REVIEW: Psycho 4 (1990)

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Psycho IV: The Beginning: C+

So Norman Bates is not crazy again. He’s been released from the slam and he even has a wife who is…a psychiatric nurse. They live together in the Psycho House because of all the great memories. And memories is what we get. This is a prequel/sequel told mostly through flashbacks.

Norman seems to be doing okay until his wife tells him she’s preggers with his child. Then he starts getting all fussy because he’s afraid his child will inherit the mental illness that he inherited from Mother. He calls a radio talk show. The topic is, luckily, matricide. He says he’s thinking about killing his wife and the baby inside her to protect the world from brutal slayings. And they ask Norman to tell his story. So he does. And the flashbacks begin.

So it’s Anthony Perkins (who many might remember from 1964’s Agent 38-24-36) playing Norman Bates and Eliot from E.T. playing young Norman Bates. Playing Mother is Juliet, who we all know has great natural boobs. Even Norman thinks so and he gets punished for having a boner brush her leg while they’re wrestling. Because sex is bad and shameful, says Juliet. So she makes him dress as a girl as punishment for his boners. And Eliot is pretty traumatized to begin with because his dad died when he was 6 and he also lost his friend E.T.

But then Juliet starts banging Sledge Hammer. Then they build a motel and then all hell breaks loose because Norman can’t stop or stand thinking about his hypocritical, slutty mom and her fickle feelings about boners.

So he wastes them both and becomes like he was in Psycho One.

Then in modern day, he decides not to kill his family and puts the down the knife he had for doing that. Then he burns down Psycho House and says he’s okay now, thank you.

Passable. Pretty good acting, weird sexual tension everywhere and Juliet’s feelings about boners add up to put this in the realm of “Not a Waste of Time, at Least”. Especially if you like these characters. And it’s interesting to note that Joseph Stefano, who wrote the screenplay for Psycho One, is also the writer of this one and most likely had dementia when he wrote it. Because forgot the Juliet nude scene. That’s a senior moment if there ever was one.

REVIEW: Against the Dark (2009)

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Against the Dark: C

Steven Seagal, for whom I have a totally biased and sentimental attachment, plays a Blade-esque sword wielding vampire hunter in a post-apocalyptic future Europe. If he wasn’t the lead role, this movie would probably get an F. His team of heroes and some assorted women and children are trapped inside of a vampire infested skyscraper and Seagal has to get them to safety before the government nukes the area and/or the vamps eat them. Kieth David’s bad ass plays the General in charge.

There are plenty of walkie-talkie scenes that are basically this:

“Damn it, Seagal, I’m going to bomb that area of the city!”

“No, General, I need more time!”

“Damn it, Seagal! Alright… but hurry it up, damn it!”

There’s a lot of sword-swinging and the vampires actually look alright. You could set your watch to their appearance. There is running/hiding, a walkie-talkie argument, and then some crusty-ass vampires hop out and get chopped up by Seagal. This cycle repeats every ten minutes or so. It’s pretty repetitive, but catchy, like the chorus to a rap song.

Seagal’s actual identity is never explored. He’s not a cop or military. He’s just a tough dude with a sword. I was basically raised by Seagal’s films, but this is another one that reveals how old he’s getting, the poor guy. For the past ten years, they have stunt doubles do EVERYTHING (not just the martial arts, but also tasks like running or jumping). They must summon him from his trailer and film him swinging the katana a few dozen times, mumbling one-liners, and waving his hands mystically. He wears a baggy trench coat and sits down a lot. They have to speed up the fight scenes that involve any actual Seagal footage too. He has gotten so slow, my grandma could beat him in a race to the toilet.

If you like the Blade movies and/or Seagal, you’ll like this. If you also dig action movies where dozens of stuntmen are abused this is for you.

REVIEW: V/H/S (2012)

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V/H/S: B

I’m usually not into found footage movies, but this one was incredibly charming and had a clever design. The film manages to use the found footage model to engage one of my favorite types of horror movies: The Creepshow/Tales from the Crypt frame narrative.

Instead of a Crypt Keeper or a comic book, the outer frame of the story involves three criminally pathetic hipster-misfits who like to engage in Clockwork Orange type behavior like smashing stuff and terrorizing women, which they also film so they can LOL about it later. They are hired to break into some old guy’s house to steal a rare VHS tape. When they get there, the dude is dead, rotting in front of an obelisk of static filled televisions and a mound of VHS tapes. The hipsters decide to watch the tapes and each one is a miniature found footage horror movie. I thought that shit was clever! In between each tape, creepy shit starts happening at the house and it escalates to a tasty climax after they view the last tape.

Tape 1 is about three super irritating frat-type bros who get fucked up by a vampire/succubus after a long and annoying night of partying. They drink their faces off, snort some blow, and take some babes back to their hotel room. Man, after like 20 minutes of a seemingly pointless bro-odyssey through the annals of the dive bar scene, it is so much fun to watch them get maimed/eaten. The girl who plays the monster does a great job. With minimal effects and delicious gore, this was my favorite vignette.

Tape 2 sucks. It’s about a couple who go on their boring 2nd honeymoon only to be stalked/molested by a mysterious and also boring switchblade wielding woman in between their boring bickering and yawn-inspiring escapades. Really anti-climactic. Oh, and boring.

Tape 3 is about some buddies who decide to go camping in the woods. They didn’t decide to get murdered by a fucking specter, but that’s not typically something one gets to decide. There’s some funny gore and typical irresponsible teen behavior in the forest a la Friday the 13th. One girl almost pulls off a Schwarzenegger from Predator as she slows down the antagonist with booby traps. The ending is pretty cool.

Tape 4 is about a woman who has a strange bump on her wrist that shows up about the same time a tribe of midgets starts haunting her house. Instead of a camcorder, this footage is found from her Skype convos with her BF, who strangely doesn’t seem to like her investigating the midget phenomena. This tape ends with a “twist” that you sort of see coming, but I’ll bet you can’t guess the specifics.

Finally, Tape 5 follows some friends who go to a Halloween party only to be terrorized by a bunch of poltergeists. Meh. It’s okay.

I heard they are already making a sequel. I hope they call it L/A/S/E/R/D/I/S/C.

REVIEW: Let Me In (2010)

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Let Me In: A-

I had to slap myself a few times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming when I watched this. It’s actually a horror remake that doesn’t defecate all over the material on which it is based. Then I had to slap my friends to make sure they were awake. Then they slapped me back and I started crying a little and we had to pause the movie. It was really embarrassing.

The movie (based on a great Swedish film) is about a little boy who is neglected and pushed around to the point of alienating depression who meets a little girl who is secretly a vampire. They strike up a friendship and they bond because they are both outsiders. If you ever felt like a nerd or misfit as a kid, this film will push all your buttons. If you ever felt like a little girl vampire, it’ll probably do something for you too. But you aren’t a little girl vampire, so maybe watching stuff like this movie is just feeding this weird complex you have, you weirdo.

The mechanics of human/vampire symbiosis are explored in a new and interesting light; we still have the ghoul character (which is always fascinating), but other codependency situations and survival tactics are explored that I can’t recall having seen in another vampire film. The film really makes you question whether or not the pair have a genuine friendship or if they are engaged in a complex courtship ritual that vampires use for their own longevity. Can vampires, even after living for several lifetimes, feel and even love? Or are they complicated chameleons? Different movies have different rules, but the design of the film and the interactions between the two made me ask these questions.

The whole thing is dark as fuck. The acting is fantastic. The little girl is the actress from Kick Ass and Hugo. She plays a ruthless undead monster and a tiny fragile pixie wonderfully. I was really impressed by Richard Jenkins. He goes from drowning in nutsack jokes in Stepbrothers to playing a really convincing and creepy ghoul. There’s gore, scares, and even a massacre.

REVIEW: Macbeth (1971)

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Macbeth (1971): B

This flick happens to be a remake of a 1948 film starring Citizen Kane. It’s about a Scottish guy named Lennox who kisses whoever’s ass is necessary in order to get ahead in life. At first he hitches his horse to the wrong wagon, like a fuck-head, and helps out a traitor who kills the king. He then gets his shit in gear and decides to fight for the rightful heir to the throne, Malcolm X.

That said, this was still a pretty competent slasher movie. While I’ve seen much gorier movies, this one features: a brutal stabbing of an old guy who’s trying to sleep, a dude getting an ax in his back (only to have him come back as a ghost who bleeds like a fat guy in a sauna sweats), a little kid getting stabbed, a guy getting a sword shoved up through the kidney and out his shoulder, a C-section, and finally a decapitation. That’s not too shabby. It also has a pretty good story to it, as there’s a dude who really wants to be king, but he’s just not the kind of guy to kill to get ahead. Lucky for us his crazy bitch of a wife pussy whips him into doing it, ’cause I guess she’s ashamed of him for just being a “thane”, whatever that is. Don’t worry, she gets hers.

The dialogue is pretty interesting, to say the least. It kinda reminds me of what you hear in the King James Bible or some shit like that. The characters use all kinds of comparisons to this and that, funky-ass word orders, and classical allusions. Not sure what was up with that, but it worked.

There’s also a lot of nudity in this one, but you’ll probably wish you hadn’t seen it. The title character goes to talk to some witches, and they’re all nekked. But they’re not sexy young witches, they’re hella old and out of shape. You start to worry that they’re going to rub themselves all over him. Don’t get me wrong. It’d totally do each and every one of them, but I wouldn’t go bragging about it afterward like I did that time I knocked up that lady who lives behind the dumpster. That’s right. Two of those kids are mine. What’s she gonna do? She can barely string together a sentence, much less sue me for child support.

REVIEW: Mirrors (2008)

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Mirrors: F

You know what aren’t scary? Mirrors.

In this cookie-cutter ghost movie, an NYPD cop has to outwit/battle a ghost who hides in mirrors. Glaciers melt faster than this plot moves and there are few consistencies in the “rules” by which the mirror monster must behave. The ghost can possess your reflection and then whatever evil shit it does to the body of your reflection-self, the damage is “mirrored” on your real-self.

Stupid idea, but whatever; I’ve watched and loved some horror movies with idiotic premises. So I pop the movie in and think “Fuck yeah, let’s see some mirror ghosts murder some people.” The deflated “wah-wah-wah” of a sad trumpet noise couldn’t play loud enough once I was knee deep in this mess of a film. The movie spends so much fucking time on exposition for a ridiculously unoriginal story that there is like a combined three minutes of actual mirror-carnage. You have to follow a detective as he slowly learns about a hospital which was built on top of another hospital which did some shady stuff to patients. Then you have to visit the childhood home of a patient and then a convent and then let’s look through some secret files and then blah-blah-blah a bunch of other boring, incredibly slow investigative head-scratching stuff made up of all the cryptic/generic dialogue you hear in a ghost movie where a character is “digging” for an explanation.

Finally: mirror demons. Oh man, when they figure out there is a mirror demon, it’s like Adam West as Batman solving one of the Riddler’s riddles. How they move from the clues related to the hospital conspiracy to comprehending the EXACT origin/parameters of the mirror demon is the real mystery. When the detective runs around destroying all the reflective surfaces in his house, much to the dismay of his skeptical family, you might have a heart attack because, suddenly, people are actually moving quickly and speaking without drab monotone, unlike what you’ve been watching for what seems like hours.

Also, the demon is really picky/choosey about flexing its power. Sometimes it just creepily scratches someone. Other times, it brutally murders them. The Amy Smart death scene is the best part of the movie. The demon possesses her reflection and opens her mouth so wide that it rips the top of her head off like a Pezz dispenser. The end of the movie is one of those abrupt Shyamalanian “twists” that some people love so much.

REVIEW: Jaws (1975)

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Jaws: A+

What the fuckety fuck is a classic like Jaws doing on this site?  Well crap it all, if The Saddest Clown in the World is going to review Psycho, I’m going to review the best damn Carcharodon carcharias movie ever.  (That’s right.  It’s even better than Jaws:  The Revenge.)

The really ironic thing is that if things had gone Steven Spielberg’s way, this might have been a giant slice of turd pie.  At the very least, it wouldn’t have become a classic.  What was the problem?  The damn shark didn’t work right.  That means he had to focus on some crazy shit like story and character.

Like every sane person who isn’t a Hitler-loving child molester who eats his own feces, I probably watch this film at least once a year.  Do I watch it for the awesome shark attacks?  No.  I watch it because I love the characters.  I love the pacing.  I love the dialogue.  I diarrhea in my pants with joy every time Quint says something.  That fucker’s gonna get that damn Great White no matter what, ’cause he saw all his buds become a shark buffet, and no matter what the goddamn tagline was forJaws 4, shit was PERSONAL with this film.  But hey, it’s not just Quint who’s great.  Brody’s awesome, and I turn into a sentimental pile of goo during that scene where he tells his son the reason why he wants a kiss is because “I need it.”  And who can forget Hooper?  He learns the hell out of you with all his shark trivia.

But hey, the shark’s still cool.  Now, I’m not one of those hipster fucks who reflexively bemoans the use of CGI.  I actually think that really good CGI beats practical effects on some occasions.  However, bad practical effects are always better than bad CGI.  Even if you think that Bruce looks like a robot shark, a robot shark can still chomp your stupid ass in half.

Buy this bitch on Blu-Ray, ’cause it looks so divinely pristine that you’ll be convinced that you’re a shark.  Then you’ll run to the nearest beach and chomp into some poor kid who’s going for a swim.  And he’ll be delicious.  And his mom will slap the sheriff.

REVIEW: Leprechaun Back to tha Hood (2003)

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Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood: F-

The fucking Leprechaun movies never end. If howling obscenities at the television actually made shitty movies better, then I turned this into Oscar material the last time I watched it.

This time, the Leprechaun is in the hood again, because one time wasn’t enough. Some friends take his gold, against the advice of the “wise elder” character, and the Leprechaun hunts them and systematically kills them. There’s more weed, rap music, and jokes. The Leprechaun impales some dude with a bong. The whole movie comes off as a repackaging of whatever jokes/ideas they didn’t use when the Leprechaun was in the hood last time.

This franchise is so fucking dead, it boggles the mind. This movie was like watching someone dig up the corpse of their grandmother and move her hands around to make her knit one last sweater. When the movie wrapped up with another cliffhanger ending, I was so depressed that I called in sick to work and got in bed at like 7pm. But I wasn’t really surprised; there hasn’t been any real catharsis in a Leprechaun movie since the first one. The only reason it doesn’t get a UV is because I somehow watched the whole thing.