Thursday, May 31, 2007

Way Too Much Fun

Retrocrush's 100 Scariest Movie Scenes

(Many of them contain youtube clips as well.)

*Thanks, Michele!*

Monday, May 21, 2007


--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

I have a hard time categorizing this movie--it doesn't seem to me to be a horror film, but that IS one of the genres it's been lumped into. I can see why, and yet at the same time, I can't. I have a hard time pinning it down to ANY genre, truth be told, unless there is one called "Crazy crazy paranoia."

Plotline: Carol is a manicurist who lives with her sister, and she is beginning to have some sort of nervous breakdown. The slightest look or touch from a man sends her spiraling into madness. When her sister heads off for vacation, leaving Carol all alone, she begins to hallucinate that men are roaming through her apartment, even imagining that she has been raped a few times. When a perfectly benign male love-interest drops by out of worry for her state of mind, nothing good can of course come of it.

Scariness factor: This movie is not scary in so much as it is a shudder-filled look into the mind of paranoia. In that sense, it is as creepy and spooky as they come.

Gross-Out Factor: Everything is left to the imagination, but watching a mad Deneuve hack at her landlord with a razorblade is surprisingly startling and horrifying, despite the fact that none of it is actual shown.

Complaints: No major ones.

High Points: This movie freaks me out. Polanski is a skilled mastermind when it comes to movies about paranoia and madness, The Tenant being another movie of his I just couldn't stop thinking about afterwards. He uses fanTAStic camerawork to capture what madness must look like from inside the brain of the mad. Impressive and fantastic. Clearly movies such as Repulsion and The Tenant have inspired horror-movies to come, in the realm of camera-shots and cinematography--particularly in Repulsion, you will recognize what I can only assume to be the inspiration for the opening "hands-exploding-from-walls-and-grabbing-at-the-main-character" scene in Day of the Dead. The acting is fantastic in this--just looking at Deneuve made me fricking nervous constantly, from the nervous nose-flicking twitch that develops to her dead eyes. And what particularly impresses me about this movie is that Polanski manages to handle the (hallucinated) rape scenes without accidentally sexualizing them as so many movies do--they are nasty, there is nothing titillating about them, and they are disturbing. The men are rough and disgusting (just as Carol perceives all men to be), and there are no tit-shots or other sexualized moments intended to titillate the male viewer. You (for the most part) experience them as the ugliness that Carol perceives them to be. Carol's actions are both at times understandable (especially when men like the landlord only serve to confirm the ugliness of men and almost give her justification for her actions) and horrifying (with regard to what happens to her completely-benign caring love-interest). This movie makes me *FEEL* a bit crazy whenever I watch it, and that in itself is enough to recommend. I can think of very few movies able to capture madness so well.

Overall: Hunt it down and watch it. It may not be your typical "horror" flick, but it will frighten you and leave you shuddering.

Grade: A


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Day of the Dead (1985)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: The world has been overrun by zombies, and a small group of military men and scientists have made a home for themselves out of an underground bunker. The scientists are trying to study the zombies in the hopes of finding some sort of cure, and the military men don't do much but mill about, shout things at people, wave their guns, and make sexual innuendos at the only female living underground with them. Soon unrest washes through the bunker, and the scientists and military men reach a state of upheaval. All hell breaks loose, quite literally.

Scariness factor: The zombies are slow-movers like in all old-school zombie flicks, so they're not all that threatening. Alas.

Gross-Out Factor: Awesome--the special effects in this are at their old-school peak. Damn good moments of zombies eating flesh, zombies ripping flesh, zombies tearing heads off, etc.

Complaints: The first half of this movie: way too much talking and philosophizing, not nearly enough zombies.

High Points: The second half of this movie. Right when I was starting to get fidgety and sick of hearing people talk, it suddenly became full-on zombie action. They special fx are AWESOME. You can tell that the special fx artists are just having WAY too much fun toying with all this stuff--and it's reflected in some damn good quality zombie gruesomeness. The bad guy is a kick-ass sleazeball, the kind you just LOVE to hate. And although I had mixed feelings about the introduction of the idea that zombies *can* start to redevelop old habits, be emotional, develop attachments and all that (I moreso just like the spooky notion that zombies are just hard-core automatons, and that there ain't nothing that'd ever change that fact--they just kill and eat and kill some more), I kinda hearted the "good" zombie. I found myself wanting to go AWWWWWW really loudly every time he'd learn something new, or when he got upset because his good buddy died. And I found myself wanting to shout, GO, ZOMBIE when he hunts down the bad guy with a gun later in the film... He's cute. In a "I wanna pinch your cheeks and squish you" kind of way--perhaps not ideal for a zombie flick, but fun nonetheless. The movie is horribly 1980's, but it actually kind of works to its advantage for some reason--it made me enjoy it more. But seriously--the best part of this flick is the special fx. They are glorious, over-the-top, and wonderfully old-school.

Overall: Rent it. Be patient through the first 45 minutes or so, and I promise, you'll be rewarded in the end.

Grade: A


Monday, May 07, 2007

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

E surprised me by ordering me a copy of this and sending it directly to me in the mail a couple weeks ago. I finally got around to watching it this weekend, and MAN was it terrible.

Plotline: As part of a sorority initiation, a couple of girls are told to steal a trophy from a local bowling-alley. Accompanied by a trio of nerdy boys, they accidentally let loose an imp that was living in the trophy, and he wreaks havoc on them all, trapping them in the bowling alley, and killing most of them.

Scariness factor: The imp looks like a hand-puppet. The two girls he puts under his control are about as frightening as whipped cream. And the special fx are terrible. So... no.

Gross-Out Factor: Again, this movie looked like it had a budget of, say, $10, so not much in the way of special fx.

Complaints: E and I agreed that this truly may have been the worst movie we've ever seen. As with most campy gems, I suppose this is a good thing. The movie is rife with TONS AND TONS of incongruities--for example, when the girls are being paddled at initiation, there are at least 1/2 dozen women in robes doing the initiating--suddenly most of them vanish and leave only the three main sorority girls. That and there's TONS of gratuitous nudity. They set up very dubitable reasons to have people nekkid or half-nekkid during most of the movie. For example, after one initiate gets sprayed with whipped cream, she spends a RIDICULOUSLY long time showering to get it off. In one shot, she'll be completely clean finally, but two seconds later when they cut back, she of course still has some whipped cream on those bare nipples of hers. The special fx are terrible. There is a bad-ass female character in it who's named Snake. Everybody is totally 1980s. The acting is horrible. And the storyline makes little sense.

High Points: See complaints.

Overall: Lord--I'd be surprised if you were able to stumble across this crap-fest without having to look around for it, but if you do, might as well drink a few beers and enjoy yourself.

Grade: F (but an A in the world of camp)

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Wow. Let me first start off by saying that I can't believe I've not reviewed this before, as I've seen it probably a good three or four times. I don't know how it's managed to slip through the cracks, but I'll make up for that fact by coming up with a nice juicy review today...

Plotline: Ana wakes up one morning to find that the world has gone horribly horribly awry--a young child from the neighborhood is standing in the doorway of her bedroom, and within seconds, she's ripped out the throat of Ana's husband. After dying from massive blood-loss, Ana's husband suddenly comes back to "life" and attacks Ana. She escapes, only to find that things are even worse outside--neighbors are being attacked by other neighbors, buildings are in flames, people are being dragged out of their cars. After crashing her car, she meets up with a group of refugees and they manage to make it to a nearby mall and hole themselves up inside. They spend weeks, maybe months, there, dealing with the aftermath of dead loved-ones, and trying to keep the zombies at bay. Eventually, they realize that life is perhaps not worth living if it means spending the remainder of it trapped inside a mall, so they attempt to make their escape.

Scariness factor: Holy shit--this movie has *GREAT* fricking zombies, almost as good as those terrifying freaks in 28 Days Later.

Gross-Out Factor: Oh, man. You are in store for a blood-fest. I mean, seriously--decapitation, heads exploding left and right from gunshots, ripped off limbs, blood blood blood. Seriously--this is not for the squeamish.

Complaints: I am at a loss. I normally don't like remakes (in fact, they normally piss me off--how 'bout coming up with *new* ideas, people???), but this movie kicks ass.

High Points: The first 15 minutes of this movie (through the opening credits) are, perhaps, the best first 15 minutes of a horror flick I've seen. Unsettling, shocking, manic, and terrifying. Good good stuff. I also dig this movie because it never takes itself too seriously--if you're gonna do a remake of a horror flick, particularly a classic, then you best have a sense of humor. And the sense of humor in this one is PERFECT--from games the refugees play of shooting celebrity look-alike zombies, to the sarcasm of the slimebally ship-captain, it's hard not to find yourself laughing throughout (and then feeling a bit disturbed about laughing, since some of it is directed at people getting shot up). Sarah Polley is in this movie, and she offers it some serious grounding, simply because she is a damn good actress and makes everything seem that much more believable. The special effects are phenomenal. I usually squirm and close my eyes at the sight of people getting their heads blown off, but in this flick, I found myself appreciating the skill that went into all that (disturbing, fucked up, creepy skill, but skill nonethless). The soundtrack is perfect--from the cheery Johnny Cash song in the opening credits, synced up to horrible images of death and destruction, to the campy Richard Cheese cover of "Down with the Sickness" later on in the flick. What else? (As if I haven't given you enough reason to see it just with all that.)

Overall: A must-see. Purists will probably hate it in comparison with the original--it lacks some of the social commentary (though I would argue it still offers up a pretty cynical examination of modern-culture, though not so much one focused on consumerism) and it is at times very MTV-slick in its imagery. But it's damn scary, the zombies will make you shit your pants, and it offers up one of the creepier images of an apocalyptic world with no hope of redemption. Go out. Rent it. Now.

Grade: A