Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pulse (2006)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: When Mattie's love-interest inexplicably kills himself and then other friends of hers begin to become distant and depressed, she knows that something is up. As she begins to search for answers as to why her love-interest did himself in, she realizes that it appears to have something to do with images that have begun to show up on his computer--images of distraught individuals doing themselves in. When suddenly people begin showing up dead by the hordes, she knows that she needs to figure out what precisely is going on. And fast.

Scariness factor: It has its moments.

Gross-Out Factor: Nothing too terrible--most people just end up poofing into clouds of ash.

Complaints: Kristen Bell, the lead, irritates the piss out of me for some reason. Perhaps because she always seems to be pouting. And perhaps because she is kind of bird-like. The acting is not so good in this movie. And it isn't ashamed to beat you over the head with its symbolism and plot. Both of these get old.

High Points: I am a sucker for apocalyptic-type movies (which is why I heart zombie flicks so much). And this took a weird and startling turn into that arena, which I dug. Also, despite beating you over the head with its message, I DID kind of find its distrust of technology and its awareness that it has taken over our lives so much that there is nowhere we can go to escape it to be kind of interesting.

Overall: Take it or leave it. If you can get your hands on it for free, it might be worth your while. Otherwise there's better stuff out there. (Though I would like to see the original Asian version as somehow the themes and messages of the movie seem like they'd be more fitting given the culture.)

Grade: C


Final Destination

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A group of high school students is boarding a plane to head off on a class-trip to France. One of the students suddenly has a horrifying premonition that the plane is going to explode mid-air. Terrified, he makes a scene and both him and a handful of classmates are thrown off the plane. Minutes later, the plane explodes on take-off. We quickly find that death is angry that its plans have been messed with. It begins to pick off each of the survivors one by one.

Scariness factor: Creepy creeps.

Gross-Out Factor: All the death-scenes are pretty over-the-top. They are mild compared to, say, Hostel or something Rob Zombie-ish. But there's a generous amount of blood and decapitations.

Complaints: I am hard-pressed. I mean, it's not got the best acting or dialogue. But I am forgiving in the face of its smart plot.

High Points: I have been a fan of this movie for a long, long time. As teeny-bopper horror flicks go, this is one of the best to grace the screen since the 1980s. Granted, the acting's not fantastic. And there's nothing special about the camera-work. And the dialogue ain't all that. But what this movie is lacking in all these other departments, it makes up for in idea. What is so damn brilliant about this movie is that it doesn't hide behind symbolism while attempting to make us anxious. In Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, Freddy Krueger is the symbol of death. And because he is death's representative, we are able to fear Freddy Krueger himself without being forced to realize that what we essentially fear is not necessarily Freddy but our impending deaths. Freddy is a buffer, if you will. He allows us to suppress our anxiety over death--he is something we can project our fears upon. Final Destination doesn't make any attempt to give us a way to project our fears onto a villain. In Final Destination, a villain does not represent death--death represents itself. And that is what is so damn smart about this movie. This movie scares us because its plotline serves to reinforce the fact that DEATH IS IMMINENT and that no matter how hard we try, we cannot escape it. It need not take the form of a villain--it is terrifying enough in and of itself. In Final Destination, death is a predator, just like it is in real-life. And it gives us no sense of safety--it just says, yeah, this is the way it is. It's not gonna be Freddy Krueger on your tail when you go--but it *will* be Death. Its sequels don't nearly have the self-awareness of the original--they are much more entertainment-oriented without feeling quite so smart. But the original is definitely worth-while.

Overall: I heart this movie, teeny-bopperishness and all.

Grade: A


Monday, April 02, 2007

Bigfoot (1970)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A gang of teenage bikers and their girlfriends lose one of their members while gunning it through the forest. Her boyfriend claims that she was dragged off by a bigfoot. With the help of some local yokels, they attempt to track her down in the forest and rescue her.

Scariness factor: Bahahahaha. Yeah right.

Gross-Out Factor: Nothing more horrific than some bloodshot Sasquatch eyes.

Complaints: This movie was the best. Nothing to complain about.

High Points: This movie was one of the WORST movies I've seen in a really long time, which of course made it WAY too much fun to watch. John Carradine's in it playing a hillbilly (which was funny in and of itself). The acting's terrible. There are huge lengthy sequences where nothing happens and people are just a) hiking or b) driving. Like HUGELY lengthy ones. Like the kind where you're like, Um, I wonder if somebody was trying to fill up space to make the movie long enough to be considered a full-length feature? One of the female leads has HUMONGOUS breasts (see above picture) and, despite the fact that she parachuted out of a crashing plane, they are pretty much hanging out of a really thin shirt the whole movie. (And she, of course, spends a gratuitous amount of time running through the forest barefoot, her large breasts jiggling away.) The other female lead is in a bikini pretty much the whole time. The bigfoot characters are SO goddamn funny--you can see the part where the tops of their costumes separate from the bottoms when they run. They make the most idiotic noises ever. The one has crazy blood-shot eyes. They are the funniest bigfoots I've seen. There's a gang of bikers in it, and they all ride Yamahas. Heh heh. And they all toss around really bad 1970s cliches the whole times. Oh, and the time of day switches back and forth from daylight to darkness pretty much indiscriminately the whole time. We also lucked out and got to watch this movie at 12:30am, at a Holiday Inn horror-movie expo, with a bunch of drunk people, so needless to say, the shit that people were shouting out over the movie was just as funny as the movie itself. Couple that with the fact that the movie reel had 1970s commercials embedded in it (from Sizzle-lean bacon to a hugely homo-erotic Schlitz beer commercial) and it was like heaven.

Overall: One of the best campy movies I've seen in a long while. Track it down.

Grade: A

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Night of the Cobra Woman (1972)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Woman gets bit by cobra in the forest. In order to stay youthful after said pet-cobra dies, she must suck the life out of men to replace her own (and this is, of course, done by sleeping with them). Snake-venom is also involved in keeping her youthful, though I'm still not 100% certain how.

Scariness factor: Camp at its finest.

Gross-Out Factor: Just sweet-ass transformations from humans to snakes. That's about it.

Complaints: Hee hee--none. It was a good campy movie, so what was bad was basically the best part.

High Points: As E so thoughtfully put it, "That movie was totally just an excuse to show boobs." It was a delightful excuse though. The main character's real-life name is "Joy Bang" (if that gives you any idea). It's horridly 1970s. There's lots of inadvertent guy-on-guy innuendo in it. The plot makes little to no sense at times (I actually heard someone lean over to their date and be like, "So wait, *how* does the venom work again?"). The acting is cardboard. The main male-lead is rail-thin and horrendously 1970s in demeanor. And the human-to-snake transformation sequences are WAY too fricking funny.

Overall: So funny. Definitely give it a watch if you can get your hands on it.

Grade: A

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