Posts Tagged ‘scary

22
Apr
13

Evil Dead (2013): If You Want Blood…

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“Promise, you’ll stay till the end.” -Mia, Evil Dead

a Primal Root written review

edited by Bootsie Kidd

Gang, I must apologize for taking such a dang long time getting around to typing up this review. I needed time to let the The Evil Dead remake digest,  for my mind to really feel out what my thoughts were on the whole damn bloody feature.  So, here goes, my thoughts on the reimagining, new take of “The Evil Dead”, “Evil Dead”. I will try and break it down as spoiler-free as possible.

Sam Raimi’s original 1980 “The Evil Dead” is the story of one man’s personal apocalypse as his friends, one-by-one, become hideous shadows of their former selves and begin attacking, brutalizing, mocking, and humiliating him. Ash (Bruce Campbell) must finally find it within himself to fight back if he wants to make it through the night alive. “Evil Dead” (2013) follows along those same lines,  and though similar in a basic premise, “Evil Dead” does an intelligent job of making the material its own.

Personally, one of the aspects of the film I truly appreciated was the organizing principle. These twenty-somethings aren’t headed out to a dank, nasty, mildew farm of a cabin for a fun filled weekend. No, they are there to help their buddy kick her heroin habit cold turkey. A feat she has tried before and failed at.  So, the glum bunch of attractive kids consisting of the most adorable little junkie ever, Mia (Jane Levy),  her unreliable,  yet studly coward of a brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) , his “just-there-to-die” girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore),  control freak buddy nurse Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and her bespectacled, grumpy bear of a fella, Eric ( Lou Taylor Pucci) head to the desperate fixer-upper in the middle of the creepiest forest in North America and commence Betty Fording.

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And nothing can deter them, not even the fact that the cabin seems to have been recently broken into, and those who did, left a basement full of at least ten dozen skinned, rotted, feline carcasses hanging from the rafters and looking like it smells of twice-baked putrescence and burnt hair.  Don’t worry, it’s all part of the pre-credit prologue. Oh, and did I mention the Scooby Gang also come across a mysterious package wrapped in black trash bags and laced in razor wire?  Could this be the legendary Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, roughly translated, The Book of the Dead? I have a good feeling you already know the answer. Yes, this seems like the best option for someone trying to rehabilitate herself! I’m surprised they all don’t just pick up the habit right there to make the living situation bearable.  Or at least get  cope with what I can only imagine is the worst smelling cabin of all time.

Anyhoo, I’m still with this new Evil Dead film Mia begins having withdrawal symptoms and everyone else kind of just sits around waiting for their cue to don their white contacts and let the arterial blood spray across the room. Before you can say “What a fucking idiot” Eric has clipped the razor wire, and ripped open the garbage bags to reveal the Necronomicon (SURPRISE, SURPRISE!), bound in human flesh and inked in blood with the ominous warnings that has since been utilized by many Bill O’Reily published works  “DO NOT READ THIS BOOK”, er, something along those lines. As if the razor wire ribbon wasn’t clue enough to leave the fucking thing alone… Oh well, the beard-o opens up the book and gets to reading aloud the demon resurrection passages and, whatdya know, he unleashes Hell on Earth. Who do you think the evil spirit picks on first? Who just might be the most weak and vulnerable amongst the kiddies at Melancholy Manor?

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That’s right, Mia! Seen the first movie? Then it should come as no surprise that the young lady gets a slimy, malicious, invasive surprise from the Evil Dead right up her lady bits! Which leads to her being the vessel for this special brand of demonic spirit to wreak havoc on the rest of the down trodden crew! And oh, what a splattery, nasty night of havoc it is! There’s barfing, and tongue slashing, and arm chopping, and syringe poking, and nail gunning, electric knife wielding, oh, the list goes on and on as friends are possessed and begin turning on one another with very little haste. The second Mia is possessed, the movie kicks into hyper drive  with people turning into monsters from Hell left and right, you hardly have time to catch your breath as friends must battle their newly eviled chums in order to survive!

Let me tell ya, the gore is wonderful in this flick, as are all the practical effects. Everything looks sleazy, disgusting and pitch perfect. As body parts start plopping on the floor and gruel goes splashing into character’s mouths, I got a certain sense of euphoria. This reminded me much of my self made, VHS horror education back in the late 80’s all through the 90’s, when I began renting any and every horror video I could looking for just these kind of unrelenting moments of pure, unadulterated, horror insanity. I could practically feel my inner 15 year old giving my current 31 year old spirit a high five. This was some crazy, blood-caked glory that I would have creamed my shorts to have seen in those days. Better late than never, I suppose. But, yes, Evil Dead delivers the gore-met delights.

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****SPOILER WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!****

But then the film began to reach its climax…which involves the impromptu MacGuyver-esque creation of a defibrillator by David to use in order to bring Mia back to life. That’s right, he studies the Necronomicon and discovers the many ways to cure the possessed aka: many ways to kill these people who are possessed.  His plan is to bury Mia alive until she dies of suffocation and then dig her up, stab her in the heart, pump her full of juice until she is jolted back to life, and then she’ll be right as rain.  And to my absolute shock and dismay, THE PLAN WORKS! Not only that, but she comes back without any injuries! the woman cut her tongue in half with a rusty old knife! How in the fuck did that heal instantaneously? Are you telling me if David were to resurrect Natalie from the dead, her arms (which she loses one to her own carving knife and the other in battle with her friends)  would miraculously reappear attached to her body? I’m sorry, but unless I missed a moment in the film where it is mentioned in the Necroonomicon that if a mortal is brought back from being possessed by pure evil by the use of a defibrillator all wounds inflicted during the time of possession are null and void, that’s just an incredibly manipulative plot devise that tries to deliver the audience something they didn’t see coming. I am all for surprises and going against audience expectations, but it feels so unlikely that anything like this would work, especially without ever being established that it might, it feels like a cheat. I have a hard time buying into the idea that the Evil Dead would work so hard to possess people that they would just leave a dead body once it is brought back to life. I know I’m nitpicking, but it just feels remarkably lame.  Seriously, the movie had me up until the moment David brought out the spark plug treatment. Seriously, the second that fucking thing showed up, my eyes nearly rolled out of my head.

The finale of Evil Dead is a crowd pleaser as the sky cracks open, pouring blood down on the property where the cabin is (no telling if the blood rain came down on any near by farming communities) and the evil is manifest into flesh, which is basically a tall skinny, saggy breasted knock off of the final creature in 2007’s  [REC]. Personally, after such an incredible lead up, I was expecting a bit more from our final monster, but that’s okay, because the monster is dispatched in the most brutally, hysterically over the top fashion, you will want to wake up the kids and show ’em.

****END SPOILERS! THE SPOILERS ARE OVER!****

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Bottom line? I enjoyed Evil Dead.  I thought it was far more emo and sad sacky than its source material, but that’s to be expected if the film is to be its own beast and set itself apart from its predecessor.  But, to tell you the truth, did we ever love The Evil Dead for it’s organizing principal? Not really, the second demon possessed  party revelers or concerned rehab friends start getting hacked into coleslaw, it all kind of turns into the same sorta film where the audience begins hooting and hollering at the screen,  laughing when things get over the top and groaning when moments are teeth grindingly painful.  Its the fucking Evil Dead,  and it’s a pretty damn good time at the movies if this is your cup of tea.  The audience I saw it with was obviously having a blast, laughing, cheering and talking back to the screen as is the case with any true gut buster horror film worth its weight in innards.  It was fun despite the movie taking itself so seriously. Let’s face it, once demons are deflected by shock treatment and property begins flooding with blood from the sky, you’re flick has stepped into the absurd and is no longer the somber film about a junkie in need of rehabilitation.

Could the whole film just be an extended metaphor for how the wages of drug addiction can destroy your relationship with your family and your dearest friendships? That enabling someone to continue their bad behavior, or just ignoring the problem entirely,  allows the behavior too go on far too long and ends up hurting more people? Could I be digging too deep? I suppose, but still… Mia was fighting her own demons long before she was invaded by those conjured up by the Necronomicon, and David, who we learn has run away from every major problem in his life, must finally find the courage within himself to man up and take responsibility to save the ones he loves. Of course, he waits way too fucking long to do this, but, then again, if he had been braver sooner we may not have had such an outstanding gore fest.

Evil Dead (2013) is a thoughtful and dark revision of Raimi’s classic.  I appreciated the focus on the story arc of the two siblings, Mia and David, which did bring something totally new to the Evil Dead series.  The only thing I wish there was more of would be Raimi’s twisted, perverse sense of humor, but that’s not what this movie’s about.  Sure, yes, I enjoyed Evil Dead in a theater full of other fans. But without that gnarly, evil, dark sense of humor, will I ever break out Evil Dead on a movie night with my friends over like the original Evil Dead? Only time will tell.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

29
Jan
13

Luna: Devil Girl of the Month January 2013

  Happy New Year, Gang! Well, it looks like we made it through 2012 more or less unscathed. Which is just one of the many reasons I am so damned excited  to introduce to you our New Year’s Devil Girl of the Month, the strikingly beautiful and mysterious, Luna! My other reasons for being excited? Well, Luna’s spread is quite the awesome, and it also makes for a great note to begin this new year at The Collective on!  As opposed to taking her inspiration from any direct source material her set is based upon something her own twisted imagination produced:

“Here is what we came up with. A forgotten and lost marionette that comes to life, frees herself from her bonds and becomes her creator’s living nightmare, killing him in his sleep and making off down the road to unknown destinies!”

Sounds pretty fucking awesome to me! Be sure to check out both Luna and her photographer’s links! Hope everyone’s enjoying a Trashy New Year so far! Feast your eyes on Luna’s set and Stay Trashy! -Root

Model – Luna Minuit

Photography/Editing – XXX ZOMBIEBOY XXX

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26
Apr
12

The Innkeepers: Clean Linens and Dead Ends

a Primal Root review

Okay Gang, I’m going to try REAL hard not to spoil anything about “The Innkeepers.” You have my word that spoilers will be kept to a minimum.

I remember hearing of Ti West’s “The House of the Devil” through the horror fan grapevine as a cinematic experience those who watched either loved or hated. I decided to give it a go and became a member of the former category. I loved “The House of the Devil” and felt it’s quirky, patient approach to building suspense and creating a genuine atmosphere of dread was so refreshing it almost felt totally new in a cinematic culture where most films are slashed to ribbons in the editing process and paced to the heart rate of a Starbucks junkie. Sure, this technique is nothing new and was perfected by the likes of Hitchcock and De Palma and Carpenter, but to see a young, fresh out the gates filmmaker like Ti West utilize a form of cinematic story telling that seemed all but forgotten instantly made the young man an artist I wanted to keep tabs on.

Enter, “The Innkeepers”, West’s most recent effort. The story of two slacker employees Claire (Sara Paxton from The Last House on the Left remake) and Luke (Pat Healy from Rescue Dawn) of the very soon to be shut down and demolished Yankee Pedlar Inn, a three story, turn of the century kind of place with awesome wallpaper, hard wood floors and the obligatory legend of a tragic death and enduring haunting therein. As the last two employees on staff at the Yankee Pedlar, Clair and Luke take the opportunity to down some cheap beer and launch a full scale investigation into the legendary haunting of deceased bride-to-be, Madeline O’Malley which Luke claims to have encountered on several occasions.

The duo busts out their recording equipment to try and capture some EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and set the stage for the possibility of a ghostly encounter. And honestly, one gets the impression that these two are investigating more our of sheer boredom than any passionate interest. However, as some curious happenings begin to manifest around Clair and Luke they are advised by one of the only guests they have that weekend, Leanne (Kelly McGillis from Top Gun (!) ) who is a former TV actress turned psychic medium.  She comes to Claire as a friend and offers a possible guide to the spirit world while also offering some well timed significant New Age wisdom and a dark warning…

“The Innkeepers” is one scary mother fucking movie. It finally dawned on me that, really, if there’s one genre of horror sure to really get me rattled it’s the kind that involves hauntings and ghosts. Ghosts are a tricky subject in horror movies because they can be handled improperly like they were in the remake of “Paranormal Activity” (2009) or “Insidious” (2011) where everything is revealed, everything explained and everything is showcased in the light of day and leaves nothing to the imagination. I have always been of the opinion that scariest thing we will ever face is that which we don’t understand and what’s left up to us to imagine. Always, this will be far more frightening than anything a filmmaker and his effects crew could ever create and showcase.

For the majority of “The Innkeepers” we join Claire and Luke in their final, modest,  quest to seek any kind of proof of the supernatural at The Yankee Peddler. We see only what they see, hear what they hear and many times adopt their point of view as the camera track closely behind them keep the frame claustrophobic and tense as the viewer joins them in the investigation. Often there’s nothing but silence or the hum of static piping through headphones as they listen to what they’re recording. I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation being drawn in both wanting something to happen and being incredibly fucking nervous as to the when and what might be revealed or heard. It’s a film that realizes we’ve seen this sort of film before and that we are familiar with the beats. “The Innkeepers” defies our expectations and repeatedly scares the shit out of the viewer. They may be jump scares, but they are well earned and serve the purpose of the story at hand.

Not only are the scares and techniques used to deliver them excellent, but so is the cast at hand. Our star player, Sara Paxton gives a very genuine and game performance as the adorable, nerdy slacker, Claire. She finds herself in the center of the storm during the proceedings and manages to play up her distress well and also proves to be quite the comedian to boot. Paxton is imminently watchable and young actress I look forward to seeing more from. Pat Healy as Luke is a great foil to Claire and generates some great laughs with his deadpan, sarcastic performance. Like Paxton, Healy is called upon to both be very believably funny and terrified. The brother pulls it off in spades. Kelly McGillis is fantastic as the resident psychic, Leanne, a once famous TV star with a gift for communicating with the other side. As the films most prominent supporting player she proves believable and essential to the tale and really grounds the film in reality. “The Innkeepers” benefits greatly from her presence.

“The Innkeepers” brings to mind Kubrick’s “The Shining” by way of Kevin Smith’s “Clerks”. It’s the story of two intelligent but unmotivated young adults working a literal dead-end job and floating rudderless. When Clair is asked by Leanne what she does Claire can only respond with an awkward and unsure “I’m kind of between things.” as if she’s never given a single thought to what will be coming next for her.  Claire and Luke are very real and well developed characters that feel like people we know. Hell, what might be even stranger is that these characters might even be many of us, stuck in lame jobs and having resigned ourselves to them with no clue as to how we could ever better our situation.  These characters wonder the silent, ancient halls of The Yankee Peddler looking for the smallest evidence that there is something more there. Evidence that there could be any truth to legend of Madeline O’Malley. It may seem like a futile search to some, pointless even when faced with the crushing reality of oncoming unemployment, but the truth is that some of us might never find anything better than what we’ve got and grown accustomed to. Many find themselves in the exact same trap Claire and Luke find themselves in. Walking the halls of the place they can’t stand in a kind of purgatory.I can think of few things scarier than that.

Well, beside mother fucking ghosts…

The Innkeepers is an intelligent and brilliantly constructed horror film. One that doesn’t spoon feed it’s story or characters to the audience.  The Yankee Peddler itself feels like a character int he film, much in the same way The Overlook Hotel played the same sort of significance in the proceedings of The Shining. Every hall tells a story, every room has witnessed thousands of tales unfold. One can only imagine what frightening memories such a place might have. And this is the ultimate strength if “The Inkeepers”, we are given the ammunition necessary to fill in the blanks and imagine many of the films horrors. Some are blatant and in your face, but “The Innkeepers” is a smart enough film to allow room for mystery, ambiguity and interpretation.  The mark of truly good film is that it trust it’s audience and doesn’t talk down to it. “The Innkeepers” is just such a film.

It’s a slow burn that takes it’s time to build up the suspense and lay on the dread as thick as molasses while dropping in some well timed laughs and plenty of fun, snappy banter.  Ti West knocked it out of the park with this one, yes, “The Innkeepers” is well worth the visit.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

21
Oct
11

Root’s Trashy Halloween Playlist

Hey Gang! Yesterday I spent a good portion of my waking hours sorting through tons of creepy, sexy, strange music so I could put together a list of songs for my favorite night of the year, Halloween. I began compiling and typing and about 5 hours later I had to cut myself off because the list had suddenly become a small novel.

 So, I figured for the sake of all my fellow Collectors I would go ahead and cull the heard and select a handful of favorites fro you to peruse. And NO, there will be no HALLOWEEN BY THE MISFITS or BELA LUGOSI’S DEAD BY BAUSHAUS! I am trying to spotlight some often overlooked songs on the eternal Halloween jukebox.

And, please, by all means, list some of your favorite Halloween songs in the comments!  Enjoy!

Ah, nothing says it’s time for Halloween like the Sister’s Wiggin rock trio, The Shaggs,  singing the praises of our favorite holiday! Really, just one listen to this sucker and you will be convinced, yes, it’s Halloween.

Favorite Lyrics: All the kids are happy and gay. There doesn;t seem to be a cloud in their way. But when it’s over. and they’ve had all their fun, they’ll wish that Halloween had just begun.

word.

 For those who know me this should come as no surprise. I am an avid fan of Queens of the Stone Age and this track. ‘Burn the Witch’ off their album Lullabies to Paralyze is a perfect blend of Halloween spirit and the bands typical Devil may care swagger. Perfect opener for your Halloween debauchery.

Favorite Lyrics: Fan the flames with a little lie, then turn your cheek, until the fire dies
The skin it peels, like the truth, away. What it was I will never say…

 Meant as a satire of Bob Geldof’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas”, “Do They Know It’s Halloween” begs American’s to save the country from the horror that is…Halloween. Track features such artists as Beck, Roky Erickson, Karen O, Fiest, Sonic Youth and Arcade Fire. Simply put, this song is epic.

Favorite Lyrics: ‘Fools! You think you can stop Hallowe’en?’ ‘The world can’t hear your useless plea!’
‘It’s too late! Our orange and black plague will soon consume them all!’ ‘Then everyone will understand the true meaning of Hallowe’en…’

Looking to turn your Halloween soiree in a shit kicking, badass ruckus? Look no further than the twisted musings of Haunted Garage! They;re sick, they’re vile. and their music is custom made for late night Halloween horror.

Favorite Lyrics: Just call me Satan in the morning, just suck my dick before you leave me.

Taking things into a darker direction, VAST’s “Pretty When You Cry” , every time I listen to, just makes me feel a littler drty, A little violated. Maybe its because it reminds me of the video? Perhaps the lyrics that sound like a sociopath who likes to cut up young girls justifying his actions, or the dark, moody, hypnotic music? Perhaps a combination of all three? Either way, the song is one of the catchiest songs possibly about manipulating a murdering women ever made.  Which is quite the feat.

Favorite Lyrics: You’re made of my rib, oh baby, you’re made of my sin. And I can’t tell where your lust ends and where your love begins…

Okay, yeah, I realize Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a bit poppy but there are few bands around singing really good danceable rock music about decapitation.

Favorite Lyrics:Off, off, off, with your head. Dance, dance, dance, ’til you’re dead.

 If you’re chasing trouble on Halloween might as well make this your soundtrack. Because there’s nothing like causing mayhem while shaking your ass to the beat.

Favorite Lyrics: I’m gonna browse for a woman who can help me chase the devil. Yeah, I’m gonna chase the devil tonight. GET DOWN!

A bit of a stalker song but it’s got a cool hook and a very creepy vibe to it. Which makes sense.

Favorite Lyrics: I know you’re probably getting ready for bed. Beautiful woman, get out of my head. I’m so tired of the same old crud. Sweet baby, I need fresh blood.

One of my favorite tracks off The Raveonettes’ album “Lust, Lust, Lust”, “Dead Sound” is a sad song that is really upbeat. It may not explicitly be about anything Halloween related but the overall feel of the the song and the repeated line “Dead Sound…Dead Sound” makes it work on a Halloween playlist. Morose, chilly, up-tempo and simply a great track. Other stuff to check out by The Raveonettes for you Halloween playlist: Attack of the Ghost Riders, Do You Believe Her, Bowels of the Beast, My boyfriend’s Back and Beat City

Favorite Lyrics:  And now you go through a million girls snd try to pick what’s right. When nigtfall comes and you’re still alone do you feel it deep inside?

Oooh, Nick Cave, there are few artists that I listen to more often once autumn rolls into town. This has been a Halloween favorite of mine since as far back as I can recall. Nick singing the classic” Up Jumped the Devil”, a cautionary tale about where you’ll end up if you are up to the Devil’s business. Which, I am certain to be up to this Halloween…

Favorite Lyrics: O poor heart, I was doomed from the start. Doomed to play the villians part. I was the baddest Johnny in the apple cart. My blood was blacker than the chambers of a dead nun’s heart.

Well, there are a few of my selections for this year’s festivities. I hope you enjoyed at least one or two of them. Be sure to add them to your playlist this Halloween just in case I drop by unannounced having transformed into a werewolf. 😀 Now, please, share some of your favorites with The Collective!   Happy Halloween, Gang!

25
Feb
11

My Soul to Take…eh, you can keep it.

A film as inspired as it's poster art...

a Primal Root written review
Man, oh, man, do I remember a time when Wes Craven was the man. When he was the sick hippie sadist who brought us flicks like the brutal rape/revenge classic Last House on the Left and the road-trip mutant fiasco film, The Hills Have Eyes. He created (althoughRobert Englund deserves just as much credit) the most iconic and important boogieman of the last 30 years in hideously scarred, murderous, dreamstalker, Freddy Krueger… He even brought the slasher film back for a post-modern rebirth with the Kevin Williamson-penned Scream franchise. But then something went horribly wrong. Scream 3 sucked. As did his werewolf flick, Cursed…Red Eye was really his last decent film before he went into producer mode and got on board the remake wagon to oversee the re-imaginings of some of his beloved earlier works with varying degrees of success…
And then, in 2010, Wes Craven came back with a new and original horror film in 2010! One that would prove once again why he is considered a Master of Horror! A supernatural horror film about schizophrenia, possession, soul collecting, California Condors, superstition, urban legend, prayer, pregnancy, blow jobs and two male leads who have terrible hair look like they smell even worse. Oh yes, here comes My Soul to Take…IN 3D!!!
As a horror fan I try to defend Wes to the best of my ability. The guy has seriously made some fantastic films, many of which he penned himself. He’s created memorable, timeless horror classics that are still viewed, still entertaining and still discussed today. He once upon a time proved that truly memorable horror didn’t just go after your guts, but after your mind as well. Sure, you can gross people out but if you really want your audience to be thinking about your movie when they go to bed the best place to attack is upstairs where their deepest, darkest fears live.
My Soul to Take was the last straw.
Our film begins with a grizzly killing spree in which a husband and father has the revelation that he is “The Ripper”, a serial killer that’s been going around town gutting folks with his super cool knife he must have ordered from swordsofmight.com. See, this fellow didn’t realize he was “The Ripper” because he’s schizophrenic…*sigh*. He calls his shrink but it’s already too late because he’s already slashed up and killed his pregnant wife. When the police arrive he has stabbed himself multiple time and is about to hack up his tiny daughter when the cops blow him away. But not very well. Because this asshole wakes up for approximately a dozen goddamn jump scares that are far more hilarious than they are shocking. The film’s prologue ends with an ambulance explosion, about five more dead bodies and three critically injured…and the killer somehow crawls off the gurney and is never heard from again…
SIXTEEN YEARS LATER!

Turns out on the night The Ripper was killed SEVEN children were born. That’s right, seven kids in this small community were born on the night The Ripper died. And on their collective birthday these kids go down to the river and perform some kind of passion play where they invoke The Ripper’s spirit and then knock over a puppet…I dunno. The cops show up just as all our stock characters are listed off. Several of them gather behind a fallen log o spend what feels like 20 fucking minutes discussing the myths and urban legend surrounding The Ripper. See, we already know everything that happened. We just saw it at the very beginning of the film. So to hear all these stories surrounding The Ripper is mind numbingly tedious.

What't the blind character looking at over there?

 

We’ve all seen Wes Craven’s magnum opus, A Nightmare on Elm Street. Remember how well Freddy’s back story was handled? It was always kept in the shadows. It was whispered about and the audience learned along with our hero Nancy just who her nemesis was. This added to our interest as an audience and gave the whole film a veil of mystery and suspense. When you show your audience from the outset what the back story of your villain is there’s not much left to reveal. But, then again, we still haven’t gotten to the California Condor/ Soul Collector shit yet…
Once My Soul to Take’s opening gore soaked hilarity comes to an end and our 7 possibly evil teens are introduced the pacing slows down to a snail’s pace. After one teen is dispatched in a relatively well handled murder sequence the film, once again, takes detour into Expositionville, where it spends the majority of its running time. We get a little taste of all 6 (sorry, one dies early on) of these kids’ lives but none of them are developed. Even our lead red herring, Bug, is never clearly defined. We know he makes really cool puppets and costumes, speaks in creepy voices,  likes the blonde girl but is only liked by the red headed uber-christian…I dunno, he’s the lead and I can’t tell you anything more about him than this without revealing any of the twists you’ll guess right from the beginning. Still, I will try to be a gentleman and let you figure it out on your own.
It’s apparent that the creative force behind My Soul to Take has no clear grip on what it is to be a teenager in America.  All the typical Breakfast Club characters are present. The pretty one, the outcast, the nerd, the unbelievably violent jock…with the added bonus of an asian weho has 5 minutes screen time, a blind black kid who has 10 and a very attractive red head fire and brimstone religious fanatic. Do any of these character or their clichéd traits add anything of significance to the story? Are you kidding?! Of course not. They all end up as lunch meat and do little more than walk around uttering mundane, ridiculous dialog that you would never hear come out of a teenager’s mouth.
Our teeny-boppers attend a droll and disturbingly empty high school. Really, the school is gigantic yet the only people we ever see in the halls or out in the courtyard are our key players. There’s no hustle or bustle between classes and even the gigantic hallways remain empty as our teen protagonists trade off meaningless, vapid dialog for endless, yawn educing stretches.
And The Ripper himself (Which is my nickname every time I eat a helping of baked beans) is little more than a dreary, watered down potty mouthed amalgam of Freddy and Horace Pinker dressed up in a zombie Bob Marley costume.  There’s also shades of Ghostface from the Scream franchise because The Ripper can’t just stalk and kill these kids. He has to give them taunting cell phone calls beforehand.

I suppose you can guess the fate of 'Blow-Job Gil' if you examine this photo. The Farter, er, The Ripper comes in from behind! Murder? Or surprise butt sex? See the movie...

Come to think of it, it’s almost as if Wes Craven put a handful of his films (Shocker, Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street) in a blender and hit puree.  Hell, there’s even elements from the lesser Nightmare films to be found. Remember that lame plot device Renny Harlin used in Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4: The Dream Master? The one where Alice absorbed the souls of her friends when they died and she could utilize the one character trait that made them unique (i.e. karate, strength training, um, the power to plug things into outlets and press the power button…) and used those abilities to defeat Freddy in the end? Well, a certain character in My Soul to Take  has the same ability. He’s called the keeper of souls *face palm* only he doesn’t use any of their unique characteristics to defeat The Ripper, I mean what would he use? Blindness? Faith in God? Extreme Bitchiness? Constant Requests for blow jobs? These are not the weapons one needs to defeat a possibly supernatural monster intent on ripping out your lower intestine and using it as a jump rope.
No, this time around the souls help him figure out probability equations…to figure out the identity of the killer. Could it be one of the 7 kids (obviously not that one that dies in the beginning) or is it The Ripper returned from the grave? Or did The Ripper never die? The answer to this question is a lot lamer than you might initially think.
My Soul to Take is  a film chock full of ideas, not good ones, but ideas nonetheless. Craven just can’t seem to find a way to incorporate all of them and leave space to realistically develop his characters or give them understandable motivations and instead just gives them endless scenes where they try and explain to the audience just what in the name of Hell is even happening. I just watched this film and I couldn’t even tell you what the sentiment was. Did Craven have anything to say?  Near the conclusion of the film one characters whines out a line similar to, “People shouldn’t kill eachother all the time!”  Yeah…what a message.

I swear the lead actor is channeling Jesse from A Nightmare on Elm Street part 2 through the entire film. His sister ain't half bad on the left there...

 

Well, My Soul to Take is a hunk of complete crap.  I have to cut this review short because I could go one for another 2,000 words laying out every gripe I have with this flick. And this is coming from a guy who loves Trash Cinema.  Maybe one day I will be able to laugh at this failure, but in the hands of Wes Craven, I expect more. I expect better.

With Scream 4 on the horizon let us all hope Wes Craven can regain some of the edge he once had and bring us something worth our time. I hope Craven can redeem himself. He’s an intelligent and talented man who should know what works in the genre by now. But after watching My Soul to Take, I cannot help but sense a sense of sadness and dread that one of the best  lost his touch. Over a decade ago.

My Soul to Take. Your time to waste.

Stay Trashy,
-The Primal Root

08
Apr
10

Elm Street Dance Party! Part One: DREAM WARRIORS!

by The Primal Root

Gather round gang and I’ll tell you a tale…one of a bygone age where there were entire channels dedicated to showing what were known as “Music Videos.” These little slices of awesome were used to promote musicians’ latest singles for their new albums while at the same time entertaining and impressing their fans. Some were more successful at the art form than others and the this form of media held strong for about twenty years.

There was even a time when movie studios made awesome music videos that not only promoted a band but tied into their upcoming movie as well! The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is among the most prolific in that department. Freddy’s presence on a little channel known as MTV would help launch him into the pop culture lexicon.

In the week leading up to the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street part 3: The Dream Warriors Freddy was all over the station introducing music videos and threatening the teenage audience either through direct menace or by violently attacking children’s toys.

But I like to think what people remember most is the music video for the title track to the movie, Dream Warriors by Dokken! Now, I’m not going to lie to you, I have no deeper knowledge of this band beyond the music they created for Nightmare on Elm Street 3. But that music is so mind blisteringly awesome in it’s 80’s hair metal glam rock way that I will always consider Dokken among the most badass of goofy 80’s metal bands.

The music video is pure marketing genius. They have taken Dokken and inserted them into all the key sequences of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3. From Kristen’s opening nightmare, to the Freddy giant trouser snake set piece, to the final confrontation in some kind of Freddy Hell! Dokken is always there rocking Freddy’s evil away by declaring “WE’RE THE DREAM WARRIORS! AIN’T GONNA DREAM NO MORE! And maybe tonight…MAYBE TONIGHT YOU’LL BE GONE!”

Shiny happy faces at the Dokken & Freddy photo shoot!

The video is definitely dated but I believe it adds to the charm and nostalgia factor. This was the turning point when Freddy was transforming from a slightly well known horror boogieman to a true pop culture sensation and the most recognizable face in horror second only to Karloff’s Frankenstein monster.

I cannot help but think Freddy running the show at MTV for one week had a major hand in helping Freddy Krueger to the top of the modern horror icon dog pile. And the video for Dream Warriors is what sealed the deal.

So without any further a due, I present, Dream Warriors by Dokken!

Sat Trashy!
-The Primal Root

07
Nov
09

The Fourth Kind – The Owliens are not what they seem…

4th poster

a Primal Root review

Watch out Nome Alaska! You are being besieged by evil Owliens who are attacking you in your sleep, taking you to spaceships, probing you and erasing your memories. For what purpose? I guess so you can kill yourself and your family? But that doesn’t matter! This is some scary shit and  it’s ALL REAL and we have tons of audio and visual footage to support this case!

Yeah…

I really don’t know where to begin…the obviously faked “real” footage? The terrible performances? The sloppy script? The hackneyed editing? The strange decision to break some segments up into layered four framed split screen? The Fourth Kind is the kind of Trash Cinema it just hurts to sit through.

4th Milla Open

What I saw did disturb me. Probably not in the way the filmmakers intended.

The film opens just like the trailer with Milla Jovovich looking into the camera and spinning around the woods informing us that what we are about to see is 100% real and based on real accounts by real people in the real town of Nome Alaska and you will be “really” disturbed. She fails to mention that her acting skills are completely fake.

Milla - Serious

"I Has Serious Face."

The Fourth Kind features Milla (Resident Evil) Jovovich as the allegedly “real” psychologist, Abbey Tyler. Abbey’s husband was murdered sometime before the beginning of the film and she is left a widow raising their tweenage son and little daughter who went blind after Daddy kicked the bucket. (Huh?) Through her clients Abbey begins to uncover some kind of  epidemic of really scary owl spottings through hypnosis sessions which she video tapes. These tapes are used to annoy the shit out of the audience during split screen segments featuring the “real” footage and the reenacted footage. Sometimes featuring four shifty frames alternating between shots and moving all over the screen. I am all for edgy editing but, man, when one shot is just a shot of a patrol car’s lights flashing how do you justify this decision?  This is just poor filmmaking.

Anyhoo, soon after one hypnosis session goes hilariously awry (Freak out and hoping over the couch breaking a table)  the patient promptly goes home, murders his family and himself in a standoff with the police. Abbey’s professional, rational, intelligent explanation? The Owliens are responsible. That’s right…Owls from outer space… And she ain’t gonna stop till she gets to the bottom of it, by golly!

fourth06rvt1

Abbey harming one of her many patients.

So she puts some more patients through horrible hypnosis sessions where they end up either dead or scarred for life. Soon she is contacted by an Owlien and has no recollection of it other than what she taped on her hand held tape recorder that I am sure she was planning to send to Diane over at FBI headquarters to inform her that “The Owls are Not What They Seem.”

4th Peaks

I get the feeling someone was watching their Twin Peaks box set when they wrote this sucker.

So, uh, we eventually find our the aliens speak Sumerian and really have no agenda other than abducting people and scaring the shit out of them. Abbey goes through her own gut bustingly funny hypnosis session in the hopes to get her daughter back from the evil Owliens. Abbey air humps off of the couch, unhinges her jaw and starts shouting Sumerian about God and the truth. Be warned, the footage of Abbey going all whacky is screwed up and hardly visible. Which is a shame because it looks highly entertaining. The Fourth Kind has the irritating habit of building up to something really cool and then cutting to the “real” footage which is all messed up and hardly visible. See, at least the Demon in Paranormal Activity knew not to fuck with the tapes! These Owleins are just assholes!

4th Milla probe

Speaking of assholes, the Owliens have some probing to do! Abbey, meet my friend Ben Dover.

By the film’s end there are no answers, which is fine with me, but after two hours there’s no real conclusion either. The film just kind of stops. The scariest thing in the film is the face of the woman who is supposed to be the “real” Abbey Tyler who is interviewed throughout the film. I laughed through this entire movie but anytime the movie cut to the “real” Abbey and quieted down I got scared. Her face is horrifying and I kept waiting in suspense for an Owlien to rip out of her face or something to give us one final jump scare. Alas, she is just creepy looking and that’s all.

4th owl2

"I need to find a better agent."

The Fourth Kind actually resembles something one might create out of scrapped pieces of film found in a dumpster. There are some talented people involved here including character actors Will Patton and Elias Koteas but they are given next to nothing to work with. Koteas plays one of Abbey’s friends and fellow psychologists by the name of Abel Campos. His main purpose in the film is to set up the compact little Sony camcorder, look smug and be skeptical. Patton plays the local Sheriff  who realizes all this Owlien stuff is complete bullshit and Abbey is just totally crazy. I got the feeling the Sheriff is meant to be the villain figure of the piece but I couldn’t help but root for the guy. Abbey is obviously two nuggets short of a Happy Meal and an endangerment to her chilrden and her patients.

4th screenshot1

Some of the "real" footage.

But no amount of supporting cast talent could save this film. It’s just terrible. Maybe if the filmmakers had decided to go with either all filmed footage or fake “real” footage the movie would have been better than trying to fit both into one feature film. The result is muddled, confusing and pretty boring. The Fourth Kind is a film that not only falls short of hitting the bullseye, it flies past the board, off the brick wall and impales itself in the eye of the audience. It’s a vehicle without a map and a completely shit faced driver behind the wheel. It’s inept, stupid, pointless, plotless and has as many redeeming qualities as Spider-Man 3. Seriosuly. It’s that bad.

4th owl

The Eyes of the Owlien.

I cannot recommend The Fourth Kind to anyone but the bravest and most tolerant of us Trash Collectors. I’ve seen more than my share of poorly made Trash Cinema and I can find redeeming qualities in just about all of them. But in the case of The Fourth Kind it simply feels like a cheap, half hearted attempt at making something similar to The Blair Witch Project and we had to endure one of those already this year. I got a few chuckles out of the melodrama and the goofy abduction scenarios but I spent most of the movie looking at Jess and wondering how much longer could they possibly drag this movie out? Will this ever end? Is this real life?

4th o_rly

The Fourth Kind is a failure of the First Order. None of it works, none of it sticks, it’s not mindlessly fun, and it’s not even worthy of being called Trash Cinema. This is just pure cinematic monkey spunk.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root

4th Milla Nude2

Milla Jovovich. Much hotter than The Fourth Kind.




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