From My DVD Shelf: Chillerama

I acquired Chillerama a couple of weeks ago, and now that the Holiday madness has settled, finally got the chance to sit down and watch it earlier this week. It took me awhile to write this because I was very busy watching that Paul Christoforo douchebag get his ass handed to him by the entire gaming community. Stupid asshole.

Anyway, I’ve been a fan of Adam Green since I first watched Hatchet (and loved it), so when I heard that he was teaming up with some friends to bring a grindhouse-homaging-anthology film to us, I was excited. The final product isn’t perfect, but it still manages to be a hell of a good time.

Chillerama is framed within the story of the final showing at a classic drive-in theater. Corporate assholes will be bulldozing it to the ground the next morning, so the owner (Richard Riehle) decides to giver her a massive send-off with an all-night splatterfest.

First up is Wadzilla, written and directed by Adam Riffkin (who also plays the role of our main character, Miles). Miles is given pills by his doctor (Ray Wise) to help him with his lackluster sperm count. This medication is in the experimental stages, and rather than upping his sperm count, it has an adverse effect, making the few sperm he does have bigger, meaner and more aggressive. The doctor advises Miles to discontinue the medication, and should he become aroused, to immediately masturbate and get the sperm out of his body before it has the chance to become any bigger (logical, right?). Unfortunately for Miles (and everyone else, for that matter), this tactic fails when the already way-too-big-and-scary sperm manages to escape and continues growing, running amok all over New York and growing larger and larger. A send-up of 1950’s creature features, Wadzilla injects enough absurdity and mayhem into the concept to make it ridiculously entertaining.

The second story was Tim Sullivan’s I Was a Teenage Werebear. Everything anthology film has a weak link, and unfortunately, this is Chillereama‘s. The story is simple enough – Ricky (Sean Paul Lockhart) is a little confused and has been battling the “urges” that he gets when he is around other guys – particularly another student named Talon (Anton Troy) and his greaser squad. Then, during a gym-class wrestling match, Talon bites Ricky on the ass and everything changes. As Lin Shaye, genre favorite, as well as the story’s gypsy nurse explains, he has been cursed – from now on, every time Ricky becomes aroused, he will transform into a beefy, hairy, leather-clad werebear. The concept is sound enough (though silly, but I’m not deducting points for silly), but Werebear struggles with its influences – there are simply too many. Part 1950’s chiller, part 1960’s beach party flick, part musical, Werebear just has too much going on, and the pieces don’t play well together. Each influence distracts from the others, and ultimately, from the final product. Stripped down and simplified, it may have been more successful.

The third story (and my personal favorite) was Adam Green’s The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. This story supposes that Anne Frank’s family had shortened their name from Frankenstein to hide their stained past, and that the journal of the infamous Doctor Frankenstein was discovered by the Nazis during the family’s capture. It was turned over to Hitler (Joel David Moore), who goes about creating a monster (Kane Hodder) to do his bidding. This piece is hilarious – all of the cast is speaking German, with Moore just shouting gibberish with a lot of hard consonants (I caught Boba Fett and Han Solo among his lines of dialogue). It’s fantastic. I don’t know how he managed to get through it without cracking up, but I’m guessing it probably took about 2,000 takes to get it done. He does it with a tremendous level of conviction, which makes it even better.

The final segment is Zom-B-Movie, written and directed by Joe Lynch. It continues the story set forth in the framing device, and shows us what has been going on in our drive-in during the features. A massive zombie outbreak has arisen, resulting in a horde of mindless undead, hungry for human flesh – not for eating it, but for fucking it (because why not?). So a group of teenagers must defend themselves from a mass of horny zombies. It’s visceral, violent, and gooey. Very very gooey.

Chillerama is the kind of fun you want to have with a few friends, a couch and some beers. It’s not the “so bad it’s good” kind of fun – it does stand on its own and accomplishes what it sets off to do. It’s a fun bled of horror and comedy that leaves your saying “What the fuck?” more times than you can count, and sitting mouth agape when you see where they’re willing to go next. Not to be missed or taken too seriously.

Jaws Blu-ray on the Horizon!

Universal Home Entertainment has announced that they are planning to bestow upon us a Blu-ray release of Jaws on August 14, 2012.

The most classic of awesome films will finally be getting the HD treatment and Bruce is going to look AMAZING.

And just imagine how much more epic Quint’s Indianapolis speech will be in glorious high definition!

I am so excited; Jaws is one of my all-time favorite films, and I can’t wait to see it get the visual treatment that it deserves. August can’t come soon enough. Join me in cheering!

Lollipop Chainsaw Artwork Released

Dear Santa,

Please bring me Lollipop Chainsaw for Christmas. I realize that this game isn’t due to be released until some time in 2012, but Miracle on 34th street taught me that if I double dog dare you with a threat of non-belief, then you cave and grant impossible wishes.

Please restore my childlike wonder and faith in magic by leaving a cheerleader chainsawing the shit out of hordes of the living dead in my stocking.

Love, Horrorella

Kill List Trailer Premiers

Much buzz has been building around Ben Wheatley’s upcoming Kill List since it first premiered at SXSW earlier this year. It looks like it will be getting a VOD release starting January 4th, and a small theatrical run on February 3rd.

Start watching the trailer and commence getting excited.

Synopsis: Eight months after a botched job in Kiev, Jay (Neil Maskell) is an out-of-work hitman with no job, money, health insurance and a wife constantly on his case. But when his business partner Gal (Michael Smiley) comes over for dinner and pressures Jay into taking a new assignment, Jay quickly finds himself back in the game with the promise of a big payoff after three assassinations. Although the hits start off without incident, soon things begin to unravel and Jay’s paranoia reveals itself  as he is plunged into the heart of darkness.

The Woman Coming to DVD January 24th

Bloody Disgusting Selects will be making Lucky McKee’s The Woman available on DVD, Bluray and digital download/rental for your viewing pleasure on January 24th.

If you haven’t yet seen the film, you may have caught wind of it last year when it aired at the Sundance Film Festival and some douchebag (who must have had his hair blown back when the entire subtext of the film went RIGHT over his head) threw a tantrum during a Q&A session, decrying the film for being misogynistic and degrading to women, calling for it to be burned and was subsequently kicked out of of the theater to thunderous applause from fellow audience members.

I caught this film during its theatrical run in October, and really enjoyed it. I am huge fan of McKee’s 2002 film, May, and it’s great to see him bringing the same energy to The Woman. While not as sweet as May, it still taps the same “slightly left of reality” vein, though The Woman takes it to a much darker place. It is not your typical horror film, but he clearly put a great deal of thought into it, and the film definitely has something to say.

Synopsis: A domineering, upper-middle class father abducts a feral woman while out on a day-long hunting trip. With his twisted set of ideals, he decides to embark upon a deranged project – to “civilize” her – a decision that he and his family will soon regret. Tearing apart the image of the all-American family, director Lucky McKee and writer Jack Ketchum unleash a savage depiction of the war of the sexes and nature versus civilization. Labeled one of the most controversial films of the year, The Woman is a must for all fans of horror.

[REC] 3 Genesis Trailer

The trailer for [REC] 3 Genesis has finally hit, courtesy of Bloody Disgusting, and it promises blood-soaked good times.

[REC] 3 continues the story set up in the first two installments, taking the infection to a wedding. And let’s be honest – don’t all girls dream of mowing down crazy zombie-creatures with a chainsaw on their wedding day? I know I did. Sadly, it didn’t come to fruition. But check out the trailer and live out the awesome fantasy with me.

The first two films were nothing short of brilliant, and my fingers are tightly crossed that [REC] 3 will bring us more of the same genius. It appears that they are breaking out of the found footage genre with this one, which will be an interesting change from the first two (where it worked extremely well).

The Innkeepers Gets a Release Date

The Innkeepers, the newest (and highly anticipated) film from Ti West (The House of the Devil) will be available on demand starting December 30th, and will have a limited theatrical run on February 3rd.

Synopsis: After over one hundred years of service, The Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees -Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) – are determined to uncover proof of what many believe to be one of New England’s most haunted hotels. As the Inn’s final days draw near, odd guests check in as the pair of minimum wage “ghost hunters” begin to experience strange and alarming events that may ultimately cause them to be mere footnotes in the hotel’s long unexplained history.

From My DVD Shelf: It

So, I’m about 25% through latest Stephen King book, 11/22/63 (and am enjoying myself). The book is about a high school English teacher who goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. Before doing that, however, he heads to Derry, Maine to test out this whole changing the past notion by setting some wrong things right.

Naturally, being in Derry, in the late ’50s, there is a lot of cross-over with the events, themes and characters presented in King’s 1986 novel, It. As is the way (when you’re me), it got me thinking about King’s earlier book, but moreso, the mini-series that it was the basis of. Last weekend, I decided to pull the dvd off the shelf and revisit it.

Stephen King’s work has long been the backbone of the American TV mini-series, and it makes a lot of sense – while many of his books and stories have made tremendously successful and effective film adaptations, his work does tend to be rather long and involved, so allowing it a 4 or 6 hour runtime allows the story to be told in its entirety. And sure, that story is then subject to the rules of Standards and Practices, but that doesn’t mean that the scares are completely squashed. It, for example, is a story that I could never envision being told anywhere than on television. In my mind, it’s the quintessential Stephen King TV movie.

The story of It splits its time between Derry, Maine in 1960, and in present day (in this case, 1990, when the film aired). Back in 1960, a dark force was making its presence known in Derry. Local children were going missing and turning up dead and mutilated, or sometimes not turning up at all. A group of local kids each had run-ins with the killer, a strange force known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Tim Curry), who also had the power to shape-shift into whatever form his victims find the most terrifying. Together, they manage to defeat the Evil, but make a solemn vow that, if It should ever rise again, they would come back and destroy the creature. Fast Forward to 1990. Mike (Tim Reid) is the only one out of the group remained in Derry into adulthood. After a string of child murders that bear a striking resemblance to the events that occurred in 1960, he calls the group back to do the needful. The story jumps back and forth between past and present, layering plot points as it goes.

The story has everything that you could ask for in a Stephen King tale: an ancient evil, a group of people defined and bound together by their friendship, and some really freaking scary scenes. It is the reason that 95% of my generation is afraid of clowns. If you were between the ages of 8 and 15 when it aired in 1990, you or someone you know is probably scared shitless of clowns.

And who wouldn’t be?

And I was among them. I didn’t watch the film when it first aired because my parents sucked, but I did see it at a slumber party when I was 14, and Tim Curry scared the crap out of me. I was petrified of clowns until a couple of years ago when I decided to cowboy up, stop being a pussy and conquer the fear. So I watched It again. And while they can still be creepy as fuck, I am no longer crippled into tears when I see them. So there is my success story.

I am of the opinion that It is still successful to this day. Yes, the effects can be a little cheesy, but they aren’t used to abundance, so you don’t even really notice. And yes, it was shot for like $3.75 (which may have been a lot of TV money in 1990, I don’t really remember), but the concept works, the actors carry it fairly well (definitely better than you would expect for a late ’80s television cast), and Tim Curry is AWESOME. He is intimidating, he is Evil, and he even manages to yuck it up in his role as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He is one of the few actors that would have been able to play not only the scary-ass clown, but also the darker, eternal creature that hides underneath the white paint, and that is what gives Pennywise his gravity.

If you’ve never seen It, now is the time to pick it up. And if you have seen it, now might be a good time to be reintroduced. It’s easy to forgive the cheapness of the film because the dark heart of the story manages to rise above its lowly ABC television stage and elevate it to a timeless story of fate, friendship and bravery. And also killer clowns.

They all float down here….