20 September 2013

September 20th

Taking the day off from work seemed like a sensible way to start off my Six Weeks.  There's nothing quite like have the house to yourself, kicking your feet up, eating a bowl of Count Chocula (a part of my nutritious breakfast (General Mills, please send me a check)) and popping in a horror movie.
Monster Cereal Week 1: Count Chocula.
As a middle-aged parent, I now think:

"Why are there pieces of candy in cereal?" 

The Killer Inside Me (2010) directed by Michael Winterbottom
A guy I work with recommended this one to me, promising "one of the most shocking scenes" he'd ever seen.  Given the name cast -- Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, and Jessica Alba -- I was pretty skeptical of that bold claim, yet he sold it well enough that I chose it to kick off the Six Weeks.  So, yeah... now I'm going to have to go to work on Monday and somehow not come off as a complete psychopath when I ask which scene bothered him so much.  Such is the life of a desensitized horror geek.

While the film is nicely shot and Affleck plays the soft-spoken, mentally deranged Lou very well, I don't think the movie knows what the hell it's trying to say.  It does touch on a handful of interesting subjects.  There's a little about how the small town's good ol' boys network, lead by a corrupt oil baron, ignores the increasingly suspicious deputy sheriff until after he's killed 4 or 5 people.  There's a bit on the cycle of abuse and how abused woman often stick with their abusers.  Some scenes are implied to only take place in Lou's broken mind, toying with the reality of what we're seeing and the reliability of the main character's POV.  None of these ideas are explored in any meaningful way and the film seems only truly interested in watching Lou explode out of his quiet shell into violence.  The result is a film that lacks focus and feels like a mish-mash of better serial killer movies.

Watched: stream on Netflix.

Midnight Movie (2008) directed by Jack Messitt
Kind of a slasher version of Last Action Hero with a dash of Carpenter's "Cigarette Burns" thrown in.  As a slasher, it's -- mostly -- pretty standard stuff.  A group of character tropes end up watching a horror movie made by a man who went insane.  Turns out the slasher killer in the film has the ability to come out into the real world to grab himself extra victims.  He chases them around with his personalized weapon -- a giant corkscrew that's actually kind of cool -- wears a scary mask and does other slashery things.  I like slashers and, as a movie nerd, I tend to like movies set in movie theaters, so this is all OK with me.  It felt like a good halloweentime pallet cleanser after the previous movie.

However, things take an unexpectedly dark turn during the last 15 minutes of the show.  The final girl Bridget finds herself inside of the film, trapped in the killer's dungeon.  Here, the previously very light slasher movie veers off-road into torture porn territory.  We discover that all of the killer's victims -- both real and fictional -- are chained up, alive and still suffering from their grievous corkscrew gouges.  Taking a page from Hostel, the killer uses a tool to remove a few toes from the unfortunate protagonist before she's able to escape.

The change in tone is jarring.  And, I almost hate to say it, I think it works.  What I had previously considered a forgettable slasher film becomes a movie about a girl who will do anything to protect her little brother from further abuse in his life.  The slasher villain suddenly becomes a symbol of their abusive father that needs to be defeated.  That's actually a kind of an interesting turn-around for a movie to make at the last minute.

The Real Ghostbusters 1.08: "When Halloween Was Forever" (1986) directed by Richard Raynis
Chef Gregory came by for a visit and we picked this piece of nostalgia to watch after the pizza arrived.  He hadn't seen the show since it was really on TV, but remembered the Samhain episode as a cool one.  Hah... his reaction, after we'd watched it: "some things some are so incredibly awesome in your memory, it's better not to watch it again."  Yeah, probably very true.  While I still get a kick out of this cartoon, I'm sure a lot of that is the nostalgia blinders I'm wearing for it.  Compared to many modern cartoons, cartoons from the '80s just don't hold up.  Kids have no idea how poorly written and animated these things uses to be.  Ghostbusters and Transformers and He-Man just cannot hold a candle to a modern cartoon like Ruby Gloom, which both my daughters and I love.


  1. "The Killer Inside Me" is one of those movies I saw when it first hit DVD, enjoyed, and don't remember very much about now. Your co-worker was probably talking about the scene where Jessica Alba gets beat to a pulp, a moment that caused a lot of controversy when the film was first released.

    The Monster cereals still haven't hit my area. Curses! I must taste Fruit Brute.

  2. Tarantino's favorite cereal! The Targets around here have been hit-and-miss for them. One had them hidden at the end of an aisle, though, so I grabbed the lot of them. Kids are in heaven, never having "candy cereal" before.