a jaded viewer reviews the world of horror, splatter, gore, cult, grindhouse, trash, b-movie, indie, asian and exploitation films
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Horror Movie Alternate Endings You May Have Missed
The alternate ending. It's sometimes comes out actually better than the original ending. Most of the time, it's actually a piece of shit. I'm a proponent of downer endings, one where our hero or heroine doesn't survive because it just sometimes feels more real than your standard packaged survival ending.
But Hollywood and supposed "test audiences" never like downer endings. They hate when the killer lives or wins. They love open endedness-ish stuff and they also like when everybody lives happily ever after. They LOVE fuckin happy endings! :-)
I'm pretty sure you've seen these alternate endings before but if you haven't, their all pretty interesting to watch. 5 of em are complete downers. I especially liked Orphan and Paranormal Activity's alternate endings.
How do you feel about alternate endings? What are your favorite ones and what are ones you hated? Do you have a few that I can add to the list below? Share your thoughts.
It's another edition of The Shortround. Up this week a zombie rom com from Australia courtesy of Cameron McCulloch called Home. I wouldn't exactly call it a ha ha rom com more like a sad rom zom. Here be the basic plot.
Tells the story of a lone surviving woman, stuck in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the undead, trying to hold on to the last of her humanity.
the jaded viewer says: This 11 minute short is without any dialogue. Starring an unnamed woman who lives deep in the woods, we see her life consists of repelling zombie attacks and a nostalgic longing of the man she's lost. It's a pure vignette of zombie lore, probably a lost story in the great zombie uprising. As she checks the perimeter, it seems the zombies are getting closer on her home and all hope seems to be lost.
With one final night approaching, she pretties up her face, puts on a wedding gown and makes her now wedding night memorable with her man...her dead husband. It's quite an end to an interesting short.
Home is clearly an exercise in the zombie genre for Cameron McCulloch. We've all seen every zombie story variation so really nothing new is that shocking or surprising. It's an interesting concept in Home by taking hopelessness and amplifying it to the max. The silence is clearly sad as it is creepy. What really is there to say when your surrounded by the undead who are rapidly closing in? What do you do in your final moments when you actually have time to prepare?
I like how the short closed, I just didn't like anything else. At times it resembles a fan made film complete with friends and families playing zombie. With such a minimal budget, there is not much in gore or splatter and with any zombie movie, this is pretty much the money shot.
Home is an interesting take within the zombie subgenre of rom zom. I've seen better (Alice Jacobs is Dead comes to mind) and I've seen worse. When somebody can tell a zombie story I've never seen before, I'll make sure you all know. Until then I'm going home (pun intended!).
Well I've never won a LAMMY. I figure there is a first time for everything. So I'm putting my name in the hat to win one of these categories.
Best Ratings System (It's freakin spinkicks!)
Best Horror/Sci Fi Blog
Best Movie Reviewer
There are tons of a great LAMB blogs but none have a ratings system based on Jean Claude Van Damme spinkicks. Hell if a movie deserves more than the maximum 4 spinkicks, it gets the Dim Mak aka "Death Touch". By giving this rating to a movie it becomes like 1000 times more lethal than it has ever been before. If I were to view it again, I'd die.
If you think I deserve any of the awards above, head over here and vote me in. Voting ends May 9th!
Thanks for your consideration!
Head over to the LAMB for some kick ass movie blogs.
Before John Erick Dowdle made Devil and Quarantine, he made a found footage serial killer film that was on my radar for a helluva long time. This was the #2 movie I wanted to see in 2008.
Think about the fact that in 2008, the found footage flick boom wasn't in full effect. These days we're use to seeing shaky cam/1st POV when it comes to zombies, ghosts, demons, aliens, and monsters. But initially, the shaky cam was all about the serial killer.
August Underground comes to mind as the one flick that made camcorder killer footage look real. But now after viewing The Poughkeepsie Tapes, which blends a mockumentary with found footage, I'll say it was ahead of its time...in 2008. As of this review, it had a limited festival running and no DVD release. A movie that may have revolutionized both subgenres of mock and found hasn't been seen by anybody.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is like a nostalgic look at the beginnings of how the found footage mock subgenre came to be. It has the feel of Toe Tag Pictures's cult film but by adding the documentary aspect which resembles an Unsolved Mysteries ripoff, it reinvents itself into something new. It's this effectiveness of getting back to the roots of this horror genre that I liked. But it isn't without it's flaws. Both the documentary and the real like "snuff" film somehow lose steam midway through the movie. Genuine turns into laughability at times and you feel like they we're adding things to spice things up.
All in all, The Poughkeepsie Tapes is Dowdle's grand attempt to cash in on the mockumentary and found footage craze at the same time. I think if I had seen this in 2008 I would have called it "revolutionary" and "creepy scary". But in 2011, I'll say it is revolutionary and creepy scary but I'll add in one more thing. "Cheaply dated".
When hundreds of videotapes showing torture, murder and dismemberment are found in an abandoned house, they reveal a serial killer's decade-long reign of terror and become the most disturbing collection of evidence homicide detectives have ever seen. Awesome Review-O-Matic
Like I said, in 2008 I may have been blown away by The Poughkeepsie Tapes but in 2011, just 3 years later I've actually seen better mockumentaries that blend found footage. The one that comes to mind is Lake Mungo. It's the best I've seen in quite a long time. So I'm going to break down the review by dividing the mock and found. First up the mock.
I'm not lying when it comes to the Unsolved Mysteries meets Sightings quality. Blending in interviews from police officers, police commanders, FBI profilers, news footage and family victims it compiles different perspectives about the "The Water Street Butcher". Some of the interviews feel genuinely convincing especially with the victim's families others such as a former FBI profiler are desperately in need of acting lessons. In an interview with an FBI agent, she praises the killer for his ingenuity and knowledge of county bureaucracy. It's interesting to hear their take but in no way would the FBI admit they've been duped.
I'll admit, the footage is damn creepy. It has that authentic late 80s early 90s VHS quality to it with the blending colors and grainy footage. At times, the footage is unwatchable but the "realness" has a definite impact. The footage is clearly shocking and disturbing. We can see the killer stalk his victims, most being women and *gasp* children. We hear him talk and you get the feeling he's one of those people a neighbor may say "He didn't seem like the serial killer type".
So what kind of footage do we get to see intertwined with the mock? An odd balloon fetish, a few stalking and murders, a "broke car" trap which leads to a couple's murder, a little girl's demise, and the creme de la creme, a kidnapping of a victim Cheryl Dempsey. Also added the torture of Cheryl and footage of him disemboweling and dismembering his victims.
After that footage, the documentary interviews a "dismemberment expert" which is hilarious. What does it take to be a dismemberment expert? Did he go to dismemberment school? Sigh. But I digress.
Later our killer changes his MO and starts murdering prostitutes to cover his tracks. Cheryl now brainwashed by the killer who calls him "Master" to her "slave" is forced to slice a street walker's throat to save her own life. She's been mentally and physically degraded forced to wear a mask and a medieval type dress.
Our killer is also in the footage at times but obscured as he wears a mask. At one point he taunts the mother by going right up to her and offering his "help" to finding Cheryl, taping the entire "taunt" on tape.
The movie cuts from footage to doc but devotes most of its time to the footage. I found the footage to be the most convincing in it's cleverness. That's not to say both become a little laughable at times. From the unconvincing interviews with law enforcement to the over the top acting of our killer, it felt like we had gone from seeing a "real" footage to having our killer be more creative, cruel and bizarre just so we wouldn't all get bored. The killer's acting of master/slave is clearly corny and contrived as is all his clever traps. At one point, he let's in two Girl Scouts in and asks them questions. It's an uneasy feeling to see children in the same room as this man and I have to admit, I felt kinda scared of where this scene would go.
But soon after, we see a nice clear "moviemaking" shot of our victim reflected in a mirror tied and bound. It's some of these techniques and the "dungeon" basement set that made the movie go from gritty real to gritty fake.
There's a bit of a twist in the film regarding a suspect and his eventual demise that gets you caught off guard but at this point, I was taking anything I saw with a grain of salt. A final interview with Cheryl also packs a punch and I'll admit was sad and mesmerizing at the same time.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is clearly a tale of two halves. The documentary and footage aspects make it feel real and intriguing during the first half of the film. But the second half, both aspects lose steam and you start to feel like they had to add lots of gimmicks to keep you interested. I'm not saying the gimmicks weren't a solid WTF, but they were highly outrageous and kind of unbelievable.
The performances all are clearly respectable aside from a few of the roles I mentioned. The killer is vicious and it shows. His resume is sickly depraved. Rapist, butcher, savage killer and he even goes child-acide. He mentally scars a victim and uses the criminal justice system to kill as well. But we never even get a motivation or reason of why he does it. Not from himself or the police or FBI. Sure we get a profile (which is a mocking of profiling in a edited montage as the FBI has no clue what this man may look like or why he kills) and thus we're left with not knowing. This is a serious no no in serial killer movies. You have to give some sort of reason as to why the killer does what he does. Sure in real life we sometimes have no idea why, but in movies it SHOULD be in there.
The subgenre of found footage has moved away from it's roots of late. Found footage use to be reserved for the tales of pseudo snuff films, lost teens in Maryland or cannibals run amok. These days, shaky cams and HD video cameras record ghosts, monsters and zombies. Hell we're going to get aliens on cam in Super 8.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is serial killer found footage horror with a hardcore edge. It's not the best the genre has to offer but it's creepy scary in that "my neighbor might be evil" sorta way. The mock and found offered by The Poughkeepsie Tapes is an alternative to your now pre-packaged found footage film. That should at least warrant a viewing.
Some grainy dismembering
Corpse nudity..does that count?
WTF moment Balloon fetish?!? Kids in danger Give a hand to Cheryl
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
The movie is on the Internet if you wish to see it. You just have to know where to look. Ahem Ahem. MGM owns the rights but even after the success of other found footage flicks, they have yet to do so.
I'd say give it a chance if you like the mock and found genre of horror. It deserves at least a viewing if you want to see early found footage/mockumentary films.
The Jaded Viewer has been covering all things Soska. The Soska Sisters have debuted their poster for their latest feature American Mary. Front and center is the lovely Katharine Isabelle looking kinda coma and tosed. Wait...is that somebody copping a feel?
The tagline is "Appearances are Everything" which is intriguing in itself. This needs an IMDB page stat. In any case, the plot is still mum as the Soska Sisters will wait until we've gotten over our nostalgia Scream fetish to unleash this flick on us.
Random Poll: Which "food" dish would you eat if you were having dinner at Pankot Palace?
After USA aired Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for like the 500th time last weekend, I decided to watch it again. And for like the 1000th time I saw the infamous dinner scene. It's so funny on so many levels.
I love Short Round's reaction to everything.
So this leads to a random jaded viewer poll.
Which "food" dish would you eat if you were having dinner at Pankot Palace? As you can see in the poll to in the right nav bar, there is no "I wouldn't eat anything!" option.
It seems in Scandinavia they take their fairy tales damn seriously. I already brought to your attention the Santa Claus in the wilderness turned killers flick from Finland Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. Thanks to that, I'll never think of jolly old Santa the same way again.
But now thanks to Andre Ovredal's latest flick The Troll Hunter, my views of lovable trolls has now been smashed to smithereens. The Troll Hunter gives a unique spin in that now tired shaky cam/found footage subgenre. You've all seen ghosts, zombies, cannibals and other found footage flicks. What makes this one any different? Honestly, I gotta say it's trolls.
Somehow the subject of this college film crew discovering real life trolls makes the fantasy fun to watch. I actually didn't know much about the fairy tale and the folklore of trolls but as I watched the film it started educating me just like a documentary would. Add in some gratuitous running shaky cam, a glimpse of a real life Paul Bunyan troll hunter and some solid trolls FX and you have a great film that lives up to it's tagline.
A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.
The comparisons to The Blair Witch Project, Cannibal Holocaust and Cloverfield are inevitable. The film begins by telling you the footage you are about to see was taken from hours of footage and now has been edited to help the public identify the now missing documentary crew.
As all these movies follow the same formula, I'm implementing my formulaic POV review.
1.) The camera "person" films everything 2.) His friends who become part of the video 3.) Something sinister starts to scare them 4.) The film ends with "the final shot" that gets the audience shocked 1.) The camera "person" films everything
Our trio of college students Tomas (our host) , Kalle (camera operator) and Johanna (the sound gal) are introduced to us. Seems like they want to investigate bear attacks but eventually set their sights on a mysterious hunter they think is a poacher.
What we see through Kalle's shaky (and seriously it's freakin shaky as hell lens) are breathtaking views of Norway. Lush green mountains and lakes that are bar none beautiful. We do get our standard host Tomas doing a news report but other footage is inter spliced that's raw. It'd be odd to shoot your sound person or record yourself driving in a car, but with all these cinema verite flicks, you gotta show continuity right?
Act 1 is clearly all establishing shots. We get to know our crew, meet some locals and get to know our way around these towns of Norway. Once they target the hunter to interview, they start noticing some oddities including a shredded car and a mobile home with a smell and animal parts that are extremely weirdo.
2.) His friends who become part of the video
"Friends" do become part of the video but for our crew Otto isn't our friend initially. After they follow Otto our mysterious hunter to a secluded no trespassing location, they realize he isn't hunting bear after all. "TROLLS!" he yells and we start Act 2 in a WTF sorta way.
With any found footage film, you live for the moment when you get your first glimpse of a zombie or ghost. Here we get our first glimpse of a troll and it's utterly fantastic. Gone are any notions of cute, small oddly colored spiky hair trolls you know. Steeped in Norwegian legend are troll monsters, huge and grotesque. It's a complete WTF moment when you lay eyes on this mega creature but the effects are District 9 and Cloverfield compliant. The trolls are cleverly inter spliced into the footage. The build up is nicely done. You see rustling trees, then a large foot, a tale and then a complete shot of the entire monster.
For that I'm thankful. The film crew after all their running, camera dropping and shaky rattle and roll footage record the troll in all it's glory. It's something Cloverfield sucked at. But in The Troll Hunter they excel. This is something I liked.
Sure the shock of realizing trolls are real is enormous but they shoot the footage like "Oh shit! Trolls are real! I'm going to record everything about this!"
3.) Something sinister starts to scare them
We later get to meet Otto and what he does. He's a disgruntled government employee that allows the crew to record him because he's had enough of the politics of keeping it a secret. Through a series of interviews we get to know Otto's history. How long he's been doing this, the different types of trolls (Woodland trolls and Mountain trolls), what they eat, how to find them, how to avoid them, how they find us (they can smell Christians!?!), and the cover stories that are fed to the mainstream news media.
As we get to know Otto, the Troll Hunter we begin to like him. It's this footage that makes the film. Not the special effects or even the film crew. The focus is all about Otto and by spending time with him, we see a man whose job is extraordinary but he sees it as plain old ordinary. The beauty of modesty in the most extreme circumstances is cliched I know, but works here.
But what's the sinister? Well it seems the trolls are moving out of their allocated territory and there are more dangerous trolls than we've seen. From encounters with the "Tosserlad" 3 headed troll, to the ferocious "Ringlefinch" troll that lives under a bridge, to the infamous "Jotnar" whose as tall as a skycraper, the crew puts itself in great peril to record Otto at work.
4.) The film ends with "the final shot" that gets the audience shocked
The danger results in a fatality amongst our crew but a replacement is brought in. The final scenes result in a climactic battle with the "Jotnar" and they are unbelievably awesome. It's a final shot that deserves applause.
The Troll Hunter is also filled with tons of humor that can't go unnoticed. Most of the dialogue was improvised by the actors (Otto is played by Otto Jespersen a popular comedian in Norway). We also get to meet Finn (Hans Morten Hansen) , the govt agent for the "Troll Security Service". At one point he brings in some Poland contractors that prove hilarious. The film is clearly geared for the Norwegian crowd but internationally it holds up well. All the performances are solid but Jespersen is superb as the stoic and non-chalant Otto, troll hunter extraordinaire.
The film is not without a few flaws. With all shaky cam movies, we can expect a level of nausea inducing camera shots. The Troll Hunter is littered with a ton of em. The first half of the movie is an editor's nightmare of quick cuts, edited shots and a camera that never stops violently moving. At times, I was getting a headache.
The other gripe is we never got to explore our film crew. Whereas an American film would explore each of these characters to the max, we never really get an idea of who they are. It would have been nice see what they were all about.
Overall, The Troll Hunter is a break of fresh air in the found footage genre. But don't clump it in there with the rest. It's a suspense driven action comedy that is unlike anything you've ever seen. It's preposterously serious and takes the the troll mythos to a whole new level.
The Troll Hunter will without a doubt shatter your expectations you have of this fairy tale, give you new insight to the legend and leave you thinking if it all was really real.
Who ya gonna call?
So troll for you! Next!
WTF moment The Jotnar...holy shit!
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
The Troll Hunter will be released by Magnet Releasing and will be On Demand May 6th and in theaters June 10th. If you get a chance to see it, go! You won't be dissappointed.
One of the benefits of running The Jaded Viewer is that you get contacted to screen a lot of independent films. Some are terrible, others middle of the road and sometimes on that rare occasion you get to see a film that completely makes you go WTF! that was crazy awesome.
Waldo the Dog is one of those films that was WTF crazy awesome.
Director Kris Canonizado gave me the opportunity to view his debut film and it's one of hell of a ride. Waldo the Dog is guerrilla filmmaking at its most raw. Echoing the 90s indie vibe where independent filmmaking was scorching hot, it has that throwback feel of DIY creativity I enjoyed back in the day. No film permits, blurred reality and improvised dialogue. Canonizado has made a film with oddball characters that's part rom com, part drama and 100% weird. It takes a subject matter that's super duper sensitive and runs it in a gauntlet of emotion.
Waldo the Dog will be unlike any other film you have ever seen. It's the equivalent of seeing a fancy car get wrecked, miraculously repaired and then totally wrecked again. As much as you'd like to look away you can't. It's just so mesmerizing to watch.
A guilt and shame ridden mentally unstable young man wears a dog mask to cope.
Produced by Shane Ryan (of Amateur Pornstar Killer fame) Waldo the Dog is clearly in the same meta world. The film takes place around San Diego, California and revolves around a world that is pure wacky suburbia. The opening scene of Waldo (Rook Kelly), is him in his dog like mask which gets the first WTF out of you. Without catching a breath. a disturbing rape scene shows up that gets you completely weirded out even more.
The next successive scenes are of Waldo doing his daily routine. He's a slightly large man, hooded sweatshirt, ripped vest and he wears gloves. He panhandles throughout the neighborhood and after getting a generous donation signs up for a wrestling school. At 100% mute, this proves hilarious. We see him collect bottles and cans so he can get cash. He also goes dumpster diving and aimlessly watches the pedestrian traffic. In one scene that had me cracking up Waldo gets enough cash for a trip to Del Taco (?) and eats a burrito. As he eats he dances. It's insanely funny.
Later, Waldo rescues a beautiful girl (Jaquelyn Xavier) from a group of rapist thugs and they begin to form a friendship. One begs to question why a girl would start to get to know a man who wears a dog mask and doesn't talk, but I like to think it's all magical realism (it's the excuse I give something that I think doesn't make sense).
Jaquelyn tries to figure out this goofy buffoon, having solo conversations with Waldo as Waldo answers her back via pantomime and gestures. Soon they are frolicking to McD's, becoming professional swingers (err I mean swinging on a playground swing), going to the movies and becoming best buds. Oh yeah, after every "date" Waldo likes to pleasure himself outside Jackie's window. I thought you should know.
Waldo's wrestling skills improve while he's in his pseudo relationship and he's ultimately kicking ass. But all this can't last and as the last half hour approaches, we get some odd reveals as our mute becomes unmute. And in the last 10 minutes are a frenzy of WTF as ultimately we get an unmasking that proves disastrous.
First let's talk about the performances. Rook Kelly as Waldo is superb. His mute performance has gotta be one of the best mute performances by a man wearing a dog mask...well ever. Obviously, all the scenes and dialogue are improvised with some direction from Canonizado but Kelly makes it seem effortless. He's clearly doing his best Marcel Marceau and acts a range of emotion from sad to happy to angry. You have to realize that he and Jaquelyn are acting where the world doesn't know they are acting. The other people they interact with are probably going WTF. Why is this man wearing a rubbery dog mask, hanging out with a hot girl and is being recorded by a film crew?
I realized Waldo had entered Borat like territory. We're watching a movie where some of the people in it don't know it's a movie. There's a bit of surrealism in all this. The reactions all become priceless for all involved.
Jaquelyn Xavier performs under some odd circumstances. Definitely improvising her lines has gotta be tough where her counterpart is mute. Some lines come off rehearsed while others flow naturally. It's a testament to her ability to make her performance feel real in a world full of absurdity.
At the end of this movie, I realized I had not just a seen a day in the life of Waldo, a seemingly crazy masked anti-hero. I was actually watching an evolution of a man who was plagued by a guilt of something he had done. Because of this he needed to punish himself in different ways. When Waldo finally talks, he goes all Silent Bob and asks a profound question. From the physical, be it getting pounded on the mat by wrestlers or by a group of children on the playground, Waldo is looking to be punished for what he had done. His mental block of guilt was to create the Waldo the Dog persona and live a life of poverty, though seeking forgiveness from his victim. At the end you feel obligated to pick a side. Are you still pro Waldo or anti Waldo now that you have ALL the information.
It's an emotional journey of redemption, albeit it is done with one camera and long continuous shots, there is a solid story in Waldo. That's not to say it's perfect. I'm willing to forgive the budget and the guerrilla style but my biggest gripe is the length. The movie is 2 hours long when it should be 90 minutes. I can see why Canonizado dragged out the monotonous life of Waldo to show us how Waldo has slowly descended himself into nothing, but after the 3rd or 4th scene of seeing him doing nothing, I was getting aggravated. My attention span can only take so much.
With all this serious talk, I want to emphasize Waldo is full of ridiculousness that has gotta be seen to be believed. From the wrestling training (Tough Enough doesn't look like this) to a $1 for a kiss pier scam, it's full of moments of genuine ha ha's. I can't believe I am writing this but I actually got comfortable watching a masked man in a rubber dog mask for 2 hours. That's saying something.
Canonizado's debut film is mesmerizing and is destined to be a cult classic. I can only imagine the undertaking to make a film with such difficulty. I had imagined this would be full of shaky cam and amateurish cliches but somehow it doesn't feel that way. It felt like a documentary at times, but also like a cohesive pro movie as well.
So like I said, you have to pick a side. Ultimately, the success of Waldo the Dog is whether or not you like it's main character. Throughout the 2 hours of getting to know Waldo, I liked him. From his successes (scoring the hot girl!) to his failures (he's not gonna be on RAW anytime soon) I felt for Waldo even after his ultimate evil is revealed.
Waldo the Dog is a film that will stick with you long after you've seen it. It's a breakout film by a talented director who dares to show you a glimpse of the absurd fiction of America. You might not always know where to look for it, but Kris Canonizado is a guide to lead the way.
Nothing to graphic that a 8 year old couldn't handle.
WTF moment The reveal at the end and pretty much the entire movie
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
I can't say enough good things about this film. I hope anybody who loves independent film will check this out. It deserves a cult following.
Looking for a heist comedy? Well I got you covered. Well more specifically Philip Messerer has got you covered. His latest film is called Underbelly Blues and from the trailer, it's got the zaniest characters I've seen in a while.
After checking out his breakthrough film: Thicker than Water (review here) which was a revelation of vampire ingenuity warranting 3 spinkicks from yours truly, he's switched genres and he's going pulp crime fiction!
So what's this film all about?
The plot of Underbelly Blues follows a mysterious briefcase as it exchanges hands amongst the colorful denizens of the underworld. These include a corrupt cop, a sleazy strip club owner, a pair of lesbian strippers, an ex-military gun-for-hire who suffers from O.C.D. and has a penchant for creative torture, a Jewish pawnshop owner and his dominatrix mother, a British sophisticate who cooks crystal meth, a pair of surfer pot dealers, a legally blind albino gangster, a 7 foot tall, 400 lb neo-nazi, a sexual deviant redneck, a wild-eyed Mexican named Take It Easy, and a brilliant 'brain' called The Architect.
All of these characters are connected through a series of bizarre coincidences which inevitably lead to the downfall of corporate America as the rivalry between two soft drink companies goes out of control.
Well I gotta admit, this sounds damn fun right?
Now check out the trailer. You can also head over to the official site for more info.
So when I was lucky enough to get an early copy of the first issue of Black Dynamite: Slave Island, I was happier than a dude at an orgy. Thanks to Scott Sanders, Ars Nova and Ape Marketing for making this happen. I am hear to tell you that this first issue lives up to everything the movie was so awesome at. Blaxploitation hilarity, 70s throwbackness and hysterical ads.
So what's the plot?
Released by indie publisher Ape Entertainment with a story by Michael Jai White, Byron Minns, and Scott Sanders, the one-shot Black Dynamite: Slave Island follows our hero as he seeks to put an end to a mysterious island… where an insidious 19th century legacy of The Man still exists.
Here's my review!
the jaded viewer says: Black Dynamite the movie spun the whole blaxploitation satire into a whole new realm with our hero Black Dynamite, a secret agent and legendary stallion reaching cult status. Slave Island is a pseudo sequel as BD continues to fight the oppression of his people in any form it takes.
And in Slave Island, the form is really fucked up.
When BD hears the story from a survivor of a mysterious island where slavery still exists, he takes it upon himself to recify the situation immediately. He gets to the island and realizes the fuckedupness of "Slave Island" is more dastardly than he realized. It's a vacation spot for whitey where the past has been rebuilt in all its evil glory. The slaves are mentally and physically abused and BD realizes what he needs to do. To put it bluntly he has to "burn this motherfucker down".
And so BD moves forward with his one man revolution. But it's not as easy as pootang pie. In a classic preposterous scene he battles a shark underwater!?!? (I can tell you this was more awesome than zombie vs shark) , gets captured and gets sold in an auction. This leads to seeing the "mandingo" in action as he satisfies his new white mistress.
Suffice it to say, BD doesn't just use violence to get the job done but words (in a speech that echoes MLK he gets the slaves on his side). But violence is way better than words and we get some awesome carnage the only way BD can deliver.
The artwork is pretty solid echoing the old 70s/80s style of comics. It actually looks like a comic full of wear and tear. The colors are nice and vibrant and the panels are strategically aligned. All in all, its like you picked up a comic book from 30 years ago.
The story and the writing is freakin brilliant. Written by Brian Ash from a story by Michael Jai White, Byron Minis and Scott Sanders, it's so Black Dynamite-ish to a tee. The dialogue is cleverly clever and the absurdity of each successive scene never wavers.
BD battles Hicks and his henchmen and it echoes the flavor of the original film.
Black Dynamite: Slave Island is a masterpiece of blaxpsploitation satire, hilarity and outrageousness. There are satirical ads for ex football player Farrante Jones throughout the comic which are brilliantly awesome. These are little throwbacks to ads that ran in every comic published back in the day. Even a brochure with a map of Slave Island is included which made me LOL.
Black Dynamite is a modern day hero who has the kung fu skills to fix the injustices of our world while single handily satisfying the thirst of women everywhere. Women want to be with him while men want to be him. But not everybody can free slaves from a Disney-fied whitey paradise. Only Black Dynamite can do it. He's got the brains, the brawn and the 'tude. So make sure you see him do his thang.
10 Things the Netflix Generation could learn from the VHS Generation
As a man who's experienced 2 generations of home video viewing, I have a distinct view of the past and the present world of home video. I remember the days of going to the video store and renting a movie. I also was one of the very first people to ever sign up for Netflix and take advantage of their 3 DVDs out monthly fee.
Just for full disclosure, I once was banned by Netflix due to "lost DVDs". I never stole any DVDs back in 1999. It just so happen that they got lost in the mail. But I digress. I'm currently not a Netflix member but I know the benefits of Netflix streaming and the like.
In this day of video in demand and instant streaming, somethings been lost in how we find out what movies we want to watch. And the list below is 10 things I think the Netflix generation could learn from the VHS generation.
1.) VHS box art and a vague description sometimes resulted in finding a hidden gem
Sure you can see the artwork and plot on Netflix and you can also view the trailer. But when you had to rely solely on bad artwork, it was like the mystery meat of video stores. You never knew what you'd get and sometimes you'd watch a flick that surprised you.
2.) Be Kind, Rewind
Kids were taught self discipline to rewind their movies or face a hefty (well for kids anyway) fine. But the most important thing about not being able to skip chapters easily was you usually watched a movie straight on through. These days, we sometimes watch a flick over a few days. There is something to be said about having to watch a whole movie all the way. And who didn't have an automatic rewinder?
3.) It's due the next day
When you rented a movie, you watched it the same night as usually new releases had to be returned the same day. The urgency of watching a movie as quickly as possible is non existent these days but getting friends together because you got a copy of the latest new release made it feel like a big deal.
4.) The ability to tape movies from TV
What kid didn't know how to program his VCR by the time he was 8? You knew the difference between LP and SLP and pretty much knew how to edit the commercials out from the movie you were taping (PAUSE right before the break!)
Once you taped that flick, you'd watch it over and over again. These days, you watch a movie once and sometimes fail to appreciate it after multiple viewings. Sure the quality is shit, but the reason why we can quote every line from Indiana Jones or Ghostbusters is because we cherished these movies and watched it over and over again.
5.) Renting a Rated R movie was like robbing a bank
You just had to find that one video store clerk that didn't give a shit and it was money.
6.) You actually watched the classics
I highly doubt the Netflix generation is searching for classics on Netflix. But after perusing the video store for like an hour, you'd end up in the classics and try a flick. In a bullshit statistic I made up, 80% of kids today have never seen Citizen Kane.
7.) Employee recommendations were kinda cool
The Netflix Generation has user ratings and brief reviews. But seeing that shelf dedicated to employee recommendations was like crazy awesome. Sure, some employee picks were utter garbage but sometimes you'd rent a flick from say employee "Jeff" and he had the same taste as you did (remember that Seinfeld episode?). Suddenly, you had a go to guy for movies to rent. "Jeff" was like your movie renting mentor.
8.) The Dollar Bin
Remember that bin in the video store? Where shitty movies go to die? Sometimes, you'd find an awesome flick or a flick you've been looking for in that bin full of crappy movies. It was like finding treasure for 99 cents. Does this place exist today?
9.) The VCR to VCR recording method
Every kid became experts on the component cables (red/yellow and white) Quick quiz: Which wire was for audio? Pretty much how you copied your dad's porn. You became a secret agent when it came to this. Sneaky, techy and resourceful.
10.) The Sci Fi Movies were next to the Horror which was next to the Porn
If you went to any video store in the 80s and 90s, this was the set up. If you ended up through the Adults Only doors, seeing those oversized porn boxes was like heaven. That feeling is long gone. Why were the boxes so big anyway?
Of course, the convenience of being able to stream flicks or have them delivered to your home is 100% more ideal. But it's become a little harder to discover new flicks online without endless browsing as opposed by just walking into a store. Maybe it's nostalgia or the fact I've experienced both generations but the 10 things listed above are subtle reminder of what we lost and what we gained.
Let's pretend you didn't hear that. Well I figured I'd check this one out as its supposed horror elements that echo an Argento flair were ever evident. Sure I'm a fan of Darren Aronofsky like all the other art cinephiles out there. I mean he made movies about wrestling and orgy drug use.
I'm guessing the movie was good but that's for those serious critics to dissect. Let em talk about performances and plot and technique until they turn blue in the face. You're not getting anything serious from me. Black Swan gets a WTF list because there is no way I could actually give it a real review. We all need to get our swan on.
On to the list!
1.) I hope I see somebody get served in this. 2.) I've seen more exposed ribs in Black Swan than a Texas BBQ. 3.) Man, this is so gay. (not that there is anything wrong with that) 4.) Vincent Cassel has kissed, groped, fondled and had simulated sex with the hottest actresses on like multiple continents. 5.) Natalie is working her thing like she's plugging a hole on the SS Minnow. 5a.) What's up with the weird pervert on the train? That guy deserves an Oscar. 6.) I am now officially going to post pictures of MilaKunis randomly on the jaded viewer. 7.) Mila and Natalie just made every dude's brains explode (among other things) in that carpet munching scene. 8.) I knew it! All ballerinas are all lesbians. 9.) All this ballet is reminding me of the Flintstones episode where Fred uses ballet to bowl. 10.) Secretly, we all love Mila over Natalie. Mila is like the super geek girl who's a hottie. Natalie is like the hottie who acts as a super geek girl.
11.) Somehow I think Black Swan will make hipsters visit Lincoln Center. 12.) Lots of turf toe injuries I'm thinking. 13.) Sex, violence, lots of vomit....is this August Underground?!? 14.) This is like when Hogan went from the yellow and red to the black and white. 15.) Winona Ryder need a hug. 16.) I mean at times this movie got boring...I could only imagine what real ballet is like. 17.) Mila's been busted open!!! OH THE HUMANITY!!!! 18.) The sequel is gonna be called Black Swan 2: Lily's Revenge. 19.) Oh man, not even one boob in this? 20.) Why does every Aronofsky movie seem to end with somebody jumping off something?
So what's the prognosis? I guess this was good...you know goody two shoes goes from all virtuous to vicious douchebag killer metamorphosis and thinks somebody is going to take her spot. Seems like a wrestling plot device to me (and according to Aronofsky it could have been, see IMDB trivia)
I'm giving it 2 and half out 4 spinkicks. Because of the scene below. Let's watch it again OK?
The Deadneks - Trilogy of Terror Giveaway Winners are....
Thanks to all who participated in this Jaded Viewer giveaway. We'll have plenty of other giveaways soon so keep checking back here. I'd also like to thank Charlie Ruckus for providing the DVDs for this giveaway. Say thanks by following him on Twitter @ruckusprod and checking out the official site.
The lucky winners are C.C. Sardonicus and Mike Little. Congrats to both of you!
The Deadneks - Trilogy of Blood features the psychobilly music of The Deadneks as it mixes a music video and mini exploitation homage as 3 city girls wind up in Bumfuck Hillbilly USA.
Here be the plot:
When a trio of sexy city gals picks up a broken-down hillbilly in the backwoods of Virginia – the three kittens get A LOT more than they bargained for when they accept the drifter’s invitation to a down-home barbecue. What these lovely ladies don’t know just may hurt ‘em – when they find that the menu of this hayseed hoe-down isn’t the standard ‘burgers and dogs’…
Check out the trailer below to see what the film is all about.
Oh After Dark, you never disappoint me. When I ask for a cliched, stereotypical horror movie with dumb white kid fodder, generic pseudo vampires and frenetic camera movements you deliver on q.
Straight from the revamped After Dark Originals lineup comes Prowl aka The Strays, a horror movie that takes a different spin on the night crawlers who meet some Abercrombie and Fitch wearing small town white kid hipsters and you know...get slaughtered. Yawn.
As much as the film likes to think it's different...it's not. It's your same old bag of scares, cardboard cutout teens and army of blood thirsty creatures. Funny enough, the whole thing kinda is The Hamiltons meets 30 Days of Night. Is that a good thing? I don't even know..it's certainly not a compliment.
Amber dreams of escaping her small town existence and persuades her friends to accompany her to find an apartment in the big city. When their transportation breaks down, she and her friends gratefully accept a ride in the back of a semi. But when the driver refuses to stop and they discover the cargo is hundreds of cartons of blood, they panic. Their panic turns to terror when the truck disgorges them into a dark, abandoned warehouse where blood-thirsty creatures learn to hunt human prey, which, the friends realize, is what they now are...
I read the other reviews by some well respected horror critics. They actually found this movie OK though cliched. But one thing you'll find from me is if I didn't enjoy a film, I let you all know it. So as this movie is as cliched as a Jokey Smurf gag gift, you get a cliched Q&A review. 1.) So who's the final girl and does she have final girl superpowers?
Our final girl is Amber, a blonde cutey who longs to leave her small town for the big city. The first half an hour is the movie explaining this to us. Really? I get it. All I needed to know is she wants to leave cuz she's from a shitty small town. Plus after the nerdy, fat Jewish kid tries to put the moves on her, she rejects him. How can I possibly root for Amber and her stuckedupiness now? I hate her already.
2.) Is it true they wear Abercrombie and Fitch clothing, play Truth or Dare in the back of a truck in which they hitchhiked in and are white in color?
What other race would wear A&F? Venezuelans? It makes no sense to hitchhike to the big city in the back of a fuckin truck but they do it...cuz white kids do dumb white kids stuff. Where other races deal with real problems, white kids problems are "Are we out of Cloves and Wild Turkey?"
No way a brotha gonna ride in the back of a creepy redneck trucker guys truck. Unless he was Carlton Banks.
3.) I'm 100% sure the teens cell phones all work because AT&T and Verizon cover 97% of America and one of them must have AT&T or Verizon and not shitty Metro PCS or *gasp* T-Mobile...right?
Like every other horror movie, either the battery has run out or every other horror movie takes place in that damn 3%. I'd like to totally visit this 3% place. I am 100% sure it's one of the Dakotas.
4.) The film introduces night birds of prey vampire demony type creatures that hunt human prey and thirst for blood. So are there naked boobies in this?
Girls in tank tops only. One day, we'll see a girl run away from a creature and rip apart her shirt for no apparent reason. On that day, I will cry and say "Thank you, I'm so happy you understand me Mr. Director".
5.) I've tasted human blood and it kinda tastes like purple drink. Why can't these creatures just buy some purple drink from the local 99 cents store instead of murdering innocent mall shopping teens?
I like purple drink too. Next thing you know purple drink gonna be sold at Hot Topic and mass marketed to suburban kids everywhere. Gone will be the days where people enjoyed the novelty of purple drink as a cheap, watered down grape tasting beverage. What was your question again?
6.) How's the splatter content? Will I say "Fuck yeah!" in any of the gore scenes?
Severe neck trauma, arms and limbs flung all around and death by bashing of a gas canister.
7.) Why are girls so good at hiding? Is it genetic? Do they go to a pre-school Hide and Seek class? I've tried Googling this with no luck.
All girls are given cloaking devices on their 13th birthday. Oh and all women are part chameleon.
8.) Cmon, there's gotta be something cool that happens in Prowl. Like a giant robot saves the final girl right before she is about to be attacked by by a horde of blood creatures.
You know what saves the day? A lighter. I shit you not.
9.) I heard there's a twist in this flick that will make you crap in your pants (you know not literally crap in your pants but metaphorically, because I've never crapped in my pants ever, and if I did I would not be know as the "master crapper", fuck you, stop calling me that) So is there a crazy twist ending that will make you metaphorically crap?
Yes there is. It makes no sense. Like time travel and beef jerky. I mean dehydrated beef? What's the fuck is that?
10.) Is there a wildly, ambiguous ending that foreshadows a sequel that will never see the light of day?
I guess so. Do you want there to be one? Give me $1 and I'll say yes if it makes you happy.
WTF moment The supposed twist ending
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
Prowl is now out on DVD as well as a few other After Dark originals. It's pretty much the same as the other After Dark selections blending road tripping teens who meet blood thirsty creatures. As much as others claim there is character development, I saw none. I saw characters I actually wanted to die in horrible and gruesome deaths. From the first minute of the film, I wanted all these characters to suffer.
Does that make me a bad guy? And nobody said "Prowl on this motherfucker" before they killed one of the creatures. Big FAIL.
WTF!?? OMG?? Did somebody send me a Snuff video?!??!
It's the middle of the night as I write this and I'm a little freaked out. I don't know what to do. I got a package in the mail yesterday and it's got me totally freaking the fuck out. As you can see in the pictures above, I got a video tape, a broken lighter and a pocket watch (that appears to not be working) in a DVD mailer.
The return address is a PO Box from Galveston, Texas. So why am I acting a little nuts. Well because of what the tape is labeled....it just says "SNUFF" in big capital letters!!!
Umm. I know I've detailed I've watched some sick shit and I've reviewed sick shit but never in my wildest imaginations would I ever want to watch a real life murder for entertainment purposes. I mean that's going waaaaaaaaaaaaay too far for me. That's some fucked up fuckedupness I'd hope I'd never ever see in my whole fuckin lifetime.
So you're probably asking yourself did I watch it?? Well lucky for me, I don't own a VHS player anymore. So really I have no way of knowing if this has like laughable Guneau Pig stuff on it or if its actually.....yikes....real.
I mean it seems like a practical joke. But why would "they" send me a pocket watch. It's a little creepy. It seems broken and it's stuck at 8:40. Plus I checked the lighter. Looks like it's a regular zippo lighter to me. It may be out of flints and gas it seems. I don't want to touch it because it might have fingerprints on it.
I'm not sure what to do? I took some pictures for you all to look at. Should I call the police? Should I watch it first? How the hell am I gonna watch this without a VHS player?!? Do I got a friend who has a VHS player and say "Hey, I think I have snuff, wanna watch?" I mean seriously, WTF.
Check out some of the photos. Seriously all, this is scaring the shit out of me. I'd appreciate any advice on what to do. Let me know ASAP. I don't think I'm gonna be able to sleep tonight.