28 Oct 2012

WEEK 76 - HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Evil Dead: The Musical

NOTE: In honour of Halloween, We're taking a break from the DPP list through October, to take look at Remakes of some of the original nasties.
For Halloween Week, We're doing something a little bit special...

Alternate Titles : Evil Dead 1&2: The Musical
Year: First Performed 2004
Reviews / Author Comments due: 04/11/12
DPP Status: Never listed.
BBFC Status: Never released
Wikipedia: Link
Tickets: Link
NOTE: Sadly, we are unable to attend a live performance  as the show has yet to come to the UK, but we did get our hands on a bootleg of the producers / promo copy on VHS...

Feel free to use the comments section of this post to add your own reviews and thoughts about this movie.

27 Oct 2012

SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: I Spit on Your Grave (2010) - Will's Review

Reviewed (spoiler free) in full over on my solo blog, as per last week this article will focus on the differences between the 1978 and 2010 version, and therefore contain spoilers for both (although I'll try and keep the 2010 spoilers to a minimum).

Jennifer is less well-rounded as a character this time, simply because we spend less time with her.
Mathew, the retarded 'gang' member, is a lot more believable that in the original; between being much better acted and losing the 'trailer park boys' glasses he is much less of a cartoon character.
With the exception of the new attacker (this time we are given the 5 that the original's tag-line promised, rather than the 4 it delivered) the rest of the gang are, in contrast to Matthew  more caricatured this time out; from the moment we meet them they are obviously bad news.
2 of the attackers have families this time, although one of the families actually has a role i the movie this time.

The attack:
The attack is much shorter this time: Jennifer passes out and the camera fades to black part way through; but of the attack we do see there is a lot more psychological abuse this time and a fair but less physical violence, the sexual assaults seem as bad as they ever did - we just don't see as much of it.

Whether this is a good thing is debatable; it does rob the film of some of its predecessors 'power' but it also means we don't have to watch a woman getting raped for as long; which certainly helps the film be a little easier to watch (again, whether 'easier to watch' is a good thing, is open to debate).

Matthew is even less willing to take part (at least initially), requiring a threat on Jennifer's life at the hands of on of the other guys before he's willing to have sex with her

This time the plan isn't quite so stupid; the attackers do not rely on Matthew to go back and kill her.

The Aftermath:
Again, we see less (in fact none) of Jennifer's effort to piece herself back together, although we do learn some of it through the things she says in the final act; arguably the experience in the 2010 version has left her even more damaged than her 1978 counterpart.

The Revenge:
Is where the movie deviates most - this time none of the men die of stupidity (1978 movie; I still haven't forgiven you for the guy who grabbed the propeller of the motor boat) and Jennifer takes her time to make sure that each man gets a death they deserve - even using a little poetic justice to customize each kill; the specific tortures she devices for each man mirror or reference their part in the attack - a man who held her face underwater is suspended over a bath, a man who analy rapes her wakes up with a shotgun up... you get the idea.

Tone / Overall:
The poetic nature of the kills, as well as the semi-elaborate setups of them, provide plenty of "punch the air" type moments.

You may recall that I criticised the Last House Remake for having just one of these at the end - but here it works; mainly because it isn't just one, that stands out as being inconsistent with the tone, but becomes the point of the movie.

Although the rape is still horrific, and not-for-kicks, it is shorter, and therefore easier to bear.

Between the shorter attack sequence and the more crowd-pleasing deaths (not to mention that the ordering of the kills is much improved - the most vile offender last this time) this movie is much easier to watch than the original; rape sequence notwithstanding  this one is even a 'fun' movie in its own way. This I think is both its strength and its weakness; It fails as an important film, but makes a much better movie than the original.

I had fun watching it, and it did not eroricise rape, So I'm going to go ahead and recommend it. I'm going to guess Lisa has not (I didn't check yet), but we shall see...

Body Count: 6
Boob Count: 1 pair
Animal Body count: 6 (3 Birds, 2 fish and a rat - none killed on screen)
Most memorable Death: Eye Eye!

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.

SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: I Spit on Your Grave (2010) - Lisa's Review

*** SPOILERS ***

So another remake for our Shocktober special and a break from our 'Nasties' list.  I was wary about watching this for a host of reasons.  I didn't have much desire to watch the original (reviewed by us both HERE), due to its subject matter and my abject hatred for watching graphic rape scenes, but having managed to stomach that movie, I was left with nothing but admiration for its directors, writers and actors with what a fantastic job they did with such a difficult premis.

So did I feel the same about this one?  Sadly not!

The story here is the same.  I won't go into detail again (click the above link to read the above reviews if you haven't seen the original).  Everything that was strong and poignant about the original is removed.  The most disturbing aspect of the original, was that that the guys responsible for the heinous acts are portrayed as very 'normal' men.  In the remake, it is made very clear from the offset, that these guys are nasty, certainly not normal members of society.  It feels  very 'Hollywood' and not as gritty as the original.  Worst of all, the avenue we go down when Jennifer exacts her revenge turns this into a completely different movie!!

Now I surprised myself here and I'm going to sound all hypocritical-like, but in my original review (which I re-read before I wrote this), I was crying out for more brutal revenge from Jennifer.  This movie delivers this BIG time.  However, it feels all wrong.  The brutality of the 'kills' Jennifer perpetrates is not in keeping AT ALL with her character and it changes what this movie is all about.  It takes the focus away from the psychological horror and concentration on bigger questions and turns it into another SAW movie.  Yet again, that must sound hypocritical, as I'm a big SAW fan, but turning 'I Spit on your grave' into 'SAW' is like watching a remake of your favourite kids show waiting to feel all sentimental and warm inside and being subjected to a tirade of swearing.

Don't get me wrong, the acting is very strong all the way through.  The make-up and effects are good.  There is even an addition in this movie of an evil Sheriff who wasn't in the original (excellently played incidentally).  The gore is cringeworthy and would curl the toes of most die-hard horror fans, but its all wrong when used in this context and in this movie.

My original desire to see exactly what I have just watched, shows me how wrong I was.  Jennifer should not have exacted revenge in a series of 'traps' designed to maximise the shock factor and ramp up the gore in this movie.  It somehow 'cheapened' it for me.

I don't doubt a lot of people will like this movie and think it's an excellent remake, as, like I said, there wasn't an awful lot you could find wrong with the acting, script, effects etc, but it just didn't 'feel' right after the power of the first movie.

Had the 'kills' been in another movie, SAW 8 for example, I would have enjoyed these scenes when watching in a completely different context, but they just didn't belong here.

I wont' say this is a bad movie persay, but it didn't work for me.

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.

21 Oct 2012

Week 75: SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

NOTE: In honour of Halloween, We're taking a break from the DPP list through October, to take look at Remakes of some of the original nasties...

Alternate Titles : N/A
Year: 2010
Reviews / Author Comments due: 27/10/2012
DPP Status: NA
BBFC Status: Passed with 43s of cuts in 2010
Wikipedia: LINK

Feel free to use the comments section of this post to add your own reviews and thoughts about this movie.

20 Oct 2012

SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: Last House On The Left (2009) - Will's Review

For a spoiler free review of this movie, check out my solo blog here

Rather than review this movie directly (I did that already today - see above) I'm going to use my space here to compare and contrast with the original, therefore...

The remake spends a little more time setting up the family – we see dad at work, and learn a little more about Mari (2009s main victim) than we did) Phyllis (1972) – They’ve given her a “thing” (She’s a swimmer), and a dead brother, Ben, (died in a accident a year ago).

Mari’s necklace is an old pressie Ben gave her, rather than a crappy birthday gift from Mum and Dad.

Of the Gang, Junior has a name now (Justin) and if far more sympathetic. While ‘72s Junior was still a victim, controlled by his father, Junior wants nothing to do with the gang, but can’t see a way out. Rather than luring the girls back to the gang’s place so that the gang can party, Justin is a lonely lad, who brings the girls back to smoke some pot, and intends to have them gone before the gang return. He even openly turns on the gang; He uses the pendant to tip the parents off, just as in ’72, but then he steals Krug’s gun, and gives it to the father!

Speaking of Krug, he is played here phenomenally well; while it would have been easy ho have him all snarling and shouty, he is instead almost charming, but with an underlying *something* that will make you shudder – he’s also a particularly nasty bastard; at his ‘rescue’ in the films opening, he holds a photograph of a policeman’s kids in front of his face… while killing him; ensuring that the last thing that cop will ever see is his own blood dripping onto his children’s faces.

Also on the Subject of Krug; he is the only character to retain his name from the original, and other than “iconic” value I'm not sure why they bothered… he is very different to the original.

The rape is once again brutal and horrifically realistic, I think that it was technically, if analysed god on a shot-for-shot basis less explicit this time, but use of tight shots and shaky-cam made it perhaps even more brutal and difficult to watch.

This time only the female gang member has the “we just went too far” moment, which I liked – in the first movie, after the rape, the gang stand around looking remorseful.. then kill her and immediately get back to being utter bastards.

One major difference is that (unbeknownst to the gang) Mari survives, and manages to crawl home (arriving after the gang have been put to bed for the night in the guesthouse) – this was a smart move, for a few reasons. Her survival allows her father to use his skills as a doctor; in the original it is mentioned that he is a doctor, but we never get to *see* it; here, we see him drain an internal bleed using improvised tools. Her condition provides a ‘ticking clock’ – the parents must get her to a hospital (a doctor with a knife drawer can only do so much), as well as having the gang to contend with, We are also afforded a (somewhat) happy ending this time as Mari and her parents escape, along with Justin. Their lives are shattered, but there is hope. I think to an extent, the implication is Justin will go on to fill some of the whole that Ben left in the family too.

Before anyone cried “Hollywood ending” it’s worth noting that Mari survived in the scrip for the ’72 version… the decision to kill her was made on-set.

It would have been easy to remake this one in the currently popular ‘torture porn’ mould; thankfully the producers (Cunningham returns as co-producer, joined this time by original director / writer Wes Craven) were smart enough to hire a director who ‘got’ the movie.

Apart from the last scene… in which Krug’s head is microwave (and explodes? Really? It isn’t an egg!) I get that they felt the need to give a ‘punch the air’ moment, but for me, that was a mistake.

The original had the downbeat “What did we do here?” ending, in which the parent’s realise that their actions have changed nothing, and that they have allowed the gang to not only tale their daughter, but also change who they are; in this movie we are left with no such morals to ponder. It’s like the “Pro Capital Punishment” version of the same movie. I get the sentiment, but I think it made for better characterisation the old way.

Still, all in all I think this was a better movie than the original, to the extent that this time, I’m going to give it the recommended stamp!

Body Count: 4
Boob Count: 1 Pair
Most Memorable Death: It goes 'Bing' when it's done!

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.

SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: Last House On The Left (2009) - Lisa's Review

*** SPOILERS ***

Another remake this week for the month of October.  I was interested to see how this remake would compare to the original 1972 movie reviewed here.  I had heard much about the original and had always been advised to avoid due to the horrendous violent and brutal scenes and graphic rape depicted.  I myself found the movie to be very sympathetically shot and well put together.  When I heard similar comments about the remake, I wondered whether it would be palatable.  I hadn't rushed out to see it, so tonight was my first watch.

Again, I was pleasantly surprised with this movie, as with the original.  I won't go into too much detail about the storyline of the movie as its still quite fresh and raw in my head.  I did find it disturbing in places and difficult to watch, so don't think any amount of waffle could convey my feelings on the movie in full.   While the movie started rather typically and wasn't much different to your typical modern horror movie, around the middle it shifted gears dramatically.

We have 2 girls again (Mari & Paige) as with the original who get into the company of a criminal gang who are on the run for murder.  The movie actually started with the 'rescue' of one of the criminals by his 2 compatriots and the murder of the 2 cops transporting him to prison.  The death of the second officer was particularly horrid and left me with a bad taste in my mouth as they held a photo of his children in front of his face as he died, telling him he'd never see their faces again.  As a mother, I found that one difficult to bear and wondered whether I was going to be able to watch this movie.

Back to the 2 girls.  In short, the gang take them deep into a forest where Paige is viciously stabbed and left to bleed to death due after shouting insults to the gangs leader (Krug) to save her friend Mari from being raped.  Sadly all this facilitates is her own death and the slightly delayed rape of her friend.  This is where the entire movie changes and even the cinematography ramps it up a gear.  The rape scene is (as with the original) very difficult to watch, it is brutal, nasty and heartbreaking.  For me the word heartbreaking sums up the entire mid section of this movie.  I sat transfixed with the horror in front of me feeling loathing, empathy, disgust, fear, regret and deep sadness.  In my eyes, even though, to give the whingers their dues; it is sick, it is disgusting, but it's real!  It happens and if it is to be depicted, it should be for what it is.  I feel this movie does this well.  This is thanks to the direction, but mostly for me due to the amazing acting of Sara Paxton.  This is an actress that hasn't come to my attention before, but I was remarkably impressed by her. She is stunningly beautiful in an innocent, naive, almost child-like way, which makes what she endures all the more heartbreaking.  Its almost as if her eyes were made to illustrate the expression doe-eyed.  Her portrayal of a young girl destroyed is captivating and horrific all at the same time.  As in the original Mari manages to escape and is pursued through the forest.  In the remake however she is a champion swimmer, so as we watch her swim across the lake towards her parents summer home, we have everything crossed she'll make it.  The scene showing her swim and the eventual hit with a bullet is beautifully shot. (no pun intended)  One scene where she rolls over in the water (which is all shot in slow motion) and lays on her back bleeding out, I have to admit made my eyes water.   It is just so heart-breakingly sad.  A rainstorm starts and hammers off her still body and upturned hands.  It gives me shivers even now.  I found myself intensely sad for some time after watching this scene.

In this remake, there is a major difference with regards to Mari, but I won't give it away.  I had no idea and it made a VERY pleasant surprise for me.

Following these scenes, the movie goes back to its starting pace and loses its shine for me.  That's not saying it was bad.  It still stands as a solid horror movie.  The acting is good, the effects are good, but that special something had gone.  I felt some scenes were dragged out longer than they needed to be and not enough time was spent on the kills (especially the lead thug Krug, although it was spectacularly done).

I liked the ending.  I can't say what happens as it would completely give everything away and I think I've given more than enough away above.

I would recommend this movie, but not for anyone who finds it difficult to watch disturbing scenes or who isn't a fan of horror.  You have to have a strong stomach and a strong head to watch this one and not have it stay with you.  I have no doubt it will stay with me for some time, but hey, to me that#s the sign of a good movie.

Thumbs Up and a Lisa Recommends from me.

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.

14 Oct 2012

Week 74: SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: Last House on the Left (2009)

NOTE: In honour of Halloween, We're taking a break from the DPP list through October, to take look at Remakes of some of the original nasties...

Alternate Titles : N/A
Year: 2009
Reviews / Author Comments due: 20/10/12
DPP Status: Never listed.
BBFC Status: Passed uncut 2009
IMDB: Link
Wikipedia: Link
DVD: Link

Feel free to use the comments section of this post to add your own reviews and thoughts about this movie.

13 Oct 2012

SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: Toolbox Murders (2004) - Will's Review

NOTE: In honour of Halloween, We're taking a break from the DPP list through October to look at some recent remakes.

I can't decide what I think about this one.

I mean, I know exactly how I felt about it, but I don't know how much of that was based on it trading off of, and consequently sullying, the Toolbox Murders name.

The original was a cracking, sleazy, slasher / psychological horror bit; this is a fairly middle of the road supernatural slasher. I honestly can't fathom why the bought the rights to the title, and I think I would have enjoyed this effort a lot more if I hadn't been so directly instructed to compare it to a better movie.

They kept the fact that the kills happen in an apartment complex, and they kept the 3 main deaths (Nail Gun, Claw hammer, and Drill) but beyond that literally NOTHING in this movie has to do with the original.

Now, I'm the first to whine at a shot-for-shot remake (what's the point? We already have that movie), but to keep the title only? Why not just call it something else? It's not like TBM owns the idea of killing someone with power tools!

A young couple move into an Hollywood apartment complex, with paper-thin walls, and it isn't long before she starts hearing things -  but not just the sex-noises and call-back rehearsals one might expect to hear in a shitty apartment... She becomes convinced that she hears an actual murder. When her neighbours start to go missing, and no-one else will listen, she takes it upon her self to work out what's going on... And why every floor is missing room 04...

One of the highlights of the movie is a kid who hacks into his neighbour's (Juliet Landau - Drucila from Buffy) wifi to spy on her through her webcam...  And who's mother catches him just in time to stop him Witnessing a murder!

Speaking of murders - although not gory, the murders here are delightfully vicious - the claw hammer especially shows a real rage in the killer (and goes on long enough to demonstrate a bit of a lack of control).

The lowlights in the movie come from the supernatural elements - I think the killers hiding place was interesting enough, and this would have been a better movie had he been mortal; perhaps if he'd kidnapped someone to his lair - that way they could have actually called this a remake AND had some fun with people hearing the missing girl through the walls.

Body count: 8
Most memorable death: bolt cutter to the spine.

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.

SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: Toolbox Murders (2004) - Lisa's Review

NOTE: In honour of Halloween, We're taking a break from the DPP list through October to look at some recent remakes.

*** Murder Spoilers ***

When I started watching this weeks movie in a break from our 'Nasties' list in honour of October, 2 things occured to me.  Firstly, this bore very little resemblance to the original Toolbox Murders we reviewed a few weeks ago and secondly I have actually watched this movie before.  I thought it was pretty pants then too.

Don't get me wrong, I've watched worse.  Much, much worse, but this isn't a movie I would recommend you rush out to see or add to your 'Must Watch' list.

I'm not going to write a long review of this one as there are so many things which are left unanswered, are left to individual interpretation (and not in a good way) and just plain don't work, I would be here all night analysing it... and this movie does not deserve the time.
What I will say is that some of the kills are pretty decent, but the additional footage you get on an extra's option are much more cringeworthy.  I mainly refer to the hammer death which pays special attention to hair clumps and fragments attached to the claw of the hammer and the drill death which I quite enjoyed truth be told, especially the undulating head action.

For me a very dull, convoluted movie was made worse by a lead actress who annoyed the arse off me.  I found her irritating, moody, rude and whiny.  I spent most of the time being thankful I could switch off at the end of the movie and never have to look at her miserable face again.

Other characters are weak and one dimensional.  Attempts are made to make then kooky or quirky, but that just didn't work.  You can work out 'who it isn't' while watching the movie, but to be honest, I don't think many people watching this would be making enough sense of proceedings to predict the actual ending.  The 'villain' is just laughable and the back story (or what exists of it) makes absolutely no sense in any respect, but then making no sense was pretty much in keeping with this movie.

In short, it was more watchable than a lot of movies on the Nasties list, but that's sadly little recommendation to go on.

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.

7 Oct 2012

Week 73: SHOCKTOBER SPECIAL: Toolbox Murders (2004)

NOTE: In honour of Halloween, We're taking a break from the DPP list through October, to take look at Remakes of some of the original nasties...

Alternate Titles : The Toolbox Murders
Year: 2004
Reviews / Author Comments due: 13/10/12
DPP Status: Never listed.
BBFC Status: Passed uncut 2005
IMDB: Link
Wikipedia: Link
DVD: Link

Feel free to use the comments section of this post to add your own reviews and thoughts about this movie.

6 Oct 2012

Visiting Hours - Lisa's Review


I struggled this week with why on earth this movie found its way onto the Nasties List.  It would be much better suited as a Sunday afternoon movie.  There is little in the way of gore or graphic scenes in the movie to complain about, so I'm at a loss.  There is a scene which sexualises a knife torture and rape, which I suppose is a bit in bad taste, but I've seen worse before the watershed I'm sure.

That's not saying its a bad movie.  It's not too bad.  I found it remarkably easy to watch and there wasn't that much in the way of irritation for me.  It had crazy inconsistencies, most notably a scene at the start of the movie where our lead lady (Deborah) is on air (she's on a talk show) making her views clear on the conviction of a woman who finally fought back against her abusive husband.  As she pulled no punches and her comments were close to libelous, her boss advised her they would be unable to air the episode.  Whats odd about this is at the same time as we are watching the scene, we are shown our movie villain who is at home watching the airing of this same show???
Anyways, if you can put that aside that glaring inconsistency, its watching this show that sparks our killer (Colt Hawker) off to stalk Deborah.  Seems he has followed her work for years and he is not her biggest fan as she is a big female activist and he is something of a misogynist (getting to be a remarkably familiar thing in these movies).  What I also failed to mention is that the woman in question who was being defended by Deborah for fighting back against her husband (by throwing a pan of hot oil around him hence disfiguring him for life) is actually Hawkers mother.  The husband is of course his father.  He has never forgiven his mother for what she did to his father and basically just thinks that she should put up and shut up.

The movie follows Hawker tracking down Deborah.  He finds her, manages only to wound her (we have another knife through door scene here) as they are interrupted so she is taken to recuperate in hospital, hence our title.  Hawker keeps up his pursuit and a young nurse Sheila is dragged into the mix, probably mostly because she shares Deborahs feminist views.  There are a few kills, including of the wrong person.  Breathing tubes are cut to detract attention away from him.

The story which follows is pretty normal for a murder thriller and is very predictable, but like I said its easy to watch as the acting is pretty solid.  The ending is very TV movie, but I wasn't left feeling like i'd wasted an hour and a half which I have with other movies.

I wouldn't say don't watch this movie, but I would say, if you're looking for gore, horror, shocks or anything remotely graphic, this isn't the place to look.

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.

Visiting Hours - Will's Review.


William Shatner! In a Banned movie!!! Already this movie has me on side!
Ahhhh, I guess You're right...

Which is just as well, because other than shat (see what I did there), there wasn't much here to get excited about.

We're dealing with a bog standard thriller (albeit one with a slightly higher than normal body count), there's no mystery as to whodunnit - we see his face the first time we see him attack someone (we also see him remove his 'disguise' - a bunch of quasi-tribal facial jewellery that is never mentioned again) and the why-dunnit is hinted at from the beginning and spelled out at the half-way point.

It seems that some woman we never see (except in flashback a couple of times) has gone to jail for attacking her husband and crippling him. Her plea (of self defence) failed - but only because the prosecution had better lawyers. She's up for appeal, and a reporter (Our heroin) has made it her business to get the public on side with the self-defence plea.

The couple's son (Michael Ironside), who got on with his Dad, does not approve of the reporter's attempts to free his mother, and sets about trying to kill her (and anyone else who gets in his way).

In a failed attempt, he wounds her, and she ends up spending most of the film in hospital (hence the title); One scene where the killer did show smarts, is when he went around the hospital cutting drip pipes, and pushing "call nurse" buttons, in order to keep the staff busy while he went back for another crack at his real target.

There's a nurse who gets way to invested in the whole thing (and makes herself a target in the process), and a girl the killer picks up and beats up who decides to make life awkward for him, but I didn't really get invested in any of them.

Oh, and the killer has a Magic TV. How's that? - well, remember I said about the reporter sticking her oar in? when our man watches that as it happens, from his TV... then, when she walks off set, she is told that the footage will never be used as she was biased; so it seems the psycho can watch live feeds of TV recordings never intended for live transmission. Go figure.

Gaping potholes aside, another one with not much to recommend it - but that isn't blood curdlingly awful. But for the gore, this one would probably do well with the "Diagnosis Murder" crowd.

Body Count: 5
Most Memorable Death: actually, none spring to mind...

Please use the comments bellow only to comment on this post - to write your own review, please comment on the main post for this movie.