werewolf. This lasts...a few minutes until the Native American saves them. Oh and by the way, a quick note, sorry about demoting the characters to just the stereotypes I just mentioned but...that IS the only way I remember them.
The deformed boy escapes and Ginger tries to kill it to follow the Native American's prophecy. The rest of the fort find him first and the leader kills his kid to show authority. They kick the Fitzgerald's out because it becomes all too clear that Ginger has been bit. They seek out the Native American that warned them about the prophecy, she explains that Ginger should've killed the boy before it bit her (to paraphrase the first film "How was she supposed to know that?!") and they make Brigitte go into a trance to see the future and it shows her killing Ginger and from there, the other Native American takes her to the fort to partake in the ending I described earlier. Honestly though, its a good ending. Its the highlight scene in these sprequels. Brigitte then becomes a werewolf ala hand wound used to parallel the first film.
This film, I thought, was better than the second. Why? Its not REALLY a Ginger Snaps movie. I see this as basically what would happen if the rights to Ginger Snaps went to Roger Corman and he wanted to put his own unique spin on the film. On those merits, its not awful but the problem is its boring. Something like this should, at least, have a "base under siege" feel to it (a group of people trapped in a building, or fort, trying to fight the monsters with a group of red shirts and then death, death, death, death). This has NONE of the paranoia that you'd associate with that (or if it does, its not written well). The werewolf transformation isn't interesting, the characters are virtually just stereotypes and the plot just isn't interesting enough to carry itself. I'll say, though, the two leads did somewhat make this interesting to watch but aside from that, nothing.
Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)
Oh boy, does this not hold up.
If anyone has read my reviews in whole, or read my lists, you'd probably latch onto the fact that I'm a pretty big Ginger Snaps fan. Its my 2nd favourite film of all time and it shaped a lot of characteristics in who I am today. So I decided, this Halloween, since it had been years since I saw this and "Ginger Snaps Back" that I'd marathon the films and...it definitely shows off the problems between films. Is that fair? For this film, yes. Its a direct continuation of the first film and thus, the problems should not have been AS prominent as they are here.
Now if you want to know both sequels suffer from 3 common problems - problems that could've been avoided had they just waited between sequels as opposed to farting them both out at the same time in the hopes of making money off their film that had just gained a cult status. The problems are that, firstly, both films are boring, a lot of that has to do with scripting and character development but one of the things that makes sure both films aren't interesting is the second problem, they change the werewolf mythology! This is a sign these movies pretty much doomed themselves. This film changed the metaphor so instead of it being about puberty, its about drug addiction...while it takes place in a drug rehabilitation clinic! Now imagine, if you will, a junkie that had just joined said clinic, as soon as her drugs were taken away, she becomes overly violent and overly sexual while still trying to make her case that she's "better now". NOW imagine that due to the nature of her imprisonment, she starts talking to thin air thats supposed to be the apparition of her dead sister? But, yeah, what they did here was better! The third problem is the characters are all idiots. Ghost taunts Brigitte and starts asking her questions about werewolfism that, quite frankly, would make people more hostile towards her as opposed to working with her (I'm talking about the "when you close your eyes is it hell you see?") and Brigitte...trusts...her. Mind you, everyone being stupid is something I'd extend to the medical staff - Alice, the head of the clinic, just takes Brigitte OFF the monkshood, something that a line of dialogue actually openly admits is poison, and never once considers withdrawal? The psychologists staff in a Nightmare On Elm Street 3 could be Freud compared to these idiots!
Okay, so, lets begin analysing, the film takes place a couple of years after the first, Brigitte is on the run from this rogue werewolf that wants to have sex with her and despite the fact they claim Monkshood is just a regressor that just holds the werewolfism at bay, it is NOT Jason McCarthy from the first film who was last seen in the film, being forced to take the drug at the hands of Brigitte - the people behind this outright stated that. After an attack by this werewolf, she wanders the streets after overdosing on monkshood only to be found in a drug rehabilitation clinic. She's mocked by some of the other inmates for "sucking at suicide" (because a DRUG ADDICT WOULD NEVER CONSIDER SUICIDE!...I'm sorry, what?) and is quickly deemed a trouble maker after she insists on having her monkshood back. Then there are scenes where she...befriends a girl there called Ghost and then...probably the most embarrassing scene in the entire series takes place, a scene that was meant to show her "sexual awakening" to tear everything to pieces. In the first film, this was shown with Ginger becoming a sexual teen and trying to have sex with Jason only to...sort of rape him and then she killed a dog. In this film her sexual awakening takes place of a multiple person masturbation scene wherein one of the doctors there describes the sexual pleasure of "ripping flesh". No, you did NOT read that wrong.
After Brigitte continues to descent into "wolf madness" she escapes with Ghost after also finding out that the werewolf from before is near. Then the film, quite frankly, just stops for a bit to pad out Ghost being a "surrogate sister" to Brigitte to replace Ginger. Considering the description of her I gave above, I'm not going to state how thats just dumb and move on.
Brigitte then descends more into wolf mode and asks an orderly who exchanges drugs with the girls there for sexual favours for her monkshood back...never ONCE taking into account she KNOWS where to but it (described in this film as "any craft store") and she SAW SAM MAKE IT IN THE FIRST FILM! And after that goes wrong, she decides to face the wolf that had been stalking her and at this point I realized something about that plot point - it was only in the film to make it more interesting. There is no dramatic weight because its not Jason McCarthy and we're never told who the wolf is or HOW it was made! Now, to a point I DID fix this with a fan fiction I wrote years ago but...that doesn't matter! I shouldn't need to write fan fiction to "fix" the bare bones of character development that was just never given in this film.
So it turns out Ghost, who taunted Brigitte for the first quarter of the film, couldn't be trusted! Brigitte tries to attack her, the wolf runs in, Alice is killed by Ghost (with all the emotional impact of finding out you just ran out of popcorn) and the film ends with Brigitte being locked up in Ghost's basement to kill again.
Okay, this film had some pretty cool ideas and the plot DOES manage to open up the wiggle room for the sequel that the first film, I thought, didn't really need but the problem is none of that really goes anywhere, simply, it just doesn't work.
Hercules Returns (1993)
While I liked it as a kid...not so much any more.
Okay, so, where to properly start with this film? I saw it a lot as a kid and thought it was funny. Some jokes still SORT OF work (ala "what does that man think he's doing with his hands on MY Labia?" - Labia in this case being the name of a character). However...I will try to judge this fairly and even as its aged, this movie is...not good.
The movie is about an employee to one of the biggest film distributors in Australia. He decides he's not happy with the stuff he's making and decides to quit to open up a theater that hasn't been opened since the mid 60s. He decides to open it up via airing the last movie that it showed - which happens to be Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus gli invincibili...which is in Italian without any subtitles (due to his former boss trying to sabotage the competition...how the biggest film distributor in Australia would fail to a small theater in Melbourne is anyone's guess!). So they decide to dub it. Which is as dumb as all hell due to just how much work Foley artists actually do. Getting it all right in one take would be impossible. I know "just turn off your brain" but for a plot where I can describe EVERYTHING in the film within one paragraph, suspension of disbelief on par with a group of average minded people managing to build a fully functional time machine...in 1485 should not be required here.
Why is THAT important? Its the only thing that links the first 30 minutes to the rest of the film (I'm not joking about that) and it really isn't the best way. Why the hell couldn't it just be a cheap dubbing studio or something? Sure, the film would have no plot but as is, it only has a plot for less than a third of a 70 minute film! Literally! Also, the movie ends with the film being a hit among critics and audiences (despite none of them really questioning the 90s pop culture references made in the 60s). Now, I know the film isn't exactly the most well known of the genre but wouldn't SOMEONE notice the dubbing quality in universe of the filmed parts? Then the movie ends with a female employee with cartoonish strength punching the said head of biggest film distributor in Australia...how the movie ends with a party and not the heroes becoming homeless is anyone's guess!
However, thats not the part that most people remember about the film - its the actual dubbing of Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus gli invincibili...a movie originally marketed as a comedy. So, dubbing this for comedic effect is already pointless as, the original film was ALREADY made to make you laugh. Not only that but...it fails for the same reason most think the Sharknado movies fail. There are literally a TONNE of bad dubs out there (look for anything anime around this time - Let The Right One In, Stalingrad, to name a few) and what makes bad dubs or bad movies appealing is if they went out actually TRYING to make a good dub or good movie and f*cked it up. The way this movie works is *drop trou and takes a crap* "Tell me what that is" "Its a crap." Bravo, the silly dub is silly...why is THAT funny? Not only that but considering how much of the movie is in this movie versus how much of the movie is actually in the film...a third of it was cut. So even as is, Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus gli invincibili is completely misrepresented in this even if you didn't count watching this as seeing that film.
So as is, how are the jokes? Well...it mostly relies on sexual innuendos. Some of you may be aware of the Labia commented earlier in the review. There's also the fact that one of the new characters - Machismo, who isn't a flaming gay stereotype. No, he's THE flaming gay stereotype(despite the fact that Australia made "The Adventures Of Priscilla", its treatment towards homosexuals are conservative to say the least - to a point where homosexualism in this movie is played up as a joke expected to be as funny as it was in say, the 60s). There's also that a major plot that Hercules must wrestle Samson and if Hercules looses, he must marry him and there's also the name of Labia's lover in this movie...Testiculi. There's also a short character in the film called "Stretch" and finally, the name of Labia's hometown - Chlamydia. Now thats not ALL this movie has to offer in terms of humor - there's Hercules being dumb and wanting to be a Nightclub singer. As is, I don't remember much else, aside from Ursus being a bouncer that kicked everyone out of a diner, ate the food and forced the people inside to perform Olivia Newton John. He also delivers the only funny homosexual joke in the film - "I want a man" "Oh, like THAT is it nancy boy?" The thing is...I don't MIND politically incorrect humor - in the right doses its fine, however, what I have a problem with is "What about that exotic dancer that does the thing with the vaccum cleaner" "But she sucks!" just doesn't really make me laugh.
So...if that sounds like your sort of movie, go ahead. However...while I don't hate this movie as much as this review would lead you to believe, I still don't like the film. The reason I still like SOME of it is because of nostalgia still holding up in SOME places. The reason why I don't...well, read the review again. So if you're interested, watch but I would officially say "watch a dub that tried to be good but failed" instead.
A sequel that improves on the original
So far, I think the Terrance Zdunich/Darren Lynn Bousman writer/director combo is just great with its musicals. I adore Repo! The Genetic Opera and I really liked the original Devil's Carnival in spite of its faults. So I was fired up about this film like you wouldn't believe. However, the problem I had with that is that I originally saw The Devil's Carnival through a friend and I had tried on and off ever since to try and find the original and had no luck, but with both movies just recently being sold on iTunes I bought both movies without even thinking twice. And...yeah, this is a much better movie than its predecessor.
Okay, in the original film it ended with The Devil deciding to start a war with God after he found out he could forgive everyone of their sins "cheaply" and send them to Heaven. In the first film it primarily focused on Hell. This film decides to focus on Heaven and is a pseudo prequel to the first and focuses on the character origins of Painted Doll (aka Emilie Autumn). One of the problems this movie has is that I really wish it tried to tell the origins of a few of the demonic characters and how they fell...for example, imagine hearing the origins of The Twin or Hobo Clown. At double the running time of the original film, it had every chance to make that happen. As is, however...it just feels like Bousman showcasing Emilie's talent and saying "Yes, I CAN make a credible musical with her in it" in preparation for her own musical "The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls". I'm ALREADY psyched up for that. This movie doesn't need that angle to get me excited.
So the plot is that, in preparation for the upcoming war, The Devil anticipates that Heaven would send a character called The Agent (Adam Pascal) to try and sort everything out. So he reads a story to a cloaked figure about what happened to June (Painted Doll) and how she was kicked out of Heaven. It turns out Heaven is a 1984/Bioshock world where everything looks like it came out of the 40's and a character called the Watchword (Barry Bostwick) spies on everyone for sins that could send them to Hell and each inhabitant has to assume a job with actual higher ups in Heaven comparing it to Noah's Ark.
One thing that I SHOULD warn people about though is remember how I said that the last film had ended with The Devil preparing to start a war with God...the farthest we ever get in this film is the first attack. I don't mind that as we had to at least see Heaven first but, for those that want the epic war of the afterlife...you'll just have to wait for Devil's Carnival 3 for that.
There is one thing in this film that actually helps one of the biggest problems in the previous film - in the last film a girl called Tamra was sent to Hell for trusting too much...seriously. This film helps that out by saying that the God in this world is a knifing prick with double agendas and manipulating people into feeling worse about themselves, even if they've done nothing wrong (he asks The Agent to watch over June and seduce her and there's no other way to see it other than he KNEW that she'd take that forbidden book - the one with the apple on the cover...yes, seriously - and be sent to Hell)...so, this goes without saying, if your religiously catholic, don't watch this because, I guarantee you, you WILL get offended. Me personally...I think its an interesting take on religion, to tell you the truth. I'm neither one way or another when it comes to religious beliefs but making God out like that, while it has been done before, its quite interesting.
So...considering this is a musical, how are the songs? Again, this has been improved since the last film. The song "Hoof And Lap" has been stuck in my head for days! "Fair Game" is also a much better song for The Twin as a character to be showcased in than "Beautiful Stranger" (although honestly I like both songs) and as far as I can remember, the only really bad song in this movie is "The Watchdogs Hour" (sorry Barry...you can't sing anymore!) whereas the original had at the very least two - "The Devil's Carnival" (which is briefly in Hoof And Lap and works a lot better there) and "Kiss The Girls" which appears in a sequence thats entirely pointless and for a 55 minute film...thats impressive. Also, considering we get a lot more songs from both Heaven and Hell, they both have their own distinct sounds which is something I admire as it would be easy to make them both sound alike in each and every way.
Overall, this movie is definitely not for everyone and I may be bias in saying this but...I really liked it and I'd love to see more from this film series. If your interested in a musical that does everything it can to try and push boundaries in how they're made, and you happen to be a fan of Repo!, I'd suggest checking it out but if none of the above sounds like your cup of tea...I'd seriously suggest giving the entire series a miss.
Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001)
Not exactly a worth successor to the original.
I only recently discovered Elvira through the first film - Elvira Mistress Of The Dark. Honestly, it was entertaining enough to warrant my buying a DVD of the show (which includes "The Satanic Rites Of Dracula" and "The Werewolf Of Washington"). So I went ahead and watched the sequel...sort of...and...this movie only holds up due to its ideas!
So what are these ideas? Okay, its a spoof of Roger Corman movies, particularly the Edgar Allan Poe ones he did (not specifically stated but with the Pit and the Pendulum scene, its hard not to miss) where Elvira and her maid are in 1851 (as far as setup goes, a movie about a horror host being set before films were even invented isn't the strangest thing on display here) and short on money. So they hitch a ride with a Dr Bradley Bradley whose on his way to Castle Hellsubus. While there, everyone remarks on how much Elvira looks like Lady Hellsubus who committed suicide some 10 years earlier and was the first wife of our villain Vladimir Hellsubus (I'm not spoiling that he's the villain...just read the name he's got. He's played by Richard O'Brien. How do you not IMMEDIATELY see that he's the villain just from my review?).
As a setup goes, thats not awful. In fact, I'd say its close to damn near inspired. Having someone famous for making fun of bad movies being in a self aware bad movie. It doesn't even go over the top with the premise like Sharknado does in a desperate "WE KNOW THIS IS CRAP! LAUGH!" over and over. As for the other elements that are good - Richard O'Brien is probably the most chuckles you'll get from this but only because he looks like he's having way too much fun with the part (and honestly, Richard Chamberlain backing out and being replaced with O'Brien probably saved the film an extra star). The costumes and set designers can be very proud of themselves. It looked and felt like a classic B-movie while still being a...modern B-movie.
So whats bad? Well, all of the above would work if the jokes were written with any form of subtlety. I know I just said "It doesn't even go over the top with the premise" but that was the premise, not the actual humor of the film. Things like one liners about modern pop culture that aren't even funny just detract the entire film. For those that haven't seen it, allow me to demonstrate by quoting some lines that are actually in the film:
"The village people say this house is haunted" "Who listens to The Village People anymore?"
"Shut up! What are you trying to do? Go for an Oscar"
The whole FILM is filled with references like that! Its no less funny when you watch it than when you read it.
Even if you took the references out, the jokes aren't as "on form" as Mistress Of The Dark. Why? The music score. Now that'll immediately warrant the reaction "how could something like the music score impact on the delivery of jokes?" Well, you know in cartoons where the people behind it play goofy as hell music when they're warranting a laugh or even just to get the audience ready for "something funny is gonna happen."? This film does that in every scene. Literally. I counted. The jokes aren't even on form enough to warrant that. So what we have here is a music score trying too hard to be a cartoon with jokes that aren't even funny enough to carry the film.
As for the technical stuff outside of "costumes" and "sets"...oh god. The visual effects in this film are awful. Its mostly done with CGI...CGI in a film that had the overall budget of $1.5 million. I know Cassandra Peterson had to finance the film mostly all on her own but the visual effects in the 80's movie look a million times better and this came out some 13 years after. Hell the Sylvester McCoy Doctor Who intro looks better. Maybe you could say my judgement of the visual effects aren't great considering what was in the budget but needless to say, no matter what eye you look at it through, the CGI doesn't look good. Some of the more practical things like the Pit and the Pendulum, the iron maiden being closed in on people and the corpses all look fine though. Which is rather weird.
Whats sad about the film is that the quality of the writing this time around is the single biggest blunder of the film. If this was given a few more drafts, who knows how much longer the series could've gone on for? It could've spoofed so many genres. Maybe the series would have subtlety...okay, thats impossible. But you get what I mean. This film series is, in general, supposed to be fun and yet, the failure of this film sank all chances of it, or any other film in the series, getting another film.
As for everything else I didn't mention, its all on my very strong opinion of..."not great not horrible".
So my final thoughts? Yeah, this movie is bad but its mostly just "dumb sequel bad". Even then, I've seen plenty of bad sequels that are far worse than this (this wouldn't even break my top 30) and I got some entertainment here and there with a few jokes that worked but thats the killer part - "a few". A lot of the problems are just too great for me to fully enjoy it enough to even consider it "okay". So check it out if you're interested but...just be prepared to not fully enjoy it.
I loved it.
Emilie Autumn is a music artist who has, in her own fanbase, been met with two sides either they love everything she does and think she's wonderful OR...they believe she's lying about everything she "portrays". Honestly, (as a quick review of her music in general), I'm in the middle of this. Sure she's over the top and over dramatic but thats all part of her style. She's sarcastic with her lyrics (don't believe me, listen to "Thank God I'm Pretty" or "Marry Me"...and one reviewer thought she was serious with the level of feminism said in this video). However, in all three of her singing albums, she's redefined everything about herself both musically and how she looks. The only similarity is that it should sound weird - all the albums I've heard sound weird. Yay.
Anyway, I have read the other two reviews for this video and honestly, I felt as though my 2 cents needed to go into this video. Firstly, I have been a junkie for Darren Lynn Bousman's music stuff ever since I saw Repo! The Genetic Opera (in fact, I discovered Emilie's music through the first Devil's Carnival movie) and while I was still putting my toe in the water, so to speak, I discovered this was her only music video. While its not going to break my personal top 10 music videos of all time, I enjoyed it.
Okay, firstly, the "plot", its a performance clip where it attacks the romanticism of insanity, conformity, anti-feminism and all with a sarcastic touch to everything (ie, what other feminist anthem would have bisexual curiosity in its video? The "Asylum girls" are forced to perform on stage and they were all forced to wear the same clothes until Emilie changed it. Sounds like romanticism of insanity to me. That last one also doubles up as her attacking conformity), so I have to ask what the other reviewers were expecting because thats everything Emilie Autumn is. Am I biased? Maybe, but even with a fair playing field, the question still stands. Its like getting upset in a Nikki Minaj music video because she wore short shorts and drew attention to her ass for 4 and a half minutes. Now do *I* like Nikki Minaj? No! But getting mad at doing everything she promised she'd do is rather pointless in my eyes.
If you want me to be moderate with this clip though and not immediately downplay two other reviewers on the site, I am well aware Emilie's music and stlye isn't for everyone so I can definitely see why they don't like it. Onto legit flaws, there's one question; when its the video set? The Victorian Era? Well, no because at the end when they're performing and got rid of the audience, they bring in a new one a lot more appreciative of the music all in modern alternative clothes. I know they were fans that Emilie selected but the budget didn't stretch far enough to get them in Victorian era dress? There's also a scene where, to distract the audience they have from the delay for the girls, the Asylum Revue dress up some of the men there as women. Its fitting for the song with the lyric "even if you're only a boy you can fight like a girl" and they throw cabbage at them. Its just...look how many times the cabbage is thrown but never hits anything or anyone. There's that and, this clip is generally about the girls breaking free and killing all those who oppressed them, it really should've been a music video for "Time For Tea".
So thats "Emilie Autumn's Fight Like A Girl" or "FLAG" for short, its literally everything you'd expect from Emilie. Its also a good enough place to start if you want to see more of her work. However this isn't one of her best songs. Hell, I could literally pick 10 different songs off that album alone that are better fits for music videos, but for what it is, its a well done representation of who Emilie is and what her style is. So, if you're interested go watch it.
So far, my favourite episode of Forever Knight
Recently I just got into this show and in general, I've heard its basically "Angel 2.0" but as far as I'm concerned...this show is overall the much better show! The idea of a vampire wanting to become human is nothing new, I'll admit to that, but this show takes it in another direction entirely - to give him a job as a cop so he sees both the very best and very worst of humanity. Seriously, this episode is only the 5th episode I've come across that actually has vampires in it outside of Nick and the occasional appearance of Lacroix and Jeanette.
Anyway, the plot involves a woman (who I'll call Norma because...that was her name) who shot a store beautician and was shot herself for stealing some makeup. Nick tries to inform the relatives, being upset because its a sad reality of what humanity has to deal with, to try and 'beautify' themselves. When Natalie does Norma's autopsy, she finds that she's has aged 30 something years in the 2 hours since she was in the morgue. We then see the same sort of violent behavior from two other people that worked at a spa where Norma worked (who I'll call Agnus and Bernice).
While this is all going on Nick has flashbacks to a woman who asked him to turn her into a vampire to stop her own aging, who was turned by Jeanette. Unlike most episodes though, these flashbacks are absolutely, no mistake whatsoever, 100 per cent necessary for the episode.
Anyway, Agnus is arrested for her violent outburst and requests a "Dr Jergen". Meanwhile Nick looks for Bernice who, herself, has aged 20 years in the few hours since he last saw her and it turns out that "Dr Jergen" is the woman from the flashbacks and she's been giving them vampire blood. Her blood. Bernice comes to the realization to just "let age happen" and Agnus is accidentally killed by Schanke and the vampire who did this realizes the collossal mistake she did (although, one flaw with the episode is that we never see her pay for the crime she committed).
Okay, whats good here? Where do I start? Firstly, the episode's subject matter, while rather course, is a very easy one to attack. The idea of women who just want to be beautiful rapidly aging with no control over it whatsoever holds amazing emotional weight considering these people, regardless of what you'd believe, aren't really bad people in any way, they're just desperate. When it comes to body image being portrayed on the small screen, I've never seen it done so well in anything else I've seen. The acting is all superb with the cast regulars (who I'd often say are either hit or miss with a general board of "eh?" as acting) are ALL at the top of their game and the guest stars are all fantastic. They even portray addiction in this episode (which was done before on this show in an episode I'd call complete crap "Feeding The Beast") and the idea of a woman, not even in her 30's, just letting herself age 50 years is probably one of the most perfect, bittersweet endings they could've had. You understand why she eventually gave up, but you also feel incredibly sorry for her and her situation, no matter how happy she seemed at the end of the episode. And I still haven't written every reason why this episode is my favourite.
Whats bad? Not much else besides that. There's a scene where a personal trainer gets one of the women to work out more which accidentally comes off as a rape scene, they make jokes about Schanke being accidentally attracted to a 15 year old girl in a makeup ad (...creepy much?!) and, of course, as I mentioned earlier, we never see the villain of the episode get whats coming to her. Did she kill herself knowing she inflicted upon them what she herself feared? Did she get arrested and watch an early morning sunrise? Did Nick kill her? Any one of these would've been a satisfying end.
So overall, this, to me, is a perfect representation of what this show is. Seeing humanity through the eyes of a being that has seen us make the same mistakes over and over. In something like personal beauty, this show couldn't have hoped for a better episode. My overall reaction is definitely check this one out.