REVIEW: I, Frankenstein (2014)


I, Frankenstein: UV

I, Frankenstein. It, blows.

This integrity vacuum of a movie left me absolutely positive that no one involved in its making is ashamed of themselves, when they should all be at seppuku levels of shame at the least.

Listen to this pearl of a plot: Demons are among us and the only thing that keeps them in check is a centuries-old clandestine tribe of Gargoyles who live in this giant 100 story cathedral that NO ONE SEEMS TO FUCKING NOTICE in the middle of some ambiguous grey metropolis. This conflict is the cause of about forty atrocious CGI battle scenes in the movie. The CGI, Frankenstein bullshit is insulting; Cinefantastique likened it to “watching someone else play a bad videogame.”

The Gargoyles look like CGI Xbox characters when in Gargoyle-form but they can also morph into humans that all look like characters from Prince of Persia complete with gratuitous leather arm-bands and daggers. The Demons look like the Wishmaster in slim-fit suits. Watching them try to act is like watching a dog try to open a jar.

Also: the film takes place in a world where Frankenstein isn’t a famous book by Mary Shelly but instead, a spooky legend that some people, INCLUDING FUCKING SCIENTISTS believe to be true.

Frankenstein’s monster (who, yep, is called “Frankenstein” in the movie) is caught in the middle of everything. He is a badass maverick (with sexy abs) who gets his hands on some sacred weapons which he uses to fuck up hella Demons in several slow-motion CGI battles. I lost count of how many times two characters jump at each other in slow motion.

Let’s talk about Eckhart. Vulture’s review says he “plays Frankenstein’s monster in a monotonous, teeth-gritting mode, as if someone had one gun on him and another on his family.” Pretty hilarious/accurate. I personally don’t know how he kept a straight face while delivering lines like “Descend in pain, Demon” and “Take me to the Gargoyle Queen.” There is a scene where a Demon tries to possess Frankenstein and he’s levitating and screaming and all I could think of was how fucking DUMB Eckhart must have looked laying on a green block in a green room writhing around and how it reminded me of the best part of the worst movie I saw last year.

There is a strange fluctuation in the mortality of Frankenstein. In one scene, he is hanging on for dear life off of the edge of a window so he doesn’t fall three stories. But in another scene, he purposely jumps through a window from the fifth story of a building, plummets through a sewer grate, and lands on top of a moving train and he’s just swell. He also starts off at the beginning of the film with eyeliner and gnarly scars. As it becomes clear that he’s a good guy, the scars recede and the eyeliner lessons and he looks all handsome, more “humanized” to fit his good-guy role. This is a drop in an ocean of plot-holes and bullshit that makes zero sense.

Yes, there is a scene where he takes his shirt off and there are about a thousand scenes where he does kung-fu with stupid weapons.

If you imagine yourself liking a movie sort of like Underworld but worse, maybe see it.

I, hated it.

REVIEW: The Innkeepers (2011)


The Innkeepers: C

It’s a haunted hotel movie, but The Shining it ain’t.  To its credit, it doesn’t try for cheap, “gotcha” scares; it tries to earn them with silence and atmosphere.  To its detriment, it’s not fucking scary.  At all.  It’s not a bad film by any stretch, but there’s just not enough going on here to recommend it.

The Inkeepers centers around an old hotel, open for one last weekend.  Sara Paxton (who is fantastic in the far superior Last House on the Left remake) plays a hotel clerk.  This doofus she works with has a website which “documents” supernatural activities at the inn.  He’s got all that nonsense ghost-finding equipment, but he doesn’t really believe there’s anything supernatural going on until the chick records a piano playing a few notes by itself.

That’s about the extent of the horror.  Sure, there are some Shining-esque ghosts who’ve committed suicide and are unsettled and all that.  But there are virtually zero chills and no real plot twists.

Actually, the most horrifying aspect of this film is the appearance of Kelly McGillis as a psychic who stays in the inn.  She was an ‘80s icon, frenching with Tom Cruise in Top Gun and providing jerk-worthy footage to a young Dr. Loomis as an Amish mother seduced by Harrison Ford’s smoldering charm in Witness.  She’s unrecognizable here: a greying, flabby shell of her former hotness.  Suicidal ghosts have nothing on the ravages of Father Time.

REVIEW: Grabbers (2012)


Grabbers: C+

There’s these sea monsters in Ireland that, yup, grab people. They have tentacles and an appetite for human flesh.

When the natives realize that alcohol to these monsters is like holy water to vampires, they all get super-trashed and the monsters leave them alone. Any monster that tries to snack on a drunk person pops like a water balloon.

After this plot point is out of the way, we get a Sean of the Dead style splat-stick where a gaggle of foul-mouthed gregarious Irishmen (and women) drunkenly beat up amphibious CGI monsters. There’s a variety of monsters ranging from chicken-sized face-huggers, to dog-sized octopi, to a building-sized full-fledged sea monster. They all get literally smashed by figuratively smashed, inebriated gingers.

Yeah, this movie cheaply relies on the stereotype that Irish people are wont to be drunkards, but it was somehow entertaining to watch people stumble around and bludgeon purple carnivorous octopi with table legs. Way more entertaining than other horror movies I’ve seen that shamelessly rely on stereotypes to carry the plot.

I actually got into the spirit of things and I got black out shit-housed while watching this one. So, I dunno, maybe it deserves better than a C+. Maybe worse. All I know is that it was a swell, hair-above-average time taking belts of Jameson and watching this one.


REVIEW: Devil’s Pass (2013)


Devil’s Pass: D-

This film, that claims to be “based on a true story,” is about a Russian mountain range that was the site for the mysterious deaths of several hikers in the late 1950’s. Also, in this film that is “based on a true story,” the mountain range covers a space-time vortex. Yeah. Just like in other stories “based” on “true” ones.

Some annoying 20-somethings go snooping around the mountains with camcorders which results in some wretched found footage, about 90% of which focuses on the boring dynamics of their hiking group. I guess this was the “based on a true story” stuff.

One hiker looks IDENTICAL to Claire Danes but is not Claire Danes.

This aura of disappointing familiarity pervades the film. I feel like they tried to channel the disorienting, creeping found-footage terror from The Blair Witch Project where inexperienced explorers go searching for answers and wind up getting lost and slaughtered. The mountain landscapes defy their maps, nullify their compasses/GPS devices, and worry the one sensible character, who didn’t star in that show Homeland, but looks like she could have. This ate up a lot of movie time and ate away at my will to live. No shortage on complaint-ridden wandering scenes.

“People have gotten lost before,” the producers must’ve said. “That’s a true story.”

Further highlights from this story “based” on a “true” one include CGI teleporting cannibals, radioactive Star-Gate-like portals to other dimensions, subterranean Russian bunkers, and X-Files levels of government conspiracy relating to illegal and immoral science experiments. There is a fucking monster on the cover of the DVD right next to the words “Based on a true story” and right under the name of the actress who didn’t star in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet.

I kept watching to see what was in the bunker but wound up being pretty disappointed. The actress who didn’t star in My So-Called Life uncovers a huge international conspiracy that doesn’t seem like anything resembling a “true story” and then you’re treated to really loud insufferable monsters who look like Silent Hill rejects. They lope around with all the rigidity of poorly rendered Resident Evil Playstation graphics while they scream, scream, scream for a long, long time.

Or was that me screaming? Probably was.

REVIEW: Sssssss (1973)



Sssssss: UV

Not five S’s. Not six S’s. Seven S’s. Sssssss .

I was really tempted to just copy+paste “Sssssss” until it filled up the page and have that be my review for this garbage, but I ultimately decided against it (and it almost went the other way). One of the hardest calls I’ve ever had to make. The movie itself was basically one big “Sssssss.”

Here’s what happens:

  1. An ominous disclaimer fills the screen warning the viewer that ALL of the snakes in the film are REAL SNAKES flown in from exotic locations for the sole purpose of making Sssssss. The disclaimer also thanks the actors for being brave because they had to work with REAL king cobras and pythons. OMG HERO ALERT! Fucking heroes here!
  2. A hunky college bro named David starts working for this guy named Dr. Stoner. Dr. Stoner loves snakes. David looks like a handsome corn-fed character from that show The Waltons and his line delivery rivals a certain garbage day in its awkwardness.
  3. Dr. Stoner shows off his snake collection which includes a cobra, a python, and a black mamba.
  4. Snake footage. All the snake footage you could ever want.
  5. First day of work: Dr. Stoner injects David with a serum that slowly transforms him into a human-snake hybrid. Rough.
  6. Anyone who starts to realize that Dr. Stoner is a Mad Scientist who wants to create a new race of Snake People gets killed by snakes. We’re talking a lot of out-of-context shots they use to make the snakes look like they’re attacking people.
  7. All sorts of Snake Stuff happens. Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss Sssssss.
  8. David becomes a recluse because he is becoming more snake-like kind of like Goldblum in The Fly but the make-up is a billion times worse. Dr. Stoner is stoked and he delivers a passionate monologue about the glorious future of Man-Snakekind.
  9. There’s a mongoose all of a sudden.
  10. Dr. Stoner is bitten and killed by the king cobra and sheriffs blow the snake’s head off. It looks like a piñata filled with grapefruit getting shot with buckshot.
  11. David turns full snake and fights the mongoose. The sheriffs kick the door in and watch David the Snake fight the mongoose.
  12. That’s it. Locked in a bitter stalemate with the mongoose, the frame freezes on David’s screaming girlfriend and the credits start rolling.


REVIEW: Breeders (1997)


Breeders: D+

Ah, Breeders: the horror movie that unashamedly delivers monsters, college girls, and monsters molesting college girls without taking itself seriously for a single nanosecond.

There’s this alien monster. Let’s call him Breeder. Why? Because he dwells in a labyrinth catacomb underneath a girls boarding school and uses fragments from his glowing meteorite to breed with college girls.

Breeder’s meteorite chunks are very attractive looking and so, in a classic case of reckless hubris, a flock of hot college chicks transform the shards into necklaces for themselves. They probably lie to all their friends and say they got the crystals at Burning Man.

The hot girls don’t realize that their space-rock necklaces will put them under the telepathic control of Breeder, who is going to make them (one-by-one, over the course of about 50 real slow minutes) climb into giant (lame looking) cocoons under their school so he can impregnate them. What a dick! Breeder is basically an intergalactic date rapist! I bet those meteor chunks won’t even show up on a TOX screen in a forensics lab. Someone has to stop this perv!

Some (literally) panty-sniffing professor who looks like a wholesome, sweater-wearing Sears model SOME-FUCKING-HOW figures out the ridiculous plot I just described to you and he descends to the tunnels under the school to stop Breeder and rescue the hot girls, one of whom he is banging. I guess this makes him an anti-hero but, trust me, it doesn’t add any notable depth to his piece of shit character. 1997 was a crazy year.

Cue 25 minute cat-and-mouse scene that is about as exciting as moss on a tree stump. It’s like when they’re looking for the Alien in the movie Alien except there isn’t any suspense, high-tech radar equipment, spaceship setting, good acting, or moment of brilliantly eerie silence. Breeder lumbers out from behind corners and roars like a fucking panther. He suffers from Looks-Like-a-Power-Ranger-Villain syndrome. People trip over cocoons and space snot. And, yes, what you’ve been hoping for happens: Breeder touches some girl’s boobs. Are you happy? You disgust me.

REVIEW: Martyrs (2008)

martyrs 2008


Martyrs (2008): B

I changed the grade on this flick three or four times.  I started in the “C” range, but the more I thought about it, the more I had to admit that there was a bunch of stuff that stuck with me, and that counts for a lot.

I was made aware of this French indie on one of those “movies that shouldn’t be viewed” lists, and there is certainly a large segment of the population to which Martyrs would be UV (Unviewable).  This movie is fucking brutal.  However, unlike something like Hostel or other “torture porn” of that ilk, there is something to the pain that’s inflicted on the two unfortunate “martyrs.”  It’s done for a purpose, not for sadist enjoyment.  I finally settled on a B because the film’s ambition is laudable, and it earns points for doing things I’ve never seen before, some of them I wish I could un-see.

The film starts by chronicling the escape of a young girl (Lucie) from a lair where she is imprisoned on an iron chair with a hole cut in the seat to piss through.  She’s force-fed a disgusting gruel and beaten savagely by faceless assailants.  However, she‘s not sexually abused, which makes the motives of her captors unclear.

She ends up in a foster home, where she befriends another youngster, Anna.  However, Lucie is attacked in the night by a fearsome female apparition that is capable of inflicting physical harm on her.

Meanwhile, we jump to a seemingly normal family of four, sitting around the breakfast table, about to start a seemingly normal day.  The doorbell rings, the father answers it….and a grown up version of Lucie blows him away with a shotgun and proceeds to wreck shop on the rest of the family, including two teens who beg for their lives.  Lucie calls Anna to tell her that Lucie has finally found the people responsible for her childhood trauma.

To go much further would veer into spoiler territory, but I can say that if agonizing, repeated onscreen violence perpetrated against women is a deal-breaker for you, you’re gonna want to give this one a pass.  What ultimately happens to the protagonist is one of the more unsettling acts of naked brutality I’ve ever witnessed onscreen.  However, the philosophy behind the torment elevates Martyrs beyond simply torture porn into some form of art.  It’s not art that everybody can appreciate, which is ok.  We simply can’t all be this fucked up.


REVIEW: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)


Bram Stoker’s Dracula: B+

If you read the description for this movie in the Comcast menu, it says the film is a “highly erotic adaptation” of the classic vampire tale. No kidding! I actually read Stoker’s novel and I can’t recall a scene where Dracula, in half-wolf form, repeatedly gropes/rapes Lucy on a bench while chewing on her throat. I also don’t remember the part where undead Siamese twins give Harker a blowjob.

Whatever; it worked. Everything in the movie is turned up to 11 so when there’s these extra scenes of flamboyant sexual carnage, they fit with the gaudy sets and Victorian costumes.

Anthony Hopkins plays Van Helsing (sit the FUCK down, Hugh Jackman) and he leads a band of do-gooders around 19th century London while they hunt for Count Dracula, played by Gary Oldman. Everyone knows that Dracula can shape-shift into things like bats and wolves and whatnot but few may know that he can also transform from a crusty, yellow old man in a red bathrobe to a sunglassess-wearing stud with flowing locks in a Dumb-and-Dumberesque silly tuxedo. This is some of Oldman’s best work in my opinion. He plays a creepy Nosferatu one second and then a tortured gentleman the next. You’ve got to appreciate an actor who can act through their make-up, especially when they have lines like “vengeance will be mine!”. You feel Dracula’s pain and actually sympathize with him, unlike the Dracula from the book who is a straight-up asshole.

Dracula thinks that Winona Ryder is the spiritual incarnation of his centuries-old true love and he travels to London to permanently establish himself among the populace and rekindle his romance with Victorian era Winona Ryder. I don’t think ANYONE has ever loved Winona Ryder this much! And if you were worried about her acting spoiling things, don’t worry; her BF is played by Keanu Reeves (he of the undead Siamese-twin blowjob) and he waaaaay out-stinks her. It, like, fucking hurts to watch him speak sentences in this movie.

The film has shape-shifting, telepathic bonds, decapitations, boobs, Tom Waits eating bugs, and computer generated energy force fields. The sets are crazy-detailed and the cinematography is mouth-watering. Dracula steals the show, as he should. Really visually satisfying and evil. I recommend it!