Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 HorrorFest #1

After many of you so graciously made excellent recommendations regarding horror films to watch this Halloween season, what do I go and do? I stop posting for days at a time. Complete ass, I am.

Actually, I have gotten a start of the horror viewing and I've got some quick reviews for the first two movies. Maybe I'm not such a fockstick after all.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988 - Stephen Chiodo, dir.)

This was one of those movies that I enjoyed, but which I'd have enjoyed more had I seen it a bunch of times growing up. I always look at Airplane! as an example of this type of film. I think it's hilarious, but if you didn't see it until you were 25 years old or so, it probably looks pretty stupid. As someone who, for some reason, never watched Spaceballs until his 30s, I can vouch for the late-to-the-game phenomenon. Full disclosure here: I didn't even make it halfway through after saying, "This is dumb," and turning it off. Not a huge loss.

Killer Klowns was entertaining, a lighthearted take that will ease me into this project before arriving at something a little rougher. Maybe it was because it took me three nights to finish it, and because I was standing and soothing a baby through much of it, but it was a rather disjointed experience. I actually loved the popcorn gun, and the way they made it stick to the guy's sweater. The characters were mostly annoying, but John Vernon was good as the crochety cop. I also liked that the younger blond policeman wasn't the cliched hard-ass skeptic cop you see so often.

Last, I need to discuss the clowns. I'm not one of those types who says, "Man, I fucking hate clowns, they freak the shit out of me," and who won't even look at a clown. Rather, I fall into the camp that is puzzled by clowns. I can't for the life of me understand what would make them entertaining for anybody. It's an odd concept that has seen its time come and go.
Actually, the clowns in this movie were pretty awesome. They were mischievous without being overbearing. Cotton candy cocoons, a crazy funhouse, the Achilles heel noses... they were fun, kind of badass, and not scary in the creepy way most clowns are. They were barking dog scary, not molester scary.

Boobs?: None. Quite a tease during the shower scene, but nothing came to fruition.

Trapped Ashes (2006, Joe Dante, et al.)

I love me a good horror anthology film. This ain't one of those. With five directors, we've got one framework story and four short stories within that story. Here we go.

The framework story starts with a tour (led by guide Henry Gibson) of a generic Hollywood movie studio. As the tour trolley passes an ominous Bates Hotel-esque house, the tourists beg to be let inside. Once inside, they find themselves trapped and soon decide to tell scary stories to pass the time. The weird part is that all of the stories they tell were supposed to have really happened to the characters. Being supernatural in scope, this interrupts the suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer.

The Stories:
A. Wannabe actress talks about getting freaky breast implants harvested from once-living tissue. They turn on her, making "sexy time" difficult, to say the least.
B. On-the-rocks couple heads to Japan for a trade conference. The wife is sexually assaulted by a ghost.
C. Older screenwriter remembers an old director friend of his and the affair he had with his girlfriend. There was some supernatural stuff, but it was really slow.
D. A shrewish woman tells the story of her childhood, involving something with a parasitic twin that infected her mother during pregnancy and stayed alive following the birth. Possibly a commentary on women's nutrition/body issues, but confusingly vague.

If you do a movie like this, you have to make the stories really cool and novel, like Stephen King's Cat's Eye, or you have to do them outrageous and suspenseful, like Creepshow. The breast implants segment was the only one that hit the appropriate tone. This part could have been expanded as a full episode of Tales From the Crypt, but the segments that followed just dragged.

Boobs?: Several. However, be advised that this movie contains images of breasts with lamprey-like mouths where nipples should be, mouths that sip from glasses of blood through straws.

In conclusion, I'd recommend Killer Klowns above Trapped Ashes, for sure. I think that repeat viewings will make Klowns a perennial favorite. Also, it's a good gateway movie before breaking into the harder stuff.


SpastikMooss said...

I totally agree about clowns. I've never understood them for the life of me. I thought it was cool that they sometimes made balloon animals when I was a kid, but clowns.

Kevin said...

Killer Klowns is a crazy movie. It's not quit Buckaroo Bonzai crazy but it's up there.