Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Movie Review: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation(1994, 1995, 1997)

Before I start this review, I would  like to talk about the trend of movie stars starring in horror movies before they were famous. For example: Jesse Esinberg from Camp Hell, Jennifer Lawrence in House At The End Of The Street, and Mila Kunis from American Pyscho 2.
Now I present to you The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation or The Return Of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre starring Oscar Winners Renee Zelwegeer and Matthew McConaughey.
The two actors were publicly embarrassed for ever being in this film. When the movie was re-released in 1997, Matthew McConaughey's agent sued Columbia Pictures for even releasing the movie at all. Renee Zelweger used "I was young and needed the money" excuse instead. So yeah, everybody doesn't like this movie. And you see all those years I listed on my movie review title? Because it had a difficult release history, which I would further in the trivia segment.
Now what do I think of this movie? I don't know. I don't know what to think of this movie. I'm spilt in the middle whether it's so bad, it's good or so bad, it's horrible. It just have so many WTF moments that makes me scratch my head every time. It's over-the-top, outrageous, and just plain notoriously bad.
The Story: Four teenagers, having got back from the prom, are driving off....somewhere. The movie doesn't explain. When suddenly they get into a car wreck with another driver. So once they go find help, they are suddenly attacked by Leatherface and his family. It's a simple story, really, but that's all I can fall back on.

The cast is...strange. Or bad if you want me to say. And let me tell you the performances are BAD but it's just how the actors deliver their line and portray their characters is what makes the experience of watching this movie surreal.
First before I get to the main characters, let's get Jenny's dumb friends out of the way.

First there's Jenny's boyfriend Sean. Um...I got nothin'. I mean what is there to say about the guy? His character is so thin, he's the first one killed off. He's also...kind of slow in the head, kind of like he's on some strong herbal drugs. That's all got really.

Here's Barry, Heather's cheating boyfriend. He's a douchebag. Though, the actor tries too hard at playing one. There's not much development about him except he complains a lot and he's pretty much a jerk to everybody. That's his character, he's the jerk. Moving on.

And now you have Heather, who is probably the most annoying of the bunch. She is, what I call, the female equivalent of Franklin, she's whiny, she complains, and she also conveys this high-pitched valley girl accent that would make your ears bleed.

She's also self-explanatory, which is unnecessary for a dumb character like this. Apparently, she's a bitch but she's more a ditz if ask me.

But boy! Is this girl put in the ringer. First, she's impaled on a meat hook, gets her tongue bitten off, set on fire, then finally have her head crushed. It made me feel bad for a character who was the most annoying, even more annoying than Leatherface. Even though she's put through a lot of crap, she still is irritating and dumb to me.

Just to get him out of the way, you have W.E. who spouts out quotes from famous people. That's all he does. Do his brother's bidding and speaks famous quotes from historical figures. Guys, I know you think I'm being lazy with this but the characters in this are poorly written, so how far am I gonna go?
Okay, here's the important characters:

Jenny. What can I say about Jenny? She's a typical final girl. There could've been times where she would be a badass but the movie refuses to do that. There also could've been times where she could easily escape or get help but is unable to do so because of her idiotic choices. She gets caught so many times I just didn't care anymore. That's how lousy the suspense is. Though in the scene where she finally stands up to Vilmer, tells him off and demands to leave, everybody else is like, just by the look on their faces, "Okay....you can go if you want to, we won't stop you." It's just too freaking hilarious to be seen. It's like the writers didn't know what to do at that point. You see where this movie is going, people?

Jenny could've been a strong character, however....she's just isn't. Renee Zelweger  did an ALRIGHT job, you certainly can't believe this woman would be nominated or win an Oscar one day. She starts off weak but gets better by the end. I really don't see Renee Zelweger as a scream queen but at least her acting is a bit better than everybody else's.

Matthew McConaughey as Vilmer is outrageously over-the-top to the point of being a cartoon character. In his more quiet moments, there are times where he is really chilling though most of his acting is straight out outlandish that it overshadows the fact that he's a really good actor. But it's just bad direction in my opinion.

I would like to note that there is a strange sort of violent/sexual nature between him and Jenny. He's kind of stuck between whether he wants to kill her or make out with her. It's strange, creepy, and unsettling if you ask me.

What most fans complain about is that Vilmer does most of the killing. So yeah, the character is pretty much the scene stealer of the movie, chewing up every scenery that he can and taking everyone else's spotlight.

Darla was probably the funniest character in the movie. She kind of reminds me of Jennifer Aniston. if she was in family full of cannibal maniacs that is. I like the fact that the actress knew what kind of movie she was in and roll with it.

What's strange is Darla is actually likeable and has a lot more personality than the teen protagonists. That's really saying something. Overall, Toni Peresky was really entertaining and the made the experience of watching this a little more enjoyable.

Ugh, here is Leatherface. I really don't need to give a grand introduction about him because it comes to show that in the 90's, our modern day famous horror icons begin to derail. Throughout the movie, all Leatherface does is whine and scream. WHINE and SCREAM. I can't believe this is the same guy that gave me nightmares as kid. He is such a wimp in this version. And what's even worse, he kills one person, however, it's not out of brutality, it's more out of panic. How lame is that.

Most of the complaints, and there a lot of complaints, is that Leatherface is mostly drag as evident in the poster. That's pretty much the basis of his character is that he's a transvestite. Doesn't really bother me, well only a little, but what most people don't know is that in a deleted scene of the original, he wears a "pretty woman" mask and is seen priming up make up. So yeah, that's all I got to say really. I feel there is no importance to his character anymore. All he does is whine, scream, waves his chainsaw around, and stay in the background most of the time. What more can I say?
Can I add this for a minute? I kept wondering who the hell wrote and directed this movie? I mean the way it shot, the writing, the dialogue, it's all terrible! then to my surprise, it's the same person wrote the 1974 original. Kim Henkel did a good job at conveying a simple plot and turning it into a creepy and effective story. But as the result of this, it's just hard to explain. Okay, there is, you guess it, a twist.

So it turns out the family works for the illuminati because once the film leans towards it's climax, all of sudden, a French guy in a suit arrives at the door and would definitely guess he's part of secret government agency. So apparently they're murdering and eating people for money. Oh, let me scratch that, they don't eat people since Darla is shown ordering food at a pizza place. You see how dumb this all is?
But oh no, I haven't even reached the tip of the iceberg. Here I present to you one of the strangest endings in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre film:

I seriously don't know what Kim Henkel or the other creators of this movie was smoking that day but that was one of the funniest out of the blue moments I've seen in a horror film. Hands down.
Now for some trivia.

*The film first screened at the South By Southwest Film And Media Conference in 1995, but only briefly. Columbia Pictures at least tried to distribute the film but it also got released on video a the same time in October. THEN two years later in 1997, the studio did a failed attempt to release the film at limited  time to cash in on the success of Renee Zelweger and Matthew McConaughey. THEN it was released on VHS in September 1998 and only for the DVD to be released in July of 1999. Whew! Can I be honest here? This film had no reason to be released in theaters at all. It just has a cheap direct-to-video feel, why would they even bother giving a crap about this movie?
* There is an extended cut of the film which features Jenny's abusive stepfather in the opening scene, more dialogue between Heather and Barry (ugh!), and a longer conversation between Darla and Jenny. The only known release of the extended cut is the 2009 lionsgate Canadian DVD version.
*Marilyn Burns, John Dugan, and Paul A. Partan all make cameo appearances at the end of the film.
So there's Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. Boy, what a piece of shit. If you read my last review of this, I obviously enjoyed this movie for all the wrong reasons. But what can I say? It's a love it or hate it film. It's really just a time waster, a background movie. And trust me, I've seen even worse crap with even worse writing. So prepare yourself for the next so-called "sequel."
All in all, it's nothing to look back to.
My last word: it's your choice. This IS a bad movie but if you like bad movies, this could definitely fit in with your collection.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Movie Review: Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers

After the poor reception of Halloween 5, it took 6 years for Moustapha Akkad to come up with a new concept and since part 5 left with a cliffhanger, there had to be some resolution no matter how dumb it may be.
Boy, this movie was a mess from start to finish. Rewrites, Reshoots, Script changes, recasting, renewal, etc. I mean the list goes on. I can't even fathom on how this movie got made at all. But if it wasn't for that fucking ending from Halloween 5, we would have the contrived piece of crap that is The Curse Of Michael Myers. The curse? really?
I'm sorry but there is no reason I'm suppose to explain the story because of just how confusing and mundane it is. So I'm gonna rant the hell out of this, prepare yourself guys.

Let's see what do I think about the cast? I'll just put it simply.....the acting sucks, that's all I got to say. Probably the only decent performers is Donald Pleasance, even though his presence  is completely wasted, and Marianne Hagan, I guess, she's not the best actress in the world but at least she has some passion into her performance I give her that.

Which leads to Kara Strode. I'm sorry, there is just no purpose to her character and the family for that matter. So they live in the Myers house, so what? But apparently that's a big plot point since it triggers Michael telepathically to know someone is living under his former residence. It's just my theory.

So all I know about Kara is she's an unwed mother going through college, trying to deal with her asshole father, and the fact their family is living under a serial killer's house. That's it. That's all I got. You see how wasted these characters are?
But I'm not done yet, let's focus on her stupid family. I don't know where the start, really but let's get this asshole out of the way:

John Strode. Ugh. By far the worst character in the movie.
First, he moves his family in the Myers house without them knowing it. And second, he's just an all around absolute son of a bitch, pretty much  treating his family like crap. This also applies to how he's written. He's just a cold, heartless bastard to almost cartoonish levels. And it's only the result of one of the most over-the-top(yet satisfying) death scene:
It's not subtle but it's pretty damn worth it.

Debra Strode can come off as an complete idiot. She's supposed to be this doe-eyed put upon housewife but there is just no sympathy for her. And I would LOVE to know what she ever saw in John but who knows? I don't think she knows either to be honest. It doesn't help matters that she's played by Kim Darby, a once promising actress who's now derailed into playing low-rent roles and now cast in a really shitty slasher film. And the acting? Terrible! A deer caught in a freakin' headlights. Such a shame.

Oh god, I seriously do not want to talk about Kara's annoying younger brother and his even more annoying girlfriend, who is a totally bad actress by the way. Oh yeah, I did mention the acting in this movie is bad about three times already but you see where I'm going with this, right? that's all I got to say about them. Just an annoying pair to have sex and be killed.

Okay, it's time to talk about Jamie, who is now played by J.C. Brandy, a completely new actress. Do I like this change? hell no! And not only is the character wasted but she is unceremoniously killed off. Danielle Harris was pretty psyched to play the Jamie character again but once she read the script, she's like "what the hell is this?" and backed out of the project because of how Jamie was treated, not so much a money issue as some rumors claimed to be. What they should've done was made Jamie an important main character again, drop the whole thorn cult bullshit (I'll still get to that) and just focus on Jamie struggling with her demons and facing Michael again, which they would eventually do with Laurie Strode in the next film but it had more potential in this movie which all went downhill sadly. If that would've come into play, Danielle Harris could've went on board with it.

Oh god, Tommy Doyle.....Do I? Do I really have to say anything about this character and why the hell he has any relevance to the story at all? Sure it's cool to bring back characters from the first movie but now he has grown to be a creepy weirdo. It just the things he does like peeping in on Kara while she's getting undressed, breaking into her house, they way he stares into space like he's on drugs, etc. I question why is this guy the hero of the movie. Not only the writing of the character bad but Paul Rudd's acting is just terrible. This was back in his Clueless heyday and he's usually a good actor but oh my god, was he trying to go shakesphere on us? you just got to see it to believe it. It's a truly laughably bad performance. But it only stem from the fact that Paul Rudd didn't give a shit and rightfully so. When you read a script as awful as this, you can't help but bring in a bad performance.

Poor, Poor, Poor Donald Pleasance. A truly great actor that was the heart and soul of the franchise is sidelined to what seems to be a glorified cameo at this point. To make matters worse, this was his last film before his death. I hate to even think he died with this film in his name. Ugh, there is just no point.

What's even more frustrating with tis is that you  have interesting characters like Jamie and Dr. Loomis, only to  have them sidelined to focus on minor characters we don't even know at all. Like Dr. Wynn. So what? Is he like the new villain of the movie? I don't get it. But apparently, he is revealed to be the Man In Black from Part 5. Wow, what a stupid twist. You see where the writing is going right now? seriously? But it gets even stupider. It turns out that he is the leader of organization called The Thorn Cult who would recruit a chosen one to sacrifice their siblings for....whatever. So that makes Michael the chosen one.

Which leads us to Michael. Okay, here is the biggest main problem I have with this movie, there shouldn't be some mystical exposition  of his murderous rampage. What made the first film so great was that there was no rhyme or reason for the things he does. It wasn't magical or supernatural, it was psychological. This is how this sequel misses the point. I understand writer Daniel Farrands was passionate about this but the whole thorn revelation doesn't make any sense but how the director approaches this terrible concept makes it even worse by the climax. The whole thorn subplot is completely dropped, each member is killed, including Dr. Wynn, and Michael trollies along trying to hack at his last victims. And by the way, that's all Michael does really. He is a generic slasher villain. through the course of part 4, part 5, and this movie, I can't help but compare him to Jason Voorhees. The way he murders people are over-the-top and extremely brutal. There is just no suspense at all. And the way he's used as a tool for this stupid thorn organization is also a downer. Lastly, the mask is....alright I guess. It's nothing special but it's at least better than the masks used for Part 4 and 5.
Let me just crack this all down, the director didn't give a crap. nobody did actually. Which is why this movie fell apart. But the juiciest part of the behind the scenes mishaps is the notorious Producer's Cut. Some fans praised it but maybe because of the filled-in plot holes, however, it still doesn't make the movie any better. If you ever get a chance to see this version of the film, look out for the ridiculous climax and a plot twist  where it turns out that MICHAEL was the one who impregnated his teenage niece! how fucking disgusting. Whoever wrote that should be slapped. It baffles me that this version should get this much praise when it should've much of the backlash as the final cut of the film.
What else can I say? it's a mess of a film. There was no reason for that  shitty ending in Part 5, nor the Man In Black, or The Thorn Cult concept. It all adds up into a pile of shit. with shitty acting, shitty directing, and shitty writing.
Just a waste of time.
My Last Word: All I can say is.....Garbage.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Movie Review: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3

After the disappointing reception of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, New Line decided to bring back the raw edge grittiness of the original with writer David J. Schow and director Jeff Burr. Though despite the recent box office flops of horror franchises  in 1989, the studio took a risk and released the film in early 1990.
So what do I think of it? Well, I think it's.....okay. It's really nothing special but if it wasn't for the performances of Kate Hodge and Ken Foree, this movie would be a total dud.
There was some things I liked about it. Like Leatherface's new rock star look and it's also great to see Viggo Mortensen in an early role, who did a really chilling performance. And I would also like to mention the climax. Nothing was going on in this movie up until this point, so I liked how they build up the tension and kept the action at a high level.
But sadly, the rest of the movie.....drags. It takes a while to get use to the main characters and surroundings but it's a chore to get through.
It's not a bad movie by any means but it could've been better, that's all I can say about it really.
The Story: Michelle and Ryan, a young couple from California, are on their way to Florida when they are suddenly involved in a car wreck with a survivalist named Benny. While on their way to find help, they are eventually terrorized by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface and his psychotic, cannibalistic family. So Michelle, Benny, and Ryan must find a way to survive the night.

The cast was actually pretty decent though there were only minor actors that were KIND OF bad, like the gas station attendant in particular. But overall, the main cast was pretty solid.

There's really nothing for me to say about the Michelle character, although I think she is the most badass of the final girls in the franchise.

Just like Stretch from the last movie, she doesn't just cower and scream all the time, she takes charge and fights like hell. Again, there's not much to say after that but it's worth to see her kick some ass a little. To me I feel that Kate Hodge brought more to the role.  I don't know, I just think she is a very talented actress and wished she'd be around more.

Ken Foree is the real show stopper, bringing great strengths and intensity for the role of Benny.

Unfortunately, there's not much about Benny but he is by far the coolest character in the movie. Just like Michelle, he takes no crap and uses his survivalist skills to his advantage. But I would also like to mention the epic fight scene between him and Viggo Mortensen. It's probably the best moment of the film.

Speaking of Viggo Mortensen, he really brought a menacing charm to his character. He is, of course, the normal looking one in the family (and quite good-looking, too), so it would be easier for him to lure victims. He is also oddly calm, not at all bat-shit bonkers like the family in the pervious two movies. And it's no doubt that later on Viggo Mortensen would be an Oscar nominee and will be widely known in the Lord Of The Ring Trilogy.....also distributed by New Line.

The Gas Station Attendant. Do I have to talk about this guy? Really? He has no relevance to the plot other than to be a rip-off of the Hitchhiker. And by the way, I have no I idea what the hell this guy is saying for the rest of the film.

Finally, I would like to introduce to you the head-bashing, chainsaw-wielding, face-wearing Leatherface. First of all his look is spot-on. He's very menacing and could crush a guy in two. the look sort of brings back the intimidating aura of Leatherface in the original.

Though besides the new scary look, he is still child-like and is willing to take care of his family, which makes the character complex.

There is one huge debacle that is on everybody's mind, is whether the little blond girl is Leatherface's daughter or not but I think it remains a mystery. I think Leatherface is too naïve to know about sex, though. Some claim the little girl might be a child of rape, however, that's too much of a heavy subject to touch upon.

I think RA Minailoff  put a lot of heart into the role, embracing the raw, intense energy that Gunnar Hensen had in the first film.
The suspense, however, is kind of flat. There are moments where certain scenes are intense like the re-creation of the dinner scene but other than that the pacing was just too slow to have any impact on me.
The biggest complaints about the movie from fans is the lack of gore. To be honest, I'm not a huge gore hound. I feel that when a horror movie has a lot of blood and gore, it's a style over substance thing. It kind of loses impact whether it would go that route though only if it's intentionally or supposed to be over-the-top. But upon looking at the uncut version of this....boy, did it needed it. I think it would've made the movie more watchable and although I do appreciate the original film's subtle approach to gore, I think more of it would've help this sequel better.
Now For Some Trivia:
Here's a Freddy and Jason Connection!

William Butler is the only actor I know to appear with Jason, Freddy, and Leatherface. He starred in F13: The New Blood (alongside Jennifer Banko), did an episode on Freddy's Nightmares, and now he's being menaced by Leatherface in this sequel.
The original script was much more brutal with more explicit gore and high-octane violence. However, New Line objected some of the scenes and ordered to reduce the script.
The film was submitted to the MPAA a whooping 11 times before they passed it as an R-rating.
Here's another Freddy and Jason connection. Kane Hodder(Jason Voorhees) was a stunt coordinator for the film, even wearing the mask in one scene. So that makes him the only actor to portray Jason, Freddy, and Leatherface.
Benny was to originally die in the original cut of the film but test audiences loved the character, so it explains how he survived a chainsaw to the head, only having a wound that is a size of a paper cut.
The film was originally slated to be released November 1, 1989 but was pulled back because of the problems with MPAA. And like I mentioned earlier with the decline of certain horror franchises, it pretty much dodged that bullet.
But it still didn't help as the film didn't made money at the box office, only ranking in 5,765,562, which made back the movie's budget but wasn't the money maker everybody expected to be.
The film was met with really bad reviews with some citing it as "just another generic slasher." Which I honestly agree. There was just nothing to offer at this point. Besides some good performances from the main cast, all we got is just a mediocre film. The only good I have to say about it is the climax. Although, you really have to be patient enough to get through the rest of the film.
So not a bad film or anything, it's just very forgettable.
My Last Word: It's watchable enough but it's nothing really to dwell upon.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Babes In Toyland (1986)

Hi Guys and I hope you have a Merry Christmas. Today, I'm going to do a new segment, it's just like the same thing I did with Endless Love. I'm reviewing movies that was either bad, obscure, or a part of my childhood. I would even review movies that are considered my favorite but let's start with the bad and the obscure shall we?
Babes In Toyland is  a little-known 1986 TV movie starring Drew Barrymore and Keanu Reeves.

Barrymore was riding high off the success of such movies like ET: The Extraterrestrial and the cult hit Firestarter.

And this was one of Reeves' major starring role before breaking out in movies like River's Edge, Dangerous Liaison, and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

There's also an actress by the name of Jill Schoelen   who would later star in the 80's horror classic The Stepfather.
Boy the 80's were weird. Though as a kid I was pretty fascinated. I used to love 80's movies, especially fantasy and horror.
So I came upon watching this about 15 or 16 years ago, and I would say I sort of liked it, however, I gotten bored by last minute. The cast was good for what they worked with, though, they had to deliver some terrible dialogue.
But I think the story is more important to go over, So will go through this nice and quickly:

Lisa Piper,  a responsible 11 year old who looks after her single mom and siblings, sits at home to receive news of a terrible blizzard coming to the city of Cincinnati. So she goes to warn her older sister and friends, who work at the toy store.

So on their way home, the storm worsens, causing Lisa to be pulled back and being whisked out of the car.

Soon, she finds herself into the whimsical place called Toyland. Where she witnesses a wedding being held.

It is between Ingénue Mary and the villainous old-enough-to-be-her-dad Barnabus, along with his two henchman , which one reminds me of Nosforeatu and the other reminds me of Riff Raff from Rocky Horror Picture show.

Once she gets a tip-off from a friend named Georgie Porgie, that Mary really loves Jack, Lisa stops the wedding at once and tells off Barnabus and Mary's mother.

After Lisa and the gang rescue Mary from the wedding, They go to the toymaster for help once they figure out Barnabus wants total power over Toyland. Let's not forget this guy lives in a freakin' bowling ball. Nobody wants a leader that lives in a bowling ball.

Meanwhile, Barnabus hatches an evil plan to frame his nephew Jack by raiding the cookie shop. Soon when everybody suspects Jack of the crime, he is taken to jail and charged with COOKIE THEFTFRY. Lol, I'm not joking guys. It's not long after when Lisa and the gang find a way figure out a way to break Jack out of jail.

They run off, only for Jack to be captured AGAIN by Barnabus by this time.

Lisa and Georgie Porgie are a little hesitant to confront Barnabus but Mary is more headstrong and goes off to save her man.

But in this particular scene, this is where I laughed till the days on end. Mary literally says "I need to do something other than crying." Wow. Do you see how bad the dialogue is people. It shows how useless this character. Even she knows it herself. To no surprise she easily gets caught herself, including Lisa and Georgie. Where the hell does Barnabus gets those traps anyway?

He soon sets them up in a poisonous gas that would turn them into troll monsters but Lisa is somehow immune to it because.....Wait for it......She's from Cincinnati. How fucking stupid. So she gets all her friends to sing the national Cincinnati song  and they break free of Barnabus' clutches.

Lisa and the crew go back to the toymaster agin, only for him to reveal the reason why his toys don't come to life is because Lisa has lost touch with her inner child.

Once she realizes this, the toy soldiers come to life and it's ready for battle between Barnabus and his trolls.

Blah, Blah, Blah. Barnabus is soon banished. Mary and Jack get married, and it turns out the toymaster was Santa Claus all along. Yeah, really lame twist.

So he takes Lisa back home and she soon wakes up to see her family and friends.
THE END(thank god)
Okay, here are my issues with this movie:
This didn't have to be a musical. The songs were quite forgettable and the musical numbers comes up at the most inconvenient times.
Why was Lisa trying to set up Mary's mom with Barnabus? It'll be worse if he was the girl's stepfather(heh, heh, get it).
Then there's the writing and the dialogue. I think I said my say on the dialogue. The story, by the way, is pretty unoriginal. It's kind of like a mashup  of The Wizard Of Oz and Alice In Wonderland.
I really expected this movie to be hilariously bad movie as certain movies in my childhood don't hold quite well. But I found myself oddly enjoying it. Don't get me wrong it's not good but it won't hurt to watch it for just once in your life.
My Last Word: If you were a kid in the 80's, you probably would give it a peek or two. And trust me, through all the ridiculous costumes, the awful special effects, and lazy musical numbers, you can't help but be entertained by this.