Teeth (2007) directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein
A perfect movie to try to secretly watch at work courtesy of Netflix streaming. "What are ya watching there?" "Me? Definitely not something about a girl with teeth in her vagina." So, given the premise, you know this movie is going to involve penises being bitten off. Here's what I discovered about myself: such imagery is no longer cringe-inducing. I guess I've seen so many penectomies in horror movies lately that I've become inured. Which sort of deflates the horror of this film for me. I'll give it to the filmmakers, though: they went the extra mile and included plenty of bloody, gruesome shots of stumps and severed glans rolling on the ground. If that don't bug you, well, it ain't their fault.
I was surprised, but not really, to see Camille Paglia thanked in the credits. In the film, a woman's sexuality is so tightly controlled by masculine society that she's even a motivational speaker for a sexual purity movement. As the movie progresses, she slowly and violently discovers the power of her sexuality, which is literally represented by her mutation. In the end, it is the woman who is in control of her own sexuality, a force so powerful she fears no man. Oh yeah, it would be a cinch to generate an essay for a woman's studies or film class on this movie.
I dug the implication that Dawn's mutation was due to the nearby nuclear power plant. Very Class of Nuke 'Em High. And, Jess Weixler was great as Dawn. I completely bought her as both the impossibly naive virgin and the penis-severing superwoman. The fact that every male in the movie -- except for Dawn's father -- was a rapist or asshole bothered me while watching it. Thinking about it now, though, it had to be that way. Not only does it allow for the horror movie morality of punishing the sinners with extreme violence, but it also fits the theme of Dawn gaining control of her sexuality (she never bites nice people).
Most assuredly, the best vagina dentata movie ever made. (7/10)
The Final (2010) directed by Joey Stewart
It's a horror movie with just a third act, just about. I thought that was kind of neat idea to try. Instead of spending an hour building tension towards a climax, this film spends 20 minutes or so setting a few things up and then dives right into the horror. I'd always wondered what a horror movie would be like if it did this. Turns out, this is not the greatest structures. The largest problem is that we're not allowed to get to know enough of the characters. Though there are eight killers in the movie, we only really spend time with three of them. Likewise, we only know six of the victims out of a pool of a dozen or so. Characters tend to appear in this movie and we wonder who they are and why they're there.
Unsurprisingly, another issue with this structure is that there's not enough story to make up a full-length film. The outcast kids torture their bullies and then commit suicide. That's about it. There are some diversions with an escaping victim and a redneck, but neither amount to much. Nope, it's mostly an hour of watching kids torture their tormentors. It got boring. At one point, Mrs. K asked: "are they going to go through all of them?" referring to the mass of untortured kids left to get to (luckily, they did not).
A horror take on Columbine wasn't a bad idea, but I'm not a fan of the execution (so to speak). (6/10)
American Scary (2006) directed by John E. Hudgens
A nice overview of the past 60 years of horror hosts, but a bit long and repetitive in parts (and the looped organ music drove me insane). I think I mainly wanted to watch this because Joel Hodgson was interviewed (and MST3K was given due praise), but it was also neat to see some of these classic hosts doing their thing. I'd never really seen Vampira in live action before (still need to watch Plan 9). She's certainly an important horror figure to the generation before me, so that was a treat. The charge the Elvira ripped her off appears to be baseless, as they the only thing they seem to share is a black dress. I have to say that Maila Nurmi, interviewed at the age of 85 here, was a treasure of an old lady.
Outside of MST3K, the only horror host I could claim as my own from childhood would be Rhonda Shear from USA Up All Night. I credit her for getting me into Troma and other bad movies. It makes me think, though, about how I used to discover cool movies on TV all of the time. Now, I can't stand to watch a film on TV because I can't get beyond the idea that it's both censored and (likely) pan & scanned. Shame. I suppose Netflix makes up for this a little, but it's just not the same. (6/10)