SPECIAL BONUS EPISODE of The Unreliable Narrators Watch!

November 6, 2017 0

Friday the 13th

Tonight we watch…Friday the 13th. That’s right, the grandaddy of slasher flicks! Camp Crystal Lake is open for business again, and you’re all invited. The question is…will you survive the experience?

WARNING: the following contains spoilers!

Dramatis Personae: Chia, Chris, George…and special guest-star Morris the Cat!

george_galuschak [8:00 PM] Friday the 13th!

chialynn [8:00 PM] Friday the 13th!

chris [8:00 PM] Friday the 13th!

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The Unreliable Narrators watch…Halloween!!!

October 29, 2017 0

Halloween

Welcome to the third and final episode of this year’s Halloween edition of “The Unreliable Narrators Watch…,” starring The Unreliable Narrators. This week we’re watching John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” the quintessential movie of this wonderful holiday!

WARNING: the following contains spoilers!!!

Dramatis Personae: Chris, Chia, George…and special guest-star Taz the Dog!

chialynn [9:44 PM] Three… two… one…

george_galuschak [9:44 PM] Halloween!

chialynn [9:44 PM] Halloween!

chris [9:45 PM] Halloween!

chris [9:45] piano!

chialynn [9:45 PM] For our readers at home, I’m the only one here who hasn’t seen this before.

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The Unreliable Narrators watch…Pulgasari!

October 27, 2017 0

PULGASARI

Welcome to the second episode of the Halloween edition of “The Unreliable Narrators Watch…” with your hosts, the Unreliable Narrators. This week, we’re watching PULGASARI, a giant monster movie made in North Korea. A rice/gluten golem animated by a blacksmith, Pulgasari eats iron and grows to about 800 feet and – well, this is a movie you have to see to believe.

Warning: the following contains SPOILERS!

Dramatis Personae

Chia, Chris, George

chialynn [8:07 PM] PULGASARI!

chris [8:07 PM] PULGASARI!

george_galuschak [8:07 PM] PULGASARI!

chris [8:08 PM] SPROCKET

chialynn [8:08 PM] Flicks!

george_galuschak [8:09 PM] horse

chialynn [8:09 PM] That’s promising.

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The Unreliable Narrators watch…Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead!

October 23, 2017 0

city living dead

Welcome to a very special Halloween edition of “The Unreliable Narrators Watch…” with your hosts, the Unreliable Narrators. This week, we’re settling in with a Lucio Fulci splatterfest. City of the Living Dead is the first movie in the acclaimed (?!?) director’s Gates of Hell trilogy.

After watching this movie we were all pretty shell-shocked and didn’t have much in the way of final thoughts. A word of caution: do not watch this while you are eating.

Warning: the following contains SPOILERS. And howler monkeys!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Chris
Chia
George

george_galuschak [6:31 PM] City of the Living Dead!

chialynn [6:31 PM] City of the Living Dead!

chris [6:31 PM] City of the Living Dead!

chris [6:31 PM] Now that’s how you start a horror movie!

george_galuschak [6:32 PM] lots of fog

chris [6:32 PM] screaming

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Helloween Day Twenty-Four: REC

October 24, 2016 0

I heard about REC, a Spanish-language movie, when it first came out in 2007. There are zombie movies, and there are found-footage movies, but as far as I know REC is the first found-footage zombie movie (it’s that or Diary of the Dead, also released in 2007). Or are they zombies? Hmmm…Anyway, I borrowed REC through my local library.

The plot: Angela and Pablo are doing a feature on firemen for a show called While You’re Asleep. As one of the firemen says (paraphrasing), ‘if everyone’s sleeping who’s watching your show?’ They settle in for a long, dull night, and then the alarm goes off, and they’re racing to an apartment complex where an old lady is supposedly trapped in her apartment. The old lady is there, all right, screaming and covered in blood. She shows her gratitude at being rescued by biting one of the firemen.

Pretty soon the Barcelona authorities quarantine the building and nobody can leave. Not realizing they’re in a horror movie, the residents naturally want to know what’s going on. Besides Angela and Pablo, we have a fireman, a cop, a family of four, a bachelor, the super (they call him the intern) and a mom and little girl with tonsillitis. Or is it tonsillitis? The fact that she tries to bite her mother’s face off clues us in that maybe it’s not. Hmmm…

REC came out in 2007 when the zombie movie wave was starting to crest. Nothing much happens in the first forty-five minutes, and then things happen very quickly indeed. The virus – the movie calls it an enzyme, but that just might be the translation – messes up your eyes and makes you act like you have rabies. The disease seems to have started with a sick dog, so that makes sense.

As you don’t know (because I didn’t tell you), I waited until the final week of Helloween to watch the movies I thought would really scare me. REC didn’t. Maybe it’s because of the lack of scary music cues? This movie has a ton of jump scares, and some of the violence is really disturbing, but it’s not much more than your run-of-the-mill zombie movie. At this point the market’s oversaturated. The source of the ‘plague’ is original, but the movie never fully explores the idea it raises. Still: the ending is scary as hell, and I was entertained. I even shrieked!

Recommended, especially for found-footage fans and zombie lovers.

Helloween Day Twenty-Three: The Hunger

October 23, 2016 0

I was in high school when The Hunger (1983) came out. I never saw it. Maybe I was too young to see an R-rated movie? The first R-rated movie I saw in the theater was Excalibur, but that’s another story. Anyway, years later I took The Hunger out from my local library.

The plot: Miriam and her husband John spend their time going to discos, seducing young couples and bringing them back to their freakish mansion located in the heart of New York City. They kill them with little dagger Ankhs, drink their blood and then dispose of their remains in the crematorium in the basement. In their spare time the happy couple play classical music with a teenage girl.

It’s an idyllic existence until John starts showing his age. He visits Dr. Sarah Roberts, who is researching the aging process. The visit doesn’t much help John, but it does bring Sarah to Miriam’s attention. Miriam, who is immortal, keeps her ex-lovers in boxes in her attic. She seduces Sarah and gives her a love-nibble during their lovemaking. Pretty soon Sarah can’t eat or sleep. She starts experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms, and only Miriam can give her what she needs.

An art house horror movie thirty years before the term was coined, The Hunger has three obsessions: narcissism, power and addiction. Miriam is the ultimate narcissist. Unlike her husband John, she has no conscience. She keeps her old lovers in boxes because that is the ultimate expression of her power over them, and any tears she cries are for herself. The sex between Miriam and Sarah is consensual; Miriam infecting Sarah is not consensual. The vampiric ‘disease’ is blood borne, and this movie came out when awareness about the AIDS virus was just starting to spread.

The Hunger has problems. It’s about ten minutes too long and the ending makes no sense. The pacing is slow, and the movie shifts main characters halfway through. Tony Scott’s directorial style might have been innovative at the time, but now it looks like a MTV video run amok. Everyone is stylish and smokes, just like the 80’s I remember! Despite these flaws, The Hunger is a striking film and well-worth watching. Recommended.

 

Helloween Day Twenty Two: Cronos

October 22, 2016 0

Released in 1993, Cronos is Guillermo del Toro’s debut film. The way I chose this flick is sort of funny. Instead of watching one of the big stack of horror DVDs on my coffee table I found Cronos browsing Hulu Plus. Besides the movie itself, there are also interviews with the director and actors. Informative!

The plot: kindly antiques dealer Jesus Gris finds what looks like a golden bug hidden inside a Madonna icon. He gives the statue to dying industrialist de la Guardia, whose room is full of bagged Madonnas, but keeps the bug for himself. De la Guardia sends his nephew Angel, a leg breaker who has plastic surgery every time his nose gets broken, to collect the Madonna. When Jesus winds up the golden amulet it sprouts legs. It also has a stinger – which Jesus learns the hard way.

To the amazement of his wife and granddaughter, Jesus seems to grow twenty years younger overnight. It turns out the beetle, made by an alchemist, has a literal bug inside it that can grant immortality. Of course there’s always a cost, as Jesus learns when the hunger pangs kick in. After awhile using the amulet’s not good enough and Jesus craves more. Of course, anyone who’s seen more than one horror movie knows what that is.

Despite my initial misgivings, Cronos is a horror movie. The word ‘vampire’ is never mentioned, but there are lots of bugs and bug imagery. When Jesus’ face starts to rot off it’s not the end of the world; insects shed their carapaces all the time. In an interview, del Toro called Cronos his ‘lapsed Catholic’ movie, and the movie is crammed full of religious imagery. He also said that Jesus is the saddest vampire ever, also true. When Jesus is alive he’s an old, out-of-shape antique dealer; after his death and resurrection…he’s still an old, out-of-shape antique dealer.

Cronos wasn’t made on a big budget, but it features striking visuals, sympathetic characters and a well-written screenplay featuring a slightly off-kilter take on the vampire legend. Addiction and family values are big themes, here. Ron Perlman is great as leg buster Angel, the gum-chewing thug. He’s a bastard, yeah, but he’s charming and we can’t help but like him. Cronos is a great movie. Highly recommended.

 

Helloween Day Twenty-One: Sleepaway Camp

October 21, 2016 0

Sleepaway Camp (1983) is another of those movies I saw in the horror section of my now defunct video store and never rented, maybe because it reminded me of a low-rent Friday the 13th. While we’re on the subject of video stores, can anyone tell me why they always smelled? Anyway: I watched Sleepaway Camp on my new Shudder subscription ($4.99 per month, cheap!) that I forgot to cancel (as predicted last week).

The plot: a horrific boating accident ravages a family frolicking in a lake. Eight years later sole survivor Angela (now a teenager) and her cousin Ricky go to Camp Arawak. The scenes at Camp Arawak are the most realistic part of this movie. I went to Buck & Beaver Camp as a youth, and I can tell you the behavior of the kids is so spot-on it’s amazing. It all came back to me, the cursing, the short-shorts, the dumb pranks, the sheer bile of youth. Unlike Friday the 13th, where everyone’s a sex maniac, the kids in Sleepaway Camp are nasty, stupid and foul-mouthed. I am willing to bet the writer and/or director of this movie hails from the Tri-State area, if not the Garden State.

Anyway, Angela doesn’t speak, which of course makes her the object of bullies. To his credit, her cousin defends her. Pretty soon the murders start. The first few are almost goofy, with the victims being assholes and worse. One of the fascinating things about Sleepaway Camp is how the tone of the movie changes, from a schlocky Friday the 13th remake to something truly nasty.

Sleepaway Camp is a disturbing movie, and the creepiest things about it aren’t the murders. This movie’s attitude towards certain social issues is very 1980’s, otherwise known as the Neolithic Age, so please be warned. I found parts of this flick to be very offensive. Finally, Sleepaway Camp has a twist ending that is truly shocking. This is an effective horror movie, but not in the way the filmmakers intended. Not recommended.

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