Saturday, October 17, 2015

New York Haunted Hayride (Review)

I've been to many haunted hayrides. I've been to Field of Screams (Yay!), Waldorf Estate of Fear (Nay!), Reaper's Revenge (Yay and Nay) and Legends of the Fog. So I think I know what's good and what's not. What's good is when you have those enclosures or barns that the hayride stops in and forces the riders to feel trapped then zapped with what horror the creators thought up. What's good is the actors getting up close and personal, jumping on the tractor and scaring you from well thought hiding spots.

What's bad? Well that can be summed up in one attraction: NY Haunted Hayride.

In a historic ABC Shark Tank episode, Mark Cuban invested something like a million dollars to help expand LA Haunted Hayride. With that new found cash, they headed to NYC this year and I'm not sure where that money went.

Located in Randall's Island, the trek to the hayride is an adventure in itself. You can of course Uber or taxi or drive yourself to Randall's Island, but I decided to take their shuttle which if it wasn't for the pro-Mets fan driver, you could have been a kid being lured by a serial killer in a mysterious white van.

Randall's Island is not the woods. It's home to a psychiatric hospital, a soccer stadium and fields and tons of baseball diamonds. You're going to see the lights from the skyline across the river and hear the rolling of cars from the Triboro bridge. But you work with what you have right?

Well you would think it would be redesigned for an urban environment but somehow they didn't take full advantage of NYC themes and horrors. Why not play on escaped mental patients? NYC underground sickos? But what did we get as an opener? A KISS tribute band.

Say what?

The spookiness of the entrance is indeed fantastic. Smokey ambiance with actors dressed in Silent Hill monster costumes greeted you but the line formation was simply human cattle led to slaughter. You're led to winding lines and then actually lined up as livestock in rent a fence cages. With a NY attitude a woman yelled at us to "not run to the wagon but walk"...saying this multiple times. Some of us are partially educated and I would assume even assholes would understand this. We're not idiots...well not most of us.

The slow ride on this half hour hayride has you pass through the the ominous world of Randall's Island golf center and then you get some odd non scary weirdness. A supposed rock band monsters, clowns who are clowning half ass, an orphanage with "children" and an ending that turns into some sort of gospel choir. Again say what?

In the middle of MY ride, the tractor seemingly got stuck in the mud and the driver had to ask all 20 or so of us riders to exit so he could make a U-turn. I shit you not. At first I thought this was part f the show, but somehow this was in ineptitude of a ride that turned ridiculous. The hobo actor who had sprayed us with supposed germ coughing wanted everybody to sing Happy Birthday as we waited to be reloaded into the wagon. With a highway near us, my friends and I wanted to hail a cab right then and there.

There were other "scares" along the way, most of them boring, unenthusiastic and actors who tried their best to perform but just seemed out of their element. There were a few sets and scenarios I hadn't seen in a hayride before like some caged mutant monsters and some well dressed "You're Next" killers. But nothing I'm writing to Bloody Disgusting about. I get the location was not woodsy but if injected with a NYC vibe of grittiness and city mythos, it might have turned out differently. New Yorkers are a tough people to scare and if you can turn our city dweller fear against us, you're doing your homework. Give us a fucked up scenario and we'll jump like a 10 year old kid.

For first time hay riders and non jaded haunt goers, the thrills were there. Some riders were indeed having a grand old time either screaming in horror/laughter, filming the entire journey on their phone and making one liner quips at the actors. I would assume these people are the target audience for New York's first ever haunted hayride. If you're a noob and a millennial, you may get your haunted hayride fix.

I had heard LA's Haunted Hayride was legendary but I assume NYC is not getting the full package. And that's a shame. With the lack of haunted houses this year, we deserve better.

If you want a daily dose of heart attacks, scares and hold your breath moments, best you watch the Mets play the Cubs in the NLCS.

The Vitals

Saturday, July 04, 2015

The Ladies of the House (Review)

The Ladies of the House

Directed by John Stuart Wildman

I was a little hesitant when I saw the trailer for The Ladies of the House. Was that....Belladonna in the trailer? Err I mean not that I watch porn or anything but I do watch pornstars in horror movies. And from past experience, it usually turns out kinda eye gouging horribly bad.

But let's not judge a movie by its cover or even by its trailer. Hence watching Ladies was and odd horror-copia of 50s style, misogynistic men getting some comeuppance and an imagining of what would happen if the We Can Do It! woman in this wartime propaganda poster decided to become a sadistic, serial killing cannibal.

The Ladies of the House is a rockabilly feministic-horror movie that somehow injects some colorful cinema with an exploitation vibiness that I've never seen before. And when you can show me something I've never seen before, that's a damn win in my book. Though plot and pacing are classed in a whatever, it makes it up in gore and some Chainsaw Massacre cross gender switching. Say what? Keep reading then.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

Wildman's directorial debut is full of Edward Scissorhands/Pleasantville rainbow colors that for an indie horror movie, you have to give it props. The gore and splatter are in the same boat. It's clearly expensed and the FX are old school proper.

Solid performances by the troupe of strippers turned cannibal marauders that stereotype a genre of female archetypes. Melody Sisk as Getty is ripped out of that propaganda poster while Lin, her lesbian lover is head of household. Brina Palencia as Crystal is Dexter wacko. Our male lambs are slightly forgettable so I really won't talk about them. What you have in terms of characters and plot become blurred in a weird way. A way that can confuse the typical horror fan.

Clearly we have evil on both sides as plot wise our bumbling male horn dogs do some dumb shit resulting in dumb shit that are now Leatherfacey femme vixens need to get revenge for. Everybody deserves to die if you think about it logically. LOTH somehow doesn't want to get bogged down in your rooting interest but instead wants to flip the cliches upside down. As I thought about it, it's like the equivalent of a jock wearing red cowboy boots. Does it work?

Sorta. A feministic horror movie seems like an oxymoron. Can you really make your killing femme fatales into revenge served cold slasher hunters? And with gratuitous nudity and lesbian strippers? Like I said, now that's something I've never seen before...and now I have.

The Ladies of the House is a clearly a new type of indie horror exploitation. It's clearly smart, gory and wicked. It's not your typical horror and that's what I liked about it. At a solid 90 min, there's clearly an hour of good shit in here. Some inter spliced foreshadowing seemed out of place in my opinion.

John Stuart Wildman seemingly has a whole new sub genre with The Ladies of the House. Horror fans need to inject something new into their diet. There is meat on the bones with The Ladies of the House and its damn tasty.


Shower boob
Lesbian boobs


Butchery blood and guts
Slice and dice

WTF moment 

Crystal's room

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

It was called Stripped the movie at one point. I like the the title now. Check out the trailer below and the Facebook page.

Rating: 2 and half spinkicks 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

It Follows (Review)

It Follows (2015)

Directed by David Robert Mitchell

There is a subtext in It Follows that harkens back to the horror cliches of sex = dead. But mostly in other generic mainstream horror, it's a scene does in haste and is usually followed by a stab stab stab.

It Follows does the opposite. Teenagers do teenage stuff and then the movie lingers. And the lingering creates a horror movie that shows us the consequences from boy and girl and the horror that slowly walks towards our final girl in some sort of calculated way.

It Follows is the indie horror equivalent of Blair Witch, taking a simple story and creating a mythos. I mean we are not given much, some few clues and details but already the movie has created a wikipedia of possibilities of what It is. The movie has slow, methodical pacing, its characters Jay (Maika Monroe) is brilliantly homegrown awesome and its backup characters give it a Gus Van Sant level of authenticity.

The big word here is minimalistic horror. Mitchell uses levels of gross "It" stalkers who seem to be level up in different settings from a school to house to the final showdown. You're jump scares come because in theory you don't know the rules of how or when the come though. We're given a loose rule book of how it passes along and what they need to do but it's still cloudy.

In the end, the final scene is mesmerizing to watch. Underneath the Halloween daylight creepiness scenes glittered throughout the film, the final scene has tension, suspense and the scares.

It's clear that when a movie like It Follows defies the odds and becomes a horror hit, it puts a smile to my face. A new horror IP. Originality that takes from a miss mosh of 70s, 80s and 90s horror and creates a horror movie that satisfies.

We need more It Follows. We need other filmmakers to follow suit. 

Plus a sequel. Dammit give us a sequel too.

gross woman boobies

A few scrapes

WTF moment
Stalkers galore!

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

This is the hidden gem of 2015. Somehow watch this and be amazed by the brilliance.