30 October 2010

October 30th

The traditional bucket of corn syrup.
Saw 3D (2010) directed by Kevin Greutert
Hey, my predications after watching VI weren't too far off, except for the Jill part.  And the dead fetus thing.  I got say that for most of the movie, I was kind of disappointed while watching it.  The main person caught in a trap is yet another guy who pissed off Jigsaw, like the insurance guy in V.  If he weren't dead, I'd warn Jigsaw that people are going to start thinking his lessons are garbage and that he's really just out for revenge.  And I'm still not clear on why Hoffman keeps engineering these things for Jigsaw so long after his death.  I guess he's a sadist and Jigsaw's (presumably) detailed plans make it easy to just do what Jigsaw wanted for the time being.

Speaking of, Jigsaw is relegated to just three cameos in this film: two in flashbacks and one on video.  Sure, that man is dead, but he's still my favorite character (or only character I like, really) in the series.  Though I know full-well there's no room for more Jigsaw backstory, it would've been nice if Tobin Bell had gotten more screen time somehow.

I do like the ending of the movie.  I'm reading on messageboards that the Saw fans are pissed off for a variety of reasons, but I think it brings things full circle in a satisfying way.  I don't even mind that, yet again, they've found a way to shove one more Jigsaw accomplice into the background of all of the previous movies.  But, this time, it really does make sense.  I was wondering during the last movie how Hoffman was able to surgically implant a key into the insurance guy's side without, you know, nicking an artery and accidentally mucking up the game.

As for the 3D: this and Avatar are the only modern 3D movies I've seen so far.  I've really got no use for it.  I think it adds very little to a movie.  Though, there were two instances in Saw 3D where the 3D really added to the experience.  In the first, a man is trying to reach for a lever to pull.  In the second, a man is balancing on boards high above the floor.  In 3D, we're allowed to see just how far from the lever and floor these men are, which adds to the tension.  Outside of that, it's just an occasional body part flying towards your face and nothing much else of use.  That, and it always gives me an eyestrain headache.

Individually, I'm not really a huge fan of the Saw movies.  Mostly, I don't care a wit about the characters trapped in the games and later movies feel like they're struggling to think of new things to do.  However, I admire the hell out of the continuity in these seven films.  Whatever I think of the movies themselves, the series is a notable achievement in horror.  We've seen horror series generate unending annual sequels before, but never have they required so much of the viewer.  You really do need to have at least the previous installment fresh in your mind to make sense of the current film (and even better if the entire series is in mind).  A sequel could refer to any part of any number of the previous movies, revealing more about the story and answering dangling questions from years prior.  I love this part of the series: a seven-year-long soap opera for horror geeks. (6/10)

Phantasm II (1988) trailer
Erotic Nights of the Living Dead (1980) trailer
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror IV: The Devil and Homer Simpson" (1993)

Tales from the Crypt: "Well Cooked Hams" (1993) directed by Elliot Silverstein
Stars Billy Zane, in a role that must have convinced the producers to cast him the movie a couple of years later.  He plays a magician who likes to steal tricks from other magicians and who receives a predictable punishment for such acts.  Worth watching just to see Martin Sheen ham it up to 11 in three different roles with three different fake beards.

Igor and the Lunatics (1985) trailer
Frankenpimp (2000) fake trailer
Murder Baby (2010)

Alien (1979) directed by Ridley Scott
For "best sci-fi-horror movie ever" it's either this or The Thing, no question.  Me, I tend towards The Thing, but Alien is no slouch.  I love that it is essentially a monster chasing people around a gothic castle... but in space. Giger's beautiful designs still hold up 31 years later.  The intentional sexual undertones to the creature are as fun to pick apart as they are disturbing (how about this one: the alien's inner mouth becomes erect and leaks clear fluid when it's excited).  The space truckers are all realistically drawn and sound like working-class folks just doing their job. Jerry Goldsmith's score is haunting and perfect. There's not a lot to complain about in this film (the unnecessary Sigourney Weaver buttcrack, probably) as it's near-perfect. (9/10)

Cat in the Brain (1990) trailer
Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe (2005) trailer
Rob Zombie: "American Witch (animated)" (2006)

Dagon (2001) directed by Stuart Gordon
I love this film unabashedly and I'll never understand why it's not more well-known out there in horror land. I love the contrast between the washed-out blue of Imboca and the bright orange of Paul's Miskatonic sweatshirt.  Visually, we can tell he's a fish out of water, so to speak, right off.  Paul's is one of my favorite horror movie heroes.  What I like is, ignoring the rich investor thing, he's a true everyman.  In the hotel, when he hears the villagers making weird noises and coming towards his room en masse, he still calls out a "can I help you?" when they rattle his doorknob.  It's true: it would be hard to switch gears from what you would do in normal civilization to dropping the civilities and realizing they don't matter when things are strange.  He uses his swiss army knife and cellphone as a pathetic weapons, as they are the only thing he has in his pocket.  He tries and fails to hotwire a car -- I sure as  hell don't know how to do that, either.

For the record: yes, I would live forever with the tentacle-legged woman underwater.  Absolutely. (9/10)

A tree in the house?

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