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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

VICTIM (2010) Why this horror gem is the cinematic equivalent of striking gold...

Every now and then you blindly come across a film that completely reaffirms your love and faith in the horror genre. The experience itself is not only exhilerating, but inspiring as well.

Lately I have been despondent and just going throught the motions of day to day life. I felt like a dying battery, still going, but just barely. Any zeal and enthusiasm that I might normally have was lackluster at best and everything felt contrived and mundane. I think it's safe to presume we all go through funks sometimes and generally they work themselves out but as any writer or, in my case, struggling writer can attest- Sometimes a little jumpstart can be just what you need to pull you out of your creative and transcendental funk.

Lately I have been watching one movie after the next, mainly as an escape from the feelings of boredom and lack of creativity- This lack of creativity has extended to all facets of my day to day life: Personal relationships, writing, washing my hair, and my staple idealistic passion for the things that move the most, which for the purposes of this blog is horror cinema. 

Last night I came across what I feel is a horror gem and it happened by accident- As I have never heard of this film.

I wasn't expecting much. Just going through the motions.

First let me preface this by saying that I wasn't familiar with this title, and except for the brief description, I knew nothing about the plot. This is usually the best way to experience a film in my opinion, free from biases and influences of other opinions which can taint a film and make it less personal to the viewer.

I was hooked from the first few minutes, which carried effortlessly into the closing scene. I sometimes get so enthralled with a film that halfway through I will pause it, and ponder the storyline, usually trying to either predict the outcome or in the sickest of fashions, I will analyze and pour over the depravity depicted thus far in the film (my genre of choice is horror, so depravity of some sort is usually always present). That said, I paused this film halfway through and took a long hot bath. I obsessively tried to figure out where this story was taking me, and could not come up with a clear hypothesis. I couldn't shave my legs fast enough to get out of the hot water I was in, pun very cheesily intended, to get back to my movie.

It was about 3/4th's of the way through the film and I began to see where this story was taking me. It was a pretty bleak outcome for the film's anti-hero (is this an accurate term?) but for me, the viewer, it was a hodgepodge of emotions ranging from absolute terror to immense self-righteous satisfaction at the retribution and 'eye for an eye,' justice that we all crave during life's tragedy's and wrongdoings.

If there is a cosmic-karmic fairy godmother out there, she broke the mold on this one, to say the least.

*I hate those assholes that include spoilers in their reviews and/or blogs so I certainly won't ruin it for you. (YES I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU- Those that feel the need to update their facebook status after each new WALKING DEAD episode with details that I would prefer find out when I see it for myself.... You know who you are.) Proceed further without the fear of me giving too much away, but keep in mind I do express my thoughts on it, but in no way does it give away the ending or what transpires.

This isn't about whether the film is good or bad- Obviously I thought it was amazing- This is about the feelings of rejuvenation and passion one experiences when a film goes above and beyond in ecompassing all the reasons why the horror movie genre captivated them in the first place. I strongly feel this film did this in spades. With the ever growing popularity of horror films, too many people want to cash in on this and coincidentally we see too many over-commercialized and painfully generic and unoriginal films that in turn make so many horror aficionados jaded and uninspired. Just because you can finance a film and somehow get it out there doesn't mean you should do so. Futhermore, just because you slap a horror genre tag on it dosen't mean it can sustain itself as horror when compared to previous films in the genre that have stood the test of time. In this age, it's all been done and all we can look to now is originality and a grasp (followed by a solid execution) of what drives people to seek out horror films in the first place.

Fear, terror and the obsession of revenge against our enemies (which is a prevelent sub-genre of horror) is a primal thing, wired into our psyche from centuries of evolution. Untapped as it might be, it's there and it's raw, allowing for a myriad of juxapositions and outcomes. It is difficult to understand man without exploring fear and raw human behavior when faced with the unthinkable and the innate response to either survive or perish in the face of danger. When it comes to horror films, each glimpse into depravity, however uncomfortable it might be, which allows us to experience a brand of fear and terror that most of us can't even imagine and we surrender to this under the guise of plausible deniability and a suspension of disbelief. We can temporarily indulge in morbidity, and revel in it because that's what horror films have conditioned us to do. And that's pretty neat, ya know?

We're all voyuers- Some of us just prefer the dark side of human behavior, and horror films gives us a ready glimpse into that abyss.

But I regress....

VICTIM (2010) reaffirms and ignites all the passion I have for the horror genre. The film is unabashedly disturbing and delightfully original. Without the use of gore, which is great when done effectively;  instills a feeling of utter dread which leads to an uncomprisingly unsettling finale. It tapped into a facet of fear that is rarely seen in today's mainstream horror. Duh.

Depending on perspective, it's easily one of the best revenge-esque films I've ever seen. The dread and overall ambiance of the film mirrored French horror film, MARTYRS (doesn't matter if you hated MARTYRS- the plots couldn't be more diverse...) in the sense that gender played a role in effectively personalizing a female based horror.  VICTIM does this as well, but the gender aspect is more pronounced, and in contrast, is a male cast, and therefore speaks to the male psyche.

Easily one of the best horror films I've seen in years as far as content and overall execution. It's a film that will linger in your head, uncomfortably for a while. 


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Insomniac ramblings

Christmas has come and gone. This seasonal cold is kicking my white ass. Oh, and I have a 'rotten, loveless heart.' Or something to that effect. Basically, I'm at a down point, but I am pushing myself with everything I got to get up and fix all this shit that is my life. 

Christmas always puts things in perspective. What was once a magical and fairy tale esque playground of childlike innocence, is now a wasteland of regret, sorrow and self reflection. 

I used to watch countless seasonal shows this time of year, but for the past two years, I have skipped that tradition entirely and stuck to my main staple of horror. Even my birthday holds no magic as it once did. 

Insomnia is kicking my ass and my neck hurts from sleeping on the fucking couch. I need a massage and for someone to wash my hair in Evian water. That is what I desire most now. My priorities are skewed and I feel the weight of the night catching up to me, and I succumb to sleep. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

NEIGHBOR: A brief review and why chicks are better psychos.

Beauty opens all kinds of doors. I won't elaborate because we all know that beauty is power, and blah, blah, blah. But what happens if beauty and a killer smile [pun totally intended] mask a dangerous psychosis that makes Pat Bateman look like a cub scout? Even worse- What if she is your neighbor? Even worse- She likes to take her work home with her. Literally. And instead of picking random victims, she prefers to keep it close to home. You save gas, no pre-stalking or expensive macro camera lenses needed. Just go next door- Nothing suspicious about dropping by to visit a neighbor right?!


Three unsuspecting male friends and one of their unfortunate girlfriends find out how true the old saying, 'Good fences make good neighbors.' Certainly the age old adage, 'love thy neighbor' need not apply when it comes to this dreadfully demented gal.

Basically, she tortures the whole lot of them, and she does it with the zeal of a virgin who just discovered oral sex. The chick has issues, obviously- but I give her props for being so upbeat and creative in her twisted methods, not to mention her hair's ability to hold such volume and body throughout the whole bloody ordeal- That's an amazing feat in itself. 

I don't believe in giving away too many spoilers so I won't.

There is a substantial amount of violence and gore- Torture is the main theme. The story was weak in my opinion and had there been more meat in the storyline the gore might have been more justified. Sure, I enjoyed the gore- I am a certified gore-hound, but the storyline provided no rhyme or reason why this chick was so hell bent on maiming and mutilating her neighbor and his friends- Not that psychos need a reason. But sometimes, gore for the sake of gore is tiresome and lazy. It was a well-shot film, in my opinion, and not a shitty B film that is supposed to have the plot of a phonebook so it compensates with gore and nudity.

*Note: I love shitty B movies, but this film was ambitiously aiming for the more 'artsy' vibe; Ironically, they might have nailed it if it explored the storyline a little more thus giving the audience more to chew on, rather than nasty, shallow death scenes- Over and over and over.....

This romp of a film is good for putting in while polishing your toenails [which is what I ended up doing....] or balancing your checkbook [which I have NEVER done...]. Any moron can follow the plotline [or lackthereof] and the reward is the twisted torture scenes, which are almost comical because the ambiance has more of a 'black comedy' feel than a serious horror film.  It is like Pat Bateman has a soul mate but was born 50 years too late.

In a nutshell- Imagine if the Marquis DeSade thought up a fictional female character with the imagination of Tomas de Torquemada, meets AMERICAN PSYCHO meets Desperate Housewives and SINGLE WHITE FEMALE but substitute Madchen Amick for Jennifer Jason Leigh. Kind of a heavy description but it comes somewhat close.

As to my assertion that females make better psychos: They just do. Men [no offense, but generally this is a pretty fair statement] think with their penis.' Vagina+good looks and a 1000 watt smile= Compliance. For the most part, not always. Once the pretty psycho has you in a compromising position [see: tied up a la kinky foreplay sex game] you can pretty much kiss your sweet ass goodbye. Unless you can get away, which is likely too, but I'm sure any good psycho has thought it through and has a contingency plan for any possible mishap. Argue with me if you want, but I will always think a woman makes a better psycho- The more aesthetically pleasing she is, the better psycho.

It's a fact. Deal with it.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Human Centipede II: A brief review and why I think Tom Six is a pompass douche.

First for the brief review.

A sociopathic, disturbed mama's boy named Martin is obsessed with the film THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE. The sexual degradation and the forced defication really gets this guys rocks off. His most prized possession is a booklet he makes with pictures and movie stills from the first film. He hides said booklet in the fashion of a horny pre-pubescant teen, under his mattress so that his pain in the ass mother won't find it. Mother does find it and she then enlists the help of a creepy therapist/doctor to talk to him. Creepy Doc tells mom that 'it's probably just a phase,' and not to worry too much about it.

Martin works as a night security guard in a parking garage so this gives him ample time to watch and re-watch the film and slip deeper into his obsession. One night a misfortunate young couple makes the mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the asshole boyfriend mouths off thus pissing Martin off and unloading a gun in said asshole's foot. After knocking both the asshole boyfriend and his girlfriend, he takes the couple back to an abandoned warehouse that Martin acqired after knocking out the man who is renting out the warehouse.

Three down, nine more to go. Victims that is.

From here out, Martin secures victim after victim, including a pregnant woman, a hooker who is found servicing his Dr. friend, hence the creepy doctor bit, along with other poor souls including is asshole neighbor who plays his shitty music too loud. Before long, Martin has all twelve victims and he's ready to begin his medically inaccurate reconstruction of the human centipede, following in the footsteps of the demented Dr. Heiter that we all came to love/loathe from the original film. Because Martin is a moron, and not a medical doctor, he has to improvise.

He knocks out the teeth of his victims with a hammer and then using a staple gun, he staples asses to mouth and then injects the unfortunates with laxatives to ensure they get their money's worth. Lovely huh?!

That's Ass to Mouth II in a nutshell.

Now for why Tom Six is a douche.

Six claims that this is the sickest film ever made. Don't believe the hype.

While the gore was adequate- I would have a hard time believing it 'was the sickest movie ever made.' I can see it being a copaphiliac's wet dream, and it's probable that Six saw SALO one too many times, but tooting your own horn because you made a skat film just seems a little silly.

2 1/2 out of 5.