Friday, October 31, 2014

Harefooted Halloween: The Vampire Lovers

What I Liked: The production and costume design is gorgeous.  All of the locations and sets looked grand and elegant as well as ominous and creepy.  Beautiful work on the visuals all around.

It’s nice to see a vampire tale not set in modern day.  This one takes place in the late 1700’s and man is it refreshing.  Shit eventually goes down the same old way but it was great to be put into a slightly different mindset just by changing up the time period.

Ok, I’m gonna put my gentlemanly-ness aside for a minute and admit that all of the nudity was appreciated.  This was made in 1970 so that kinda shit was starting to become more acceptable in mainstream films.  It’s just so funny how the seducing vampiress bites some of her female victims on the boob.  I mean there was no other reason to have that happen other than to show some broad’s tits.  Good job.

Excellent title.  Sexy, sultry, scary.

What I Didn’t Like: Not a ton is explained very well and that certainly lessened the enjoyment a little.  It’s confusing for a while what exactly is happening and who’s who and all of that.  I understood the basic plot but the picture could’ve been structured in a clearer manner.

Overall Impression: Another cool Hammer horror delight.  It’s got a bunch of the things that make a Hammer production so easy to get into.  There’s an intriguing plot, solid acting, plenty of the actual monster/creature/supernatural type thing, the pacing feels leisurely but the story actually moves well and the production quality is easy on the eyes.

I don’t think this is a must see but it’s fun and even adds a touch of class to your Halloween season.  Sure, it’s mostly the accents and time period but a touch of class just the same.  Check out this vampire infested boob fest.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Harefooted Halloween: My Soul to Take

What I Liked: The fast paced story keeps things moving even though I had no idea what was going on.

And I kinda liked that I didn’t totally get it.

Oh, and the opening setup is really fun nonstop craziness that involves stabbing, shooting, car crashing, etc.

What I Didn’t Like: There’s your typical cast of characters in a slasher movie.  You have the main nerdy kid, his outcast best friend, the popular girl that the main kid has a crush on, the jock douchbag and so on. 

How the events unfold is also archetypal with the teens being taken out one by one and you have to guess who the killer is.

Overall Impression: What a totally conventional yet totally strange slasher picture.  It’s very confusing what exactly is going on and what direction shit is heading.  Every once in a while you’ll get something familiar that you can grab on to like when the killer calls up the asshole jock and taunts him on the phone before dispatching him.  But then it’ll go right back to a schizophrenic kid or move immediately into another death scene or there’ll be some exposition given that seems kinda late in the story to be dishing out.

There’s also a bunch of shit that gets setup but then there’s no development or payoff.  For instance, the lead teen has a crush on some girl and we can discern that she obviously likes him back but it goes absolutely nowhere.  They don’t ever hook up or reveal their hotness for one another.  Just weird for a movie like this.

I fully appreciated some of the out-of-left-field bits in here.  Even though I couldn’t get a strong footing I couldn’t stop watching and was fascinated by the muddled and erratic mess.  It feels like this picture was made by a first timer or someone who may be slightly insane for real.  Wes Craven has made some zany movies before but this is different.  You could understand those.  This one is a rambling blob of ideas.

Look, this isn’t a good film really but I completely enjoyed how odd it was at times.  It feels like it should’ve been at least a half hour longer to flesh shit out and explain crap.  But at the same time I’m kinda glad it isn’t because we got one helluva oddball slasher movie. 

See it?  I don’t know if I can recommend this in good conscious.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Harefooted Halloween: Stake Land

What I Liked: The makeup and effects looked great for the most part.  The vamps aren’t afraid to get messy with black blood drooling down the entire bottom half of their faces.

What I Didn’t Like: There are a lot of problems with this film, like a real lot, but I’ll try to trim it down a bit.

They had the vampires be mindless animals with pretty much zero intelligence (pretty much, *cough* except for the main villain *cough*).  I don’t like this approach to this type of supernatural creature.  Vampires definitely have a primal side but if you’re gonna reduce them to something that’s dumber than a bag of hammers then what’s the point?  They act more like zombies than vampires which isn’t an effective use.  Leave vampires to their more brainy nature, they work best that way.

This thing is redundant as shit.  Our group of human survivors go from place to place and slowly check out an abandoned car or house or whatever and kill some vampires.  Then they run into some humans that may or may not want to kill them.  Our heroes leave the small community of humans and eventually stumble upon an abandoned site, kill vamps, etc.

Character development is almost zilch.  The young boy that we’re supposed to identify with takes the entire movie to finally be ok with killing vampires.  And that’s after his parents and just about everyone he knows gets killed by vampires.  On top of that we don’t learn anyone’s backstory (except for some of the main boy’s) which doesn’t help.

The boy’s narration isn’t really necessary and is way too fucking serious and way too fucking generic (especially for a post-apocalypse movie).

Overall Impression: First I just wanna say that this picture looks great for only having a $650,000 budget.  I’ll totally give credit to the filmmakers, and definitely the makeup and special effects people, for turning out a very good looking film for such a tiny budget.

With that said, there’s no excuse for the atrocious script.  Basically what they did was make a post-apocalypse zombie movie but replace the zombies with vampires.  Literally nothing else is different.  It’s like they thought if you made that one change and leave everything else alone (including how the zombies/vampires behave) then it would be a whole new ballgame. 

I want to say that this is just a very blatant rip off of The Walking Dead but they came out the same year (2010).  Everything about this movie is so uninspired and trite.  Every aspect is completely unoriginal.  It brings nothing new or even remotely interesting to the table.  I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Stake Land is insulting though.  It’s just an exceptionally run of the mill zombie…I mean vampire…no I mean zombie…movie.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Harefooted Halloween: Sadako 3D

What I Liked: The pulpy look and feel to the whole thing is kinda cool actually.  It’s fairly comic booky with bright colors and some over the top looking creatures towards the end.  I’ll give it points for style.  I mean this ain’t Drive or A Clockwork Orange or nothin’ but the filmmakers were definitely going for a look and I think they pulled it off for the most part.  

What I Didn’t Like: Boy did they dumb the Ringu concept way down.  The story is built up to be more than a revenge tale, or even a murder tale.  They tried to have a more comic book type story to go with the look but it doesn’t work.

They rub that 3D shit in your face pretty hard with a bunch of crap (mostly glass) flying at the screen every so often.  Admittedly I think that stuff is kinda funny because of how blatant it is but really it’s not something you should play up so much in your movie (even your 3D movie).

Overall Impression: Kids these days have no idea what a video tape is so I’m all for updating the Ringu format to fit modern technology.  Replacing the tape with a cursed YouTube video is totally fitting and downright hilarious.  You can’t tell me that that doesn’t sound like a Scary Movie spoof or some shit.

But at the same time I sorta dug the cheesy and, sometimes, wacky approach the filmmakers took.  They throw in fresh ideas like Sadako uses her hair as a weapon to grab ahold of people and the protagonist can use her scream to shatter and destroy enemies. 

And then there are the fucking bizarre Sadako bug-like creatures that attack in droves.  They have the usual hair, arms and coloration but they also have these huge long back legs and no eyes or nose.  I especially liked how the head came out with the gnarly mouth.

With so many changes to the original Ringu idea this was probably a totally different script until someone noticed the similarities and decided to make it a rebootquel. 

Make no mistake, they’re appealing to the lowest common denominator here (well, the Japanese lowest common denominator which may or may not be higher than the American one).  But I kinda liked it.  Not a lot, but it was an interesting twist on a Ring installment.  It’s almost like a Grindhouse Ring movie. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Harefooted Halloween: Ringu 0: Birthday

Ringu 0's Sadako...kinda different if you ask me
What I Liked: When Sadako finally shows up in the form that we all know and love, she looks great.  Nice eerie ass movements.

What I Didn’t Like: Everything except that one thing I said above.

Overall Impression: I’ll be honest here, I wasn’t going to write about this one because there isn’t a whole lot to say.  The story goes something like: young Sadako struggles with her (evil-ish) powers during that time she joined an acting troupe.  Ok, maybe that concept is worth at least mentioning because fuck, that’s the oddest plot to a Ring movie yet.  But because I wanted to say a few things about Sadako 3D I needed this in here to bridge the gap.

This movie fills in Sadako’s backstory and takes place around 1970.  They made her into a real person with emotions and even a love interest.  Fucking Sadako falls in fucking love guys.  But that’s not even the strangest part of what the filmmakers are trying to sell you.  I won’t spoil it but the ending (aside from the brief moment where we get the Sadako form we’re used to) is just plain dumb.   
I scratched my head the entire time trying to figure out why some people thought this picture needed to exist.  It’s made well and all but the ideas presented are wack.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Harefooted Halloween: The Ring Two

What I Liked: The opening scene with the dickhead teen trying to get some girl to watch the tape so he can be off the hook is good…until Samara shows up.  Then the guy’s death gets kinda weak.

Also in that opening scene they show us an interesting situation which leads to some food for thought.  If you put the tape on but close your eyes and don’t actually watch it do you still get cursed?  If you don’t get the curse then wouldn’t that make blind people immune to the tape?  What if you only saw a part of the tape and not the whole thing?  Cursed or not cursed?  What if you didn’t put your glasses on and you could kinda see the images on the tape a little but really it’s blurry as shit?  Cursed or not cursed?

The part where the doctor injects a syringe of air into her neck was a cool death.

It was funny when Rachel says her one liner “I’m not your fucking mommy”.  It’s incredibly silly but also sorta badass.

What I Didn’t Like: Everything else.

Overall Impression: Shifting the story to focus on Aidan was such a big mistake.  He was awful and horribly annoying in the first movie and he’s even worse here.  He’s not scary, he’s a way too serious not-at-all-like-a-real-kid kid.

And when you throw in stupid shit that doesn’t belong in a Ring movie, like the deer attack scene, and just other unnecessary crap, like finding out Samara’s mother is actually alive and locked away in a mental hospital, then you get a messy and unthoughtful picture.

The Ring Two feels like a movie that nobody was into making.  If you haven’t checked out the original Japanese Ringu and Ringu 2 then I would suggest seeing those first if you’re hungry for more of this series. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Harefooted Halloween: Ringu 2

What I Liked: There were some cool and fairly creepy scenes.  My favorite part was when they recreated in real life that part in the video where Sadako’s mother is combing her hair in a mirror.  This is so nerdy but I actually said “whoa” out loud to myself when Sadako shows up and they do that mirror switch thing from the tape (if you saw it you’d know what part I’m talking about).

The tension is kept sorta high most of the time.  You don’t know where things are going which put me on edge a little.  They got the tone pitch perfect for a Ring movie with some startling imagery and almost no music.

What I Didn’t Like: I could list some minor issues I have with the film but really the biggest problem is that there’s no payoff.  It’s kinda un-fuckin’-believable that with all the buildup and taught atmosphere the filmmakers so carefully developed that they didn’t give us a worthy ending.  Maybe that’s just from an American standpoint.  Although I dunno, I have a hard time thinking that anyone could be fully satisfied by the time the credits roll.

Overall Impression: Rasen was boring as all hell so I’m very glad that they made this more appropriate sequel to replace it.  The picture has its moments of genuine eeriness that I ate up, like when the TV in the mental hospital switches to show the well and Sadako starting to come out of it.  But it all adds up to not very much.

The feel of this one is particularly interesting because they didn’t continue the story of Sadako or go the other route and essentially remake the first film.  You would expect one of the two of those to happen.  Instead they did this weird lateral move where we follow Ryuji’s girlfriend around.  She doesn’t necessarily try to solve anything though.  She just gets caught up in shit.  It’s a strange way to go for a sequel to your extremely big hit movie.

Like Rasen there’s a medical angle to this installment too.  A doctor tries to figure out scientifically what’s going on with these Sadako survivors.  These are people that didn’t die from the tape but are severely affected by it in some way.  Unlike Rasen the filmmakers managed to make this intriguing.

Ringu 2 is a slow burn except there isn’t an explosion at the end of that burn.  The thing ends sorta mildly.  Everything in this movie is very deliberate and delicately handled which is fascinating from a filmmaking perspective.  However, they were perhaps a little too careful and definitely held back too much for the finale. 

With all of that said I enjoyed the few creepy scenes that are in here.  I’ll take this over the American Ring Two any day.  If you liked Ringu this is worth checking out, just don’t get your hopes up.