15 October 2011

October 15th

Smash Cut (2009) trailer (RIP David Hess)
Heavy Mental: A Rock-n-Roll Blood Bath (2009) trailer
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror: Hungry Are the Damned" (1990)

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) directed by Tony Randel
As a younger man, this was my favorite horror movie.  This was the horror movie I'd bring along to friends' houses to try to talk them into watching with me.  There's nothing like seeing a non-horror fan's reaction to the Browning scene ("get them off me!").  I don't think the track team appreciated seeing the film too much, I have to admit.

I love the hell out of Kenneth Cranham's understated performance as Dr. Channard.  His look of only mild horror when Julia emerges from the mattress and eats Browning is priceless.  He's also batshit nuts as the Channard Cenobite, talking through his teeth and barely opening his eyes as he delivers corny lines in a modulated growl.  I love the stop motion effects used for Channard's tentacles, having them grow flowers and knives and eyeballs and fingers.  I wish horror movies would still do this; it looks so much neater to me than the equivalent CGI effect.  Skinless Julia is even more beautiful than skinless Frank from the first film.  I could watch an entire movie with just her.  The set dressing in Channard's home is amazing; it's filled with little details that are fun to pick out (a small photo of Aleister Crowley, what appears to be a plasticized corpse in a glass case).  Oliver Smith, who also played skinless Frank, is fantastic as the mental disturbed Browning.

I will say the sequel's sloppier than the original, likely due to both a script that kept undergoing last minute changes and a lack of Barker's keen eye for detail behind the lens.  For example, when Kirsty puts on Julia's skin to trick Channard, Clare Higgins still has her blue eyes instead of Ashley Laurence's brown ones.  Barker did not make this mistake when brown-eyed Frank puts on blue-eyed Larry's skin.  There's also a painful number of shots in which we see Hell's supposedly stone walls bounce around when people lean on then.  Ugh.  Hell itself is pretty boring.  I would've like to have seen the Cenobites doing whatever it is that they do normally in hell.  We get a small glimpse of this when Channard peaks through a window and sees three people writhing in ecstasy with chains hooked into their backs. Otherwise, it's a lot of long, gray hallways and Dantean "personal hells" that don't seem to have anything to do with taking people "beyond the limits," as Frank says in part 1.

And, some things in the movie just don't make any sense unless you're a Hellraiser nerd.  Why did Chatterer suddenly get a different face?  He was given a make-over in a deleted scene.  Why did Channard kill the other Cenobites?  Leviathan was pissed about Frank escaping or the Cenobites realizing their true pasts or something, so it created a new Cenobite to decommission the screw-ups.  What was the penis-tentacle connected to Channard for?  It was direct connection to Leviathan, so it could have more control over its new Cenobite.  Why did Channard die?  He had the bad luck of getting his tentacles stuck in the ground at the same time Tiffany solved the puzzle in a way that shut down Leviathan.  What's the deal with the pillar coming out of the mattress at the end?  I have no clue.  Normally, I'd say having all of these plot points completely unexplained would be a huge flaw.  Here, though, I think it works.  What you end up seeing is a bunch of bizarre Cenobite goings-on that you have no explanation for.  It makes the movie even weirder. (8/10)

Blood Car (2007) directed by Alex Orr
My friend Jack bought this for a buck at a closing video store.  I don't know how he could've not, given the title.  Strangely, the titular vehicle of this movie is very similar to that of Road Kill.  Both feature vehicles the run only on human blood and both have grinders in the back to help facilitate this.  Beyond that, they're completely different.  Blood Car is a pretty silly horror-comedy about a vegan who's trying to invent an engine that runs on wheatgrass.  When he accidentally cuts himself and bleeds in the engine, things go from there.  The ability to drive in a society where gas is $36/gallon makes him very attractive to the girl at the meat store.  His desire for her leads him to start killing folks for fuel.  Again, strangely, it's a bit similar to Hellraiser, in that Archie starts killing people in order to get laid, just like Julia.

It's all in good fun -- with grandmas and gangsters and feds and babies and disabled vets turned into fuel -- and very darkly silly. (6/10)

It's pumpkin season.

1 comment:

  1. I really need to rewatch Hellraiser II. I remember liking it a lot when I first watched it. And thanks for clearing up why Channard died. I've always wondered about that...