Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tormented (1960)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A man who is soon to be married stands idly by as his mistress tosses threats at him and then falls to her death from a lighthouse. But this mistress just can't let it go and returns as a ghost, threatening his marriage with her hauntings.

Scariness factor: A ha ha ha ha ha hahahahahaha cough choke hahaha.

Gross-Out Factor: Horrifying and gruesome scenes such as "plastic head being held in man's hand" and "footprints appearing in carpet" and "woman plummets from lighthouse."

Complaints: All the complaints are precisely what makes this movie such a campy gem. First off: voice-over/narration. Apparently it was the "hip thing" in 1960s horror flicks to have THE most retarded voice-over/narrations EVER. The Haunting (1963) which is one of my favorite horror movies of all-time suffers from the same problem. The characters think A LOT to themselves and VERY LOUDLY. Second: the sound effects. I swear to god, the sound of a seagull squawking overhead is SERIOUSLY a dude shouting CAW CAW CAW. Not even shitting you. Third: the logic. Apparently people in the 1960s were RIDICULOUSLY stupid all the time. You have a head in a blanket? Definitely throw it out in the sand where people will surely find it. Fourthly: Oh my god the dude that tries to blackmail the male lead has THE funniest dialogue ever, Dad. I think he's supposed to be a hipster, Dad, so he seriously calls the dude Dad like 37 times in the course of 10 minutes, Dad. Fifth: The special fx. Seriously, there is a scene with a plastic head that we're supposed to believe is the head of the woman haunting him. Sixthly: The acting. Worst. Acting. Ever.

High Points: See all the complaints.

Overall: This is high-camp, so don't go in expecting to have your socks scared off, Dad. But DO figure out how to turn this into a drinking game because next Halloween I AM SO SHOWING THIS AT MY PLACE.

Grade: A (but only in camp)

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--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A great-white is viciously attacking and killing people in the waters of Amity. The local chief of police gangs up with a marine biologist and a delightfully grizzled shark-hunter to end the rampage.

Scariness factor: Holy crap so delicious.

Gross-Out Factor: At the time, it was probably super-gruesome, but by today's Rob Zombie-standards, pretty mild. Still: it provides some delighful ewwwwwwwws.

Complaints: None nada zilch.

High Points: Jaws might actually be my favorite movie of all time, so it seems kind of silly reviewing it as I'm pretty much gonna gush. But gush I shall.
Why I love Jaws:
  • It is a true blockbuster from a time when being a blockbuster actually meant something. It's huge and well-done but also meticulously well-written and nuanced in every way.

  • The acting: the trio of Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss makes this movie. They are all wonderful, Dreyfuss is funny as hell (and a total 1970's babe, growr), and I so want to have a daughter so I can name her Quint 'cause Shaw rocks that character OUT.

  • The characters are wonderfully developed and actually fleshed out. You will fall in love with all of them for different reasons.

  • The dialogue is fantastic. Which also lends to the well-developed characters. It's also wonderfully timed--there are many moments where a character squeaks in a one-liner under his breath or amidst the ramblings of other characters, and it will make you laugh out loud. And it's got that 70's realism thing working for it.

  • That first scene where the skinny-dipper goes down: Oh my god so scary!!!!

  • The score is (again) a blockbuster gem, tricking us into getting tense in moments that don't actually warrant it and going silent to trick us again into jumping when Jaws unexpectedly leaps out.

  • The timing. This is something I rarely think about when watching a film, but this film is TIGHT and has a MAGNIFICENT sense of timing. From comedic moments to scary moments, they are timed SO BEAUTIFULLY that it's hard not to want to hug Spielberg for being so damn anal retentive as to get it THAT right.

  • The special fx are old-school and awesome. Fuck CGI! I am all about a giant hinged shark interspersed with real-footage of an entirely different and tinier shark! Seriously: love it. Gruesome and delightful and PLEASE DEAR GOD let them never want to remake this because I seriously will BREAK PEOPLE'S KNEES.

  • I seriously could go on and on some more, but I will stop here.

Overall: I've seen this movie so many times that I can't even keep track anymore. It seriously may be my favorite movie of all time, so if you've not seen it, DEAR GOD WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU GO GO GO NOW AND WATCH IT I DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE AT WORK DO IT.

Grade: A+++


Reincarnation (Rinne)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A young actress gets a role in a movie about a real-life murder-spree in a local hotel. As she steps into the role, the line between past and present begins to blur in scary ways.

Scariness factor: It's pretty spooky. Eerie is perhaps a better word.

Gross-Out Factor: Nothing too horrible.

Complaints: No major complaints.

High Points: The premise of this, although perhaps a bit convoluted, was a lot of fun. And it made for a delightfully weird and creepy climax. The movie is visually spooky, and the acting is not bad. It kind of feels like THE SHINING meets AUDREY ROSE meets THE EYE.

Overall: Again, I enjoyed myself with this one as well. If you're a fan of Asian horror (like The Grudge which I think was made by the same dude), you'll dig it.

Grade: B


The Serpent & the Rainbow

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: An American (doctor? anthropologist?) travels to Haiti to investigate rumors of a drug that can bring people back from the dead.

Scariness factor: It's mildly spooky. And claustrophobic at times. But nothing TOO bone-rattlingly terrifying.

Gross-Out Factor: 80's gross-out, which means pretty lite.

Complaints: Very 80's. And--of course--an obligatory lame sex-scene between the male and female leads 'cause we all know when a) we're being hunted, and b) there's zombies on the loose, the first thing on our minds is sex. (Okay, it probably WOULD be, but still: kind of lame.) Also, there wasn't enough zombie action. Granted, the zombies aren't like 28 Days Later zombies or even Night of the Living Dead zombies, but I still would've liked to see a bit more of 'em.

High Points: It has its moments. It's kind of got a surreal trippy little thing going on, and Wes Craven has some of his usual fun little tricks up his sleeve. And it's moody and fun.

Overall: I enjoyed this. It's not my favorite Wes Craven, but it definitely was a nice moody little October flick.

Grade: B


Oldboy (Oldeuboi)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A man is kidnapped for reasons unknown and imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years. When finally released, he makes it his mission to hunt down his kidnappers and find out the reason for his imprisonment.

Scariness factor: I'm not even sure this is technically considered a horror flick, but I include it anyways. Nonetheless, it's not so much scary as it is intense and suspenseful.

Gross-Out Factor: Lots of teeth getting pulled out. A few other grotesqueries, but nothing TOO horrible.

Complaints: I really like this movie, so I can't so much think of any.

High Points: This movie is just really kind of awesome. The plotline will have you plunging forward with curiosity, and, just like Oh Dae-Su, you'll find yourself wanting to know what the fuck is going on. It's well-acted. It's got some really horrible and mischievous twists. And it's got style out the ass and is beautifully shot. And actually funny at times as well. Plus, the two male leads are HOT. I mean, purr:

Overall: I'm not sure if this is technically horror. But since one of you recommended it as a horror film I should watch this season, I'm reviewing it anyways. I've seen it twice, and I really really dig it. So go check it out.

Grade: A

(And yes, I missed THIRST in the theaters but am counting down the days 'til it comes out on dvd.)


Inside (A L'interieur)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A pregnant woman is involved in a car crash that kills her husband. She is spending her Christmas Eve alone with plans to for a medically-induced birth the next day when a crazy woman breaks into her house with plans to steal her baby by any means necessary.

Scariness factor: Damn. This movie is all sorts of claustrophobic and freaky. I noticed my body all tensed up several times throughout the movie and with clenched knuckles etc.

Gross-Out Factor: This was one of the goriest movies I've ever seen. I normally wouldn't sit through something so gory, but it was filmed so well and it was so fricking scary that I toughed it out. But jesus: definitely not for the faint of heart. The faint of heart shouldn't even be IN THE SAME HOUSE as this movie.

Complaints: The gore. While it was almost magnificent in how over the top it was, I'm still not quite sure it was necessary. I'll give them the final shot, because that one was FANTASTIC and horrible. But much of it seemed over-the-top. And the shots of the baby in utero were a bit cheese-tastic

High Points: This movie just had a lot of style to it. It was gruesome but oftentimes beautifully shot in its gruesomeness. And it seriously was scary as fuck. You know those movies where you find yourself leaning forward in your seat, muttering under your breath to the characters, willing with your body for the main character to make it out safely? This is DEFINITELY one of those gems.

Overall: The more and more I think about this movie, the more and more I liked it, despite the intense gore. It really was spooky as fuck. So if you can HANDLE the gore, I definitely recommend.

Grade: A-

(Thanks, Kimberly, for the recommendation!)