23 September 2011

September 23rd

Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (1993) trailer
Monster Brawl (2011) trailer
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror: Bad Dream House" (1990)

The Ward (2010) directed by John Carpenter
I really wanted to like this more than I did.  This is the first new Carpenter movie in a decade, after the awful Ghost of Mars.  I was rooting for one of my all-time favorite directors to come back with a the apocalyptic spirit I loved in The Thing, Prince of Darkness or They Live.  Sadly, The Ward doesn't reach the heights of Carpenter's classics.

Not that this is a bad film.  It's well made and acted.  If you want a tough chick in your horror movie, Zombieland's Amber Heard is the way to go.  Susanna  Burney as Nurse Lundt is the best bitch-nurse since Nurse Ratched.  Carpenter's use of Ghost Alice is absolutely expert.  Until her final appearance, we never get a good look at her entirely.  Carpenter shows us her rotted hands (crawling with under-skin CGI worms, which was actually very effective) as they choke, or we get a glimpse of her face from just the eyes up, or she appears mostly cloaked in shadows behind someone.  The guy knows what he's doing with this stuff.

I think the main problem isn't with Carpenter, but with the script.  It's just not very special.  The twist towards the end isn't terribly surprising or original.  About half of the movie seems to be comprised of Kristen's escape attempts.  Also, the mental institution isn't very scary.  Though it looks vaguely like one of those incredibly creepy Kirkbride buildings (think Session 9), inside it's what I would expect a normal '60s institution to look like.  Sure, they're performing electroshock there, but we still do that today.  Sure, they've got a morgue there, but why wouldn't they?  Sure, they have lobotomy tools in the basement, but it's the '60s and they didn't know any better.

It's an alright film.  I hope it inspires Carpenter to pick up the camera again sooner than later.  And, hey, at least it has a classic Carpenter ending.  It just wouldn't be the same without one of those. (7/10)

Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010) directed by Eli Craig
Welp, this one's going down as a classic of horror comedy.  That's an easy call to make.  Twenty years from now, people will be asking: "Do you want to watch Tucker & Dale, Shaun of the Dead or Evil Dead 2 tonight?"  Some scenes in this redneck-horror-turned-on-it's-head movie had me crying I was laughing so hard.

Yeah, the romance in the movie is a bit Hollywood predictable.  Yeah, there's a bit of a lull in the fun when the college kids abduct Tucker and the accidental deaths stop for a while.  There's so much other good stuff in the movie, I don't care.

My biggest complaint isn't with the movie, but with the marketing.  If you've watched the trailers, you've seen just about every really funny scene in the movie already.  The scenes -- extended in the movie -- are still funny, but not surprising like they should be.  But, what were they going to do?  They needed to let people know how funny the movie was, and creating a trailer like they did was really effective.  I watched the trailer a year ago and wanted to see it so badly I paid $11 to rent the thing on PSN today.

As much as horror fans may whine -- remakes suck, Twilight sucks, the old school directors have lost their touch -- there are always new classics being created.  Ain't we lucky? (8/10)

An unsettling view from a local hospital room


  1. I love Tucker & Dale vs Evil so damn much. I saw it a few weeks ago, and it has only grown in my estimation. Interestingly, I think it's a more effective statement on prejudice than most "serious" films manage...

  2. You got to the Ward before I could, but I'll still mention it in a later entry I spose.

    Great picture. Could be you're stuck in a 70's horror film, or one with heavy use of zoom lenses. Wicker Man comes to mind.